During July and August, peak season on the Adriatic, beaches are packed and cafés lively. Consider traveling in June or September, when hotels are less crowded.
Most of the islands in this region have simple accommodations—a few unassuming hotels, family-run inns, and rooms or apartments for rent. It's easy to base yourself in a central port town, such as Zadar or Pag, and take day trips to the other islands using scheduled ferries (which should be booked well in advance during high season) or private boats.
The Croatian National Tourist Board (800/829-4416; www.htz.hr) is a good resource for planning itineraries and researching accommodations.
Hotel Pagus 1 Ante Starcevica, Pag; 385-23/611-310, fax 385-23/611-101; doubles from $50. This 70-room hotel is directly on the beach, just off Pag town's promenade.
Pension Skunca Lunjski Put, Novalja; 385-53/661-584; doubles from $31. A 10-minute stroll from the center of Novalja, this guesthouse has three apartments, all with balconies. The proprietors (relatives of the author) make their own olive oil, wine, and grappa.
Hotel Loza 1 Loza Trg, Novalja; 385-53/661-313, fax 385-53/661-326; doubles from $47. You'll forgive the limited amenities at this old-fashioned property if you get a room with a view of the harbor.
Kanjon Metajna; 385-98/785-505; lunch for two $12. A 15-minute drive from Novalja (follow the hand-painted signs).
3 Suns Caska beach; 385-53/661-339; dinner for two $15. Davor Skunca's konoba; dinner at sunset is recommended.
Hotel Kredo 5 Promenade Dr. Alfred Edler von Malussi-Montsole, Srebrna Uvala; 385-51/233-595; www.kre-do.hr; doubles from $40. A pink 19th-century residence converted to a 10-room hotel, on Silver Bay near Mali Losinj. It has a private beach and full amenities.
Bratomil Apartments 7 Gornja Ul., Rab; 385-51/724-688, fax 385-51/218-583; email@example.com; doubles from $34. This unpretentious old stone guesthouse sits above the sea, in the heart of Rab town.
Hotel International Rab; 385-51/724-266, fax 385-51/724-206; doubles from $49. A large, popular property on the harbor.
Hotel Imperial 2 Barakovic, Rab; 385-51/724-522, fax 385-51/724-126; doubles from $60. Another popular place, in a park some distance from the center of town.
Hotel Neptun-Istra and Hotel Karmen Brijuni National Park, Veli Brijun; 385-52/525-100, fax 385-52/212-110; www.np-brijuni.hr; doubles from $84 and $94. Both are right on the water, surrounded by pines, and have comfortable rooms and modern facilities.