Croatian Island Spotlight: Rab
One of the reasons so many tourists flock to the Croatian coast is the fact that there are more than one thousand stunning islands and islets scattered near the coastline. Most of them are uninhabited (670 of them), around 40 are inhabited, and even less are very popular with tourists and holidaymakers. We’ve already covered the beautiful and less-travelled island of Silba, about which you can read more here. Today, we present you the dazzling island of Rab, fairly popular with tourists and sailors alike.
Rab is one of the most verdant and charming islands in the Adriatic, situated in the Kvarner Gulf, 10 miles E of the Cres island, 6 miles S from the Krk island and 3 miles N of the Pag island. While all of these islands are much more popular among the tourists, the island of Rab still welcomes plenty of tourists and boaters interested in discovering less-known islands of the Croatian archipelago. The island of Rab attracts many visitors for its sandy beaches, pleasant climate, romantic small towns and dense pine forests, including Komrčar and Kalifrot, the most beautiful forest parks on the Adriatic coast. Although it is one of the greenest islands in the Adriatic, the NE side of the island is mostly barren due to strong bora winds, coming from the nearby Velebit Mountain, which has stripped most of the vegetation from that part of the island.
The island of Rab is rich in cultural heritage and cultural-historical monuments, which are mostly found in the medieval Rab Town, a charming and picturesque town, adorned with many churches and four bell towers, dating from 12th century, which are somewhat reminiscent of four elevated masts of a large sailboat.
Rab is also known as a pioneer of naturism, having numerous beaches where naturists can enjoy skinny dipping, including the most famous Sahara Beach. Some even say that King Edward the VIII and Wallis Simpson initiated the naturism trend, having often enjoyed swimming naked at the Kandarola Bay. Another fun fact which the locals are proud of is the fact that the island is the birthplace of a stone cutter called St. Marino, who settled in Italy (in the 4th century) and founded the Republic of San Marino.
You can reach the island of Rab by ferry or catamaran from the mainland (Stinica or Rijeka), Krk island (Valbiska) and Pag island (Lun). The Stinica – Mišnjak (Rab) ferry route runs all year round every one or two hours. The trip takes around 15 minutes. For more details, visit www.rapska-plovidba.hr
During the summer the ferry line Lopar (in the north of the Rab island) – Valbiska connects the island of Rab with Krk Island, departing four times a day in the summer, and twice a day during the rest of the year. The line is operated by Jadrolinija, and takes about one hour and 20 minutes. The ferry line connecting Pag (Lun) with Rab Town also operates year round and has a journey time of 1 hour and 40 minutes.
There is also a daily catamaran from Rijeka to Rab Town, which runs all year round (once daily) and takes around 1 hour and 40 minutes. This catamaran then sails on to Novalja on the island of Pag.
The nearest airport is on Krk Island. If you decide to take your own or charter a boat, be careful when sailing close to the islands as there are many reefs and shoals.
There are two main berthing options when visiting the island: ACI Marina Rab in Rab Town, equipped with 142 berths for vessels up to 20 m in length, and a larger ACI Marina Supetarska Draga, which can accommodate 328 vessels on sea and 53 on land, no bigger than 25 m (in length). All berths are equipped with water and electricity. Marina in Rab Town is open from April 1 to October 31, while the marina in Supetarska Draga is open all year round. You can also choose to moor your boat in several small harbours and anchorages in the various bays along the NW and SW side of the island. However, these offer very limited space and facilities for yachts. There are no sheltered harbours or anchorages facing the Velebitski Kanal on the E side.
There are plenty of interesting things to do the island of Rab: go sightseeing in the romantic town of Rab, famous for its many churches and belltowers, climb up the 26-metre high Bell Tower for great views over the sea, take a walk around the stunning Komrčar or Kalifront forest or head to the Lopar Peninsula, at the northern end of the island, which has over 20 beautiful beaches. If you prefer a more active holiday, you can also explore the island by bike or hike around island’s many hiking trails, or you can just swim around and lazily sunbathe at one of the most beautiful Croatian beaches – Rajska plaža or Paradise Beach, a stunning sandy beach ideal for families with small children.
Don’t miss out on unique Rapska Fjera, a three-day medieval festival at the end of July, where locals present their history and customs with many historical reenactments, costumed performances and an arbalest (crossbow) tournament. Another great historical event you can attend is Knightly Tournaments, held regularly throughout the year (in May, June, July and August). For more information about the island’s events, visit the official website of the Tourist Board Rab.