Latest posts by Zsófia Albert (see all)
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Rabac is a beautiful small Croatian resort town on Kvarner Bay, on the eastern coast of Istria, halfway between Rijeka and Pula. You haven’t heard about the place yet? Well, me neither, until we started to plan our summer holiday with my friend.
One thing was sure, that our destination would be Croatia, but we had no idea which place to stay exactly. So we decided to go the easy way – googled “best beaches in Istria” and voilá, Rabac was among the first ones. It immediately stole our hearts with its beautiful pebbly beaches and crystal clear blue sea, and I’m sure it will steal yours too if you read on!
Rabac is not a typical Istrian town, its coast and location reminds me more of Dalmatia. For long it was a small fishing port but in the recent years it has grown into a typical resort town with numerous villas and apartment buildings. The town itself is located under a high rising mountain, so you can be sure to have a breathtaking terrace view over the sea from any of the apartments you’ve rented.
Aside from the beautiful bay and the splendid, tame surroundings, the city itself is not much exceptional. The seaside promenade – called Riva – is packed with cocktail bars, ice-cream stands, restaurants and cheap (or not so cheap) souvenir shops. An electronic train runs along the promenade, connecting both sides of the town with the center.
If you’re looking for nice beaches and crystal clear sea, swimming, diving, sunbathing and other fun under the sun, pleasant evening promenade walks, cocktails and boat excursions, Rabac is a perfect choice for you.
When to visit?
During the summer Rabac gets quite busy, with July and August being the most popular months among tourists. There are lots of entertainment options and organized activities for all ages, ranging from the Rabac Summer Festival to gastronomic events and sailing championships. Such a small town, and yet there is something for everyone!
If you prefer a more relaxed holiday, June and September are better choice to travel. This time the town is less crowded, the accommodation is cheaper while the weather is still great and the sea is warm enough to swim in.
What to do in Rabac?
- Sailing along Rabac Riviera will make you discover the stunning coastline around the town, dotted with many cliffs, coves and little beaches.
- I highly recommend booking a day trip to island Cres, with lunch on board, diver show during the trip and possibility to explore the gorgeous Blue Caves of Cres. These large and small halls inside the rock are lit with turquoise blue light, which penetrates through the underwater passage connected with one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. Swimming inside the caves was a bit scary for me at first, but definitely a lifetime experience that will not leave you indifferent. On the way back home you may even have a surprising encounter with a family of dolphins!
- For those who seek to travel further, the agencies offer expeditions to Krk, Dubrovnik and even to Venice.
Diving and snorkeling
The coastline of Rabac provides very good diving opportunities. The sea is crystal clear, the depths rarely reach 70 m and there are many ship wrecks, colorful reefs and rich marine life to explore. If you prefer staying above the water, fun activities like banana riding, water skiing or parasailing are waiting for you.
Labin is located just above Rabac, only 3 km away taking a curvy, mountainous road up the hill. It is a nice, historic town with narrow, cobblestoned streets, colorful little houses, arts and crafts galleries and romantic restaurants. If you are up for an adventure, you can even take the trekking route from Rabac. In case of gloomy weather or if you just got tired of laying on the beach all day long, visiting Labin can make an interesting day out of Rabac.
Food and Drinks
Most of the bars and restaurants are aligned along the seafront promenade, and offering the simple touristy dishes like grilled fish, fried calamari, pasta and pizza. Don’t miss the local specialties, which are krafi (sweet ravioli stuffed with cottage cheese, raisins and lemon zest) and pasutice (a diamond-shaped pasta). And since you’re in Croatia, it would be a big mistake not to try ćevapčići (national dish in the Balkan region, small grilled sausages of minced meat made of beef and lamb).
Along the seaside there are plenty of bars to relax, sip on a cocktail and watch the world go by. The Beat Beach Club was among my favorites, probably the trendiest in whole Rabac, with wide drink selection, bean bags, a swimming pool and the resident DJ playing live.
The Movie Longue Bar has a more relaxed, cozy atmosphere, with an exceptionally nice location under the trees and just above the St. Andrea beach. It is a perfect place for hanging around in the evening, offering wide variety of music styles (from electronic to jazz) and reasonable prices.
However, if you really want to party in Rabac (like I wanted to, since I celebrated my birthday there), you better forget it. The majority of the tourists here are families with small children or elderly couples, so the bars are closing around 1 am accordingly. As far as we experienced, there is no any place for dancing or continue drinking after midnight. But the case is not that lost as it seems… You might make some local friends in one of the bars, and they might take you clubbing to Pula with their car… but that’s another story to tell.
All Photo Copyright © 2016 Zsófia Albert