Mljet, the infamous island Ogygia, where Odysseus was kept prison for 7 year as the lover of Calypso. Indulging in the lush vegetation and Calypsos singing Odysseus had a 7-year affair with the nymph Calypso.
The story tells how Calypso deeply fell in love with Odysseus and tried every trick in the book to seduce him, yet his heart stayed with his beloved Penelope. After a seven year affair he was released with the help of his protector Athena.
My take on things? Odysseus didn’t fall in love due to Calypsos singing but because of the beauty of Ogygia or what is believed to be Mljet.
At least we deeply fell in love with the island. Here are some of the most magical spots on the island.
Sandy beaches are always a big thing in Croatia since most of the coast is rocky. Mostly the sandy beaches in Croatia are dark brown and muddy but this one is very nice. It is a little peninsula which basically has 3 bays. It is a mostly wide and shady beach. The water is shallow and this makes it the perfect place to take the kids for a day of relaxing.
In the middle of the island you can find multiple hiking paths going up to Odysseys Cave. The shortest road we found was right before ‘Tommy Supermarket” in Babino Polje. You can park next to the road and just walk down through a beautiful field full of wild flowers and olive trees, all of a sudden you’ll see the sea and in order to get to it you’ll need to climb down a rocky descent. The path is decent and safe but make sure to wear decent shoes. It is perfect for a sunset picknick.
This is the highest point of the island. In contradiction to common believe this peak is not situated within the National Park but about 30 minutes away from it in the village of Babino Polje.
To get there, it is best to park at the post-office of Babino Polje and just few meters away from it you can find the marked shepards path leading up. It is a rather demanding hike over a rocky road, taking about 1.30h. Make sure to bring enough water and snacks as it can get hot on Mljet.
On top of the hill is a little plateau giving you a spectacular view over Korcula, Lastovo and the Peljesac peninsula.
Though this is the “big” carferry port it is still a small place. There is a little peninsula and some small islands before the coast. Perfect to spend a day enjoying the sun and the sea.
There is a good choice of coffeebars and bars to have a little eat.
If you want to roadtrip the island the ports of Sobra, Polace and Pomena are great to get a rental. Personally I would suggest a scooter as it will make great fun and because the roads tend to get small and narrow.
Interesting is also the catamaran service of Nona Ana who will bring you to Dubrovnik for a very reasonable price and without stress about parking.
Mljet National Park
As in more Croatia National Parks there is a mix of culture and nature. However, what I found was special is how over here the cultural part was right in the heart of the park …
Or the big lake and the actual heart of the National Park. This saltlake is the clearest and also the one with the Sveti Marija Islet in the middle. This islet has a Benedictine monastery on it in the middle, but also a café, restaurant and ice-cream bar.
This kids liked it, the boattrip up to there was included in the entry ticket. The islet was small enough to play hide and seek and it had yummy ice-cream.
We took the time to bike round the lake. This takes less than an hour and the road is mainly flat, there are picknick and swimming spots everywhere, so you better calculate some extra time for this. It took us around 3 hours.
We started our biking trip in paradise-like Babine Kuce (a supersmall village next to the big lake) and ended it there on a lovely terrace with the very correct name: Mali Raj meaning little paradise.
Or the ‘small lake’. Just like the big lake it is a salt lake and both are connected to each other with a little canal. Now … this canal may not be talked about a lot as a major kids paradise in your travel guide, but it is! There is a temperature difference between the big and small lake (last one is warmer) and the small canal has a very fun current on it making it the perfect wildwaterslide.
Just put down your stuff at one of the shaded pick-nick tables and let the kids play. Also make sure to try it out yourself as it really makes great fun.
Small lake is also perfect for swimming early in the season as it is pretty warm since it is pretty shallow.
We also took a hike around the lake. This takes about an hour, but it is advisable to take it slowly to really discover it and enjoy the breathtaking sights.
One of the best viewpoints of the national park and also the perfect place to take a picknick basket (or better backpack) and enjoy a sunset.
The views over the National park are very much worth the climb. On top you can find a little structure too.
So we heard about the Roman ruins in Polace and decided to search for them. It wasn’t hard to find them as they are integrated into the little village and pretty amazing. You can go for cocktails on the cute little waterfront terraces or have a romantic lunch. If you prefer more natural sights it is also very nice to discover all of the small islets in front of the coast by boat.
Less characteristic than Polace but still worth mentioning as it has the only hotel on the island (also quite nice) and is the perfect place to discover the national park.
We enjoyed a magic sunset there and saw the sun disappearing behind the little islets in front of the coast.
If you are searching for beautiful nature, rest and magical evenings, Mljet is your island.
This article was written in close cooperation with National Park Mljet.
Insidertips to Mljet
- stack up on groceries, especially if you have a special diet, there are basic stores but they are small and quite expensive (there is a Lidl in Trapanj
- wear hikingshoes, the paths are safe but there are poisonous snakes – better safe than sorry
- don’t underestimate the sun, always wear lots of water, a hat and sunscreen
- the roads are small but can be driven with a normal car
- there is an EV charger at the entrance of the National Park