Croatia is a peaceful country of abundant natural beauty. If you’re seeking a European holiday that delivers classic seaside diversions with a smattering of culture, the luxurious Bellevue Resort on the unspoiled island of Losinj should top your list.
Losinj first garnered recognition as a vacation spot in the 19th century, when the Austro-Hungarian government declared it an official health destination. Located on the shores of the Adriatic Sea, the combination of crystal-clear water, abundant sunshine and temperate climate made Losinj a popular vacation with Viennese elite in need of a wholesome respite.
Medical tourism remains a big draw. The air is perfumed with locally grown aromatics that many believe to have medicinal benefits. Anyone in search of a healthy holiday will find the island’s relaxed pace an instant elixir to the stresses of modern life.
A Warm Welcome at a Friendly Hotel
Thanks to its maritime roots, islanders are very welcoming and most speak several languages, including English. Throughout the island’s nooks and crannies, you will see the reflections of the empires, peoples and cultures that have left their mark over the past few thousand years of sometimes tumultuous history.
The Hotel Bellevue overlooks sparkling Cikat Bay. It reopened in 2014 as the first five-star property on the island. It’s constructed to blend in with the natural surroundings, so it’s serene and subtle, the essence of beach-chic. The atrium is the property’s enticing centerpiece, flooded with natural light, lush plants and flowers. The lobby features live piano music each morning and evening for a touch of old-world charm.
The 185 rooms and 21 suites are decorated with modern furnishings and are loaded with amenities. Cribs and connecting rooms are available. No need to subject the teen members of your family to a digital detox at the Bellevue, as Wi-Fi works like a charm. The in-room satellite television offers many channels in a host of languages.
Hotel Activities Focus on the Adriatic Sea
The shimmering sea is surrounded by pine forest. The rocky shoreline is gorgeous, the emerald-colored water strikingly clear. The Bellevue offers oversized beach chairs that are perfect for a seaside snooze. If you prefer swimming laps, there are several open-air saltwater pools as well as a large indoor pool for chilly days. The public beach next door rents windsurfers and stand-up paddleboards. There’s a shady playground with swings and slides for the littlest members of your group.
The hotel’s concierge can help you charter a sailboat and cruise to picturesque islands. As you swim in secluded coves, be on the lookout for bottlenose dolphins that frolic in these waters.
Family Fun and Kid’s Club
Borrow one of the hotel’s bicycles and pedal around the island’s designated bike path, the Lungomare. This flat, car-free trail presents cyclists with dazzling sea views.
Tucked away in the lobby is the kid’s club, open daily. This inviting space is stocked with toys, puzzles and crafts. The flexible, multi-lingual staff will work with your family on a customized basis to find a schedule that suits your specific needs. If you’ve got a shy toddler in tow, adults are welcome to stay. If you’d like in-room babysitting, the hotel can provide this for a reasonable charge.
Fresh Food, and Healthy
The Bellevue takes its commitment to fresh food seriously. An eye-opening breakfast is included in the room rate. The a.m. buffet presents multiple stations offering countless sweet and savory treats that will challenge even hulking teen appetites. There’s one station entirely devoted to fresh fruits, veggies and smoothies. They are happy to blend a concoction of produce for a personalized morning beverage. The cooks will gladly whip up something special to tempt tiny appetites.
Dinner features goodies such as fresh Adriatic fish or delicate baby lamb. Everything is presented with finesse and seasoned with herbs picked from the hotel’s garden. Choose from an evening buffet or order off the menu. High chairs are available.
Wellness Facilities at the Bellevue Spa
You don’t need to book a service to enjoy the top-notch wellness spa. Guests may partake in steam, sauna and numerous hydro services without charge. If you do book a treatment you will be pampered in the hands of a skilled therapist. They use natural products that utilize the island’s herbs, with special services geared to teens. Prices are reasonable, so you don’t have to spend a fortune to feel like a million bucks.
The fully equipped gym schedules numerous daily fitness classes, including Pilates and yoga.
Getting Out and Around the Island
This culture-rich region merits exploration. You’ll want to visit Osor, an ancient Roman town with a cathedral, medieval excavation site and beautiful archaeological museum. The nearby island of Cres is full of perfectly preserved villages. Don’t miss Lubenice with its stunning view of Kvarner Bay. Foodies shouldn’t miss stopping in Martinscica, where locals sell olive oil and lavender-infused honey.
If you visit in summertime, the area is alive with the sound of music. Many villages offer informal concerts in the town square. For aficionados, the Osor Musical Evenings presents world-class concerts in summer. The hotel is happy to arrange transportation.
On a rainy day, kids may enjoy a visit to the Losinj Marine Education Center, a short walk from the hotel. Their goal is to educate the public on matters of sustainability in the Adriatic Sea. There are several interactive exhibits, all in English.
How To Get Here and Other Tips
It is not easy to reach Losinj, but its remoteness is part of why it has retained its low-key vibe. The hotel can help you book a flight on a tiny plane in conjunction with King Air direct from Venice, Italy. The cost for the 20-minute flight is approximately €200 per person. Ferries are a more economical option. If you are coming from Italy, there is catamaran service from Pesaro that only takes a few hours. By 2016, there should be ferry service to Losinj from Venice and Ancona, Italy. You may also connect from Zagreb.
Croatia is part of the European Union, but they use their own currency, the kuna. You won’t find the big bargains of the recent past, but prices are still somewhat lower than in neighboring Western European countries.
For additional hotel information, click on the Bellevue Hotel site. If you prefer something less luxurious than the Bellevue, or a boutique property, there are several hotels and budget-friendly campsites on Losinj. Visit the Jadranka website for more information.
For additional insights on Losinj, log on to the Visit Losinj tourism office.
This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.