Lošinj, which had been almost uninhabited until the middle of the 13th century, developed into a leading regional maritime power by the 19th century. The town of Mali Lošinj became the second most important port in the Adriatic, immediately after Trieste. The inhabitants of Lošinj were not only known for their skillfulness in constructing sailing ships, 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, was determined in that period.
The beginnings of tourism date back to 1885, when health tourism began to develop on the island. The first tourist was registered on 21st January 1885. The first hotel in Mali Lošinj, named Vindobona, was built in 1887.
Owing to the exceptional characteristics of its climate, Lošinj was proclaimed a climatic health resort by a decree of the Ministry of Health of the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy in 1892. It soon became a popular holiday destination of the Austrian-Hungarian aristocracy, who built numerous villas and summer residences on the island.
Lošinj is still a famous climatic health resort suitable for treating diseases of the respiratory tract and allergies.
The island offers ideal conditions for a physical and psychological recovery, particularly during the winter, spring and autumn. The local hotels offer weekend and week’s anti-stress and wellness programmes.
In 1893, due to the clear skies and very good visibility, a very modern Astronomical Observatory was built in Mali Lošinj, which soon became famous and was visited by astronomers from different countries in Europe and America.
The development of summer tourism started after 1905, when bathing sites, hotels and guest-houses were built on Čikat. This area was then already surrounded by thick forest, with a built coastal promenade (6 km) and a network of walking trails (17 km).