Favourable climatological conditions and natural remedial factors of the island of Lošinj have attracted attention of well-known Austrian medical experts and visitors already at the end of the 19th century.


The beginnings of tourism date back to1885 when health tourism appeared on the island as the first form of tourism. On January 21st, 1885, the first tourist on this island was registered. That is when the well-known Austrian balneologist and climate-therapist dr. Conrad Clar (1844-1904) from Graz came here with his son who suffered from a throat ailment and whose health improved after a three-week stay here. Not even trying to hide his excitement, he notified the wider expert public. Since then, we witness a number of arrivals precisely due to health and remedial effects on various diseases of respiratory and other systems. The influence of dr. Clar in medicinal promotion of Lošinj will become even greater when he later transfers to Vienna Medical Faculty as an assistant professor, where he will, in 1899 become an associate professor and lecturer of systematic and topographic balneology and climate therapy.


At the same time as dr. Clar, another person important for the history of health tourism arrived on Lošinj. Sailing over the entire Adriatic Sea, looking for a suitable location for the construction of his winter residence, the Austrian Archduke and a member of the royal family, Carl Stephan of the Habsburg dynasty, built his winter/summer residence «Warthsee» in Podjavori forest in 1885, in which the Health Resort is situated nowadays. Apart from the villa, he also erects a vast public garden which was completed in 1890. The commander of the Austro-Hungarian navy, Carl Stephan, chose Veli Lošinj as the most suitable site for his vacation, due to the beauty of the scenery, vegetation and exceptionally favourable climatological conditions.


Thanks to the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy Ministry of Health, Lošinj became one of the most favourite vacation destinations of the Austrian-Hungarian aristocracy, who built a number of villas and summer houses which are still decorating the island landscape. Apart from the Archduke Carl Stephan, the island of Lošinj was also visited by other members of the imperial Habsburg dynasty: Emperor Francis Joseph and Empress Elisabeth, Archduke Francis Ferdinand and Crown Prince Rudolf; members of the imperial court and aristocracy, as well as wealthy members of the ever stronger bourgeoisie.


Professor Ambroz Haračič made an enormous contribution to the development of health tourism on the island of Lošinj. A naturalist from Lošinj, spent 8 years undertaking meteorological measurements and observations on his home island. Soon after the publication of his 5-year study on the climate of Lošinj, the leading Austrian daily newspaper “Die Presse” published a very favourable review, also describing an Easter visit of a group of professors from the Vienna Medical Faculty, led by dr. Schrötter, to Lošinj. Since the Archduke Carl Stephan was also at the island at the time, dr. Schrötter had the opportunity to express to the Archduke his opinion that Lošinj could, due to its favourable climate, become a first-rate climatic health Resort.


In 1888/1889 under the patronage of the Vienna municipality, “Warthsee” winter residence became a public climatic health resort, a recovery centre for weak and children with scrofula, the forerunner of the Children’s Hospital. It must also be mentioned that during World War I, prof. dr. Ernst Mayhoffer, the founder of Croatian paediatrics, worked here. By the end of the 19th century, Veli Lošinj fulfilled its potential. A number of smaller sanatoriums, boarding houses and hotels appeared, predominantly for treatment of patients with pulmonary or glandular tuberculosis.


Based on climatological research consisting of long-term data from meteorological observations of dr. Clar, pulmonologist and otorhynolaryngologist dr. Schroetter, professor at the Vienna medical faculty and a naturalist prof. Haračić, and due to lush vegetation, the quality of air and the sea aerosol, Veli Lošinj was proclaimed a climatic health resort and winter destination by law in  1892.


During the period of Italian rule on Lošinj, the island is popularized as a summer destination, placing the health tourism tradition in the back seat. The new ascent of health tourism on Lošinj takes place after the World War II and the island develops into a renowned Croatian and European destination.


Veli Lošinj Health Resort has changed its name on several occasions during its long history, but never its basic activity which is based on the unique microclimate and conditions on the island of Lošinj. In 1947, a Climatic Health Resort for adults is opened. During the 1960s, there is a strong development of the healthcare activity as well as the increase in the number and quality of specialized personnel and the Health Resort develops into the Children’s Hospital for Allergies with an Adult Department. This was the period of complete prosperity, during which the hospital was one of the most significant economic factors on the island, i.e., Cres-Lošinj municipality.


This period is undoubtedly marked by the work of dr.sc. Branko Vukelić, assistant professor, who, in 1967 took over the management of the institution, now called Hospital for Allergic Diseases of Respiratory Organs, from prim. dr. Pero Samardžija. The institution will soon be renamed to Children’s Hospital for Allergies with an Adult Department. Until he retired on August 1st, 1992, dr. sc. Branko Vukelić, paediatrician-pulmonologist, acted as the manager of the Children’s Hospital for Allergies with an Adults Department and as the head of children’s department. When he took over the hospital, it had 19 employees. Already the next year, in 1968, through mediation of the Croatian Ministry of Health, then known as the Secretariat for Public Health of the Socialist Republic of Croatia and in cooperation with Generalturist, a cooperation was established with the Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of Germany (DDR) and East-German patients began to arrive to Lošinj. This arrangement marked a turning point in the hospital business operations, providing security and financial stability, which resulted in expansions of business activity, investments into equipment and objects and an increase in the number of employees. The average daily occupancy was 386 patients who were cared for by 106 employees. The Hospital treated primarily patients with allergic diseases of the respiratory system, and in the dermatological department patients with psoriasis and neurodermatitis.


The first half of the 1980-ih brought new investments – in 1983, a new hospital tract with an inhalatorium was built and in 1985, a new hospital building with 97 beds of high, B category, built with own resources, was opened. The hospital achieved 145.000 days of stay annually, it was open throughout the year, and a period at the end of December and the beginning of January was reserved for a collective vacation. At the peak of its operations, it employed as many as 190 people – doctors, nurses, physical therapists, laboratory technicians, educators, pharmacists, x-ray technicians and various non-medical personnel. 

Nowadays, the Archduke’s castle and the park house the Health Resort for Treatment of Allergic Diseases of the Respiratory System and the Skin.


The tradition of prominent health destination on Kvarner was maintained until the present days and in 2012, a 120th anniversary of health tourism on the island of Lošinj was celebrated. After more than a century, people all over the world still recognize the island of Lošinj as a natural climatic Health Resort for the treatment of respiratory system and the skin, which make it ideal for corporeal and spiritual recovery, especially during winter, spring and autumn months.


In 2013, the Archduke’s castle was renovated and renamed to Villa Elisabeth, after his great granddaughter Mrs Elisabeth Lehner. Mrs Elisabeth was thrilled to be the godmother of the object and to participate in the opening ceremony, which was organised on June 22nd, 2013.


Villa Elisabeth is a Health Resort hotel completely adapted for individuals with allergic diseases of the respiratory system because the materials used are hypoallergenic, and the floor is lined with high-quality oak wood parquet instead of the usual carpet used by most hotels.


Look at the old postcards of the Veli Lošinj Health Resort:


Razglednica Velog Lošinja od 22.09.1905.Pogled na Dvorac 05.05.1903. godineProcesija na blagdan Tijelova 1895. godine ispred Dvorca, današnje glavne zgrade Lječilišta Veli LošinjPovijesna razglednica sa pogledom na Dvorac Nadvojvode Karla Stefana Habsburškog


Visit the Veli Lošinj Health Resort and immerse yourself into the centennial tradition of health tourism!


 Spominik Ambrozu Haračiću u Uvali Čikat u Malom Lošinju





Dokument proglašenja otoka Lošinja  klimatskim lječilištem




Miomir Zelić, Brano Vukelić, Elisabeth Lehner, Zlatko Komadina, Renata Žugić
Miomir Zelić, Brano Vukelić, Elisabeth Lehner, Zlatko Komadina, Renata Žugić