Situated between 44.41′ and 44.51′ north latitude, the happy Island of Rab sits in the middle of the Gulf of Kvarner, accompanied by dozens of other Croatian islands. Like the Croatian coast itself, this 22 kilometers long and 11 kilometers wide island stretches northwest – southeast and is separated from the mainland by the Velebit channel.
The island of Rab has all the predispositions for a vacation destination perfect for all kind of tourists. Because of its great amount of different kinds of sight, the offer for tourists is wide making their time while visiting Rab rich and fulfilled. Type of sights you can see and visit on the island of Rab are natural sights, geological sights, cultural sights, nudist ones and traditional sights.
Located in the Mediterranean region in the Kvarner bay, the island of Rab shares natural beauties with this particular region. Known as the island of sun, sand, sea and beauty, Rab is famous for its sights of nature such as Kalifront peninsula, known for its karst relief. Some other nature sights are the Forest of Dundo with oaks older than a thousand years and the Komrčar park.
Also, you can find great geological contrast on the island of Rab – rocky and barren in the north and forests in the west. The areas of Lopar and Fruga peninsulas are under a significant impact of wind and erosion.
In the context of cultural and historic sights, the island of Rab has plenty to offer as it was under the direction of several administrations throughout its history which dates from the year 350 BC when the first Illyrians have inhabited the island.
The Kandarola bay on the island of Rab has been recognized as the starting point of naturalism and nudism in the Adriatic. Even Wallis Simpson, the bride of king Edward the VII enjoyed skinny dipping here.
When talking about the traditions on island of Rab, there is just to many events to mention. Probably the most famous is the Rabska fjera which brings more than 10 000 tourists every year. During those days (at the end of July) the streets of Rab become a stage for a medieval festival. One other traditional event on the island is Križi, an ancient pilgrimage custom held in the city of Rab and Lopar.
Rab has rich history with many historical figures. Settled by Illyrians in 350BC, Rab became ancient Roman municipality in the 1st century BC and developed into center of the eastern coast of Adriatic, called Felix Arba ( Arb is Illyric for dark, lush). Its glory days began between the second half of the XI. century all the way to XIII century, when it was governed by the Croatian rulers, as well as members of Venetian republic in a form of a free Adriatic comune. It was later sold to Venice in the 15th century and remained in their rule all the way to the 1798. when Napoleon came to these parts.
Among the fun facts is the story of the local stone mason, St. Marino, who moved to the Apenine peninsula to start the Republic of San Marino in the 4th century. He is the saint patron of Lopar and very important to locals.
Many churches and town squares on the island of Rab have not changed their primary role as the centre of the cultural living since the Roman days. Every summer you can experience all kinds of happenings on the streets of Rab, from concerts presenting eminent Croatian and international musicians, to open art atteliers and street exhibitions, creating a special vibrant atmosphere.
If you can, we recommend seeing Rab Nautic Passion, a showcase of local shipbuilding, then Križi, traditional pilgrimage started after the two outbreaks of plague in the 15th century. Then there are knight tournaments during the Medieval Summer Festival Rabska Fjera and Eko Šetimana (roughly tranlates as Eko Week) where local growers and producers present their crops and homemade foods.
What to visit
The most popular sights on the island are located in the town of Rab. As mentioned previously, the town bursts with beautiful old churches worth visiting even if you’re not an art lover. Other than four already mentioned above, you can also visit the Benedictine convent of St Anthony that dates from the 11th century, the church of Holy Cross where you can enjoy Rab Musical Evenings and St Christopher church that today is a museum and lapidarium. There are many Renaissance palaces as well, like Nimira palace, Dominis palace, and Tudorini palace. To take a break from the sightseeing, relax in the Park Komrcar where you can see the monument of the forester Belia or in the Park Dorka with the monument of St Marino – the founder of the Republic of San Marino. When ready to proceed, we recommend visiting some galleries, such as Rector’s court, Zubak, Arba or Nimira.
To take a break from the sightseeing, relax in the Park Komrcar where you can see the monument of the forester Belia or in the Park Dorka with the monument of St Marino – the founder of the Republic of San Marino. When ready to proceed, we recommend visiting some galleries, such as Rector’s court, Zubak, Arba or Nimira.
Of course, being an island on the Adriatic coast, Rab has many stunning beaches, both rocky and sandy and the most famous of those is Paradise Beach, ideal for families with children. Rab is also popular for the naturist tourism and there are many beaches where you can go if you are into that kind of thing, the Sahara Beach being the most well known.
The cuisine of the island consists of typical Mediterranean food, rich in fresh fruit, vegetables, and fish, with a sprinkle of local olive oil. Make sure to try sočivo, which is Rab’s famous lentils dish and finish with some of the traditional sweets as Rapska torta (Rab’s traditional cake) along with the homemade brandy often enriched with honey or fragrant herbs.