Day 14: Novalja to Pasman, Croatia

, August 11, 2011

My initial impressions of Pag were not very positive; a hugely touristy spot plagued with alcohol-fuelled, dance music loving, youths summarises my critique as I rode in for some rest last night. Thankfully, just a few kilometres south of last-night’s camp, I entered some cool terrain.

Barren rocky peaks lay ahead and I climbed in the morning sun, before dropping back to the coast for a traverse along the coast road to the town of Pag (‘capital’ of the island of Pag). It would seem that the rest of the island had a lot more to offer. I continued, with a brisk tail wind aiding progress to the bridge which links the south of the island to the mainland, enjoying the sea views along the way.

Onto the mainland I took a non-direct route to Zadar, exploring some of the small towns on the coast and avoiding the busy main road. Heading back on myself to Vrsi and then Nin I had no basis for my exploration other than curiosity. I was therefore pleasantly surprised to find out that Nin has loads of interesting history.

A cool walled centre and Roman artefacts were just a couple of the things I saw to reward me for my detour. In contrast to Pag, the mainland was forested and I rode through pungent pine forests to the drone of crickets.

From Zadar I caught a ferry to Preko on the island of Ugljan. Here the vegetation levels increased again. The island had an almost tropical feel to it with plenty of very green trees. Once the ferry traffic had dispersed I had the flat island roads to myself. Cruising along with the sea off to one side was ideal, as I headed over a bridge onto the island of Pasman. I pushed on to the town of Pasman and arrived at camp for the evening after 119km in the saddle.

Here it is perfect. A small quiet campsite just meters from the sea, it feels far further from the beaten track than anywhere else in Croatia I have been to. Within walking distance is the beach and a small shop. After pitching my tent I wandered down to the shop, got an ice cream an even had time for swim in the sea and a quick snooze. A basic pizzeria served me good food including a massive bowl of fresh white bait which was delicious.

So here I am in Pasman, just the sort of place I have been searching for this trip. A real paradise, I could certainly stay here for a few more days. But, tomorrow I continue south and keep on my bearing to Dubrovnik.

I have now been on the road for two weeks with only one rest day. My legs are still going strong but are certainly happier with these 120km days on the flat than 150km days in the mountains. Having chatted to various people on route, my plans to head to Sarajevo have been cancelled. Concerns over safety, quality of roads and frequency of food stops forcing a rethink. So now I can afford this slightly more relaxed pace through Croatia, I am certainly enjoying these shorter days and the extra time to explore.

Jump to Jack’s next day