An Adventure Travel Guide To Pag Island Croatia

Pag Island is the fifth-largest Croatian island along the famous Dalmatian archipelago with the longest coastline.

The islands baron but stunning rocky landscape, which often draws a lunar comparison paired with azure blue glistening waters, making it a haven for holidaymakers of all types.

The party hotspot of Zrće Beach on the East side hosts one of the busiest summer music festival calendars in Croatia and Europe.

The countryside of Pag is a magnet for explorers and culture seekers wanting to experience everything from hiking through olive groves to learning about ancient Roman ruins and even sampling unique cheese.

Pag Island is an idyllic destination for those looking for an action-packed summertime holiday, full of sun, sea, and DnB.

pag-island-croatia-couple-on-hike

Festivals & nightlife.

The island of Pag has one of Europes most sought after party destinations, Zrće Beach. The festival resort hosts popular events throughout the summer like Hideout Festival and Sonus Festival.

Zrce is situated along a gorgeous bay 10km from the town of Novalja and is a dedicated festival location. So that means there are no neighbours to disturb or noise regulations to worry about. The result? An all-out party from sunset to sunrise every day of the week.

The Pag Carnival is a memorable spectacle enjoyed yearly by locals and off-season tourists. From early January, the event runs every Saturday and crescendo’s into three days of non-stop, costumed festivities before Ash Wednesday. 

The carnival fills the main square of Pag town, spilling into the surrounding streets too. You can go all out and dress in full costume or enjoy the fun as is.

Upcoming festivals in Zrće:

Nightlife and bar scene on Pag:

Zrće has four major super clubs that can hold roughly 5000 people each.

  • Kalypso
  • Aquarius
  • Noa Beach Club
  • Papaya

They feature multiple bar areas, pools, sunbeds, VIP areas, food courts and even cash machines. Expect smoke machines, high energy and great music to soundtrack your night.

The smaller and more exclusive Nomad on the beachfront provides a slightly more spacious experience if you don’t want to contend with shoulder-to-shoulder dancing.

In the nearby town of Novalja, there is Cocomo nightclub which is far smaller than its Zrce counterparts but indeed no less festive. Parties at Cocomo typically run until 4 AM, and there is a delicious variety of music played by local DJs.

Beaches & watersports on Pag Island.

With an average high season (summer) air temperature of 28oC (82F) and average water temperature of 26oC (79F), the island of Pag is the perfect place to enjoy lazy days on the beach jet-skiing flat waters or trying your hand at kitesurfing. 

Top beaches on Pag;

There are three that stand head and shoulders above the others on Pag. Each has been awarded the coveted blue flag status. An award given by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) to beaches, marinas, and boating tourism operators that meet laudable sustainability standards and environmental protection policies.

  • Planjka Beach – Just to the North of Novalja town are the glistening sands of Planjka Beach, which is a firm favourite due to it being one of the armest and best-kept beaches along the whole Adriatic. Volleyball is popular and a great way to get everyone involved.
  • Zrce Beach – Of course, Zrce would be a blue flag! There’s not much that this famous sandy strip doesn’t have. Experience the incredible nightlife, the young and the beautiful and even a bungee jump. If you prefer not to be a daredevil, pedalos, jet skis, and banana inflatables are available to enjoy in Pag bay. Or you could just slowly sip a delightful cocktail with the sand between your toes.
  • Straško Beach – This pebbly beach stretches for almost 2km along the Western shore of Pag island. It is close to the town of Novalja and Zrce Beach. Nearby the main beach, there’s an allocated section for those wanting to tan ‘au natural’.

Fun on the water:

Pag bay is a large inlet of the Adriatic that extends from Pag Town to Zrce Beach. Although the afternoon wind (know as the Bura) whips through along the coast, the water remains relatively flat.

It’s an ideal situation to enjoy sea kayaking, jet skis, fly-boarding and even kitesurfing should you have the time. Alternatively, the boat parties arranged by the promoters in Zrce Beach combine nautical shenanigans with sunset DJ wizardry to curate unforgettable experiences.

sea kayaking pag island croatia

Check out the likes of Jet Ski Novalja and Watersports Strasko if you are looking for fun on the water. For more information regarding boat cruises and parties, see Zrce Booze Cruise on Facebook.

Explore the island and its culture.

Pag island has a storied and rich cultural heritage dating back to the Romans who’s architecture can still be seen today. Pag offers a dramatic landscape that’s just begging to be explored and experienced.

A walk on the Moon, Sveti Vid & Olive groves:

The Moon Trail – also commonly referred to as a walk on Mars by the hiking community. This trail is roughly a 10km loop that begins and ends near the town of Novalja. Along the route, you’ll be treated to the magnificent Seline Bay. You can hike this trail with a group or self navigate using Alltrails.

Sveti Vid – is the highest point on the island of Pag. Historical and mythological landmarks are abundant along the route. Enchanting views of the channel underneath Velebit mountain are particular highlights of this hike.

The olive gardens of Lun – The Lun area is a botanical reserve where you can enjoy escaping the tourist crowds of Pag Island. A 3-hour tour is available that will show bring the history of Lun to life while teaching you all about the majestic olive trees and how the local olive oil is produced. Olive Graden Tour >

olive gardens lun pag island

Culture to discover.

Pag wine:

The dry golden Žutica or the lighter Gegić wines locally made on Pag get this trait from the sandy soil and are perfectly complemented by the locally made chees (Paski sir). Be sure to take a bottle or two for your wine cellar at home to remind you of the unique flavours of Pag.

Pag cheese (Paški sir)

Before Pag island became the party Mecca, it currently is. The claim to fame was its unique cheese. Pag cheese is made from sheep’s milk. It is hard and crumbly and typically ages for several months or even years.  Enjoy this local delicacy with olive oil and a glass of dry white Žutica. Or join on a cheese tour to guide you through the whole history and process.

pag chees tour pag island

Visit the lace museum:

The extraordinary restored Ducal Palace (Kneževa Palača) in Pag Town, is home to the lace museum. Showcasing some wonderfully intricate designs and the historical timeline of lacemaking in Pag. This cultural heritage is vital to Croatia and UNESCO gave lace-making Intangible Cultural Heritage status in 2009.

Getting there.

Travel by plane:

The closest airport to Pag Island is Zadar International Airport (ZAD) which has good connectivity to the rest of Europe and the UK.

  • Zadar airport is roughly a 1.5-hour drive/transfer from Pag. Zadar is connected to major European hubs. However, there are fewer flights to choose from.
  • Split airport (SPU) is roughly a 3-hour transfer from Pag. There are more flights to/from Split to choose from. And plenty of flights from most major European & UK airports, including; Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester and Stansted.

Travel by car or ferry:

Click here for directions from Split, or follow this link for instructions from Zadar. Alternatively, you can look for transfers below.

If flying isn’t your thing, you can catch a ferry from Italy to one of the ports below:

  • Novalja
  • Zadar (50km from Novalja)
  • Split (200km from Novalja)

FAQs

Is Pag nightlife good?

Yes, Pag Island has excellent nightlife during the summer. In addition, several electronic music festivals take place on Pag during June, July and August.

Is Pag a party island?

The beachside town of Novalja and the resort of Zrce Beach are popular destinations for those wanting to combine their holiday with an incredible party atmosphere.