Recently ranked by global player Forbes as among the top five Mediterranean undiscovered islands, Mljet can be yours to explore for free if you have some free time on your hands. Mljet National Park is looking for volunteers to help clear and maintain hiking trails on the island. If you volunteer at Mljet, you’ll get seven nights of complimentary accommodation, plenty of free time and the opportunity to make your way across one of Croatia’s most beautiful and unique island landscapes.
© Mljet National Park
Those who volunteer at Mljet National Park will get to explore the entire north-west part of Mljet island, a protected area of stunning natural beauty that borders two famous saltwater lakes –Veliko Jezero and Malo Jezero which stretch 4 kilometres into the island’s interior. In the middle of the largest lake, there is a small island, Melita (Sveta Marija) on which a 12th-century Benedictine monastery picturesquely sits.
The island of Sveta Marija © Mljet National Park
The oldest marine protected area anywhere on the Mediterranean, as Mljet National Park stretches over almost 5300 hectares, there’s no guarantee these spectacular lakes will be within your view as you volunteer at Mljet. But, you will have plenty of time to explore the park and the island’s incredible sights – volunteering hours are restricted to just six hours per day.
Over 40 kilometres of hiking trails run along the shoreline and through the forests of the park. Those who volunteer at Mljet will be asked to clear trails that have become obstructed by winter’s strong winds blowing down trees and branches. Any equipment needed for the tasks, like compulsory work gloves, hats and t-shirts, will be provided by park authorities to all who volunteer at Mljet.
The groups required to volunteer at Mljet will be comprised of no less than 6 people and no more than 12 people at a time. You can apply to volunteer at Mljet alone – and maybe make some new buddies – or you can apply to go with a friend or friends. Both English speakers and Croatian speakers are invited to apply. Free accommodation is supplied in the Cullier building, owned by the Park. There are 7 rooms with bunk beds, toilets, showers, kitchen, living room. The building is just 2 km away from the village of Pomene, which has the only hotel on the island, several restaurants and two shops that are open during the summer. All meals are also provided free to those who volunteer at Mljet.
When can I volunteer at Mljet National Park?
Volunteer positions are available between February and November with the following being the specific weeks:
27/02 – 06/03
06/03 – 13/03
21/03 – 27/03
27/03 – 03/04
10/04 – 17/04
17/04 – 24/04
15/05 – 22/05
11/09 – 18/09
25/09 – 02/10
02/10 – 09/10
09/10 – 16/10
Volunteering lasts 7 days, one day of which is a free day – you can explore the park or take part in a tour of the island which the park organises as thanks to all volunteers. Volunteers will work 6 hours a day for the 6-day duration, although this 6 hour period does include one full hour of rest time. If there are unfavorable weather conditions (strong sun, wind, etc.) working hours may be reduced. Volunteers require only physical readiness and the desire to stay and work within a natural, outdoor environment. As the volunteering work requires physical strength and dexterity, these particular positions at the park are sadly not open to those with disabilities. Local transport within the Park is provided. Travel expenses for arrival and departure from the Park are borne by the volunteers themselves.
The Ulysses cave on Mljet island © TZ Mljet
During the free time you’ll have on the island, you can walk, hike or bicycle on the park’s trails, rent kayaks and canoes to explore the stunning saltwater lakes, go diving or take diving lessons, rent a scooter or car to explore the whole island and its many sights, or just chill out with your fellow volunteers, park staff and the park’s visitors at the accommodation centre or in a local tavern.
Want to extend your stay in Croatia by a week with free accommodation on an incredible island? Got some free time on your hands and an appreciation of the great outdoors? If this opportunity sounds like it might be for you, you can fill in a form and apply here