There are a few Croatian islands you must not miss out on, and this extensive guide should help you understand why Pag is one of them. Some consider it a party spot, others consider it a “cheesy” destination (you must taste it to understand it), and some say it’s an up-and-coming film location. Let’s see which one of these rings is the most true when talking about Pag, while we go through everything this hidden gem offers.
You probably wouldn't consider visiting Pag unless you are traveling the Zadar Region. We are here to show you why Pag shouldn’t be on your list as a one-day trip, and rather why it could be your next dream holiday vacation, especially if you pick one of our Pag villas.
Welcome to the Island
Pag is an island that presents an array of extremes and surprises. Landing on the island can feel like you are stepping onto the moon due to the lack of vegetation in areas exposed to the bura wind.
But the island is also home to many natural wonders, such as the ancient olive groves of Lun and its cheese, lamb, lace, and salt pans have all been recognized for their excellence. While some areas are dominated by the wind, others are full of beautiful beaches - and it's this combination that makes Pag the party capital of the Adriatic.
We recommend you book your accommodation immediately because Pag is so much more than a party spot. You’ll find out why soon.
From Antiquity to Today
The story goes like this - Pag’s first inhabitants were present in the Neolithic era (also known as the Stone Age). Remains of the Liburnians, who were the first known people to live on the island, can still be found today.
Who named Pag? During the 1st century BC, the Romans arrived, and they are the ones whom the name Pag comes from (the Latin word "pagus" meaning village). By the 6th to 7th century Slavs had taken up residence on the island, constructing churches and basilicas.
In 1409 Pag was under the rule of the Venetians, and the main town was moved in the 15th century. Old Town Pag, often referred to as the "town of ghosts", gives an insight into what life was like there in the past.
The 18th century was a time of prosperity under Austro-Hungarian rule. Pag was then occupied by Italy, then Germany before being returned to Yugoslavia in 1991. Now it is a free city in an independent republic!
What Makes Pag Special
There are a few things you can’t do anywhere other than in Pag. You can’t party anywhere else like you can do it at Zrče. Even though this has made the destination known for some negative things, this beach in Croatia is known for being the most popular party destination in the country. It had a large influence on the level of tourism in Novalja and the entire island.
However, partying isn’t the only thing Pag can offer. It’s not just a destination for the young and free, many culture lovers will highly appreciate the heritage of Pag.
Pag is renowned for its intricate lacework, which was used to decorate the garments and tablecloths of royalty, nobles, and commoners alike. The Croatian art of lace-making has been so deeply entrenched in Croatian culture that it was added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2009.
When you bring up Pag to a food enthusiast in Croatia, they will instantly start discussing the lamb and the cheese. Pršut and Pag cheese is a common appetizer in Dalmatia, but the reputation of tasting Pag cheese has spread well beyond Croatia's borders.
The mix of salt from the bura wind, the roaming sheep on the island, and local know-how has caused Pag's cheese makers to often win medals at the World Cheese Awards (it’s a real thing). Unless you’re a vegetarian, don’t leave the island without trying the lamb. There are more than 35,000 sheep, which graze on the salty vegetation that is influenced by the bura wind.
Even though it looks barren, Pag’s nature will not disappoint. The Lun groves are incredible - they span 500 hectares and contain more than 80,000 olive trees, some of which are over 1,000 years old. This is truly one of the most remarkable natural wonders of Croatia.
Fun fact: Pag has its own version of the fabled Bermuda Triangle. In 1999, UFO buffs and specialists from all over the globe went to this area. A group of stones that were arranged in a pattern was found. It is unknown how the stones got there and why they are organized in such a unique manner. The stones are also different from the others located in the vicinity.
The Adventure Awaits
If you haven’t already booked your dates in a hotel or a villa, there’s more to help you make the decision. Pag has been working on re-branding itself as a destination full of adventure. If you're in search of a thrilling holiday, Pag has plenty of activities to offer.
You can discover the underwater beauty and diverse marine life around Pag by scuba diving. A daring option is cliff jumping at Caska Bay or Metajna. Windsurfing is also a great activity, with the Pag Bay and Velebit Channel being popular spots.
To explore the island, rent an off-road vehicle and drive through Pag's rocky terrain, remote beaches, and breathtaking scenery. There are a variety of hiking trails on the island, with the Novalja to Stogaj trail being a popular choice.
It’s hard to find a holiday spot that offers it all - beaches, nature, culture, parties, and adrenaline-filled activities. That’s why we hope you have made the choice to soak up every bit of this unique island. Let us know how it goes!