Mljet (pronounced ‘mil-yet’), in Southern Dalmatia, is one of the larger islands in off the coast of Southern Croatia. Although many people live on the island (mainly in the port of Sobra on the east end), the west end port of Polace holds the entrance to the national park of Mljet. This park includes an inland sea and another small island nested within it, and is a must-see for visitors. Understand : Mljet used to be a Roman possession (indeed, Polace means “palace” and holds some Roman ruins). Over the course of history, the isle traded hands with the rest of the Balkans (to the Ottomans, the Austro-Hungarians, etc.) It was promised to Italy at one point in the early 20th century. Once the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes was declared, the island became part of that country. Ancient Greeks called the island “Melita”, or “honey,” which over the centuries evolved to become the Slavic name, Mljet.
Fees : There is an entrance fee of 125 kn per person to enter the Mljet National Park. If you are joining an excursion organised by a travel agency to Mljet, it may not include this entrance fee, so make sure you check before booking.
Access : Coordinates : 42.733333, 17.516667 / By boat : Sobra (east-end) and Polace (west-end) serve as ferry ports for the island. From Dubrovnik : The Nona Ana catamaran operates twice daily from Dubrovnik to Sobra and Polace on Mljet island. Tickets are 54 kn one way per person. Polace is nearer the National Park than Sobra.
From the Peljesac peninsula : There is car ferry operating five times a day between Prapratno on the Peljesac peninsula and the port of Sobra on Mljet island. From Split : There is car ferry from Split on Saturday and speed boat from Lastovo on Tuesday and Thursday. From Korcula : From Korcula you can get to Sobra on Mljet island by car ferry operated by Jadrolinija on Mondays and Fridays. The ferry leaves Korcula Town at 14:00 and arrives at Sobra at 16:15. Sobra is some distance from the National Park, which is located on the western side of Mljet island. Alternatively, join a day trip excursion from Korcula organised by a travel agency:
Get around : By car : There is only one major road on the island which runs through or near most cities. The road is paved, but condition is only fair. Speed limit is usually 40 km/h (24 mph). For most of its length, the road has long uphill or downhill includes. If you come without a car, you can rent one at several local agencies:
MiniBrum has a rental office at the Sobra ferry terminal. They rent a variety of small, often cutely decorated, cars. In our case, a small diesel Fiat for two days was about €120 plus fuel.
By bike : Mountain bikes can be rented in Pomena and Polace. This is a good way to get to and explore the National Park. However due to the island’s size, topography, and road conditions, it’s not realistic to expect to also explore the central and eastern parts of the island by bike from the west end.
Attractions : Mljet National Park (Nacionalni Park Mljet). The two lakes (jezera) and the monastery on the island in the middle of the large lake (veliki jezera). Boats leave for the monastery every hour or so, check the timetables within the national park. The monastery was a hotel until it was damaged in 1991 and now houses a cute restaurant called Melita. 90 kn.
Saplunara beaches (Start at Saplunara Bay then work your way to Blace beach). There are three sandy beaches within Saplunara, starting with the bay itself. The bay is slightly overlooked, but as you work through, you eventually got to Blace beach which is 800 m (1/2 mile) long and secluded among stones of Mljet southern shores. This hidden bay and beach is surrounded by pine trees, faces South and looks like a lagoon. The entrance from the sea to Blace beach is only 8 metres wide so the sea water inside the lagoon gets very warm and is possible to swim here even at the times when sea water outside is still cold and not suitable for swimming. Because of it’s isolated location, Blace Beach and Bay is popular among naturist and nudists too. Out of season, a lot of debris collects on the beach and is not cleaned making it significantly less appealing.
Activities : Swim around, snorkel and try to find the large mussels (about 60 cm (2 feet) long) in the smaller lake (malo jezero). Rent a mountain bike and ride around the big lake (veliko jezero) and small lake (malo jezero) which are connected to each other.
X-Dream, Polace 8 (Directly on the sea, close to the harbour). 08:00-22:00. Local company for bicycle and kayak rental. They have a good service and very professional staff. 100 kn. editThere are similar companies along the coast street in Polace.
Rappel or Swim to Odysseus/Ulyssey’s Cave, Odysseus’s cave sits under the village of Babino Polje. (Pull over on the road parallel to Babino Polje then it’s a 20-minute walk towards the south coast from there.). A large egg-shaped cave in the rocky coastline, accessed by a 30-metre tunnel used as a harbour by local fishermen. Legend has it that Odysseus found his shelter here after surviving a shipwreck, hence the name. He supposedly was shipwrecked here and due to the beauty of the island’s nature and his love for the nymph Calipso, Odysseus stayed on the island for 7 years. When the sun gets to the highest point, the water illuminates in a fantastic way. There’s also some gravity-defying, quite amusing graffiti around the rocks. There are two entrances: one from the seaside (swimming) and the other one from on high (rappelling). As you walk along the path towards the cave, look out for the cute road sign painting on the rocks! Once you’re near the cave, it’s a natural beauty and popular for rappelling. Free.
Follow the hiking trail up to Veliki Grad, the highest mountain of Mljet (~500 m). The trail starts in Babino Polje.
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