5. Korčula Town: Mljet National Park Hiking Tour
The western part of Mljet Island, which was declared a national park in 1960, takes most of the credit for the island being dubbed the ‘green island’. 90% of the total land area of the park is covered in forests of holm oaks and Aleppo pines. The national park includes two inlets which, due to their extremely narrow links to the sea, are regarded as, and indeed are called, lakes: the Great Lake and the Small Lake. Both are encircled by footpaths, and their blue-green waters are fabulous for plunging into.
This hiking tour starts with a catamaran. After meeting with your local tour guide in Korčula Town, you'll take a public catamaran (30 minutes) to reach Pomena, a seaside hamlet on the western tip of Mljet Island. From there, you'll hike in the direction of the Veliki Gradac Hill. The path meanders through a forest, opening here and there to wonderful views. At one moment, the lakes will appear as if in the palm of your hand! Probably, you will not be able to stand the view – it’s simply stunning! Later, from the top of the Montokuc Hill (253 m), you'll see the whole national park, the Pelješac Peninsula, and in the distance, the islands of Korčula and Lastovo...
From the Montokuc viewpoint, you’ll descend to the shore of the Great Lake, and there, you’ll take a boat to St. Mary’s Islet. In the 12th century, the Benedictine Monastery was built on the islet. During the time of the Republic of Dubrovnik, the monastery was enlarged, during the time of Yugoslavia, it was turned into a hotel, and today it emerges from the green of Mljet’s vegetation as a Renaissance monumental residence… Since you are already here, why not jump into the lakes?
The main characteristic of this hike lies in its great contrasts – the tranquil, turquoise water of the lakes, the restless sea on the south coast; the shade of dense woodland, the brightness of hot sun-light; a panoramic view from the Montokuc viewpoint, a close-up view of St. Mary’s Islet… If you yearn for a fairy tale hike, this is it!
On this hiking tour, you’ll learn about the formation of the lakes, the lush vegetation, the cultural heritage, and the history of the island. You’ll find out what Odysseus was doing for seven years on Mljet Island (and he didn’t age a single day), why there are no vipers, and why there are wild boars, and finally, Mljet’s shades of green will heal your heart, your body and your soul.