Croatia: Novalja and Zrce Beach

It’s been some time since I spent a few days on a party island. Given I can only survive so many benders a year these days, I tend to pick and choose them more carefully now. It was about time for another, so what better contender for a place on the calendar than the renowned Pag island of Croatia?

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After getting in touch with a couple of mates and planning a weeks stay in the heart of Novalja, 10 minutes from Zrce beach, I took a bus from a stop near Rijeka and made  my way down the coast towards the island. The bus cost a few dollars and was mostly filled with other people on a similar mission. The stars had aligned for us as the roads had just opened back up after a bout of bad weather, which also meant that the queue for the ferry was longer than a Viennese wiener sausage but the bus simply drove down the other side of the road and skipped the line. Thank f**k.

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The ferry ride takes around 15 minutes and is included in the cost of the bus. There isn’t a hell of a lot of to look at on this side of the island.

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Novalja is the main centre of accommodation for anyone attending parties at Zrce beach. It’s a good size; big enough to have everything you need yet not large enough to become too trashy. You can hire boats and jet-skis, chill on the beach, drink a beer in a chilled environment, go partying… pretty much everything you’d expect from a place like this. Prices are higher than elsewhere in Croatia but still very reasonable compared to other similar sites in Europe.

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This part of the world has some sweet sunsets… no complaints! Our AirBnB apartment was in a super location too, right in the centre of town but far enough from the main street to be quiet.

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Zrce beach is the main party spot of the island. There’s a bus that takes 10 minutes to get there from Novalja. The place goes off pretty much every day and night for around 3-4 months in the high season. The beach has clubs and bars pretty much lining the sand from end to end, and during peak season there are major international DJ’s playing almost every night.

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I think the fella in the photo above has peaked too soon.

The difference between this beach and similar spots in south east Asia is that this one, although more expensive, is a lot cleaner and has the infrastructure around it to make everything work smoothly and be a lot safer.

The  main reason we came here  was to attend Armada festival, which was held every night at Papaya club. It was bloody good to hear some trance again..! Papaya is one of the bigger clubs on Zrce, with several pools and bars.

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Adam, myself and Paul. The boys.. READY TO HAVE A GOOD TIME TONIGHT!

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Ben Gold and Gareth Emery played the best sets over the four days. B A N G E R S.

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We decided one day to get up on time and do something useful with our lives, so we hired scooters and went touring the island. We rode full throttle at the maximum speed of 45 km/h to Pag, as well as a couple of other places too. It was good cruising around an island on scooters again, it made me feel like I was back in Thailand.

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Above: Phat skids. Below is the town of Pag. This whole area is beautiful. As Adam said, it’d be a good place to come and live for 3 months a year. Life goals.

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The time here was rad, and everything considered I would come back. After 6 days, Paul and I left to take a ferry across the Adriatic sea to Italy, which is the first time either of us have taken a boat to a different country.

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Croatia, I’ll be back!

– Damo