If you take a map of Croatia and look at middle Dalmatian islands, to the west of the island of Brač you’ll see a very developed but not very large island of Šolta.
To the west of the island is Brač and to the west is Drvenik Veliki. To the southeast is Hvar, and to the north is Split. Šolta belongs to the middle Dalmatian islands. It lies in the central part of the Adriatic Sea, near its eastern coast. In the northwest Šolta is ca 360km away from the coast of Marunska lagoon (the most drawn in part of the Adriatic) while from the Strait of Otranto (the border between the Adriatic and the Mediterranean Sea) in the southeast it is distant 390 km. Šolta is 185km distant from the Italian coast and from the Croatian mainland 10,7km (Uranjica). It is at a distance of 15 km (9 nautical miles) from Split.
To the north it is separated from the mainland by Split channel, to the east it is separated from the island of Brač by the Strait of Split (0,7 km) and to the west it is separated from Drvenik Veli by the Šolta channel (3,5 km). In the north of Šolta is the Čiovo peninsula (distant 7,3 km), to the southeast is the island of Hvar (14,5 km) and to the south is the island of Vis (29 km). Šolta is 19 km long (from the promontory Livka in the east of the island opened on Brač to the promontory Obinu‘ki bok in the west). The largest width is from the peninsula Rata in the eastern part of Nečujam to the peninsula in the western part of the cove of Senj and it is 4,9 km.
It spreads in the direction of west-northwest-southeast. Its exact topographic position is determined by geographical coordinates:
43° 19' 31" N (promontory Motika) 43°24' 26 " N (promontory Duboke vale) 16° 12' 13" E (promontory Obinu‘ki bok) 16° 24' 13" E (promontory Livka)
The island’s coastline is 73,1km long.
Beside the main island, Šolta also consists of 7 islets in front of the west port Maslinica.
The area of Šolta is 57,886 km2 and together with small islands in front of the cove of Maslinica (Polebrnjak, Saskinja, Balkun, Kamik, Šarac, Grmej, Stipanska) it is 58,875 km2.
Šolta is 13th largest of Croatian islands and it belongs to midsize Dalmatian islands. Krk, Cres, Brač, Hvar, Pag, Korcula, Dugi otok, Mljet, Rab, Vis, Lo‘inj, Pa‘man are larger than Šolta while smaller nearby islands are Čiovo and Drvenik Veli.
Geographical position of the island of Šolta in the Adriatic, especially its position in the middle Dalmatia gives Šolta a very important place in Split area towards which the island gravitates. The development of maritime activities in the Adriatic, especially of nautical tourism, sport fishing and other tourist activities depends largely on its location.
Origin of Name
Although the history in its many-year series of events wiped out the true reasons how originally this beautiful island was named there are different hypothesis but some of them are just wild guesses.
The most acceptable is the hypothesis of a professor Miro A. Mihovilovic. It connects today’s name of the island to its Greek name Olyntha (translation is unripe fig) and its full name would be Nesos Olynthia (nesos-island). Gradually after many centuries the first syllables of the name were dropped out and the old name was already forgotten. So, only the name Solynthia remained. The Greek "y" was pronounced "u" so Solyntha was pronounced Soluta.
During the history and after the arrival of the Romans the name was Latinized. The pronunciation was the same but the meaning changed. Soluta meant untied, unbound, an island separated from the mainland. And this is very important for today’s name of the island because it was imposed by Venetians when they became the rulers of our coast.
Namely, they found it in the Roman toponym Soluta, and since the Latin letter "u" was regularly written as "v" it couldn’t be accented, so the accent went to the first syllable and "u" in fact "v" was dropped out. So Šolta remained (That is how it was written in Šolta’s parish books until 1679, and even Split Statute from 14th ct). Under the Italian influence the letter "s" at the beginning of the name is softly pronounced and the Croats changed it to Šolta!
But Šolta has another less known name and that is "Sulet". The origin of the name traces back in the 2nd century when Croatian people came to Dalmatia and heard from its inhabitants different names for the island (Solenta, Solentia, Soluta). The first part of the word was pronounced "su", and the second "lent"-"Sulent" which in Croatian language turned into "Sulet".
The name Šolta prevailed because Austro-Hungarian sea experts in the 19th century put on the maps mostly Italian toponyms. In that way the name "Sulet" disappeared from the geographical maps and later also from usage while the name "Šolta" remained.
It is important to mention that even today pupils on the island are taught about the name "Sulet", and similar surnames (Sule) are very frequent even today on the island.
Mirine west of Donje Selo
Tourist community every summer season organizes a contest for the best decorated and arranged apartment, house lot and a village. The main purpose of this is to stimulate and encourage competition between the owners of apartments and houses but also of the villagers so that the whole island of Šolta can greet its dear guests as beautiful as possible. Every year as a prize the best get diplomas so if you see such a diploma in the house you’re staying in be sure that the owner did his best to welcome you!
According to a legend on the mount above the bay of Senj there was Teuta’s castle. According to this legend fishermen would throw a part of the caught fish to all four parts of the world in order to have the favor and mercy of the queen Teuta for further fishing.
In the past the boats of the Greeks, Italians and Spaniards who sailed in the Adriatic towards the East would stop by the coast of Šolta and take fish from the nets and fish traps. In empty nets and fish traps they would put money in bags and put them back in the sea.
The movie "The fall of Italy" was entirely filmed on Šolta.
The island was visited by one of the most famous modern time Polish poets Krzysztof Kamil Baczyński. There's a plaque dedicated to him (spomen-ploca in Croatian).