Cycling and hiking are increasingly popular on Lošinj. The island also has good diving, with excellent visibility and good sea life. There’s a wreck dating from 1917, a large, relatively shallow cave suitable for beginners, and the wonderful Margarita Reef off the island of Susak. Čikat is a good spot for windsurfing, with a narrow shingle beach and great wind exposure.

Hiking

The tourist office has an excellent brochure, Promenades and Footpaths, with maps of 250km of trails and accurate walking times. All five islands of the archipelago (Lošinj, Cres, Ilovik, Susak and Unije) are covered. Climb the highest peak of Televrina (589m) for great views, hike to the remote coves south of Mali Lošinj, or access secret bays on Susak.

Krivica: A Cove of Your Own

South of Mali Lošinj the island forms a glorious, barely inhabited, thumb-shaped peninsula that’s blessed with exquisite bays and is perfect for hiking; pick up a map from the tourist office. One lonely road snakes down the spine of this hilly, wooded land mass, eventually fizzling out at Mrtvaška, Lošinj’s land’s end. You can circumnavigate the entire peninsula on foot in a full day, stopping to swim at deserted coves. If you only want to hit one beach, drive 5km to the turn-off for Krivica. It’s a 30-minute descent from the parking area to this idyllic, sheltered bay, which is ringed by pine trees. The water is emerald tinged and superb for swimming.

Islands Around Lošinj

The nearby car-free islands of Susak, Ilovik and Unije are the most popular day trips from Mali Lošinj. Tiny Susak (population 150, area 3.8 sq km) is unique for the thick layer of fine sand that blankets the underlying limestone and creates excellent beaches. The island’s unusual culture makes it particularly interesting. Islanders speak their own dialect, which is nearly incomprehensible to other Croats. On feast days and at weddings you can see the local women dressed in traditional multicoloured skirts (a little like tutus) and red leggings. When you see the old stone houses on the island, consider that each stone had to be brought over from Mali Lošinj and carried by hand to its destination. The island has steadily lost its population in the last few decades (it had more than 1600 inhabitants in 1948), with, strangely, many of its citizens settling in Hoboken, New Jersey.

In contrast to flat Susak, Ilovik (population 85, area 5.8 sq km) is a hilly island known for its profusion of flowers. Overgrown with oleanders, roses and eucalyptus trees, it’s popular with boaters and has some secluded swimming coves.

The largest of the islands, Unije (population 85, area 18 sq km) has an undulating landscape that abounds with Mediterranean shrubs, pebble beaches and numerous coves and inlets. The island’s only settlement is a picturesque fishing village of gabled stone houses.

Travel agencies in Mali Lošinj sell excursions to the islands or you can peruse the boats moored along the harbour and see which deal takes your fancy.

Otherwise, Jadrolinija has a passenger-only ferry that loops from Mali Lošinj to Unije (adult/child 16/8KN, 1½ hours) and Susak (adult/child 16/8 KN, one hour) twice daily. A daily morning catamaran leaves Mali Lošinj for Rijeka and stops in Unije (20KN, 30 minutes) en route.