Active seaside holidays on the Croatian islands of Lošinj and Cres

It’s been a most incredible week but now all that is left are a couple of photos and a big numbing heartache. Arghh. I simply love Lošinj and Cres. I love the lonely beaches, the clearest and bluest waters, dusty paths permeated with the smells of Mediterranean herbs, and the most delicious food. The best part? It’s an outdoor paradise that combines both wild and secluded, as well as comfortable and friendly. As almost a local, I give you my top four trips on these Croatian islands you absolutely shouldn’t miss out if you’re more into wild adventures.

Hiking Televrin, Lošinj, Croatia
At the top of St. Nicholas. All pictures by Exploring Slovenia.

Hiking Televrin, 588 m, and St. Nicholas, 557 m; Lošinj
I first came to Lošinj twenty years ago. If I needed to be dragged uphill as an unimpressed teenager, I fell in love with hiking in my early twenties and discovered an amazing hill soaring above our camp. Televrin, the highest peak of the ridge mountain Osorščica. There are quite a few paths to the peak, but my favorite, which also happens to be the shortest 😉, starts from a village called Nerezine. Even though the direction signs start by the seaside, I prefer to drive a tiny bit uphill to skip the dull part on the road and start the hike on a trail at 80m elevation. I suppose one cannot deny the easy-going Balkan genes as the trailhead is always packed with Slovenian cars.

Family hiking Televrin, Lošinj, Croatia
The view from the top? In one word: breathtaking. You’ll see all crystal blue lagoons hidden well away from the crowds, the whole of Lošinj island actually, as well as Cres and other small islands like Unije, Susak, Srakane and Ilovik.
Hiking Televrin, Lošinj, Croatia
What I love to do during the summer is to climb Televrin in the early morning before the heat turns the hike unbearable.

Quick stats of the hike? Hiking the more popular St. Nicholas peak, you’ll make 2.55 km in length and 477 m in elevation, while the trail is marked for 1.5 hours (my average time is 45 minutes). If you extend the hike to the other peak, Televrin, add another 15 minutes and 30 m elevation.

Sunrise from Televrin, Lošinj
You’ve got to love those ridiculously beautiful sunrises…

Cycling up to Osorščica, Lošinj
If you’re into mountain biking, then this tour is a must! It’s a perfect combination of awesome terrain mixed with super challenging short, steep climbs over rugged gravel. If you fall off your bike, there’s no way to start your bike in the middle of that steep gravel drama. No worries though, as the steep portions tend not to be longer than twenty meters at a time, which gives you plenty of opportunities to mount your bike again in flatter parts.

Mountain biking Osorščica, Lošinj
It’s a difficult biking tour only a fraction of tourists give a try, but as you can see, it’s definitely worth the effort.
Mountain biking Osorščica, Lošinj
The views on a clear day can be epic. You know what else is epic regardless of the weather? Cycling back down. It makes me go scream with joy, no joke.

Quick stats of the Osorščica biking tour? With the trail starting in Osor, an enchanting small village connecting the islands of Lošinj and Cres, from the camp “Preko mosta” to be exact, it’s about 7 km, 276 m elevation gain and 1.15 hours on gravel to a mountain hut, and approximately another hour to the highest peak of Osorščica, Televrin.

Cycling track from Nerezine to Osorščica, Lošinj
My tracking app tells me I did a 26.16 km round tour with 450 m of ascent in a little less than 3 hours. I never end the tour by the mountain hut though, but extend it to a scenic peak a little further up the trail at about 400 m elevation.
Scenic view from Osorščica, Lošinj
You asked about the crowds on the trail? They are nonexistent. I always run into a rare few other mountain bikers and trail runners who actually give me the mental comfort on an otherwise completely desolate path.

Cycling to Punta Križa, Cres
A dreamy narrow road stretched up and down along a piece of mostly wild land, the Punta Križa cape, which is surrounded by Mediterranean shrubs, fragrant herbs like thyme, sage and wild asparagus, teems with wildlife. I swear, you can’t go into this part of the island without running into a deer!

Punta Križa in bloom, sage flowering on Lošinj
Sage and thyme usually start blooming in late April, coloring the countryside purple.
Punta Križa in bloom, sage flowering on Lošinj
In case you were wondering, the mountain in the background is Osorščica (Televrin).

Punta Križa in bloom, sage flowering on Lošinj

Quick stats of the Punta Križa cycling tour? If you start in Nerezine like me and do an entire tour all the way to camp Baldarin and its excellent restaurant Pogana, it’s about 19 km and 105 m ascent one way.

My cycling track from Nerezine to Punta Križa.
My cycling track from Nerezine to Punta Križa.

Exploring Lubenice, Cres
An ancient fort settlement with only 12 permanent inhabitants, none of whom is younger than 65 (not exactly a party paradise…), which dates back as many as 4,000 years, Lubenice is the definition of picturesque. Its fort together with 40 other buildings lie at the top of a 380-meter high ridge overlooking a divine coastline and the sailors’ favorite – the Lubenice beach.

The best place to eat lamb on the island (as I’m sure you’ll be hungry after my workout suggestions)? Bukaleta, for sure. It’s also one of the best reviewed Cres restaurants on TripAdvisor.

Top activities in Lubenice? Hiking, rock climbing, and paragliding. And swimming, obviously, if you manage to reach either the Lubenice or Plava Grota Beach (Blue Cave Beach in English, after an intriguing 20-meter long cave engraved in a rocky coastline), both stunningly beautiful beaches an hour-hike away from the village. Since none of the activities are actually organized and the beaches are completely wild, it’s a sort of bring your own gear, food and drink kind of adventure. To be honest, just the kind I love: wild and totally private.

The Lubenice beach, Cres, Croatia
Guess who was alone at the Lubenice beach? Crazy, right?!

Kids hiking down Lubenice to the beach

Kids having fun on the way to the Lubenice beach
It’s a scenic 2.2-kilometer walk down from the village to the Lubenice Beach and a bit longer for Plava Grota. A tip for the wise: bring plenty of food and drinks, particularly in the summer, as you might need to wait out until the trail cools down enough for a tolerable return.

In case you were wondering, during the six days we stayed on the Island of Lošinj I managed to test all of the suggested activities, some of them even multiple times. I hiked Televrin three times, cycled to Punta Križa once, cycled up to Osorščica twice, and hiked to the Lubenice Beach once. A vacation well spent, if you ask me. 😉

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For rooms, apartments and holiday houses in Croatia, you might want to check ViaCroatia and Hrvaška Info as they are both super competitive!

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