A little bit of cheese, a little bit of olive trees, a little bit of sea, and then some crazy fun on Zrče beach, followed by a walk down the spectacular landscape of valleys and small hills, and sunbathing on hidden beaches and secret coves, and then maybe a trip to a real swamp... and so on and so forth, the island of Pag will keep you busy and entertained day in, day out, all summer long.
If you only have a single day at your disposal to spend on Pag you might feel a little overwhelmed with all the possibilities. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most interesting locations on Pag, along with some fun activities, for an exciting and educational one-day trip itinerary. We hope it gives you that first taste of Pag and inspires you to come back for more.
1. The Pag Lace gallery
Pag lace is one of the best-known symbols of the island of Pag, and has been a part of UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage since 2009. This amazing artistic skill has been a part of Pag's culture since the fifteenth century. In fact, Pag lace was so famous that the Duchess Maria Josepha invited women from Pag to come to the court in Vienna and show her how the lace is made.
This incredible crocheting skill was passed down among the women from one generation to another, in part by the nuns of St. Margaret’s monastery on Pag. Even today they remain the guardians of this invaluable Croatian tradition, along with various associations that strive to preserve it. It is not uncommon to see the women of Pag sitting in its picturesque streets, creating magical designs with their deft fingers.
The Pag lace gallery has a beautiful collection of Pag lace and traces its history with texts, photographs and various documented changes in techniques and designs through the ages. You’ll also find clothes decorated with Pag lace, and if you like arts and crafts you might be inspired to learn this amazing skill yourself.
2. The Olive Gardens of Lun
Imagine, for a moment, this picture: you are somewhere on the Mediterranean, it is a warm summer’s day and you are walking in the cool shade of eighty thousand olive trees.
Yes, you read that right - 80,000. That’s how many grow in the Lun olive groves, in the town of Lun north of the town of Novalja. This impressive forest is almost unique in the world - places similar to this can be found only in Greece and Israel.
While you’re strolling, pay attention to the architecture of the olive trees - some of the interesting trunk shapes may remind you of Pag lace. The value of this exceptional place lies not only in its visual beauty - several hundred olive trees in this forest are over a thousand years old. In addition to that, there are about 1,500 wild olive trees growing here. Due to this biological importance, the Lun olive groves have been declared a botanical reserve.
If you want to enrich your day on Pag with a walk in nature, be sure to visit this beautiful place and enjoy the landscape of centuries-old olive trees.
3. Hiking trail “Life on Mars”
You may have heard from someone or other that the landscape of Pag looks a lot like the surface of the Moon or Mars. If you thought this unlikely you will get the chance to see so for yourself if you take the hiking trail popularly known as “Life on Mars”. Descending the beige-greyish hillsides onto the vast beaches rimmed by sea we guarantee you will feel like you’re on another planet.
Whether you are a hiking enthusiast or merely enjoy a good walk in nature, Pag offers many hiking trails that will take you through its amazing landscape.
The “Life on Mars” trail is one of the best known ones, and has a route that is easy to follow. It starts in Metajna and will take you through Keruna and Tepilec, and all the way to Ručica beach. The trail is fully marked, both physically and on the map, so you won’t have any trouble following it on your own. If you want some company you can join an organized hike. Even if you’re not an experienced hiker, no need to worry - there are actually four routes you can take on the trail, depending on whether you want to take it slow and easy or challenge yourself.
On your way you’ll come across several beaches so you’ll be able to stop and refresh yourself with a swim whenever you want. Most importantly, walking on Mars will leave you completely disconnected from this world, and when you come back to it you’ll feel new and refreshed - just as if you had gone off-world, to another planet.
4. Noa Beach Club
Anyone looking for crazy, unforgettable fun probably already knows that Zrče on the island of Pag is one of the world's most popular party destinations. In the multitude of clubs and beach bars with an incredibly rich offer, we have chosen to add the Noa Beach Club to our list.
Why? Because it offers fantastic fun all year round and at any time of day or night, which means you don’t need to be a night owl - you’ll have as much fun here in the morning and in the afternoon.
And we’re not talking about dancing and drinking cocktails only. In addition to phenomenal parties, various concerts and events held throughout the year, this club offers a lounge bar and VIP lounge for your relaxed pleasure. If you have your own boat, you can sail to Zrče beach, dock at the club’s Yacht Club and continue partying in any way you see fit. For example, go on a mini cruise with the club party boat.
And if you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, you can always get on a jet ski or choose another activity from the club's offer of water sports. In fact, you could spend your entire day here and not be bored for one single minute.
5. Town Museum Novalja
If you don’t have enough time for a detailed study of the history and culture of the island of Pag, we recommend a visit to the city museum in Novalja. Its eight archaeological collections contain over 1000 artefacts found on Pag, dating from the Greek and Roman times all the way to the New ages.
The best known of these items were found at the archaeological site in Caska - where the Roman settlement of Cissa once stood - and the most valuable exhibit is a wooden Roman anchor, one of the seven of its kind that remain in the world.
What’s bound to impress even those of you who are not interested in archaeology is the ancient aqueduct underneath the museum. The entrance to this underground canal is located in the museum’s basement. The tunnel has been carved into rocks and is over a thousand meters long. After taking a peak at Novalja's ancient underground, you will be able to watch a 3D animation that will reveal how this millennial aqueduct worked and brought water to the Novalja area.
6. Ornithological reserve Kolansko Blato
If we left the impression that Pag’s landscape is all salt and rocks, we apologize, and kindly ask you to please head to the southern part of the island of Pag, to Kolansko Blato (literal translation: ‘The Kolan Mud’).
Apart from being one of the few Mediterranean wetlands left in Croatia, Kolansko Blato serves as a sanctuary for as many as 163 species of birds, 66 of which have made a permanent home here.
You won’t have to be particularly lucky to spot various types of herons and the glossy ibis roaming around, as well as the great reed warbler. You might see the little bittern and the little grebe who nest in the lush reeds of this swamp. Aside from birds this reserve is home to various types of fish and turtles, as well as the dalmatian ringlet and the European ratsnake.
You can enjoy sightseeing on foot or by bike, but in any case bring a pair of binoculars to assist you with bird-watching. If you are an ornithologist or at least a casual bird (or swamp) lover, a trip to Kolansko Blato will be a real treat.
7. Šimuni - 15th meridian
Have you ever wondered how we determine Central European Time?
Well, the island of Pag has the answer to that question.
We measure it according to the 15th meridian (eastern longitude), and it just so happens that this particular meridian cuts across the globe near Šimuni, five kilometers from the town of Pag.
More specifically, this meridian runs across the middle of the island of Pag, very close to the top of Sv. Vid.
The meridian is marked with a small marble monument so you’ll be able to know exactly where it is, in case you want to take a stroll along the line, if only to say you’re ‘keeping up with time’
If you are in the mood for a longer walk, you can head to the top of Sv. Vid and turn your stop at the meridian into a picnic.
8. Jadra beach
There are more than enough beaches on Pag to keep you busy for an entire day. But if you only have a single day to spend on Pag and you’d like to get some swimming and sunbathing done, head out to the Jadra beach, located in the northern part of Old Novalja.
This beach has all the qualities of a hidden wilderness with basic amenities. It has showers, toilets, changing booths, and deck chairs and beach umbrellas available for rent. There is a children’s playground nearby and jet ski rental for adults. You don’t even have to bring extra food and drink with you, since the beach bar will cater to those needs. You’ll also find ample parking space in the immediate vicinity of the beach.
These helpful amenities have not completely tamed this lovely pebbled spot. Coming here will feel like walking into a slice of wilderness that was created just for you, with a beautiful crystal clear sea, and the rocks and Mediterranean vegetation that surround it. And if you’ve brought your dog with you, this beach is definitely the best choice, since the Jadra dog beach is just a minute or two away.
9. Ručica beach
Ručica beach is located in the vast, rocky landscape of the island of Pag, in Metajna. Surrounded by nearly-bare hills and a clear blue sea, it will give you the extraterrestrial experience Pag is so famous for. This part of the island truly seems like it is not of planet Earth.
The beach is located at the end of the “Life on Mars” hiking trail, so if you decide to hike, it will make a fine cherry on the top of your cake, so to speak. However, you can get to it by car, as well. There is a parking lot behind the beach, along with a small restaurant. There are no additional amenities here, but you will not need them, anyway. In fact, we think the best way to enjoy this landscape is without distractions: with a good book or relaxing music that will take you out of this world.
10. Hotel Olea
If, at the end of the day, you find yourself looking for a special kind of an experience, something that will help you relax and unwind, we recommend you visit the Olea Hotel in Novalja.
Don't worry, you don't have to be a guest there to be able to use its services, which is a part of the reason why it made our list (all you need is a daily or a half-day pass which can be purchased at the hotel).
The other part is the fabulous offer in the hotel’s Spa & Wellness Center: it has a pool, a sauna and a fitness facility. After relaxing and detoxifying in the sauna you can take a dip in the pool, and then proceed to de-stress completely with an essential oil massage, coffee and coconut peeling or a facial treatment. To keep it short and simple: a visit to this Spa will leave you feeling like a whole new person.
Before you leave, though, we suggest you stop by the hotel’s restaurant or the bar and wrap your Pag adventure with a fine meal or a drink, fully relaxed, before going home.