Island Rab, Croatia

island rab, croatia

• Story of Island Rab

City Rab registers long and fame-rich history. The name of the island (Arbe, Arbia, Arve or Arba) comes from the Illyrian word Arb which means dark, green and wooden. City walls, churches, portals and palaces with their most different architectural styles were witnesses to different rulers of the island. Among first were Illyrians, afterwards Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Venetians and Hungarian-Croatians. Rab was first mentioned in year 10 BC in an ancient document, where Roman emperor Octavian August declared Rab’s independence by pronouncing it municipality. Its successors named Rab with a rare epithet “Felix” which means “happy” confirming just how Rab was civilized and developed already at that time.

bell tower in rab town

Around the year 300 AD in the village Lopar boy Marin was born. He learned handcraft of stone-cutting and traveled across the Adriatic Sea in his search for work. He settled in the area around today’s city Rimini. Thanks to his sedulousness and virtue he was appointed as a deacon by that time Rimini’s bishop Gaudenzio. Because of his Christian preaching he was relegated and he fled to the hill Titano where he established small church. Short after he created first republic in the world, San Marino which remained there until today’s day.

ruins of the church in rab

Patron of the island is Saint Christopher who, by legend, salvaged Rab from Norman occupiers in the year 1075. Since then, every year on St. Christopher’s day (27th July) traditional Knight’s Tournaments are held in his honor. Today, these games take place on the second day of an annual 3-day ceremony called “Fjera”. It is a reminder of Rab of those times, the city that celebrates its freedom and independence. “Fjera” is one of Croatia’s best known spectacles and year after year it continues to fascinate both local citizens and foreign visitors.

Rab crossbowmen

Blooming of tourism island experienced between two World Wars, precisely in 1936 when it was visited by English king Edward VII and his wife. The English pair was also one of the more famous naturists of that time and they wanted to enjoy swimming on the first naturist beach in Adriatic that had been officially opened just two years ago. Except from diverse beatiful beaches, another attraction for nature lovers is park “Komrcar” that lies above the city of Rab. Park was established at the beginning of 20th century by forester Pravdoje Belija. Today it is large walking area and enjoys high level of protection due to its beauty and variety of Mediterranean plants such as: figs, pines, firs and agaves.

sculpture in lopar, rab
maman, srednjak, sailovac, supetarska draga
bicycling activities, sland Rab
bell towers, old town Rab


General things about the island

Island Rab belongs to the northern group of Adriatic islands that are scattered around Kvarner bay. It has more than 2500 sunny hours per year and mild Mediterranean climate - truly an Adriatic paradise. With maximum length of 22 km, width of 11 km and total surface of 90 km2 it is easy to explore. Highest peak is “Kamenjak”. With height of 408 m it represents an attractive excursion destination and from its top one can experience breath-taking views of surrounding islands. There are approximately 10000 inhabitants who live mainly from tourism, agriculture, fishery and shipbuilding. Besides the historic town Rab there are 7 more places on the island: Banjol, Barbat, Kampor, Lopar, Mundanije, Palit and Supetarska Draga. Sea temperature reaches 26 C in summer times. Rab is surrounded with crystal clear water due to the constant sea-current from south Mediterranean. Since the year 1889 Rab has had reputation as famous health tourism resort. Particularly healthy sea-air and the mild climate are favorable for the treatment of heart diseases and respiratory system. For many years already, Rab represents one of the Croatia’s top destinations and its reputation was further established with numerous media reports. Being one of the last retreat areas of Griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus) in Europe, Rab also became well-known to many biologists and nature preservationist. An old Rab’s custom told by its people is that when leaving Rab you should take along one stone that would help you travel back to your home, protect you and your family during the trip and then one time later that stone would take you back to Rab where you should return it and therefore thank him for protecting you. Thanks to its indescribably beautiful beaches, seductive nature, millenniums-old culture, different civilizations from antique times till present and exquisite cuisine, Rab always remains favorite destination for its faithful guests.


Events on the Island Rab:

Knight tournament (Crossbowmen of Rab Island) at the St.Christopher’s square in Rab - 09.05. (& 25.06., 15.08.)

Alps-Adriatic Triathlon Cup in Rab - beginning of June

Sand Sculpture Festival in Lopar - 12.06.

Rabska Fjera (medieval festival) in Rab - from 25.07.-27.07.

Rab Summer Festival (music festival) in Rab-Kaldanac - in August