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Serene Solta, Oft Overlooked Croatian Island

The island of Solta will surprise you. It is the closest island to the mediaeval maze of old town Split, literally overlooked from the Riva, the waterfront harbour promenade of the city. Yet Solta is less frequented than the other islands nearby, and those who do visit tend to visit only the port towns. This leaves the rest of the island more or less undisturbed – its rugged, wooded hillsides perfect for walking or cycling.

It as to be said that when you arrive on Solta, you will see it is not as picturesque or unspoiled as many other spots in the Adriatic. The port of Rogar, likely to be your first impression of the island if you arrive on the Catamaran from Split, is hardly inspiring. It is basically a concrete-filled bus terminus, with a few tourists wandering aimlessly about waiting for a bus to take them to either Maslinica, out to the far west of the island, or Stornorska, to the east.

Leave Rogar behind though and you will climb steeply to Grohote. Again, you may be forgiven for feeling that it is a shame that the settlements on this island do little to enhance the natural beauty of the scenery. Grohote is the central and main administrative centre of Solta, though there is little point in lingering here. Also best avoided if you are in search of scenic beauty are the functional tourist apartments in Necujam – though there are some good views from here back across to the Dalmatian Coast.

Both Stornorska and Maslinica are far more promising. These pretty ports are the perfect combination of chic yacht-packed marinas and traditional fishing villages – sleepy, slow places that are perfect for a lazy drink or two and a taste of the delicious local food. Though for the best sense of island life, you should traverse the interior and visit some of the long-in-time stone-housed, kasbah-like villages to be found there.

When cycling or walking on Solta, the best of the island is to be seen by getting off the island’s main east west road and exploring byways that pass olive groves and vineyards that produce the products for which this island is well-known. Be sure also to sample the famous local honey while you are here. This is a small island, only 12 miles by around 3 miles, so is perfect for exploration on foot or by bicycle. Off the main road you will be untroubled by traffic and even on it there is only the occasional vehicle.

Those on a hiking or biking holiday may also enjoy kayaking around the islets west of Solta. From Maslinica, kayaking or taking a boat trip will show you the sun, sea, and idyllic islands and islets that a holiday in this part of the world is really all about.

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