Continuing my journey through the Croatian islands, next stop is Croatian Ibiza: party island Pag. Probably most known for the Zrce beach that gathers craziest party crowds in the summer heat, it is also home to some of the wildest beaches I have seen in Croatia.
Pag is different and I mean it’s visually so different from the rest of the islands, that you will instantly love it or hate it – bare and naked, covered in limestone and dust you will hardly find any greens or trees. The story goes that Romans in the Venetian times used forests of Pag for building ships and castles (no green thinking at those times, huh?). Therefore one thing you can be sure while on Pag – there will be no forest fires ruining your holidays!
While the main attraction of the island is Zrce beach, there are plenty of smaller hidden bays and beaches, that are truly worth visiting. Some of the roads to the beaches might not be on the google maps, but just take the first turn off the main road and you will be surprised by what you see.
This beach is not known for the finest sand and deepest blue waters, it is known for its party life. Clubs (Papay, http://www.papaya.com.hr, Aquarious http://http://www.aquarius.hr/, Kalypso http://www.kalypso.com.hr/program/,Noa beach http://www.noa-beach.com/, Euphoria http://euphoriazrce.com.hr/, and a new commer Pacha Zrce) that are located on the beach, turns your wildest dreams into reality during the high season July & August, while the rest of the year it’s a perfectly normal beach with a good choice of bars. Besides the parking, showers and all the other blue flag beach stuff, you have a wide choice of trendy lounge bars to treat yourself with holiday margarita before noon and chill out under one of the palm tree umbrellas, while listening to the latest party beats somewhere far in the back. Don’t want to be left alone under your palm tree umbrella? Join the company in the pool bar and do the same thing while dipping your feet in the water.
Beach is less than 10 minute drive from Novalja village, and while best way to get there is by car, you might as well consider taking a bus, as drinking and driving even on Pag is still kind of illegal.
In translation clean beach, this small rather sandy beach is more family and children friendly than Zrce. While it can be quite crowded, there is a bonus treat of a small restaurant right on the beach, that will help you keep your energy levels high enough to handle the pressure of lying in star position on the beach all day long. Follow the road signs for Cista beach and you will arrive at the parking, save some change as it’s not for free.
The local beach of Pag village is not the nicest of the bunch, but if you are staying in the town, it’s definitely worth stopping for a refreshing swim or quick tan before you head to the rest of the island.
On the opposite side of the island, close to the Metajna village is the most beautiful beach of Pag, slightly hidden and hard to reach, it is a peaceful bay with pink sand and blue waters in between the rocky landscape of the island.
The best place to stay in Pag is Novalja, even considering that party crowds tends to forget their good manners especially in the early morning hours. This tiny town has everything you need to keep your comfort levels high.
If you are a foody and wine lover, make sure you try local cheese and wine and don’t miss local restaurant Boskinac (http://www.boskinac.com/), tested and approved by Anthony Bourdain in his show No reservations.
And don’t worry, if you haven’t booked apartment up front, you might as well do it in one of the local tourist agencies in the village, or just stop at any house that has sign “zimmer, camere, sobe”.
If you are getting to Pag by car, fastest way from mainland is by ferry from Prizna to Zigljen, it’s a short 20 minute ride. There is alternative route through Zadar, which involves driving over spectacular Paski Most, that connects Zadar with Pag.