green islands and blue sea surrounding Mljet Island

Dubrovnik to Mljet: How to Visit Mljet National Park on a Day Trip from Dubrovnik

Mljet National Park is one of the most beautiful and serene natural attractions in Croatia. It covers the northwest part of Mljet Island, where you can find two saltwater lakes, a small island with a monastery, and a network of footpaths and kayak routes.

If you’re looking for a relaxing and scenic escape from the busy city of Dubrovnik, a day trip to Mljet is perfect. Keep reading for information on how you can visit Mljet National Park, the top attractions and activities while you’re there, plus a few useful tips.

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How to Get from Dubrovnik to Mljet

There are several ways to get to Mljet National Park from Dubrovnik. As Mljet is an island, all transfers involve crossing the Adriatic. You can get there independently by ferry or catamaran, or as part of an organised tour.

Getting to Mljet independently

The most convenient and fastest option is to take a catamaran ferry that departs from Dubrovnik’s Gruž port and arrives at Pomena or Polače, the two main villages near the park. The ferry takes about an hour and a half with prices starting at around 8 euros for a one way ticket. Check out Ferryhopper for booking tickets- it’s also possible to book tickets for pets, so keep that in mind if travelling with four-legged companions.

You can also take a ferry from Dubrovnik to Sobra, although this port is at the other end of the island to the National Park. From Sobra, you can take a taxi or a local bus to Pomena or Polače, which takes about 30 minutes and costs around 7 euros one way.

Another option is to take a bus from Dubrovnik to Prapratno on the Pelješac peninsula, and then take a car ferry to Sobra. The bus takes about an hour and a half and costs around 7 euros one way. The ferry takes about 45 minutes and costs around 4 euros per person and 18 to 30 euros per car one way. You can check the timetable and book your tickets online at Jadrolinija.

Tours to Mljet

A popular way to visit Mljet is to join a guided tour or rent a private boat from Dubrovnik. This way, you can enjoy the scenic views of the Adriatic Sea and the Elaphiti Islands along the way, and have more flexibility and comfort. However, this option is also more expensive and depends on the weather and availability.

You can find various tour operators and boat rental companies online or in Dubrovnik’s Old Town. We recommend using Get Your Guide, especially if visiting in peak season. You can check reviews, and also compare tours based on prices and services they offer. Some tours also include stops at other islands on the way to/back from Mljet, such as the Elaphiti Islands of Koločep and Šipan.

It’s a good idea to check if tour providers offer the use of snorkelling equipment, paddleboards and bikes, and how much free time you get on the island. Also make sure that tour prices include admission to the park.

What to See and Do

Once you arrive at Mljet National Park, you can buy your entrance ticket at a kiosk in Pomena or Polače. The ticket costs around 25 euros for adults in high season (June to September) and 15 euros in low season (October to May).

Expect to pay around a third of an adult ticket for a children’s ticket, and children under 8 get free admission. There are also discounts for students upon presentation of valid student ID. The ticket includes information about the park, such as hiking trails, as well as a boat ride to the island of St. Mary.

Main attractions

The main attractions of the park are the two saltwater lakes, Veliko Jezero (Big Lake) and Malo Jezero (Small Lake), which are connected by a narrow channel. The lakes are surrounded by lush green hills and pine forests, and have crystal clear water that is warmer than the sea. You can swim, kayak, or paddleboard on the lakes, or relax on the pebbly beaches.

You can also take a boat ride to the island of St. Mary, where you can visit the 12th-century Benedictine monastery and the church of St. Mary. The monastery is now a museum and a restaurant, where you can learn about the history and culture of the island, and enjoy some local specialties.

Another highlight of the park is the hiking trail that leads to Montokuc, which takes about an hour to complete. For decades Montokuc has served as a lookout for firefighters to keep watch for wildfires on the island. From there, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the lakes, the island, and the sea. You can also explore other trails that crisscross the park, and discover the rich flora and fauna of the island.

You can find more information about things to do and see in Mljet National Park by visiting the park’s official website here.

Recreational equipment

If you want to have a go at sports like cycling, kayaking, paddleboarding or snorkelling, you have a few options. You’re free to bring your own equipment, but it’s often easier to rent.

There are several places that offer bike rental on Mljet, both when you step off the ferry and within the park. Be prepared to pay anywhere from 6 to 20 euros, and more for eBikes and mountain bikes. If you want to bring your own bikes to the island, be prepared to pay extra to bring them on the ferry.

You can also rent water sports equipment, sometimes from the same providers that offer bikes. There are options within minutes of stepping off the boat at Sobra, as well as at Pomena or Polače.

ID Adventures operate kayaking tours around the park; they’re located at Tatinica, close to Polače. If you’re visiting as part of a tour, your tour provider may provide kayaks, paddleboards and snorkelling equipment- we advise you to check before booking.

What to Bring and When to Visit

To make the most of your day trip to Mljet National Park, you should bring the following items:

  • A backpack with water, snacks, sunscreen, and a hat
  • A swimsuit, a towel, and flip-flops
  • A camera and binoculars
  • A jacket or a sweater for the evening
  • Cash for the entrance fee, the ferry, and other expenses

The best time to visit Mljet National Park is from May to October, when the weather is warm and sunny, and the water is pleasant for swimming. However, this is also the peak season, so you can expect more crowds and higher prices. Generally, the park in busiest in July and August.

If you prefer a quieter and cheaper experience, you can visit in April or November, when the weather is still mild and the park is less busy. Mljet hosts a Half Ironman in October, so expect a good amount of activity during this time, and book well in advance if you wish to stay the night on the island. You should avoid visiting in winter, when the ferry service is limited and some facilities are closed.

What to Expect and Tips

Visiting Mljet National Park on a day trip from Dubrovnik is a rewarding and memorable experience, but you should also be aware of some things and follow some tips:

  • The park is open every day from 8 am to 8 pm in high season, and from 9 am to 5 pm in low season.
  • The ferry service is subject to weather conditions and may be cancelled or delayed in case of strong winds or storms.
  • The park is car-free, so you can only explore it by foot, bike, or boat. You can rent bikes, kayaks, or paddleboards at various locations in the park, or bring your own.
  • The park has several cafes and restaurants where you can have a meal or a drink, but they may be crowded or closed depending on the season and the time of day. You can also bring your own food and have a picnic in the park, but you should not litter or feed the animals.
  • The park is home to many wild animals, such as deer, wild boars, rabbits and snakes. You should respect their habitat and not disturb or harm them.
  • The park is a protected area and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, so you should follow the rules and regulations of the park, and not damage or collect any plants, rocks, or shells.

Final thoughts on day trips from Dubrovnik to Mljet

Mljet National Park is a must-see destination for anyone who loves nature and tranquillity. It offers a unique and diverse landscape, with saltwater lakes, a monastery island, and a hilltop lookout. It is also a great place to enjoy outdoor activities, such as swimming, kayaking, hiking, and biking.

You can easily visit Mljet National Park on a day trip from Dubrovnik, with a range of options to suit your preferences and budget; you can take a catamaran, the bus and ferry, or visit as part of a tour. Ultimately, you won’t regret spending a day on the island, and you’ll undoubtedly return to Dubrovnik with unforgettable memories.

CTA: Check out our article From Plitvice to Krka: The Ultimate Guide to Exploring Croatia’s Breathtaking National Parks to find out more about Croatia’s National Parks, and start planning the ultimate national park itinerary!

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