Enjoying our traditional summer holiday at Camp Rogač in Slano, we thought it a good idea to visit Mljet that is considered to be one of the most beautiful islands of Croatia. We were told that this unspoiled island, covered with dense Mediterranean forests, is a paradise for anyone looking to get away from the crowds, as there are just a few villages and one major road – the remaining part is pure nature!
Two days should be enough to explore Mljet National Park with its natural beauties and to visit some cultural attractions, as the island is associated with many stories and legends.
We took the ferry (€26 one way for a car and two adults) from Prapratno on the peninsula of Pelješac, to Sobra, which took us around 45 minutes. In the quiet fishing village of Sobra we had already booked a private room with a splendid sea view.
Mljet is only 60 km long and it was easy enough to explore every corner of the island in two days. Our first trip was to the western part of the island. Driving through forests of Aleppo pine and holm oak with breathtaking views of the clear blue sea, we passed through the village of Babino Polje, where interested tourists can visit the Ulysses Cave. According to the legend, Ulysses was trapped here for seven years, in company of the lovely nymph Calypso.
Several yachts and sailboats were anchored in the transparent bay of Polače, a village with one hundred inhabitants only. What a surprise to discover the remnants of a huge Roman palace dating back to the 2th century in such a tiny village!
In the surroundings, we found the ruins of St. Paul’s church; by the way, many historians claim that St. Paul, the apostle, landed here in the year 61 AD, after his boat had shipwrecked.
Accompanied by loud chirping of the crickets, we continued to Pomena, where we parked the car and bought tickets for Mljet National Park at the kiosk (100 kunas or €15 p.p.). Many people rented bikes here, but when we saw their efforts of riding on the hilly path, we decided to let it go and take the narrow footpath through the forests – a walk of 20 minutes – to Mali Most, the small bridge between two salty lakes, Veliko Jezero and Malo Jezero. This is the place where the Large Lake and the Small Lake are connected and tourists are transported with a small boat to the Isle of St. Mary with its ancient Benedictine monastery from the 12th century. The monastery’s restaurant offered delicious mussels and we had a great time on the shady terrace. After lunch, we explored the small island on foot, walking between olive trees and ancient ruins.
Back on the shore, we made a walk along the lakes. Swimmers were enjoying the refreshing shade and the sandy beaches, but did not disturb the tranquil atmosphere. A blue lizard was relaxing on a stone wall and the water was so transparent that we could clearly see some fishes swimming around.
After a quiet evening and a good night rest in Sobra, we headed towards Saplunara, a hamlet on the eastern tip of Mljet. The name Saplunara has roots in the Latin word for sand – “sabulum”, as the village has two sandy beaches, surrounded by rocks and dense pine forests.
The small beach was a wonderful place to take a swim. Due to the secluded position, the sea water was warm and transparent and the bay was completely protected from the wind. What a miracle that such beaches are not overcrowded, even in the middle of July!
We had lunch in a small village on the coast, Okuklje. Can you imagine that we were the only tourists in the open-air restaurant overlooking the secluded cove? The sea food spaghetti was delicious and so was the local white wine. A wonderful place!
The last village we visited was Prožurska Luka, located on the northern coast of the island with less than fifty permanent residents (photo 8). Local sailors and fisherman from the village are using this bay as their marina and anchorage point, but there are also beautiful sandy beaches around. And last but not least, it seems to be a great place to relax!
In the late afternoon we took the ferry back to Prapratno. No queues, no crowds. So, if you are looking to spend a few days on a Croatian island, far away from the swarms of tourists, if you want to get the feeling as if you got lost in a photoshopped tourist brochure – then Mljet is really the place to be!