Mali Lošinj is the largest settlement on the island of Lošinj and a popular tourist destination during the summer season. The town lies in the large Augusta Bay along the south coast of the island and is surrounded on one side by hills with lush pine forests and on the other by a turquoise sea.
According to legend, the island’s harbour was created in Roman times in 32 BC when Octavian’s fleet stopped here to wait out the winter before resuming sailing. In fact, other information traces the origins of the town back to around the 12th century when a few Croatian families moved here to make a living from agriculture, farming and fishing. With time, then, mercantile activity grew more and more and Mali Lošinj grew from a small fishing village into a real maritime town.
The town’s tourist vocation began during Austro-Hungarian rule when families of the Viennese aristocracy came to this area to take advantage of the salubrious sea air and peaceful surroundings. In the waterfront area, one can still admire old villas built by merchants and captains, while in the southernmost part of the coast there are residences built in the late 19th century by noble Austrian families.
Nowadays, Mali Lošinj presents itself as a town that has focused heavily on tourism, building numerous accommodation facilities, some of a high standard, and all the necessary services to welcome tourists. What’s more, Mali Lošinj is not only a destination for those who love the sea, but also for those who want to enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking or mountain biking on the trails surrounding the town.
Mali Lošinj boasts a large number of beaches where you can relax in the sun, plus there is one of the few sandy beaches in the area. Less than 1 km from the centre of Mali Lošinj is the famous Čikat Bay, which is surrounded by lush vegetation and has three beaches, one of which is sandy. Considered by some to be the most beautiful bay on the Adriatic, Čikat is a beach with all the amenities and is therefore very popular with families with children.
Another beach popular with families is Bojčić, which consists of small pebbles and is washed by a crystal clear sea; the area is equipped with toilets, showers, children’s play areas, restaurants and shops. Approximately 5 km from the town centre is the Artatore Bay, which includes several beaches, all of which are rocky and pebbly, and perfectly equipped. In addition to ample parking, the area also boasts restaurants, clubs and shops.
Another popular beach is that of Borik, which is largely made up of large flat rocks where you can lay out your towel to sunbathe; the seabed slopes slowly, a detail that makes the area perfect for families with children or for those who cannot swim. Showers, changing cabins, sunbed and parasol hire and a children’s playground complete the beach’s offer. Connected to Borik beach, there is also a small beach reserved for naturists.
Other beaches include Zagrebacka, which is a mix of cemented terraces and rocks with all facilities available, Krivica, surrounded by a lush pine forest, and Kadin, which is perhaps considered the wildest and quietest.
A walk through the old town centre of Mali Lošinj is a bit like taking a real trip back in time: the oldest part, in fact, contains stone houses, old residences concealing lush gardens, small squares and stairways. A stop not to be missed is definitely a visit to the cathedral, which boasts a Baroque façade and inside a three-nave layout housing works of great value and the relics of Saint Romuald, the city’s patron saint.
In the main square, you can admire the war of liberation memorial and from there it is easy to reach the church of San Nicola. Walking along the waterfront, on the other hand, one has the opportunity to admire a sculpture known as the ‘Farewell’, which was created by Croatian artist Zvonimira Obad and depicts a local woman in the act of bidding farewell to a departing merchant ship – a tradition that has been held in Mali Lošinj for years in this very part of town.
Art lovers can visit the Lošinj Museum, which is housed in the Fritzy Palace and contains a collection of 17th and 18th century paintings, 20th century photographs and other modern and contemporary works of art. Another interesting visit, especially for children, is to the Sea Turtle Protection Centre, which devotes its activities to releasing and supporting turtles that have become entangled in fishing nets or plastic waste.
Mali Lošinj is the largest and main town on the island of Lošinj and the one that most tourists choose when staying in the area due to its excellent location and level of services. It offers a large number of facilities such as hotels and boutique hotels but also flats and residences. As this is a very popular destination in Lošinj during the summer months, the advice is to book your stay in advance.
Lošinj can be easily reached by sea from other towns on the Croatian coast; those travelling by car, however, must first reach the town of Porozina on the mainland and then once there take a ferry to the island of Cres, which is connected by a bridge to Lošinj. The islands of Cres and Lošinj are connected to the mainland by numerous ferry and catamaran lines that provide connections to cities such as Zadar and Pula, but also to the smaller islands of Susak, Ilovik and Unije.
The nearest airport is Lošinj Airport, just over 6 km from Mali Lošinj, and from the airport you can reach the city by taxi, bus or renting a car. Another airport not too far away is Rijeka, which is 80 km away.
Mali Lošinj is located along the southern coast of the island of Lošinj in a wide, sheltered bay. The town is less than 10 km from Veli Losinj, 20 km from Neresine and 60 km from Cres.