Lying at the island's southern end, and connected by frequent bus to KrkTovm, BASKA is set in a wide bay ringed by stark mountains. At the heart of a rapidly modernizing town lies the kind of fishing village that wouldn't look out of place in Brittany or Cornwall , a tangle of crooked alleyways and colourful houses perched on a steep slope facing the sea. Baska's star attraction, however, is its two-kilometre stretch of beach, a mixture of sand and fine shingle that from a distance looks like a long crescent of demerara sugar - not that you'll be able to appreciate this in July and August, however, when its entire surface is covered with parasols, beach towels, and pinky-hued north Europeans contentedly roasting themselves in the sun. Despite its popularity, it's undoubtedly one of the best beaches in the Adriatic, and the view from here - embracing the bare offshore island of Prvić and the Velebit mountains in the background - is dramatic whatever the time of year. In season, taxi boats shuttle bathers to and from the shingle coves of Prvic, or to the succession of bays east of Baška - of which long, shallow Vela Luka is the most alluring.

Twenty minutes' walk inland from Baška (back along the main road to Krk), St Lucy's Church (Crkva svete Lucije) in the village of JURANDVOR is the site of one of Croatian archeology's most important discoveries: the inscription known as the Beata tablet (Baščanska ploca). Recording a gift to the church from the eleventh-century King Zvonimir, the tablet is the first mention of a Croatian king in the Croatian language and the oldest surviving text in the Glagolitic script. The original tablet is now in the Croatian Academy of Arts and Sciences in Zagreb, but there's a replica inside the church, and most places on the island seem to have sprouted copies.

Heading west from Jurandvor, a minor road leads to the hillside village of BATOMALJ, lkm away, the starting point for the path across the mountains to Stara Baška. The walk takes about three hours, rising steeply before skirting the 482-metre peak ofVeli Hlam - it's well maintained and marked in either direction, although the going can be tough in wind or rain. -Specializing in Cheap Flights F