Mlini at this time of the year, in the dulcet colours of late summer, is usually a thriving destination, this year is a different story. This picture-postcard seaside village is a magnet for tourists, thanks to the plethora of family-friendly beaches, vibrant cafés and restaurants and two hotels.
Directly after Cavtat, which can be seen from Mlini, this location in Župa is extremely popular with guests from the UK. However, with the two hotels, Hotel Mlini and Hotel Astarea, both closed all year, Mlini has a very different look in the summer of 2020. “I don’t know how these small, family businesses are going to survive the winter,” explained one UK tourist. He was one of the few that I spotted on my walk around Mlini.
Empty beaches of Mlini - Photo Mark Thomas
A handful of cafés and restaurants are open but they very much depend on the two hotels. “It’s great for me, and I am enjoying the peace and tranquillity, but it does feel a little dead,” he added with a smile. It feels as dead as a Dodo. Peaceful and sad at the same time. The stands that offer boat rides and trips into Dubrovnik and indeed Cavtat look like monuments to a busier time.
One of the few swimmers - Photo Mark Thomas
Gone are the coffee mornings and evening meals by the Adriatic - Photo Mark Thomas
“Next year will be better,” shouts a café owner and gives me the thumbs up sign. I smiled and held back from saying “I couldn’t be worse.” The beaches that are normally awash with colourful towels and now home to seagulls, seemingly gazing at the Adriatic in search of their next fish dinner. Even the ducks that swim in the nearby stream seem confused at the lack of noise, and probably the lack of bread coming their way.
The Adriatic is crystal clear and shines in the late afternoon sunshine inviting swimmers to jump in. But the swimmers are mostly at home.