Mljet, a woodland-covered island in the southern Dalmatian
island group, along with Korčula and Lastovo, comprises the furthermost islands of the
Dubrovnik archipelago. Island Mljet is 36 km long, with an area of around 100 km2.
The indentation of the coastline is especially evident in the western part of the island.
In addition to many natural attributes that mark the Croatian coastal area, it possesses
several specific characteristics, e.g. the unique lakes of Mljet. Besides natural
treasures, it is the site of several valuable cultural monuments.
Thus, Mljet is a locality of exceptional natural rarity, wondrous beauty and
cultural-historical, scientific and aesthetic value. The lakes of Mljet are a unique
natural phenomenon. The sea enters them through a narrow passage creating two beautiful
salt-water lakes connected to the open sea by the long Soline bay.
The western part of the island of Mljet surrounding the lakes, some 3,100 hectares in
area, has been proclaimed a national park in 1960. It is intended not
only for scientific exploration, but also specific forms of tourism and recreation.
A powerful sea current occurs in both channels, which changes its direction every six
hours due to ebb and flow. In the Middle Ages, the change of direction of the sea current
was used for water mills.
Mljet National Park has been proclaimed as an area of special interest for the following
• Its unique panoramic landscape of well intended coastline, cliffs, reefs and numerous
islands, as well as the rich topography of the nearby hills, which rise steeply above
the sea and hide numerous ancient stone villages. Mljet’s outer coastline is exposed
to the south sea and is therefore steep and full of 'garmas' collapsed caves. The inner
coastline faces the mainland and is exposed to the 'bura', a strong northeasterly wind,
but is less elevated with easier access.
• In the extreme north-western part of the island is the submerged valley of Mljet Lakes:
Malo and Veliko (Small and Big). Small Lake (area 24 hectares) is connected with a 30-m
long canal with Big Lake. Big Lake (area 145 hectares) is connected with the open sea by
a shallow, 30-m long canal called Soline.The salt lakes are a unique geological and
oceanographic phenomenon of worldwide importance. They originated approximately 10,000
years ago and, until the Christian era, they were freshwater lakes.
• The Mediterranean karst landscape hides two natural specialties. The first are typical
karst underground habitats: half-caves, caves and pits. The other specialty is Mljet’s
'blatine', which are rare occurrences of brackish lakes, which vanish from time to time.
There is life in the lakes, but we know very little about it today apart from the fact
that people have caught eels and marsh birds in them for centuries.
• Beautiful, rich forests once covered large areas of the Mediterranean Coast, but they
are rarely preserved today as beautifully as they are on Mljet. The woods on Mljet gently
descend all the way to thesurface of the lakes, thus creating animage of unspoiled
• The little isle of St. Mary in the Great lake, with an ancient Benedictine monastery
and a church dating from 12th century. The small island is the symbol of the entire
island, because of its exceptional aesthetic image and strong cultural and spiritual
• Polače site, a cultural and historic complex consisting of the remains of a Roman
Palace with fortifications and ancient Christian basilica nesting in a sheltered bay.
• An exceptional cultural and historical heritage dating back to the eras of the
Illirian tribes, the Roman Empire and the Republic of Dubrovnik.
Today, Mljet island is characterized by stable human settlement living in complete
harmony with nature.
Tours of the lakes, the islet with a monastery that is presently adapted as a hotel
and other localities, are conducted by boat, and asphalt paved roads lead around the
island to the Soline bay and the open sea. Simple footpaths lead to the most picturesque
and remote parts of the park.
The Island of Mljet has no airport.
Dubrovnik airport on the mainland provides the main
international connection for the island. Mljet has ferry lines with Pelješac peninsula
and Dubrovnik. Transportation to the island is provided by Jadrolinija ferry service.
Sobra, the main port on the island, is connected to Dubrovnik-Gruž and Ston via a car
ferry. There is also a ferry between Polače and Trstenik (Pelješac peninsula).