Susak is a small island off the northern Croatian coast, in the Kvarner bay. It is located just west of the island of Losinj and can be easily reached from this island or Cres, or also from Pula or Rijeka to the north or Zadar to the south on the mainland. The island covers an area of under 4 square kilometres and has a permanent population of only about 150 people. As one of the smaller and more remote of the Croatian islands, Susak is a bit of a step back in time in terms of island life and tourism (or lack of).
There are no cars allowed on the island, so unless you can bring your own bicycle over, you will need to navigate the island by foot. If there are particular places (beaches) you want to visit, you may want to do so by private boat (perhaps from Losinj).
The main settlement is a small village also called Susak and is made up of Gornje selo (the upper part) and Donje selo (lower part).
Susak is home to – that rare thing in Croatia – some sandy beaches!
In Roman times, the island was referred to as Sansegus or Sansacus, which stem from the greek word for oregano – a herb found growing abundantly here.
Susak’s peak population occurred just after World War II when an estimated 1,600 people lived there. Many islanders left in the mid-20th century, and many to the United States – around 2,500 people who emigrated (or are descendants of those who emigrated) live there, mostly in New Jersey.
Getting to Susak
Jadrolinija run a car ferry service connecting Mali Losinj and Susak which runs once per day (at different times, depending on the day of the week). The journey time from Mali Losinj to Susak is 2 hours 25/35 minutes (depending on what stops are made on the way).
There is also a foot passenger only catamaran that connects Rijeka, Cres and Susak which then also travels on to Mali Losinj. Travel time from Rijeka is 3 hours and 15 minutes; from Cres it is 1 hour and 50 minutes. Travel time from Mali Losinj to Susak using the catamaran is 35 minutes or 1 hour 15 minutes, depending on if a stop is made on Ilovik on the way. Do note that this catamaran only calls on Susak six days a week in high season (five days a week in off season), although it does connect Rijeka with Cres and Mali Losinj daily.
Catamaran Line operate a service connecting Pula and Zadar that stops on Susak. (It also stops on Mali Losinj, and some of the other smaller islands nearby.) Journey time from Pula to Susak is 2 hours 15 minutes; from Zadar it is just under 4 hours. The catamaran runs five times a week in peak season; twice a week just outside of season and only once a week in off season.
What to See and Do on Susak
If you really fancy exploring, you could hike around the island in a couple of hours. This might be nice to combine with visiting some of the islands beaches. Otherwise, there’s not too much in the way of sights.
St Nicholas Church is located in the upper part of Susak village. This small church was built in the 18th century.
Susak is home to a lighthouse on the highest point of the island (98m high) which you can walk to (but not inside). This walk will take you past an abandoned military outpost from the 20th century.
Let’s start with the sandy beaches first, shall we? The best known is Spiaza on the north of the island – wide with soft sand and very shallow waters, it’s ideal for families. However, it’s also the most popular beach, so don’t expect having a quiet little paddle by yourself! You can rent loungers and beach umbrellas when here. Bok is nearby and is smaller, although still sandy with shallow waters. Still family friendly, there are fewer amenities here.
Baldarka is located northwest from the above two, and is a rocky/pebble-y beach that will be quieter.
There are also some beaches on the south side on the island, but some are only accessible by boat such as those in Porat Bay. Nasuzanski is a small rocky beach with a stunning water colour.
Eating and Drinking on Susak
There’s only a handful of eating and drinking options on the island, mostly quite laid back konoba-type establishments. Try Sansegus (part of the hotel mentioned below) or Konoba Barbara.
Accommodation on Susak
There is only one small hotel on the island, the three-star Hotel Sansegus which is located right on the sea.
There is also a small selection of private rooms and apartments to rent. You can search for accommodation on Booking.com.
- There are no banks or ATMs on Susak (although there is a money exchange place in the post office), so do make sure to bring enough cash with you for your visit.
- You can find plenty of useful information about the island on the very informative Otok Susak website.
- More info can also be find out the Island of Losinj tourist board website.