A short ferry ride from Dubrovnik, Mljet, which comprises a stunning national park and lakes, is perfect for a day trip. You can swim in the freshwater lakes, walk and cycle round them or get something to eat at the beautifully preserved monastery. A steep hill separates the lakes from the ferry port, so if you're planning to cycle it's a good idea to use the mini-bus service included in the park entrance fee, and then hire bikes at the lakes themselves.
This pine covered island is totally undeveloped. The catamaran from Dubrovnik drops you at the tiny town of Polace which has remains of a Roman palace. Here you can hire a bicycle to explore the quiet roads and reach the lake with an islet that is home to a 12th century Benedictine monastery. This is now a restaurant and served by a little boat so that you can treat yourself to a seafood lunch. Swimming in the clear blue lake is a great way to cool down.
Mljet is an island off the Dubrovnik coast. Stay in Sobra, the village that tourists normally sail past. You'll have a private 'beach' and Nikola runs a first class bar/ restaurant serving Croatian food and Italian pizzas. From Sobra catch a ferry or hire a Dalmation styled Fiat 500 (seriously) and head to the National Park on the other side of Mljet. Once there rent bicycles and explore the beautiful, wild and lush forest. The highlight being the large salt water lake which cocoons a Benedictine Monastery. You can take the hourly boat over to it or swim across yourself.
Sobra 2, Babino Polje
(+385-20) 74 52 22
++385 (0)20 745-222
Visit a local supermarket for lunch supplies and take the 10-minute, hourly boat from the port in Dubrovnik to the beautiful island of Lokrum.
Start the day with a trek to the fortress at the highest point of the island, for unbeatable views of Dubrovnik and to avoid the morning crowds, before taking the coastal path back to the monastery. On the way, take one of the rocky paths, lined with thick Mediterranean woods, down to the shore to discover your own private beach - an ideal place for a picnic lunch and a few hours of sun worshipping.
The main hub of island activity boasts a botanic garden, olive grove and (supposedly) haunted Benedictine monastery, inhabited by peacocks.
Finish the day by watching the sun go down from the comfort of a sun lounger, enjoying live guitar music in the cafe, or, best of all, floating in the beautiful tranquility of the salt lake.
Boats to Lokrum depart from the city's old harbour at least every hour between 9 and 5 (weather permitting).
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