Best Things to Do in Losinj, Croatia’s Hidden Gem – 12 Reasons to Visit Lošinj

Have you ever heard of Lošinj, Croatia? No, neither had I until a recent visit! But wow, what a destination.

Located just off the coast in north Croatia, you’ll find an absolute hidden gem; the island of Lošinj (pronounced lo-sheen). It’s known as the island of vitality and everything about Losinj is a stimulus for the senses. The scent of pine, sage and lavender fill the air, twinned with the colours of vibrant greens and blues.

This lesser known Croatian island is a hub for anyone looking for adventure activities with a focus on ecotourism, or to just simply relax in the tranquillity of the off-the-beaten path bays.

Despite it being one of the more unvisited islands, there’s an abundance of things to do in Losinj ranging from active breaks, and luxury getaways to family holidays. This article tells you all the best places to see, as well as travel tips.

Part of me wants to keep it a secret because it’s a little piece of paradise, but the other part wants to tell you how beautiful it was and encourage you to visit Losinj and experience it for yourself – it really is a place of magic.

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Island Losinj - Veli Losinj Harbour | Canva

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12+ Fabulous Things to Do in Losinj

What you can expect in this article...

Museum of Apoxyomenos

This award-winning state of the art museum houses just a single artefact. A near complete antique bronze statue dating from the 2nd-1st century BC of an athlete. A visit to the museum is one of the top things to do in Mali Losinj, the biggest town on the island.

The statue was discovered not far from the southern coast of Losinj in 1999 and to date is the only statue of its kind found in the Adriatic. Around the world, there are nine other variations of Apoxyomenos, however, the one on permanent display in Mali Lošinj is the best restored of them all.

What you can clearly see on the statue, is the exquisite level of craftsmanship that would have gone into creating this sculpture. The near complete (he’s missing his little finger), statue is of a 192cm tall, athletically built sportsman shown after a competition where they would scrape off the mix of dust, oil and sweat from their skin using a strigil, a type of curved blade. He’s absolutely divine!

You might wonder how it’s possible for a museum just to hold a single exhibit Well the unique museum has been curated in such a way that it encourages you to use all of your senses as you follow the journey of the Apoxyomenos from discovery into restoration.

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Film Room at Museum of Apoxyomenos, Losinj

The fully immersive experience leads you through different rooms that stimulate the ears, body, nose and eyes. Starting with the chilly feel of the black room to make you feel like you’re deep underwater at the discovery of the statue.

You’re then led to a silent room, my favourite room, featuring a psychedelic carpet adorning every surface. The carpet has been made using wool taken from sheep on the island. The colourful images depict items that were found in a mouse nest that was discovered inside the statue. A short documentary is shown here, explaining in more detail, the restoration process.

Other spaces include a wooden corridor which smells of trees, grasses and fields to represent the mouse nest, and an ever-changing newsroom, plastered from floor to ceiling with news clippings and media snippets about the Apoxyomenos.

Cheeky peepholes can be found in some of the rooms that allow you to see the statue as a bit of a teaser. This is one of the most outstanding museums I have ever experienced and really reflects the motto of the island about vitality and senses.

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Peepholes show the Apoxyomenos, Losinj
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Dolphin Watching

Ecotourism is a big thing on Losinj Island, and at the forefront of this is The Blue World Marine Research and Conservation Centre. Located in the colourful town of Veli Lošij the team here work towards the conservation of the habitat of about 200 bottlenosed dolphins who reside in the waters surrounding the island.

The Blue World Institute has been collecting research and documenting the dolphins since 1999 through non-invasive techniques. They work with local fishermen, and schools as well as tourists with a mission to raise public awareness about the importance of protecting the environment.

Before heading out on the boat to try and spot them, you’re given an informative short presentation about the characteristics to look for and how to interact with them passively. There is absolutely no swimming, feeding or petting them or getting them to act unnaturally. The dolphins you see are 100% wild.

Out on the speed boat, you’ll have members of the research team keeping a keen eye out for them. It wasn’t long before we saw the dolphins. We were lucky enough to see them on two different occasions – the first was a mother and calf, and the second was a small pod.

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Dolphin Watching, Mali Losinj | Canva

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Dine at Bocca Vera

Located along the water’s edge in the harbour of Mali Losinj, you’ll find the mouthwateringly delicious Bocca Vera restaurant. Based on two floors and a terrace, the restaurant has some of the most beautiful views over the harbour.

It’s no surprise that Bocca Vera is listed as the top restaurant in Mali Losinj, what the team produce here is simply magic. Locally sourced foods are beautifully presented with so much attention to detail. To accompany the dishes was freshly baked bread and olive oil that had been pressed in house. Our meal was served with Croatian wine to complement the meal. 

Although they advertise themselves as a pizza, pasta and grill – also boasting the best pizzas in town, they have so much more on their menu. During our visit we were served their menu of the day, the consisted of 4 savoury dishes, a dessert followed by an aperitif, and then a small glass of teranino (a red wine liquor) to finish.

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Mali Losinj, Things to do: Eat at Bocca Vera

While the rest of our group was served locally caught fish and seafood based dishes, I, being a long-term vegetarian, was served the most colourful and tasty array of foods I have tasted in a long time. 

Being a veggie, frequently means I shun away from ‘regular’ restaurants, who don’t specialise in vegetarian food, as we usually get palmed off with bland, mediocre and tasteless after-thought meals. This was on the contrary at Bocca Vera!

What the team produced here was nothing short out outstanding. Every single one of the vegetarian dishes at Bocca Vera had the same amount of love, care and attention as my fish-eating friends. So much so, that they had food envy! 

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One of my delicious & colourful dishes at Bocca Vera

Watch the Sunset at Providenca

There’s no better place on the island of Mali Losinj to watch the sunset than at Providenca. The full name of this hilltop lookout point is called Providenca Thematic Belvedere and offers 360-degree panoramic views of the island, archipelago and even as far as Croatia’s mainland.  

The venue consists of wooden tables and benches of varying sizes, laid out at different levels, each of the tables is named after a famous ship. These are intersected by trees and shrubbery giving the air a subtle fragrance. The most notable thing here is that wherever you sit, you will be guaranteed the most beautiful view.

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The most beautiful view from Providenca

There is also a short walkway, meandering through the vegetation with information boards about the landscape and history of the island. There are also little wooden benches to just relax and admire the view.

While you’re here, book a table to sit and enjoy local drinks, (ask to try the liquor-like medica), accompanied by a delicious platter of freshly homemade bread, artisan cheese, fruits, hummus, and for the non-veggies; local fish and prosciutto. Your senses and belly will be well and truly satisfied after a couple of hours in this tranquil and beautiful setting.

Although you could get a taxi back down to the main town, instead, take a 30 minute downhill evening stroll. As dusk falls, the plants fill the air with every fragrance imaginable. If you’re ever stuck wondering what to do in Mali Losinj, I highly recommend spending at least one evening at Providenca.

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Our sharing platter at Providenca

Visit the Sensory Garden

Lošinj didn’t gain the title island of vitality for no reason. No doubt you will have already seen, smelt and heard about the sage, mint, lavender and other herbs that are endemic to the island. The natural healing properties of the air on the island were recognised back in 1892, by the biologist Professor Ambroz Haračić. He declared that Lošinj was to be recognised as a climatic health resort for bronchial diseases.

It only seems fitting that there should be a sensory garden here. Lošinj Aromatic Garden is home to over 250 of these fragrant wild herbs. Not only do they possess health benefits, but they can also be made into cosmetics and to flavour drinks.

A tour of The Losinj Aromatic Garden allows you to touch, smell and taste the plants, as well as learn about their properties and uses. I never knew the plant myrtle could be used to flavour a liquor; I do now, and it’s delicious.

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The old cottage, selling products made from the garden
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The swing at Losinj Aromatic Garden

The sensory gardens are also home to animals. If you visit Mali Lošinj with children, there is plenty to keep them occupied here as well as learn about plants and their natural habitat.

You can also eat here under the shaded canopy, surrounded by the scents of the garden, feasting on freshly baked bread and grilled fish and vegetables served with locally produced olive oil and refreshing hand-picked elderflower water.

Promenade walks

Across the island, and under the cool shade of the fragrant pine trees, are more than 250 kilometres of walking trails. Many of these follow alongside the pristine looking bays connecting the towns. Not only are the promenade walks perfect for walkers and cyclers, but they are also great for wheelchair and pushchair users meaning everyone can enjoy them.

One of the most popular trails is called the footpath of vitality, this three kilometre stretch of the path connects Mali Lošinj to Veli Lošij and is conveniently located under the shade of hundred-year-old pine trees of Cikat forest park.

It’s called the footpath of vitality, as the route features information boards to encourage exercise. The route is also approximately 10,000 steps each way and can take anywhere between 45 minutes and 90 minutes, depending of course on how quick you walk, and how many times you stop to take photos.

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Promenade walk around Cikat

The Colourful Buildings of Veli Lošij Harbour

In my opinion, this was one of the most photogenic places on the island. The small yet pretty harbour is flanked by an array of colourful historical buildings. We were especially blessed because the harbour was being cleaned at the time of our visit, so we had an unobstructed view – normally it’s filled with boats.

The small town of Veli Lošinj is a bustling hub of waterfront cafes and restaurants, little shops and tourist services like Blue World, which I mentioned before. The town simply oozes history, and if you have time walk through the pretty streets taking in the relaxed ambience.

If you’re looking for relaxing things to do in Losinj and a safe swimming spot, then just behind the St Anthony Church, the big pink one, follow the path towards the Church of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This is also where you’ll find an old bastion and look out points from the war. Just along from here, there is a cordoned off swimming area, part of it looks like an abandoned waterfront attraction, with plenty of flat areas to lay out your towel, and enjoy the water.

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Go Snorkelling or Scuba Diving

With the waters around Lošinj island so blissfully clear, it would be a sacrilege not to take a peek at what’s under the waves. Snorkelling can easily be done from the beach. Top sites for snorkelling in Losinj are Plieski Beach, Čikat Bay, and the shorelines around Mali Losinj and Veli Losinj.

As an avid scuba diver, I was gutted I didn’t get a chance to dive on this trip, although it makes a good reason to come back to Losinj! There are numerous dive sites for every level of a diver in the waters surrounding the island, with plenty of points of interest too including underwater caves, raptures, reefs, and rich marine flora.

Something for my Losinj bucket list for when I return is the underwater dive park just off the coast in Čikat Bay. The dive park has been set up with 11 underwater statues and installations that reflect the island’s history. They are located between 5 and 15 meters deep, so even a newly qualified diver can enjoy this site. Amongst the artefacts, there are replica 16th-century cannons, anchors and World War II relics. There is also the popular reproduction of the bronze Apoxyomenos statue.

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Suba Dive | Canva

Hire a Kayak or SUP and Visit A Private Bay

The inviting calm and crystal clear waters surrounding the island, make it a perfect place to explore on a kayak or SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard). Some beaches are only accessible by sea, so you might find yourself an idyllic little cove all to yourselves.

There are various rental places on Losinj, including small group guided tours where you’ll get local knowledge on the best coves and braces to visit. You might even be lucky enough to spot the resident dolphins that live in the bays around the island.

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Wondering what to do in Losinj? SUP or Kayak | Canva

Hike or Cycle the Trails

If you’re interested in adding hiking and biking to your Losinj itinerary you’ll be glad to hear that there are an abundance of trails aimed at both sports on the island ranging from easy, through to moderate and hard.

The longest and one of the toughest trails on the island stretches between Veli Losinj and up to Merag. This trail is estimated to be 80.0 km long. If you were to walk, it would take on nearly 21 hours! however, it’s also a favoured route for mountain biking.

Another popular route for avid hikers is to walk up to Televrin, at 588 metres above sea level, this is the highest point in Losinj. To get to the start of the walk, head to Bijar campsite in the south of the island. The route leads you up through Osorščica and eventually reaches Televrin.

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What to see in Mali Losinj, The beautiful bays

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Relax on the Beaches

If all you want to do when you visit Losinj is to relax on the gorgeous beaches, you’ll be spoilt for choice. The island is surrounded by secluded bays, only accessible from the water. However, there are more easy-to-access beaches too. You’d be hard pushed to be disappointed with any of them, but here are three which particularly stand out.  

      • Čikat Bay – This sandy beach has a WhiteFlag International status, which means it guarantees clean beaches and seas. The beach is surrounded by fragrant pine trees with some naturally shaded areas. There are also plenty of amenities for every water sport imaginable as well as showers and restaurants.
      • Veli žal – A family-friendly pebble beach with facilities including toilets, showers and changing rooms. There are also rental sunbeds and parasols. The beach had a lifeguard on duty meaning it’s great for children. There is also a great beach for anyone with reduced mobility, as there is an accessway to the beach.
      • Poljana – Because this is a pay-for beach for visitors, it attracts fewer people than the free beaches, however, it’s free to Poljana Campsite guests. There are an abundance of amenities here, such as toilets, sunbeds and parasols. There is also an on-duty lifeguard plus a children’s playground. This beach also has a massage service as well as a shop, patisserie and restaurant.
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Secluded beaches and bays in Losinj

Spot the Gigantic Griffon Vulture

The neighbouring islands of Cres and Losinj are home to one of Europe’s biggest birds. The griffon vulture. Their wingspan can reach from 2.5 to 3 metres wide, and weigh between 6-11kg.

They live in the cliffs on both of the islands, and if you’re lucky, can be spotted drifting on the rising air currents to gain altitude. There are only about 50 pairs of birds left in the region, and because they are endemic to the islands, they aren’t seen elsewhere in Europe. They are listed as an endangered species and local efforts are in place that protects their environment.

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Griffon Vulture | Canva

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Sail on an Old Ship & Island Hop

Lošinj has over one hundred years of maritime and shipbuilding tradition, so it’s only natural that you can sail on a replica ship from the Mali Losinj marina.

Full day trips on a traditional wooden boat depart from the main harbour and head to Susak and Srakane for the day. The island of Susak is a sandy island, ideal for swimming as well as being perfect for families with children. The islet of Srakane is perfect for walking and sightseeing and of course, more relaxing.

The full day trip starts at 10 am from Mali Lošin harbour and returns at about 5 pm. Lunch and drinks are included.

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Replica Old Ship in the Marina, Losinj

Visit Losinj - FAQs

Where are the best hotels in Losinj?

You’ll find accommodation all over Losinj, however, the hub of them are in Mali Losinj and Veli Losinj. The towns have the most facilities like cafes, restaurants and shops. There are also several luxury hotels on the island inclduing. Here are three great places to stay on Losinj.

 

Luxury Accommodation - 5* Hotel Alhambra

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Located in Čikat Bay, surrounded by tall pines, agaves, and palm trees. Hotel Alhambra also offers a private beach as well as massage and beauty treatments. Rooms are elegantly furnished. There is an onsite Michelin-starred restaurant.

If you’re interested in a different 5* resort, an alternative option is Hotel Bellevue.

Boutique Accommondaiton - La Dolce Vita Residence

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Located just a few minutes’ walk from the centre of Veli Lošinj and 6 minutes from the beach, La Dolce Vita Apartments offers free-to-use bikes. Each studio comes with an equipped kitchenette. Guests can make use of the onsite sauna, mini-gym, barbecue area, and laundry facilities.

Comfort Accommondaiton - Bed & Breakfast Alaburic

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Located in the town of Mali Lošinj, Bed & Breakfast Alaburic offers air-conditioned rooms with balconies overlooking the gardens or the sea. Rooms come equipped with a fridge and tea & coffee-making facilities. The property is 4 minute walk from the beach. Welcoming hosts serve a delicious breakfast every morning.

Is it easy getting to Mali Losinj from mainland Croatia?

Getting to Losinj isn’t as straightforward as getting to other islands in Croatia. But being off the beaten track is what helps to keep a bit of a hidden gem.

The best way to reach the island is from the north of Croatia. The nearest main airport is Rijeka. From here, you’ll need to hire a car. A passenger boat runs from Rijeka to both Cres and Mali Losinj. Several daily ferry shuttles connect Merag, on Cres Island to Valbiska, on Krk Island. You can then drive down to Losinj.

Is It easy to get around the Isle of Losinj?

As long as you have your own transportation, then yes. Either a car, campervan, motorcycle or bicycle.

If you don’t have a mode of transport, then it can be challenging getting around Losinj. There are no regular public bus services, so you’ll be reliant on taxis to get from one place to another.

What’s the weather in Mali Losinj?

The island benefits from a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot summers. The coldest months are January and February, with temperatures at about 10 degrees. The wettest months are from October to December although temperatures are still around 15-20 degrees.

July and August see the lowest rainfall and warmest temperatures, reaching the late 20s-30 degrees. This also coincides with the peak tourist months.

The shoulder seasons of May, June and September are still blessed with warm days and low chances of rainfall.

So, when are you going to visit Losinj?

I hope you agree, Losinj is an absolute gem. I know I can’t wait to go back.

So now the question begs, are you going to plan a trip to Losinj? Are you interested in going for eco-tourism, adventure sports, or just to relax and unwind? Maybe all three.

If you’re planning a trip to Croatia, and not sure what to see, why not download this Croatia bucket list filled with the best ideas on what to see, as a heads up, the island of Losinj is on there.

Want to explore more of Croatia, then take a look at these other useful articles.

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If you found this Lošinj; things to do article useful, or know someone who might love it, then please like, share or pin it for future reference.

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Becki from Meet Me In Departures

Adventure travel blogger with a big addiction to the World. An ex-rat-racer who was fed up with sleep-work-eat-repeat materialistic mentality that plagues modern living. I love anything to do with off-beat travel, abandoned places, temples & ruins, street art, wildlife in its natural habitat, adventure sport.....basically anything but the 9-5!

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