As the global pandemic has put a pause on all of our travel adventures for now, here is a look back at one of my favorite places on earth, the gorgeous island of Mljet. The southernmost Croatian island is rich in history and natural beauty. I have been fortunate to visit this jewel of the Adriatic many times, so here is my take on a perfect day on an island that hosts one of Croatia’s eight National Parks.
I like to start my day over breakfast and coffee with a view at the Konoba Ogigija in Polače, the port where the ferry from the mainland arrives daily.
In Croatian “polače” means “fort” and the remains of an ancient structure is a prominent feature of the landscape.
You can purchase a National Park pass adjacent to the ruins or you can walk, bike, take a free bus or drive to the entrance of the park. The pass is valid as long as you stay on the island. About two-thirds of the way from Polače to the National Park, you’ll see the picturesque town of Govedjari to the right.
Adding to the stunning beauty of the island are two lakes, the larger of which is home to the tiny island of St. Maria and a gorgeous monastery from the 12th century – still standing in nearly perfect shape.
It is possible to get to St. Maria on a National Park boat – the dock is located only a short walk away from the park entrance. The boat to St. Maria departs hourly and the cost is included in the price of admission to the Park.
Enjoying a walk or a bike ride around lakes is an absolute must. Recently, a bridge was rebuilt to allow visitors to do the full loop.
No motor vehicles are allowed on this road, with the exception of park rangers and a few locals. Also, a small electric train was built a few years ago as a new way to tour the lakes – it, too, is free of charge with the cost of admission.
After visiting the lakes and St. Maria island, I like to dine at one of my very favorite restaurants located in Pomena. This small coastal town can be reached by car or bike – it’s about a 30-minute walk from the lakes.The restaurant is called Agroturizam Dalmatino found at the street address: Pomena 10C. Although it is not required, I suggest calling in advance to make reservations. I tend to order fresh local seafood – fish or squid with potato salad. An absolute must is a local aperitif called travarica – an herb-infused grape brandy.
After lunch, one of the best kept local secrets is the seaside access not far from Pomena. The main road ends and becomes a dirt road that leads past old military barracks. The sea overlooking the Peljesac peninsula is perfectly clear and inviting.
Swimming in the Adriatic is a perfect way to end the day. Then you can head back to Pomena to catch a seasonal ferry to the mainland.
Should you choose to stay overnight, there are plenty of options for accommodation – from the hotel to private rooms and apartments. I would highly recommend spending more time on Mljet, but if you only have one day, then what I have outlined here is the way to make the most of it. have only one day – I feel that this is one of the ways to get the most out of it.
To get to Mljet, you will have to catch a ferry from Bari to Dubrovnik, two of the larger ports on the Croatian mainland. The schedules change in the peak season, so make sure you check before you go. Sretan Put! (Bon Voyage!)