Pag is like something you’d find in a 1950s Italian film, perfect for a broody black-and-white Antonioni set – it’s barren, rocky, and sepia coloured, with vast empty landscapes stretching across the horizon. The Adriatic is a steely blue around it and, when the sky is stormy, it’s 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.
Nowadays it’s connected to the mainland by a bridge – but in terms of culture and produce it’s very independent and distinct. Islanders farm the miserly soil and produce some excellent wine. Tough local sheep graze on herbs and salty grasses, lending their meat and milk a distinctive flavour and producing paški sir (Pag cheese; soaked in olive oil and aged in stone). Intricate Pag lace is famed and framed on many a Croat’s wall.
Pag has a new twist to its image as a place of centuries-old tradition and culture, in the form of the clubbing mecca of Zrće beach.