Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Lošinj – A Very Special Croatian Island: Getting There

Croatia Online - Ferry to Pag

My blog readers and Twitter followers may have already gathered that I am even more excited than usual about my next trip to Croatia for all sorts of reasons:

Firstly, I have the very serious challenge of improving my Croatian under the eagle eyes of the Croatian Language School. I must admit to being a little nervous about this as it's a while since I've subjected myself to serious scholarly pursuits, and there's nowhere to hide in small, or one to one, classes. However I know I am in kind and professional hands and, if anyone can teach an old dog new tricks, and make learning a hard language seem easy, they can! On top of all that, they’re a great bunch of people and I’m sure there will be plenty of fun as well as hard work.

Secondly, it's the first time I've flown for over eight years – my previous recent trips to Croatia have all been in my campervan, with my dog. The downside is that I’ve been used to taking everything and the kitchen sink with me so I’m having to relearn the art of judicious packing for a flight.

Last, but by no means least, I am going to one of the few inhabited Croatian islands I've never been to before – Lošinj – in the northern Kvarner region of Croatia. To get there I'll be travelling along two other islands I don’t know that well – Krk and then Cres, where, in a short space of time, you can see in the landscape the marked contrast between continental and coastal Croatia.

Getting There

It's not the easiest island to get too – nothing that good is that easy - and there are a few different ways of doing it. As the crow flies, my end destination is quite close to Zadar, where I am flying to. However to get there, I have to drive north west around the coast to just past Crikvinica, take the road bridge onto Krk island, then drive to Valbiska on the north-west coast of Krk and get the ferry to Merag on Cres island. Once on Cres it’s a longish drive south to Osor, where I cross the small channel, by road bridge, onto the island of Lošinj …. and then I'm nearly at my destination near Mali Lošinj, ironically bigger than Veli Lošinj [in the Croatian language, mali = small and veli = big].

I chose this route, partly because the Zadar flights worked out best in terms of timings and departure airport [Southend], and also because the car ferries from Cres are more frequent than elsewhere. However if you time it right, you can get a ferry all the way from Zadar, which stops at some lovely remote islands on the way, but takes most of the day to get to Mali Lošinj and does not run that frequently.

If you could find the right flight to Rijeka, that would be closer (Rijeka Airport is actually on Krk island), or you could head west, and then south-west, around the Istrian peninsula to Brestova, and get a ferry straight onto the very north of Cres island and drive all the way down from there. Pula airport is also quite handy for Brestova.

Below are links to the Jadrolinija Ferry site showing routes and timetables:

Rijeka District Map of Routes

Valbiska (Krk) to Merag (Cres) Timetable

Brestova (Mainland Istria) to Porozina (Cres) Timetable

Zadar Region – Map of Routes

Zadar to Mali Lošinj Timetable

And for those that would like to see some smaller islands while they are near Mali Lošinj, there's a ferry that takes a three and a half hour circular trip from Mali Lošinj to Skrakane Vele, Unije and Susak, where you'll really see Mediterranean island life as it once was. I think its a passenger only ferry (ie no cars) but it's a great way of exploring and always very cheap for foot passengers. Here’s the timetable link Local islands ferry timetable

Soon I’ll be revealing a little bit more of my research on the island itself.

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Today’s picture is of the ferry from Prizna (mainland) to Žigljen on Pag island. Prizna is probably about halfway, along the coast road, between Zadar and the bridge to Krk island.

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