The locals in Cres & Lošinj proclaim September to be the finest month of year, thanks to the abundant Autumn sunshine – and the lack of tourists clogging the roads! The islands, given their history, retain a distinctly Italian vibe, with the main fishing towns of Cres and Mali Lošinj giving off an air of Venetian glamour.
In comparison to Hvar and the mainland, the islands attract fewer tourists, and the locals are more than happy to stop and chat with visitors. Take a chance and perhaps you’ll be invited into their home for a taste of some homemade olive oil and crusty bread. Some of Europe’s oldest olive groves line the stony fields of northern Cres whilst in the south the rare Griffon Vulture roams the rugged myrtle filled hills.
On Cres Island, Lubenice is a rustic fortress town and sports dramatic views over the Adriatic Sea. Today, the town consist of flocks of sheep and a handful of hardy locals living within the thick stoned buildings. A steep pathway (watch your step!) descends to the blue waters of Sveti Ivan Bay. Its deserted pebble beach is one of the best spots in Croatia for an afternoon picnic.
One of the deepest lakes in Europe is located on Cres. Lake Vrana supplies freshwater to both islands and is held is high regard by islanders – to protect the purity of the lake, no swimming or fishing is allowed. The lake is located 17 metres above sea level yet it is a remarkable 60 metres deep – leading to legends of revengeful Gods flooding the island in ancient times.
Looking for fill up for lunch?! Carcuso Tavern in Cres town, with its beer lined walls, serves up massive “beer sandwiches” – a Cres speciality. The bread is fried in beer batter and then served with salad and pork – and an ice cold beer of course. It’s a massive feed and the locals can’t get enough of it! If you’re up for popping back in for dinner, they also serve up BBQ lamb and fish in their large courtyard .
A high speed passenger ferry serves Cres from Rijeka on the mainland. Journey time is 1hr20 to Cres and costs 45KR one way. There are two departures between May-September and one departure during the winter months.
A car ferry serve Porozina in the north of Cres, from the port of Brestova. Up to 10 departures daily. Cres & Losinj are connected by road bridge. Ferry is 18KR per passenger / 23KR bicycle / 115KR Car
Autotrans bus offers tickets from Rijeka (125KN) / Zagreb, (160KN) / Ljubljana (200KN) – this includes the ferry journey. However it is faster taking a bus to Rijeka and then take the passenger ferry to Cres.
The entrance into the small harbour of Veli Losinj is beautiful, and it is regarded as one of the finest harbours in Croatia. Just across from the harbour at the sea wall is an excellent swimming spot, with crystal clear waters and friendly ice cream vendors.
The main town of Mali Losinj is home to some fantastic seafood restaurants, with the daily catch being sent straight from the harbour to the restaurants. Ristorante Eki, 8KM north of Maki, is a small family run restaurant serving BBQ fish and great wines on their terrace.
On the western shores of Losinj Island lies the pine forest of Cikat. There are dozens of sheltered bays and coves hugging the coast of this dense forest, providing ideal swimming conditions. As it is a designated National Park, there is an inexpensive campsite located within the forest. There is small bar cafe also, serving some much needed cold beer after a long day of hiking and swimming!