Veli Losinj is situated in a small narrow sheltered bay on the southeast side of Lošinj Island at the foot of St. John's hill. Tall houses jut out around the harbour line while luxurious villas with beautiful gardens nestle nearby, creating a picturesque backdrop for this pretty town. It has a population of 1,000 inhabitants and is the second largest town on the island.
It is interesting to note that in the past Veli Losinj (Velo selo – large village) was bigger than Mali Losinj (Malo selo – little village) but throughout history Mali Losinj developed more rapidly and to-day the situation is reversed. The names, however, have remained up to the present time.
Following the narrow streets of Veli Losinj and stepping through the portal, we enter a bye-gone era of sumptuous villas, which belonged to former captains, ship owners and the rich upper class. There are 80 different types of plants scattered around the villa gardens while in Veli Lošinj park facing the present-day sanatorium (the former residence of the Archduke, Karl Stephan) there are 200 species.
Just beside Veli Losinj is a small fishing port Rovenska with its magnificent beach, fishing village ambient, small stone houses, all testifying to the traditions of its inhabitants who dedicated their lives to the sea.
Mali Losinj is the biggest settlement on the island, found on the southern side of the Bay of Losinj, which thanks to this position has become a very important maritime and commercial centre, and today, also an important tourist destination.
Positioned in the August Bay, the biggest closed bay of the island, and with 7000 inhabitants, today it is the biggest island town in the Adriatic. Mali Losinj dates back to the 12th century when twelve Croatian families settled in the eastern bay St. Martin. 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 Losinj 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 of the new economic realm, tourism, a new page in the island’s history was open.
Today Mali Losinj is one of the main tourist centres on the Adriatic known in all European tourism circles, which is proofed by an ever bigger number of guest that visit the island every year.
Mali Losinj was the recipient of the title „Champion of Tourism 2007“, and for 2009, Mali Lošinjwas alsothe Croatian candidate for the Golden Flower of Europe 2009.
Losinj is the 11th biggest island on the Adriatic Sea, 33 km long, with the width varying from 4,75 km in the north and middle of the island, to 0,25 km near the town of Mali Lošinj. The total coastline of the island is 112,7 km. The whole coastline abounds in attractive bays and coves, ideal for swimming and sunbathing. Losinj’s highest hill is the wooded hill of Osorscica (588 m), which is some 10 kilometres long and stretches along the northern part of the island.
Many, many years ago the island of Cres and Losinj where one, only after the channel of Osor was excavated, probably during the Roman period, two islands emerged. Today a bridge connects the islands and in the geographically trafficable sense they form one unit.
The settlements on Lošinj include Nerezine, Sveti Jakov, Ćunski, Artaturi, Mali Lošinj and Veli Lošinj.A regional road runs the length of the island; ferry connections (via the island of Cres) include Brestova - Porozina, Merag - Valbiska, Mali Lošinj - Zadar, Mali Lošinj - Pula. There is also an airport on the island of Lošinj.