The Traveler's Guide
Top 10 Reasons to Visit Rab This Summer
Are you off to explore the northern coast of Croatia this summer and wondering what not to miss? Make sure to visit the island of Rab in the Kvarner Gulf, just a short ferry ride from the mainland. Here are ten reasons—out of many—why you should add it to your itinerary:
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1. It’s the island of love and happiness
The Romans called it Felix Arba (Happy Rab), and it’s now also known as the ‘Island of love’. Whether it has earned its nicknames for the warm and friendly disposition of its residents, or the feelings you get when you discover its tranquil landscapes, Rab is sure to be a highlight of your trip.
2. It has the highest number of sandy beaches in the Adriatic
Rab is home to some stunning beaches, including over 20 sandy options on the Lopar peninsula. Discover Rajska Plaža (Paradise Beach), which stretches for over a mile—a family favorite due to its shallow sea and arguably one of the best beaches in Croatia.
3. It’s a naturist hotspot
King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson famously skinny-dipped in Rab’s pristine, aquamarine waters in the summer of 1936. Years later, naturism is still very much a thing on the island, with numerous beaches welcoming au naturel bathers. If that sounds like your thing, check out the best nude beaches in Croatia!
4. Rab Town is postcard-pretty
A beautifully kept medieval town set against a backdrop of wooded hills and azure waters, Rab Town is unquestionably worth a look! Wander its narrow cobbled streets lined with Renaissance mansions and Romanesque churches (there are 27 churches in total, four of which give Rab Town its distinctive skyline of bell towers
5. It has an authentic medieval festival
Take a step back in time at the Rapska Fjera, a three-day festival celebrating the island’s rich cultural heritage through parades, crafts, costumed performances, and even a crossbow tournament.
6. It has an untouched historic forest
On the small Kalifront peninsula, which extends to the southwest of Rab, the protected forest of Dundo is home to centuries-old evergreen oaks (or holm oaks), and one of the best-preserved forests in the Mediterranean. Follow the trail on foot or bike to the park’s secluded beaches.
7. It has top-notch diving
The underwater world around Rab has plenty of exciting dive sites to explore, from reefs to caves and small shipwrecks. There’s even a whole protected amphora field off the cape of Sorinj. Learn more about diving in Croatia here.
8. It has a rich stew you won’t find anywhere else
While Rab’s cuisine is very similar to Croatian cuisine in general, there is one dish unique to the island you have to sample: Rapsko sočivo, a stew traditionally made from corn, wheat, chickpeas, a local variety of beans (Rapski zelenčić), and bacon — yum!
9. It has its very own papal cake
If you like the sound of an almond cake prepared with a dash of cherry liqueur and citrus zest for dessert, you have to try the traditional Rab cake, or Rapska torta. Rumor has it that it was created specifically for Pope Alexander III when he came to the island in 1177, and yes, it is as heavenly as you think.
10. It has a vibrant nightlife
Rab Town is the place to go if you fancy a night out. Take your pick from lively bars before you hit the town’s clubs. Otherwise, head out to Pudarica’s summer-only beach club and dance the night away on its big open deck area.