Whether you visit it in spring, summer or even fall, Croatia's greenest and southernmost island of Mljet will make you fall in love with it.
Located in the southern Dalmatia and southern part of Adriatic, and traffic connected with peninsula Pelješac, Mljet thrives in rich flora and fauna. Its location further from the coastline made the island rich in both natural and cultural peculiarities.
The island was already captivating the attention in ancient Greek and Roman era. Even Homer in Odyssey wrote how Calipso, the goddess of beauty, kept Odyssey for seven years in a cave on the island named Ogigija, the island that is believed to be Mljet in fact. Numerous descriptions of island's beautiful bays, inexhaustible fountains of youth and natural riches do indeed match with what today is called Mljet. There are four inexhaustible sources of water on the island that can be connected with Homer's fountains of youth, and there is even a cave which characteristics match the legendary seat of nymph Calipso. Another curiosity that connects the island to the Homer's testimonies are the names of several locations on the island, named after „baba “, in Croatian „grandma, old women “. As it is believed that the ancient owner of the island was a queen who grew old on the island, some residents still believe that the queen is actually nymphe Calipso.
If the historical curiosities of the island already caught your attention, the wildlife and sea surrounding the shores of Mljet will impress you even more. Due to its endemic and somewhat endangered wildlife species, vast forests of Aleppo pine and holm oak, and oceanographic phenomena of Malo and Veliko jezero (Small and Big Lake), that are in fact flooded island's bays, Mljet is the place to be and the place to explore. As a confirmation of its natural and cultural importance and peculiarities, the National Park of Mljet island was founded in 1960. It covers the northern part of the island, and protects island's riches.
There are four bigger towns inside the National Park: Pomada on the north, Polače connected by ferry with Pelješac peninsula, Goveđari in inland, and Soline located at the entrance to the island's lakes Malo and Veliko Jezero.
Each of these towns has its story to tell. Polače has been founded already in ancient Greek and Roman era and have been developing since. Archaeological sites such as remains of terme and roman villae rusticae and ancient residential complex – roman palace, are witnesses of island's and town's long history. The town and its port are located in one of the safest and biggest bays on the coast facing islands such as Tajnik, Kobrava and Ovrata. So, if you find yourself near during the not so favourable weather or just want to enjoy it, anchor in Polače's bay and explore the island.
Pomena, situated north from the inland town of Goveđari, is a younger among the towns, but still has its importance. With the foundation of the park, Pomena gained its importance as the central place for accommodation for all visiting the Park. Its neighbouring islands such as Pomeštak and Šilj are known to be locations of hydro-archaeological findings (amphoras, ancient anchorages) and ancient settlements.
If you anchor in Pomena, or in Polače, you can take your time and explore the island on bike or by hiking. You can easily reach town Goveđari if you start both from Pomena or from Polače and from there reach other small island towns such as Babine kuće, situated at the very coast of one of two island’s lakes – Veliko Jezero (the Big Lake). The towns offer great and memorable view of the lake and the island of St. Mary.
On the southern part of the National Park, you can find small touristic town Soline, situated in the channel that connects Veliko Jezero to the sea. It was known as a salt manufacturing town on the island (hence the name: “sol” is croatian for salt).
The area of National Park, with its “lakes” and rich wildlife will mesmerize you, but don’t forget to go even more south and explore the island’s bays, enjoy the turquoise sea and stop by to some other towns as Sobra, main island’s port, situated on the northern part of the island, or Babino Polje, near which you can find and explore number of caves, such as the Ulysses cave.
All in all, Mljet is a magnificent island with great historical background, and even more beautiful natural beauties and precious ecosystem. Your sailing time through its bays and small coves will definitely be amazing and adventurous.