LOŠINJ & CRES

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About the places

Mali Losinj

Mali Lošinj is the biggest settlement on the island, found on the southern side of the Bay of Lošinj, which thanks to this position has become a very important maritime and commercial centre, and today, also an important tourist destination. Positioned in the August Bay, the biggest closed bay of the island, and with 7000 inhabitants, today it is the biggest island town in the Adriatic. Mali Lošinj dates back to the 12th century when twelve Croatian families settled in the eastern bay St. Martin. First Croatian settlers were farmers, later they also turned to fishing, sailing and shipbuilding, and with that the settlements moved towards the coast The golden age for Mali Lošinj was the end of the 19th century when thanks to seafaring the “small village” turned into a maritime town. Because of the big changes and the maritime crisis in the region, due to passing from sail boats to steam boats, it seemed that the destiny of this and similar towns was sealed. Upon discovering the health benefits of the climate, and growing of the new economic realm, tourism, a new page in the island’s history was open. Today Mali Lošinj is one of the main tourist centres on the Adriatic known in all European tourism circles, which is proofed by an ever bigger number of guest that visit the island every year. Mali Lošinj was the recipient of the title „Champion of Tourism 2007“, and for 2009, Mali Lošinj is the Croatian candidate for the Golden Flower of Europe 2009.

Ustrine

A few km from Belej descending the beach towards the west, we come to Ustrine where the ruins of ancient villas and the remains of vast amounts of old tiles, urns and pottery testify to the origin of a Roman settlement.

Ustrine is a small settlement of sheep-farmers and fishermen situated at the edge of a rugged area. From a height of 180 metres, it falls steeply towards the sea, which with a few inlets, form an indented coastline. If Ustrine had nothing more than panoramas, it still deserves to be seen.

You will be charmed by the hospitality of the simple and friendly hosts where you can find accommodation. Seafood and fresh fish are the specialities of the small inn rights in the village itself.

From the Romanesque church of St. Martin, a paved road which runs through the village slopes down to the sea and leads you to three Ustrine coves – Porat, Veli žal and Županj.

Osor

Although small with a population of only 70 inhabitants, due to its glorious past, preserved natured beauty as well as its gastronomy, Osor is a must as a tourist destination for all those visiting the islands of Cres and Lošinj.

The millennium metropolis of the Cres-Lošinj archipelago – over such a small area, one can find traces of its glorious and distinctive past in every stone of this eternal town.

The ancient town square encompasses beautiful buildings from the XV and XVI centuries, the town hall with its roofed loggia (to-day it is The Archaeological Collection Osor- Museum of Lošinj), Bishop’s palace and magnificent cathedral and bell-tower incorporate the historical nucleus of this town.

In fact, the entire town of Osor is an open-air museum wherein artists from all eras left their legacy, from the contemporary Meštrović to the ruins of the ancient walls, fort, the first early Christian basilica; a museum town whose green gardens and parks cover traces of prehistoric ancient villas, Renaissance portals and monasteries. A town, which is simultaneously history and a museum, becomes a unique open-air stage of rich cultural events during the summer months, the most important being Osor Musical Evening. This event has been held every year in the summer since 1976.

ABOUT THE ISLAND

The boundless sea captivates me through the lapping of the waves and the silence in the sand. The sea has been gently rocking me for centuries calling me to its beloved shore. From the depths, I saw the radiant sun on the horizon, the reflection of the sky in the movement of the sea and the joy of the mischievous dolphins. Drawing closer, I spotted a small town and the full sails of a tiny boat drifting into dreamland. I will tell you a story about the islands, which encompass the Cres-Lošinj archipelago called Apsyrtides.

About the island

The largest of the islands is the wooded Lošinj, with its elevated mount Osoršćica. From here travellers can discover the primeval beauty in the landscape of the small islands unfolding before them: fertile Unije, unique sandy Susak with its distinctive culture, solitary Vele and Male Srakane, flower-studded Ilovik, each of them closely guarding its secrets and beauty. Come and discover them! There are tourist boats and regular ferries lines connecting these islands, whilst Lošinj itself is linked to the mainland by modern car ferry, hydrofoil and small plane. The sea connects and yet divides them.
It is exactly there that I, Apoxyomenos, bathed in its waters, slumbered for 2000 years. I know, for sure, that the waters around here are clean and crystal-clear while the seabed abounds with flora and fauna. The playful dolphins certainly noticed this and here you can learn more about them. The man from Lošinj has always lived from the sea and for the sea. He loved it and feared it; hence, the small votive chapel on Čikat, “The Annunciation”. Protruding on the island’s steep cliff, it unceasingly listens to the seamen’s prayers and the siren of ships. Along with the wooded park Pod Javori, in the wooded park Čikat, whose trees were planted by Professor Ambroz Haračić, the legacy of gifts remain from innumerable seamen and captains who transported exotic plants of the most diverse colours, fragrances and shapes from far-off lands and bequeathed them to the island.
Stirring tales of Lošinj’s seafaring unfold in the museum-gallery “Kula” located in Veli Lošinj, which proudly boasts the magnificent Baroque church of St. Anthony the Abbot, housing a treasury of art works. Rising from the sea, the bell-tower of the parish church “The Birth of Mary” looms high in Mali Lošinj while Fritzi Palace lies out of sight in an alleyway, faithfully guarding Lošinj’s rich collection of art works – belonging to the Piperata and Mihičić families. Nevertheless, the greatest cultural-historical monument on the island is the town-museum, latter-day Osor, four thousand years old. The legacies of bygone eras resonating in every corner of this town testify to this: a Museum of Sacred Art, the former Bishop’s palace, an Archaeological collection as well as a Cathedral dating back to the 15th century, which houses relics of St. Gaudenzia, a bishop who later became patron saint of Osor. Legend has it that he is credited with the disappearance of all poisonous snakes from the island and so, today, there are only non-poisonous ones along with lizards and the legally-protected gecko. Traditionally, a festival of classical music is held in the Cathedral called “Osor Music Nights”.
Today, Lošinj is a much sought-after tourist destination where you can tune into yourself. Lošinj’s tourist beginnings are linked to health tourism, as the benefits of climate and vegetation of the island were first discovered by the wise Austro-Hungarian aristocracy. Along with proclaiming Lošinj a health resort, they built numerous villas and summer residences, which have been restored, and today enrich the landscape. Along with them, there are numerous newly built hotels, which are continually being upgraded with new facilities. Some of them already boast four stars, offering Wellness Centre programs and swimming pools with heated sea water, while others are transformed into smaller family hotels and guest houses. In private accommodation you will have the opportunity to meet the friendly locals – their customs and traditions. You’ll experience a symphony of colours, fragrances and tastes, revelling in the island’s traditional cuisine based on wild, aromatic plants and olive oil. Once again, you’ll be delighted by the taste of spring lamb and Kvarner Bay scampi, the aroma of homemade brandy with pot herbs and the bouquet of our local wine from Susak. Lošinj provides campsites scattered over the entire island, along the sea, with beautiful beaches protected from the sun by pine trees, thus providing visitors with natural aromatherapy.
The fragrance programs are revived throughout the whole year, bearing the name of the month in accordance with the wild and autochthonous flora, and offering a profusion of healthy and unique fragrances and tastes. Active holiday seekers, all year round, are able to use the 220 km long laid-out pathways, which stretch over no less than five islands. The pathways and promenades wend their way through diverse and sweet-smelling tracts of nature and can lead you to hidden hamlets and picturesque places: Belej, Ustrine, Punta Križa, Nerezine, Sv. Jakov, Ćunski or Artatore. The more adventurous explorers will go diving into the depths full of caves and reefs, while those who prefer the sea surface can indulge in sailing, surfing, skiing and recreational fishing. Following a fully active day, you are eager no doubt to relax and be entertained. Set off into the Lošinj night! Visit the taverns with live music, nightclubs, listen to a jazz-festival and fine “klapa” songs (close-harmony singing), and enjoy Lošinj folk dancing groups with their traditional folk costumes. Don’t forget to watch the sky, as it has remained the starriest sky back from the time of Spiridon Gopčević (Leo Brenner) who chose Lošinj for his astronomical observatory Manora.
From here, I, Apoxyomenos, was taken and displayed at home and abroad, but nowhere did I encounter a climate or people such as these. I am certain it was no coincidence that my bronze statue was left here amidst the Lošinj islands. Somehow this is the place for me, a place to which I would surely return. So, I would like to invite you to visit our island of vitality and discover for yourself all the tales and unforgettable sights.

What to do

SCUBA DIVING

For those preferring the sea and sea sports Cres offers scuba diving school and even sports fishing.

There are three scuba diving centres on the island running scuba diving courses as well as renting scuba diving equipment.

SAILING

From generation to generation a long sailing tradition has handed down experiences and created urge for the sea while the archipelago’s natural indentation has built a magnificent setting for sailing.

The old saying “Navigare necesse est” has proven to be up-to-date today more than ever. This is the man’s essential need for the very source of life and fundamental strength that on one hand scares any skilled seaman yet attracts him inevitably.

When entering the local waters of Cres you’ll find yourself faced with mesmerising splendour that is yet to be discovered. The long indented coast wrapped with rich Mediterranean vegetation is full of numerous bays and beaches: the charming play of the sea and sun reveals deep bays where those favouring peace and harmony of nature can find peace and anchor.

Excellent micro climate conditions provide visitors with a restful, active and rich vacation. Local waters of Cres pose a real challenge for navigators.

WALKING TRACKS AND PROMENADES

There are some 100 km of marked sand and walking tracks for nature lovers and those wishing to explore the inland of the island.

Motifs for taking a tour can be different: a restful vacation, exploration of cultural and historical landmarks scattered around the island or pure joy of pristine nature.

Likewise, exploring the rich world of plants can be one of the motifs: an original botanical garden full of indigenous plants and luxuriant vegetation flowers on a rather small geographical area. So, go and visit this garden for its green colour in the Mediterranean sun, for evergreen cypresses, holm oaks, laurel, a hundred-year old olive groves, lavender and rosemary in bloom…

CYCLING TRACKS

Besides walking and hiking, cycling is also an excellent way to discover Cres and enjoy captivating scenery of the island.

Besides walking and hiking, cycling is also an excellent way to discover Cres and enjoy captivating scenery of the island. The best period to ride a bicycle is in the spring or autumn when temperatures are not that high and the weather is nice.You can discover Cres by bike easily – from Dražica bay and ACI marina Cres, through the centre of the city, then along the seashore to the hotel, camping site and beaches all the way down to the tourist resort Gavza: cycling tracks are simple and easy.

You can get to almost every village on the island using the major island road or any old roads or macadam. One of the most popular cycling tracks is macadam running from Cres marina to Valun and is 15 km long. This track also further leads to villages above Valun that is Pernat, Zbičina and Lubenice. The track starts in Cres marina from where a path runs to the water pipeline route. After you leave marina you’ll see macadam and just follow road signs for Valun. While cycling you’ll come across hurdle-gates that prevent sheep from entering so please keep them closed after you pass through. After macadam you’ll see a paved road leading to Valun.

From Podol, a village above Valun, another attraction-grabbing track goes along the Vrana Lake and gives a stunning view over the lake and its surroundings. The track goes to the village Grmov above the Vrana Lake and further on to the major road.

An attractive track in the north of the island is macadam Sv.Petar – Ivanje. You can reach this track if following the major island road in direction of Porozine. Turn right at the road sign Beli and go on to St Peter. You’ll reach Ivanje by an eight-kilometre long path which is partially paved. At the 5th kilometre of the road to Ivanje you’ll come upon an abandoned village Petričevi where the path forks. If you turn left, the track will take you through the woods and mountains of Tramuntana. At the end of the track you’ll get to the major island road.

You should take tours all over the island to find out its beauty; because, Cres once discovered, will always stay in your heart.