Inlets off the coast of Rab

Sea Kayaking Tour to Goli Otok


Immediately to the east of Rab sits the historically important Goli Otok (Barren Island), a desolate rock of an island best remembered for its dark past as a political prison. Often referred to as "Tito's Gulag" or "Croatia's Alcatraz," the prison was in use when Croatia was part of Yugoslavia between 1949 and 1989. Here, the alleged Stalinists and Communist party members (as well as non-party citizens accused of sympathizing toward the Soviet Union) were "re-educated" through forced labor, among other means of mistreatment.

This kayaking excursion leaves from Rab in the morning and takes you on an educational tour of Goli Otok. Once on the island, you can choose to explore your surroundings on foot or pick up a tourist train at the harbor to learn more about Tito and his notorious regime. You'll see the derelict shops where inmates were set to work, plus the basic accommodation blocks and solitary cells where they slept. There are also several notable stone buildings erected by the prisoners themselves, such as the administration building dubbed the "hotel" by inmates; wood, stone, and metal factories; and even a bowling alley.

Discover more historical excursions in Croatia.

Itineraries with Sea Kayaking Tour to Goli Otok

Hidden Gems of Croatia: Zagorje, Kvarner Gulf, & Pelješac Peninsula - 13 Days

On this 13-day tour of Croatia, you will explore some of the country's lesser-visited treasures, featuring the barren islands in the Kvarner Gulf and forgotten villages on the Pelješac peninsula. From Zagreb, you'll immerse yourself in the castle-laden hills of the Zagorje, then on to discover the Kvarner Islands of Rab, Goli Otok, and Pag. Once in historic Zadar, you'll sail amid the Kornati archipelago, trek karst landscapes in Paklenica National Park, visit the abandoned village of Nakovana and the fortressed town of Korčula, before ending your stay in medieval Dubrovnik.