Testimonials

“They are group of enthusiastic and passionate professionals.”

Written by the people who have explored this stunning region with us, the selection of testimonials below highlights the places, the people and the feelings you are bound to experience on your journey. Honest and unrevised, they give you a clear idea of the personal efforts and virtue which go into crafting each individual itinerary and have over time become the trademark of travelling with Secret Dalmatia.

Ron Smith Group, USA
Discover Dalmatia, Private program

September 2019

Dear Ivana:

My friends and I had a wonderful time in Croatia. I can’t begin to tell you how much fun we had. It really was a trip of a lifetime for us.

I have thoroughly enjoyed working with you as we planned this trip together. Every detail was planned and executed to perfection. Not one fumble from the day we arrived at the Dubrovnik airport until the day we departed from the Split airport. The logistical challenge was formidable and yet you and your colleagues pulled it off without a hitch. Our travel group of ten people with various and diverse needs and interests is not an easy task to manage. Every one of us was thoroughly impressed and satisfied with the level and quality of service provided by the Secret Dalmatia Team of professionals.

I hope I don’t forget any of the great people who helped make our trip so memorable but they all know how important they were to our experience. Our special thanks to:

Our chauffeurs:

Marco and Mario in Dubrovnik and Peljesac

Anton on Hvar

Robert on Solta and in Split

Our yacht crew:

Ivan and Beppo (so capable, professional and very personable)

Our tour guides:

Maris in Dubrovnik

Lori on the Island of Hvar

Dom on the Island of Solta

Our Activity Hosts:

Mario Bartulovic and his lovely family on the Peljesac Peninsula (wine tour and delicious lunch)

Ivo Dubokovic wine tasting on Hvar near Stari Grad

Matte and his wife Michaela at their Kanoba on Hvar (could have been the most outstanding meal we had in Croatia. Unbelievable food and hospitality in an idyllic countryside setting)

Chef Tatjana and her husband Kaja (This is an activity not to be missed. Tatjana has so much energy and love for her cooking class and her students. Everyone was involved in the preparation of the meal . We met as strangers but left their home as friends!)

Goran Tvrdic and his wife Natasha on Solta (Another activity not to be missed. Goran is so knowledgeable as a beekeeper and their hospitality was extraordinary. What a wonderful educational experience and a very enjoyable day with the Tvrdics.)

I would unreservedly recommend Secret Dalmatia to everyone considering a trip to the region. I felt entirely comfortable during the entire planning process with Ivana and Secret Dalmatia. There was never a reason to doubt my decision to engage your company. Long distance communication was never an issue and your responsiveness to my many questions and queries was reassuring. Upon our arrival in Croatia, your attentiveness and follow through continued until our departure from Split. I am amazed!

Warmest regards,

Ron Smith - USA

Eileen Kawas, USA
Discover Croatia, Private program

September 2019

So here are some specifics on my trip:

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Croatia and hope to return again next year.

Istrian Peninsula
Loved the seaside villages and medieval mountaintop villages: Rovinj was delightful, Motovun and Groznjan very special. I could have skipped Pula, there wasn't enough there to capture my attention.
The truffle hunt was a treat, Visnja made it a very complete experience: historical background, hunting with the dogs, delicious food prepared with the truffle we found.
Dinner at Puntulina was a slight disappointment, I thought they were a victim of their own success. Ivan, my driver, suggested Konoba Jure, he knows Jure, who spoiled me with several very nice dishes, very fresh and a friendly atmosphere. I was happy.
Rossana was very pleasant and informative, she's eager to please.
Monte Mulini was a great choice: extremely comfortable and well located. Consistent service.

Plitvice Lakes
Mario is passionate about Plitvice and appreciates anyone that shows similar interest. Starting early in the morning was the right decision, I didn't feel overwhelmed with people, we did both the upper and lower lakes.
Toni was a good choice, more than a driver, he is also a very knowledgeable guide. I appreciated his directness and honesty, it worked for me.

Zadar
Nice transition point. Low key. Hotel Bastion was very comfortable and centrally located.
Ivana was extremely knowledgeable and filled with self confidence; she would be great with educators and well educated audiences.
Lunch at Pet Bunara and dinner next door at Proto. Both excellent choices.

Krka Waterfalls/Sibenik
Convenient that I saw a lot in under two hours. Tina was a treat, wonderful personality who understands her audience.
Lunch at Pelegrini was so special, I don't think I need to say more. Everything I could have imagined and more.

Split
Crowded and hot, I enjoyed the early morning hours and late evening without the people. Very much enjoyed the tour of Diocletian's Palace, especially the cellars. Tina was informative, but a bit too much of the "schoolteacher".
Hotel Judita Palace was another great choice, perfect location. Andrea (?) at the front desk took very good care of me, he's quite the character.
Dinner at Makarun was very nice, as was Chops Grill.

Trogir & Tatjana
Love, Laughter and Good Food! Very fun experience with Tatjana. Throughly enjoyed our conversations while she whipped up enough food for the entire neighborhood! Very special lady.

Ivona & the Melody
What can I say, it was the highlight of my holiday, so very special. Ivona is one of a kind, a beautiful person inside and out, an excellent sailor. I trusted her completely, and felt safe at all times, even as we motored through 5 1/2 hours of rain. She understood me and took me to locations that met my needs: quiet bays and less touristy islands. Her dinner recommendations were spot on, she made sure I enjoyed my week. Ivona--unique and a treasure. My dreams came true on the Melody.

Dubrovnik
After a week of solitude on a sailboat, it was pure culture shock. Crowded and hot, the old town was nice to see, but more so in the early morning. Again, the Hotel Excelsior was perfectly located, I was pleased with the accommodations.
I enjoyed my time with Vesna, she didn't push it, oriented me to old town, showed me the highlights.
I dined twice at Posat, it was perfect--food, service, location.

Mario/Peljesac Peninsula
I just want to make sure you understand my feelings about the day. I think the day is well designed and the tour a great experience. I appreciate everything Mario did to make sure I enjoyed myself. I know this was a lot of work for him, especially the day before harvest. I enjoyed going to his home and the delicious food prepared for me. Mario is extremely knowledgeable.
Having said this, I did not enjoy myself as I had on previous other tours; I felt like I was a "captive audience" for Mario, it was a 6 hour monologue with nowhere to turn. I needed more space. Perhaps it was because I was a solo traveler, perhaps sitting in the front seat with him did not provide the distance I needed. Whatever the underlying cause, it was not my best experience.

Mostar
Very interesting country and history, but not sure it was worth 6 hours in a car thru not so interesting countryside. And definitely not worth it had it rained. Vedran was a good choice to drive, he respected my space and my needs. Selmir (?) was a good guide, I liked his sense of humor. He made sure to integrate a "lesson" on the horrors of the war, he's trying to educate the world, one visitor at a time.

Montenegro
Amazing how the landscape changed so dramatically as we crossed the border. I so enjoyed Perast and Our Lady of the Rocks, even in the rain. Katarina weaved a lovely story of the maritime history with the modern day lifestyle and culture.
Kotor, while beautiful country, the landscape was spoiled by the cruise ship docked at the port. Old Town was nice but did not hold much interest for me.

Mariana, I had a fabulous holiday, I can't thank you enough for all you did. Nothing short of remarkable. I hope this has been helpful, please feel free to contact me with any further questions or concerns.

Thanks again..
Eileen

Karen and Chris Hughes, USA
Best Food and Wines of Croatia

August 2019

Mariana,
We want to thank you again for your professionalism in booking our trip as well as your day to day monitoring of your travels. Our favorite location has to be Brac and the Hotel Lemongardern. What a beautiful and serine island retreat. Followed by our Hotel in Split.
We found the itinerary to be full but with plenty of down time to just enjoy the sites however what truly made the trip exceptional were the local drivers and guides that were provided by Secret Dalmatia. Everyone did an excellent job of providing a wonderful experience and helped us to understand the areas as well as their personal history of the area. Marco was our favorite. I would be pleased to recommend you to anyone looking for guidance in a Croatian holiday .

Karen Hughes

Joan and Jenae Druckman, USA
Explore Dalmatia, Private program

September 2019

Hi Ivana,
We made it home safe and sound! We had a great trip and I'm already dreaming of a return visit with my husband. I know he would love it there. Thank you for all your help, especially with the last minute changes. The tours and drivers were excellent.
Best regards,
Joan
P.S. When I get over the jet lag, I'll send a few pictures!

Linda and Maurice Oppe, USA
Discover Dalmatia, Private program

September 2019

Hello, Ivana,

Yes, we safely returned to the US and I'm back at work (college campus).

Our Croatian adventure was fantastic!!! We have wonderful memories of the country's natural beauty & charming people we met. We learned much from the city tour guides about the Dalmatian region as well as Croatian history & culture. It bears repeating ... Natasa was outstanding ... so was Tomi (kayak leader). Peter, Lea & Marija were also delightful. Chauffeurs were great, too. The only negative glitch was the hike -- in retrospect, I would have eliminated that activity and spent more time on Korcula's gorgeous beaches.

Hotels: 4 of the 5 were fabulous. Hotel Marul was nice & well located, but not the same quality as the others.

Kudos to YOU! The entire itinerary was very well planned and organized. We certainly appreciate your time and attentiveness. I'm glad we connected.

Have to mention (and thank) the gal at the hotel in Zadar -- she went well beyond the call of duty to rescue us in the parking lot when we couldn't find the hotel. :-)

I will definitely refer friends to Secret Dalmatia for travel to Croatia.

Warm regards,

Linda & Maurice

P.S. During the entire trip we only saw one Dalmatian dog (in Split) -- LOL. Meanwhile, our girl was happy to reunite with her "pack".

Sue and Michael Grose, Australia
Explore Croatia and Slovenia, Private program

July 2019

Dear Ivana,

Thank you for creating such a wonderful itinerary for our trip to Croatia and Slovenia. The accommodation and experiences were wonderful and gave us a true taste of these beautiful countries and their people. We have brought home with us some great memories to share with our family. Mike and I will definitely recommend Secret Dalmatia to any of our friends considering a trip to this part of the world.

We also appreciated the late notice to change our car hire arrangements which occurred seamlessly!

Thank you again.
Warmest regards
Sue

 

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Wharry Family, USA
Family Tour of Croatia, Private program

July 2019

Hello good friends!!
We can’t thank you enough for planning our adventure in Croatia.We wouldn’t change a thing! All of the drivers and tour guides were excellent and what can we say about Simona! She is now a part of our family.I will recommend Secret Dalmatia to anyone that I can and have already given your name to our local travel agency! What can I do to help promote your company?
Thanks Again! Hvala!!
Joe,Mary Louise, Lisa and Maddie

Catherine Wingert, USA
Heritage Trip to Croatia, Private program

June 2019

Dear Mariana,

I wanted to write to tell you that I had an amazing vacation in Croatia. This is the second time you’ve helped me plan a trip to the area. Once again, your service exceeded my expectations.

I appreciated that you understood my goals for this trip (which were quite different from the last trip). I wanted a vacation to relax, explore the island of Brac, do some genealogy work, and learn more about the local history and culture. I was able to do all of these things!

The accommodations you recommended were perfect. The Palace Judita Heritage Hotel (Split) was within walking distance to Diocletian’s Palace and had a fabulous staff. The receptionists were warm, friendly and helpful. One of the staff members, named Andrija, met me at the Ferry port and helped me navigate my way to the car rental company. To top it all off, on the morning of my departure, at 5:30 am, I was given a packed picnic breakfast to take with me to the airport.

The Lemongarden Hotel (Sutivan, Brac) was also exceptional. It had beautiful grounds, a stunning pool and private beach. The location was wonderful and centrally located to the areas that I wanted to explore. The hotel had a wonderful full service restaurant and I appreciated that breakfast was included in my room charge. The scrambled eggs with truffles and Gouda cheese were delicious!!

One of things that I appreciated most was your attention to important details and your availability for questions and problems. During my travels, I accidently scratched the paint on my rental car. Fortunately, you had made arrangements for an excellent car insurance policy to cover that car during my trip. After the accident, I was able to reach you by phone. You explained what I needed to do to get the necessary legal documentation for the car rental company’s insurance carrier. Since the local process was unfamiliar to me, I was grateful that you walked me through the steps. It made this unfortunate accident easier to remedy. This experience also made me realize the importance of having a local travel agent who knows the local customs, laws and legal processes.

Finally, it was so wonderful to see you and have coffee with you in Split! Thank you for taking the time to get together with me, especially on a Saturday 

Thank you again for everything! I am already dreaming of my next trip to Croatia. You will be the first person I will contact when its time to start making arrangements!!

With gratitude and appreciation for you,

Catherine Katanic Wingert

Allen Family, USA
Private Tour of Croatia, Private program

May 2019

Dobar dan, Natasa,

we are home. we enjoyed our trip to croatia very much. i’d be happy to give you feedback.

first, i’d say our transport vehicles were awesome, very comfortable and our drivers were great, always prompt and enjoyable.

we really loved rovinj and liked the bike ride on the parenizana railway, it was a lot of fun and the countryside was very pretty. probably could have skipped the tour of rovinj though.

plitvice lakes was an absolute zoo by the afternoon hours. my recommendation would be to start that as early as possible, because it’s almost impossible to enjoy the beauty by noon time. thankfully our guide, marijan, handled it really well and got us around in a way that we avoided the crowds as much as possible. on our way out the lines on the boardwalk were wall to wall people.

as for the hike in paklencia, that was a disappointment, but sadly, my fault. i had wished we could have done a hike that was in quiet place away from the crowds, off the main entrance. we basically walked on a trail through the woods that wasn’t very pretty and it was crowded with people heading to other trails off the main path. i know marijan was trying to keep it low level because of my back. maybe there wasn’t a trail that was easily accessible to make the hike shorter that would showcase the views that i had wanted to hike. :(

Krupa river was amazingly beautiful and i would recommend this WAY over plitvice lakes. it rained and was very flooded so we couldn’t do the entire planned hike all along the river, but we still loved it.

Lunch with tatiana in trogir was one of our favorite experiences. We loved them and the food was amazing. i ate things i never would normally eat. Trogir itself though was very touristy and i’d avoid it if it weren’t for that lunch.!

Split was awesome, and we wished we’d stayed longer. The hotel manager was absolutely hilarious! loved that place.

Loved brac island and wished we had stayed there over hvar. The villages were exceptionally pretty. We could have done a day of just visiting villages by bike or car. the hike to the monastery was pretty cool as well.

Hvar was a bit too hectic for us, but we enjoyed the hike to the village and the lunch. Hotel adriana was our least favorite. the rooms were tiny, almost too small for 2 people. I wished we had done the sea kayaking in pakleni islands, not looked amazing, but we need another day for that. It would have been too aggressive to do that along with the hike in one day, but i sometimes overbook myself trying to cram it all in. also, i thought kayaking would have been tough for me with my back issue.

Korchula was our favorite island, and we liked the hotel a lot. they made us an amazing lunch for our hike. st. Ilija hike was great. our guide Damir adapted the hike for me, giving us several options so that we were still able to see the beauty of the top of the mountain, but keeping it a bit shorter and not so much uphill. he did a great job.

The cycling and lunch with Mario was unbelievable!!! our favorite thing on the whole trip. the bike ride was so spectacular and uncrowded. we couldn’t believe our eyes. thank you so much for organizing that!!!!! the food was so delicious, wild boar with homemade gnocchi. i’ve never eaten that and it was sooooo good. Such a memorable day.

Missed the kayaking in Dubrovnik, again, thought it would be tough on my back. absolutely thought the city was gorgeous, but so crowded. Shelby and i got out at 6am one morning to walk the city and take pictures in solitude. that was the best idea. we were the only ones out and about except for the garbage collectors and workers! our photos were so great. this hotels also great. very roomy and comfortable.

So, all in all, we really enjoyed our trip. had i not had my back injury i think a few things would have been better, but i’m just glad i was able to go on the trip, as i wasn’t sure i’d make it. i will recommend you guys to anyone who asks. you did a great job!

Susan Allen

Patricia and Robert Jacobs, USA
Discover Slovenia, Private program

May 2019

Hi Ivana-

Thanks for your email. We are finally getting settled back into our usual routine! We had a wonderful trip--so many good memories. We were very happy with all of your arrangements. Each guide was special in their own way. Tim (driver from Vienna to Slovenia) made us feel very comfortable and the drive went by quickly since we chatted almost the whole way. Tim and Robert connected over US Basketball, among other things. Stacia (please excuse my spelling) was warm and welcoming and she gave us a great tour of Ljubljana, including a few places familiar to her personally, and that we would never have visited otherwise. On our last day, Luca gave us a fabulous trip to Lake Bled, etc. He went out of his way to provide a perfect day (including rowing us out to the island), and modifying the day to include a ride up the gondola at the ski area. He was extremely knowledgeable about the area and an expert on all things outdoors! The day we spent with him was a real highlight of the trip, and was a nice change of pace from all of the "city" touring we had done. The Hotel Cubo worked out very well--perfect location for walking to the restaurants, etc. Almost forgot our guide in Vienna (Vipka, I think?). She was also excellent and very energetic, so that we enjoyed ourselves in spite of the rainy weather we experienced for both tours. Throughout the trip, we felt like we learned so much about the culture, people and history of the area, and this is what we love about traveling to new places.

Thanks again for all of your help!

Best Regards,

Pat