If one thinks about ideal island holidays, then the island of Mljet and its National Park come instantly into one's mind.
When going to Croatia for a holiday wherever you go, you'll see the offer for daily trips and boat excursions to Croatian National Parks such as Krka or Plitvice Lakes. Kornati Park is, for instance, always highlighted as a great opportunity for a boat trip in Dalmatia yet there is another place located on the island that is not only worth visiting for a day but it one should definitely consider spending entire holiday there: it is Mljet National Park.
The park encompasses one third of the island of Mljet and it also includes islets and rocks located in that part of Mljet waters. The entire island is covered in pine forest, but this part is special not just for its natural beauty with numerous endemic species, but for its history and cultural monuments as well. There are several archaeological sites and ancient Roman palace can be seen in Polače, together with the remains of other buildings from that period such as villa rustica and thermal complex. Another very interesting location is St. Mary Benedictine monastery built on the St. Mary islet, on the remains of an ancient structure, probably from the Roman times. Its location on an islet and beautiful surrounding nature makes it one of the most popular places in the Park. These are just some of the interesting historical sites that are worth the visit but there is plenty more to discover as the island is dotted with remains of structures built throughout the millenia.
Natural beauty is abundant – even if cultural heritage of Mljet is not of great importance to you, we are sure that other attractions are enough to make it a lovely visit. Mljet has inner Small and Big Lake (sea water) which create breathtaking scenery and are great for swimming even during colder times as their water temperature is always a few degrees higher than the one of the outer sea. The Park has numerous coves, bays and beaches which make it possible to refresh yourself during the visit by swimming and sunbathing, something not a lot of other Parks can offer. Thick pine forest (compared to other islands, Mljet has the most dense forests) creates green „tapestry“ that covers the island slopes right to the sea, earning it a nickname of 'green island'. Walking and cycling paths connect the villages in the Park and intersect its lush greenery making it possible to explore the area under the shades of the trees.
Goveđari, Pomena, Polače and other villages are situated in that third which means that you can book your accommodation there and stay at the National Park. Although the rest of the island does not belong to the Park area, it is equally beautiful and worth the visit. One of the interesting sites located outside the National Park is Ulysses' cave, a natural attraction that is said to be the place where Ulysses got stranded on Mljet and hid there. The legend also says that Mljet was the island where a beautiful nymph named Calypso ruled and where Ulysses remained for seven years as he could not resist her charms. But maybe the island itself was part of that charm: its old villages with stone houses, villas and narrow streets where it seems as if the time had stopped together with the beautiful nature and deep blue Adriatic sea sure make the island of Mljet an irresistible destination ideal for great stay and holiday.