Region and City Guides

Pag Island: Croatia in miniature version

This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure about affiliate links here.

As beautiful as Zadar Old Town is, a sun holiday for me must always incorporate a beach element. Having searched the coastline north and south of Zadar on Google Maps, it became apparent that only an island would offer the secluded coves and relaxed pace that I was looking for.

And as some car hire companies were not permitting their rentals on ferries then I would have to choose an island with a bridge. Pag Island was the only option fitting that criteria in the Zadar region. My positive experience on Pag got me hooked on Croatia.

Check out my Planning a Trip to Croatia post for further destinations and information on this beautiful country. For Zadar city, check out my Things to Do in Zadar post.

View of Pag Town from Simuni road (route 106)


Pag Island is a long and narrow island on the north east coast of the Zadar region. It is connected to the mainland via a bridge near Razanac village. The island is a contrast of grey, barren, rocky landscape interspersed with small sections of fertile areas where sheep feed on herbs to produce Pag’s unique cheese, Paški sir.

The two main urban areas are Pag Town in the south and Novalja in the north of the island. Quaint Pag Town, where I stayed, dates back to the 15th Century and looks a little like a mini version of Dubrovnik. It was no surprise to discover that one of the key designers of Pag Town was Duraj Dalmatinac, an architect who contributed to much of Dubrovnik’s design.

Pag Town harbour at sunset

I loved meandering among the narrow lanes and old stonework buildings of Pag Town. In the centre of the town is the Church of St. Mary on the Main Square (Trg Kralja Krešimira IV). Concerts are held in this square and it was here that the local Pag dignitaries celebrated Croatia’s entry into the EU during my visit.

Pag Island’s specialities are salt, cheese and lace. All three can be purchased in Pag Town although it is cheaper to purchase the cheese directly from the farmers who sell it in their roadside shops and from the cheese factories.

Novalja, on the other hand, is packed with bars and multi-story hotels and is as far architecturally and culturally from Pag Town as you can get. Nearby Zrce beach is considered Croatia’s party capital. I really didn’t take to Novalja at all and even less so to Zrce.

Check out accommodation options on Pag Island on


Pag Town’s beach is an excellent option for travellers without private transport. Its pebble and sand structure also means a pair of sea shoes will not be necessary.

Pag Town beach

Multiple small coves are dotted around Pag Bay although not all are accessible by foot. According to the map that I picked up in Pag Town’s tourist office, there are 14 off-road coves on the Novalja road between the town and Sveti Duh, a large beach with an adjacent camp site. Some of these coves require a taxing descent and even more challenging climb back up to the road.

Pag Bay with Paklenica National Park in background
Sveti Duh beach

On the east side of Pag Town lie the beaches of Ante Starčevića and Bašaca serving the nearby hotels and apartments.

Mandre is an urban area on the south coast of the island that has a rock and shingle beach. Šimuni is another south coast urban area that has a far superior beach to Mandre. Šimuni’s pine-backed shingle urban beach was shallow and spacious and I would highly recommend Šimuni to families.

While I didn’t get to visit Smokvica and Vlašići beaches, they came recommended by locals.


I flew into Zadar Airport with Ryanair and picked up a pre-booked rental car. This was a perfect way of reaching and traversing the hilly island but booking in advance is essential.

Check out the Jadrolinija website for ferry connections to Novalja and Zigljen.

Buses travel between Pag Town and the major Croatian cities. Further information and ticket purchases can be found on the GetByBus website.


Obviously, with the car I didn’t pay too much attention to public transport although I understand several buses a day travel between Pag Town and Novalja. Outside of this, the island will be pretty difficult to get around with your own wheels. This Visit Pag Island site lists other transport options.

21 thoughts on “Pag Island: Croatia in miniature version”

  1. It would be amazing to visit Zadar Old Town! I´ve only been to Dubrovnik from the whole Balkans region so far! Pag Bay looks really beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pag Island was my first experience of Croatia and I got completely hooked on the country. I’ve returned to Croatia a few times since then. It’s coast really does wonders for me. Thanks for sharing your view.


  2. The Croatian coast is beautiful, and after my mom travelled there, I myself hope to do the same! Pág Island looks so cozy, I can’t wait to explore it and share in the happiness that it brought you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve been wanting to visit Croatia for ages, and so learning more about the islands is fuel to the fire! Pag sounds delightful, although I’d stick to the old town, am not one for partying!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your overview “Croatia in miniature version” is awesome! Your photos are impressive. Looking at them, I seemed to be there. Thanks for the opportunity to see this!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a beautiful island! I’m supposed to be travelling Croatia this year (fingers crossed) and will add this to my list! Great post! X

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You just gave me another reason to go back to Croatia! I’ve never heard of this island before and am so happy to discover it through you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The island looks incredible. I have no doubt I want to visit. I think the most famous cheese in the country is from the island. I will like to try it. I have been to Croatia but there is still a lot I need to see. I keep thinking about the country.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to kesi irvin Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.