After a few days of fighting crowds in the busy streets of Dubrovnik, a trip to Mljet was a breath of fresh air and a welcome escape.
Mljet is a large, lush island with a national park on its western end that has saltwater lakes, a meta island-on a lake-on an island, and some of the bluest water you’ll ever see. Daily boats from Dubrovnik make this an easy daytrip, though once you’re there the peace and quiet will likely tempt you to spend the night (and if you have the time, do it!).
Getting to Mljet
There are high-speed ferries to Mljet from Dubrovnik, Split and other islands. The trip from Dubrovnik takes about 1½ hours. If you’re heading to the national park, take the ferry from Dubrovnik to Polace, where you can pick up a bike, catch a shuttle, or walk about 25 minutes to the national park. Boats leave the city at 9:15 am and return at 4:55 pm (getting back around 6:30 pm).
Coming from or going to another part of Croatia? The other Mljet port with easy access to the national park is Pomena, which has a bit more going on than Polace, including a hotel.
If you’re going farther afield on the island, you’ll want to rent a car or use taxis, or you can rent bikes. If you’re just exploring the national park (and are up for a couple-mile walk), you can do it all by foot.
Exploring Mljet National Park
Occupying the western part of the island, this national park is a gem. You can buy an entry ticket (about 100 kn) at Polace when you get off the ferry, or at the park entrance about 30 minutes’ walk from port. Inside the park you’ll find well-marked trails and two unbelievably blue and swimmable saltwater lakes, one of which has an island with a monastery set in the middle of it. (You can take a little boat here for lunch and a dip.)
Aside from boating and swimming, the park’s two lakes are home to some interesting creatures: coral, jellyfish, and shellfish — including mussels that can grow up to 2 feet long. The smaller lake, Malo Jezero, is warmer and shallower than the grand lake, Veliko Jezero, making it a popular swimming hole. The two lakes are connected by a bridge that you can swim under.
One Day on Mljet
- 11:00 am: Arrive in Polace. Hit up the little grocery market for some water and snacks, then buy your park ticket at the little booth.
- 12 pm: Get to the national park, explore the walking trails around Veliko Jezero.
- 1 pm: Take a boat across the lake to St. Mary’s. Eat lunch and explore the monastery and island.
- 2:30 pm: Boat to Malo Jezero for a swim in the smaller lake
- 3:30 pm: Head back to Polace – you don’t want to miss the boat! Grab a drink at one of the harborside bars or restaurants before you board.
- 4:30 pm: Board ferry back to Dubrovnik.
- 6:35 pm: Arrive back in Dubrovnik in time for sunset!