For Croatians, Pag is synonymous with Paski sir, a delicious dry salty cheese made from the milk of Pag’s hardy sheep, which do well on its scanty pastures. Now PDO (protected designation of origin), the largest producer is the original co-operative, Paska Sirana (paskasirana.com) in Pag Town, where there’s a kiosk out front selling the cheese, though you’ll also find it on many local restaurant menus.
The following day, don good hiking boots and a small rucksack with plenty of water, and set out to hike Pag’s rocky trails, managed by Pag Outdoor (pag-outdoor.com). Leading through extraordinary limestone karst landscapes, often described as “moonlike” and speckled with wild sage, they take you to tumbledown churches, a lighthouse, a Byzantine fortress and several beaches. Views are sublime and outstandingly photogenic, and if you’re lucky you might spot Pag’s resilient sheep and rare griffon vultures. On return to town, dine at Konoba Bodulo, which serves authentic local fare in a vine-draped courtyard.
Fly-home: Pag is joined to the mainland by a bridge, so next day you can take the local bus from Pag Town south to Zadar, then proceed from Zadar to Split, either by motorway or the scenic (but slow) coastal road.
Four nights: Brac – Hvar
Day 7 (Brac)
Bol is the absolute star here – it’s undeniably touristy, but with its spectacular beaches and excellent adventure sports facilities, everything it does, it does well. Begin with a stroll down the two-kilometre pine-shaded promenade to Zlatni Rat beach for a swim. Giving onto turquoise waters, this fine pebble spit changes shape, depending on the wind. It gets madly busy, but as the sun begins setting, many bathers pack up, leaving it enchantingly serene.
Next morning, head to Borak beach, close to Zlatni rat. Here you can either take a windsurfing class or hire a SUP (standup paddleboard) from Big Blue (bigbluesport.com). Bol’s extraordinary winds, ranging from the gentle levant in the morning, to the potentially gusty mistral in the afternoon, create conditions ideal for both surfing beginners and professionals, depending on the time of day.