Mljet, the largest island in the Dubrovnik archipelago, is one of the most popular destinations for day trips from the old city. 37 kilometres in length and only about 3 kilometres in width, the island is a green haven known for its breathtaking beauty and numerous tales and legends associated with it. These include the stories of Odysseus and St. Paul’s shipwrecks and different tales dating from the Roman and Illyrian periods.
Located only 30 kilometres (15 miles) from Dubrovnik, Mljet attracts huge numbers of tourists and nature lovers every year with its beautiful beaches, bicycle paths, historic buildings and the unspoiled natural wonders of the Mljet National Park. Saplunara beach is a favourite destination for the summer holidays, while the island’s many attractions, which include Odysseus’ Cave, ancient buildings and structures, olive groves, vineyards, old villages and rich forests, draw visitors all year long.
Odysseus Cave, a geomorphology phenomenon located near the village of Babino Polje, is an extraordinarily spectacular sight that can be accessed by the sea on a small boat or on foot via steep improvised stairs. The best time to visit the cave is around noon during the summer, when sunlight produces a particularly striking spectrum of colours. Other caves, including Morvica and Ostaševica, which are located in the centre of the island, also make wonderful sights to take in and explore.
Mljet National Park
Situated in the northwestern part of the island, the Mljet National Park is a uniquely beautiful area with two connected salty lakes – the Great Lake and the Small Lake – serving as nature’s centerpiece to a lush forest interspersed with small pathways and roads that offer visitors a refreshing shade as they go about exploring the park’s many natural secrets.
The Isle of St. Mary, a small island located in the middle of the Great Lake, is home to an old Benedictine monastery and a small 12th century church. The villages of Polače, Pomena and Goveđari attract the most visitors who come to see the national park, and provide most of the accommodation options and restaurants in the area.
Dubrovnik to Mljet
Mljet can be reached from Dubrovnik’s Port Gruž by ferry or catamaran. The trip itself is a wonderful sightseeing experience, offering lovely views of all the islands between the old city and Mljet, including the Elaphiti archipelago. The catamaran trip takes about 90 minutes, while the ferry takes twice as long to reach the island, but is the better option overall for taking pictures from the deck. The ferries and catamarans dock at Pomena and Sobra, the latter of which is the main port on the island.
Hotels on the Dubrovnik Riviera
Guests looking to spend their holidays in an authentic Mediterranean setting can book their stay at the Hotel Mlini, located in the village of Mlini near Dubrovnik. The hotel is situated next to a promenade and several small secluded beaches, offering the perfect spot for a romantic holiday on the Dubrovnik Riviera. The four-star hotel offers luxury rooms with balconies overlooking the Adriatic Sea and exceptional dining experiences at its restaurants and bars. Those looking for more exclusive accommodation can find it at Villa Jelić, which is a part of the Hotel Mlini and welcomes guests to its four exclusive suites and rooms with spectacular panoramic views of the sea and the coastline. All guests staying at Hotel Mlini can use the recreational facilities of the nearby Hotel Astarea, which include a spa centre with a gym and sauna, spacious indoor and outdoor pools, and a children’s playground.
Images: Wikimedia Commons/Jaganjac, August Dominus, Lichinga