Novalja is situated on the island of Pag and it is a tourist center of the island. Novalja and Pag are places where the Mediterranean atmosphere is felt at every step, and the hospitality of local people is one of the most important reasons why their guests come back repeatedly. Novalja is famous for its many peculiarities; however, first and foremost, the majority of tourists visit Novalja for its beaches.
Novalja has a long, eventful and interesting history, as evidenced by numerous archaeological finds at different locations in the city and its surroundings. Among them are three early Christian basilicas from the 4th and 5th century. The remains of the mosaic floor of one of them can be seen in the Gothic church of Our Lady of the Rosary in the city center. Numerous pieces of church furniture and other items are preserved in the archaeological collection Stomorica. Historical pieces found near one of the basilica are kept in the Archaeological Museum in Zadar.
The oldest traces of life on the island date back to Paleolithic. Illyrian tribes, together with Liburni founded the fort settlements on the hills which are in the wider area of Novalja and still visible. The greatest value and interesting thing to see is the unique ancient aqueduct from the 1st century, carved out of solid rock, about 1.2 km long, 70 cm wide and 40 m high. This magnificent Roman aqueduct, popularly called Talian hole, supplied Novalja with water from Novalja fields. The entrance to the water supply is located within the City Museum which also preserves part of Novalja cultural and ethnological heritage.
Few places on the Adriatic, as Novalja, can be proud of beautiful natural beaches. Moving from Novalja to the north or south, east or west, you will come to one of these magnificent beaches that will give you nothing but pleasure. The beaches are wide, sandy, with clean water and excellent access into the sea and are therefore particularly suitable for families with children. All the beaches can be reached by car and they all have a parking space.
Zrće Beach, the most famous one, is located southeast of Novalja and shares a special story. It is the most stunning and beautiful Beaches of Novalja. Its coastal area is a large surface which can fit thousands of swimmers. The entrance to the sea is covered with gravel, and the steep descent of the seabed beach is very deep. On the beach you can play a variety of sports and use recreational and entertainment facilities or eat at quality restaurants. There are a couple of attractive landscaped facilities that provide entertainment throughout the night. Zrce was declared the best and most organized beach on the Adriatic in 2002. With its outstanding natural features, equipment and facilities, Zrce meets the strict criteria of the European Foundation for Education and Care for the environment and by summer of 2003 it won a blue flag. The beach is about 2 km away from Novalja, has a big parking lot, and during July and August, it is connected to Novalja by public transport.
Accommodation in Novalja is versatile. There are numerous apartments in Novalja and rooms for rent. Depending on your needs and on your budget you can find luxurious holiday villas in Novalja as well as modest apartments or houses. There are four hotels in Novalja – Boskinac, Loza, Liburnija and Luna. As we said before, wherever you decide to stay, the beach will be close to you and that’s the beauty of Novalja – you’re never too far from the sea! Your holiday house in Novalja, that is if you rent one, will become your sanctuary and you will want to come back to it again and again.
Today it is generally considered that the Mediterranean cuisine is best for human health for the type and quality of foods and their preparation. Novalja cuisine, known as its part, will give you a true gastronomic delight. Therefore, if you visit Novalja, do not miss the taste of the Mediterranean food. We recommend you try all of the famous and well-known local specialties - cheese, lamb, macaroni and curd strudel. All the magic of the Mediterranean cuisine is there for you to enjoy. Perhaps you could visit the local market and buy fresh seafood, then become friends with the locals who will instruct you on how to prepare it in the backyard of your apartment in Novalja. Sounds like an inspiring experience, doesn’t it?
Among the variety of dishes from fish and seafood, we recommend fish soup, Novalja brodet (fish stew), salads and risotto with seafood and boiled or grilled fish. Various vegetables grown under the warm Mediterranean sun prepared in imaginative ways will give a lot of pleasure to lovers of vegetarian cuisine. A glass of wine at the end will make the pleasure complete.
As for your activities in Novalja, well, excursion offers a diverse and broad. The excellent geographical position of Novalja puts it close to famous Croatian tourist destinations and sites - the islands of Rab, Silba and Olib, Zadar and national parks - Kornati, Krka, Plitvice Lakes, Paklenica and North Velebit. There are organized day trips by boat and to the islands and by other means of transportation to the inland destinations. If you visit at least one of these sites, you will be amazed by the unique natural beauty that makes Croatia one of the prettiest and most attractive tourist destinations in the world.
Novalja has many traditional events that are organized outside the main tourist season and enrich the social life of the city in this part of the year. Exhibition of Pag cheese - starting from 2001 year, are held the first weekend in July. At the end of the event cheese tasting for visitors takes place and that is something that you might like, if you like cheese of course. If you like it as much as we do, you will go nuts about this event.
Wherever your accommodation in Novalja will be, don’t forget about “Novalja cultural summer”It has many interesting events - art exhibitions, concerts of classical music, vocal ensembles and musical groups, dance groups, exhibitions, promotions and sales of books, plays, theater performances, outdoor concerts of popular music, show programs, etc.
All things said, Novalja sounds like a fun and truly dynamic place, with emphasis on delicious food and with lots of great beaches. Oh, we forgot to mention one important thing, at least for party-lovers, that Zrće beach is also known as Croatian Ibiza. This doesn’t need further explanation, does it?