Introducing Mali Lošinj
Mali Lošinj is a stunner: a natural harbour ringed by graceful, gently weathered Mediterranean town houses and green surrounding hills. The town straddles both coasts on the narrowest section of the island, at the apex of a long protected harbour. A string of imposing 19th-century sea captains’ houses lines the seafront, and even with the summer tourist commotion, this historic quarter still retains its charm and atmosphere.
All of the resort hotels are just out of town by the pebbly beaches Sunčana Uvala (meaning ‘Sunny Bay’) and Čikat. This leafy area started to flourish in the late 19th century, when the wealthy Vienna and Budapest elite, who gravitated to the ‘healthy air’ of Mali Lošinj, started building villas and luxurious hotels around Čikat. Some of these grand residences remain, but most of the current hotels are modern developments surrounded by pine forests that blanket the coves and its pretty beaches.
Although it’s more relaxed visiting in spring and autumn, a visit to Mali Lošinj is worthwhile even in the hectic summer months. It’s also a good base for excursions to the small islands of Susak, Ilovik and Unije nearby.
In 1996 an exquisite bronze statue was found on the seabed near Lošinj, thought to date from the 2nd or 1st century BC. It takes the form of a popular Ancient Greek subject known as Apoxyomenos (‘The Scraper’, Apoksiomen in Croatian), featuring a muscular naked male athlete scraping the dirt, oil and sweat from his body with a tool known as a strigil. At the time of writing it still resides in Zagreb’s Mimara Museum but is expected to return to Lošinj once its specially designed museum opens inside the Kvarner Palace on the waterfront.