During the 15th century the Church of St Martin was built overlooking the large sheltered bay. A small village grew up around it, and three centuries later the locals set up a shipping company: the village became a town and by 1870 the port of Mali Lošinj was second only to Trieste on the Adriatic in terms of registered tonnage handled per annum, and Lošinj ship owners accounted for 170 cargo ships. However, the late 19th century saw the advent of the steamship; Lošinj’s wind-powered vessels could no longer compete, shipping declined and many families emigrated. Around the same time, a study of the local climate, emphasizing its health-giving properties, was published in Vienna by Ambroz Haračić, a nature-loving professor at the Naval Academy in Lošinj. Convinced a sojourn in such a place could only do them good, ailing Austrians began to visit Lošinj. The first villas and hotels were built on Čikat Peninsula, and it soon became a fashionable winter health resort. The same Haračić initiated a 10-year reforestation scheme, planting the area behind town with dense pinewoods. Since then Mali Lošinj has never really looked back. Today it lives primarily from tourism, though there is still a shipyard producing small motorboats.
6 buses run daily from Rijeka to Mali Lošinj (3½ hrs), passing through Cres Town and Osor en route. In addition, 2 local buses daily cover the route from Cres Town to Mali Lošinj (1 hr).
Hertz, Kadin bb, T051-231582.
Jadrolinija, T051-231765, run a twice-daily catamaran from Rijeka to Mali Lošinj, stopping at Cres, Unije and Susak en route (3 hrs 45 min). The same company also run a twice-weekly ferry service from Zadar to Mali Lošinj (5 hrs 20 mins), stopping at Olib, Silba and Premuda en route. The boat leaves Zadar early morning to arrive in Mali Lošinj early afternoon, then returns to Zadar for the late evening the same day. Split Tours, http://www.splittours.hr, operate a daily summer service from Pula to Zadar, stopping at Unije, Mali Lošinj and Silba en route.