Sunday, September 18, 2022

10+ Artsy & Cool Reasons to Visit Valencia, Spain

Centro Historico
By Jacquelin Carnegie 
Valencia is one of those "hidden gems" worth discovering on your next trip to Spain. Just a few hours south of Barcelona, Valencia is a charming small city with stunning architecture and friendly people on Spain's Mediterranean coast. In addition to all the city has to offer, it's situated in the region of Valencia (Comunitat Valenciana), which has everything from mountain retreats to popular beach resorts. The weather in the area is splendid spring, summer, and fall, so almost anytime is a good time to visit.
DISCOVER THE BEAUTY OF THE CITY: ARCHITECTURE & NEIGHBORHOODS
Spain's third largest city has a fascinating history. As a result, Valencia is a beautiful mélange of architectural marvels from Romanesque façades to castle-like Gothic structures, to ornate Baroque residences, and Modernist buildings from the city's expansion, beginning in the late 19th century.
Cathedral, Plaza de la Virgen
Walking & Bike Tours (Valencia Guias, Tel: +34 963 851 740; www.valenciaguias.com): One of the pure joys of being in Valencia is simply walking or, if you prefer, biking around and exploring all the neighborhoods. The experience is richer when accompanied by a knowledgeable guide. Marvel at all the wonderful examples of architectural styles within the  Centro Histórico (Historic Center), including the Ciutat Vella (Old Town), and El Carmen area, formally rundown but now flourishing with restaurants, clubs, and nightlife. When the walls surrounding Valencia’s old town were demolished in 1865, a new neighborhood was created--admire the elegant, Modernist buildings in Ensanche and check out Ruzafa, a working-class, ethnically-diverse section, that is becoming the city's hippest area.
Mercado Central
VALENCIA'S FOOD SPECIALTIES
The Valencia region is famous for its produce such as oranges and rice and wonderful food including Spain's most famous dish, Paella, and a local drink, Horchata.
Restaurant Week (Cuina Oberta) - Twice a year in spring and fall. With more than 50 restaurants participating, it's a great time to eat some Paella, said to originate from Valencia. Here, the pan of saffron-flavored rice is served with chunks of rabbit, chicken, snails, and vegetables (not seafood). Enjoy some at Palace Fesol (7 Hernán Cortés).
Horchatería Santa Catalina (6 Plaza de Santa Catalina; www.horchateriasantacatalina.com) Try this typical Valencian snack: Horchata, a cold, creamy, sweet drink made from chufas (tiger nuts), often served with Fartons, pastries covered with powdered sugar.
Mercado Central (Plaza Ciudad de Brujas; http://bit.ly/1oUSYe3) One of the largest food markets in Europe, it's a stunning example of Modernist architecture. Built in 1914, locals still buy groceries here.
Mercado de Colón (19 Calle Jorge Juan; www.mercadocolon.es) Another beautiful Modernist structure, this former food market opened in 1916. Today, it's an upscale mall with shops, cafes, and interesting restaurants such as Ma Khin Café. Concerts are also held in the atrium.
Original CV - Shop at one of these stores (or online) for authentic, Valencian food & gift items to bring home.
FANTASTICAL FESTIVALS
Las Fallas
Valencia is also famous for its exceptional festivals throughout the year. Here are two of the zaniest: Las Fallas (March) - Huge Ninots (puppets) depicting satirical scenes--often mocking politicians and celebrities--are filled with fireworks and set on fire. In addition to the pyrotechnics, the weeklong extravaganza includes bullfights, parades, contests, and general merriment. La Tomatina (August) - This tomato-throwing contest, in the nearby town of Buñol, began in 1945. Now, this crazy tradition is a weeklong festival with music, parades, dancing, a big Paella cook-off, and fireworks. (Advanced tickets required.)
PAST, PRESENT & FUTURE
Valencia was founded by the Romans in 138 BC, occupied by Muslims for hundreds of years, then became part of the medieval kingdom of Aragon in 1238. During the 15th century, it was one of the most important Mediterranean cities. Today, the city's past is present as it moves into the future. Here's just a few of the wondrous sites to be visited: 
Museo Arqueológico de La Almoina (Plaza de La Almoina; http://bit.ly/190Xl1S) This museum, on the site where Valencia was founded, offers an exploration of the city's history through excavated ruins from various periods. Archaeological finds include Roman baths, Visigoth tombs, and a Moorish courtyard.
Lonja de la Seda (Silk Exchange)
La Lonja de la Seda (8-9 Plaza del Mercado; http://bit.ly/1M4LPBM)
This splendid Gothic-style mercantile palace was built in the 15th century to symbolize Valencia's wealth and power. Merchants came from all over to trade here--oil, then silk, followed by agricultural products. Now, it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Plaza de Toros (28 Calle de Xàtiva; www.torosvalencia.com) Bullfights (corridas) still take place in Valencia. If that's not your thing, the beautiful Plaza de Toros amphitheater, built in 1859, is also used as a concert venue. Take a tour of the ring and adjacent museum.
City of Arts & Sciences
Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències (Avenida Autopista del Saler; Tel: +34 902 100 031; cac.es) Designed by native-son, architect Santiago Calatrava, the stunning City of Arts & Sciences is a 21st-century, architectural marvel. The complex includes: Museo de las Cièncias Príncipe Felipe - a family-friendly science museum; Oceanografic - a marine park & one of Europe’s largest aquariums; Hemisfèric - Auditorium & Planetarium; Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía - a spectacular opera house; Umbracle - a beautiful, covered garden. Plan plenty of time to explore it all.
Palau de la Música (30 Paseo de la Alameda; www.palaudevalencia.com) Valencia's concert hall is known for its wonderful acoustics. Some of the most prestigious orchestras in the world perform here.
SENSATIONAL CERAMICS
Arturo Mora ceramics
The region of Valencia is renowned for ceramics. In addition to these museums, be sure to visit the nearby, world-famous-for-ceramics town of Manises.
Museo Nacional de Cerámica de Valencia González Martí (2 Poeta Querol; http://bit.ly/1DnHGEV) Housed in a beautiful, 15th-century palace, the museum traces the history of ceramics from prehistoric pieces to contemporary works by Picasso.
Lladró Museum (Ctra. de Alboraya, Tavernes Blanques; Tel: +34 963 187 000; http://bit.ly/1A2Qcqw) Lladró figurines are beloved world-over. At the headquarters in the Tavernas Blanques suburb, see the family's private collection since the 1953 beginning and take a factory tour to observe how everything's made. (Reservations required.)
Bioparc
PARKS & REC
Beach Day: As a costal city, Valencia has beautiful beaches just a metro ride away from the center of town. Stroll along Paseo Marítimo, the lovely beachfront promenade lined with cafés and restaurants, as you soak up the sun.
Paseo Maritimo, Valencia's beachfront
A Walk in the Park: When the flood-prone river Turia, surrounding the city of Valencia, was diverted, the riverbed was turned into parkland. The Jardín del Turia (Turia Gardens; locals still call it El Rio, the river) is the pride and joy of the city with jogging & cycling paths, gardens, fountains, & playgrounds.
Better Than a Zoo: Bioparc - Without leaving Valencia, be transported to an African wildlife sanctuary. If you're traveling with kids or just love animals, spend a day here watching antelopes, zebras, gorillas, ring-tailed lemurs, warthogs, lions, and leopards, just to name a few, roam freely in natural habitats. Have a meal on the cafeteria terrace as giraffes stroll by!
DAY TRIPS: MANISES - Renowned for ceramics since the 14th century, with some 30 pottery workshops, many open to visitors--be sure to visit La Cerámica Valenciana & Arturo Mora. Manises is just a metro ride away from Valencia. SERGORBE - In the Valencian province of Castelló, Segorbe is famous for many things including a bull-running week (Semana de Toros) and fabulous olive oil, Belluga.
LEARN SPANISH AND/OR STUDY MUSIC
Spanish: The University of Valencia dates from 1499. While many high school and college students come here to study Spanish, there are also several language schools and programs that cater to adults. Music: The international campus of Boston's renowned Berklee College of Music is in Valencia. Both are great excuses to spend some time in this beautiful city! 
Making Your Trip Easier: Valencia Tourist Card - Unlimited travel on public transport, plus discounts at shops, restaurants and museums.
Where to Stay: There are any number of great places to stay from budget hostels (Nest) to lovely boutique hotels to five-star accommodations (Las Arenas, right on the beach) or vacation-rental apartments. AdHoc Monumental Hotel (4 Calle Boix, Tel: +34 963 919 140; www.adhochoteles.com) - This charming, boutique hotel with a delightful & helpful staff is right in the heart of the Old Town district.
Modernist building in Ruzafa
Getting There: Currently, there are no direct flights into Valencia. Fly to Madrid with a connecting flight or take Spain’s high-speed train the AVE from Madrid's Atocha station to Valencia, about 90 minutes. Or, fly into Barcelona and take a local train. You can pre-purchase train tickets on RailEurope or Omio, a great site that cost compares flight, train, & bus options. Spain's national airlines, Iberia, has an excellent on-time record, new aircraft on long-haul flights, reconfigured Business class and, what feels like, a roomier Coach section as well. While Valencia is worth visiting all on its own, you can easily combine it with a trip to Madrid and/or Barcelona. Spain has so much to offer!

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

10+ Artsy & Cool Reasons To Visit Marseille, France

By Jacquelin Carnegie 
Marseille Vieux Port (photo: Nigel Young)
Fort St Jean (photo: JCarnegie)
Marseille is one of the oldest cities in France with a fascinating history. As a port town, it's a melting pot for people from all over the world. However, it had gotten a bit rundown. But, when Marseille was named the European Capital of Culture, the town was spruced up nicely. Many neighborhood renovation projects were undertaken, several new hotels opened, and MuCEM, a beautiful new museum, was constructed. The buzzword for the new, improved Marseille is: "Euro-Mediterranean capital." And, with its mild climate, it's definitely worth visiting any time of year.
 
DISCOVER FASCINATING NEIGHBORHOODS
Each of Marseille's many neighborhoods has its unique charm. Discover the city on your own or take inexpensive guided tours offered by Marseille's tourism office (most are in French--good practice--but a few are in English as well). Be sure to check out these areas:
Vieux Port (The Old Port): The beautiful Vieux Port is the heart of the city, surrounded by cafes and restaurants serving traditional Marseille specialties and freshly-caught fish. Take a stroll along the pedestrian walkways and marvel at all the sailboats anchored in the harbor. 
Le Panier (The Old Town): Wander through the steep, winding, narrow streets of the oldest part of town and soak up the atmosphere.
Le Panier
L’Estaque: Famous painters such as Cézanne, Dufy, and Braque once lived in this neighborhood; trace their steps on a walking tour. 
La Corniche: Stop at seafood joints and soak up the sun as you stroll or drive along this picturesque, seaside roadway that meanders along Marseille's Mediterranean coast.

TRY UNIQUE ACTIVITIES
Check out some interesting, specific-to-the-region offerings such as a Local Foods Tasting Tour or 
Tour the Cité Radieuse (280 Blvd Michelet): This extraordinary apartment building, designed by renowned architect Le Corbusier, exemplifies his "Unité d'Habitation" concepts. (It includes a hotel* and an art center.)
Cite Radieuse
ENJOY GREAT EATS
Take advantage of all the fresh seafood dishes in Marseille's many restaurants:
Bouillabaisse: Le Miramar (12 Quai du Port; Tel: +33(0)4 91 91 41 09; lemiramar.fr) - When you think of Marseille, Bouillabaisse (fish stew) immediately comes to mind. To be authentic, the stew must contain five types of fish; learn how it's done. One portion is huge; big enough for two--plate of soup served first, followed by the fish stew. 

Fresh Fish: If you can wake up early enough, check out the daily fish market on the Vieux Port's Quai des Belges. If not, enjoy lunch at La Boîte à Sardine (2 Blvd de la Libération; Tel: +33 (0)4 91 50 95 95; www.laboiteasardine.com) - The daily catch of superb fresh fish is oven-cooked, grilled or pan fried and served by a very friendly staff.

VISIT MARVELOUS MUSEUMS
No matter what your interest--archaeology, motorcycles, fine art or contemporary painting--Marseille has over 20 museums showcasing art and antiquities from all periods of history. Here are two not-to-be-missed:
MuCEM (photo: JCarnegie)
Musée des Civilisations d'Europe et Méditerranée (MuCEM)
1 Esplanade du J4; www.mucem.org/en
This stunning new museum, designed by Rudy Ricciotti, is set right on Marseille’s harbor, so the panoramic views from the huge windows and terraces are as striking as the modern interiors. Devoted to showcasing Mediterranean culture, it's the first national museum outside of Paris. In addition to MuCEM's fascinating exhibits, an aerial walkway links the museum to Fort Saint Jean, now an exhibition space with a Mediterranean garden.
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Marseille
Palais Longchamp, Blvd de Montricher
The fine art museum is housed in the lovely Second Empire-style Palais Longchamp. French and Italian 16th- through 19th-century works are on display along with superb Provençal paintings.
 
ENJOY FABULOUS MUSIC FESTIVALS
Music-lovers rejoice; there are many festivals throughout the year:
Opera Marseille
March - Mars en Baroque; June - Marsatac (Electronic music); July - Festival Jazz des 5 Continents; Sept - Marseille's Opera season begins; Oct - Fiesta des Suds (World music); and the Festival de Marseille (dance & theater) in June & July.

TAKE DAZZLING DAY TRIPS
Les Calanques: Go on a boat ride to see Les Calanques, coves surrounded by steep hillsides, and visit the islands in the bay. Provence: Marseille is a great base for visiting such towns as Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, and Arles. These are easy day trips by train from the Gare Saint-Charles.
Making Your Trip Easier:
Marseille City Pass - Gives you free rides on Marseille's public transports (bus, metro, train, trams), along with entrance to museums & attractions, and a selection of free sightseeing tours.
Les Calanques
Where To Stay:
There are any number of great places to stay, but being able to look out at the Vieux Port is a real treat:
Radisson Blu Hotel Vieux Port (38-40 Quai de Rive Neuve; Tel: + 33(0)4 88 92 19 50) - Right on the Vieux Port with a wonderfully-helpful, friendly staff.
Sofitel Marseille Vieux Port (36, Blvd Charles Livon; Tel: +33(0)4 91 15 59 00) - A lovely spot at the end of the Vieux Port with terrific views.
Newhotel of Marseille (71, Blvd Charles Livon; Tel: +33(0)4 91 315 315) - An artsy, very modern, hip hotel right by the Vieux Port.
*Hotel Le Corbusier (280 Blvd Michelet; Tel: +33 (0)4 91 16 78 00) - Enjoy a truly, unique experience by staying on the hotel floor of Le Corbusier's Cité Radieuse.
Getting there: Most flights to Marseille from the US are connecting flights. Another option: Paris is just 3 hours away on the TGV fast train. A French rail pass from Rail Europe is very useful, including for day trips to other towns in Provence.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

15+ Ways To Get The Most Out of a Greek Isles' Cruise

 Patmos (photo: J.Carnegie)
By Jacquelin Carnegie 
While a cruise through the Greek Isles is a wonderful experience, here are some things to consider in your planning.
TIPS FOR PLANNING YOUR TRIP
1. Stay a While on an Isle - The ships only stop for a few hours in each port-of-call. Research the isles and pick one or two that you'd like to spend more time on. Some of the cruise lines let you stay a few days on certain islands, than pick you up with the next sailing, a few days later.
2. Save Time - You can get more time out of your holiday by flying (or taking a fast ferry) to the first island you'll visit, then picking up the cruise.
3. Research Itineraries - There are many islands from the most popular (i.e., Santorini, Rhodes, Crete) to ones you never heard of. Review the cruise itineraries carefully before you decide. You might get more out of visiting just a few.

(photo: JCarnegie)
4. Book a Local Guide - Instead of taking the shore excursions organized by the ship, do some research beforehand. For a more authentic port visit, hire a local guide for a private tour (the cost could be shared by other passengers you meet onboard).
5. Enriching Experience - In addition to all the wonderful discoveries you'll make in the various ports-of-call, many cruise lines offer onboard seminars & lectures by distinguished experts highlighting the historical aspects. If this is important to you, be sure to inquire if your cruise line provides onboard enrichment seminars.
6. Seasonal Savings - Most Greek Isles' cruises run March through October; consider going in spring or fall to avoid the busier and hotter summer months.
7. Greek Specialists - Booking a trip online is not always easier and cheaper. If a Greek Isles' cruise is on your "Bucket List," get the most out of the experience by consulting with a travel agent who specializes in Greece.
8. Crowd Control - There are several cruise lines to choose from. In addition to cost, be sure to factor in the number of passengers onboard. (Do you want to sail with 7 others, or 70, or 700 to 2,000?)
9. Ask Around - Another very important consideration is the friendliness of the crew and the quality of service. Ask everyone you know who's done a Greek Isles' cruise for recommendations. (You can also check the reviews & message board on www.cruisecritic.com.)

Santorini
10. Travel Wisely - Find out what type of passengers the cruise line caters to: families, sophisticated couples, etc. If you're traveling with your kids, inquire about activities for children. If you want peace & quiet on your vacation, make sure the boat will not be packed with kids.
11. Built-In Value - Part of the appeal of cruising is the all-inclusive concept. The price includes your stateroom, all onboard meals & snacks, activities, parties & entertainment. Extra expenses will be for drinks, optional shore excursions, and personal services such as a massage or a new hairdo. Find out the price of these "extras" before you go.
12. Become Informed - It may seem obvious, but be sure to inquire about the ship's policy on: Smoking/Non-Smoking; Wi-Fi availability; special dietary needs. And, just in case, to avoid seasickness get a prescription for the patch (Transderm Scop). 

Lindos, Rhodes (photo: J.Carnegie)
13. Divine Destinations - Before or after the cruise, be sure to leave time to see other truly-spectacular parts of Greece such as Athens, Olympia, and Delphi.
14. Turkish Delights - The Greek Isles are very close to Turkey. Some of the cruises even begin and end there. Consider adding a visit or organized tour to Istanbul and some of Turkey's other magnificent sites.
The Greek Isles
15. Historical Highlights - All the islands have lovely, little towns to explore, stunning views, and beautiful beaches. But, be sure to select a cruise itinerary that stops at some with not-to-be-missed historical sites: 

Knossos, Crete (photo: J.Carnegie)
Crete: Tour the fascinating ruins of the Palace of Knossos, the seat of ancient Minoan culture (and some would like to believe the mythical Labyrinth of King Minos). Continuously inhabited from the Neolithic period until Roman times, the grandeur of the site helps you appreciate how elaborate the culture once was. The Archaeological Museum of Heraklion displays artifacts from Crete's archaeological sites including splendid examples of ceremonial items, pottery, sculpture, and gold jewelry.
Santorini: While this island is famous for ritzy shopping and towns of striking, whitewashed houses with blue roofs and trim, Santorini is also home to some of the most important archaeological sites of the Aegean. Visit the ruins of Ancient Thira and the Museum of Prehistoric Thira, which displays excavation finds including ones from the late Minoan City of Akrotiri. 

Santorini, Thira
Santorini, Akrotiri
St. John, Patmos
Rhodes: Wander through the Medieval City of Rhodes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the Palace of the Grand Masters, there are impressive ancient mosaics, statuary, and ceramics. Then, visit the breathtaking Acropolis at Lindos with ruins from classical times and spectacular views of the surrounding sea.
Patmos: This Island is known as the site of St. John the Divine's apocalyptic revelations, where it is believed that the Book of Revelation was written in 95AD. During his exile from the Roman Empire, St. John lived in a grotto in the town of Chorá that is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site as is the Monastery of St. John, with priceless icons and manuscripts in its Treasury; both are open to visitors.
Booking Your Trip:
Find a Travel Agent who specializes in Greece & Greek Isles' cruises.

Lindos, Rhodes
Celestyal (formerly Louis Cruises) - An affordable cruise line with very friendly crews. If you'd like to spend more time on a specific island, contact them to discuss your options. (They also have hotels on a few of the islands and can help you arrange your stay. They can also add tours in Greece & Turkey.)
Orpheus Yachts - If you can afford it, consider sailing through the Greek Isles on a private yacht!
Karavan Travel - Tours in Turkey. However you go, be sure to do some research beforehand to get the most out of your trip.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

10+ Artsy & Cool Things To Do in Atlantic City

By Jacquelin Carnegie
(photo: ACA)
While Atlantic City, New Jersey is known for its 24-hour casinos and all-you-can-eat buffets, there's much more on offer here. The kitsch and the cool coexist, creating a unique environment that's fun to explore. Start on the famous Atlantic City Boardwalk, built in 1870. It's lined with all kinds of places from fast-food stands and funky shops to great restaurants and an array of resort hotels. You can stroll leisurely along, taking in the sights, or ride in one of the "Rolling Chairs," first introduced in 1887. Along the way, you'll be amazed at some of the lesser-known cultural offerings.
Ballet By the Beach
ACB on John Roloff's Étude Atlantis (photo: JCarnegie)
Atlantic City Ballet If you thought Atlantic City was just full of roulette wheels and one-arm bandits, you're in for a treat. A multi-cultural company of young and enthusiastic professional dancers performs classical ballets and contemporary dance pieces throughout the year for audiences of all ages.

Oceanside Movie Viewing
Downbeach Film Festival/Atlantic City Cinefest

www.downbeachfilmfestival.org
Film buffs rejoice. Every October, Atlantic City celebrates the art of moviemaking. Along with showcasing new independent and studio films, this festival shines a spotlight on the directors and actors. What could be better for movie lovers than seeing some great flicks while mingling with the filmmakers down at the shore?
The AC Boardwalk (photo: ACA)
Museums in Unusual Settings
There are a number of artsy venues, plus museum exhibits in different locations: 
Noyes Museum of Art
Mel Leipzig's paintings at The Noyes 
www.noyesmuseum.org 
The Noyes has an amazing collection of American folk art, vintage duck decoys, and exceptional examples of work by regional and national artists, currently displayed is various locations.
The Noyes Arts Garage of Stockton College
2200 Fairmount Ave.; Tel: 609/626-3805; artsgarageac.com
At The Wave Parking Garage, the Arts Garage, a satellite of The Noyes Museum, has galleries, artist studios, an arts & crafts shop, and a café. Every month, on the Second Friday, the galleries stay open late and there's music & refreshments.
Great Seaside Entertainment
The list of headliners performing on any given night in the various AC hotels is truly amazing. There are also many wonderful, free outdoor concerts and other activities for the whole family.
(photo: JCarnegie)
Beyonce in AC
Visit All Year Long
No matter what the season, the wonderful hotel spas and indoor pools are open. Spas: In addition to facials & massages, the spas have saunas, steam rooms, Jacuzzis, & all-day access to fitness facilities & private pools. Pools: Relax or party poolside. The Borgata's indoor pool at The Water Club is a tropical paradise. Harrah's glass-domed, pool oasis turns into a nightclub on The Pool After Dark nights.

Food Glorious Food
AC's famous Steel Pier (photo: ACA)
Throughout the year, you can pick up a quick, tasty snack or have a delicious, leisurely meal at any number of fine restaurants. Here's a fun way to sample the offerings:
Atlantic City Restaurant Week www.acrestaurantweek.com 
In October, some 80 restaurants participate with prix-fixe, three-course meals at affordable rates. For fabulous Italian food anytime, try Capriccio at Resorts.
Where to Stay:
(photo: ACA)
There are hotels for all tastes in AC. Check out the Atlantic City Alliance for things to do and a place that suits you. Many of the AC hotels offer special packages along with mid-week and seasonal discounts. Plan your visit for any season. AC has great activities all year long, not just during the summertime.
Getting There: Drive or take Greyhound's "Lucky Streak" Bus: www.luckystreakbus.com

Sunday, August 21, 2022

5+ Fantastic Reasons To Visit Lošinj Island, Croatia

By Jacquelin Carnegie
Losinj Island (photo: Malden Scerbe)

Lošinj is an island in the north of Croatia. If you're interested in vacationing in Paradise, this is the spot. Ocean breezes blow softly while the scent of pine trees and aromatic plants fills the air. Hapsburg Royalty put Lošinj "on the map" in the late 1880s when they came here to be rejuvenated by the fresh air and medicinal plants. Luckily, those revitalizing options are still available today:
Relax Royally
For a small island, there is plenty to do. But, quite frankly, Lošinj is so beautiful that if you never even moved from your lounge chair--looking out over the stunning Adriatic Sea--you'd still have a marvelous time. But, since Lošinj is known for its superlative Spa programs, might as well get a massage and a facial. Almost every hotel has its own spa; many use only natural products--made from local ingredients--in their treatments.
Osor (photo: JCarnegie)

Welcome Wellness
Since the 1800s, people have been coming to Lošinj Island for a natural health cure. The combination of a mild climate, soothing waters, and fragrant air is considered beneficial to one's overall health and good for respiratory problems. In addition to the fabulous spa treatments, Lošinj offers a range of Health programs--from weight loss and stress reduction to regimes for more serious ailments--all overseen by the capable and charming Dr. Anamarija Margan Šulc.
Explore Quaint Villages
Herb garden (photo: JCarnegie)
While just relaxing is wonderful, there are lovely little villages to explore with a rich history and picturesque surroundings. There are ancient Roman towns (and ruins), little hamlets of traditional stone houses, and areas with grand villas from the 19th-century heyday when Lošinj was a major shipbuilding center and then a seaside health resort for European elites. Stroll the lovely, port towns of Mali Lošinj, Veli Lošinj, and Nerezine on Lošinj. And, visit Osor and Lubenice on the neighboring island of Cres.
Mali Losinj
Sail Away for the Day
Discover the area around Lošinj Island on sailing excursions: Sail to a secluded cove for a swim, then dine in a quaint seaside restaurant. Visit small nearby islands such as Ilovik, Susak, and Unije. Venture into the Lošinj dolphin reserve, then stop by the Blue World Marine Education Centre to learn more about the ecological efforts in the area.
Be Entertained Locally
There's plenty to keep you entertained from a local brass band playing in Nerezine's town square to world-class musicians at the Osor Musical Evenings (Osorske Glazbene Večeri, July-Aug). There are also several fun Festivals: International Bagpipe Festival (May), Festival of Wind Orchestras & Brass Band Festival (June), Folk Festivals (July), along with a Food Festival (April) and Open-Air Photography Exhibition (May).

Get a Peek at the Past
There are a number of small museums that illuminate Lošinj's fascinating past: Fritzi Palace, Lošinj Museum. An ancient Greek sculpture was found in the waters off Lošinj; Apoxyomenos (The Scraper, an athlete scraping dirt and oil off his body) has been painstakingly restored and is on display here. Osor Archaeological Collection: A branch of the Lošinj Museum, it features early Christian and Medieval artifacts, along with an incredible collection of ancient Roman coins. The little town of Osor is like an open-air museum, filled with sculptures of notable composers done by acclaimed Croatian sculptors.
Dine Divinely
Lošinj's local culinary delights are part of the pleasure of vacationing here. Most restaurants overlook the water, so you can enjoy stunning views along with a delicious meal. Try everything from fresh seafood specialties to grilled lamb seasoned with local spices. And, be sure to sample the exceptional Croatian wines, olive oils, and local sage honey. Dine in one of these lovely spots: Lanterna Grill, Veli žal, & Diana on Lošinj; Konoba Dalmatinka on Ilovik, and taverna Trs (for lamb) on Cres. And, prepare your palates for the Lošinj Culinary Festival (April).
Veli Losinj (photo: JCarnegie)

Where To Stay: There is every kind of accommodation from camping sites to guesthouses to 5-star hotels. Some of the loveliest places are on beautiful Čikat Bay. Choose from old-world charm or thoroughly-modern chic. The season runs from March through September, but may extend to year-round in the future.
Hotel Bellevue: This stunning, very-modern 5-star hotel on Čikat Bay is ideal. In addition to the Adriatic, there are 3 swimming pools, a terrific spa, good restaurants, and a helpful, friendly staff; plus, while totally secluded, it's just a stone's throw from Mali Lošinj's lovely town center.
Lubenice (photo: JCarnegie)

Getting There: Lošinj is in the north of Croatia, near Venice, Italy. It's not the easiest destination to reach, but well worth the trip. One of the most direct ways is to fly Delta to Venice, then a short hop to Lošinj. Other options include flights to nearby airports followed by car or bus & ferry trips.
Editor's Note: While Lošinj is indeed a magical place, if you are sensitive to cigarette smoke be aware that, while Croatia has anti-smoking laws, people smoke everywhere. The hotel rooms are smoke-free, but guests smoke on the balconies, at the beach, and at outdoor bars & restaurants.