Mali Lošinj/island of Lošinj
Lošinj, which was almost uninhabited until the middle of the 13th century, had developed into a leading regional maritime power by the 19th century. The town of Lošinj became the second most important port in the Adriatic, immediately after Trieste. The inhabitants of Lošinj were not only known for their skill in shipbuilding but they were also known as the best seamen in the Mediterranean. The architectural appearance of the centre of Mali Lošinj, which has remained almost the same until the present day, dates back to this period.
In the 19th century, there were six shipyards in Mali Lošinj. Thanks to these, Mali Lošinj became a European shipbuilding and shipping power – ranking second in Austro-Hungarian shipbuilding in terms of the number of ocean-going sailing ships built. Lošinj had 150 sailing ships in the second half of the 19th century, which was more than the whole of neighbouring Istria had. Sailing ships were at their peak between 1855 and 1870 when there were 1,400 captains and sailors on board Lošinj ships. Amongst the most well-known shipbuilding and shipping names from Lošinj were the Karatanich, Tarabochia, Martinolich (the future founders of Monfalcone shipbuilding) and Cosulich (the current owners of a Trieste shipping company) families.The beginnings of tourism go back to 1885, when health tourism began to develop on the island. On 21 January 1885, the first tourist was registered.
The first hotel in Mali Lošinj, named Vindobona, was built in 1887. Owing to the exceptional characteristics of its climate, Lošinj was proclaimed a health resort by a decree of the Ministry of Health of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in 1892. Soon, it became a popular holiday destination for the Austro-Hungarian aristocracy, who built numerous villas and summer residences on the island.
Lošinj is still a well-known health resort for treating diseases of the respiratory tract and allergies. The island offers ideal conditions for physical and psychological recovery, particularly during the winter, spring and autumn. The local hotels offer weekend and week-long anti-stress and wellness programmes.
In 1893, due to the clear sky and excellent visibility, a well equipped Astronomical Observatory was built in Lošinj. It soon gained world fame and astronomers from different European and American countries came to visit it.
Summer tourism started developing rapidly after 1905 when bathing spots, hotels and pensions were built on Čikat. Even then, this part was surrounded by thick woods, an esplanade (6 km) and a network of paths (17 km).