While trying the great myrtle liqueur, we enjoy the spring sun that illuminated the Fragrant Island Garden in Mali Lošinj, an unavoidable place for every tourist to visit this island. Spring is the best time to enjoy the island of fragrance, taste and vitality, as Lošinj is rightly presented to the world. And where better to get to know it than in the fragrant garden of Sandra Nicolich, descendants of real Lošinj families from Mali and Veli Lošinj!
Retired tourist guide Sandra, who has travelled to almost every corner of our planet, decided in 2003 to create a garden of wild and domesticated island plants because she has always been attached to Lošinj and its fragrances. This love for the island is reflected in the care for the natural heritage of the homeland as well as the occasional nostalgia for the smell of childhood. Sandra recalls her mother washing clothes after a walk through the island when asparagus or immortelles were picked. Even after washing, the clothes still smelled of immortelle, mint, thyme.
Her family helps her in the garden, but also birds and turtle doves, turtles, butterflies, crickets, and we met the main attractions of the animal world in the garden, Riki the donkey and Bepo the black ram, which is the smallest sheep species in the world. These garden tenants socialize easily with visitors and are more curious than timid! And people regularly return to the Fragrant Island Garden because it is a special world that is remembered not only by the eyes but also by the taste and smell! We can only mention the excellent marmalades made of myrtle, figs, lemons and mandarins, so let's remind ourselves that Lošinj is blessed with a great climate!
The family lives right next to this plot rented by the City of Mali Lošinj, so they call the garden a living room. Although we would all like to have such a living room, it is not a joke: indeed, every free minute is spent in this garden, because for the beauty and fragrance you still have to make a good effort in both rain and sun.
"There is no lockdown in the garden," Sandra tells us as she sits in front of a boutique with fragrant teas, jams, syrups, liqueurs, balms… She makes the products alone and in collaboration with colleagues from the islands of Lošinj and Cres. The boutique was built in the same shape as the old houses on Lošinj, with stone parts from various Lošinj places. Of the several typical fragrant plants on the island of Lošinj, Sandra was constantly increasing her content because the guests themselves were constantly asking what was new in the garden.
The aromas of the garden are harmoniously complemented with the meat from the family farm Baljak. No wonder, given that this is one family living in the same house! "I made points through the garden where you can sit in the afternoon and evening, so original island gastronomic products are offered," Sandra tells us as we imagine ourselves in a hidden corner of this magical garden with a piece of island lamb and great liqueurs from island herbs like sage. or chilled pine needle syrup.
Visitors can choose a program that includes liqueur tasting and a botanical walk in the garden, at a symbolic price. In addition, fragrant workshops, tasting rooms, exhibitions, playrooms, trips to the island and the sea are organized, all adapted to different ages - from kindergarten age to retirees. Such fragrant packages do not leave anyone indifferent, and the fact that this is really recognized far beyond our borders is evidenced by the inclusion of this garden on the European map of fragrant roads.
It is a Mappae project that aims to develop a European transnational offer of tourist tours organized on the theme of medicinal, spicy and fragrant plants that grow and smell in six European countries: Italy, France, Croatia, Cyprus, Malta and Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is made on the basis of European tourist routes and the so-called Slow tourism and offers transnational tourist routes that reveal to visitors sites known for indigenous herbs.
The latest offer of the fragrant garden is also an ethno-house in which Sandra placed many items collected during the year. The colourful women's costume from the island of Susak immediately catches the eye, as does the Japanese porcelain brought to Mali Lošinj by a captain. This beautiful small exhibition reminds of the connection of Lošinj with the whole world.
Fragrant island garden
Bukovica 6, Mali Lošinj
+385 98 326 519