DISCOVER MLJET – CROATIA’S GREEN GEM
Welcome to Mljet, a hidden paradise nestled among the enchanting Croatian islands. This island, one of the jewels of the eastern Adriatic coast, is an absolute must-visit, especially for sailors exploring the southern reaches of Dalmatia.
CROATIA’S GREENEST ISLAND
Over two-thirds of the island is cloaked in dense forests, while a third of its terrain is designated as an official National Park—a distinction shared with only seven other locations in Croatia. Mljet rightfully earned this honor due to its pristine underwater ecosystems in the crystal-clear sea, stunning coastlines, and diverse Mediterranean flora.
MLJET NATIONAL PARK: A NATURAL WONDERLAND
The Mljet National Park graces the island’s northwest, encompassing a vast area around the Great Lake and the Small Lake. You can access the park from Pomena or Polače via well-marked footpaths or by bus. A leisurely stroll through lush flora and invigorating fresh air awaits those who venture on foot. Rest assured, the path is clearly marked, guiding you to your desired destination.
THE GREAT AND THE SMALL LAKES
The island’s crowning jewels are its saltwater bays in the north, often likened to lakes: Veliko Jezero (the Great Lake) and Malo Jezero (the Small Lake). Their unique isolation from the open sea creates this illusion. The Great Lake connects to the sea through a narrow channel, while the Small Lake only links to the Great Lake via an even narrower passage. Both locals and tourists relish the opportunity to swim in these saltwater oases. Notably, the Small Lake is warmer and calmer since it isn’t directly connected to the sea.
You can rent a bike and enjoy a ride around the lakes!
ST MARY’S ISLAND – AN ISLAND ON THE ISLAND
For a truly unique experience, don’t miss St. Mary’s Island in the heart of the Great Lake—an island within an island! This charming isle is home to an ancient church and Benedictine monastery, dating back to the 12th century when Benedictine monks ruled Mljet. Over the centuries, the monastery underwent renovations and stands today as a valuable cultural monument.
Although the administrative center of the island of Mljet is Babino Polje (literally translated as “Grandma’s field”), the most popular places are Pomena, Polače, Sobra, and Goveđari.
Polače, a picturesque settlement and port nestled on Mljet’s northern coast lies within the island’s largest and deepest bay. The presence of four smaller nearby islands offers excellent shelter, making it a favored anchorage for sailors exploring the southern Adriatic. During the summer, Polače can become a hive of activity, so sailors keen on anchoring near Mljet often choose this welcoming bay.
Despite having only about a hundred residents Polače boasts a handful of charming restaurants, cafes, and a small shop.
Nestled on Mljet’s northwest coast, just 5 km from Polače, lies Pomena—a quaint fishing village that, in the summertime, blossoms into the island’s most tourist-centric locale. Although home to only 50 permanent residents, Pomena’s natural beauty draws crowds. The village offers several moorings, a selection of restaurants, private apartments, and even a hotel complex to cater to its visitors.
For sailors, a secluded bay near the village provides a safe haven for anchoring during their sailing holidays in southern Dalmatia.
Saplunara Bay, bathed in glorious sunshine, graces the quieter southern tip of Mljet island, in contrast to the bustling settlements of Pomena and Polače on the opposite end.
While the southern coast poses challenges for sailors with its exposed position and numerous rocks and islets, Saplunara Bay offers a tranquil retreat outside the National Park boundaries. Here, you can bask on sandy beaches (Velika and Mala Saplunara) amidst fragrant pine woods.
SIGHTS/THINGS TO DO/ACTIVITIES:
- Visit the National Park – Included tourist boat visit to the Benedictine monastery on the island in the middle of the Great Lake.
- Kayaking or Canoeing – Rent a kayak or a canoe at Mali Most (the bridge that goes over the small channel that connects the lakes) and explore the lakes. Taking yourself to St. Mary’s island in a kayak or a canoe is a great pleasure.
- Rent a bike – You can rent a bike in Polače or Pomena, or inside the Park. Cycle following one of the peaceful paths through beautiful nature and explore the island.
- Rent a car or a scooter – You can explore the island even on these motor vehicles, but only outside the National Park.
- Swim in the lakes – This is a great option for those who are visiting the island outside the season when a bit colder since the water in the lakes is warmer than on the seashores of Mljet.
- Visit Odysseus’ Cave – The cave where, according to the legend, Odysseus was trapped for seven years, and then was released by gods. The cave is located on the south of Mljet, close to the settlement “Babino Polje”. Y
- Hike up the hills – For some breathtaking views, take a hike up the hills on Mljet island.
Reach the Odysseus’ Cave – could the see be more clear?