Worth a Trip: Vransko Lake Nature Park

Lovely Vransko Lake is Croatia's largest natural lake and one of the Mediterranean's best-preserved wetlands. Birdwatching is a particular highlight, with 261 species recorded here, and migratory wetland species – herons, cormorants, sandpipers, grebes and warblers – present in their tens of thousands from August to October. The northern end of the lake is a dedicated ornithological reserve, with boardwalks, bird hides and hiking trails. Cycling, horse riding and kayaking are also possible.

The Vransko Lake Nature Park Office, in the gateway town of Biograd Na Moru, can arrange guides and organise other activities. The lake is on the southeastern outskirts of town.

Just off the northeastern tip of the lake, in the small settlement of Vrana, Maškovića Han is one of Dalmatia's best places to stay. Inhabiting a restored, 370-year-old sandstone compound, it has a small museum, a fabulous restaurant and delightful rooms.