Ah, Mljet. Our day on this beautiful island was one of the calmest and most restful of our three-week trip, despite the fact that we were basically walking all day long.
Many (if not most) of the visitors to this island take a tourist day trip from Korcula or Dubrovnik, especially when visiting outside of peak season. I had not found any information that indicated that we would be able to escape this pre-planned excursion destiny, but luckily for me I was wrong. The same morning ferry we took to Korcula makes a stop at Mljet before heading on to Dubrovnik and then makes the return journey in late afternoon, giving us nearly six hours to explore without being restrained by the cost or time restrictions of a group tour.
In those six hours mom and I were able to walk all the way to the tip of the island and back, making sure we gave ourselves the opportunity to eat a picnic lunch, swim and drink a cold beer at the end of our long walking day.
Mljet is a heavily forested island with two lakes in its interior. There is a smaller lake, which is the first you come to if walking from the ferry docks into the National Park, and a much larger one, which you can follow the whole way out to the sea. The views were spectacular and we saw almost nobody else all day long. Most of the island is in the National Park, although there is a small town where the ferry lands with hotels and restaurants for visitors who want to stay overnight (and locals obviously). There are a few more small towns along the road through the park, but most of them seemed super sleepy and not much was open. Maybe we were still too early in the season?
At the end of the island is another little (LITTLE) town with a restaurant and some vocation rentals. This town is also where the “taxi” takes people across a small channel so they can continue their hike or bike ride around the larger of the lakes. There isn’t really a way to avoid this small additional cost (except going all the way back the way you came) and it was fun riding in a little taxi boat. The driver told us that he lives in paradise and when we got off the boat he proceeded to turn off the boat motor and drift around the lake until another visitor came and needed at ride. Life could be worse.
The water in the lake was freezing cold, but the color was so irresistible that we had to jump in.
If I ever go to Mljet again, I will go prepared to rent and ride a bike. I have not ridden a bike in a decade, so that was not in the cards on this trip, but on foot all of Mljet is difficult to see in one day. We were not able to go onto the island (the island on the island) where the church is because of time constraints, but we were able to squeeze in a nice cold beer after our full day of walking.
Mljet would be a perfect island to relax on while visiting the Croatian islands. If you are someone that likes green forests, hiking or biking and seclusion, then Mljet is the Adriatic island for you.