Introduction

Pag is like something from a 1950s Italian film, perfect for a broody black-and-white Antonioni set – it’s barren, rocky, and sepia coloured, with vast, empty landscapes. The Adriatic is a steely blue around it and, when the sky is stormy, the island is the most dramatic-looking place in the whole of Croatia. Its karstic rock forms a moonscape defined by two mountain ridges, patches of shrubs, and a dozen or so villages and hamlets.

Modern Pag is an unusual mix. The island has long-standing traditions of cheese- and winemaking; paški sir (Pag cheese) is one of Croatia's most celebrated culinary exports, its source the otherwise unremarkable village of Kolan. The famous intricate Pag lace is framed on many a Croat’s wall. And yet Novalja is a party town and the island has become a clubbing mecca, with Zrće Beach a summer nightlife hot spot.