Standing opposite Zadar, PREKO (literally "on the other side") is Ugljan's largest village, and feels very much like a dormitory suburb of Zadar — a quiet, unspectacular settlement, comprising a few residential streets and a small harbour. Locals swim from Jaz, a wide shallow bay 1km north of the harbour, or the rocky coast of Galevac (also known as Skoljic, or "little island"; accessible by taxi boat in season from the quayside in Preko), an islet 80m from the shore, where there's also a Franciscan monastery set in its own park. It was once the site of a Croatian-language printing press, moved here from Zadar in 1925 to escape Italianization, but there's little to see here now, although an exhibition of monastic treasures is under construction. The pleasant surrounding subtropical vegetation is like a little piece of Eden gone to seed. Overlooking the town to the west (and looking deceptively close) is the Fortress of St Michael (Tvrdava svetog Mihovila), an hour or so's walk along the road that heads uphill from the main island road on the western fringes of Preko.The fortress, which dates from 1203, was already largely ruined by the time the JNA — fearing it might be used as an observation post — shelled it in 1991.The views east to Zadar and west to the long, rippling form of Dugi otok — and, on a clear day, Ancona and the Italian coast — are marvellous.

Heading south, Preko runs gently into KALI, spread around a small hillock a kilometre or two down the coast. More immediately picturesque than Preko, Kali is also firmly committed to the local fishing industry, with trawlers crammed into the two harbours which stand on either side of its peninsula. There's little to do beyond wandering the pinched, sloping streets, although the sight of Kali's fishing boats setting sail into the evening twilight is an evocative one — something that you won't see in the more touristy islands further south.


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