They say Mali Lošinj is the pearl of the Kvarner Bay and a premium tourist destination in Croatia. If I had to describe this city in a few words I would say that it is picturesquely situated, very aesthetic, neat, full of beautiful architecture and nature. Although Veli Lošinj was the place where I stayed, I also spent quite a lot of time in Mali Lošinj and in the Čikat Bay, so I think I can tell you a little bit about this beautiful piece of Croatia. If you are looking for a place away from the hustle and bustle but with some nice things to do, it may interest you.
Where is Mali Lošinj, Croatia?
Mali Lošinj is located inside a sheltered cove on the island of Lošinj. This region in northern Croatia, called the Kvarner Bay, is famous for its beautiful nature and crystal clear sea. Mali Lošinj has about 6,000 inhabitants and it is interesting to mention that it is the largest island town of the Adriatic.
The part of the island where the city is located is very narrow, so there is a sea view on both sides. On the west side, you can see the islands of the Lošinj Archipelago – Susak and Srakane, if you look east you will see the outlines of the islands of Cres, Pag, and Rab, as well as the Velebit Mountains.
Things to do in Mali Lošinj, Croatia
Mali Lošinj is the largest town in the Kvarner Bay, the beginnings of which date back to the 12th century when it gradually became a harbor. At the end of the 19th century, the medicinal effects of the island’s climate were discovered by researchers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. As a result, Lošinj Island was transformed into the fashionable health resort of the Vienna aristocracy and business elite.
Currently, Mali Lošinj is a great example of a place in Croatia that strives for sustainable tourism. The town is a perfect combination of beautiful architecture and nature, and although you can relax here from the hustle and bustle and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere, you’ll also find some nice things to do and see.
1. Take a walk around the port of Mali Lošinj.
The center of Mali Lošinj is its port which is located inside the sheltered cove and surrounded by colorful houses with orange roofs. There are beautiful palm trees, fragrant flowers, and some benches at the waterfront where you can sit and enjoy the sea view.
It is worth taking a walk along the promenade, where there are some nice shops, restaurants, and attractive coffee houses. It is quite calm and quiet here during the day. Locals sit in cafes waiting for the ferry, looking at fishing boats and ships mooring in the port. When the sun goes down, the place becomes the center of nightlife on the island of Lošinj.
2. Delve into the narrow streets.
Once you walk along the promenade, let yourself get lost in the maze of narrow streets. It’s the best way to find some hidden gems and feel the spirit of the town.
To be honest, there are not as many historic buildings as in Trogir or Korčula, but you can come across some charming nooks and crannies. Besides, I really liked the authentic atmosphere of Mali Lošinj and the fact that this is not an excessively touristic place. You can watch how normal life goes on here, which in my opinion is one of the best things to do while traveling.
3. Visit the Apoxyomenos Museum.
The main tourist attraction and the best place to see in Mali Lošinj is the Apoxyomenos Museum. It is dedicated to the ancient bronze statue of Apoxyomenos, which in 1999 was found on the seabed off the isle of Vele Orjule at a depth of 45 meters. It is an extremely well-preserved and beautifully crafted Greek work of great artistic value which is presumed to date back to the 2nd or 1st century BC. The statue of Apoxyomenos is a unique find not only in the Adriatic Sea but also in the world.
Entrance tickets: 50-75 kn (adults), 25-40 kn (children from 12 to 18 years old, students, seniors over 65), free admission for children up to 12 years old.
4. Visit the Fritzi Palace – Museum of Lošinj.
If you are interested in art, be sure to visit the Fritzi Palace – Museum of Lošinj, which houses a rich collection of works of Croatian and European artists. Do not miss the photograph collection of Dante Lussin, which presents the island of Lošinj and the town of Cres at the beginning of the 20th century. Looking at these photos you feel like you’re traveling in time.
Entrance tickets: 35 kn (adults), 25 kn (children from 12 to 18 years old, students), free admission for children up to 12 years old. You can also buy joint tickets for three Museum buildings: the Fritzi Palace in Mali Lošinj, The Tower Museum in Veli Lošinj, and the Archeological Collection of Osor. The price is 70 kn (adults), 50 kn (children from 12 to 18 years old, students), free admission for children up to 12 years old.
5. See the historic villas of the Austro-Hungarian aristocracy in the Čikat Bay.
If you want to feel the atmosphere of luxury and see beautiful villas from the Austro-Hungarian period, take a walk around the Čikat Bay. At the end of the 19th century, Čikat was recognized as a healing resort due to its specific microclimate, making it especially popular among the Viennese aristocracy. Prominent guests started to build their beautiful villas on the waterfront, making this place a prestigious holiday destination.
Today, the historic villas houses elegant 5-star hotels. There are also some restaurants and Lanterna Grill, where you can have a drink and enjoy the beautiful view on the island of Susak. When you are in Čikat, do not miss the pink Villa Karolina, which belonged to Emperor Franz Josef. There are beautiful stairs to the sea that you can see in some of my photos.
6. Relax on one of the beaches in Mali Lošinj.
There are many beautiful beaches in Mali Lošinj. The most popular of them are Veli Žal Beach and Borik Beach, which are located in Sunčana Uvala (Sunny Bay). A few steps away is the famous Čikat Bay, which also offers some nice swimming spots. If you take a walk along the seaside promenade towards Cape Madonna, you’ll find two beautiful beaches located in the bays of Srebrna and Zlatna.
You can also visit the beaches on the other side of the island: Valdarke Beach, Kadin Beach, Bojčić Beach, and St. Martin Beach. All locations are marked on the map I have embedded in this post. If you are looking for peace and quiet, I recommend you go towards Porta Šešula Beach and explore the island’s wild coast. There are also some nice secret beaches near Lošinj Airport.
7. Take a deep breath in the Fragrant Island Garden.
Just a few minutes walk from the port of Mali Lošinj, there is the Fragrant Island Garden, a place where you can relax and enjoy the scent of Mediterranean herbs. There are over 250 species of fragrant plants from the islands of Lošinj and Cres, which are enclosed by traditional dry-stone walls. Admission to the garden is free. In the shop, you can buy local crafts, as well as various kinds of natural products and cosmetics from the island.
8. Enjoy the view of Mali Lošinj from the theme viewpoint Providenca.
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If you want to see the breathtaking panorama of Mali Lošinj and the nearby islands, be sure to visit the theme viewpoint Providenca. It’s best to come here just before sunset and have a drink at the Vidkovac Bar. The view of the sun touching the sea provides an unforgettable experience.
9. Take a walk along the Footpath of Vitality to Veli Lošinj.
If you would like to visit a charming small town with an Italian vibe, you can take a walk along the Footpath of Vitality to Veli Lošinj. It is interesting to mention that Veli Lošinj (Velo Selo – Big Village) used to be bigger than Mali Lošinj (Malo Selo – Small Village), but the latter developed more rapidly over the course of centuries and today the situation is quite the opposite, but the names have been kept.
The Footpath of Vitality is a 3 km long promenade that stretches along the coast, so it provides beautiful sea views. Once you get to Veli Lošinj, have a coffee in the small harbor, enjoy the view of colorful, baroque tenement houses, and try to feel the atmosphere of this pretty little town. If you want to read more about things to do in Veli Lošinj, check out my blog post: Veli Lošinj, Croatia – a beautiful small town in Lošinj Island.
10. Explore the islands of the Lošinj Archipelago.
If you would like to do some island hopping, Mali Lošinj is a great starting point to explore the nearby archipelago. Although it consists of 36 islands, only seven of them are inhabited: Cres, Lošinj, Susak, Unije, Ilovik, Male Srakane, and Vele Srakane.
The largest island is Cres, where you can get by car, crossing the rotating bridge in Osor. The other islands are car-free and can be reached by catamaran, which leaves from the port of Mali Lošinj. During my stay, I visited the island of Susak and spent a relaxing afternoon on the beautiful Bok Beach. You can read more about it in my blog post: Susak, the Croatian island with sandy beaches. If there is such an opportunity in the future, I would love to see also Unije, Ilovik, Male Srakane, and Vele Srakane.
How to get to Mali Lošinj, Croatia?
If you are going to the island of Lošinj by car, you need to catch a ferry to the island of Cres from Valbiska (Krk) or Brestova (Istria) and then cross the rotating bridge that connects Cres with Lošinj. The bridge in Osor is opened twice a day for an hour to allow boats to pass. If you will be there at this time, then you have to wait a bit, so it’s better to check at what time the bridge is open.
If you travel without a car, you have two options: you can catch the foot passenger ferry or get to Mali Lošinj by plane. Lošinj Airport is intended for small air traffic. In the summer season, there were daily flights from Zagreb, Venice, and Lugano. The nearest major airports are in Pula, Zadar, and Rijeka.
Car ferries to Cres:
- Valbiska – Merag (Jadrolinija – Route 332) – it runs 17 times per day in the high season and 9-10 times per day in the low season. The journey time is 25 min.
- Brestova – Porozina (Jadrolinija – Route 334) – it runs 13 times per day in the high season and 8 times per day in the low season. The journey time is 20 min.
Car ferries to Mali Lošinj:
- Zadar (Gaženica) – Ist – Olib – Silba – Premuda – Mali Lošinj (Jadrolinija – Route 401) – it runs 1-2 times per day in the high season and twice per week in the low season. The journey time is between 2 hours 30 minutes and 6 hours 45 minutes depending on the route.
Foot passenger ferries to Mali Lošinj:
- Rijeka – Cres – Martinscica (Cres) – Unije – Susak – Ilovik – Mali Lošinj (Jadrolinija – Route 9308)
- Pula – Unije – Susak – Mali Lošinj – Ilovik – Silba – Zadar (Catamaran Line d.o.o. – Route 9141)
- Trieste (Italy) – Piran (Slovenia) – Poreč – Rovinj – Pula – Mali Lošinj (TriesteLines – Route 800 )
- Mali Lošinj – Srakane Vele – Unije – Susak – Mali Lošinj (Jadrolinija – Route 310)
- Cesenatico (Italy) – Mali Lošinj (Gomo Viaggi – Route 817)
- Pesaro (Italy) – Mali Lošinj (Gomo Viaggi – Route 818)
Where to stay in Mali Lošinj?
If you are looking for some luxury, the best place to stay in Mali Lošinj is the Čikat Bay. I recommend you to check out Boutique Hotel Alhambra or Hotel Bellevue. There are also two hotels in Sunčana Uvala (Sunny Bay): Hotel Aurora and Family Hotel Vespera.
If you want an authentic experience or are just looking for a cheaper alternative, you’ll find many private apartments in Mali Lošinj. You can stay in the city center or look for something around Valdarke or Poljana. If you’re interested in exploring secret beaches and you would like to have some secluded swimming spots within walking distance, I recommend you to focus on the area near the Lošinj Airport.
What is Mali Lošinj like? Is it worth visiting?
Mali Lošinj is the largest island town on the Adriatic with about 6,000 inhabitants. Although there are some luxury hotels here, it is not just a typical tourist resort, but a port city where normal everyday life goes on. There are offices, schools, a hospital, shipyard, ferry terminal, banks, shops, supermarkets, restaurants, cafes, bars, and actually everything you need.
Since I stayed in Veli Lošinj, which is much smaller, I often visited Mali Lošinj when I wanted to go shopping or just stroll around the city on a cloudy day. These two cities are only 3 km apart and are connected by a beautiful coastal path that invites to walks. Being in Veli Lošinj you cannot miss Mali Lošinj and vice versa, you just divide the time between these two places, that’s how it is.
In my opinion, Mali Lošinj has two faces. On the one hand, it is a completely normal port city where everyday life goes on, and on the other is Čikat Bay where there are luxury hotels and villas of the rich. While in Veli Lošinj I felt the Italian atmosphere and called this town a small Portofino, Mali Lošinj seemed very Viennese to me. Especially Čikat Bay, where there are historic buildings erected by the former Austro-Hungarian aristocracy.
I visited Mali Lošinj in May, so before the high season. During the day the port was rather quiet, only a few people sat in cafes and restaurants. It probably changes in the summer, when there are more tourists in the city.
I liked that there were beautiful palm trees in the harbor and a lot of colorful, fragrant flowers. It was nice to walk along the waterfront, looking at representative buildings, and enjoying the view of the city. There were some cozy cafes where you could have an espresso as well as small shops with local products and souvenirs.
In my opinion, the best way to get to know the city is to get lost in its streets. Walking without a plan I could see what Mali Lošinj is like and feel its atmosphere. I liked that it is an authentic place, not another tourist trap. Perhaps Mali Lošinj did not have such photogenic nooks as other places in Croatia where I was, such as Rovinj or Korčula, but I found some hidden gems and charming narrow streets that I liked very much.
While everyday urban life goes on in the port of Mali Lošinj, the area known as the Čikat Bay focuses on tourism. In the shade of century-old pine trees, exclusive hotels are located, some of which are housed in former villas of the Austro-Hungarian aristocracy. It is interesting to mention that one of them, Villa Karolina, belonged to Emperor Franz Josef.
Although I don’t like typical tourist places, in my opinion, Čikat Bay is worth visiting. There are no ugly hotels, chaotically built apartments, souvenir stalls. Everything is built with moderation, in harmony with nature. A walk along the seaside promenade with a view of the beautiful historic villas and the turquoise Adriatic Sea provides a really nice experience.
I spent a year in Vienna and I have a fondness for this city. Read more: 7 things that surprised me when living in Vienna. I also love Croatia, especially its islands. Čikat Bay is a place that connects these two worlds and that’s why I liked it there. The combination of Austro-Hungarian architecture, this elegant vibe, and the spirit of the past, with beautiful nature and fragrant Mediterranean vegetation, is truly idyllic.
There are some concrete and pebble hotel beaches in the Čikat Bay, where guests can relax on sun loungers and enjoy beautiful views with a glass of champagne. If you would like to try exquisite dishes, there are some upscale restaurants that serve meals made from local products. You can also have lunch or a drink at Lanterna Grill, from where there is a beautiful view of the sea and the island of Susak on the horizon.
A few steps away is Sunčana Uvala (Sunny Bay) with the beach Veli Žal, which is considered the most beautiful in Mali Lošinj. It is also a hotel beach with tourist infrastructure so if you prefer secluded bays, you’ll find them a bit further.
Is it worth visiting Mali Lošinj? In my opinion, yes. I liked both the port and the Čikat Bay because each of these places had its own atmosphere and character. It was nice to walk along the promenade, get lost in the narrow streets, eat something local in the restaurant, or admire the beautiful architecture in Čikat. I also appreciated the possibility of island hopping and exploring the Lošinj Archipelago.
I am not sure if I would rather stay here instead of in Veli Lošinj, because I like small towns and secret beaches, but I think Mali Lošinj is a perfect destination for people who appreciate the proximity of the city and its attractions as well as for tourists who are looking for a luxury resort in a prestigious location. I think this place is worth more than one visit, so if I have the opportunity, I will be happy to return there someday.