Just 23 miles from the spectacular town of Dubrovnik, Mljet Island & National Park is said to be the place where Odysseus was nursed back to health over seven years, by the nymph Calypso. Given its stunning beaches, lush, rolling forests and tranquil, azure-blue lakes, it's no wonder he took his time to recover! Mljet Island & National Park is a little slice of paradise, hiding its very own Garden of Eden at the centre. If you're visiting Dubrovnik, make sure to set some time aside to visit this, one of Croatia's most popular and spectacular attractions.
Getting to Mljet IslandThe only way to get to Mljet Island & National Park is by boat and you'll find catamaran services and ferries running from Dubrovnik, Split, Korcula and Prapratno. The trip takes between 20 and 45 minutes, depending on the type of boat you're taking and where you're travelling from. Unless you've taken a car-ferry, you'll need to use the island's transport to get around. A regular bus service runs from the village of Sobra to Pomena on the west of the island, while anther runs between Sobra and Saplunara on the east. The services are cheap and allow you to soak up the scenery and meet the locals as you travel.
Sunbathing and Underwater AdventuresPeople come to Mljet Island & National Park for a variety of reasons. Sun worshippers tend to head to the beaches at Saplunara, Sobra, Pomena and Polace, to catch some rays or enjoy a quiet drink in the beachside bars. However, if you're looking for something slightly more adventurous, the seas around Mljet Island & National Park offer exceptional conditions for snorkelling and scuba-diving, with the lure of a 10th century sunken wreck singing as loudly as the mythological sirens to those who like underwater wonders; it's time to grab your scuba gear!
The National ParkHowever, the star of the show is the National Park itself. While there is an entrance fee, it's well worth paying as you'll be walking into some of the most spectacular scenery in the world! The dense, pine-scented forests, fragrant olive groves and fruit-heavy vineyards hide a number of secluded villages, Illyrian forts and tombs, two salt-water lakes, and a Benedictine monastery located on an island within the island itself! There's even the chance to visit the Cave of Odysseus.
Things to DoWhile Mljet Island & national Park offers plenty for hikers, walkers, photographers and wildlife enthusiasts, there's also some rewarding activities for those who like to work up a sweat. The two lakes, somewhat unimaginatively named ”Big Lake' and ”Small Lake' are connected by a canal and there are kayaks available for rent, allowing you to soak up the views from the water. Should you want to visit the island in the middle of Big Lake, the entrance fee covers the cost of a boat trip. You'll also find bicycles for hire, allowing you to cover more of the park, or challenge yourself and cycle up some of the steeper hills. However, one of the most popular pastimes is to pack a picnic, find a quiet spot and just listen to the birdsong that fills the forests. While Croatia is packed with family-friendly and unexpected attractions, Mljet Island & National Park is up there as one of the best.