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Destination - Lopar
Rab was known to ancient writers. It was first explicitly referred to by the Roman geographer and writer Pliny the Elder in about 70 AD by the name Arba, which means dark, obscure, green. This name was later adopted in Italian, and it has remained so until the present day. The Croatian form of the name Rab was first mentioned in a document about the foundation of the Franciscan monastery of St. Euphemia in Kampor in 1446. It is the result of a metathesis (rearrangement of sounds) of the same root, Arb.
Rab obtained its municipal status as a community of Liburnians in 10 BC, and the Emperor Octavian Augustus built town walls and towers with a well-known dedication.
The epithet Felix, which means happy, was given to Rab during the reign of the Emperor Septimius Severus in the early 3rd century AD. Apart from Salona, Rab was the only town in the territory of present-day Croatia to be given this epithet.
The numerous churches, monasteries, palaces, squares and loggias attest to the island's highly developed urban and social culture.
In the course of history, Rab has often changed rulers, from the ancient Romans, Byzantines and Venetians, to the Hungarian and Croatian kings, but has never suffered any major damage. As a result, the town's ancient core has remained preserved right up to the present day, with new buildings being added to the ancient structure in the course of history.
The island's fine architecture and traditional buildings, which are in a variety of styles, its valuable artworks and numerous cultural monuments are all part of the extraordinary local cultural heritage that gives Rab its identity as a part of Mediterranean culture.
Roman architects made a significant contribution to the appearance of the town, which resulted in three parallel main streets and several vertical alleys that descend from the highest point of the peninsula towards the harbour. In the early years of Christianity, some of the most important and beautiful churches were built along Upper Street: the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary; the Churches of St. Andrew, St. Justine, the Holy Cross and St. John; and the famous four belfries. This is why Upper Street today is recognised as the town's iconic spiritual centre.
Stone dominates the town's squares, streets, alleys and stairways. It boldly enters the houses, patricians’ mansions, churches and gardens, leaving its mark on the white ancient architecture. Stone has been used for building from antiquity to the present day. Centuries have passed and coated it with a thin, shiny patina that reflects all its beauty, creating a unique harmony with the surrounding nature.
THE OLD TOWN
There are not many Croatian towns that boast such beauty. Located on a peninsula, over the centuries, Rab has withstood the ravages of time. It is watched over by a quartet of belfries which are the town's centuries-old recognisable symbol. The old part of the town is distinguished by its three parallel streets: Lower, Middle and Upper Street, connected to each other by twelve side alleys. Rab waterfront with its two beautiful squares and numerous terraces and fine areas to rest in is the town's main meeting point and its connection with the world. The coastal promenade leads past the town beach to the Bay of St. Euphemia. There are so many attractions, and all of them within easy reach, just a few steps away!
Rab has always offered its visitors much more than emerald sea, fish, seafood, good wine, and hospitality. Rab has always been an island of culture from antiquity to the present day, a place of magnificent natural landscapes and enchanting promenades. The Romans called it Felix Arba (Happy Rab) and for good reason.
PARKS, PERSONALITIES AND LEGENDS
The old town of Rab boasts three beautiful parks: Komrčar (the largest), Boškopini and St. Marinus. They are wonderful green areas, and the spirit and lungs of the old town. Their abundant greenery and colourful flowers invite us to take a rest and enjoy the relaxing ambience for a while. Rab's parks are also notable for the stories and legends they tell. Komrčar Park features a bust of the forester Pravdoje Belija, who forested this area in 1883, and in the central part of Boškopini Park there is a hundred-year-old fountain that symbolises all the places and sources of life on the island. The Park of St. Marinus is dominated by the statue of Saint Marinus, founder of the Republic of San Marino. The fountain on St. Christopher’s Square, connected to the legend of the shepherdess Draga and shepherd Kalifront, is the central meeting place in the town, a place where people meet, take a break, or enjoy the various spring and autumn events.
The most distinguished inhabitant of Rab was undoubtedly Marco Antonio de Dominis. He was a bishop archbishop, theologian and physicist of world renown. UNESCO declared 2010 the year of Marco Antonius de Dominis.
Ivan Krstitelj Rabljanin (John the Baptist of Rab) was a famous caster of church bells and cannons.
RABSKA FJERA – THE MEDIEVAL RAB
Rabska fjera is an amazing event designed to bring back to life the island's culture and traditions. It is a kind of time machine, a festival where the past meets the present. The Rapska fjera municipal festival was founded by the Great Council of the town of Rab on 21 July 1364 in honour of King Louis the Great who freed Rab from the Venetians, and also in honour of St. Christopher, the patron saint of Rab. People at the Fjera used to venerate the relics of St. Christopher in gratitude, because according to legend, they saved Rab in 1075. The modern Rabska fjera take place over three days in July, on the 25th (the Feast of St. James), 26th (the Feast of St. Anne), and 27th (the Feast of St. Christopher). During the festival, the town's stone-paved alleys, squares, courtyards and waterfront are turned into a big open-air stage where local inhabitants proudly present through a series of workshops how people used to live here in medieval times. Here, one can encounter bakers, confectioners, honey producers, winemakers, painters, Glagolitic priests, ceramists, potters, stonecutters, blacksmiths, carpenters, weavers, rope makers, olive growers, merchants and herbalists. An ethno-village tells the story of life in rural areas; shepherds make sheep's milk cheese and wool; others make brandy or weave fish traps; fishermen go fishing at night, repair fishing nets, offer visitors fried or salted fish; and shipwrights build boats. Rabska fjera is a festival that cannot be described in words: to feel the spirit of medieval times and past traditions, it must be experienced in person.
PEOPLE AND CUSTOMS
People on Rab have always been closely connected to local traditions and the sea. In the town of Rab, people used to dance traditional and Venetian dances, while the common people danced the Rapski tanac to the sound of the island's traditional instrument, the mih (a kind of bagpipes). Local folklore ensembles continue to keep the old traditions alive, passing them on to the younger generations. Through the various folklore performances and concerts of local a capella singing groups (known as klape), visitors to Rab have the chance to learn more about the traditions and culture of the island.
The calendar on Rab includes more than two hundred events throughout the year designed to meet the expectations of even the most demanding guests. Particularly worth mentioning is the Rab Knights Festival: a tournament organised by the Rab Crossbowmen Association, which includes a competition using this medieval weapon. The festival takes place on 9 May, 25 June, 27 July, and 15 August. We mustn't forget the Rab Musical Evenings, which include performances of some of the most eminent musicians from Croatia and abroad, and concerts by the Rab Wind Orchestra. In the summertime, Rab turns into an open-air atelier for numerous painters, and its streets become galleries and exhibition areas.
April and May are traditionally dedicated to walking tours to the island's highest peak, Kamenjak, and bike tours following the footsteps of the shepherd Kalifront and shepherdess Draga. It is also a perfect time for keen sailors and exhibitions by small local shipyards.
Autumn is usually the time to harvest the fruits of our labour. The offer is really varied and includes eco week and workshops with winemakers, lavender and honey producers, and olive growers. In addition, visitors will have the opportunity to go fishing, pursue adrenaline and adventure sports, or simply enjoy a Rab Indian summer.
Rab is an island of scents and natural colours. It is home to a variety of aromatic, spice and medicinal plants, high-quality wines, prošek dessert wine, brandies, and various honey and lavender products. In addition, Rab boasts as many as 2,480 hours and 150 days of sunshine every year. Such climatic conditions contribute to the area's production of ecological products, and the island's flysch fields and surrounding sea have always been an important source of life for the local inhabitants. Thanks to the cleanliness of the air, which has beneficial effects on asthma and heart patients, Rab is a natural health resort and a place where one can relax and restore one's vital energy.
The fruits of Rab's fertile soil and the surrounding sea rich in excellent fish and first-class scampi are the basis of the local cuisine, which is characterised by healthy Mediterranean ingredients. The island's gastronomic offer is a rich and ecological one that has become a major source of local souvenirs: fresh fish and seafood; the famous Rab cake, distinguished by its unique taste, and prepared on the island for more than eight hundred years; organically grown olives, figs, grapes and honey are just some of the recognisable delicacies on the menus of the numerous local restaurants, inns and taverns, prepared by experienced, skilled chefs in the traditional way. Rab Catering School has a tradition of educating first-class tourism professionals for more than 50 years.
We invite you to explore the island's gastronomic offer and discover some of its secrets. It will be a very rewarding experience.
There is hardly a corner of the town of Rab that holds no interest for young people. The open-air terraces and squares are perfect for listening to music, and a night club is just a few steps away. For those in search of fun until the early morning hours, there is the Santos Beach club, which was declared by The Guardian as one of Europe's best clubs of its kind in 2011.
Concerts by well-known Croatian and European artists at the end of April (Nautic Passion) and beginning of August (Rab Summer Festival) always offer something new to young visitors, making their summer holidays on Rab an experience to remember.
During his stays on Rab in 1889, 1904 and 1909, the Austrian naturalist Camilo Morgan wrote: “The sea in the dozen wonderful coves in the west of the island has a very special colour which in some places turns to emerald. If the coasts of Italy and France deserve the name Côte d'Azur, this one should be called Côte Smaragdine.”
Rab is a favourite beach destination, where the bathing season lasts from May until October. The island is dotted with sandy, pebble and rocky beaches suitable for all age groups: families with children, skilled swimmers and divers, people with disabilities, middle-aged people and senior citizens.
Rab is also distinguished for its role in the development of naturism. According to CNN, Rab is the ideal 2011 naturist destination, while the Frkanj peninsula and cove of Kandarola are a true naturists' paradise. The beginnings of naturism in Rab's warmest cove, Kandarola, date back to 1936, which makes it one of the oldest naturist beaches in Croatia.
SPORT AND RECREATION
The indented coast makes Rab and the surrounding small islands ideal for people interested in sport, recreation, wellness and a healthy lifestyle: 157 km of bike trails, 144 km of walking trails, a 20 km-long hiking trail, five diving centres, twenty tennis courts, five pitches for various sports, a sports hall, sea kayaking, fishing and hunting, and a variety of water sports.
The island of Rab is also known for its Geo Park with its three educational trails in the areas of Fruga and Lopar, the Kalifront peninsula, and the central island axis in the direction of the small island of Maman. The offer is rounded off by small and large charter fleets with boats, fast or slow, that will take you to a secluded cove where you can enjoy your activity holiday to the full.
The town of Rab offers several high-class hotels in the immediate vicinity of the old part of the town that offer a variety of services and facilities, wellness centres, sporting facilities, and the opportunity to take pleasant walks along the coast, enjoy a refreshing afternoon's break with a cake and a cup of your favourite coffee, and a wide range of shops where you can buy original products and souvenirs from the island. The town hotels are the true gem of Rab's tourism offer in spring and autumn. The oldest among them is the Hotel Imperial, which was built in 1927. The date that marks the official beginning of tourism on the island is 16 May 1889, which means that Rab has a tourism tradition stretching back more than 120 years.
There are two particularly attractive holiday villages on the island of Rab like nowhere else in the Mediterranean. The first, Suha Punta, is located on the Kalifront peninsula, which is distinguished by an abundance of pine forests and the Dundo Forest Nature Reserve. Suha Punta offers ideal summer and activity holidays in natural surroundings. Shaded by fragrant pine trees, the Hotels Carolina and Eva, and the bungalows, apartments and villas are just a step away from the crystal blue sea.
The second holiday village is located on the Lopar peninsula, which is known for its unique geology and valuable archaeological finds. Lopar is dotted with natural sandy beaches, ideal for families with children and senior citizens who like warm, shallow sea. A rarity in the entire Mediterranean area, the Lopar peninsula boasts 22 sandy beaches, three of them for naturists.
Just like the hotels and holiday villages, Rab's campsites are suitable for visitors of all ages. The Padova 3 Campsite is located in a pine forest close to the town of Rab. The campsite is equipped with all necessary amenities and an entertainment centre. Mobile homes have a privileged position with a view of the town's harbour and the old town. From the campsite, the town can be reached by boat in just five or six minutes or a pleasant twenty-minute walk.
The San Marino Campsite is located on the edge of the island's largest sandy beach, Rajska plaža (Paradise Beach). It has well-tended pitches, modern mobile homes and numerous entertainment and recreation centres.
APARTMENTS, ROOMS, GUESTHOUSES, HOLIDAY HOMES
As always, a look into the past tells us more about the present of the island's picturesque places: Barbat, Banjol, Kampor, Mundanije, Palit, Supetarska Draga and Lopar. Each of them has its own distinctive features and well-rounded offer that continue to attract visitors. One part of the island, with its pebble beaches, fishing and shipbuilding tradition, excellent restaurants, attractive promenades, organic products, view of the old town, and sandy coves, is a true boaters' paradise.
APARTMENTS, ROOMS, GUESTHOUSES, HOLIDAY HOMES
The north-western part of the island offers a variety of attractions: the Kalifront peninsula is Rab's oasis for hikers and bikers, a perfect combination of the old and new, perfectly adapted to the needs of modern visitors. This area is distinguished by its unspoilt nature, healthy organic products, and rich maritime tradition.
The entire island's tourism offer is characterised by high-quality family accommodation in apartments, rooms and holiday homes, superb cuisine in excellent restaurants, inns and taverns, and the hospitality of the local people. Visitors here can benefit from a typical island atmosphere and the pleasant feeling of being at home.
Croatia's nautical tourism is constantly developing, and the number of vessels that sail across the Adriatic in summer is increasing. In recent years, the Adriatic and consequently Rab have been visited by yachts owned by some of the world's richest people, which is a reminder of the times when Rab was a destination of the British royal family.
Rab has always been particularly interesting to boat owners. Coves suitable for day anchoring and recreation, the numerous small islands around Rab, and the favourable winds for sailors are some of the island's distinctive features and the reason why so many boat owners enjoy sailing around the Rab archipelago. The island's two marinas provide all the necessary infrastructure and comfort.
A WALK THROUGH THE TOWN
During your stay on the island of Rab, do not miss the chance to visit some of the cultural and historical monuments in the old town. A tour of these sites, with or without a local guide, always leaves visitors breathless. To make your sightseeing a truly memorable experience, do not forget to visit the oldest church in Supetarska Draga, the ethnographic museum, the library and monastery of St. Euphemia in Kampor. The educational Ante Premužić hiking trail, which leads across some geologically interesting parts of the island, is also worth visiting. In short, the island and town of Rab are destinations that will fully meet the expectations of a modern tourist. During her stay on Rab, the former BBC royal correspondent Jennie Bond wrote that Rab is an amazing combination of Hawaii and Switzerland.
There are many opportunities to spend a day on Rab in a very special and different way. The island's tourist agencies offer a wide range of excursions including walking, hiking, boat trips, bus tours, sightseeing and various incentive programmes. Climb the island's highest peak, Kamenjak, which offers magnificent views of Rab and the neighbouring islands. Join a boat trip around the island to discover how Rab looks viewed from the sea. For biking enthusiasts, Rab offers 140 km of bike trails suitable for professionals and recreational cyclists. The beautiful Plitvice Lakes National Park can be reached in only three hours by bus, and the local taxi boats will gladly take you to a secluded cove where you will find your very own private place under the sun.
Ferry connections and timetable: Rapska plovidba
The Rapska plovidba d.d. ferry company from Rab provides the best connections between the Mišnjak ferry port in the south of the island and the Jablanac ferry port on the mainland. The ferry ride only takes 15 minutes, and the line remains operational throughout the year.
Ferry connections and timetable: Linijska nacionalna plovidba
The ferry from the port of Lopar in the northern part of the island of Rab to the port of Valbiska on the island of Krk works throughout the year. There are four departures daily in summer and two departures every day the rest of the year. The ferry ride takes 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Catamaran connections and timetable: Jadrolinija
A passenger line between the port of Rijeka and the town of Rab operates throughout the year with one departure daily. The catamaran ride takes 1 hour and 45 minutes.