MLJET, Croatia | 10 days summer holiday

Katja CROATIA, FAMILY TRAVELS 2 Comments

Mljet is the most southerly and easterly of the larger Adriatic islands of the DALMATIA region and also THE GREENEST and most forested of them all. A big part of it is also a protected area of a NATIONAL PARK. Many come for the amazing nature and are seeking peace, recreation and good food. Some are only coming over on a day trip from other islands in the near, like Korčula and visit the main attraction – the national park. We were lucky enough to spend 10 days in a rented house in SOBRA, just at the beach. Of course we did not only lay around the pool, we also explored most of the islands corners, villages, beaches and hills.

When: August 2015

Visited: Sobra, Saplunara, Mljet NP, Babno polje, Polace, Prozurska Luka

How: with our car

Stayed in: a rented house

WE VISITED MLJET WHEN LU WAS 3 YEARS OLD. THERE IS A SECTION ABOUT MLJET WITH KIDS AT THE END OF THIS POST.

USEFUL INFORMATION FOR TRAVELLING TO MLJET, CROATIA

GETTING TO & AROUND MLJET ISLAND

If you are flying in, the nearest AIRPORT is in DUBROVNIK, but you can also fly to SPLIT and catch either a boat / ferry or rent a car / hop on a bus to the PELJEŠAC peninsula – from here it´s a short FERRY ride to SOBRA on Mljet. From SPLIT it will take you about 2 hours to the ferry in Praprotno, PELJEŠAC. You need to pass a small part of Bosnia (around 40 kilometres), but the coastal road is really nice. We were coming from MOSTAR, Bosnia & Herzegovina, because we were just at the end our short road trip. The ferry costed us 200 kuna (26€) one way, for the car + 2 adults, Lu did not have to pay. For more information, check the prices and scedules at the official page of JADROLINIJA ferrys. The ferry ride was quick and you have everything on board, food, drinks, toilet and a nice big deck to catch some sun ;). You arrive to Sobra which is kind of in the middle of the island. There is also a ferry from POLAČE (Mljet NP) to TRSTENIK (Peljesac).

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You know that feeling when you reach the goal after a long day on the road and you use the last bits of energy to bring the bags from the car to the room /house, before you finally relax and sit down with something good to drink & eat – with a view that´s hard to beat?

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ACCOMMODATION ON MLJET ISLAND

The last years since we have Lu we always search for a bigger apartment or even better, a WHOLE HOUSE, because a part of my extended Slovenian family usually joins us as well. When we searched for a suitable house on Mljet, the wonderful HOUSE ANA immediately stood out. The traditional stone house can host up to 6 people, has a POOL, a large outside area with two terraces & grill and a direct access to the beach (just a few stairs). The rooms are fully equipped with everything you might need. Ana, the owner, is amazing and was very helpful with everything. Highly recommend the place, just don´t forget to book well in advance if you wish to visit in the high season.

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You can CONTACT ANA directly via email: anastojano@gmail.com and check out the house here: www.mljet-sobra.com.

WHAT TO SEE & DO ON MLJET, CROATIA

SOBRA | smaller bay with a ferry port


Sobra is a SMALL BAY which primarily served as a port for the bigger settlement called BABINO POLJE, up on the hill. It is nowadays still a very relaxed small town, rather a village actually with many locals offering apartments. There is NO HOTEL HERE  and only ONE SMALL SHOP where you can also buy fresh bread. In Babino Polje, just a few kilometres up the road, there are two bigger SUPERMARKETS with more products to choose from. There are also a few nice RESTAURANTS, but if you rather cook on your own – check out the fresh caught fish sold close in a small hall, next to the restaurants. Just a few kilometres from the town there is the main ferry port of Mljet. It will take you about 45 minutes drive to reach MLJET NP at one end of the island and around 30 minutes to SAPLUNARA at the other end.

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For some recreation or an EVENING WALK you can take the gravel road hidden between the pine trees towards the LIGHTHOUSE, which seems to be impossible to reach on foot, but you can finish the walk at one of the small bays on the other side of the peninsula. It will take you about 30 minutes each way, depends on how fast you are.

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There are nice views on Sobra town and the surrounding hills from the walk, you see the local FISH FARM up close.

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The sea water in the bay is normally calm so it´s perfect for SUP. We did not see any renting possibilities, we had our own with us this time.

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PROŽURSKA LUKA | idyllic laid back seaside village with a quiet beach


This is an even smaller village not so far from Sobra, it has a total population of LESS THAN 50 PERMANENT RESIDENTS. Because the bay is dotted with small islands it´s a nice place to cruise around with a SAILING BOAT – if you decide to visit the little fishing village, you can have lunch at its TWO RESTAURANTS or just head to the beach for a swim. There are also many private APARTMENTS but other than that, not much going on. Looks like a great place to really relax!

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Don´t forget to look out of the window here and there while you are driving around Mljet – the VIEWS on the other islands and the Adriatic sea are spectacular!

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SAPLUNARA | one of the best sandy beach bays in Croatia


The name Saplunara comes from Latin and means sand. At this last eastern tip of the island one finds a BEAUTIFUL GREEN AREA WITH 3 SANDY BEACHES, hidden between the rocks and PINE FORESTS. Saplunara is not only a wonderful place to take a swim at, but is also an important HABITAT. it hosts several plant species that are found nowhere else in Croatia. The place is quiet ISOLATED and seems untouched from the MASS TOURISM. In the village there are only a few apartments, NO HOTELS. Many come with SAILING BOATS and spend the night at the bay.

In this LARGEST REMAINING COASTAL SAND HABITAT in Croatia you first reach the longer sandy beach and can park free of charge at the BEACH RESTAURANT. Then there are only a few stairs to take down to the beach where you can rent chairs and “umbrellas” which look more like palm trees. Perfect for the kids! It never gets too crowded.

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If you drive a bit further you come to the SECOND SMALL COVE with a BEACH BAR and a nice beach. There is also a parking under the pine trees and a restaurant at the end of the “real road”.

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After that you can walk (or drive if you really have to) to the BEACH NUMBER THREE. We decided to walk even though the sun was already pretty high but the jump in the sea was even nicer afterwards. The views from the gravel road are worth it.

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You finally reach THE LARGEST COVE and as you approach it through a small stretch of PINE FOREST this amazing view opens in front of you. Somehow I expected a beach with many people, but no. There were almost no one! I must say the beach was nicer to look at than to swim in, because the water was really SHALLOW and therefore very warm, it did not feel like a real refreshment. It seemed more like a lake. I was more interested in all the ROCK FORMATIONS, plants, shells and sea animals and I must say, there was much to see.

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mljet plants

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Everybody who you talk to on the island will tell you you have to go for lunch to STERMASI RESTAURANT in Saplunara. So, we did. Twice! The food was delicious, a bit pricey though, but the views from the terrace made up for it 😉

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Clams, fish, black risotto, octopus salad, shrimps, fish, fish and more fish. Some of it from our house grill, some from the restaurant. Both yummy!

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We also CYCLED THE ROAD SOBRA – SAPLUNARA AND BACK, but that was rather exhausting. Looked like people mostly cycle on the other side of the island, closer to the national park.

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MLJET NATIONAL PARK | lakes, monastery, hiking & cycling paths and swimming spots


The main attractions of the national park in the west of the island are the 2 SALT WATER LAKES, Veliko and Malo Jezero (Large and Small Lake). You can ENTER THE PARK either through POLAČE town – you can start in the town or drive a bit more to the bigger parking. Many RENT BICYCLES bikes already in Polače but I would advice this only for those who are more on the fit side. Eventually you come to a closed section of the road and a parking on your left side. Park and pay the ENTRANCE FEE at the small kiosk. We paid also for a BOAT that first took us to the SMALL ISLAND island of the Largest Lake where we had about 45 minutes time for sightseeing, before the boat continued to the SMALL LAKE. You can also walk to the Small Lake (but don´t see the island then) or enter the park in the town POMENA on the other side.

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On the LARGE LAKE there is a smaller island, called ST. MARY´S ISLAND, the home of a former BENEDICTINE MONASTERY from the 12th century. The monastery building is now converted into a RESTAURANT, but one can easily explore the small island on foot and see the remains of other CHAPELS, walls and pillars, walk between OLIVE TREES and take a short swim. From the nearby shore there are small boats for a few people who will take you to the island for little money.

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Afterwards we caught the next boat to the SMALL LAKE where many had the same idea – a longer stop for SWIMMING. The place was rather full of tourists, surprisingly many Australians. The Large and the Small Lake are connected with a SHORTER NARROW CHANNEL where the CURRANT is very strong and many have fun at trying to swim towards it – we have not seen anyone succeed at that, but it was fun to watch 😉 The small Lake is nice for the kids, the temperature is also warmer than in the open sea.

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WE CIRCLED THE BIG LAKE with rented BICYCLES. It took us a little over one hour. If you wish to swim in between then rent the bikes for 3 hours at least. The way is partly asphalt and partly gravel road, mostly in the shade and you can stop in some restaurants on the way. It is impossible to cycle the whole lake around, at one point you need to turn and go the same way back, or catch a WATER TAXI which will take your bikes and you across the lake to the other side. We opt for the boat. Unfortunatelly there was no more time to rent a KAYAK – maybe next time!

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Summer was coming to an end and it was time to go back to work – one last sunset, fish dinner, wine at this amazing terrace over looking the sea. The ferry to Pelješac, 700 kilometres to Ljubljana, a short sleepover and then a little over 1000 kilometres to our home in Germany. Yes it is a long way down there but it is worth it every year :).

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MLJET ISLAND WITH KIDS

At the time of visit LU WAS 3 YEARS OLD. Mljet might not be the ideal place for your holidays if your kids are used to ANIMATION CLUBS or BIG HOTELS with huge swimming pools. You also won´t find big PLAYGROUNDS, trampolines or similar. Actually you also will not find that many families with small children. There are also not so many SHOPS and vendors selling TOYS and kids beach accessories.

Needless to saz who was the first one to jump into the POOL in the morning and the last one to get out in the evening. In between he was jumping off the SUP in the sea and tried to dive with his brand new mask, but that didn´t turned out like I planned, so maybe next year ;). There are some SANDY BEACHES, perfect for the little ones, in SAPLUNARA or in MLJET NP for example. Mljet is RICH WITH VEGETATION and it is very likely you can find a nice spot under a PINE TREE, we never had a problem with finding natural shade on the beach.

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There are no big hospitals on Mljet, so in case you think you will need MEDICAL CARE, it might be better to stay on the Croatian mainland. You can get FRESH FOOD like fish, vegetables and bread. In bigger shops there are diapers & co. for BABIES. Don´t forget SUNSCREEN and something against the MOSQUITOS. So, if you like AMAZING NATURE, delicious food and recreation on top of a good portion of PEACE AND QUIET, Mljet is a great choice! Especially if your kids don´t mind stepping on stones & rocks instead of sand every day.

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