Until my recent visit, I hadn’t heard of the Croatian island of Lošinj. Nestled in the northern part of the country, surrounded by the stunningly blue Adriatic sea, you’ll find this beaut of an island, known affectionately as the island of vitality.
As Croatian islands go, Lošinj (pronounced lo-sheen) is a little off the main tourist trail. You will probably have heard of the more popular islands of Hvar and Korčula that are well travelled, but Losinj is more or less a hidden gem.
Everything I experienced during my time on Losinj was pure magic. The air is abundant with the smells of sage, lavender and pine. Visually, the intense colours of the sea, vegetarian and buildings are otherworldly as your eyes feel overloaded with every colour of the rainbow. It’s intense but in a good way.
The island is simply incredible, and I hope one day you can experience the magic of the place.
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I’ve partnered with DestiMEET and Go Lošinj to bring you this post. This article is based on an abridged version of the Rhythm of the Senses tour I took part in. All views and opinions are my own.
Rhythm of the Senses Tour on Lošinj, Croatia
The main reason that the island of Losinj hasn’t reached the popularity of other destinations in Croatia, has got nothing to do with there being a lack things of to see. It’s quite the opposite in fact. I’ll be honest, it’s not the easiest place to get to, and if you don’t have your own transportation, it’s near impossible to go as an independent traveller.
However, one of the positives of Losinj being a little off the beaten track is that it hasn’t been ravaged by over-tourism. It still has an abundance of olde-worlde appeal and the people of Losinj intend to keep it that way.
There’s a real push for sustainable tourism on the island, and minimising the impact that increased visitors to their island could potentially bring.
The Rhythm of the Senses tour is an eco-tour that combines education and experience. It’s fully immersive, and has been designed to have minimal impact on the environment.
What Is Natura 2000?
The island of Losinj falls under a Natura 2000 destination. Natura 2000 is an initiative set up by the European Union. It’s a network of protected areas and territories, including special areas for conservation and protection. It incorporates ecosystems and habitats on both the land and sea.
Rhythm of the Senses Tour - Review
Day 1 - Sight Day
We arrived in Rijeka and were met by our transfer guide. After about an hour of driving, excitedly, we arrived at the ferry port where we sailed from Valbiska to island Cres to begin our Rhythm of the Senses adventure.
The crossing was short and smooth, but we had enough time for our guide to tell us a bit about the island, its ecosystem and historical details. After arriving on Cres, we began our meandering journey down to Lošinj Island, stopping off at various points of interest and landmarks en route.
After a few hours of initial sightseeing, we arrived at our accommodation. We stayed at the B&B Alaburic, a family-run guest house with comfortable rooms located just outside the largest town on the island, Mali Losinj. After some time to relax and freshen up, we then met with our hosts for the trip.
After our short meet and greet, we took a picturesque walk through the town of Mali Losinj. The cobbled streets are lined with colourful houses, often with pretty flower baskets hanging outside, which just adds to the charm.
Normally, the walk from the accommodation to the harbour could be done within about 15 minutes. However travelling with a group who were all equally trigger happy with their cameras, the walk took at least double that. Eventually, we arrived at Mali Losinj harbour for lunch at Bocca Vera.
Bocca Vera is located along the harbour side. It’s split over two floors and has a terrace, meaning wherever you choose to dine, you’ll be gauranteed the most magnificent views. Bocca Vera is the top restaurant in Mali Losinj, and after eating here, it’s clear to see why.
We ate the daily menu, which consisted of no less than 5 courses. For the rest of the group, this was based on fish and seafood dishes, but being a long-term vegetarian, I had my own equally exquisite menu curated.
Because the island of Losinj is a hub for ecotourism, it’s only right that the food we ate was locally sourced to try and lessen the impact on the environment. This also went for the Croatian wine that we had to compliment our meals, as well as an aperitif, and then a small glass of teranino (a red wine liquor) to finish.
Each course was beautifully presented and featured a careful balance of texture and flavour. The dishes I was served were some of the most colourful I’ve ever eaten which often gained food envy from the rest of the group.
I’ve been a vegetarian for over 20 years and one of the most notable things is that most regular restaurants just don’t know how to prepare veggie-friendly food. We often get palmed off with something bland and lacklustre. Honestly, each of the vegetarian dishes that I ate at Bocca Vera was outstanding in every way possible. I highly commend the staff here for producing pure magic in their kitchen.
With incredibly satisfied bellies, we moved on to our next location, not far from the restaurant; The Museum of Apoxyomenos.
Related Article: 12 Outstanding Things to See and Do on Losinj
We were greeted outside of the museum by our fabulously enthusiastic guide who was going to show us around this state-of-the-art award-winning museum. One of the first things she said, was that their museum only holds one artefact – a near-complete bronze statue of Apoxyomenos.
Around the world, there are 9 other similar statues to this, however, the one that resides here is by far the best example of the 2nd-1st century BC athlete.
Still baffled that the museum holds just one artefact, it made you wonder how they managed to fill a whole museum. The secret – they made it a fully immersive museum that takes you on a journey from its discovery in 1999, just off the south coast of the island, right through to the restoration. The grand finale, the beautiful statute in all his glory.
We were guided through a series of rooms, starting off in the chilly black room. This room documents the discovery of the statue and is cold and dark to make you feel like you’re underwater at the dive site.
This then leads on to what was my favourite room. The video room has a deathly silence to it, all sound is absorbed by the carpet which features a psychedelic pattern made up of images of grass, corn and leaves to portray the little mouse nest that was found inside the statue. It’s been created from wool from the sheep on the island and covers every surface from floor to ceiling. On the screen is a short documentary showing the restoration process of the Apoxyomenos.
The museum winds on through a heavily scented corridor, decked out in wood and with the smell of trees and grass to represent the mouse nest. This leads on to an ever-changing media room, with its walls covered in clippings from the media about the Apoxyomenos, this is also where you’ll find the first of several peepholes that give you your first cheeky glance of the statue.
The grand finale is getting to see the stunning statue up close. The level of craftsmanship is truly sublime with so much attention to detail. The statue is in near-perfect condition, with the exception of his little finger on his left hand.
The athletically built sportsman stands at 192cm, even by today’s standards, he’s astonishingly handsome. He’s poised as if he has just finished competing and would have been using a strigil, a curved blade, to scrape off dust, oil and sweat from his skin.
At the end of our tour, our guide asked us how long we thought we had been in there – it was over an hour. Over an hour in a museum that just houses one artefact. And I could easily have spent longer! The curation of the museum is cleverly done to encapsulate every one of your senses, as you become immersed in the experience. After visiting, it’s clear to see why The Museum of Apoxyomenos is award-winning.
From the museum, we headed away from the town, and up to the hills, stopping off at a couple of lookout points along the way. After a short drive, we arrived at Providenca Thematic Belvedere.
If you want to experience some of the best sunset views of Losinj then this hilltop lookout is where you need to be. Offering 360 degree panoramics, not only can you see views across the island and the archipelago but on a good day, you can see as far as the mountain on Croatia’s mainland.
Providenca Thematic Belvedere is made up of numerous wooden tables and benches named after famous ships. These are dispersed between scented trees and plants that line the pathways while a gentle warm breeze blows past, stimulating your senses.
A short walking route makes a pleasant loop from the seated area. This trail meanders through the shrubs and trees, dispersed by carved benches with scenic views and information boards about the history of the island and the terrain.
After enjoying the view and the trails, we took our seats to enjoy a delicious and colourful sharing platter consisting of hummus, bread, artisan cheese and fruits – the non-veggies also tucked into local fish and prosciutto. This was washed down with the sweet-tasting liquor-like medica.
The sun was setting on our first day in Losinj. We then took a 30-minute downhill stroll back to our accommodation for an amazingly good night’s sleep.
Related Article: 26 Destinations for your Croatia Bucket List
Day 2 - Scent Day and Taste Day
After waking up refreshed, we started the day with a tasty and healthy breakfast. The daily breakfast served at B&B Alaburic is a mix of bread, cheeses, fruits, yoghurt, porridge and salads, served with fresh squeezed orange juice and coffee.
With breakfast done, we then took the short walk with our guide to Lošinj’s Aromatic Garden. Lošinj didn’t gain the title, the island of vitality, for no reason. The island is abundant with herbs, with the scents of sage, mint and lavender, frequently wafting past, so it only seems natural that there is a sensory garden here where you can learn about it.
We were welcomed with a glass of refreshing chilled water infused with an elderflower cordial before being given a tour of the gardens. There are over 250 plants at Lošinj Aromatic Garden, and each of them holds some sort of benefit or use, whether it’s fruit for eating, herbs for flavouring for medicinal purposes or cosmetics.
After eating and smelling our way around the gardens, we were then treated to a delicious Myrtle-infused liquor as an appetiser for our mid-morning snack.
The next part of the tour was a workshop to make a cheese spread. This was flavoured with wild rocket, that we had to find and pick. I knew rocket grew in the ground, like lettuce, as opposed to on a bush, but to the untrained eye, they looked like weeds! With our rocket collected it was then ready to make it into a tasty spread. A mix of cream cheese, olive oil, salt, pepper and the chopped rocket, is blended with a pestle and mortar. It was delicious.
Our next activity was to create our own herbarium that we could take away with us as a reminder of what each plant was and its properties and uses. Our morning ended with a mouth-watering meal of grilled vegetables (grilled fish for the non-veggies), cabbage salad and fresh bread – still warm from the oven, washed down with the refreshing elderflower water.
From the sensory garden, we took a 4km coastal trail called the Promenade of Vitality. This connects the towns of Mali Losinj to Veli Losinj. The trail follows numerous pretty bays under the shade of 100-year-old pine trees.
We arrived in Veli Losinj. In my opinion, this is by far the prettiest little town on the island with its small old harbour lined with colourful houses. We were also really fortunate during our visit that the harbour was empty of boats due to it being cleaned. This gave us a rare and unobscured view of the bright old houses reflecting in the water.
Veli Losinj is home to The Blue World Institute of Marine Research and Conservation. For the past 30 years, they have focused their work on the research, conversation and education of the marine life that surrounds the island. They have a particular focus on the adorable colony of bottle-nosed dolphins that live in these waters.
After a short, informative presentation, we went out with the team to try to spot dolphins. The Blue Wolrd Institute encourage passive interaction with marine life, meaning you can look, but you’re not allowed to touch, feed or swim with the dolphins. Nor are boats allowed to chase or block their path.
Because they are wild, there is no guarantee to see them, however, with a dedicated team the chances of spotting a dolphin are pretty high. Sitting at the front of the speedboat, it was an exhilarating ride to find an area where the dolphins are often spotted. It wasn’t long before we saw some. A mother and calf.
Keeping our distance, we observed as they surfaced for air before going back down for a short while. We stayed watching them for about 30 minutes (which is the maximum permitted time) before moving on to find a different pod. We were in luck, as just a short ride away, we spotted another group. Two different groups of dolphins, behaving naturally. It was incredibly special to see.
We had some free time after our dolphin watching experience. Of course, we opted to find a spot to take a swim in the blue and inviting sea. We were pointed to a great swimming spot, just around the corner from the iconic pink church of St Anthony. It was a cordoned-off area, so safe for taking a dip, with plenty of easy entry points, and flat rocks to sit and take in the sun. This finished off our afternoon just perfectly.
In the evening we headed back to Mali Lošinj for dinner at the fabulous Corrado. Again, another family-run establishment, with a strong focus on hospitality. I was served another delicious vegetarian menu, while the rest of the group enjoyed a selection of seafood dishes. As each dish arrived, we were given insight into the ingredients and their origin.
Similarly, to everywhere else I had eaten in Losinj, the veggie meals were delicious and well thought of. For me, it didn’t quite live up to Bocca Vera, (they did set the standard exceptionally high). However, all of the dishes were still top-notch. In particular, the asparagus risotto really stood out.
Day 3 - Sound Day and Departure
After another incredible night’s sleep, it was time to check out. We weren’t having breakfast at the guest house today, instead, our hosts had a treat up their sleeves.
We met with our guide at the front of the accommodation for a short walk to where breakfast was being served. We were told that breakfast was going to be a picnic-style affair. From my British childhood, a picnic takes place, usually on a checkered blanket, accompanied by things like cucumber sandwiches and lemonade. I couldn’t have been further from what the Croatians refer to as a picnic.
We walked along the most charming of promenades, through the Čikat forest park where you can hear the wind gently rustling the trees. The trail then meandered down to Čikat bay. This bay is home to some of Losinj’s most exclusive hotels such as the iconic Boutique Hotel Alhambra. You can’t see much from the outside of the hotel, but the giant poppy sculptures do make quite an impression.
Continuing along the promenade, we stopped at where we were having our picnic. Laid out on a small stone pier was a table, laden with a smorgasbord of sweet and savoury delights. All this, plus copious amounts of fresh squeezed orange juice, elderflower water and freshly brewed coffee. I can’t describe it as anything less than 5 star treatment. It was simply wow!
We were drawing quite a crowd from passed by, some wanting to pose with the table – honestly, the set-up was made for Instagram! The whole experience of dining here, the attention to detail, on a tiny exclusive pier, with the most delicious food, surrounded by such a stunning backdrop and sounds of the sea gently lapping our pier. This is by far the most luxurious breakfast I have ever, and probably will ever, have.
After our dreamy breakfast, with our bellies full, we carried on along the promenade. Our short time on Losinj was nearly over.
A short wait later, our transport arrived ready to start us on our homeward journey. We said goodbye to our wonderful hosts as our small group sat, with our minds filled with outstanding memories, from our exceptional experience on Losinj island.
We retraced our steps back up to Cres to catch the ferry, stopping along the way to try to spot the gigantic, although slightly elusive, griffon vulture. These are one of Europe’s largest birds, weighing in at anything between 6-11 kg and with a wingspan of 2.5-3 meters.
They reside in the cliffs around Losinj and Cres island using the rising air currents to drift. Only about 50 pairs are living in the region, so you’re lucky if you spot them. We tried a couple of locations, however, we didn’t manage to see them on this occasion.
And so, our journey continued back to the ferry and beyond. It was time to head home, with the fondest of memories of Rhythm of the Senses.
Losinj is somewhere I will certainly be coming back to.
Accommodation During the Rhythm of the Senses Tour
Our stay during the Rhythm of the Senses tour was at the very comfortable, family-run B&B Alaburic. The rooms are clean and spacious, and come equipped with tea and coffee-making facilities, a fridge and air con.
Each of the rooms also comes with either a balcony with a sea view or a garden view. If you’re doing a self-drive tour of Croatia or the islands, there is also ample off-road car parking facilities at the accommodation.
Alaburic B&B is located in Mali Lošinj, which is the biggest town on the island. It’s in a residential area, just a short walk from the harbour meaning it’s incredibly peaceful. You’re also within easy access to many shops and services should you need them.
Every morning, a healthy, hearty and tasty breakfast is served that includes fresh juices, coffee, eggs, porridge, bread, fruits, salads and pastries.
Eco-Tours: A Fresh Look at the Way We Travel
If you’re thinking of doing more eco-conscious travel, I highly recommend visiting Losinj. You could visit independently if you have your own mode of transport, but the advantage of booking a tour, like the Rhythm of the Senses, is that you are 100% guaranteed every aspect of your trip has minimal negative impact on the environment. It’s also the best option for exploring the island for anyone without a car.
The tour also ensures that you have the most knowledgable local guides and that you’re supporting ethically owned local businesses.
Rhythm of the Senses - Full Tour Itinerary
Below is the full version of the tour. Each day is broken down into each of the different senses for a fully immersive experience. The tour has been carefully curated to ensure that the impact on the environment is minimal. This includes using restaurants that serve food from local and sustainable sources, walking instead of driving, and learning about the island’s ecosystem.
Full Tour Day 1 - Arrival & Taste Day
Arrive at Rijeka Airport and take a private transfer to the port. Travel by ferry from Valbiska to Cres Island. Admire the Mediterranean views as you travel down through the island to Mali Lošinj.
Check into B&B Alaburic, your accommodation for the trip, then meet and greet with your guides. Enjoy some free time before taking a short walk to the family-run Noštromo restaurant. You’ll be shown locally grown ingredients by the chef that will be transformed into your tasty meal. Foodie types can even opt to get involved with the preparation and cooking and learn how to create these mouth-watering dishes.
Full Tour Day 2 - Scent Day
Enjoy a healthy and hearty breakfast before setting off to Lošinj’s Aromatic Garden. Here you’ll be welcomed by the scent of over 250 wild herbs growing here. You’ll have a 45 min educational guided tour, about the uses of the plants before sampling the delicious flavoured waters and liquors made with different herbs.
You will also take part in a workshop where you’ll learn how to make cheese, olive oil, and herbs spread, then enjoy the fruits of your labour accompanied by fresh artisan bread. After enjoying your mid-morning snack, you’ll then have the opportunity to meet a local art historian who will help you create your own herbarium to take with you as a souvenir.
In the afternoon you’ll walk to the nearby St. Martin beach, an incredibly photogenic beach, to relax and enjoy a dip in the refreshing sea, before visiting the family-owned Restaurant Corrado
Full Tour Day 3 - Sound Day
After breakfast, you’ll take a morning stroll for 4km along the popular promenade trail, the Promenade of Vitality. This coastal path connects Mali and Veli Lošinj. You’ll then arrive at The Blue World Institute of Marine Research and Conservation.
The Blue World has been working for the past 30 years towards the protection and conservation of bottle-nosed dolphins. After an informative presentation, you’ll go out on the boat with the research staff, who are experts at spotting wild dolphins.
After dolphin watching, you’ll have some time in the picturesque town of Veli Lošinj. You’ll then have dinner in a local family-run restaurant called Marina before returning by bus to your accommodation.
Full Tour Day 4 - Sight Day
Your morning starts at the fabulous Museum of Apoxyomenos. A guide will give you a detailed tour of this award-winning museum. The museum is fully immersive and has to be seen to be believed. It’s a stimulating experience for all the senses.
After visiting the museum, you’ll go to the restaurant Bocca Vera and be served a menu influenced by the food of the Apoxyomenos’ times. After lunch, you’ll have some free time to explore the charming harbour of Mali Losinj.
In the evening, you’ll head to Providenca Thematic Belvedere. The venue is situated on top of a hill and offers the most stunning views of the sunset over the archipelago. After exploring some of the easy walking trails and admiring the view, you’ll be served a delicious platter of artisan cheese, fruits, local fish, prosciutto, and handmade bread. The evening finishes with a scenic downhill walk back to your accommodation.
Full Tour Day 5 - Touch Day
You’ll set off earlier today, before breakfast, as you’ll be served a lavish morning picnic in vivid and charming Rovenska bay right on the shore.
After breakfast, you’ll meet a local guide who grew up on the seas. After hearing his stories of an adventurous life on the sea, you’ll then head to the sea yourself, for a kayak and snorkel tour. During the tour, you’ll get to explore hidden coves, swim and snorkel in the clear sea as well as visit the Orjule islands
Return to land in the late afternoon, and for an early dinner at the family-owned Mol Restaurant. Transfer back to Mali Losinj for a free evening.
Full Tour Day 6 - Departure
After a leisurely breakfast at the accommodation, it’s time to leave. You’ll take the return journey via private transfer back to the mainland. Here is where your Rhythm of the Senses tour ends, leaving you with outstanding memories of your time on Lošinj.
Travelling More in Croatia?
This was my third visit to Croatia. Every time I visit, I’m in awe of the country, its culture, landscapes, food and people. It’s one of my favourite European destinations.
If you’ve not explored this fascinating country yet, you should certainly put it on your radar. If yore planning a trip to Croatia then take a look at some of these other great travel resources.
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