For Croatians, Pag is synonymous with Paski sir, a delicious salty dry cheese made from the milk of the hardy sheep of Pag, who do well on its meager pastures. Now PDO (protected designation of origin), the largest producer is the original cooperative, Paska Sirana (paskasirana.com) in the town of Pag, where there is a kiosk out front selling the cheese, although you would also find it on many local restaurant menus.
The next day, put on good hiking shoes and a small backpack with plenty of water, and hike the rocky trails of Pag, managed by Pag Outdoor (pag-outdoor.com). Crossing extraordinary limestone karst landscapes, often described as “lunar” and dotted with wild sage, they take you to dilapidated churches, a lighthouse, a Byzantine fortress and several beaches. The views are sublime and exceptionally photogenic, and if you are lucky you may spot the hardy Pag sheep and rare griffon vultures. Back in town, dine at Konoba Bodulo, which serves authentic local cuisine in a vine-draped courtyard.
Stay: Hotel Pagus (00 385 23 666 000; hotel-pagus.hr) has double rooms from £170 in high season. Read the full hotel review here.
Go home: Pag is connected to the mainland by a bridge, so the next day you can take the local bus from the town of Pag south to Zadar, then proceed from Zadar to Split, either by the highway or by the coastal road scenic (but slow).
To chase: From Split, continue to Bol (bol.hr), on the glorious sunny south coast of Brac, by catamaran in the late afternoon (jadrolinija.hr; 1hr; £12).
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. Start with a walk on the two kilometer pine-shaded promenade to Zlatni Rat beach for a swim. Overlooking turquoise waters, this tongue of fine pebbles changes shape with the wind. It gets crowded, but when the sun begins to set, many sunbathers pack up, leaving it enchantingly serene.
The next morning, head to Borak beach, near Zlatni rat. Here you can either take a windsurfing lesson or rent a SUP (standup paddleboard) from Big Blue (bigbluesport.com). Bol’s extraordinary winds, ranging from gentle levant in the morning to potentially gusty mistral in the afternoon, create ideal conditions for beginners and professional surfers alike, depending on the time of day.