The island is famous for its national park, which covers most of the island and boasts lush greenery, two marine lakes, ancient ruins and a spectacular coastline. Visit Mljet Island for a peaceful and beautiful getaway.
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Mljet is one of our list of TOP 10 islands in Croatia.
Welcome to the enchanting island of Mljet, a treasure trove of natural wonders and cultural landmarks nestled in the Adriatic Sea. Often overlooked amidst the glittering jewels of Croatia’s coastline, Mljet is a hidden gem that offers an unparalleled blend of tranquility, adventure, and scenic beauty. As you step onto the shores of Mljet Island, you are stepping into a world steeped in myth and legend, where nature and history intertwine in captivating harmony.
The blue-green island Mljet harbours an incredible natural heritage. Still, the magic of Mljet is not merely confined to its natural splendour. The island’s rich historical tapestry, intertwined with the legend of Odysseus, adds an additional layer of mystique. The people of Mljet, warm and welcoming, carry on the traditions of their ancestors, adding a touch of authenticity that makes the island even more captivating.
There is something incredibly alluring about this place, something that transcends the physical beauty and seeps into the very soul of the island. This intangible magic makes Mljet a must-visit destination and a paradise for those seeking a unique travel experience.
Geographical Overview of Mljet Island, Croatia
Located in the southern Dalmatian region, Mljet Island is the southernmost and easternmost of the larger Adriatic islands of Croatia. Covering an area of about 100 square kilometres, Mljet boasts a dramatic landscape characterised by dense pine and oak forests, rugged cliffs, pristine beaches, and crystal-clear waters.
The western part of the island is home to the famous Mljet National Park, while the eastern part is dotted with charming villages. The island’s coastline, stretching over 130 kilometres, is adorned with numerous coves, bays, and islets, making it a haven for sailing and watersports.
Despite its relatively small size, Mljet offers diverse ecosystems, from lush Mediterranean forests to saltwater lakes and underwater caves. This rich biodiversity and the island’s serene ambience make Mljet a paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Top attractions in Mljet Island
The Mljet National Park stands out as a must-see among the many attractions Mljet Island offers. Established in 1960, the park covers about a third of the island. It is known for its stunning marine lakes – Veliko and Malo Jezero. These lakes, set amidst dense pine forests, offer breathtaking views and are perfect for swimming, kayaking, or simply relaxing. These warm oases are connected to the sea via small channels arched by simple stone bridges for pedestrians only.
Another highlight of the park is the Island of St. Mary, situated in the middle of Veliko Jezero. On this island, you’ll find a 12th-century Benedictine monastery and a church, both of which exude an aura of timeless serenity. The island is easily accessible by boat, and exploring it offers a unique insight into Mljet’s history and culture.
The Odyssey Cave, named after the legendary Greek hero, is another must-visit attraction. According to the legend, Odysseus was shipwrecked and found refuge in this cave. Today, the cave is a popular spot for swimming and diving, with its azure waters and fascinating underwater formations making it a dreamy escape.
Sun, Sand, and Surf: Exploring the Beaches of Mljet
Mljet’s coastline is a mosaic of rocky, pebbly and sandy beaches, each promising a unique beach experience. Whether you’re a sun worshipper, a water sports enthusiast, or a solitude seeker, you’ll find a beach that suits your preference on Mljet Island.
Saplunara Beach, located in the southeastern part of the island, is renowned for its golden sand and clear, shallow waters, making it ideal for families and swimmers. On the other hand, Blace Beach, hidden in a secluded bay, offers an intimate beach experience amidst stunning natural scenery.
For those seeking a more active beach day, the beaches near Pomena and Polače offer numerous water sports activities, from paddleboarding to snorkelling. Here, you can immerse yourself in the vibrant underwater world of Mljet, teeming with colourful marine life.
What to do in Mljet Island
While exploring the natural and historical wonders of Mljet is given, the island offers a plethora of other activities to make your stay even more memorable. Hiking and cycling are popular ways to explore the island’s diverse landscapes, with numerous trails winding through the forests, coastline, and lakes.
For adrenaline junkies, Mljet offers excellent diving and sailing opportunities. The island’s clear waters, rich marine life, and intriguing underwater caves make it a diver’s paradise. In contrast, its indented coastline and favourable winds make it a popular sailing destination.
Fishing is another activity you can indulge in on Mljet Island. With its abundant fish population, the island offers a rewarding fishing experience, whether you’re a seasoned angler or a novice. Additionally, you can participate in local festivals and cultural events to get a taste of Mljet’s vibrant community life and traditions.
Mljet is not known for its nightlife, so other places are better choices if you are a partygoer.
How to get to Mljet Island: A Comprehensive guide
Getting to Mljet Island is relatively straightforward, with various options available. The most common way is by ferry from Dubrovnik, Split, or the Pelješac Peninsula. The journey offers stunning views of the Adriatic Sea and the scattered islands along the Dalmatian Coast.
Another option is to take a faster catamaran, which operates less frequently. Private boat transfers are available for those who prefer a more scenic and leisurely journey. These allow exploring the smaller islands and hidden bays along the route.
Those who wish to arrive in style can opt for a seaplane from Split or Dubrovnik, offering a bird’s eye view of the stunning Croatian coastline. Regardless of the mode of transport, the journey to Mljet is as much a part of the experience as the stay on the island itself.
Where to stay on Mljet Island: Accommodation options for every budget
When it comes to accommodation, Mljet Island offers a variety of options to suit every budget and preference. From luxury hotels and boutique guesthouses to budget-friendly hostels and campsites, there’s something for everyone on Mljet.
For those seeking luxury, the Odisej Hotel, located within the Mljet National Park, offers comfortable rooms, excellent service, and stunning views of Pomena Bay. The hotel also has a spa, a swimming pool, and a restaurant serving local and international cuisine.
On the other hand, those on a budget can find numerous guesthouses and apartments offering clean, comfortable accommodations at a fraction of the price. Camping is another affordable option, with several campsites near the national park and the beaches.
Moreover, for an immersive experience, consider staying in a traditional stone house or a private villa, where you can enjoy the tranquillity and charm of Mljet’s countryside.
The flavours of Mljet: Local cuisine and dining options
Mljet’s culinary scene is a delight for food lovers, offering a rich array of dishes that reflect the island’s Mediterranean heritage. Naturally, seafood takes centre stage, with fresh fish, shellfish, and octopus as staple ingredients. Olive oil, locally produced and extraordinarily flavorful, is another highlight of Mljet’s cuisine.
Local restaurants offer a variety of dishes, from traditional Croatian fare to modern interpretations of classic recipes. The gastronomic experience on Mljet is not only about the food but also the setting – with the restaurants often located in old stone houses or by the sea, offering picturesque views.
Wine connoisseurs will also find plenty to enjoy on Mljet, as the island is known for its high-quality wines, mainly white wines made from the Pošip grape. A visit to a local winery or a wine-tasting tour is an excellent way to sample these wines and learn about Mljet’s winemaking tradition.
Conserving Mljet: Eco-tourism and sustainability on the island
Mljet’s pristine environment and rich biodiversity are its greatest assets, and conserving these is a priority for the island’s inhabitants and authorities. Eco-tourism initiatives are gaining momentum in Mljet, focusing on sustainable practices and responsible tourism.
The Mljet National Park is a prime example of this commitment to conservation. The park’s management strives to balance tourism activities with environmental protection, implementing measures such as limiting the number of visitors, promoting non-motorized transportation, and educating visitors about the park’s ecosystems.
Moreover, local businesses are increasingly adopting green practices, from using renewable energy to promoting local produce. Visitors are encouraged to support these efforts by choosing eco-friendly accommodations, participating in sustainable activities, and respecting the local culture and environment.
Conclusion: Why Mljet is a must-visit island in Croatia
Mljet Island, with its enchanting natural beauty, rich history, vibrant culture, and conservation commitment, truly embodies Croatia’s magic. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, culinary delights, or cultural immersion, Mljet offers an unforgettable travel experience.
So, why wait? Plan your trip to Mljet Island, and prepare to be captivated by its charm and beauty. As you explore this hidden gem in the Adriatic Sea, you’ll understand why Mljet is not just a must-visit island but a destination that will leave a lasting imprint on your heart.
As is the case on the entire Adriatic coast, the summer is a high season – apartments fill up, and prices soar. If you can come in September, the sea is still warm, and the crowd is gone.
Visit Odysseus cave, close to the village Babino Polje on the central part of the island, a ten-minute walk through the fields because it can not be reached by car. This cave is located among the rocks and in sea level. It is very effective and gives a fantastic impression. Odysseus’s cave is egg-shaped and a few tens of meters in diameter. It has collapsed vault; therefore named Jama, because, watching from the air, it looks like a big hole in the ground. The bottom is filled with water. Through layers of limestone, separated from the open sea, there is a breakthrough in the form of a tunnel and a cave can be entered by swimming or a small boat. Entering from the sea is wide 4-5 meters above sea level, only 1 or 1.5 meters. The sea depth in the tunnel cave is 8-10 meters, while a long tunnel is about 20 meters. Access to land is possible via very steep improvised stairs.
Blato village with the brackish wetland is also worth visiting, as it is near the main road. The village is half-deserted, and you can witness the old style of life on the island.
Remember to take your swimming suit when visiting the national park. Swimming is allowed. The small marine lake is warmer in summer and autumn and great for snorkelling too. The largest coral ridge reef in the Mediterranean is located at the entrance to the Veliko jezero in a place of strong currents.