Miljet National Park

Designated in 1960, the national park of Mljet covers around 5300 ha (between 1/5 and 1/4) of Otok Mljet at its western end with most of its focus being around two large inland lakes the Velika and Mala Jezero located on the southerns side of the island. The park is designated for both its unique landscapes and environments but also for its heritage and effectively it is its long Roman and Christian heritage which have helped to form particularly the unique environmental conditions which make the Velika and Mala Jezero so important.


It is thought that these two lakes were originally fresh water bodies but during the medieval period the monastic community of Sv. Marija was established on a small island close to the southern shore of Velika Jezero. In the years that followed it is said that the community canalised the outflow between the lake and the sea on the south shore of Mljet allowing saltwater to enter the lakes and creating a unique brackish environment which today encourages an eco-system not seen elsewhere in the Adriatic basin.



Velika Jezero


Surrounding these two lakes is an area of apparently wild and ancient forest dominated by pine and oak that must once have covered much of the Adriatic shore. This provides excellent cover for wildlife including rare lizards and birds as well as cool (or relatively cool) shade for walking around the many miles of well marked footpaths that are a feature of the park.


Official entrances points to the park are at Luka Polace and at Pomena where a ticket can be purchased for 90kn per person (30kn for minors). From Luka Polace the cost of the ticket includes a free bus ride to Velika Jezero and then a free boat ride across the lake to the monastery of Sv. Marija, entrance to the monastery is also include.



Monastery of Sv. Marija, Velika Jezero


Though the ticket cost also includes return journeys as well, give consideration to following the foot path back from Velika Jezero to Polace, it is a short walk of 30-40 minutes and not particularly strenuous but provides a good sense of the ancient forest that makes up the bulk of the National Park. It also takes you past various interesting ruins which point to the agricultural and industrial history of this part of Mljet.



Paths and roads for walking through the forest of the park


For those staying for more than 1 day these paths cover many 10s of kms around the western end of the island and are ideal for walking or cycling. Bicycles can be hired from Luka Polace and from Pomena and provide an ideal mode of transport where cars are limited to residents.


Yachts can anchor in the entrance to Velika Jezero, Uvala Skoj, in several quiet coves, but boats are prohibited from entering the lakes themselves. That said kayaking is encouraged and visitors are free to use their own kayaks or rent one at several locations around the park.


As of 2012 there is only the most basic information about Mljet National Park available on the internet. The park itself has no website and pages on other Mljet websites are fairly basic.

 

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