Croatia - a serene island around the corner of Split: Solta
Well, what should we say: we went to an island in Croatia which is close to the famous islands of Brac or Hvar. It is not small, but it is definitely off the beaten track as it is not even listed in Travelblog! And what a beautiful and serene island it is! This is Solta.
We based ourselves in Split for a short holiday break of only 5 days. It was easy to rent an apartment here. It was basic but we had the possibility to cook our own food which was great. As vegetarians you can face some hungry moments in Croatia when you cannot cook by yourself ;-). As we had a lot of things to do and to organize before leaving we did not feel like exploring the city immediately. So we decided to just walk down to the harbour and catch an early morning ferry to Solta. This island is just a 1 hour ferry ride away from the town of Split. And we were surprised: not a lot of people go there on their own. There were only a few backpackers on the ferry, some holiday makers with there cars and lots of locals who went shopping in town. The ferry ride itself was beautiful. Just leaving the harbour of Split is amazing. How wonderful is this city situated: nestled in between the ocean and the mountains. And in front many islands are sprinkled in the ocean. We arrived in the "town" of Rogac. Well, it is not really a town. There is the harbour, a restaurant, a tourist information and some houses. We could take one of the 2 buses that go around the island. We wanted to head north to Maslinica which is supposed to be the most picturesque town on the island. It was a 20 minute ride across the island. The island is hilly, there are few lovely villages with old stone houses and lots of olive trees. Arriving in Maslinica we were speechless. The harbour in the cristal clear bay was simply beautiful and stunning. It is small. But creamy white stone houses, the blue ocean and coulourful plants and some palm trees - we felt like being in a kitchy movie. We walked around the harbour and sat down in a cafe to enjoy a
white coffee (like a cappucino but more milk). Croatians love their coffee and it was really good. At 11 am a lot of tourists boats with package tourists arrived from the mainland. They were on an island tour around Split. So we quickly left the harbour and walked around the bay in search of a quiet beach. Without a car it is a bit difficult on Solta to reach the really remote beaches. There are lots of beautiful bays where one will spend the whole day alone and bathing naked in the blue ocean. But you need a car or a scooter to get there. Anyway, we found a peaceful bay with a beautiful view and very few people. So it was perfect for us. In Croatia in general, there are only few sandy beaches. Most of the beaches are rocky. Unfortunately, this means that one may encounter a lot of sea urchins. Of course, we did not have any shoes for swimming with us. But we luckily found a place where we could jump into the water and get out without these unpleasant creatures.
We enjoyed a perfect few hours in the sun, swimming in the cool water. This was kind of a paradies we had not expected! What was really surprising us was how clean everything was. Be it the water in the ocean, the streets, the houses, the cafes and restaurants and even the public toilets. Being in a balkan state for the first time, we were not sure what to expect. But it was a positive surprise also concerning the people. Croatians seem to be very quiet and reluctant. But if you ask something or if you simply smile - they are extremely helpful and very, very friendly.
In the afternoon we too the bus back to the main town on the island: Grohote. There was a little market, a church and some beautiful houses. From there we walked back down to the coast to Rogac. We enjoyed a sunset drink and watched the many small sailing boats before we took the evening ferry back to Split.
Well, if you want to do sightseeing or partying, Solta is definitely not the place to go. But if you look for some nature beauty and peace - it is a little unexpected paradies in the adriatic. As we heard from people living there, a growing number of artists move to the island where you can still live in peace.