Our friendly host Nicola picked us up by car from the ferry port and drove us to beautiful Soline, a 30 people village (we’d call it a hamlet) started by his ancestors. When we opened the car door, smells of rosemary and lavender wafted across, immediately making us feel as at ease. The evening sun and slight breeze was exactly what we needed to relaxed.
Meandering through the well sign posted paths along the crystal clear turquoise saline lake, the next day we arrived opposite an island in the saline lake with a monastery. We were a bit perplexed – the signpost had definitely pointed us to the monastery ‘Sveti Maria’, but now there were 100 meters of clear saline lake between us and the monastery. It turned out, we had to take the orange flag from its holder and wave it, then a man with a free motorboat came to ferry us across to the island. Given that Dean was carrying Naira in the baby carrier, I definitely hesitated to step into the shaky little boat, but then the tempting restaurant on the island made me decide we should jump into the boat regardless. After a delicious vegetarian lunch on the island, we took a walk across the monastery ruins and found two lovely donkeys, which Naira was fascinated by.
The next day, we took a hike up to the highest hill in the national park and enjoyed a postcard view. Because the hike up was in the forest, there was no need to worry too much about sunscreen.
My absolute favourite bit was swimming in the salt lake. Sitting under the scented pine trees, then sliding into the clear blue water with no more than 3 other tourists around, it was serene. Even in October the water felt warmer than 20℃, we dipped Naira’s toes in and she did not seem to mind. And, you could have easily chosen another beach with fewer people. Most beache are pebble or rocks.
Back in Dubrovnik, we later saw an advert for the island with crystal blue waters, lush green forests and idyllic hamlets – it was one of the few times I saw an advert that represents reality perfectly.
Baby friendliness: **** Soline is perfect for a stroller: you can walk around the lakes on small asphalted roads rarely frequented by cars. Like elsewhere in the Balkans, baby changing is few and far between.
Practicalities: take the ferry from Dubrovnik to Pomena, 1h30 minutes.