Sometimes stereotypes are stereotypes because they are just true. You can’t pick up a guide to Croatia without reading about how Rab is a paradise of medieval beauty set amid lush forests, with acres of wild sandy beaches to wander along hand in hand whilst wearing loose clothing that flaps around in the breeze. We tried hard to avoid the stereotypes, but Rab really is that pretty.
OK, we don’t agree so much with the sandy beach thing. One: sand sticks on you when you put sun cream on. Two: it gets in your eyes. Three: it gets between your teeth. Four: it gets bloody everywhere. Five: it makes the water look icky.
Sandy beaches are great for non-swimmers and small children. And that’s why so many people go to them. So be prepared for the large sandy beaches around Lopar in the northern part of Rab to be crowded with slowly basting humanity. But if you’re prepared to tuck your beach towel under your arm and go for a bit of a hike, you may just come across your own personal paradise. On Rab, there’s a beach to suit everyone.
Whether you’re a fan of fine grains of silicon or not, the journey to Lopar in itself is time well spent. You’ll pass through scenery of green rolling hills that is much gentler than you generally find on Adriatic islands. On the way is a family hotel, Zlatni Zalaz (“Golden Sunset”), beautifully positioned amidst forest and conveniently facing west. Zlatni Zalaz is very active on the gastronomic scene on the island, and we highly recommend it for the chance to try local specialities at excellent prices. Lopar itself, though a perfectly pleasant resort, has rather little to offer in terms of history or sightseeing or other dining opportunities.
Rab town is quite a different matter. This is where the superlatives come in. Spectacularly occupying a narrow peninsula, it’s a lovely old stone town dating back to the Middle Ages, with a fine small cathedral in pink and cream stone and a chain of four bell towers piercing the skyline. The summer season is punctuated with historical displays of archery and knightly tournaments. In the evenings, there’s a lively social scene with a handful of good bars and a couple of clubs.