Island of Losinj, Croatia
Mali Losinj is the archipelago's most important city. It is situated within the largest inlet of the whole archipelago, which appears more as a fjord rather than a bay: the Augustus Valley (name derived directly from that of the Roman Emperor). It was here that the tourist industry first took root during the late 19th century: prior to this a century earlier, the area was famed for the opening of the shipbuilding works and dock yards.
Today despite its name, Mali Losinj with its 8,668 inhabitants is the largest city of all the Adriatic islands. Following the changes brought about with the passage from sailing vessels to motor boats, these small seaside cities were also transformed. Luckily however, these changes had a positive economic impact on the islands.
The island's mild climate was also found to have a favourable effect on its inhabitants and in turn initially heralded health and therapeutic sojourns and later purely tourist orientated holidays.
Today Mali Losinj is known and loved in all the European holiday circuits, proof of which comes from the numerous holiday makers that flood into the area every year. Nearby you will find many of the island's most beautiful inlets and beaches, the wonderful Cikat, the charming Suncana uvala (Sun Valley) and the magnificent Valdarche. An unforgettable image of the area will be impressed upon you when landing or taking off from the nearby airport.
The city centre and many of its beautiful villas date around the 19th century, when during the city's most glorious period its naval facilities were developed and its inhabitants lived a life of luxury. This naval spirit is still today alive and can be felt in every house and within many of our sailors still loyal to age old traditions and who have brought to the area both modern and ancient objects from the world over.
During the summer, when the area of Mali Losinj is invaded by hoards of tourists, this sea faring spirit softens and a new city spirit takes over, one of bars, restaurants, cafés, tourist agencies, hotels, motor boats and all that makes the visiting tourist more welcome.
Veli Losinj is situated inside a narrow valley in the south-east of the Island of Losinj, on the slopes of mount Sv Ivan (St John). With its 994 inhabitants it is the archipelago's third most inhabited centre.
The houses dotted along the port and the sumptuous array of villas with their beautiful gardens are Veli Losinj's main characteristic feature. Along the sea front looms the bell tower and the parish church dedicated to Saint Anthony Abbot, lavishly adorned with Baroque style decorations.
A vast range of tourist options including festivals, shows, sports, cultural and artistic events assure visitors to the area both a joyful and relaxing vacation.
This small group of picturesque houses is set in a bay, well protected by a dam just a short distance from Veli Losinj; the village is inhabited by fishermen: of note here is the small port, the area where fishing boats are repaired and a charming restaurant, where fish dishes prepared according to age old recipes can be savoured. A small group of minor islands surround Mali Losinj, these can be reached by means of a local ferry service: below is a short note of some of the most interesting of these centres.
This village set at the foot of Mount Osor is the island of Losinj's most northern settlement: the village itself gathers around the 16th century Franciscan church and is surrounded by dense verdant vegetation where fields of olive trees spread towards the open sea. Nearby is the picturesque centre of Sveti Jakov and the village of Cunski. Here the inhabitants range from farmers to able shipbuilders: visitors to the area are welcomed in two tourist villages, two campsites, restaurants and in the many private rooms that can be easily hired out.
Mount Osor can be reached from both the city of Osor and from the village of Nerezine, standing at a height of 588 metres above sea level (Telavrin peak) and is by far the highest of the whole archipelago.
A particularly gruelling trek will take visitors to its summit. Numerous grottoes open out along the mount's flanks. It is said to be of good luck to conserve a pebble found in the Grotto of San Gaudenzio.
The journey up to the top of the mount is a tough one, but the effort is paid off a thousand times when admiring the stunning view that opens out before you. The road to the summit has been used over the centuries by pilgrims eager to reach the church dedicated to San Nicolò: this characteristic sanctuary dedicated to the patron Saint of sailors is in fact located on the very top of the mountain.
Unije is a island formed from calcareous rock, just north-west of Mali Losinj, covered in dense low lying vegetation typical of the Mediterranean sea. This island features just a single village, where its inhabitants are dedicated fishermen and farmers: currently the tourist trade is taking hold of the island, favoured by the area's clear sea waters and beautiful pebble beaches. Numerous small bays and inlets are ideal mooring points, while the village includes a post office and two restaurants.
It is also possible to rent private rooms within the village.
Completely made of sand layers (which can reach a height of 98 metres), the island of Susak has been inhabited in since ancient times. The islanders settled here around the convent of San Nicolò during the 11th century and later spread over the rest of the island, forming a handful of smaller villages all with their own dialects, traditions and usage due to the difficulty of access to the mainland and other nearby islands. Today the island is linked to the others by daily ferries, however, Susak's islanders still prefer to continue their unique traditions and cultures which are an added element of interest to visitors to the area. Susak's territory is characterised by the vast vineyards planted on terraces.
South of Mali Losinj is a small constellation of islands where Benedictine monks erected a monastery: San Pietro ai Nembi. Although the monastery was erected during the 11th century, these islands were lived in prior to this date. Opposite the island where the monastery stands is Ilovik, which was once also owned by the monks of the monastery and where they introduced agricultural and farming activities. Today the island boasts a single village and its inhabitants still today are dedicated farm workers, irrigating their fields with fresh water collected in numerous vats dug out of the ground. Set in-between the two islands is a long natural canal, which is a safe port for fishermen and sailors alike.