Ilovik is a serene island destination perfect for a peaceful island retreat. Ilovik is less famous than other Croatian islands making it the ideal relaxing paradise in Croatia. Even though it’s small, it’s packed with character and has plenty to do, adorned with beautiful vegetation, including giant eucalyptus trees, a blue cave, charming walkways, and breathtaking views. Fantastic fresh seafood awaits your plate, including giant lobsters, crabs, and fresh fish. Read more to plan your visit to this beautiful island in Croatia.
Ilovik is about 11 kilometers (6.7 miles) from Mali Lošinj, the largest town on the island of Lošinj. The easiest way to reach Ilovik from Mali Lošinj is by taking a ferry, water taxi, or boat rental. All three options operate regularly during the summer months. The journey is around 35 minutes. It’s also possible to reach Ilovik from nearby towns and islands, such as Veli Lošinj, Cres, and Krk.
Ilovik island and the village, also called Ilovik, has under one hundred people with Venetian architecture and charming narrow streets. Tourists visit Ilovik to enjoy unspoiled nature and a relaxing atmosphere. The island is known for its lush vegetation, olive trees, figs, pines, eucalyptus, and herbs. The most notable vegetation for us was the giant eucalyptus trees, some of the largest of their kind in Croatia. These trees were brought to the island from Australia in the 19th century. The giant trees are located near the village’s harbor and are estimated to be around 150 years old. The largest tree is over 30 meters (98 feet) tall with a circumference of over 5 meters (16 feet). The smell is fantastic! Their leaves contain aromatic oils, which release a pleasant scent. I haven’t seen trees like them anywhere else in Croatia.
The island was inhabited by the Illyrians, who left stone tools and pottery. During the Roman period, Ilovik was a center for olive oil production. The Romans called the island “Olive Island,” a strategic location for controlling naval traffic in the northern Adriatic. During the Middle Ages, Ilovik was ruled by the Venetians, where the architectural influence on the island comes from, they built several churches and fortifications on the island, and their influence is in local dialect and customs. Our host and guide from Mali Lošinj mentioned that they use many Italian words on the island.
In the 19th century, Croatia, including Ilovik, became part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. After World War II, Ilovik became part of Yugoslavia, and the island’s economy shifted towards tourism. Today, Ilovik is a charming destination for travelers looking for a quiet break away from all the tourists on the Adriatic.
Konoba Oliva: A pretty seafront restaurant
Restoran Dalmatinka: A charming restaurant on the sea
Restaurant Esempio: A seafront restaurant with many seafood options and a fantastic sunset spot.
Restaurant Porto: Harbor font restaurant with many options, including lamb cooked on the spit in the traditional Croatian way.
Amico: We were recommended to eat at this seafront restaurant. We ordered lobster, and it was the largest lobster I’ve eaten in Europe. It was a spiny lobster with massive claws like a cold-water lobster, served with linguini in a garlicky red sauce. We had our meal accompanied by the delightful Krk wine Žlahtina—the crisp freshness of the wine paired perfectly with our meal.
Always make reservations in advance before going; it is often not possible to get a table during the summer. We make our lives easy by doing some research and making all reservations in May when the restaurants open up for the season. That way, when we are on the islands, we have no worries and can enjoy everything it offers.
How to get to Ilovik
Several travel companies offer transportation from Mali Lošinj to Ilovik. Jadrolinija has a daily ferry service from Mali Lošinj to Ilovik during the summer, it takes around 30 minutes, and tickets can be purchased at the ferry terminal or online in advance. Make sure to come an hour ahead for ferries because there are only so many seats.
Taxi boat services: Several taxi boat services operate between Mali Lošinj and Ilovik, and they can be a faster and more convenient option than the ferry. These services typically run on demand and can be arranged through your accommodation or by contacting a local taxi boat company.
Private boat rentals: If you prefer more flexibility and control over your transportation, you can also consider renting a private boat from Mali Lošinj to Ilovik. Several boat rental companies in Mali Lošinj offer a range of boat sizes, from small motorboats to larger yachts. We rented a private boat from Mali Lošinj with our accommodation’s host. The trip included rock jumping, swimming, exploring the blue cave, and dinner by the sea. I’m not sure about accommodation on the little island, it’s charming, and I’m told the island has their regulars who come every summer to stay. If you’re looking for a truly relaxing and quiet experience, then it’s perfect, but if you want something a bit busier, come for the day and enjoy dinner and a spectacular sunset on your boat drive back to wherever you’re staying. However, you decide to go, go visit Ilovik; it’s just amazing. Subscribe for more Croatian travel ideas. Have a lovely day.