My husband and I have sailed in Croatia twice, and twice we made the coastal town of Stomorska on the island of Solta our first stop.

We’ll do it again.

The first time, we were just following our charter company’s lead as part of a wine and culinary flotilla and were relieved to have some assistance with our maiden Mediterranean Mooring attempt. On our second visit one year ago this week, we were on our own with a new crew of friends. We couldn’t wait to share this charming, not-too-busy, quintessential example of what sailing in Croatia is all about.

What exactly did we love? Everything, really. Here are the top three things that make Stomorska a perfect first stop.

Proximity

Stomorska is an easy sail less than 15 nautical miles from the Agana Marina. This short first day offers the chance to arrive to the town key early, explore a bit, and be ready for your first – and likely best – wine tasting adventure of the trip.

You’ll be nestled in a protected inlet on the Northeast side of the Island of Solta, leaving you in an excellent spot for departure the next day as you head south to Vis or Hvar.

Ambiance

Lovely Stomorska is packed with exactly the kind of old-world charm you expected you’d find when you decided to sail in Croatia in the first place. It isn’t as big as Vis Town or Milna, so if you are new to Mediterranean Mooring it might offer the slower pace you are seeking to test your skills. Plus, it is quite protected, minimizing the wind’s impact on your efforts.

The coffee shops and bars looking onto the water from the town key are simply lovely. Be sure to have a happy hour cocktail and local snack at one of the sidewalk tables after you sign in with the dock master. In the morning, don’t leave before savoring your coffee of choice as you look out at the boats being readied for their next Dalmatian island adventure.

Kaštelanac Winery

Kaštelanac, a quaint family-run farm and vineyard with a story dating back to 1762, is hands-down the best reason to come to Stomorska.

A tour of this small production winery high on the hill will take just a few minutes and will give you a sense of the effort, history, and passion behind the family’s production of wines, olives, olive oils, homemade cheeses, and traditional Dalmatian liquors. My advice? Enjoy, but watch out for those liquors! They are delicious but can pack a serious punch.

Of course, the wine made from the vineyard-grown Dobričić grape is the star of the show.

Both the rosé and red wines offered at Kaštelanac are sourced from this grape, which is indigenous to Šolta. With the help of wineries like Kaštelanac, the Dobričić grape has enjoyed a revival after the destruction of the Šolta vineyards during WWI. A visit to the winery is the only way you can enjoy this particular family wine as their production is limited and distribution beyond Šolta is presently not in place.

Picture this: After exploring the winery, you and your crew sit down at a patio table and watch the sun set as the owner grills marinated fish on the wood-fired oven. You enjoy olive tapenadas, homemade bread, salted anchovies, and other creative bites as you are offered – one-by-one – perfectly crafted white, rose, and red wines. Before you leave, purchase a case of wine for the rest of your trip. You’ll be glad you did and this is the only place you’ll be able to buy it.

Make reservations for a tasting or dinner well before you arrive, and let them know you are on a boat. They can schedule a time to pick you and your crew up at the round-about at the far end of the inlet. For more information on the winery and reservations, visit their website here.

From our limited experience April is a perfect time for a sailing trip to Croatia. So is late September. We are willing to test the theory that it is always beautiful there, so we plan to go back again next year to continue our research.

You can probably guess our first stop.