About Cres & Losinj Islands
The Island of Cres
Cres is characterized by a sharp contrast between the northern apparently barren "sub-Mediterranean", heady with the scent of wild herbs and the southern Mediterranean parts which are rich in pasturelands and dense vegetation. There is a great variety of plant and animal species, with an extremely large number of endemic species being a real challenge for all nature lovers. In the far north, near Beli, you can also find one of the last habitats of a very rare and protected bird species – the griffon vulture. A particularly interesting feature of the island is the freshwater lake Vrana; the surface of the lake is above sea level and its bottom is below sea level, at a depth of 74m. There are also many footpaths and walking trails on the island and many small roads to enjoy the local beauty whilst cycling.
The island of Cres has a very rich cultural and historical heritage: buildings from the age of the Liburnians, remains of the cities of antiquity, early Catholic churches and monasteries. The historic centre of Martinščica is made up of St. Martin's Church with a 16th century Franciscan monastery and the 17th century family Sforza castle. Osor, the southernmost town (facing over to Losinj Island) was once the capital of the island and an important bishopric and a handful of gothic and renaissance buildings remain. Cres town is a picturesque harbour surrounded by fishermen's cottages and is least affected by tourism.
Heading south from Cres and across the Kavuada channel is the island of Lošinj, an island of beautiful beaches, such as at Cikat Bay and ancient pine forests. Mali Losinj is the biggest settlement on the island, found on the southern side of the Bay of Lošinj, which thanks to this position has become a very important maritime and commercial centre, and today, also an important tourist destination and one of the biggest island towns in the Adriatic.The town bears the hallmarks of Venetian rule and the bustling sea front with its pastel facades is a popular place for an evening stroll.
Mali Lošinj dates back to the 12th century when twelve Croatian families settled in the eastern bay of St. Martin. The first Croatian settlers were farmers, later they also turned to fishing, sailing and shipbuilding, and with that the settlements moved towards the coast. The golden age for Mali Lošinj was the end of the 19th century when thanks to seafaring the 'small village' turned into a maritime town. Because of the big changes and the maritime crisis in the region, due to passing from sail boats to steam boats, it seemed that the destiny of this and similar towns was sealed. Upon discovering the health benefits of the climate, and growing tourism, a new page in the island’s history opened.
Nerezine is situated at the foot of Osoršćica hill on the north eastern coastline of Lošinj and was already mentioned as a larger settlement on the island as far back as the 14th century. It was a place which gradually grew from field labouring and shepherding to a fishing and seagoing settlement with shipyards known for their skilled workmen and construction of wooden ships.
As a tourist resort, Nerezine was already discovered in the 19th century, primarily thanks to Osoršćica hill which delighted all its visitors, including the Austro-Hungarian heir to the throne, Rudolf Habsburg, who climbed to the top in 1887. Nerezine is the starting point on the tourist trail for the ascent to Osoršćica and it is not without reason that it has been proclaimed the most beautiful island mountain in the Adriatic.
Where to stay
The Hotel Zlatni Lav is located in Martinščica bay in the immediate vicinity of beautiful shingle beaches with crystal clear sea and is a great base for outdoor activities for all the family.