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, 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.
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.
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.
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 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!
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.
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.
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.
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. 😉