There are 18 settlements and villages on Mljet.
Settlements located outside the National Park: Saplunara, Korita, Maranovići, Okuklje, Prožura, Prožurska luka, Sobra, Babino Polje, weekend settlement in the bay of Sutmiholjska, Blato, Kozarica, Ropa.
Saplunara was founded after World War II as a port for the inahbitants of Korita. It has sandy beacses on the one side and stony beaches on the other side of the island. It is possible that it was named for those sands (lat. sablun, saplun – sand) by Paul the Apostle in the 1st century AD, when he was shipwrecked and stayed on the island for three months. Wild stone pines located here are among the most beautiful of their type, and the fine sand of the bays of Saplunara and Blace with reefs are reminiscent of the parts of the Earth that are rightly considered the treasure of this world. The area of Saplunara was recognized as an area of immense natural beauty and it was protected as an important landscape.
Korita is a town founded in 1474. It has around 70 permanent residents. Its original location is the town of Žara with which it is still coincides in many conversations. It was named after the geological trough shaped forms of impermeable stone layer which direct and collect rainwater. It is located in the centre of a long valley, surrounded by the hills of Kočak, Klupačka, Planjak, Vranjak, Jarište, Konjuška, Vrijesovac and Ljut, and it was ideal to hide from pirates because it could not be seen from the sea. The gaps between the surrounding hills and the water supply made survival possible. Several old houses with the Dubrovnik Baroque markings were constructed in the 17th and 18th century and the most famous are the Kazilari and Škapić houses, founded in 1695. A pirate incursion on 29 August 1669 was written down in history: a grand pillage carried out by 800 pirates, killing 7 and wounding 5 locals. There are three small churches from the 15th century: the Church of St. Vid, the Church of St. Ilija and the Church Gospa od Brijega, as well as the Klarisa abbey. These buildings are a testament of time, wealth and religion of the inhabitants and the art dominant at the time which marked the area and life, reaching to modern times. The Church of St. Vid was constructed in the Gothic-Renaissance style and Gospa od Brijega was constructed in the Renaissance-Baroque style. After the second half of the 18th century, due to the plague and the lack of sardines, the village lost its importance. It is now being slowly renovated and looking for its opportunity in tourism through its rich cultural and natural heritage.
Okuklje is the oldest Croatian coastal settlement, founded by the inhabitants of Vrhmljeć in the 15th century. It was used as a port for the settlement of Maranovići. It is the home of many seamen and fishermen and it has a very well protected bay, called Porto Cammera in Italian. It has around 10 permanent residents, and during summer it becomes and important tourism and nautical center. The old town, located near the modern asphalt road, houses the Church of St. Nichloas from the 16th century and the St. Dominic Abbey, renovated in 1990. When the settlement was pillaged and torched by pirates in 1669, the residents did not flee, but in 1693, after being betrayed by the servant of the priest Don Trojan Kolendić, they were forced to move out to Korita and Maranovići.
Maranovići is a settlement founded when the Sephardim that migrated there in the 15th century converted to Christianity, with around 50 permanent residents, renowned for its great position above and under the asphalt road, its surrounding fields and olive groves, and the church and brotherhood of St. Anthony from the 17th century. Today’s church was constructed on the foundations of the old Gothic church in the 19th century and it holds the beautiful Gothic chalice made of gilded silver from the 15th century. The altar was sanctified in 1494 and in 2004. The parish was founded in 1769. The habitat of the rare and extremely protected plant species of Moltkea petraea is located on steep cliffs between the settlements of Maranovići and Korita. This plant is endemic for the marine slopes of the Dinarides and it can be found from central Dalmatia and to the south, with a few habitats on the islands.
Prožura is a settlement founded in the 15th century, near the Dubrovnik Gothic church of the Holy Trinity and an abbey. They were constructed most likely by Benedictines from Lokrum in 1477, as can be seen in the deed of donation of the priest called Luka from Korčula in service with a chaplain and scribe from Mljet. The most valued treasure is the Romanic bronze and rustic Gothic crucifix. The latter has the images of St. Vlaho, St. Martin, to whom the church above the village is dedicated, and St. Nicholas. The nobility of the Dubrovnik Republic used the settlement for vacations, and Pavao Gracić, the bishop of Ston was born here in the 17th century. The Church of St. Martin and its porch are the dominant features of the settlement, and the Church of St. Roko with its semicircular apse from a later period gives the settlement the additional comprehensive image of an important and beautiful settlement. The stronghold, dating from the 17th century is the dominant feature of the settlement and a piece of evidence of the hard times and the traffic and strategic importance of the island, from ancient times till today.
Prožurska luka, originally called Porat, is an old fishing village of the Prožura settlement, with a slipway used to repair gajeta boats and small boats. One of the island ‘blatina’ is located near Prožura. The 10 permanent residents provide tourism and hospitality services. Near Prožura, on the part of the forest path leading from the asphalt road towards Struje, is the habitat of the extremely rare plant, a mix of the Greek strawberry tree and strawberry tree, the Arbutus x andrachnoides.
Sobra is located in the long bay on the northern side of the island and it is the main port of the island. It is being constantly upgraded and it has around 70 permanent residents. It has been permanently inhabited since the second half of the 19th century, and it was founded as a port for Babino Polje to which it is connected both with an old path and an asphalt road. One island ‘blatina’ is located near Sobra and the town uses it for fresh water. The gajeta rowboats and sailboats of Mljet used to ferry wood to Dubrovnik to be used as construction material in the time of the Dubrovnik Republic. In 1880, in the area where the settlement is located today, a small dock was built which was soon after included in the permanent shipping line between Trieste and Kotor, and ever since, it has been considered the main port of Mljet. The regular line for Dubrovnik used to berth at the old seafront in the settlement, whereas today the main dock is in the nearby bay of Zaglavac, which also houses the only petrol station on the island. There are several restaurants, private accommodation and the office of the port authority.
Babino Polje is the biggest, longest and one of the oldest settlements on the island, located in its central part. The highest peak of the island, Veliki Grad (514 m m.a.s.l.) is located above the settlement. The settlement has 300 inhabitants in its 4 kilometers of length and it is the administrative centre of the island. It consists of three villages – Zadublje, Sršenovići and Zabrežje. The inaccessible coast has numerous caves, such as Rikavica, the Odysseus’ cave (originally named Jama) and the nymph Calypso’s islet of Ogiran. According to legend, the settlement was named after an old woman who received land from the duke Desa as reward for good advice that the old woman gave him during the struggle against the enemy, duke Remin. This ‘baba’ actually refers to the twelve families from Babino Polje who, as a sign of gratitude for participating in the battle against the Romans on the west of the island, received land next to a fertile field. In the time of the Dubrovnik Republic it was the largest settlement other than Dubrovnik itself and the duke of Mljet was seated here, as well as the island council, as witnessed by the Duke’s palace and the Statute of Mljet. The Church of St. Pancratius was founded in the 11th century in honor of the patron saint of the island and it was owned by the Benedictines from Lokrum and is the center of the Roman Catholic parish. Important elements of the settlement are:
Sotnica – the legal, administrative and economy building constructed by the Benedictines in order to store the products from their land in Babino Polje, and it was here that they carried out their legal jurisdiction until the island was ruled over by the Dubrovnik Republic
Knežev dvor – the Duke’s palace – Renaissance residential building, constructed by the Dubrovnik Republic
Churches: the Church of St. Andrew, the Church of St. Michael, the Church of St. John, the Church of Holy Salvation, the Church of St. George, the Church of St. Vlaho, the Church of St. Paul, the Church of St. Joseph
Chapels: the Chapel of Our Lady of Mercy (Lady of the Hill)
Monuments: a memorial for the fighters of PLW and a memorial for king Tomislav.
The Church of St. Vlaho from the 15th century was, along with the Duke’s palace from the 16th century, the central place on the island, along with the defensive turrets that defended the access roads to the settlement. Not far from the settlement are the caves of Ostaševica and Movrica and the deepest pit on the island (Međugrađen, 102 m). Babino Polje has the main post office, primary school, clinic, drugstore, fire department, municipal office, registrar’s office, oil mill, restaurant and café.
Blato is located in the central part of the island in a large, spacious and deep valley with the field with the same name. It was founded in the 17th century. Due to its excellent location, Blato was at one point so large that it had its own primary school which is no longer open today. The Blato Field is very fertile with mostly grapevine plants. There are old pathways to all locations on the island on the southeast and northwest. The island’s largest ‘blatina’ is located near the settlement. An asphalt road leads to the north, arriving to the small settlement of Kozarica. A road also leads from Blato to the main road and to the nearest settlement of Ropa. The settlement has a well preserved architecture and around 40 permanent inhabitants.
Kozarica is a small fishing and tourism settlement founded by the inhabitants of Blato in 1926. It has around 30 permanent residents, and it is famous for ‘slatina’, a pool of brackish water reclaimed for agricultural use. Nearby is a plantation of citrus fruits, numerous olive groves and an auto camp.
Ropa was also founded by people from Blato and Babino Polje, and it has around 20 inhabitants. It is located on the southern slopes of the island, next to a field of the same name. Ropa has a camp and private accommodation. Growing olives and wine, fishing and tourism are the important activities of its inhabitants.
Settlements located in the National Park: Polače, Pomena, Goveđari, Soline, Babine Kuće, Njivice, Velika Loza, Tatinica and Pristanište.
Polače is the oldest settlement as they date back to the Illyrian and Greek period. Today, they house a great deal of buildings from the Roman period. The settlement is located on the walls of the Late Antiquity palace after which it was named, and there are 140 inhabitants here today. The settlement and port are located in the largest and safest bay in the area. The islets of Tajnik, Ovrata, Kobrava and Moračnik are located in the sea before Polače. Around the year 1830, the families Dabelić and Nodilo came to Polače and it was expanded along the coast rapidly in the second half of the 20th century.
In the area of Polače, there are numerous archaeological monuments such as the remains of the Roman vilae rusticate and thermal baths, an antique residential complex (palace) constructed near the end of the 5th century and the early Christian church from the 5th – 6th century. The inhabitants of Polače are primarily engaged with hospitality and tourism services and there are plenty of apartments for hire and restaurants in the settlement.
Soline is a small tourism settlement located in the canal of the same name, exiting the Great Lake towards the open sea. Due to the shallowness of the canal, the Benedictines filled the natural basins with sea, and when the sea evaporated, they would collect the salt. Later, the settlement was named Soline (sol = salt) after this production. The settlement was founded in 1825.
Babine Kuće – originally Zababinon kućon – is a settlement with a special atmosphere on the coast of Great Lake. Due to a unique view of the islet of St. Mary and the Great Lake, numerous guests come back to spend their holiday on the ‘very source of beauty of the island of Mljet’. The settlement was founded in the 20th century. The settlement of Njivice is located across Babine Kuće; it is a small town that was founded in 1936 after the first hotel on Mljet was founded, and the post office and Administration of the National Park are located at the nearby Pristanište.
Goveđari is the oldest settlement in the area of the National Park. It was founded near the end of the 18th century based on the Agreement on settlement above the field of Pomijenta. The Agreement was concluded between the monks of Mljet and the representatives of the abbey on the one hand and three families of Mljet on the other. In addition to the asphalt road, the settlement is reachable on foot via numerous pathways. The best views of the settlement are from the main road Polače-Vrbovica from the Jarište crossing up until Vrbovica, and from the Vrbovica-Goveđari road. At the end of the settlement, in a pine forest halfway to Babine Kuće, is the Church of Saint Nicholas, constructed at the beginning of the 20th century in 1927, with its parish office on Velika Loza on the edge of Pomijenta and Vrbovica. The Goveđari parish was founded in 1897 and its borders coincide with the land registry borders of the Mljet National Park. On the way to the Church of Saint Nicholas, one can see threshing floors and pens for goats, donkeys, pigs and poultry coops. The settlement also houses the regional school where children attend the first four classes of primary school. There are many archaeological monuments near the settlement, such as the ancient necropolis and Roman graves.
Pomena – named after the palm tree (poma) – is located in a small bay on the northwestern side of the island. This bay, protected by four islands, was inhabited even during the Antiquity period. It was probably used as a passer-by port for ships heading towards Korčula. Despite this Antiquity settlement, the foundations of the Pomena of today were not made by the Romans, but by fishermen from Goveđara who constructed small storehouses for their fishing tools and nets. The first permanent inhabitants were from Goveđari, and they founded a fishing community in the settlement, but Pomena was developed the most when the Odisej hotel was founded. Due to the hotel, numerous new houses were constructed in the settlement, and today, Pomena is, thanks to the vicinity of the Great and Small Lake, the strongest settlement of Mljet in terms of tourism. The Odisej hotel is the only hotel on the island.
Pristanište and Tatinica were founded by the Forestry Service.