Losinj, one of Croatia’s most attractive islands, is known for its beautiful green foliage. Its warm climate, diverse wildlife, and pleasant surroundings have earned it the nickname “Island of vitality”. The town of Mali Losinj is the largest town on both this island and neighboring Cres and has the most magnificent harbor in the Adriatic. Losinj is part of the Cres-Losinj Island group, which makes up the western part of the Kvarner Archipelago within the Kvarner Bay.
The best way to explore the island and truly enjoy it is by chartering a boat. Lucky for you, Nava charter has a new base in Pula, only 45 nm away from Losinj and one of the best stops on almost any sailing route in the North Adriatic.
Cres and Losinj used to be one island and only became two after the Romans dug the channel at Osor. Today, a swing bridge connects the islands, which form one geographical and traffic unit. Read more on Cres in our previous blog. With its addictive sea scents, densely lush forests, and Mediterranean plants, this northern Adriatic paradise transforms every vacation into a personal adventure.
The island of vitality
For those looking to sail around the Island of Losinj, there are numerous coves, ports, and anchorages all around the island. Certainly, you’ll find the perfect spot for enjoying its pristine beaches and stunning scenery. There are two larger settlements: Veli Losinj and Mali Losinj. Veli Losinj is considered to be the more tourist-oriented part of the island, while Mali Losinj offers a more relaxed atmosphere. Even though “Mali” implies small in Croatian, Mali Losinj is, in fact, larger than Veli Losinj. But, no matter which part of the Losinj island you visit, there are plenty of amazing places to explore.
This island is well-known not only for its natural beauty but also for its medical tourism. The air is of excellent quality and free of pollution. The climate is mild and Mediterranean with subtropical influences. There are more than 1200 plants on the island, 231 of which have medicinal purposes. That, plus the crystal clear sea with rich flora and fauna, are just some of the natural factors that determined the opening of the care center and climatic resort in Losinj back in the 19th century. It was Archduke Franz Ferdinand, who came to recover from stubborn tuberculosis, and made it a fashionable destination in the 1880s. Following that, many aristocrats built vacation homes and winter residences there.
Patients suffering from chronic respiratory diseases stayed in one of the chain hotels and private sanatoriums. In 1892 the towns of Mali and Veli Losinj officially became health resorts. Meteorological studies published in Vienna by Ambroz Haracic revealed the therapeutic effects of the mild microclimate. He was a teacher at the Maritime School in Mali Losinj. Together with the efforts of the Austrian balneologist and climate therapist Conrad Clar and the famous Viennese physician and university professor Leopold Schröter, they all promoted Losinj as a health resort. Moreover, the waters around the island of Losinj have over 262 species of algae. Many of these contain a number of important ingredients, and their application has many beneficial influences on human health.
What to see in Losinj
Above all, Losinj is the favorite island of dolphins in the Adriatic. They are the other main attraction on this small island.
While sailing around this area of the Adriatic coast, there is a good chance that you will run into dolphins. They are extremely playful and will certainly attract your attention. So, an interesting place to visit at Veli Losinj is surely Blue World Institute where you can learn everything about dolphins and even make a donation in form of adopting a dolphin. Learn more in our previous blog on dolphins in the Adriatic.
Dolphin Day is August 7 in Veli Losinj. This traditional event has taken place since 1993 with the association for the exploration and protection of the sea “Blue World”. The organization has been studying the underwater life, ecology, and social structure of the dolphin community that lives in the sea between the islands of Cres and Lošinj for the past 30 years.
Museum of Apoxyomenos
This museum is a dedication to the island’s “hero”. The Apoxyomenos is a magnificent bronze statue depicting a Greek athlete after an intense effort. A Belgian diver accidentally discovered this masterpiece of ancient sculpture (from the 2nd century BC) off the island in 1999. With its impeccable scenography, it is the star attraction of this young museum. It has been meticulously preserved and carefully restored. The Apoxyomenos Museum actually displays only one artifact. The unique archaeological find of the Adriatic has a truly fascinating story. The museum opened its doors in May 2016 in the Kvarner Palace, in the heart of Mali Losinj. Nearly 20 years after the discovery and after an impressive world tour, the “hero” returned to the island, and to the Museum created especially for him. This beautiful antique sculpture has become the symbol and trademark of Losinj.
The Apoxyomenos’ timeless beauty, surprising and intriguing story, and unique museum setting have not gone unnoticed! There are only 8 known Apoxyomenos on Earth, and the one in Losinj is the best preserved of them all. He is only missing his left pinky finger.
Nerezine is a village that evolved from farm labor and sheep herding to a fishing and maritime settlement with a shipyard. The shipyard was famous for its skilled workers and wooden ship construction. The historic dockyard is still working, and there are ambitious plans for a new marina in the future. Enjoy delicious food in different restaurants like Televerin. This restaurant offers only two of the island’s specialties: freshly caught fish and lamb, but they also have a vegetarian option.
What to try on Losinj
Losinj cuisine has Mediterranean influences therefore you will mainly find fish, seafood, and lamb but also vegetables and fruit grown locally. If you are interested in fine dining, we recommend visiting Alfred Keller restaurant in Mali Losinj. It features modern, unique, and flawlessly balanced meals. Moreover, it has a Michelin star, so it’s definitely worth the visit.
And while in Mali Losinj, you should also try out local food in the restaurant Rosemary and Bocca Vera located next to the sea. We would also recommend Bora bar at Veli Losinj where you can taste some sea specialties and some cocktails.
Hiking, biking & more
All around the archipelago, there is a large network of walking paths and promenade trails. An island tour on a bike is also a great to explore the island and stay active.
Snorkeling or diving in the historic underwater park in Cikat bay is educational and fun. 11 replicas are at the depth of 5 – 15 meters. They include 1500s cannons, ancient amphorae, anchors, machine guns from World War II, plus Venetian cannons. Take a dive into the past and matters of commerce, warfare, life and death. The star of the dive is, of course, a replica of the Apoxyomenos.
The park is open for all licensed divers from 1st May until 30th October daily from 8 AM until 6 PM. Because of the fairly shallow waters, even people without any diving experience can dive here when taking part in the “Discovery Dive” program. Only children older than 12 can participate in the program.
If you are feeling even more adventurous you can try parachuting from the airport!
Beaches on Losinj Island
Located on the southwest side of the Losinj island, Uvala Engleza (the Bay of the English) is a beautiful and peaceful bay. With its impressive coastline and rich wildlife, it is no surprise that it has become one of the most popular locations for sailing in Losinj. Enjoy the serene atmosphere of Uvala Engleza with its hidden coves and lush nature while exploring the many stunning sights. The bay is home to several different species of birds and marine life and offers a great opportunity to explore the local fauna in its natural habitat.
When sailing to the Losinj island, be sure to include a stop at Meli beach. Located on the eastern side of the island, Meli beach is a picturesque oasis of sun and sand. With white sand and crystal clear waters, this beach is a perfect place to relax and enjoy some sunshine. The shallow waters of Meli beach make it a great spot for swimming, snorkeling, and other water activities.
Krivica beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Losinj. Certainly, it should be part of every cruise. It is best to enjoy it from the deck of your boat that you chartered at Nava’s base in Pula. The vast sandy beach and crystal clear water will welcome you with open arms. If you are lucky enough, it is possible to stumble upon a fallow deer in the beach.
Next on the list of places that you should visit when cruising around Losinj is certainly Borik beach. It is a beautiful pebble beach facing the west, so it has absolutely stunning sunsets during the summer months.
Berthing and anchoring options
Yachts visiting Mali Losinj have three main berthing options: Marina Losinj and Mali Losinj Marina on the northeast side of the inlet in the approaches to the old harbour, and Yacht Club Marina at the head of the inlet in the old harbour.
There are smaller harbors at Nerezine, Veli Losinj, Sveti Martin and Rovenska on the east coast. But they have very limited space for larger boats, so we recommend the first 3 options.
If you want to explore all the beauties of Losinj, we suggest anchoring in some of the following coves:
It is one of the most visited anchorages in Losinj area. This cove provides good shelter from all winds except strong southerlies when strong katabatic gusts are possible. The holding is good in sand and the depths range from 4 – 10 meters.
Wooded and attractive surroundings make this place quiet and romantic. But you must bear in mind that this anchorage is exposed to the Bora.
This picturesque anchorage is a great place to visit when in Losinj. But, you should be careful if staying there overnight as the cove is exposed to the south and strong gusts from the hill.
Another worth-to-visit cove often visited by the smaller boats and yachts. Depths are between 4 and 8 meters and this anchorage provides good shelter from most winds except the Bora.
Set your sails
Now that you have all the basic information, it’s time to arrange your sailing. Select one of the excellent boats we have in our charter base in Pula and sail away towards the island Losinj and Kvarner archipelago.