Mljet Island - Dubrovnik Hidden Wonder

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Surely, each of us has that one place, every time it crosses our mind makes us feel sudden warmth and brings us back to childhood memories. For me, that place is Mljet. The very thought of our most thickly forested island triggers a sudden desire to visit it. I can easily recall memories of climbing down into the Odysseus Cave, swimming in the crystal clear waters, running barefoot on the sandy beach of Saplunara, driving through the pine forest, holding a live lobster in my hands, walks through Babino Polje, through olive groves, pleasant evenings in a century-old stone house, watching the night sky from the yard, swimming in the Lakes and cooling-off with an ice cream in Pomena.

This island with its lush vegetation is a true Mediterranean paradise. Lejla

We consider ourselves lucky to be living in the Mediterranean; blessed with a pleasant climate throughout the year, locally grown fruits and vegetables, clean sea, beautiful nature, unfortunately, we may sometimes get preoccupied with daily responsibilities and take these blessings for granted. Islands stand right in front of us to remind us how lucky we are and to set us back to the Mediterranean state of mind. We – locals, believe that such a state of mind is the path to longevity. Once you set the foot on this beautiful island, it will be easy to indulge in the charms of the Mediterranean. When you get off the ferry you will be greeted by the interested looks of the older island residents. They are good at guessing where tourists come from. They discuss amongst themselves how many boats docked that day and who can boast the best daily catch. Well-preserved Holm oak and Aleppo pine forests, lakes, cliffs, rocks, and islets will introduce you to a world of secrets and legends. It is no wonder that many stories and legends were passed down from generation to generation. The most famous is the one about the Greek hero Odysseus and the sea storm that hit him nearby Mljet island. He found salvation in the cave that bears his name today. The reason why many have heard of the island of Mljet is the national park, located in the north-western part of the island; and is one of the oldest in the Mediterranean (1960. declared a national park). Malo and Veliko lakes (Small and Large lakes) and St Mary's islet are deservedly the island's biggest attractions. The lakes are connected with the sea by a narrow canal and are therefore salty.

The cushion coral colony

in the Large Lake is the biggest in the Mediterranean, while the Small Lake abounds in various shellfish. The phenomenon of colloidal bleaching that occurs in the Small Lake as such can only be seen in tropical and subtropical areas, and this part of the world only on Mljet island. The island of Mljet was inhabited by the Illyrians four thousand years ago. Throughout history, Benedictine monks have been the feudal lords of the island. Only a few locals were allowed to live in the Park area (6 farmers and 6 shepherds). On the St. Mary's islet, in the middle of the Large Lake, a church and a Benedictine monastery are dating back to the 12th century. At the time the monastery looked like a country castle, but due to the danger of pirate attacks in the second half of the 16th century, towers were added and the monastery turned into a fortress. The monastery's appearance changed several times through various centuries. Today it is a Renaissance building. Valuable remains of a Roman palace dating back to the 5th century AD were found in the Park itself. The Benedictines have successfully cared for the island for many years. Their spiritual zeal, which has always been in harmony with nature has left a lasting mark on the island and on the way of life there. It was not until the end of the 18th century that the Benedictines allowed permanent settlement in the Park due to the monastery’s need to keep their livestock. The mainland and seabed are extremely rich in natural values, with over 200 protected species. Legend has it that when Odysseus left Mljet to return to his native Ithaca, the cave was inhabited by unusual animals. This unusual animal is the Mediterranean bear, once a frequent visitor to the Odysseus Cave and the island of Mljet. What is interesting to visitors is that in addition to numerous reptiles, there are not any venomous snakes on the island. The island’s residents are mostly engaged in agriculture, tourism, and fishing. Many of them travel for work every day to Dubrovnik, luckily the island is connected by a catamaran and ferry line with the mainland. Once you decide to visit this island near Dubrovnik either as a daily or multi-day visitor, you will understand why many visitors gladly return to it. Hotel Odisej is the only hotel on the island and is located at the entrance to the Park. There are other accommodation possibilities such as villas and apartments in various picturesque places such as Soline, Pomena, Polače, Kozarica, Prožura, Babino Polje, etc... Vacation on Mljet island is the perfect choice for all nature lovers, for people who want a real Mediterranean vacation, but also for those who like active holidays. It is possible to rent a vehicle and explore the island on your own. Hiking on numerous trails, kayaking, rowing, diving school, cycling are part of the island's offer. If you decide to stay in private accommodation, do not be surprised if the hosts invite you to go fishing with them, or they come knocking on your door bringing their fruits and vegetables. Overnight on the island is a unique experience. What thrills me all over again is the view of the stars. The sky never seems closer to me than when I am there. See our suggestions for a trip from Dubrovnik to Mljet. We will be happy to help with the organization of excursions and accommodation.

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