Well, I guess the first thing that comes to mind when talking about reasons to visit the Island of Pag is Zrće, the world renowned beach and its clubs, festivals and parties. I could write about it extensively, but I think I’ll leave that for another time and concentrate on things that you may not be aware of and think are worth seeing, experiencing and will leave you in awe. And now, without further ado, the top 5 reasons, in my opinion, you should visit the Island of Pag:
Lun’s Olive Grove
Located in the northern most part of the Island lies what feels like an oasis in the middle of a desert. Lun is a place filled with olive groves which encompasses over 80000 olive trees, spread over 24 hectares of land. Believe it or not, the trees have been there for centuries, the oldest being over 1600 years old! Just to put it into perspective, the olive trees were there even before America was discovered! Or even more mind boggling, is if you think that a particular tree you’re looking at may have been seen by a Roman peasant 1600 years ago!
As you make your journey across the macadamian trails, which stretch over 17 kilometers, it’s easy to forget about the concept of time, and the breathtaking view is absolutely priceless. You can choose to walk or take a small electric train across the trails. You can also stop at one of many kiosks and try homemade products such as olive oil, “mendulate” which is basically an almond cookie, “smokvenjake“, a cake made with figs, cookies made with a mix of olive oil and lavender, sage honey, „gospina trava“ oil, homemade jams and unique liquors. There is also a wide variety of souvenirs to choose from, such as utensils like spoons, plates, and cutting boards, the latter being the most popular among visitors.
Cheesemaking has been part of the Island’s culture for centuries. “Paški sir” or Pag cheese is made all over the Island, from North to south, east to west, where the tradition is ingrained in the social fabric of its people. The cheese comes from local sheep, a mixed breed first introduced to the Island 140 years ago. There are about 30000 sheep all over Pag and approximately 500 shepherds looking over them.
Pag cheese is one of the best known cheeses in Croatia. It has won multiple national as well as international awards; the taste is truly out of this world! The cheese does not require a lot of salt during preparation since the cheese is naturally salted by sheep which feed off herbs and greenery that are naturally salted when the occasional “bura” or Northwind fills the air with sea salt which subsequently covers the entire Island.
Did you know that one sheep gives roughly 200 liters of milk and that you need 5 to 7 liters of milk to make 1 kilogram of cheese. On Pag, 220 tons of cheese is produced every year.
The most famous cheese producer on Pag is Gligora. Gligora is a cheese factory located in the village of Kolan, recipient of numerous prestigious worldwide awards since its inception. Some awards include the “Birmingham, UK 2015, World Cheese Award, Super-Gold from Maraska and “Best Central and Eastern European Cheese”. Alongside the cheese factory is a store where you could try this world renowned cheese as well as other delicacies.
Another well known cheese factory on Pag, Paška sirana, recipient of numerous prestigious awards, also managed to win an award for its packaging!
Along with cheese, lamb has a long running tradition on the Island when it comes to gastronomy. Local Mediterranean plants and plenty of fresh sea air brings out a special and truly unique flavor to the meat. The meat is traditionally prepared under the bell, oven baked or in used in a special lamb stew. It’s especially good with homemade pasta called “makaruni.
“Talijanova buža” is what the people from Novalja like to call the old Roman Aqueduct that once ran thought the city. Since the aqueduct was built by Romans, Novaljans called the aqueduct „Talijanova buža“ which literally means „Italian hole”. The aqueduct was built in the 1st century of which 1042 meters still remain to this day. The average width is 60 centimeters and the average height varies from 120 to 220 centimeters.
Not many islands have the incredible beaches Pag has to offer. They include 3 beaches that are blue flag certified: Zrće, Planjka and Straško. Blue flag certification basically means that the beach meets all the stringent standards imposed by the FEE. These beaches are among the most popular on Pag.
If you are more adventurous, there was a an old Roman city off Caska beach, that was „swallowed“ by the sea as legend goes, in the 4th century, and where remains can still be found in the surrounding areas and sea floor if you should be so lucky .
If you’re someone who would rather sunbathe and swim in relative peace and quiet, Ručica and Jadra beaches are just for you. Ručica beach is located about a kilometer from Metajna The beach is a mix of pebble and sand and is not too far from local cafes and restaurants. Jadra beach is near Stara Novalja. This pebble beach has some natural shade, and the sea becomes deep very quickly once you enter the water. These two beaches are our guests’ favorite.
Other beaches worth considering if you are looking for different types of recreation, restaurants, cafes or clubs are Zrće, Planjka, Caska and Straško.
There you have it, the top 5 reasons for visiting the Island of Pag, an island like no other, offering a glimpse into the past, experienced in the present, leaving you longing in the future.
Images: Pixabay.com, Wikimedia Commons/Adriano Gasparri, Gradski muzej Novalja