Otok Mljet

The green island of Mljet is the most southerly of the large Croatian coastal islands lying south and east of Korcula and south of the large headland (or Plutok) of Peljesacs. Its location provides a useful bridge for those sailing between Dubrovnik and the north with a series of good and sheltered anchorages being located primarily along its northern (or inshore) side.


Modern Mljet is a green and lush, rural island without the big population centres of the likes seen on Brac, Hvar and Korcula. Its current population of around 1100 is centred around smaller villages the economies of which are dominated tourism and particularly sailing and its National Park, which is designated as much of the north-western end of its land mass. It is 37km long but only 3.2km wide and 84% of its surface is forested.


For sailors it is unusual as there are no marinas and very few formal town harbours. Instead every mooring seems to have an affiliation with a restaurant or other establishment (hotel or cafe). This makes choosing a mooring hazardous without good prior intelligence as generally you can only be sure of the quality of an establishment once the food is on the table.


History

The known history of Mljet goes back to the 6th Century BC when it was first charted by Greek cartographers and the island (known as Melite and Melita - meaning Honey) was subsequently occupied by both Greek and Roman settlers. It is however most famous perhaps for two claims, firstly as the island in Greek mythology where Calypso held Odyssues captive for 7 years and second as the island where St Paul is said to have been wrecked (Apostles 27). This attribution was made in the 10th Century AD by Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus though today it is more widely accepted that the site of St. Paul’s wreck was on Malta.



5th century Roman Palace on Luka Polace


During the 12th Century Benedictine monks landed from Italy at Sutmiholjeska and were appointed feudal overlords of the island in 1151. Their power was later consolidated by the construction of St Mary’s monastery on a small island in the ‘Large Lake’ (Veliko Jezero) by the Bosnian Prince Desa. The island acted as the last Serbian maritime bastion for many years but as their power waned in the 14th Century the Benedictines eventually renounced their control, which subsequently passed to the state of Regusa (Dubrovnik) in 1410.


Though the island (through St Mary’s) remained an important Benedictine centre, the monastery was disbanded by Napoleon in 1809 and the buildings were later used for offices of the Forestry Service during the period of Austro-Hungarian rule of the 19th century.


Mljet National Park

Designated in 1960, the national park includes around 1/5 of the land mass of Mljet. The park is designated for its unique habitats and heritage and can be entered either through Poloce or Pomena (at the island’s western end). Driving is forbidden in the park but distances are walkable and bicycles can be hired providing a good alternative form of transport.


Sailing

For sailors it is unusual as there are no marinas and very few formal town harbours. Instead every mooring seems to have an affiliation with a restaurant or other establishment (hotel or cafe). This makes choosing a mooring hazardous without good prior intelligence as generally you can only be sure of the quality of an establishment once the food is on the table.




Luka Polace


The primary focus is Luka Polace at the western end of Mljet on the northern shore. This is where many of the tourist ferries dock and is the primary point of entrance to the national park. It is possible to moor and a number of privately owned harbour walls or you can pick up mooring buoys (also associated with specific establishments on the shore). As with every where on Mljet if you want the freedom to decide where you eat and do not know which establishment to try then there are plenty of options for dropping the anchor.



Uvala Okulje


For those looking for safe harbours outside the national park there are facilities in Sorba (the largest settlement on the island at 350 people) where the car ferry docks and also at the smaller villages of Prozura and Okuklje both towards the eastern end of the northern shore. Moorings and shelter is far more limited on the southern (seaward) shore of the island with the small bay of Saplunara at the east end of the island offering anchorages only and the bay at the entrance to the Veliko Jezero at the western end of the island also offering some anchorages.


There is no entrance for yachts to the Veliko Jezero itself though kayaks are permitted.


 








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