If you are looking for an off-the-beaten-path destination in Croatia, then Mljet National Park is the place. Located on the Island of Mljet, this park is well known for its rich history, culture, stunning natural beauty and exquisite food.
Mljet is a relatively small island located an hour boat ride from Dubrovnik. It is known for its untouched nature, amazing beaches, and crystal-clear waters. The island is also famous for its rich history, dating back to the ancient Greek and Roman periods. Mljet was once a popular destination for sailors, pirates, and traders due to its strategic location on the Adriatic coast. It is also believed by some historians to be the place where St. Paul had a famous shipwreck and was bitten by a snake, but although quite interesting, this a very stretched theory.
Today, Mljet is a popular tourist destination thanks to its stunning nature. The national park covers an area of over 10000 acres and is a home to two saltwater lakes, Veliko and Malo Jezero, which are connected to the sea by a narrow channel. The park is also home to a diverse range of plants and animals, making it a paradise for nature lovers, especially birds spotting.
Getting to Mljet
Getting to Mljet National Park is relatively easy. The island is connected to the mainland by regular ferry and boat services from Dubrovnik, Pelješac and even Split. The journey takes 1-3 hours, depending on your starting point. Alternatively, you can charter a boat and explore the coast at your own pace.
Once you arrive on the island, you can hire a car, bike, or scooter to explore the park. The park’s entrance fee is affordable, and the proceeds go towards maintaining and preserving the park’s natural beauty.
Island of Melita
Most popular spot in the park is Melita, a small island located in the middle of Veliko Jezero, the larger of the two saltwater lakes in Mljet National Park. The island is home to a 12th-century Benedictine monastery, which was built by the monks who sought refuge on the island during the invasion of the Saracens.
Today, some of the monastery is still in its original form, and visitors can explore the island’s rich history further by hiring a local guide to explain in more details the fascinating stories and legends of this enchanting place. The Melita island is accessible by boat, and there are regular boat tours that take visitors to and back. There is also a restaurant at the docking pier so you can have refreshing drinks or something to nibble while there.
Mljet’s flora and fauna
Mljet National Park is home to a diverse range of plant and animal species, making it a paradise for nature lovers. The park’s forests full of oak, pine, and cypress trees and a home to a variety of bird species. Visitors can spot these birds while hiking or biking on the park’s many trails. The park’s unique flora and fauna are carefully preserved, and visitors are encouraged to respect them and avoid disturbing them.
Activities on the Island of Mljet
Mljet National Park offers a wide range of activities for visitors to enjoy. From hiking and biking to swimming and kayaking, there is something for everyone. The island has a network of hiking and biking trails that range from easy to challenging and offer stunning views of the lakes and the surrounding forests, while the beaches are perfect for swimming and sunbathing. Visitors can also rent kayaks and explore the lakes at their own pace and snorkel in crystal clear waters and explore marine life. The most popular trail is the Great Lake Trail, which is a circular trail that goes around Veliko Jezero. The trail is approximately 11 km long and takes around 3-4 hours to complete. The trail is well-marked, and visitors can enjoy stunning views of the lake and the surrounding forests.
The beaches on the island are mostly pebbled or rocky, and the water is crystal clear. The most popular beach is Saplunara, which is located on the south-eastern part of the island. The beach is surrounded by pine forests and offers stunning views of the sea. Visitors can also enjoy in a variety of water sports, such as kayaking and paddleboarding.
When planning your visit to Mljet National Park, it is important to keep in mind that the park is a protected area, and visitors are expected to follow certain rules and regulations. These include not disturbing the park’s unique flora and fauna, not littering, and not feeding the animals.
It is also important to bring appropriate clothing and footwear for hiking and biking, as well as sunscreen and insect repellent. Visitors should also bring plenty of water and snacks, as there are limited facilities within the park. There are a few restaurants on the island so be sure to check those out if you want to try some of the famous Mljet’s delicacies.
Mljet National Park is a hidden gem that offers visitors a chance to experience the magic of Croatia’s Adriatic coast. The island has a true Mediterranean vibe. From its rich history and culture to its stunning natural beauty and exciting activities, there is something for everyone, whether you are a nature lover, history buff, or adventure seeker, Mljet National Park is the perfect destination for you.