A Travel Guide To Šolta Island, Croatia
Croatia, the jewel of the Adriatic Sea, is home to over 1,200 islands. Šolta (pronounced sholta), a hilly isle, sits in the high seas. Only about five kilometres wide and 19 kilometres long, the small island is only a short ferry ride from Split, the second largest city in Croatia.
It is often overlooked for its more developed neighbours like Brač or Hvar. But the stony islet has become more popular for its pristine nature, with its pebbly beaches, lush greenery and turquoise waters, its medieval villages and winemaking. Šolta is also famous for its honey thanks to the herbs, Macchia and shrubs that make it a perfect beekeeping pasture.
Watch the sunset at Maslinica Bay and then check out the island’s seaside bars, open-air restaurants and stylish beach clubs.
History of Šolta
Known by the Greeks as Olyntha, Šolta became a getaway for the Roman citizens of Salona. Now, the small population of the island is augmented by Split locals who built second homes here to take a pleasant break from busy Split. Although tourism is becoming more well-developed in Šolta, it is nowhere near as visited as Croatia’s main islands.
The main activities on the island revolve around the age-old production of olive oil and honey. This makes it ideal for those who want to veer from the standard tourist trail for a glimpse of traditional island life. However, there is not a huge amount to do though when visitors are few and accommodation is scarce.
The major villages
Rogac: This place serves as the dock for the ferries coming to Šolta from Split, making it the first view of Šolta that visitors have. Near the dock, you can find a small tourist office, a cafe, a Jadrolinija stall, an ATM and an excellent restaurant close by. Pasarela serves up the freshest possible fish, pasta and pizza. You can dine either indoors or under the shade in a stepped terrace on the edge of the sea. A narrow beach is right nearby.
Grohote: Grohote lies on a steep hill from Rogac. The alluring stone village is the largest settlement on the island and its administrative centre. A parish church sits in a tableau of medieval, Mediterranean charm. There is also a market, pharmacy, tourist office and a post office.
Necujam: Necujam has been a popular tourist destination for decades because of its wide bay. Even the Romans holidayed on Necujam. The main attraction here is a rocky beach and a public swimming pool for gentler bathing. There are four restaurants, a beach bar and a discotheque for lively summer evenings.
Maslinica: Lively Maslinica has the vibe of a fisherman’s village with its great beaches, restaurants, services and the island’s best hotel. The town centre is punctuated by stone houses clustered around a deep bay. It also provides a great location to Benches face directly west making it a great place to watch the sunset. You can watch the sky change colour during sunset from a glassed-in terrace at the Restoran Sampjer situated perfectly on a hill. We recommend the pasta with truffles and shrimp for this. They also offer a free shuttle. If you are in Šolta for a few days, settle down in the Martinis Marchi Heritage Hotel, a friendly and luxurious five-star hotel located right in the town centre.
Stomorska: This is the largest and most developed village, centred around a small boat harbour. There are a lot of restaurants, accommodation, a service station, market and some other businesses. The population of 250 doubles in the summer as the tourists fill rooms and apartments. Enjoy a meal or a cocktail in one of the restaurants or cafés lining the port.
Getting to Šolta Island
There are daily car ferries between Split and Rogac that make a day trip easy. There is also a passenger boat that connects Rogac with Milna on Brac Island. It leaves early in the morning to take islanders to work.
There is only one hotel in Maslinica, the wonderful Martinis Marchi Heritage Hotel. However, you can find rooms and apartments throughout the island. When not in “tourist season”, the number of rooms and apartments available narrows down to Necujam and Stomorska. If you will be cooking by yourself, there are only markets in Maslinica, Grohote and Stomorska.
Getting around Solta
Transport on the island is organised around the ferries. Buses meet each ferry arrival and make a circuit of all the major villages. About 45 minutes before departure, buses will pick up passengers from the same villages to take them to the ferry. With careful timing, it’s possible to visit a couple of villages in a day and return to catch the evening ferry. Ferry schedules are conspicuously posted in each village. However, it is best to have a car if you want to explore the island in depth.