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Mljet Yacht Charter

This is instalment two in Bespoke Yacht Charter’s Croatia Yachting series, whereby we focus in detail on the key yachting destinations along the stunning Dalmatian Coast.

We kicked off your yacht charter in the medieval walled city Dubrovnik, where Danaery’s fictional dragons warred for air time with the city’s true history of invasions, earthquakes, and stunning periods of renaissance. Those on yacht charter in Dubrovnik will be torn between exploring the exotic gardens of date palms and bougainvillea, the baroque palaces and Franciscan monastery, or just passing a blissful day sunbathing, diving off the rocks and drinking cocktails on a sea terrace.

Lakes on Mljet island in Croatia

In the last article, we left you sleeping in your stateroom after a brilliant night out in Dubrovnik, as your Croatia yacht charter yacht took the short cruise across to the island of Mljet, the southernmost island in the Dalmatian archipelago.

Sailing yachts in Mljet island Croatia

Mljet: A Natural Paradise Apart from the World

Mljet is the most green and wild of all the Dalmatian islands, its thick mantle of green pines contrasting vividly with the almost shocking shade of blue water that laps at the rocky shore. Much of the island is National Park, where a blissful day can be spent swimming in crystal clear saltwater lakes or cycling along loamy forest paths, while the coast promises a tranquil landscape of villages and vineyards, as well as ancient shipwrecks in the deep.

Fisherman on the island of Mljet in Croatia

Considered by many to be the most beautiful of all the Croatian islands, Mljet is for those who want to escape into a paradise of secluded coves and sparkling water, swimming lazy days away as the cicadas buzz sleepily in the nearby pines. Breathe deep and let the world fall away on a yacht charter on Mljet.

History and Myth on Mljet : Nymph Caves, Pirates, Roman Palaces, and Monks

History and myth run deep on Mljet, stretching back to distant antiquity. The first people arrived on Mljet around 4000 years ago, discovering a gentle, heavily wooded island perfectly suited to a quiet life farming goats and sheep and growing vines and olives. In that way, Mljet hasn’t changed at all.

The new inhabitants stayed, and little wonder. This island is so dreamy that Odysseus himself was said to have stayed seven years, (even if he was captured by the nymph Calypso and kept as a sex slave in the sea cave, rendering his stay rather involuntary.) And later the pirates of Illyria came too, leaving tombs on the island to mark their passing.

Graves on the Croatian island of Mljet

The ancient Greeks then came to Mljet for holidays, and sailors sheltered their galley ships in the natural protection of Polace and Sobra harbours, where ancient amphorae still lie on the seabed as a memory of their visits.

The ancient Romans then made their mark from the 2nd century BC, leaving behind the ruins of a splendid palace, an early Christian basilica, and Roman baths, indicating that the town of Polace was once a thriving city in late antiquity.

Mljet is also important as a site of Christian pilgrimage. The island may not be the only island that claims to be the site of the shipwreck of St Paul the Apostle, but it is almost certainly the most beautiful island to do so. Some biblical scholars say that St Paul almost certainly spent three months on the pretty Croatian island of ‘Melita.’

Monastery on Mljet island in Croatia

In the 12th century, Benedictine monks arrived, building a Romanesque monastery on St Mary’s Island. They had total rule over the island and its subjects until 1410, when Mljet passed under the control of the Republic of Dubrovnik. The monastery is still there on the lake today, and is a superb place to visit on your Croatia yacht charter.

Things to do on a yacht charter on Mljet Ilsand

Explore or relax? On charter on idyllic Mljet, you can do both, almost effortlessly. Here are some of the highlights of a day and night on Mljet so you can plan your time here.

Swim or kayak in the twin lakes

Mljet is most famous for its twin saltwater lakes, Veliko and Malo Jezero, which are linked by a narrow channel that runs into the sea. Crystal clear and edged by sweet-smelling pine forest, the picture-postcard perfection of these lakes are enhanced by the 12th century Benedictine Monastery sitting pretty in the middle on St Mary’s Island.

Aerial view of the monastery in Mljet, Croatia

Swim and kayak at the lake before exploring the monastery, which has been rebuilt over the centuries in the Romanesque, Renaissance, and Baroque styles.

Visit Odysseus Cave

As you float into the ethereal grotto blue light of Odysseus’ cave, you can imagine how it could have inspired Homer to choose this setting for Odysseus’ place of shelter before being captured by the nymph Calypso and kept on the island for seven years.

Odysseus Cave on the island of Mljet in Croatia

Mljet is not the only island to claim this distinction, of course, with Greek Ithaca also having its own Odysseus Cave. But many indications lead to scholars believing Mljet to be the source of the story, including its unique combination of caves, forests, and the four springs described by Homer here:

“Four springs in a row, bubbling clear and cold,
running side-by-side, took channels left and right.
Soft meadows spreading round were starred with violets,
lush with beds of parsley. Why, even a deathless god
who came upon that place would gaze in wonder,
heart entranced with pleasure.

After spending a day on charter on Mljet, you’ll be inclined to agree.

Hire a bike

Hilly, wooded Mljet is perfect for exploring by bicycle, as you cycle through the fragrant pine forest and past the lakes, looking out for deer in the forest shadows and rare eagle owls in the sky. A rolling landscape of vineyards and villages is spread out before you, interspersed with heartbreaking views of the Adriatic Sea. There are mountain bike trails into the hills and flat road routes, depending on your level of ability.

Dive an antique shipwreck

Jacques Cousteau said that Mljet was one of the most beautiful underwater realms on earth – and he knew a thing or two about such things. The rocky limestone coast creates and underwater paradise of sea caves and an abundance of marine life, with the almost-extinct Mediterranean Monk Seal finding rare shelter here in the Marine Park. For those looking for traces of the maritime past, there’s the remnants of an antique shipwreck, as well as anchors and amphorae on the seabed.

Swim and dine and play in a secluded cove

Mljet’s limestone and dolomite coast creates a rugged coastline riddled with a multitude of blue-green coves and islets of dazzling perfection. Find an empty one, drop anchor, and pass the afternoon in a languorous summer dream. Linger over a lobster and fresh-grilled fish lunch on deck, kayak along the rocky coast, and dive off the yacht’s swim platform into that mesmerising blue sea.

Bay on the island of Mljet, Croatia

If you want to feel sand beneath your toes, the horseshoe beach of Salpurana is the place for you. This stunning bay is ringed by lush forest, and the shallow blue waters glow vivid aquamarine at the edges. There are also some good restaurants at Salpurana if you want to eat ashore.

Anchor in Polace and explore the ruined palace

Polace is one of the most protected bays in the Adriatic, and has been used by warships, merchant galleys, and pirates since antiquity. Today, the superyachts come to drop anchor in this gorgeous harbour.

Ruined castle in Polace on the island of Mljet, Croatia

Now a quiet fishing village, Polace was once a bustling Roman outpost with its own vast palace, church, and baths. Today, the floor plan of the palace remains, as well as the fortified towers. The road runs between the two towers, so you can’t miss them!

Go ashore in Pomena

Visit the harbour of Pomena near the lakes, where your yacht may anchor for the night. Polema is an increasingly popular town with the yachting set, but still has all the charm and loveliness of a traditional fishing village, with only 50 permanent inhabitants. You may wish to dine on deck under the stars, or you could go ashore to eat a deliciously rustic wood-fired lobster meal at Baba Ive hotel on the waterfront.

Sunset at Pomena on the island of Mljet, Croatia

In the morning, you might like to wake up early for a refreshing swim in the lakes or off the back of the yacht, before the captain will weigh anchor and you’ll be on your way to the next beautiful destination in our Croatia Yachting Series, the island of Korčula.

For more information about planning your dream Croatia yacht charter, contact Bespoke Yacht Charter, who create tailored yacht charter itineraries expressly based on your holiday tastes:

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