Sunday, March 13, 2016

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), Jazz Festival (July), along with a Flower Show (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 will be 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 on King Air 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.

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