Otok Solta

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Otok Solta is a sliver of land 18 kilometres long and no wider than 4 kilometres located south-west of Split and west of Brac, forming with Brac the southern side of the Splitski Kanal. With a population of little more than 1100 people it is a minnow compared to its neighbour Brac and often overlooked both by travellers and also by sailors as they pass along the Croatian coast.


The seaward or southern shore of Solta is typified by sea cliffs rising sharply from the water, punctuated by a number of long, incised bays which offer reasonable anchorages. The north, Splitski Kanal shore though backed by high hills has a slightly more welcoming shore with two larger bays Rogac and Necujam both of which have reasonably sized villages sited around them and several smaller settlements located on bays towards the islands eastern end.



The steep-sided bay of Jora on the south shore of Solta


Solta’s main industries are agricultural (grapes, figs, olives and fruit) with some fishing primarily out of the village of Maslinica at the island’s western end. Though there is tourism the impression is this is primarily local and regional holiday homes (it is particularly popular with people from Split)  and guides such as the most recent Rough Guide do not seem to mention Solta, which is a good thing if you want to avoid the crowds but bad for Solta’s tourist industry perhaps. Many tourists arrive in the ports of Rogac and Necujam and do not stray much further (particularly those who stay in the holiday complex in Necujam, but this is a great island to walk on and explore but remember to take plenty of water as you may find shops are few and far between.


The interior of the island is mostly wooded and while you will find a few prehistoric and roman sites it is its medieval and post medieval stone villages that provide its character. Once in the centre of the island you will find the villages of

Gronje Selo (inshore of Stomorska), Grohote (inshore of Rogac) and Donje Selo (east of Maslinica). Along the shore you are likely to find that many of the bays have beaches and for the most part that these will be uncrowded or totally deserted.


As of 2011 there were no official campsites on the island but plenty of rooms and apartments for rent. There is also a new hotel opened, the Martinis Marchi, in the former Habsburg Palace on the southern shore of the Maslinica bay. This has an attached restaurant and seems to be a very nice restoration of an 19th Century buildings. It is open year round but may be pricey.



Sailing

Solta is one of those unfortunate places that always seems to be on the way to somewhere. Yet it may have much to offer and repay a good visit. Travelling along the coast from Dubrovnik or points east to Sibenik or points west you will definitely skirt the island and a choice of whether to go inshore or off shore will inevitably be made on the basis of forecast and prevailing conditions. Passing along its southern (offshore) side is invariably quicker, though options for safe mooring/anchoring are none existent if it becomes necessary particularly in any sort of southerly weather. That said if weather does permit there are a number of small bays that might offer good anchorages (if no shelter from the south) for a lunch or swimming stop.


Heading Inshore require you to navigate either the Splitska Vrata at the eastern end of Solta or between the smaller islands of the channel between its western end and Veli Drevnik. Either way it will add at least 1 - 2 hour to your journey and the northern (inshore) side bows outward to the north increasing the distance you have to cover. Along the northern shore there are again an number of anchorages which may be attractive but could be problematic in a northerly wind. There is however also the port of  Rogac around the centre of the northern shore that offers good all round shelter in its inner harbour and also a fuel berth.


Unfortunately most of the anchorages both on the north and south shore tend to be exposed to one wind or another and during our visits they have never been available for comfortable (if not safe) mooring because of conditions. The one almost invariably sheltered anchorage on the island is at its western end, the fishing village of Maslinica has a micro marina/harbour wall run by the one big hotel in the village and a reasonable anchorage.


Maslinica Marina and Hotel


It is exposed to westerly and some south westerly winds which can make mooring difficult but its proximity to smaller offshore islands to the west, including the Drevniks, seems to prevent any real swell developing. Shelter also seems to have been increased by the construction of a new breakwater that we noted across the southern portion of the harbour mouth during a brief visit in 2011.


Another option is the harbour of Stomorska, lying almost opposite Split on the Island’s northern shore. Orientated from north to south it provides the best shelter of the northern ports but may be exposed to a swell in northerly winds. It is a popular harbour with facilities for 25 or so boats against the town harbour wall lying only 2 hours from Split and 3 from Trogir providing a useful first or last stop for charter boats.



Stomorska Harbour Wall