[ IMAGE: A stone arc ] Island temperas

A holiday without news, cars or phones?! How many times have you wanted to run away from everyday life to your own little part of the world, if only you could find it? For those who are tired of the everyday hassle, the islands near the coastal cities of Zadar and Sibenik - more than four hundred of them - are the place for you. These islands are part of Central Dalmatia and contribute to the tourism potential of that area, attractive not only for its natural beauty but also for its historical monuments.

Of the numerous coastal tourist centres, let us mention Biograd, the former seat of kings, and the picturesque Primosten, which used to be an island, until it was connected to the mainland and thus became a peninsula. The dry-stone walls of Primosten are an ode to work and tenacity, testifying to the struggle for every square inch of soil. A photograph of them is on display in the United Nations building in New York. Large and small islands, green with maquis and olive-trees, emerge from the sea shaped by valleys and hills, numerous bays, coves and promontories. We go on to Olib, Silba, Premud and Vir, and then on to Dugi Otok, Lavadra and Pasman. Forget about politics. Leave your tie behind. The restraints of civilization are behind you, and rugged nature's ahead. The islands of the Central Adriatic will charm you and give you strength.

Silba is a town of ship owners and captains and their ancient houses. Located in the middle of the islands, it has a harbour always protected from the wind. Many houses command a view of the sea, for those who watch for an early return. In the vicinity, there are the three islands of Grebeni, a geomorphologic preserve.

Ist is the island of fishermen and seafarers, known to boaters as a safe haven. Molat has numerous coves: the most famous is at Brgulj, where the British King, Edward VII, found refuge when cruising the islands. Here is the island of Zverinac, which used to be owned by the Zadar nobility but has now been given over to olive groves, vines and figs. There is also the island of Sestrunj, crowned by the village of the same name, offering a great view of the archipelago.

[ IMAGE: a little harbour ]

The Island of Ugljan is the garden suburb of Zadar. It has been settled since Roman times, and the name derives from an abundance of oil. There are towns all along the 22 kilometre long island. The main centre and summer resort of Preko is also the ferry port. In front of the Jaz beach, known for its fine sand, lies the verdant islet of Skoljic, thick with pine and palm trees, a frequent target for swimmers. The Franciscan monastery there dates from the fifteenth century. The small island Osljak, covered by cypress trees also has an idyllic appearance. There is a small picturesque village of fishermen and sailors. Do not ask for anybody called Valcic. They're all called Valcic.

[ Croatia - the country of a thousand islands ]