"Laid deep into the sea at the outer rim of the Kvarner Bay and positioned among Pula, Rijeka and Zadar, the island of Losinj first earned its glory on the sea, through the maritime commerce in the times of sail-driven boats, and then on shore, with the arrival of the first tourists looking for the «warm south» and health, almost 130 years ago, when – thanks to the scientific work of Ambroz Haračić, a professor at the famous Maritime College in Mali Lošinj – the Austro-Hungarian physicians discovered the healing capacity of the Lošinj climate. At the times when the crisis of sail-driven boats reached its peak, the Lošinj seamen and shipowners quickly adopted to the circumstances and got involved in the development of a new industry – wellness tourism" (I. Dlaka, The History of Wellness Tourism, Lošinj – the Island of Vitality – Wellness Tourism and Natural Healing Factors of the Lošinj Area, Mali Lošinj, 2013, p. 18; our translation). Living this tradition, the Lošinjians are still proud to present their island as the "Island of vitality".
Sveti Jakov (St. James) is the smallest village on the island of Lošinj, located amongst three pictoresque bays. The abundance of typical Lošinj vegetation (olive, figue, almond and citrus trees) gives a special Mediterranean dimension to the village. The nearby fishermen town of Nerezine, dominated by the belltower of the Franciscan church and monastery, is well known for its shipyard and builders of wooden vessels. The old shipyard is still in operation.
At the end of the 14th century, there simultaneously appear Big Village (Velo Selo) and Small Village (Malo Selo), today's Veli Lošinj (Big Lošinj) and Mali Lošinj (Small Lošinj). The two settlements were founded around the first Romanic churches (St. Nichollas at Veli Lošinj and St. Martin in Mali Lošinj), and continued to develop one towards the other. The blooming of maritime commerce and shipbuilding in the 17th century brought about various private and public buildings, and amongst them the beautiful parich church of St. Anthony the Abbot at Veli Lošinj, hosting a valuable art collection. Nowadays, Veli Lošinj is the seat of the "Blue World", an institution dedicated to preservation of the Adriatic dolphins. With the completion of a special museum, Mali Lošinj will soon become the resting place of the famous Apoxiomenos, an ancient statue found at the seabed off the island of Lošinj, depicting an athlete caught in an act of scraping dust and sweat from his body. But what makes these two towns so special is the beautiful Mediterranean nature and climate, which justifies all the flattering epithets connected to the island.
At the very point where the island of Lošinj meets the island of Cres (the two once made a single island, but were separated by a navigational channel), the town of Osor was set up during the ancient times. Some remains of the monumental city walls and buildings built at that time still exist. During the early Middle Ages, Osor became an important strategic basis of the Byzantium.
Osor lost its significance with the Venetian occupation, and its role was gradually taken by the town of Cres. The ancient city center of Cres, including the city walls with five towers and several city gates, was formed before the end of the Venetian rule in the Adriatic. In addition to gothic and rennssaince churches, there are numerous pallaces built by noble families. The town of Cres used to be a significant commercial and cultural centre in the Adriatic. It is the birthplace of Frane Petrić, a famouns renneissance philosopher.
The island of Cres is the largest island in the Adriatic. It is famous for its incredible bio- diversity. It is the only island in the Adriatic with a fresh water lake (the Vrana Lake).
Apart from the town of Cres, other towns on the island are rather small and almost uninhabitated. Amongst them is the town of Lubenice, a pearl of rural architecture, which is included in the UNESCO List of World Heritage. Another village worth mentioning is Beli, the seat of "Caput Insulae", an institution dedicated to the preservation of the griffon vulture.
The authentic rural atmosphere and the most stunning view at the archipelago belong to the village of Vidovići. It is the setting for a romantic tale of a vanished bride, which is traditionally told to the visitors over a glass o wine when they set foot on a "gumno", an ancient terrace with a spectacular view, once used to grind wheat.
HOW TO REACH US
Two automobile routes lead to the islands of Cres and Lošinj. One is through the Istrian peninsula, and the other is via the island of Krk. The route through Istria goes to Brestova ferry terminal. The ride takes about 20 minutes.
The route via the island of Krk involves a passage over a bridge from the mainland to the island of Krk. At the island of Krk there is Valbiska ferry terminal.The ride takes about 25 minutes.
Timetables and online tickets: http://www.jadrolinija.hr
Sveti Jakov is located on the main road (D-100) leading to Mali Lošinj. The exit for Sveti Jakov is clearly indicated on the road signs.
To Vidovići: Driving along the main road to Mali Lošinj (D-100), at Hrasta take a right turn to Martinšćica. Once in Martinšćica, follow the road signs for the Slatina auto camp. From that road, take a right turn at the sign for Vidovići, and a narrow local road, about 2 km long, will take you up the hill to Vidovići.
During the summer, European Coastal Airlines maintains seaplane flights between Mali Lošinj and several cities (Rijeka, Pula, Split, Zadar, Ancona). Timetable: http://www.ec-air.eu/en/timetable
APPROXIMATE DISTANCES – SVETI JAKOV:
Airports: Munich - 640 km; Vienna - 590 km; Venice - 320 km; Zagreb - 250 km; Ljubljana - 225 km; Trieste - 210 km; Pula - 200 km; Rijeka (Krk) - 70 km; Mali Lošinj (Ćunski) - 8 km
Ferries: Merag (54 km); Porozina (61 km)
APPROXIMATE DISTANCES – VIDOVIĆI:
Airports: Munich - 630 km; Vienna - 580 km; Venice - 310 km; Zagreb - 240 km; Ljubljana - 215 km; Trieste - 200 km; Pula - 190 km; Rijeka (Krk) - 60 km; Mali Lošinj (Ćunski) 47 km
Ferries: Merag - 43 km; Porozina - 53 km
SISTERS HOMES RECOMMENDS
WHAT TO DO
Take a pleasant trekking tour to the Mount Osoršćica (peak – Televrin, 588 meters above the sea), and enjoy a spectacular view of the entire Lošinj archipelago, the Istrian peninsula, as well as the Mount Velebit and beyond. Along the way, visit the deserted village of Trzic, or the cave where St. Gaudentious used to withdraw for meditation. In 1887, Rudolph Habsburg climbed the mountain.
Adopt a dolphin at the Blue World Institute at Veli Losinj, running a scientific and educational program aimed at protection of dolphins. By paying a modest contribution to their costs, visitors can symbolically “adopt a dolphin”. There is a dolphin protection area off Veli Losinj, the first of the kind in the Mediterranean. Enquiries: +385 51 604 666. www.plavi-svijet.org
Visit the Museum of Apoxyomenos, a unique architectural piece that celebrates one of the world's most beautiful ancient Hellenistic sculptures by combining all senses and impressions. Meet Apoxyomenos eye to eye. www.muzejapoksiomena.hr
Visit the Fragrant Island Garden, and enjoy the scents of Losinj island herbs. Almost all kinds of herbs that grow on the island are planted here: orange, tangerine, sage, myrtle, lemon, lavender, rosemary and many other herbs. This splendor of so many fragrances in one place is simply intoxicating and it makes you breathe deep and take in as much as you can and enjoy.You can try and buy wonderful island herbal products, various liqueurs, scented candles, spa products, various kinds of tea, etc. Enquiries: +385 98 326 519. www.miomirisni-vrt.hr
Take an airplane sightseeing tour from the local airport of Ćunski. The tour provides spectacular views of the islands of Lošinj, Susak, Unije and Srakane(enquiries: +385 98 368361).
Take a day trip to the island of Susak, a sand island off the south coast of Lošinj. There is a large shallow lacuna where the sea gets hot at noon. The island’s population (called the Sansegos, the Greek word for “oregano”) largely emmigrated to the United States (mostly to Hoboken) after WWII.
Take a day trip to the island of Ilovik, the “island of flowers”. There is a regular boat line from the southernmost point of Lošinj to Ilovik, taking only 10 minutes (www.agencija-zolpp.hr). Or take a boat trip from Mali Lošinj (this service is offered by many providers; see www.tz-malilosinj.hr)
Take a day trip to the island of Unije, the “island of architecture”. The island owes this nickname to the fine display of authentic residential architecture typical for the islands of Cres and Lošinj. This is why this island is popular amongst architects, who organize workshops in Unije from time to time. Have a stroll through the small streets and alleys, or have a swim in the pristine white blue see in the Unije bay.
Take one of the pleasant trekking tours, rich with Mediterranean scents, from Vidovići to the villages of Lubenice or Grmov and beyond.
Beach “Mali Bok” near Orlec.
The most beautiful secluded beach you can visit! Go very early in the morning before the crowds and you will have a simply magical experience, especially if you see Griffin vultures hovering above you, as they often are here
Have a swim at one of the beautiful white pebble beaches in Martinšćica or a neighbouring Slatina camp.
Visit the nearby "Oil House" by Guerino Kučić in Martinšćica, famous for its traditional essence oils, olive oil and home-made food products (enquiries: +385 98 259441).
Take a trip to Beli, a small village located at the north-eastern part of the Cres island, and walk the 12-km eco-path, marking some of the typical natural and historic features of the island.
Rent a sailing yacht at ACI Marina Cres, and enjoy the beauties of the Cres Bay and the nearby islands. Enquiries: +385 51 571 622; www.aci.hr
Take a day trip to Rijeka (three times a week, a high-speed passenger liner leaves Martinšćica in the morning and returns in the afternoon; enquiries: www.krilo.hr), the commercial and cultural center of the entire region. A town with a long and turbulent history (held by the Romans, the Francs, the local dukes, the Hungarians, the French, the Italians). Once divided between two countries (Italy and Kingdom of Jugoslavia). The birthplace of torpedo. Once home to the first sugar factory in the Balkans. Croatia’s largest commercial port.
WHERE TO EAT
“Baracuda” (Resevations: +385 51 233 309), located in the port of Mali Losinj, serving quality seafood
“Deveron” (Reservations: +385 51 238 510), located in the port of Mali Lošinj, serving quality seafood
"Za Kantuni" (Reservations: +385 52 231 840; www.losinia.hr), located in the port of Mali Lošinj, serving island's native cuisine based on the old island recipies
“Bocca Vera” (Reservations: +385 51 238 511; www.boccavera.com), located in the port of Mali Losinj, serving all sorts of good food
“Cigale” (Reservations: +385 51 238 583), located in the pine trees at the coast of Čikat bay, one of the most beautiful parts of Mali Lošinj, serving mainly quality seafood
“Bora Bar” (Reservations: +385 51 867 544; www.borabar.com), located in Rovenska, a charming small fishermen village next to Veli Lošinj. The restaurant is run by an Italian chef who decided to move to Lošinj and show his culinary imagination to the local guests.
WHERE TO GO
Town of Osor – at the point where the island of Cres meets the island of Lošinj, the “little eternal town” of Osor was founded thousands of years ago. At the time the town was populated by Greek colonists, the islands of Cres and Lošinj made a single island called Apsyrtides. In order to facilitate the intense maritime traffic, a channel was dug in Osor (then Apsorros), dividing the island in two. Since then, the town prospered as a commercial and religious center. There is a beautiful 15th century cathedral with a façade made of shining white stone, hosting a classical music festival (“Osorske glazbene večeri”) every summer. There is an interesting archeological museum, displaying some of the many items found in the vicinity. Some excavation and conservation work is still in progress in the town.
Town of Mali Lošinj – a famous tourist destination, offering an array of tourist attractions, including the statue of Apoxyomenos (the Scraper; 2nd century B.C.), representing an athlete caught in the act of scrapping sweat and dust from his body with a small curved instrument. It was found at the sea bed off the island of Lošinj in 1996. In the spring of 2016, a unique Museum of Apoxyomenos was opened, where the statue has found its final resting place.
Town of Veli Lošinj – Although named “Lošinj the Big” (as opposed to Mali Lošinj, i.e. “Lošinj the Small”), the town of Veli Lošinj is much smaller than the town of Mali Lošinj. It is a cute fishermen village with a beautiful and colorful port, dominated by a church. It is also home to a climate treatment institution, due to its exceptionally favourable climate.
Town of Nerezine – a place to go and have a cup of coffee, buy food and newspapers. It has a charming little port, where you can have your coffee directly on the quay, and enjoy the view of the boats in the port and the Mount Velebit in the distance.
Town of Cres – located in the middle of a beautiful deep pristine-water bay, surrounded with olive yards, the ancient town of Cres used to be a center of commerce and culture in the medieval times. Its code of laws, called the “Cres Statute”, is one of the oldest statutes at the eastern part of the Adriatic. The birthplace of Frane Petrić, famous renaissance philosopher.Home to the Crescendo Jazz Festival in the summer.
Town of Lubenice – located on a high cliff overlooking the sea, with one of the island’s most beautiful beaches lying beneath, the small town of Lubenice was founded by Roman army deserters. Home to a classical music festival (“Lubeničke glazbene večeri”) in the summer. There is a charming ethnological museum.