Mljet Island is an untamed oasis suitable for anyone wanting a paradise away from Croatia’s bustling tourist trail.
With only one major road, Mljet is home to about 1100 people spread out over a half dozen small villages, and a lush National Park covering about half the Island. Unlike overcrowded centers like Dubrovnik, Mljet Island is a place to go to meet locals, spend time in nature, and explore uninhibited. During our time on Mljet, Cailee and I stayed in a lovely 3rd floor apartment hosted by a very generous local Croatian family. Every morning, we would wake up and then head out onto the patio to chat and have some Turkish coffee. Then, the father of the family would gear up to resume his post as park ranger at Mljet National Park while Cailee and I got ready to explore. And so much exploring was done!
5 Things To Do On Mljet Island, Croatia
Road Trip from Pomena to Limoni Beach
While Cailee and I stayed in the hamlet of Polače, if you’re looking to road trip the whole Island then Pomena, with its shops, bars, and restaurants, is the place to start. To start our road trip, Cailee and I rented the cutest little orange zipper with a Croatian cassette stuck (on a mysterious, logistically impossible loop) in the tape deck, and we were on our way.
If you plan on doing this activity, know that you don’t need a map as, mentioned earlier, there is only one major road. However, make sure you pay attention to the road signs and only go as fast as you’re comfortable with. You’ll be going through a lot of small towns with kids playing and the road itself winds along with sheer rock race on one side and a steep drop off into the Adriatic on the other.
Additionally, because Mljet isn’t a very large Island, driving the entire length of it shouldn’t take you more than an hour. Cailee and I stopped a lot to take pictures and explore the small towns before heading to Limoni Beach where we had dinner and lounged in the sun.
Hike to Odysseus Cave
Hiking to Odysseus Cave was probably my favorite activity we did on Mljet. The hike starts from the village of Babino Polje, and is a half rugged/ half smooth hour’s walk from the road. Expect rocky terrain, steep slopes, and the most amazing views.
Once you make it to the cliff’s edge, jump into the water with abandon (as long as you know how to swim, that is), and carry yourself through the salty sea into the cave.
Cailee and I did this activity mid-June and the water was warm enough to swim around in for a while. Plus, it was salty enough that we only had to lightly tread to keep ourselves afloat.
Take A Boat To Crkva Sv. Marije (St. Mary’s Island)
When we first arrived in Polače, Cailee and I immediately purchased Mljet National Park passes for the duration of our stay. These passes not only got us into the park, but allowed us to take a complimentary shuttle van from our digs to the park and back. Then, once we disembarked the shuttle, we hopped on a boat that would take us to St. Mary’s Island.
“You mean, there’s an Island within an Island?” Yes, that’s exactly what I mean. The Island of Mljet is home to two inland saltwater lakes, Veliko (big) and Malo (small), and St. Mary’s Island is situated on the former.
St. Mary’s is a gorgeous little ruin-covered Island home to roman ruins and a former 12th century Benedictine monastery. While there isn’t much to do on the island but eat ice cream, spend time at the restaurant, and poke around the buildings, it is a beautiful stop that can’t be missed.
Yes, I wore a Frank Zappa shirt to a Monastery. No I didn’t plan that.
Bike Around Veliko Jezero (Big Lake)
Once we returned from our tour around St. Mary’s, we rented out a couple of bikes to help us explore our new surroundings.
The bikes were roughly $15 for an hour, and the price was absolutely worth it. With them, we explored all the little hamlets along the lake, went off-roading a couple of times, and felt absolute freedom rolling along with the wind in our hair.
There was a huge bug that Cailee wanted me to get rid of. I did, but I had to take a photo first.
Eat All The Seafood and Chat With The Locals
Such a huge perk of being on a small Island without a big population was the experiences we had with the locals. Not only did we get to know our Airbnb family quite well, we also were the happy targets of conversation by restaurant owners and park rangers alike.
Gorging ourselves on Mljet’s delicious, freshly caught seafood was total bliss, and our faces of delight were excellent conversation starters!
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Have you ever been to Mljet Island? Let me know in the comments!