Planning your trip and need to know all the best things to do in Novalja? You have come to the right place to find everything you need to know about this beautiful city on Pag Island. Pag Island is a small rocky island off the Dalmatian coast. They are most known for their Paski Sir (Cheese from Pag), sheep, bora, and of course Zrce Beach.
There are so many things to do in Novalja, Croatia that does not include partying all night at Zrce. Do not get me wrong though definitely give it a chance. There are plenty of Novalja hotels, beaches, restaurants, and shopping centers to keep you entertained for your holiday to Pag Island.
Top 10 Things to do in Novalja You Cannot Miss
Is Novalja Croatia nice?
Novalja, Croatia is a beautiful, small town on Pag Island and is located on the sea and is right in the center of the island. Although it has a small-town vibe, there is still plenty to be seen and things to do in Novalja. It is the biggest and nicest city on the island of Pag.
What is Pag Island known for?
Pag Island is known for a few different things. Depending on who you are talking to they could tell you that they are most famous for their Paski Sir. If you are speaking to the younger generation, Zcre Beach is what you will get told Pag Island is most known for.
Zrce has transformed the island into a huge party destination every summer. Thousands of young adults flock to the island to hear the latest DJs perform while they dance the night away in the sand. There are multiple different stages and venues making it easy to spend your day listening to dope music and swimming in the crystal clear ocean.
The Olive Gardens of Lun
You do not want to miss checking out the Olive Gardens of Lun on Pag Island. They are home to some of the oldest olive trees in the world, including a few that are over 2,000 years old. You could spend your whole day walking around and looking at these old beauties.
There are also wild sheep that graze here, you cannot miss them or at the very least hear them. And one of the best things about the Olive Gardens of Lun is that after you check them out you can walk down to the beautiful beach that they are at. You will not regret checking out the Olive Gardens of Lun they are one of the best things to do in Novalja, Croatia.
The address to the olive grove is right here, you will see signs all over the island pointing you in the right direction. Make sure to stop and buy some Olive Oil it most likely will be some of the best you have ever had.
Life on Mars Trail in Novalja
Have you ever been to Mars? No! Well, we went there quite a few times while we stayed in Novalja. The Life on Mars Trail in Novalja has two beaches and epic viewpoints throughout the whole day. There are so many different hikes to do in Novalja but this is absolutely one of our favorites. Make sure to bring a lunch for your halfway point and plenty of water, especially in the summer.
To get to the Life on Mars trailhead to this parking lot and walk down until you see the sign. It is hidden behind a boat repair shot.
You can expect this hike to be moderate and should take you about 4 hours to complete. It is an out and back trail and if there is a spot in the back to rock climb, you must bring your own gear.
Walk the Boardwalk in Novalja
Taking a stroll down the boardwalk in Novalja is one of the best and free things to do in Novalja. The boardwalk is right along the beach and you can follow it straight into town. Be sure to take a stroll down the path during the sunset. Alfred Hitchcock once said that Croatia has the best sunset in the world, and who can argue with that.
The boardwalk in Novalja is very easy to find, it is right in front of the harbor and it is maybe 4 km (2 miles) long. That is just an estimate though, I do not know for sure.
Go Taste Pag Cheese
The cheese from Pag Island, known as Paski Sir, has won many prestigious awards from all around the world. The reasoning behind the epic cheese is due to a few different factors. A combination of the sheep that they get their milk from, and the strong winds that blow the salt from the ocean onto the herbs that the sheep eat. And of course, the process in which they make their cheese.
There is a specific kind of sheep that you can only find living on Pag Island. They are mini sheep, but they are furiously strong from the intense bora wind that they encounter during the winter months. The milk from these incredible sheep is one of the reasons that the Pag cheese is so special. Be sure to go cheese tasting, it is one of the best things to do on Pag Island.
There are a couple of Paski sir locations to try out on the island. The first one is in the town of Kolan and is called Sirana Gligora. and the second one is in the town of Pag and is called Paška Sirana. We went to both and enjoyed our time immensely at both places. Going there was one of our favorite things to do in Novalja.
Rent a Mountain Bike
There is a brand new mountain bike trail in Novalja, Pag that is 20 km long and ends in an epic location, called Svetojanj. This trail will start at Novalja Feild, which is another super cool story all on its own, and will take you through all the different parts of the island.
You will encounter the moon-like landscape in some areas, and you will also ride through locations that are lush with greenery and wildlife. If you rent yourself an electric mountain bike from Sunturist you should have no problem with this course. Do yourself a favor and get out and explore it is one of the best things to do in Novalja.
Zcre Beach Line up
We visited Novalja in the off-season, so zcre was actually closed. So I cannot tell you from a personal experience if Zcre is worth going to. But, what I can tell you is that everyone on Pag that we became friends with said that it is an amazing place that everyone should experience.
Zcre beach is good for all ages of people who love to listen to music and dance their day and night away. There are three clubs on Zcre NOA, Papaya, and Kalypso. You can find entertainment on Zcre all day and night with some of the best DJs, like Steve Aoki, in the world. Visiting their stages makes it one of the best and most popular things to do in Novalja.
You can find the address to Zcre here, although you probably do not need it. There are shuttles and taxis that will give you a lift to the popular beach. It is only about 2 (1 mile) km from the main square in the town center.
Beach Beach Beaches
There are countless beaches in Novalja for visiting. I think we counted up to 12 different ones that you can visit. Babe Beach was a popular one for us. It was walking distance from our apartment and dogs are allowed at babe beach. Jadra Beach is another beach that we loved, this was not a sandy beach but it has a wonderful landscape. While at Jadra you can see views of both Velebit Moutain and the island of Rab.
Caska beach is another one of the best beaches in Novalja. This beach was much more sandy and it was easier to swim there. We asked a few different locals to Novalja which beach they liked the best and both times they said Caska Beach was their favorite. But be sure to check out all the beaches in Novalja they are all special in their own way.
You can find the addresses of all of these beaches if you click on the bold words above. Bring sunscreen and water with you, but there are also small cafes there for you to order snacks if you get hungry.
Pick Wild Asparagus in the Country
Wild asparagus grows in Novalja just about everywhere and you can go pick it freely. We went up to the hill right above the Hotel Olea and there was plenty to find in the bushes. We were able to pick asparagus during April when the island started during green.
Be careful of snakes when you explore the city they love to slither around the dry stone walls that you will see all over Pag Island. We saw plenty of red and black snakes but were told that they are harmless.
Take a History Tour of Novalja
Novalja is a jammed pack town of interesting history dating back to the first century BC. During that time the Romans had control and left one of the best-hidden gems the aqueducts in Novalja. We had the privilege of being able to walk down the small, dark passageway known to the locals as Talijanova buža, or Roman hole, that is under the museum. You can also set up a tour through the tourism office, it is a once and a lifetime treat and one of the best things to do in Novalja if you are into history.
There are also quite a few Christian basilicas ruins around Novalja. This suggests that Novalja was once a very important hub for bishops and other important religious figureheads. If you take a tour with Darka, you will learn everything there is to know about the history of Novalja. She was a wonderful tour guide and we spend a lovely afternoon with her strolling around town as she pointed out everything there is know about the small town.
You should be able to contact Darka through her website or her fabulous youtube channel. She was extremely knowledgeable and made the afternoon we spent with her one we will remember forever.
Go to a Festival
While we were in Novalja we were able to attend two different festivals in town. They were the Easter celebration and the festival of May. They were both so much fun located in the town square in front of the beautiful church.
While at a Novalja fest you will see traditional dancing and outfits worn by a dozen or so young adults that put on a fantastic show for you. Witnesses this was one of my favorite things that I saw during my time in Novalja. Their dresses and headpieces are beautifully designed and are a deep part of their history on the island.
You can find all the information you need and all the best things to do in Novalja on their local tourism website. There are also posters and small billboards around town telling you about the fun things that they have planned.