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. 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.
Church of St. Anthony the Hermit. The intimate harbor is the centerpiece of Veli Lošinj, at the entrance to which is the delightful Church of St. Anthony
the Hermit, with a separate bell tower in pink and cream stone. Built on the site of a former church in 1774, the church has always had a congregation of seafarers, who have filled it with religious art and altars from spots such as Venice. On the Veli Lošinj waterfront, Lošinj. No phone. July–Aug., daily 9–12:30 and 7–9; other months on request or during mass.
Kula. Opposite the harbor, but now hidden by a row of houses, are the battlements of a defensive tower that dates from 1455. The squat construction, known as the Tower, now houses an art gallery staging temporary exhibitions by notable Croatian artists. The permanent exhibition tracing the town's history includes a copy of a Greek statue of Apoksiomen, which was discovered on the seabed in 1999. Kaštel bb, 51551. 051/236–594. www.muzej.losinj.hr. 10 Kn. Tues.–Sun. 10–1 and 7–10.
Lošinj Marine Education Centre. A community of around 150 bottlenose dolphins makes its home just off the coast of Lošinj, and the nonprofit Lošinj Marine Education Centre will tell you all about them. Excellent displays and videos take you right into their underwater world, 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 €30 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. 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