Island of Pag
The island with the most rugged coastline and the windiest island of them all – due to its position just at the foot of the second highest mountain in Croatia, Velebit, from which the strongest wind in Croatia – Bura – starts its dance. The fact that the wind lifts the sea salt and covers the island completely is why Pag is often called a moon-like island, as most of its surface is covered in stones and rocks only. The salt brought by the strong gusts of Bura, cover the island and the vegetation does not have the chance to spread in these harsh conditions.
Nevertheless, the life on Pag made it through the windy days, and for years Pag is known for its award-winning exquisite goat cheese making tradition and lamb.
Even though its stone moon-like surface covering parts of the island may sound daunting, Pag has a lot to offer.
Numerous bays and beaches overlooking great mountain Velebit on the east, or more tamed coast on the southern and western part, will make you enjoy this salty gem of the Adriatic.
Starting at the very entry point on the island, the Pag bridge that connects the mainland to the island, you will find deeply indented bay, in some parts more on the shallow side, but very calm and relaxing. Another bay, bit further from the Pag bridge is Vlašić bay. The town of the same name is situated on the coast and it thrives in lovely sandy beaches and relaxed, quieter ambient.
Going further along the coast, you will pass by two small islands of Veli and Mali Sikavac and arrive to another quiet and clear bay of Smokvica town and beach. Pag has numerous small and quiet bays and beaches, and these are just few among them in which you can simply relax and enjoy the sea and the sun, which on Pag island shines more than 2 500 hours per year.
First bigger town and bay you will reach from Smokvica is Povljana, which is thought to be populated already since Roman era and early Christian era. The town is proud of its historical and cultural monument of inestimable value – old pre-Romanesque church of St. Nicholas. Near Povljana, you can find ornithological reserve for wetland birds Malo and Veliko blato, that helped in preserving some endangered species and it represents a rare well preserved wetland reserve in Europe. West from Povljana, there is a lake Segal, known for its healing mud, helping with different kinds of pains and diseases.
On your way from Povljana to Šimuni, you can make a stop is small bays of towns Proboj and Košljun. These are all quiet and very relaxing bays, with lovely sandy and pebble beaches.
Šimuni, fisherman’s town and very popular camping and holiday destination, surrounded by beautiful pine woods, is a perfect stop during your sailing time. Whether you want to enjoy some nice local food, such as famous Pag cheese or lamb, or a nice glass of wine, or you need to fill up the fuel tank and stay the night in ACI marina, you can do it in Šimuni. Special recommendation is to wake up earlier in the morning to catch up with the fishermen coming back from the fishing – maybe you will be able to get some extra fresh fish or some other seafood. You can also make a stop in small port of town Mandre, or you can set sail to one of the beaches on the way to town of Novalja - beach Girenica and Kolanjsko blato.
Once you are in Novalja, the well-known and very popular town during the summer, you can enjoy and relax in one of the restaurants outside of the strict bustling town centre, or if you are a fan of good party, then you can go to the nearby Zrće beach where the globally known summer festivals are held. If you are more of natural phenomenon aficionado, then a few kilometres away from Novalja is the place for you - Pag triangle - a megalithic footprint in the middle of a sharp rock shaped as isosceles triangle.
If you go all the way up north of the island, you will find some smaller bays and beaches along the coast. On the northernmost point of the island lies the town Lun, known for its thousand-year-old olive tree gardens. So, don’t miss the opportunity to stop there and taste the sweet olive oil.
On the eastern side of the island, the one facing the Velebit mountain, the surface is rougher, but the sea is mesmerizingly clear. The one bay that you will want to anchor is, especially on a nice summer day with no wind is Jadra beach bay. To anchor and keep yourself safe during the wind, you can enter the indented bay of Stara Novalja. If you find yourself more around the area of city of Pag, then you should visit Bošana beach, or go sailing towards town Metajna and surrounding area and make a stop in the bay of Ručica beach. Crystal clear water in opposition to the white stone surrounded by aromatic Mediterranean flora will make an impact on you. If you decide to make a stop in Metajna, you can go on hiking to Ručica beach or even to Beriknica or Beritnica beach, known for big stone rocks set in the sea and climbing rock tower Stogaj that just makes you want to climb it and enjoy the stunning view.
Last but not least, stop by in the city of Pag, and enjoy its tradition and heritage. From the sea salt making factories, the biggest one today being the Solana Pag, old salt warehouses just steps from city’s sandy beach Prosika, to the tower Skrivanat and Benedictine monastery in which up till today the traditional biscuits, so called baškotini are made. City of Pag is well known for its traditional lace embroidery that is today recognized as immaterial cultural heritage and it is protected by UNESCO. The same Benedictine nuns are keeping the cultural heritage and tradition of Pag’s lace embroidery preserved and alive.