Five kilometres south of Biograd and a short hop by local bus, PAKOŠTANE is an inoffensive little resort with a few stretches of pebbly beach next to its small harbour. There's a well-appointed Club Mediterran& resort on the northern outskirts, but little else to get excited about save for the presence of Lake Vrana (Vransko Jezero), the largest natural lake in Croatia, just 2km inland. This thirteen-kilometre-long, reed-shrouded stretch of water is especially popular with wading birds such as herons and ibises, alongside bullfinches, terns and (in winter) large numbers of ducks and coots. Now a nature reserve (Park prirode Vransko Jezero), the lake and its shores still support human activities such as farming, tourism and fishing, save for one area near the northwestern corner of the lake specifically designated as a strict ornithological reserve, due to the presence of a colony of purple herons.
The most accessible parts of the lake are on the northwestern shore, on either side of the strict reserve: here numerous farm tracks branch off the road from Pakošane, passing through dense reed beds towards the shore. The village of Vrana, straggling along the northern shoulder of the lake about 5km out from Pakoštane, was occupied by the Serbs in 1991-95 and still presents a disconcerting picture of ruin and reconstruction. In the sixteenth century it was one of the westernmost outposts of Ottoman power in the Adriatic, evidence of which exists in the shape of a derelict caravanseray, built in 1644 by order of local-born Jusuf Mogković, and reputedly the largest in Europe at the time.
There are two daily buses (one on Sundays) from Biograd to the northwestern end of the lake and Vrana village, although you could just as easily hike there in forty-five minutes from Pakoštane, which is served by much more frequent buses from Biograd and Zadar. Cycling is also an option: a map of biking routes round the lake is available from the tourist office in Biograd, and bikes can be rented for about 80Kn per day from the Ilirija agency in Biograd or from Cat, next to the bus stop in Pakoštane. Dalmaturist, on Trg Kraljice Jelene beside the church  can sort out private rooms in Pakoštane, and there's a campsite, the Crkvine, on the northern shore of Vrana Lake, complete with cafe-restaurant and a small stretch of beach. -Specializing in Cheap Flights F