Traveling to Island of Solta- secret hidden in plain sight

Apricus Travel

For someone who has never been to Croatia, many things could be considered a secret. From the fiercely guarded recipes passed down through generations, scrawled in handwritten cookbooks by grandmothers, to the whispered secrets of agriculture – where the competition for the juiciest tomato or the most flavorful olive oil is fierce – Croatia offers a captivating blend of culinary and agricultural intrigue.Yet, secret that seems to be the easiest to hide, is a small island, lost between more than 1200 of them. I am going to tell you why you should travel to Island of Šolta in Croatia. 

1200 rocks of all shapes and sizes are proudly showing the tips of their somewhat bold heads while trying to call and reach for one another. As someone who is deeply immersed in this culture, those kinds of secret places are as exciting as being the first one that year to try your mama’s easter cake. 

The great thing about Croatian cost is that even though there are so many islands bathing in the beautiful light blue sea, it is rather small in area, and if you have some time, you can see a big part of it. 

Gateway to the Islands: Arriving in Split

When you travel to Island of Šolta in Croatia, easiest way is going through Split airport, as it is the biggest coastal city. From there, you have a connection to all the bigger islands. Most travelers have heard about Hvar, which is known as a party island and because of it is unfairly under-visited when it comes to smaller places on it. Then there is Brač, known for its long sandy beach, which is considered one of the most beautiful in Europe, as it should be. And right on west of Brač, almost touching it, there is a small gem of an island called Šolta. A secret hidden in plain sight. It is rather odd how an island that is smallish like that, in total, 18 kilometers long and 4,9 kilometers wide, can seem so surprisingly new with every new inch of it that you discover.

When approaching it by ferry, that goes there and back to Split a few times a day, you instantly feel a different vibe, your breath slows down, and all of a sudden it is like your nose discovered new aromas. The sea has never smelled so salty, pine trees were never so dominating, and crickets sing like they have formed a quire singing so loud as they are bragging with their song. Just when you start to think it is going to bother you, the sound disappears. Like it has dissolved in between sounds of the waves gently crashing on the rocks and birds lazy chipping. 

You have arrived in Rogač. 

Enchanting Arrival: First Impressions of Rogač

The whole town is spread thin along the coastline. At some points, it is like there is only one house right next to the sea, and nothing but pine and olive trees behind. And it goes on and on like that, as long as your eyes can go. It is one of the centers of the island as many people who live on Šolta work in Split, and Rogač is the only harbor with every day connection to the city. There are always a few people more in the local bar while waiting for the ferry. Rogac has nice, easily approachable beaches, perfect if you are visiting with children or are a type that enjoys convenience. 

Venturing Inland: Unveiling Šolta’s Soul

When going further inside the island with the main road you start to come across the first olive yards and vegetable gardens. When you travel to Island of Šolta in Croatia, you will notice that here are far more olives than habitants here, as olives are considered the holy trees. 

The Heart of Šolta: Olive Groves and Local Traditions

An old Croatian saying goes ‘The olive tree is like a mother because it gives selflessly even when it has been forgotten for years.’

In Croatia’s very soul, olive trees weave their roots deep and are considered as sacred as a strand of their DNA. They are a bounty from God that offers nutrition, food, beauty, wood, health, and positive feelings. Almost every family here has an olive yard and is making their oil. It is a condiment that goes magically with the Mediterranean cuisine, giving it just the right flavor it wouldn’t exist without it. Every year when it is time to pick olives, hoards of people rush here to help their family and relatives to pluck the fruits of these holy trees. It is a holiday, a holiday of labor and togetherness. It is a beautiful time to be on this island, too. October is still warm, gentle, and not too crowded with tourists. 

Glimpsing those olive yards along the road, you are approaching the old part of the island, one that lies in the middle of the island. There are 4 little places there, Donje Selo (Lower Village), Srednje Selo (Middle Village), Gornje Selo (Upper Village), and Grohote, which is the administrative center of the island. These little places transport you back in time with their old stone houses and old pine trees.

Island Charm: Šolta’s Transformation During Summer

1479 is the number of people that live in Šolta now. When you think about it, if you stay there for a while, you are probably going to meet everyone there. It gives you a warm feeling of a small, safe place.

This number more than triples during summer months when tourists from all over the world visit probably one of the most beautiful Croatian boat marinas, Martinis Marchi in the town of Maslinica. Maslinica is another coastal town with a beautiful visor to it. When you walk through its white stone riviera during the hot summer months, it is the clash between the luxury modern boats and historical houses that catches your eye the most. In your head, you have already chosen the music that goes with this scene as you are sipping Aperol spritz in one of the bars that are so close to the sea that you can feel it touching your feet. These bars live a special life during summer as there are more young people there in search of places to go out and have a few drinks with their friends. 

A Culinary Journey on Šolta: Fresh Flavors from Land and Sea

There may be only around 20 restaurants scattered across Šolta, but don’t let the number fool you. These eateries offer a taste of heaven, showcasing the freshest ingredients the island has to offer. A large number of people who live here for a whole year know how to fish, and restaurants are starting the preparation for the season on time, buying out or catching their fresh fish. You can not go wrong when choosing your meal here.

This dedication to freshness extends beyond the bounty of the sea. Šolta boasts a rich agricultural heritage, with olive groves and vegetable gardens flourishing under the Mediterranean sun. Local restaurants take full advantage of these offerings, incorporating seasonal produce into their menus. From succulent sun-ripened tomatoes to vibrantly colored peppers and flavorful herbs, each dish sings with the essence of Šolta.

Choosing a meal on Šolta becomes a delightful dilemma. Whether you crave a plate of perfectly grilled squid, a steaming bowl of fragrant pašticada (a traditional Dalmatian stew), or a vegetarian delight bursting with fresh island vegetables, you’re guaranteed a culinary experience that will tantalize your taste buds. Don’t be afraid to venture beyond the familiar; Šolta’s restaurants are havens for culinary exploration, with friendly staff often offering recommendations based on the day’s freshest catches and seasonal specialties.

So, relax, savor the aromas wafting from open kitchens, and let the warm hospitality of Šolta guide you on an unforgettable gastronomic journey.

Sometimes it feels like Šolta is whispering promises of a slower pace, of crystal-clear waters, and of flavors that linger long after the last bite. It’s an island where history whispers through ancient stone houses, and where the scent of pine and olive trees mingles with the salty kiss of the Adriatic. Whether you seek relaxation on pristine beaches, exploration of charming villages, or a delectable journey through Croatian cuisine, Šolta offers an unforgettable experience.

So ditch the crowds and travel to Island of Šolta in Croatia, embrace the hidden gem that is Šolta.  Immerse yourself in the island’s laid-back charm, and create memories that will last a lifetime.