Discover everything you need to know about Mljet National Park on the Croatian island of Mljet. Find out the best highlights including the top things to do and see!
Mljet National Park is a beautiful park covering the majority of the northwest part of Mljet Island in Croatia.
Although mostly known for its two picturesque saltwater lakes, Mljet National Park has plenty to offer, including exploring its lakeside paths by bike, hiking, and cave exploring.
In this travel guide, I’ll reveal to you the top things to do in Mljet National Park, as well as some useful tips and information on how to get here, what to expect, and where to stay.
About Mljet National Park (Croatia)
The Island of Mljet is located near the Pelješac peninsula, which is part of the southern section of the Dalmatian Coast. Known as Croatia’s greenest and one of the largest islands, Mljet harbors a diverse range of Mediterranean vegetation and Aleppo Pine forests covering an area of approximately 5300 hectares.
To access the park, local authorities require an entrance ticket, which you can purchase at a kiosk in Sobra, Pomena, or Polače.
Mljet National Park Entrance Fee: 70 Kuna (approximately 9.2 euros)
Opening Hours: 8 am to 8 pm (high season) & 9 am to 5 pm (low season)
The primary natural attractions of this nature park are the two saltwater lakes Veliko Jezero (Big Lake or Great Lake), and Malo Jazero (Small Lake). These lakes cover a large area of approximately 4 kilometers.
Additionally, within the Veliko Jezero, visitors will find a small island called Sveta Marija, or Islet Melita, which contains a beautiful former 12th Century Benedictine monastery called Crkva Sveta Marije.
How to get to National Park Mljet
Being the southernmost of the larger Croatian islands, travelers will need to take a boat to get to Mljet.
The most popular ways to get here are on one of the popular Croatia cruise and sailing routes, chartering your own boat, or taking a day trip from Dubrovnik or the nearby islands.
There isn’t an official entrance to the park. Instead, visitors can enter the National Park by taking a bike or taxi from the main port in Sobra, or via the entrance points at Pomena and Polače.
Below I’ll go into a little more detail regarding each of these options.
1. On a Croatia Sailing Cruise
By far, the best way to see all of the amazing Dalmatian highlights is to book a Croatia sailing cruise.
While there are many to choose from, I’ve had a great experience with Sail Croatia. This company is highly regarded as one of the best in the Adriatic Sea and offers several ship and sail options including Navigator (for partying), Explorer (for adventure), and Elegance (for luxury).
To see the most I could in a week of sailing, I opted for the Explorer cruise from Dubrovnik to Split, stopping by Mljet on day two.
2. Day Trip from Dubrovnik, Korčula, or Hvar
Another great option for getting to Mljet is to take a day trip from Dubrovnik or one of the other popular islands.
Due to the distance, most of these tours are a whole day affair, which is great since you’ll also get to see a lot of the Croatian coastline on the way.
Travel tip: If you find yourself in Dubrovnik, Robert from Hidden Marine runs one of the top-rated speed-boat tours with the option of including National Park Mljet and the famous Odysseus Cave.
3. Public Ferry
One of the great things about traveling in the Croatian Islands is the extensive network of public ferries available.
Mljet National Park Map
The green island of Mljet covers quite a large area, with several paved foot and bike paths, as well as a variety of hiking trails.
Below is the Mljet National Park map that you’ll find near the entrance. This covers the entire National Park, which makes up the top third of the island. You’ll notice that the hiking trails are also well marked on this map.
Things to do in Mljet National Park
So, with the logistics out of the way, let’s dive into this list of things to do in Mljet National Park, Croatia!
As you’ll find out, Mljet NP is one of the most beautiful national parks in Croatia and are a little different from other popular places like Plitvice and Krka.
To visit most of the popular attractions, vantage points, and areas, I recommend spending a whole day here.
1. Rent a Bike to Explore the National Park
By far, one of the best ways to explore Mljet National Park is to rent a bicycle.
That’s because there are plenty of footpaths which are perfect for riding and exploring. This is how we got around the park, and I’d consider it essential if you want to visit more than just the main lakes.
You’ll find bike rental places in the main port and within the park itself. Cost is around 200 Kuna per day.
2. Malo Jezero (the Small Lake)
Malo Jezero is the smaller of the two saltwater lakes at Mljet National Park. However, this lake is arguably the most beautiful, due to its bright, turquoise waters that almost reminded me of Sugba Lagoon in the Philippines.
You can ride around the outside perimeter of this small lake and swimming is permitted.
3. Veliko Jezero (The Big Lake)
Veliko Jezero is the big lake in Mljet NP. Connected via a narrow channel, Veliko Jezero is much larger and deeper than Malo Jezero. Along the edge, you’ll find plenty of nice, secluded swim spots that are very inviting.
4. Benedictine Monastery on St Mary Island (Crkva Sv. Marija)
One of the best things to do in Mljet National Park is to visit St Mary Island (Sveta Marija).
This is a small island situated in a cove section of Veiko Jezero (the big lake).
To get here, you’ll need to take a short boat ride from the bike path or from the Pristaniste ferry port, crossing over the middle of the large lake.
For those on the footpath, look out for a red flag, which you can pick up and wave to signal the boat drivers to pick you up. This ferry is included in your entrance ticket and therefore you don’t need to pay any additional cost.
Once you arrive on the small island, you are free to explore the old monastery and the attached restaurant. This is also a great spot for swimming!
5. Mali Most (The Small Bridge)
At the eastern end of the big lake you’ll find Mali Most (translates to small bridge), an old bridge crossing a narrow channel.
Now only does Mali Most serve as an essential part of the route circling the lakes, but it also a great place to swim. Due to the narrow passage of water, the tidal currents get very strong, meaning you can drift in and out of the lake.
6. Hike up the Hills
Hiking is one of the main activities on offer at Mljet National Park. If you scroll up to the map above, you’ll see many marked routes, namely A, B, C, D, & E. These are well-maintained tracks with noticeable markers, making it easy to follow for all skill levels.
Since we only had one day in the park, we decided to hike up to the tallest hill closest to the salt lakes. This trail is called Mt. Montokuc, and its a green hill covered in Aleppo Pine forest reaching a height of 256 meters above sea level.
From the top, we were gifted with excellent views across the entire northeastern part of the island, including Veliko Jezero and Malo Jazero. To the south, the secluded bays of Blace were visible, as well as the two rocky outcrops named Utrnji Školj and Vrjanji Školj.
Tip: Scroll to the top of this post to see the hiking trail map.
7. Spilice Cave
While we were riding around National Park Mljet, we discovered a large cave that even Google doesn’t seem to be aware of yet.
This cave is called and it reaches down to a depth of at least 70 meters. To get here, follow the paved path to the right after crossing Mali Most on an anti-clockwise route of the lake.
Continue for approximately 300 meters and you’ll see a small trail leading up and into the forest. In less than 3 minutes you’ll arrive at the entrance to the cave, which you can enter and explore at your will.
Tip: The deeper sections of the cave get very dark, so I’d recommend bringing a headlamp if you have one!
8. Visit Govedari, Pomena, Polače, and Soline
There are several small villages in Mljet National Park. Chances are, you’ll pass several of these along the path when riding your bicycle. The most notable villages within the park and surrounds are Govedari, Pomena, and Soline.
Here, you’ll find many local restaurants, souvenir shops, and local houses.
Polače is the oldest settlement on Mljet Island, dating back to the Greek and Illyrian period, and currently features several Roman-era buildings.
It’s also possible to book sports activities, including kayak rentals (or tours), a hiking tour, or a boat tour from Pomena.
9. Odysseys Cave
While not technically part of Mljet National Park, the Odyssey’s Cave is one of the biggest attractions on the island.
This cave is steeped in Greek mythology, as told by one of their greatest ancient poets, Homer. In fact, the name comes from the ancient tale of Odysseus and Calypso. Similar to the Calypso’s Cave on Gozo Island, Malta.
You’ll find Odyssey’s sea cave on the southern Mljet coastline near Babino Polje. There are also many sandy beaches in the area, so it’s worth taking a look!
10. Enjoy the Sunset
I think it’s safe to say that Mljet attracts the type of crowd who are looking to get away and enjoy nature.
After a long day of hiking, biking, kayaking, or sailing, one of the best things to do in NP Mljet is to simply enjoy the Dalmatian island sunsets. Unfortunately, the National Park is usually closed in the evenings.
However, I recommend heading down to the pier at Pomena for amazing sunsets.
Where to Stay at Mljet National Park
While there are plenty of places to stay on Mljet Island, if you are visiting to explore the National Park, I recommend staying in Pomena, Polače, or Goveđari. Below are the top accommodation options of NP Mljet.
- Hotel Odisej – located on the waterfront near Pomena, this hotel offers amazing views in arguably the best location on the island.
- Apartments Slavica – amazing apartments just a 2-minutes walk from the beach in Pomena.
- Villa Klacina – amazing villa with pool overlooking the big lake in Mljet!
More Croatia Travel Guides & Adventure Inspiration
I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick travel guide featuring 10 unmissable things to do in Mljet National Park, Croatia!
Check out some of my other guides and Croatia travel inspiration posts below.