Island Losinj general information

The island of Losinj is an island in Kvarner. It belongs to the administrative unit of Mali Losinj, that is, part of the County of Primorje-Gorski Kotar. It is located 31 km in the northwest-southeast direction. Significant settlements on the island are Mali Losinj and Veli Lošinj.

Losinj is characterized by tranquil vivid locations with a unique climate in which you can enjoy the benefits throughout the year. Losinj is a destination of health, a mild Mediterranean atmosphere with more than 2500 sunny hours a year, where some 1,200 species of plants grow, of which up to 600 species grow to 17 square miles of the island. Numbers are just a few of lucky ones.

The first settlements

The first settlements on the island of Lošinj date as far back as the year 1280; and afterwards a group of settlers founded a settlement in today’s bay of St. Martin as well. In 1398 the names of Mali and Veli Lošinj – Velo and Malo Selo were mentioned for the first time.

In the 17th Century, stronger development of fisheries and seafaring began. Mali Lošinj experienced an economic boom with the further development of seafaring and shipbuilding. Approximately around 1754 Mali and Veli Lošinj had 105 merchant ships, and in 1868 Mali Lošinj held the second place in shipbuilding in the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, with 21 sailing boats built for long voyages; right behind Rijeka and in front of Trieste.

Today Lošinj is characterized by its many quiet picturesque villages with a unique healing climate and its benefits can be enjoyed throughout the year. The archipelago of Lošinj is a destination of health, mild Mediterranean atmosphere with more than 2500 hours of sunshine annually. Around 1200 different plants flourish on the archipelago, of which as many as 600 species grow on 17 square kilometres of the island Unija. Only rare fortunate ones can boast about such numbers.

The natural climate impacts with amazing healing properties can not leave anyone indifferent. Exactly this distinctive and mild micro-climate of Lošinj, with its positive effect on health, is one of the reasons why guests who have visited Lošinj once keep coming back.

On the archipelago of Lošinj, there are more than 220 km of hiking trails, where you can meet guests from all over the world. In order to wake up in the morning, all you need to do is take a deep breath with the first rays of the sun and take a walk. In case you choose another physical activity, running or cycling, you will enjoy fragrant hiking trails, wonderful countryside, viewpoints and coves.

The Legend of the Holy Gaudentius

According to legend, Gaudentius (Croatian funny guy) was a Benedictine monk and the bishop of Osor. He was banished from the town and lived in a cave on Osorcica. Osorcica is a small hill between the villages Osor and Nerezine, and its highest peak Televrin is 588 m high. In the Cathedral of Osor is the statue of St. Gaudentius, with a snake wrapped around his legs.

The holy Gaudentius (Gaudentius Auxerensis) was born in Tržič, today an abandoned village near Osor. He was active in Osor from 1018 to 1042. He was a great cultural and national reformer. He built the monastery St. Peter for the male population and the Convent St. Mary of Mercy for the women. Osor became a prominent Glagolitic centre, which did not appeal to certain noblemen of Osor, who took advantage of the instability in the Papal State and attacked the bishop. Gaudentius flees, hides on Osorcica, and spends one year of his life in a dark cave as an outcast. Since the cave was full of snakes, he did penance and asked God for mercy to free these islands from poisonous snakes forever.

Regardless of the legend, the fact is that today there are no poisonous snakes on the entire island. There have been cases that people brought snakes from abroad to the island, but they died after a short time. Today the cave still exists and it bears the name Pit of St. Gaudentius; and tourists love to visit it on their way to Teverin, the highest peak of Osorcica, and thereby of the whole island as well. Visitors of the cave often take a pebble from the pit as a souvenir, but also as protection against poisonous snakes anywhere in the world.

Gaudentius fled to Rome and continued his ascetic life in the Franciscan monastery in Jakino, where he died on May 31 st 1044. After almost a hundred years his mortal remains returned in a most strange way; all bells started ringing by themselves before dawn. Beneath the city walls, a wooden case was floating on the sea (its remains are stored in the sacral collection). In this case, was the coffin with the body of St. Gaudentius. The residents of Osor built a small church in his honour and declared him their patron.

Traditional costumes

The female traditional costume of Susak differs from most other famous costumes. Its distinguishing feature is the very short skirt (above the knees) in very bright colours. The everyday version of the traditional costume can still be seen on the island of Susak.

The shoes – formal, called “carape” , are made from felt, and laced with a thin red wool ribbon “valnica.” The work shoes are handmade and called “pute”. They are made of linen, and the sole is made of lambskin leather or canvas.

The socks (Calcite) are made of wool, and the colour is bright red – “carjena ili oganju”.

The underpants with legs – “mudonde” are made of cotton with white lace – “Merlić” – around the edges.

The shirt – “Kosula” is made of cotton, white, with lace around the neck and sleeves.

The petticoat – “suknica” is white, made from cotton cloth, decorated with colourful ribbons, decorative flowers, etc.

The vest – “Bust” is very tight, vibrant in colours with floral patterns and ornated with shells. It is buttoned up with three buttons.

The skirts – “kamizoti” consist of 5-6 white skirts. The first (lowest) is the shortest, and the other ones are, each a few inches longer than the previous one. This gives the uniform its conical shape. The seam is of white hand-made lace – “kamufi.” The upper skirt – “kamizot na faldice” is usually white or with thin longitudinal red or blue dashes. The fabric is usually hand-pleated silk. Wrinkles or ripples in the fabric are obtained by wrapping the skirt tightly with a rope, leaving it till it creases. The procedure is repeated several times.

The apron – “traviersla” is decorated with ribbons in bright colours, bands and beads.

The scarf – “bravaruol” is wrapped around the neck; it is bright in colours and with long fringes, and at the front side attached at the waist.

Men’s costumes, all things considered, do not differ from other middle-class costumes of the 19th century. On the feet are the already mentioned canvas shoes. The pants are black or dark blue. The shirt has a white collar. The belt is a wide band with an Oriental pattern. It was allegedly purchased in Istanbul . The vest is usually black or in another, darker colour. The head was always covered with a cap, either a captain’s cap or a French beret.


Apoxyomenos (Greek for “the one who scrapes”) is one of the conventional poses in which the ancient Greeks represented athletes. After the training, athletes scraped dust and sweat from their (oiled) body with a small sickle-shaped instrument, which the Greeks called ksistra and Romans strigil (strigilis); the Apoxyomenos statues caught boys in that act. The most famous ancient Apoxyomenos was shaped in bronze by Lysippos of Sikyon, the court sculptor of Alexander the Great, around 330 BC. The original is lost. An antique marble copy was preserved, today in the Roman Museo Pio-Clementine, discovered in 1849 in Trastevere.

Apoxyomenos of Lošinj was discovered in 1996 by the Belgian tourist Rene Wouters, near the islet of Vele Orjule, on the sandy bottom between two rocks at a depth of approximately 45 meters. The finding was reported to the Croatian Ministry of Culture in 1998. Special Police divers and experts from the Ministry of Culture and the Archaeological Museum in Zadar resurfaced the statue on April 27th 1999.

After years of desalination and careful restoration, the statue was exhibited in the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb, Zadar and Italy and Slovenia.

The Croatian Apoxyomenos is different from the Lysippos Apoxyomenos primarily for scraping his hip and not his forearm. It is believed that the Lošinj copy originates from the second or first century BC.

Tourist Board of Mali Lošinj

Priko 42, HR – 51550 MALI LOŠINJ, Croatia
Telephone 1: 051 231 884
Telephone 2: 051 231 547
Fax: 051 233 373
E-mail: losinj@visitlosinj.hr