Pag island is the second longest and fifth largest island in Croatia, it’s famous for its Moon-like landscape, party beaches and the infamous Pag cheese. Located within an hour’s drive from Zadar airport, you need to add this island to your itinerary. It’s easiest to explore with a car, but also possible by bus. Read more for a specially prepared Pag itinerary for you.
Coming from Zadar, you will see the ruins of a 17th century fortress upon crossing the bridge. It’s rumored that King Bela IV hid here while fleeing the Mongols. From here, you can stop and walk around it while taking some fantastic photos of the Pag bridge which opened in 1968. The Velebit mountains behind the bridge are awe inspiring. You will be amazed by the barren landscape which resembles the Moon. Beware of the strong bura winds which can shake the bridge on windy days, don’t worry the bridge was made to handle it.
While traveling in the Solana salt factory and the charming white stone town of Pag are the entrance way to the island. If you’re coming by car there is plenty of parking during the busy season, drive to the other side of the bridge and keep right. Park paying by text message, or coins then take a stroll in the early part of the day because after 1pm it gets too hot. Try some famous Pag cheese from one of the vendors selling in their shops along the alley ways, then make your way back to your car to continue to Kolan. If you’re traveling by bus the bus will stop here and then you can arrange for the next bus which will take you onward, the buses are usually every couple hours, use GetbyBus for exact times.
On the way to the other end of the island, make a stop at the Sirana Gligora factory in Kolan. Here you can choose to join a cheese tour or simply enjoy a cheese tasting. While seafood may sound like the obvious choice for a meal on the island, remember to try the Paška janjetina too. Pag lamb is a prized specialty popular for its taste. While you can find lamb all over Croatia, the Pag lamb is special due to the diet and living conditions of the sheep. They are free-rang feeding on herbs and wildflowers which grow on the salt-covered island.
After tasting some cheese drive to one of the many beautiful pebble beaches with crystal clear waters where some beaches offer a view of the Velebit mountain ranges. Here are some of the top beaches: Plaža Ručica, Zrće beach, Strasko beach, Caska beach, Braničevica beach, Bošana beach Pag, Šimuni beach, Čista beach.
Spend your evening in the charming town of Novalja. Lined with many restaurants and nightclubs, the place comes alive after 6pm. Stay here for the night if you prefer staying close to bakeries, cafes and stores. The town opens late, charming boutiques and galleries aren’t open until six pm, but there are a few food shops and vendors selling wine and olive oil before six. The famous wine is a sweet dessert wine they call Prošek.
The best place to stay on the island is Boškinac, a 4-star hotel with its own winery and two restaurants onsite, it’s located just outside of Stara Novalja. Be sure to try their unique orange wine, which are made by soaking the juice and skins of white grapes. If you are into fine dining, enjoy the specially prepared menus at Restaurant Boškinac. For a simpler traditional dining, they offer traditional food at their tavern.
For family friendly areas, visit the Gajac area with lots of kids and the only dog beach on the island. While there are many accommodation choices in the tourist areas, Noa Glamping Resort offers a luxury accommodation right beside the Zrće beach, which is a great choice for party goers. If you are not, it may not be a pleasant experience to sleep due to its proximity to the Zrće beach where parties happen all night long in the summer. For a super quiet and serene area of Pag stay in one of the charming accommodations in Lun.
On your next day, visit the Olive Gardens of Lun. Covering an area of 400 hectares, there are more than 80,000 olive trees with the oldest one over 1600 years old. Visitors have access to 75 hectares for walking, come in the morning for a walk, there are tours done with electric golf buggies in the summer, but they don’t start until noon and there is no air-conditioning, the morning walk is best. The buggies are dog friendly as long as the dog is on a leash.
The oldest olive tree is 800 meters from entrance 2, from entrance 1 it’s about 1 kilometer. This is going to be the most amazing olive grove you will ever see!
After exploring the olive trees drive onward into the little town then around the harbor as far as you can safely go. Then park, get out and walk to the end of the trail to see a panoramic view of the nearby islands. On the way I found some sweet wild grapes to snack on. There are a few restaurants in Lun for lunch, after walking to the end of Pag you may need a drink, or bite to eat, Jadran and Tovrnele are close by and Haluga Buffet is right near the water.
Three days is plenty for exploring Pag, but five would be ideal to fit some relaxing time in. A word of warning, Pag is hot, hotter than other places so make sure to be ready for forty degrees in the summer. Make sure your accommodation has air conditioning included if you want to sleep well. Open windows are typically lovely, but if you’re staying near Novalja it’s going to be hard to sleep with the windows open. Lun is a lot quieter for a place to stay. I hope this helps you make your trip to Pag unforgettable. Subscribe for more Croatian travels. Have a lovely day.