Mljet National Park Things to Do

  • one of the beaches along the lake shore
    one of the beaches along the lake shore
    by 7_seconds
  • a hole from one lake to another
    a hole from one lake to another
    by picek
  • the terrace before the main doors
    the terrace before the main doors
    by picek

Most Recent Things to Do in Mljet National Park

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    picturesque village established by shepherd men

    by picek Updated Jul 22, 2011

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    Goveđari, a little village
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    A picturesque little village of Goveđari rises on a slopes upon a fertile field in National Park - it is the first settlement that had been allowed to be built in Western Mljet by Benedictines and its history only begins in 18th century. It was a period of time when Benedicitnes already had harder time finding people for hard labour on their properties and a few men whom were originally from Babino polje (in middle Mljet, the biggest settlement) and Hercegovina, could live in the village upon certain conditions - and in return for housing (the houses were built by Benedictines) and property they agreed to benefit the Benedictines with their work, crop and meat and other 'services' demanded.

    The name for the village comes from a word 'goveda' which mean cattle in English and indicates relation by who first settlers were and what was their 'profession' (the shepherds, farmers) at times. By the rule they could keep maximum 100 goats, 30 sheeps and 15 cows only for themselves and if monastery allowed, they could sell it to other people on Mljet. Govedjari were growing larger when more heavy workers were needed for the work and they migrated from other parts of Mljet and mainland, but when Benedictine order had fall into decline new settlements were established by the coast rather than continue to be built here.

    Like 'all' settlements in the NP Goveđari is now entierly protected place... no houses are allowed to be built in the village and those exisiting ones cannot be sold, and they are only allowed to be reconstructed by the original plan.

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    small bridge and beach

    by picek Written Oct 19, 2010

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    a hole from one lake to another

    One way or other you'll eventually notice the Small bridge which is between Big and Small lake, upon a channel that delivers water in and out of the small lake. It is made of stone and there's public beach next to it with some kiosks, too... I have a feeling this is little overrated 'attraction', and you don't miss anything if you simply don't go there. Sights are excellent eveywhere, paths are laid next to lakes and are lonelier than the main one which will pass the bridge on the pedestrian way to Pomena. And beaches... no need to stay at most crowded ones, there are excellent spot to swim in many places, it requires only some walking or cycling away from the paths most walked... which is easy thing to do.
    You can get to the bridge, however, from St. Marija island. Or other way around - in this case you don't have to go to Pristaniste by the Big lake.

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    a gulf and Polace

    by picek Updated Oct 4, 2010

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    palazzo... now ruin
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    Many people begin their explore of Mljet in village Polace, a place which has long and turbulent history. There are a small port here in the waters of the gulf, sheltered behind tiny islands, dozens of restaurants, a few souvenir shops and appartments to rent from villagers; the also have National park office in Polace - you can get information (the main office of park, however, is in Pristaniste) here and a ATM, but no exchange office (speaking of september 2010).
    It is here where the last station for katamaran from Dubrovnik is... and the entry gates to the most renowned parts ot the National park, the lakes.

    However, historically, the town was once settled by Illyricum peoples, whom near year 0 rebelled against Romans... They (the Romans) revenged: they enslaved them or killed most population and destroyed their settlement in Polace gulf, then know as Melitus.

    Instead, the Romans colonized enitre Mljet. As far as Polace go, they built the residental palace between 2nd and 5th century AD for the prefect of the island, and an impressive ruin reminds visitors today of whom once Mljet was ruled by. Beside palace, there were building war ships here.

    For centuries after Romans the palace was the only (and most notable since ever) building in the Polace gulf, untill laborers whom worked for the monastery St. Mary but were migrants from Babino Polje built their houses next to walls of the palace in 1830'ies... and since then the village grows bigger till todays size (only less than 150 local inhabitants living there). Logically, its name comes from Italian word 'palazzo'... for 'a palace'.

    It's now vibrant place with locals earning from tourism mostly. Long gone were times when they were farmers and fishermen only, but they do keep their boats today and go fishing, as well as farming... but to much lesser extent than some 50 years ago.

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    market feel of Pomena

    by picek Updated Oct 4, 2010

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    boats and market and all that
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    Why market feel? Because main street is like many Croatian coastal towns where one part of the place sells 'usual' merchandise for tourists - t shirts, souvenirs, towels, swimming suits and shoes, postcards and more sophisticated stuff (locally produced soaps and oils nicely packed), etc... yet, Pomena is small village so the main street is as well the main shopping 'quarter' and is also main dining place with resturants (I was surprised eating out in Pomena was actually cheaper than in Polace). Here is choice of appartments to rent and for Mljet standards huge hotel Odisej, which architecture is such a foreigner to the calm place... whoever built it - did he do more good than bad, that's open to discussion.
    A small port it is too here and tourist boats deliver loads of people here daily, whom will go to small and big lakes walking, then taking a boat to Mary island, whatever includes their package. So, it will be relatively busy place from time to time and main season is understandably, the most crowded. Pleasant path connects Small and Big lake to Pomena - small lake is only 450 meters away and its easy walk.

    Great deal of luxury yachts are anchored in calm waters of Pomena bay, but you will also see fishing boats.
    Exchange office in hotel Odisej is supposed to be the only one in National park - if their rate is any good I didn't check, but the ATM we saw only in Polace.

    Somehow, due all that and its relative recency with little of local population... It feels like place you can easily leave from your itinerary if you come on your own. Not very charming is Pomena, to say honestly and it's more crowded than other villages; but locals are indeed very hospitable folks here, like almost all Mljet people we talked to.

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    cute cars can take you to...

    by picek Updated Oct 3, 2010

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    hot cat

    Ha ha! They are so lovely designed - the cars, ancient little Fiats! Some colored crazy, cool design, some cabriolet type... and one dressed in fur, like sexy cat. With nose, eyelasheses and make up and all that.
    Certainly you'll draw attention when you drive with them... we didn't, we had our own transport already, so I cannot comment on their reliability and stability. But, yes yes yes... we loved them seeing! And the old cars on Mljet seems to be everyhwere (more on that on some other place).

    You can rent them from a rent a car (Mini Brum) agency in Polace, near the station of katamaran, you cannot miss.

    Mabye above web site will give you more details on actual price and conditions.

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    St. Mary church

    by picek Written Oct 2, 2010

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    the terrace before the main doors
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    The church of St. Mary is inseparable entity with the monastery and shares the history – the two cannot be divided from each other as they stem from the same source, the Benedictine order. Built together with monastery in 12. century in Romanesque style, yet the form reminded on Byzantine buildings of that period. In following centuries it got enlarged, especially in 16th when the grandest works were done and the coat-of-arms of family Grandulich was engraved in stone upon entry. Bell tower was changed into defence tower, for they were defending from pirates in turbulent times.

    Inside, Baroque altars wre built in 17th century among which the main one was later removed upon reasoning it didn't fit within Romanesque interior of the church, while other two were less devastated. Work done by Croatian painters and achitects brought the improvements, and the church interior gets its present shape... yet on the other hand not many things (equipment used for services) from past remained and some (the wooden benches) were gone completely in fires 1963.

    A book Mljet, Odisejev otok says the service is only held on 15th August, the most important holiday of St. Mary.

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    Benedictine monastery of St. Mary

    by picek Updated Oct 2, 2010

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    re-working on building, from enclosure
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    The history of Benedictines on Mljet begins when they got donated the entire island in 1151 by knez (kind of 'duke') Desa. These Benedictines settling now in Mljet were originally from Pulsano in Italy, from abbey of St. Mary – and on island they were to build the sacral building in name of their benefactor knez Desa and they were to use the land for farming.
    The legend says first three Benedictines arrived by boat through Adriatic sea and landed in Sutimiholjska gulf (which is somehow middle Mljet on the Southern shore). They erected both church and monastery of St. Mary between 1177 and 1198 on the small island in the Big Lake which was considered sacred place already by ancient Greeks and Romans.

    Originally these buildings were Romanesque, but were later at times changed and adapted untill they finally reached their Renaissance look and in 16th century the monastery got the defence walls and tower. For its entire 'life span' which is measured in 650 years before fall of Benedictines in 19th century the monastery housed important local historical figures whom had given much to its culture, yet the last monks left place in 1866. After them monastery and island came to possesion of Austrian forest office – and when they left, too, other forces (political and religious) rivaled upon what to do with the treasure as such which resulted is most tragic events (for this please take a look at the monastery web site)… Finally, the monastery (the entire island, to be correct) becomes cultural monument of the higest degree, protected from any invasive modern changes, only allowed to be reconstructed in the spirit of historic context and is now seeing long awaited peaceful times.

    As for now (2010) you can visit the St. Mary church from inside while monastery enclosure is in the reconstruction work.

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    Otok Sv. Marije - St. Mary island

    by picek Updated Sep 29, 2010

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    icons of Mljet

    It is also almost impossible to miss the boat trip to St. Mary island, a tiny island in the Big salt lake: it is like the symbol of Mljet: this place has been long time visited by modern pilgrims - artists, architects, nature and culture lovers, romantics.
    Benedictines who established monastery couldn't find better location and the architecures melt with the Mediterranean environment perfectly. Buildings of stone hidden and inerreact with tall cypress, pines, figes, laurus, tamarix bushes, depends where you look from. As you will approach closer your eyes will catch building of the Benedictine monastery and church first, and a terrace of Melita restaurant - these are dominant to the place and are well preserved (and there are conservation works going on in part of monastery as well to finish the job) and this is where boats stop for you to disembark.

    But walk a little behind the corner and you will find St. Ivan chapel, then St. Bernard chapel only a little further with numerous messages from visitor left behind on little pieces of paper, next to it there is tiny graveyard and a bit in the heart there will be ruins left by Romans - hidden and hardly noticed.

    An island that trully has some atmosphere and charm caught in centuries ... so you might even think of getting back one day, well, maybe next day - and swimming here is not impossible, just go where most people don't go anyways.

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    A small fishing village Soline

    by picek Updated Sep 29, 2010

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    boats in sheltered water
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    You have reached that tiny village of Soline on shores of Soline gulf further from the Big lake if you walked (or cycled) 3 kilometers from Pristaniste and it could be by now time to have nice local snack or dinner in one of a few 'konobas' here - an excellent choice to enjoy home made dish of more or less local ingredient.

    A few houses there are in Soline, nestled on a thin coast line between the sea and the slopes of the mountain; mostly these are old and now earn better money with tourism than before with fishing and farming, but still ... fishing remains important part of the villagers life; it is impossible to reject the fruits of the sea that you have on the reach of the hand... you can just imagine all that fish and crab, octopuses and sea shells so fresh and available - and with small boats of a local, fished sustainable... yes, there are a few boats by the shore, used when needed. And new appartment for rent were built in a house not so long ago, used primarly for tourists (well, boutique tourists).

    Soline were founded in 1825 by family of Petar Srsen and as I observed quickly it is still untill today that most houses will bear Srsen family name. The name of the village is derived from a word 'sol' which is 'salt' in English, and it (salt) was collected for centuries by Benedictines from the St. Mary island and nowsadays by Soline people.

    Only few minutes from village there will be mouth to open sea - or Soline channel, the area where 'wild' sea begings, a completely differenty world!

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    Veliko slano jezero - big lake

    by picek Updated Sep 29, 2010

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    beautiful shapes of pines
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    Well, you see... there are so many shades of blue in those lakes that you simply cannot feed your eyes enough with it. And when it comes combined with vegetation and rocks and sounds and air... it is just like in 'heaven'.

    So, I believe you won't miss walking by the big lake shores and that for sure you'll take a boat ride to Sveta Marija (St. Mary) island from Pristaniste, a place of incredible combination of architecture, nature and heritage well preserved. But this is another story.
    Big salt lake or Veliko slano jezero is connected with open sea near village Soline through the chanell beyond what is called the 'big bridge' or Veliki most (apparently there was a bridge and a mill once upon a time there). There is no actual bridge nowasadays but it means natural (yet - some sources say that this mouth were built by Benedictines whom wanted to flood the malarial swamp of the Karst field which is - the bottom of the lakes today) passage of water into the lake - when tide, currents will push in the water from the sea and inundate lake areas. It is actually amazing to observe this natural exchange: and especially when water 'returns' back to the main sea and it will look like strong river with changed direction and that force used to run the mill of Benedictines. Hmmm...

    The total area of the big lake is 145 hectares and maximum depth is 46 m. It's abundant with fish and sea fauna, it is very clear and has many excellent places for swimming - some organized into beach, other more 'wild' ones and there are both lovely hiking paths around the lake and in some places also cycling path or road. Quiet it is, also sometimes more exposed to winds... yet these are natural forces; luckily, the NP office had made clever decision and doesn't allow much of motor traffic within closest vicinity to the lakes.

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    Malo slano jezero - small lake

    by picek Updated Sep 29, 2010

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    take me with you
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    Smallest of the two lakes is Malo slano jezero - it is 24 hectare area with max. depth 29 meters and has rich fauna, which includes some of the quite unique and rare species. Among the waters on and around Mljet this one is the warmest. It gets fresh sea water from big lake by the mouth by the small stone bridge and since its mouth are rather small it means that it takes longer time to mix the water.

    We found this lake water pleasantly warm in September and from certain shores you could see clearly a few meter deep sea bed with grass and shell and of course plenty of fishes.

    You can walk around or by parts of the lake: busier part of path takes from small bridge to Pomena, it's rather short walk and can be easily done by anyone, including kids and elderly people and it is here that most people will walk. If you continue further from intersection where path divides into Pomena direction or into forest, you will eventually get into quiet part, where path is narrow and it's not paved, taken almost directly by shore but through forest and can bring you to very quier places for swimming or relaxing under the sky and by water.

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    walking on the lake shores

    by picek Written Sep 27, 2010

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    path in the trees by Veliko slano jezero -big lake
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    I believe walking is the best way to explore shores of the big and small salt lake (Malo and Veliko slano jezero) - and it will get you anywhere and (not-so) straight to the places for quiet swimming, contemplation, reading, sunbathing... while on the other hand enjoying the most beautiful scenes of Mljet landscapes. A pleasure for lungs and eyes that is!
    I never got tired of walking and we did it every day for many hours, just walking slowly or sometimes a little faster, many times stopping along and going for sunbath or swim with fishes (and jellyfishes in a small lake) - it's fine to take bikes, but we found them too fast for maximum melting with the environment. And best about walking: you'll walkt next to the water or a few meters away and you'll never get tired of the pictures you see. The walking paths are really lonely in September.

    That's what we'd miss the most when back: walking in most beautiful scenery in the quietness among the trees and bushes, inhaling that magic scent of the pines, feeling its leaves on the soles and tasting the salt on the lips.

    There are paths where bike just won't take you. For the best you have to walk... it's not very difficult, it's for free and doesn't harm the nature. There's nothing you'll leave behind, not even footprints.

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    Mljet Beaches

    by EwanRoss Written Jun 19, 2006

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    There are 2 good beaches on Saplunara Bay. A third, Blace Beach is a 30 minute walk along a track leading from Saplunara village. This is a beautiful lagoon often used by naturists.
    Unfortunately when we visited the beach it was spoilt by rubbish washed up by the tide. Apparently the local authorities do tidy it up periodically. Nevertheless, we found a decent spot and had the whole beach to ourselves 2 days running.

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    Mljet Beaches

    by EwanRoss Written Jun 19, 2006

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    Blace Beach

    There are 2 good beaches on Saplunara Bay. A third, Blace Beach is a 30 minute walk along a track leading from Saplunara village. This is a beautiful lagoon often used by naturists.
    Unfortunately when we visited the beach it was spoilt by rubbish washed up by the tide. Apparently the local authorities do tidy it up periodically. Nevertheless, we found a decent spot and had the whole beach to ourselves 2 days running.

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    Mljet Beaches

    by EwanRoss Written Jun 19, 2006

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    There are 2 good beaches on Saplunara Bay. A third, Blace Beach is a 30 minute walk along a track leading from Saplunara village. This is a beautiful lagoon often used by naturists.
    Unfortunately when we visited the beach it was spoilt by rubbish washed up by the tide. Apparently the local authorities do tidy it up periodically. Nevertheless, we found a decent spot and had the whole beach to ourselves 2 days running.

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