Mljet is Dalmatia’s most southerly, most verdant and, some would argue, most beautiful isle. More than 70 per cent of this thin, one-road idyll is covered in pine forest. A third of it is national park. For complete silence, rest and relaxation, get the catamaran or ferry from Dubrovnik and leave the world behind. Between the ferry port of Sobra, on the north-east coast, and catamaran terminal of Polače, on the western tip, is the main ticket office for the national park at Goveđari.
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Mljet is the nearest thing to having your own island. Dalmatia’s most southernly, most verdant and, some would argue, most beautiful destination is mainly pine forest, bisected by a single road. Before President Tito chose Brijuni in Istria as his place for leisure, luxury and safari animals, Mljet was a prime candidate for the prestigious role. And though it never got to see zebras, elephants and giraffes, Mljet remained a natural escape, underdeveloped and underpopulated. You can wander around for a morning and see few signs of life but the odd mongoose, creatures that roam free here after being brought in to rid Mljet of snakes. The western third of the island has National Park status and paid entry, the main ticket office at Goveđari, halfway between the island’s main entry points of Polače and Pomena. Within the National Park are two saltwater lakes, Veliko and Malo Jezero, with the Church of St Mary and a 12th-century monastery on an islet in the middle. According to legend, Odysseus was so enchanted by Mljet that he stayed here for seven years. Locals tend to stay for the day, arriving in someone’s boat in the morning, spending the day cycling and swimming, before heading back for dinner in Dubrovnik. Tourists coming with the ferry are plonked at sombre Sobra, on the north-east coast. Those in the catamaran go on to the western tip and Polače, named after mildly interesting Roman ruins. This is your best arrival point, with private rooms and cycle hire (although t
Mljet transport guide
In summer, G&V Line runs a daily morning fast boat for foot passengers only from Dubrovnik to Sobra (65min journey time/60kn single) then arriving in Polače (70kn single) 45min later before going on to Korčula. Jadrolinija does run regular ferries from Prapratno on Pelješac to Sobra, journey time 45mins, foot passenger fare 30kn. The 2hr Jadrolinija car ferry from Dubrovnik to Sobra has been suspended for 2016.
Where to eat in Mljet
Mljet restaurant guide
Mljet's dining scene is relatively modest; apart from sailors, encouraged to moor for free at certain restaurants, few head to the island for its gastronomy. Relaxation amid the pines, yes, walks around the lakes, yes, but food here has often been an afterthought. For years, dining was limited to the cluster of harbourfront eateries in Pomena and a few isolated konobas dotted around the island. That is slowly changing – Saplunara, in particular, has enough options of real quality to make it worth your while making a long day of it on the far eastern tip of the island. Lobster and scorpion fish are worth seeking out if you have the budget but most places should do a good job with grilled fish. Here ‘fresh today’ should mean fresh today – this is not Dubrovnik, with its limited kitchens, limited storage space and limited delivery access. A number of establishments also now have rooms to hire, so you can make a longer night of it over your seafood platter, order more drinks and move on the next day. Lobster is the stand-out delicacy here, but there’s plenty of meat as well, prepared in the traditional way, slow-braised under hot coals.
Where to drink in Mljet
The Mosquito may well be the only real bar on Mljet but it would pass muster in most Adriatic destinations as a quality hang-out day and night. By day, it serves coffee to regulars and passing locals who may have made the trek to Babino Polje to post a letter or have a form stamped. After the sun sinks, the music gets livelier, the mood changes and conversation pings around the mosquito-themed room. This is not to say you’ll roll up and find Mljet’s version of Zagreb’s Tkalčićeva – it’s a miracle there’s any kind of bar o the island at all – but, on its night, Komarac can be whole bunch of fun without having to rub shoulders with the expat yachting fraternity.