Sobra is the first village on Mljet if you come by ferry from mainland (Peljesac) or catamaran from Dubrovnik.
Most its houses are nestled along the shore and newer ones are taking slopes of the hill which naturally shelters Sobra - from gulf quiet waters fishing boats depart to the sea daily and bring back 'the load' of excellent quality. Meaning simply: if you can make yourself fish somewhere this is the location to buy, ask at 'promenade' bars (though, there's hardly a promenade... it's just ordinary street for anyone willing to take it) to send you to right 'magazin', the fish shop (and wait, an owner can actually come anytime to open the doors where fish are kept but best is morning).
It's quiet village, has few restaurants and appartments or rooms to rent, people are laid back. Most visitors to Mljet actually never set feet in Sobra terrain, there's no beach or 'tourist attraction' but the atmosphere of the Mediterranean village has its charm.
Sea and rocks in Ropa feel really wild and if there was no path it would be nearly impossible to reach water level. Beach? Well, it's more like a place to tight a fishing boat (...and there are boats), but you can swim, though you must have a little wild spirit yourself. There are rocks and sharp rocks and it's not so easy to get into water. It looks gorgeous of course plus sea is very clean but common swimmer will probably prefer calm weather (or at least calm water) to go for swimming. It is small cove here facing open sea towards the south.
Waves would made on the other hand powerful noise when breaking at full force.
From 'beach' to the village is 150 m distance but what an elevation with amazing views and path covered with layer conifer leaves and shaded leads you there. Then there's Ropa with few houses and a camp site (one of three on Mljet), olive groves and gardens, and a few rooms to rent. One kilometer ahead you're connected to the main road and from here to Babino polje is 8 kilometers, from here to Polace in National park will be about 10 km.
I cannot imagine this place, Sutmiholjska cove in peak of season - they say it's one best beaches on island ... but then in September there were no other people there than local fishermen in small boats and once, there was yacht on sightseeing from the sea. I have no information on how many people actually spend holidays here... place is gorgeous beyond immagination, beach is friendly to families and those who'd like easy access to water. Except for that tiny strip of sandy beach there are rock walls rising vertically above the sea, hiding caves and have tops covered by the forest.
Stones and rocks sharp as knife in some places, but when you make to fine place, sit down a few meters above direct open sea, waves crushing by rocks with bestial force, the air is fresh and sticky from salt, you're catching moments of a vivid dream. Okay, we went there some time before sunset and left when it was pitch dark, so we had entire span of colors possible to embrace, which cannot compare with midday summer heat when you'd be roasted in matter of minutes on the same place.
Road to Sutmiholjska is under construction. 4 or 5 houses are there only, boats were more. We actually got small bag of fish for us two straight from sea from friendly local folk here when we returned other day before night, which we later fried with greatest pleasure.
Blato is small village by local road towrards Kozarica, in hinterland Mljet above Blatno polje: it exposes few typical houses - almost all built of stone and surrounded by thick vegetation and gardens, taking place on a slope. There are nowsadays only some 60 people living there upon the words of old lady whom I interrupted when I admired wines climbing upon her old house where she was sitting and most of them moved.
Below village there's quite large Karst field, Blatsko polje, where soil bears its 'fruits': vegetable fields, vineyards and corn fields. Here and there a fig tree, all production is small scale. We tried to find a way to the wetland on Blatina ('blato' is Croatian for 'mud' which gave the name to the field and village) part, we walked among the fields and eventually we didn't get there as we got to thick steppe like area where paths ended so we turned back towards the village.
The village has its own small graveyard and chapel and bowling lane... and is altogether very quiet place, where only sound heard was from men and women coming from field and a few kids playing. It's just an ordinary village in countryside which most people comming to Mljet will simply drive through without a stop, although there's beauty in these villages and its (mostly old and hard worked) people.
On the Northern coast of Mljet, to its east side yet by safe, sheltered waters of the sea there's small village of Prožurska Luka (or Prožurski Porat). Main settlement actually comes from above the sea, couple of kilometers distanced Prožura village in the hinterland and its inhabitants used to come to seaside for fishing. Only some decades ago it became permanently settled and Prožurska luka now gets income not only from fishing and agriculture but also from tourism (although none at great scale) as its quiet gulf attracts boats and yachts. Necklace of tiny islands very close makes the place very scenic.
In times of pirate attacks it was too risky to live directly by the sea shores where village could by easy target anytime, so vulnerable communities in past built villages on the slopes, like it seems the case of Prožura though that didn't entirely protected them from plundering and violent assaults of stronger pirate crews from mainland.
Maranovići is a village on a slopes of South East Mljet hills, with its back sheltered it sees the horizon of the Adriatic sea towards South. Like most settlements, it is small village, narrow corridors divide and connect the houses, where you can only walk to explore, so leave your car or moped or bicycle parked somewhere by the road at the edge; all houses are of local stone, typically built, compact, some have a garden with poultry, a donkey or goats; it's very quiet here, we only saw two very old women here in the traditional dress... the rest of people were who know where (they know where), maybe gone from this place forever, earning is to find elsewhere... here is only hard work from small agriculture, indeed.
The name of village comes from Maranovići family name. Small church or chapel are here, a post office... but what a delight to explore its streets, its fruit trees by corridors bearing rich fig, and amazing views, indulging in a conversation with Mljet elders about farming and life in village, actually their Mljet dialect is wonderful though difficult to understand sometimes.
Although most of terrain on Mljet is rocky, its shores mostly steep.... you can as well find sandy beaches here and there. Saplunara is famous for its sandy shore, it's on the southern side of Mljet, to its eastern part. Hidden in small gulf and shaded with pines, waters quiet and clean, sheltered from winds. Looks like a good place for families and there's small settlement with few rooms and appartments to rent and a few restaurants.
But if you come to see it in September after main season... there's only a few local folk sitting outside, it's all very peaceful and most places were closed. Kinda liked that, though it was cloudy and slightly cool that day, too cold to swim.
The main 'attraction' in the village is its old mill from begining of 19th century which has been reconstructed in 2006/2007.
Like any other traditional construction on Mljet it had been built of stone; its central place is large room where olive press is, because it is oil that was made in that mill and they used it until 1960'ies. During the oil pressing process mill was also villagers place to socialize, to discuss together and play, taking common decision about village and a place where flirts and courting happened. Then the building was abandoned for few decades until they decided to renovate it.
Now it's small museum, we found its doors open yet nobody inside to guard... well, they don't need that, there's nothing to take and villagers would notice any stranger anyways. Small information board gives any necessary explanation you need to know. There are few houses in Korita, goats in the garden and fruit trees along the road.
Babino polje is a settlement consisted of few villages in hinterlands of Mljet , facing Southern horizon and apparently the largest inhabited area, though you cannot speak of large numbers as the entire Mljet population is somewhere near 800 or 1000 people.
Zabrežje is the last village (or first one if you begin at that end) here; we went for a walk, to see domestic animals in their pens, to see yards, fruits trees and roam its small corridors between stone built houses ... while there's no big difference to other villages on Mljet, it however has a few bars to sit down, a shop, an ecologic products sold at farm and fire brigade station for the entire Mljet. We loved talking to people here and they invited us to sit down on the terrace under the vines - it was talking village and farming matters, and a sentence that old lady said about goats sume up their respect for animals pretty well. She said:
Goats are often better than humans.
She and her family had them 5 near their house, after that we exchanged sentences about goats and doing farmwork - people are delighted if you're farmer yourself and sudenly there so much to talk about on both sides. It's always good to talk to local farmer, they are very realistic and frank people yet also friendly.
Beside Zabrežje there are other villages under the highest mountain on Mljet clustered in village: Ocinje, Sršenovići, Hajdići, Zadublje and Andričevići. Behind them moutnain slopes of Veliki grad (513 meter above sea level) arise and villages are protected from Northern winds with its rocky surface and low bushes, therefore enjoying direct exposure to the sun and views over the open sea.
Only a kilometer or two distance takes between Veliki grad and water surface, yet on this place of land there are thoushands of olive trees growing, together with wine yards, figs, pomegranats and small fields, as well as other edible plants and dry Mediterranean vegetation. Here is path towards the Ulysses cave and some splendid views over rural landscape will open as you'll return back towards hinterlands. It is here, by the road, where local farmer sell their product directly to consumer and the landscape is pierced with elegant cypress trees... a world of many patterns and uses and traditions on such a small plot of land.
It takes short walk (about 20-30 minutes) from Babino Polje to the cave through olive orchards and vineyards and for the last part, on steep rocky side of the hill falling to the open sea - where the path had been built for easier approach. The cave is almost inaccessible from above, so if you want to get to the bottom, you have to try climbing by very steep rocks towards the sea and then enter by its mouth. Bottom is filled by sea water and we saw people actually swimming there. I didn't try that, for me the sea was already too cold in September.
Kind of impressive place the cave is and has mystic atmosphere... darkness, water, changing light, inaccessibilty, depth, calmness... and yes, sounds.
Mljet is full of caves and this one is its 'most famous' one. Named upon Ulysses from epic antic work of Homer as he (the Ulysses) had apparently shipwrecked near Mljet, and swam to the cave saving his life.
A lot of secluded "beaches" that accomodate 2-20 people -actually mostly rocks. Go to "Amfiteatar" on the open sea accros of the Melita Island in the Big Lake. Dive into the cave of the size of telefone booth just on the right of there . Go see Odisey's cave. Swim in the Small Lake... Go to the sliding stones covered with some algae that become very slipery when wetted - a lot of fun (near to Pomena).
Where you can find an island on the island?
In the National park, there are 2 lakes, Big Lake (Veliko jezero) and the Small Lake(Malo jezero). On the Big Lake there's a island called St. Mary Island, where you can find remains of monastery built in the mid 12th century.
Sutmiholijska Vala and Small Lake in Nat. Park are two best bath places on Island. Strongly recommended!
Sutmiholijska Vala and Small Lake in Nat. Park are two best bath places on Island. Strongly recommended!