The healthy effects of its sea breezes, clean water and 2,600 hours of annual sunshine makes Lošinj one of the Adriatic's most desirable destinations. Activity centres around two towns with misleading labels. Mali Lošinj, ‘Small Lošinj’, is the bigger settlement, about four kilometres from quaint little Veli Lošinj, ‘Great Lošinj’ Mali Lošinj, the largest island town in the Adriatic, with a population of 7,000, is set around a long, wide harbour, lined with Habsburg-era facades. Strolling from one end of the harbour to the other takes 20 minutes – it’s a nice waterside lined with great hotels, restaurants and bars.
RECOMMENDED: More things to do in Lošinj.
Brilliant things to do in Lošinj
Bellevue Spa Clinic offers the most up-to-date facilities for health and wellness, their renowned treatments and programmes hand tailored to suit individual needs. Now widely recognised, cryotherapy is used by some of the world’s top athletes to relieve muscle pain, sprains and swelling after the soft tissue damage caused by exercise. It is also extremely effective in healing damaged skin. Bellevue Spa Clinic’s Cryochamber is the only facility of its kind on the island, its rejuvenating properties and cool temperatures a stark contrast to the heat of the sun outside and the damage it causes to your skin.
Ask any chef from northern Spain where the best steak meat comes from and you’ll not find one to tell you it comes from a young or pampered animal. Their world renowned steaks come from aged, working cattle. And so it was in Istria, where the boškarin breed was the tra-ditional working cow of ancient agri-culture. Having almost disappeared from the fields of Croatia, although their work was easily replaced by machines, the taste of their meat was missed. Now bred purely for this purpose, these cattle now supply the best beef for the finest restaurants in Croatia and nowhere on Lošinj is this beef better experienced than on the sunny terrace, overlooking the sea at Diana Steakhouse in Čikat.
Japan and Croatia don’t frequently get placed in the same sentence. Unless, that is, you’re reading one of the many rave reviews written about fusion restaurant Matsunoki since it opened on Lošinj in 2018. The Adriatic’s superbly fresh seafood lends itself well to the pristine construction and presentation of its sushi, other delicacies like Slavonian black pig are served more traditionally or with a Japanese bent. Elsewhere on the all-organic menu you’ll find truffles from Istria, locally-reared duck and a wine list that would be difficult to beat anywhere in the country. The food is served in an ultra-modern environment comprised of low, comfortable seating, exquisitely designed with the sushi chefs, their craftsmanship and fresh ingredients on clear display before the diners.
If you don’t fancy a dip in the sea or the on-site pool and the nearby bike and scooter rental doesn’t appeal, one of the best ways to exert yourself on this strip of Lošinj coastline is a run through the surrounding trails. Dense pine woods surround the area and through these are well worn trails used as short cuts by locals and visitors. They offer not only a shaded route through the wilderness of this seaside strip, but also excellent vistas of the sea. The strong and calming scent of pine accompanies you along your run.
Boutique Hotel Alhambra is often claimed by many of its past guests to be the best hotel on the Adriatic and it’s certainly one of the most romantic. And the service is second to none. The building itself has been around since the times that the island was under the jurisdiction of the Austro-Hungarian empire and so well stocked in exclusive and elusive rarities is the hotel’s wine cellar that you could easily think it is a remnant from the times European royalty would have drank here. The finest international wines and the very finest vintages thereof are available and the on-site sommelier will offer an honest and informed guide to make your special meal a truly unforgettable experience. The hotel also offers special wine-orientated masterclasses run by prestigious wineries.
The trails around Vitality Hotel Punta make for a great run, but if the pounding of feet doesn’t appeal while you’re on holiday, the pines around the hotel and that of Hotel Bellevue also offer the perfect place to practice your tennis. With Croatia hosting the ATP Open in Umag and producing several champion players in recent years, the sport of tennis is a big deal here. As a result, the country holds a plethora of great places to play. Few of them, however, can compete with the experience of playing under the shade of the pines here. Play to win or just pass the time, tennis beneath the pines is a worthwhile pursuit whatever the level of your game is.
Begun in 1450 and completed as it stands today in 1774, construction of the tall, pink Church of St Anthony was funded by members of the local fishing community. It is a beautiful addition to the harbourside in Veli Lošinj, displaying a Baroque style throughout but in particular in the seven Baroque altars and works by Italian masters contained within. It has held painting collections for many years and boasts the island's grandest collection. You should especially look out for the main altar where you will find a marble antependium of the Last Supper by Albertino da Pirano and the church ceiling. The church is open on Sunday for Mass and at that time you can also catch paintings by B. Vivarini, B. Strozzi, L. Quaren, F. Hayez and L. del Cossa and F. Polenzo.
Iconic. It's the only word to describe the Apoxyomenos statue. If it looks familiar, it's because the beautiful statue has been copied and variations made of it for many centuries. Nobody can claim that this is the original, but the dating of the statue since its 1999 discovery, off the coast of Lošinj, proves that this is the earliest surviving example in such great condition. The purpose-built museum which houses the statue is definitely worth seeing because of its informative display, cinema room, and the building's psychedelic, boundary-pushing design.
Laterna’s outdoor terrace sits on a rockface above the open sea, perfuming the breeze with aroma of a smoky wooden grill. The unbeatable sunset views, accompanied by a mandolin-strumming musician, makes Lanterna the most romantic table on the island. The fantastic food deftly matches the view, an Adriatic-inspired menu featuring local lamb, juicy cuts of steak and organic vegetables grown nearby on the island of Cres. It’s all grilled right before your eyes, of course, as you gaze over the sunset panorama.
Some brilliant beaches on Mali Lošinj, such as Vela Draga and Veli Žal, can get pretty busy. But you always have the option of setting out in search of something more quiet, isolated and wild. Hiring a canoe or small boat is a brilliant way to cruise around the coastline in search of a private cove and there are many to be discovered. Take a packed lunch onto the boat, decamp on a beach you like and eat in the cooling shade and wonderful fragrance of the pine trees behind the beach.