The Mljet National Park is the oldest marine protected area in the Mediterranean and it has delighted its numerous visitors for 60 years with the colors and the scent of untouched nature.
The Park was founded on 11 November 1960. The Mljet National Park stretches over almost 5300 hectares, including a marine area of 500 meters from the coast, islands, and cliffs, and therefore spans over almost a third of the island. Two deep bays filled with seawater, known as Malo Jezero and Veliko Jezero (Small Lake and Great Lake) are the most famous locations of this area and an important geological and oceanographical phenomenon. Forest vegetation covers over 90% of the land area of the Mljet National Park, and its richness can be seen in a large number of plant and animal species.
In the middle of the 19th century, there was an intention to declare this part of Mljet a protected area precisely because of the preservation of forests. In addition to the rich natural heritage, the area of NP Mljet has an extremely rich cultural and traditional heritage, and the most famous monuments are the Benedictine monastery on the island of St. Mary in the Great Lake and the remains of the Roman palace, which is also the third-largest Roman building in Croatia. There are also numerous underwater archeological sites.
Through its existence and activities, the Public Institution ” Mljet National Park” has become a recognizable symbol of the preservation of natural and cultural heritage, and all activities of the Institution are aimed at that. These activities have resulted in significant discoveries, so continuous scientific research has revealed the existence of a large number of endemic, indigenous species in the Park.
In addition to its basic task, the Mljet National Park aims to educate both visitors and the local community. The greatest pleasure, however, is working with the youngest residents and students, the younger and future generation for whom the Institution preserves natural and cultural treasures. For many years, the Institution has been organizing numerous workshops for the local community and supporting them by sponsoring various cultural and traditional events. Support for the local population is also seen through financial and other incentives, especially in agriculture.
NP Mljet has been the target of a large number of visitors for years, and what is interesting is that a large number of visitors return to it every year. In 2019, the Mljet National Park was visited by 148,395 visitors, while in 2020 there were 37,844 visitors due to the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic on tourist trends. Nature lovers, mountaineers, and all those who want to escape from the city bustle can visit Park at any time of the year.
NP Mljet has over 200 km of hiking trails that lead to beautiful locations such as the lookout Montokuc where there is a fire observatory with a view of the entire NP Mljet, or to the top Planjak where the future mountain lodge is located. The trails of NP Mljet are especially beautiful in spring and autumn.
Sailors have recognized the beauty of Mljet’s bays, as evidenced by the increase in the number of vessels even in 2020. With the aim of protecting the seabed in general from anchoring and organizing a better reception for boaters, we are working on the design and construction of the coastal wall – the waterfront in the port of Polače and creating preconditions for the same in the port of Pomena.
Improving the visitor infrastructure of the Park is a continuous process that enables the sustainable development of the area. Thus, in accordance with sustainability through projects and own funds, solar-powered catamarans for riding the Great Lake, electric trains, the Great Bridge were built, a modern visitor center Gustjerna was built, numerous hiking and biking trails and promenades were arranged. The realization of the Mljet-Odyssey Mediterranea project worth HRK 49,268,324.09 is underway, financed by the European Union from the European Regional Development Fund.
Public Institution “Mljet National Park” would like to thank its employees and all those who work to achieve its fundamental goals and function. During its 60 years of existence, 423 employees, pupils, and students have contributed to the improvement of the Mljet National Park. It is important to mention the many volunteers who participate in the volunteer programs of the park and work diligently with the employees of the Park on the development and preservation of the Mljet National Park.
We would also like to thank all the long-term partners we work with.