Written by dangaroo on 13 Jan, 2009
Rab is a Croatian island just off the Istrian coast in the Adriatic Sea, it is in the region of Primorje-Gorski. It was one of the Croatian islands that I had not visited until recently, so we decided to check it out for a few…Read More
Rab is a Croatian island just off the Istrian coast in the Adriatic Sea, it is in the region of Primorje-Gorski. It was one of the Croatian islands that I had not visited until recently, so we decided to check it out for a few days last year.The island was first mentioned by the Illyrians in 360BC, it was part of Liburnia and later the Roman empire, the Romans built a city around the town of Rab and also named it Municipium. The rest of the history is not a lot different from any Istrian or Northern Croatian places, it switched ownership between the Venetians, Byzantines, Hugarians, Croatians, French and spent a hundred years under the rule of Austria from 1815 to 1921. The founder of San Marino, Saint Marinus was a stonemason born on the island, he was forced to leave due to his religious beliefs but these days Rab and San Marino are twinned as a memorial to this. After WW1, the population of the island consisted of a lot of Italians and there was talk of it joining the Kingdom of Italy, it did however join Yugoslavia instead which saw a lot of the native Italians move to Italy.During WW2 it was annexed by Italy and Fascist Italy built a concentration camp here, where 1200 died due to starvation and weather conditions. Following the war, it was returned to Yugoslavia and remained so until Croatian independence in 1991.Getting There:We arrived and left on the Jadrolinja ferry connection from Rijeka, we were travelling with a dog at the time and this is not ideal on this boat, they made us put him in a cage on the deck of the boat, without water and facing incredible heat. People were not allowed on deck as it was a catamaran. He was pretty distressed by this and couldn't wait to get off. Fortunately it was only 2 hours but I definitely wouldn't do it again.There are connections from Rijeka, Krk and Pag to Rab, there are also buses from most mainland Croatian towns, depending on where you are coming from you may or may not need to change, most of these buses enter the island on the ferry between mainland Jablanac and Misnjak on the eastern side of the island, if you are travelling by car you could use this too.CatamaranRijeka-Rab (1 hour 45 mins journey)info and tickets - Jadrolinija: +385+51+211444http://www.jadrolinija.hr/default.a spx?dpid=1641Ferryboat: Jablanac - Misnjak (Rab) (15 minutes journey)operated by Rapska Plovidbahttp://www.rapska-plovidba.hr/home_hr.htm lTel. 385+51+724122, Fax 385+51+724018e-mail: email@example.comTimetable: http://www.rapska-plovidba.hr/plovni_hr.htmlTimet able: http://www.tzg-rab.hr/eng/rab/redpolovidbe.phpFe rryboat: Valbiska (Krk) - Lopar (Rab)operated by Split Tourshttp://www.splittours.hr/?lang=ENWhere to stay?There are any number of hotels and locals renting out rooms, as we were with a dog we decided to stay on the campsite. The campsite was called Campsite Padova III (I shall review this as soon as the suggestion is added!) and seemed to be related to Imperial D.D. Hotel. It wasn't that cheap but Croatia isn't these days.What to do?Rab is a 22km long island and has a mountain on it of around 460m, if you've not been to the Croatian islands then the novelty of being on one should keep you entertained with emerald sea and rocks (although you'll need to get out of the harbour and preferably past the nearby beaches). The old town of Rab is pretty nice with perfectly Mediterranean styled architecture that you can find throughout Croatia, Italy and Greece. Having seen it for the umpteen time, it doesn't really do a lot for me but should definitely keep the first time visitor or easily-pleased oldie who likes strolling around entertained.Rab seemed pretty busy, mostly with German and Italian tourists. The restaurants were pleasant and I found the best time to eat at them when you could really relax was during the late afternoon when others were washing the sand off them!There are a couple of decent places to swim which can be reached either by walking driving along the road towards Kampor and turning left to Suha Punta or by boat taxi from Rab. As most of the places along the Croatian coast or islands, you will not find much sand but one place you can find a sandy beach is Barbat. Rab is a bit of a nudey destination, apparently a pioneer in it in fact and this started due to the visit of King Edward VIII and Mrs Wallis Simpson, I didn't know they liked to get their kit off but you learn something new every day! As in most of these nudey places (Naturism destination is the political correct word I believe), you don't get a lot of totty but generally old pensioners with it all hanging out. We were planning to avoid it due to that but it's just as well as many of the beaches were private with the following rules: paid entry, must be naked (quite hypocritical I think), no dogs. What fascists, I thought but we did find a couple of family and dog friendly rocks (couldn't class them as beaches) at Frkanj.There are also all manner of water sports and day trips to the mainland available on the island. Nicer than Rhyll but not that brill. I prefer the Dalmatian islands myself. Close
Written by mfs on 13 Mar, 2001
One easy observation can be made of Croatians - they love to dance! Each town seems to have its share of outdoor cafes that feature dancing and a live band. Rab Town takes this national pastime one step further - in a small…Read More
One easy observation can be made of Croatians - they love to dance! Each town seems to have its share of outdoor cafes that feature dancing and a live band. Rab Town takes this national pastime one step further - in a small square just off Trg Kristofor, a local band plays an odd mix of current American and Croatian pop, standards, and traditional Croatian music for a lively crowd. Everyone dances - from young children to teenagers to grandparents. Young couples danced around their sleeping babies' strollers.
The same band played all three nights that we were in town, and there was always a sizable crowd even though it was mid-week. It was a really fun way to spend an evening. After dinner each night we would go to get dessert and/or drinks at one of the cafes that bordered the dancing area, and inevitably ended the evening dancing alongside locals and other tourists. The band, which consisted of a very energetic blonde singer and 4 musicians, played everything from sappy ballads to Greek circle dances. The music begins around 8 p.m. and goes on some nights till midnight. Everyone gets really into it - and we had a great time. The whole island had a real party atmosphere at night. It was like a great wedding or family reunion. I highly recommend it!
To Get to the Dance Area
Rab is a really small town, and once the band starts up, they are very easy to find. To get to the dance area: from Trg Kristofor turn left onto Srednja Ulica and then make another immediate left - you'll come upon small tent in a square surrounded by small cafes. There is no charge to dance, and you don't have to order anything from any of the cafes to join in the fun.
Renting a boat is a must on Rab Island - there are dozens of secluded coves and inlets and ice-blue waters just begging to be explored!
The first thing you must go to in order to rent a boat is acquire a Croatian Captain's License.…Read More
Renting a boat is a must on Rab Island - there are dozens of secluded coves and inlets and ice-blue waters just begging to be explored!
The first thing you must go to in order to rent a boat is acquire a Croatian Captain's License. This is not as tricky as it seems. Just go down to the Harbormaster's office (Lucka Kapetanija) located on Obala Kralja Petra Kresimira (the road which runs along the harbor) -- towards the end of the road (and the end of the peninsula) you will find this office. A license costs about $15 USD.
Once you obtain the license, you are ready to hit the high seas. We rented our boat (a small 4-seater with steering wheel) from the Numero Uno Travel Agency on Obala Kralja Petra Kresimira, which is located right at the head of the harbor and only steps from the Hotel Istra. The helpful young staff rented us the boat for about $27 USD, and we had use of it from about 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. They only ask that you don't go within a specified distance from shore (I think it was a mile), and that you don't attempt to travel to other islands. That's OK, though, because there is plenty to see just sticking to the Rab's coastline.
With a picnic lunch in tow, we swung around Rab Town's peninsula and were afforded incredible views of the town walls, which soar up over 100 feet from the water. The famous four bell towers were an awesome sight from the water. We putted along the bay and checked out the monastery of St. Eufemija before heading out to see the island's unpopulated west coast, which is jagged with inlets and secluded coves. Several times we anchored in a cove and went ashore to lay on a tiny, private stone beach, or just lay on the bow of the boat. We also snorkled in the crystal clear, bluer-than-blue water (which was also freezing cold - we brought our own snorkeling equipment). The super-clean water is alive with fish, crustaceans, and dolphins.
We will never forget this very special experience. I highly recommend renting a boat on Rab!
Written by mfs on 14 Mar, 2001
Croatia has a very good ferry system, and ferry schedules are fairly reliable (just be sure you double check any ferry information you get off the web once you arrive in Croatia). Rab Island was one of many stops we made along the Croatia's coastal…Read More
Croatia has a very good ferry system, and ferry schedules are fairly reliable (just be sure you double check any ferry information you get off the web once you arrive in Croatia). Rab Island was one of many stops we made along the Croatia's coastal road as we headed south from Opatija to Dubrovnik in our little rental car. The tiny town of Jablanac is where you catch the Car Ferry run by the Rapska Plovidba Ferry company to Misnjak on Rab. It's a short ride - about a 15 minutes, and the cost is minimal - about $8 USD per car (70 kuna); plus an additional $1 USD (9 kuna) per person. Ferries run regularly on the hour, but it is a very good idea to double check the ferry schedules before you plan your whole day around a specific departure time.
A Sample Ferry Schedule
In September 2000, the ferries from Jablanac were running every hour (leaving Jablanac at 11:00 a.m.; arriving in Misnjak at 11:15; re-loading then returning to Jablanac for another boatload at noon). At that time of year, ferries service began at 5:30 a.m. through 8:30 p.m. In the peak seasons of July and August ferries run from Jablanac starting at 5:30 a.m. through 11:00 p.m. These times are from the 2000 schedule - so be sure to check with a tourist office in Croatia for a current schedule. The best ferry schedule I could find for your reference on the web is on this website: http://www.cts.hr/tedi/english.htm. To date, Rapska Plovidba does not seem to have their own website.
What to do When You Get to Jablanac
When you drive down the hill into Jablanac, you will queue your car up and wait for the signal from the ferry crew to load. The crew is very efficient in directing even the most clueless drivers onto the boat, and they can really pack them in! Once you've parked your car in the outdoor loading area, you are free to get out and enjoy the quick ride over to Rab Island. The ferry will approach Rab's karstic side (almost half of Rab Island is covered with karst - barren fields of porous limestone), so it looks like you are docking on the moon. Once you get back in your car and disembark it's only a short drive till you reach the beautiful, lush side of the island. Rab Town is only about 15 minutes from Misnjak, and there's basically only one road, so you can't get lost. The ferry folks will give you a map of the island when you buy your ferry tickets.
Rab Town has very unique beauty that sets it apart from just about every place I have ever been. It is the largest town on Rab Island, it is still a very small and intimate place. Part of the Kvarner Island Group, it is…Read More
Rab Town has very unique beauty that sets it apart from just about every place I have ever been. It is the largest town on Rab Island, it is still a very small and intimate place. Part of the Kvarner Island Group, it is the ninth largest island in the Adriatic. It has a reputation of being one of the sunniest and one of the most heavily forested islands in the Adriatic as well. The town was established during the Roman Empire, when it was made a municipality by Emperor Augustus in the 1st century b.c. The Latin axiom "Felix Arba" - the happy place - is still used today to describe this idyllic island.
The town itself is built on a peninsula that juts out from the central southwest coast of Rab Island. There are three main passageways that parallel each other as they cut across the town - Gornji Ulica (upper street), Srednja Ulica (middle) and Donja Ulica (lower). There are no cars on the peninsula save for the road that lines the harbor, so strolling the narrow cobblestones streets is a joy. Most shops and restaurants are located in the lower section of town. Once you begin to climb the steep flights of stone stairs to the upper town, you will find primarily private homes and churches. The famous 4 bell towers belonging to St. Mary's Church, St. John's, St. Justine's and St.Andreas loom over upper town. Town architecture is fairly consistent, with buildings and streets made of stone and stucco.
Outside of Rab Town, there are several very large, modern-style resort complexes that cater to European vacationers and provide various outdoor that make good use of the island's geography, such as camping, hiking, sailing and windsurfing, and biking. Suha Punta, Lopar, and Supetarska Draga are all popular sights for this type of tourism. The Kampor section of the island is the most sparsely occupied, and has an extensive network of biking and hiking trails.
In drastic contrast to the lush, wooded southwestern side of the island (where all of the above places are located), the inland side of Rab Island is composed mainly of karst rock, and looks much like the surface of the moon. Desolate and inhospitable, the karstic landscape is the first thing you see when you get off the ferry from Jablanac - not terribly inviting. It provides a dramatic contrast to the cool green forests that await you on the other side of the island.