The sea captains of Veli Lošinj evidently preferred to escape their working environment during their time off, and thus built their villas away from the waterfront, surrounding themselves with exotic plants brought back from their travels. Archduke Karl Stephen built a winter residence in Veli Lošinj; it's now a sanatorium surrounded by wonderful gardens, again with a range of exotic plants, and an arboretum. It's possible to stay in the sanatorium, even for the healthy,
but we can't recommend the option until some serious cash is invested in reconstructing it. A short walk beyond the main harbor is the little fishing cove of Rovenska. Beyond, there's a pebble beach and some nice restaurants. The breakwater was established by Habsburg archduke Maximilian. Walking in the other direction brings you to a great rocky Blue Flag beach, where water-sports equipment can be rented in the Vitality Hotel Punta complex.
Venetian Tower. Opposite the harbor, but now hidden by a row of houses, are the battlements of a defensive tower, which dates from 1455. The squat construction, known as the Venetian Tower, now houses an art gallery staging temporary exhibitions by notable Croatian artists, as well as a permanent exhibition tracing the town's history, and a copy of a Greek statue of Apoxiomen, which was discovered on the seabed in 1999. Kaštel bb, 51551. 051/236–594. www.muzej.losinj.hr. 10 kn. mid-June–mid-Sept., Tues.–Sat. 10–1 and 7–10; Apr.–mid-June and mid-Sept.–Oct., Tues.–Sat. 10–1; Nov.–Mar. on request.
Lošinj Marine Education Centre. A community of around 150 bottlenose dolphins makes its home just off the coast of Lošinj. Locals claim that its choice of habitat here proves how clean the waters are in the area. The nonprofit Lošinj Marine Education Centre will tell you all about the bottlenose dolphins cruising just off the coast. Excellent displays and videos take you right into their underwater world. This is fascinating stuff for kids and adults alike. You may even end up adopting your own dolphin, although you can't take it home with you. For a mere €35 you'll receive a bundle of stuff such as certificates and T-shirts and, of course, that warm fuzzy feeling of doing something good for the world. The best bit is that you'll be able to visit your newfound family member in his or her natural environment every time you swing through town. (He or she will laugh at you, of course.) Kaštel 24, 51551. 051/604–666. www.blue-world.org. 15 kn. July–Aug., daily 10–9; May, June and Sept., weekdays 10–4, Sat. 10–2; Oct.–Apr., weekdays 10–2.
Veli Lošinj, Veli Lošinj, 51551, Croatia