“My God where have we been before!” – both of us said at the same time. We are living in the city of Ploce, some 50 kilometers away from Mljet national park and we have visited it just a few months ago, in the middle of the Coronavirus crisis. And, to be honest, it proved to be much better that way. We have experienced Mljet island and its national park the best way anybody could possibly experience it – alone on the island. We are well aware that no tourists during a season when it should be lots of them are no good. But boy was it good to explore the Mljet national park on your own and seeing no one.
Still, we hope that this virus crisis will pass and people will come to Mljet island again and explore it from the bottom to its peak. Because this island deserves it, it holds a beauty that everyone has to see and experience for themselves.
reaching the mljet national park
To reach the Mljet island, you need to take a ferry from Prapratno on the Peljesac peninsula. That same ferry will take you to Sobra on Mljet island in just about 45 minutes. Use this time to enjoy on the ferry deck while you sail into paradise. The price of the ferry is 28 HRK during the summer season. If you go by car, which we recommend, then you’ll pay an additional 140 HRK just for your car. And these are the prices for one direction.
In case you are not going in a car, you have the option to rent it on the Mljet island. The whole island is not so large as some other Croatian islands and it will take you approximately 1 hour to cross the whole island. And that’s good because if you choose to spend one day on Mljet island, you can explore most of its places. When we were there we spent 2 days and the first day was reserved for the island part that is not in the national park while we spent an almost whole second day in the Mljet national park.
alone on the mljet island
The ladies at the entrance to the park said that they have never witnessed a situation like this on the Mljet island. At least not at this time of the year. It was May and usually at this time island is already full of people. But as we already mentioned, this was a specific situation because of the Coronavirus.
The feeling of being alone on Mljet island was strange. Even the locals were amazed when we passed near them in our van. They probably thought we were tourists and not somebody that came only from 50 kilometers away. But as long as they are happy seeing us, we are happy for making them happy.
We have passed less every place you need to see on Mljet island. And we cycled through the whole park area with an inevitable swim in the Plitko jezero (Shallow lake). All that with seeing almost no one. Try to imagine that experience next time you go exploring some popular and visited location. This probably won’t repeat ever again. And that’s the fact that brings sadness and joy at the same time.
Mljet national park is the crown of the Mljet island, its most famous attraction. But the rest of the island shouldn’t be left unexplored. Take the Odysseus cave for example. It’s not part of the national park and still, it’s one of the most visited places on this green island. We don’t need to mention that we were alone here too and we swam naked inside the cave. Experience of the lifetime.
To reach the bottom of the Odysseus cave you need to hike a bit. We don’t suggest embarking on this adventure in your flip flops because the entrance to the cave is very steep. We knew what to expect so we prepared in advance. Once you reach the bottom of the cave, you’ll be astonished by its beauty and you’ll feel the urge to jump in the deep blue sea. Don’t resist the urge and jump.
Ah yes, Odysseus cave is situated in the central part of the island, near Babino Polje village, the largest village on Mljet island.
Lemon bay. What a funny name. We saw no lemons there. But the beach was perfect. It’s a sandy beach in the south of Mljet island. If you like sand, that’s a place for you to go. The rest of the Mljet coast is rocky with not so many pebble beaches. Most of the beaches are not easily accessible at all. We haven’t spent much time at Limuni beach. It was the first location we planned to visit on Mljet island and we headed toward it as soon as our van touched the land of this island.
We spent a few hours there, didn’t swim because it was a bit cold at that moment and we fought the cold with a cup of warm coffee. And we were just happy for being on Mljet island, planing the next places to visit and so on.
sleeping in the van
While it’s officially not permitted to camp on your own in Croatia, we couldn’t resist the urge. It was only for one night and as long as you respect the place where you sleep and don’t leave anything after you, it’s perfectly fine. Sleeping in a van is a tradition of ours, we often do it when we go on a multi day adventure like this one.
There is nothing better than to be awoken by the first sun rays hitting your van windows. And drinking your first coffee while the perfect day is dawning. The day we explored the Mljet national park.
exploring the mljet national park
And finally, the day came to explore the Mljet national park. We embarked toward the park early in the morning, stopping here and there to explore some other Mljet island attractions. Mljet national park is not so big and you’ll need a few hours to explore it. Unless you really want to explore every corner of it, in that case, you’ll need more time.
The most famous attraction of Mljet national park is its lakes with turquoise water color. Swimming in them is not forbidden and it’s something you need to do when visiting this national park. Further from the sea, the lake is, the warmer its water is. Water in all the lakes is salty.
When it comes to the exploration of the Mljet national park, there is no better option than a bike. There is the option of renting the bike, if you have your own, you can use it. Cycling trails go all around the lakes and they are partly paved and partly gravel.
Boat tours are going to the island in the middle of the one of park’s lakes and the boat ride is included in the ticket price, no extra costs. The ticket price of Mljet national park for the adult person is 125 HRK in the summer season and 70 HRK out of the season.
The ladies working on the entrance of Mljet national park told us that we have to visit Montokuc peak. And who are we not to listen to somebody that knows the park so well. So before we went to explore the lakes with our bikes, we embarked on a hiking tour. We were walking for around 40 minutes until we have reached Montokuc.
We saw a large wooden cottage of peculiar architecture, resembling a beacon. Inside of it, a firefighter is watching over the park area and alarming firefighter brigade in case of any smoke. It’s possible to climb up this cottage and enjoy probably the best view of Mljet national park.