“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.
I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to email you sooner. Our honeymoon was absolutely amazing! From our transfers to our hotels to the excursions we were constantly amazed. We loved our cooking class and the oyster harvesting picnic. The wine tour and boat days were also so very enjoyable. The tour guides that we had for our waking tours were so knowledgeable and helpful. It was so neat to have our own private excursions throughout the trip. Every driver and every person we worked with were so welcoming and friendly. I cannot stop telling everyone about your travel agency and how great our trip was. We have memories that will last forever. Thank you so much for everything! We are already talking about planning our next visit to Croatia!
Thank you again,
Jessica And Chris
Thank you, We had a wonderful trip! The hotels were great, the food was great, the people were super nice and helpful and we truly had an outstanding vacation.
I think our least favorite thing was the trip to Plitvice Lakes. It was way too touristy for our likings and it was disappointing that you couldn’t swim. I think we would have preferred Krka Falls. I don’t think it was worth going hours out of the way for a short walk on a boardwalk although it was beautiful there. We all loved the caves and the days on the boats island hopping the most. The Dubrovnik Kayaking morning was fun but we all wished for a bit less kayaking and more time on the little island to swim, eat lunch, jump off the rocks, and explore. An hour was not enough.
I think my favorite town was Rovinj. It was a good combination of an outstanding hotel, fun old town to explore without too many people, and we enjoyed the bike ride around the park/beach area.
Hope that helps a bit. Everything was seamless and easy and I appreciate the planning you did for us.
I just wanted to thank you again for a fantastic trip. You made my husband's birthday vacation wonderful. Every driver and every guide was professional, knowledgable and fun. They made the tours delightful! The hotels were amazing and every arrangement went perfectly. I'll be recommending your agency to every friend and family member that goes to Croatia. And the next time we go back we'll contact you again.
Thank you for a beautiful and memorable trip!
Mirjana & Timothy O'Hara
Vlasta- Thank you so much. We had an amazing vacation. I am already recommending you and your company to family and friends. All the transfers worked out perfectly and really help reduce the stress of having to figure out where to go. I thought that overall the itinerary was great. We loved something about every location (will give more detail below). If I were to do it again may have a tweak or two, but really everything was so special. Here are some comments that I hope are helpful.
1) Guide from Venice to Ljubljana was great. Really knowledgeable, interesting and helpful. The cave and castle were really great to see as was the general countryside. When we got into Ljubljana he stopped and took us to the main cemetery. I always like to see off beaten track sites and this was interesting. We stayed at Hotel Vander which was good boutique hotel and great location. I know you didn’t help with day in LJub, but would really recommend people going if some of your clients are interested. We loved the city and just did the free walking tour and explored (castle, park) on our own. Much less touristy than other parts of trip, young and fun crowd (but not over the top partying like Hvar).
2) Plitvice Lakes so beautiful. Great that we had guide. So helpful getting around as it was pretty crowded that day. He took us in the back way at one point so we were not with the whole crowd and got to explore some parts on our own.
3) Split- Was least charming of the places we went (and I wasn’t expecting it to be so big). But of course the highlight was our cooking class. We had so much fun with Tatiana and her husband we didn’t want to leave. Also, the tour of the Palace was very interesting and I like Lea a lot. Interesting and personable. The first night we went to dinner at Brasserie 7. That was not my favorite part of city and restaurant was just ok. The next night we just ate in part of old city which I like much better. Boat ride to blue cave was great and the skipper found a great lunch spot and uncrowded bay for swimming which was amazing. Hotel Park Split was very nice.
4) Hvar- I found actual town charming and we LOVED the wine tour/dinner so happy we went. The hotel had paper thin walls and the A/C in our room wasn’t working. They gave us fans, but it wasn’t great. Also, you were right about partying..my kids would have loved it. We slept with ear plugs in. Day we went on wine tour we just hung out at hotel pool nearby which was really good to have a day to sleep in and hang by pool/beach.
5) I didn’t realize the travel from HVAR to Dubrovnik was really a full day (and not sure if it would have been better to take private boat with maybe stop at Mljet and then on to Dubrovnik.. or even cost-wise possible). But having said that, you know we loved our driver and he made what could have been a so-so day really fun. Also, scenery interesting and beautiful so worked out well.
6) Dubrovnik- Hotel Villa Dubrovnik was spectacular- I wish we could have stayed there longer! I thought tour with Maris was ok. She was a little less personable than some of our other guides and her tour was a little more history fact based than conversation.
7) Day of boating from Dubrovnik was good, but if I knew it was 2 hours each way to Mljet ( I probably would have rather stayed around the Islands closer to Dubrovnik). Mljet was beautiful. We rented bikes rode around the lakes. We didn’t stop at Islands on way back (although skipper offered) cause it was getting late and we felt like we didn’t spend enough time in the old city. So we went and walked the walls. We had two really good dinners in Dubrovnik. 1 at Pantarul (steve thinks this was his best meal) and Horizont. The owner at Horizont was great and brought steve and I free drinks because there was a huge thunderstorm and they had first put us outside.
8) Drive down to Aman was good and tour guide Kate was interesting and sweet. At that point though we were kind of tired of touring and couldn’t wait to get to Aman so probably rushed it a little. If I were to do again, I may have not done the tour and just gone right to Aman and looked at beautiful scenery of the Bay on the way. Also, two big tour ships were at Kotor when we were there. Kate found us a good lunch spot with healthy food!
9) Aman was amazing! We stayed in Villa (and not on Island). We couldn’t decide which to do and I still don’t know which would have been better.
10) Drive back to airport worked out well. Steve left something in car and driver was so nice and found us at airport about 20 minutes after he had dropped us to bring it back. (I am only calling him driver because I am so bad remembering names which aren’t familiar to me. )
All the people we dealt with were great. Nice, helpful and interesting. Their English was also very good which made it easy on us. Really helpful that you gave restaurant suggestions and contact info at every stop. Thanks again for helping plan this. Steve and I were saying we need you to expand into other countries so you can plan other trips for us! You really spoiled us! Let me know if you have any questions.
We definitely enjoyed a memorable trip. Working with you we were able to pack quite a bit into 8 days; day 9 we left so I am not counting that although the driver that morning provided wonderful commentary-historical and current events-on the city of Zagreb. So, even day 9 had its informative moments and created a feeling that we knew Zagreb. On the next trip, we all decided we needed a bit more time there.
Based upon a series of emails between a Croatia highlights tour was created within the time constraints outlined. As a result, we were able to see a part of the Dalmatian coast and get a sense of the place visited. That happened as a result of your efforts before we arrived and while we were there.
The hotels you selected were very good. First of all, the location allowed us to be either in the city center (Dubrovnik, Hvar & Zadar) or quickly inside the walls with a short walk (Korcula & Split). Staff in each location were very helpful providing maps, directions and recommendations for food that we used along with yours. The rooms at the Hotel Korsal were not as well appointed as the other sites, but the views from the rooms, a beach, and the cleanliness mattered more to me. A hotel is a base to get out and explore my surroundings. A traveler looking for more may find that hotel less attractive.
The restaurants you provided, like Adio Mare in Korcula, were very good (The waiter at that restaurant showed my wife and Amy how to debone a grilled fish and pull it apart with one’s fingers, which was a first for both). Hotel staff also were very good with recommendations.
Tours and guides were exceptional. First, each tour was well-timed. It allowed us enough time to get rooms, luggage and other details out of the way. Secondly, the tour took place on our first day and allowed us to explore with knowledge of the site on our next day. Vesna knows the city of Dubrovnik, and Nevis knows Split. They are good communicators, personable and can speak to the historical and the present challenges faced. Both provided suggestions for our free day, which we followed—swimming at the island of Lokrum was great fun and a relief from the heat in Dubrovnik; the Jewish cemetery and the home of Mestrevic were part of our free day in Split.Through them we gained our sense of the uniqueness of these cities. Mario provided the hiking tour at Plitivice Lakes and information on all aspects of the park. No one fell into the lake, and I think Mario has a new perspective on what retirees can do. Including that visit gave us a chance to explore another part of Croatia and break up the ride to Zagreb.
The use of drivers was a suggestion you made to me when I inquired about renting a car. You were right. They were always on time, professional, informative, and able to get us from one site to another with little delay. We would never have been able to do as much had we rented a car. True we may have had other experiences, but we were limited in time, and we wanted to experience as much of your country as we could. Again, you were right to make use of a driver.
If you were looking for some negatives, there are none I can share. More importantly, your attentiveness to the details in planning and your follow-up while we were traveling account for our ability to travel broadly, quickly and still feel the differences among the various places we visited. I came to Croatia because I always wanted to see Dubrovnik, and I loved it. Each place was unique. Including the towns of Korcula and Hvar on their respective islands provided some additional experiences. Again, I have to agree with you; Split is really special.
In addition to the planning and the attention paid while we were there, you took time from your work to greet us on the dock at Split and that was greatly appreciated. You will laugh but the moment we left Croatia, a major problem developed—all of our luggage was lost between Zagreb (there was a layover in Barcelona) and landing in Naples. Rich and I flew back home on Sunday, July 3 without luggage; luggage turned up on July 4 so Amy and Lin were there to get it. We all agreed this would not have happened if Dubravka was planning this. You’re indispensable.
Croatia was absolutely beautiful! Michael and I enjoyed our trip very much.
We loved the rich history, friendly people, delicious food & wine.
Thank you for thoughtfully planned our itinerary as all left us speechless.
All local guides- Mislav, Marija, our driver Tony and two skippers were wonderful! They were all enthusiastic in sharing their own culture with us. It was also amazing to see Mario's vineyard and dined at his home for lunch prepared with love and fresh ingredients. We have been praising how beautiful (& delicious) Croatia is to all of our families and friends.
As I am typing this email to you, I'm daydreaming about our trip and can't wait to return in the ear future.
Again, thank you for your professional guide in helping us to create beautiful memories on this trip.
Btw, I did receive the picnic refund.
All the best,
Dani & Michael
We are back home again now, although the cold here is a bit of a shock!
On behalf of the three of us, I wanted to send you a big thank you for organising a wonderful tour for us. We enjoyed every minute of it, and were so happy and thankful that we had you to organise it. Thanks for all your good advice, and for your patience with all the changes we needed to make. I really felt that you were putting the tour together to suit us, rather than what was easiest on your side. Everything went like clockwork, the guides and drivers were all excellent and went out of their way to help us with little extra things, and we really enjoyed the hotels as well (the Hotel Esplanade in Zagreb was a highlight, and a bit of a treat at the end). We also really enjoyed our afternoon with Chef Sandra, she was great.
But most of all, it was particularly good to meet you on the dock in Split, a lovely surprise, and to speak to you on the phone at the end. And, at all times we felt you were looking out for us, and that the guides and drivers were too, all that communication between you all made us feel looked after, and valued.
Good luck in the future, and please if you visit Sydney at some stage, please let us know!
Jennifer, Tom and Gordon
Dear Vlasta and Alan,
We couldn't have been more pleased with our experience with Secret Dalmatia, from our first phone call from Alan, until we were picked up promptly at the hotel and delivered to the airport in Dubrovnik to return home.
You chose terrific hotels for us. They were all clean, adequately spacious for our needs and located perfectly -- considering factors such as noise, access to city center attractions and our ability to walk to the best sites.
The guides were all prompt, friendly, professional and had a great sense of humor which we appreciated. The drivers were welcoming, helpful in orienting us to the area and added the personal touch of allowing us to learn about their home and work lives in Croatia.
We had some real surprises on this trip. As our time to fly from Milan to Zagreb approached, I had some anxiety about how we would manage on our own for most of two days in the City. How would we order food, find our way around, ask for help if we needed it? It was such a relief to learn that nearly everyone in the country speaks English -- far more common than in Italy, where we'd just left.
Croatia values cleanliness -- I'm embarrassed to say, more than in our country. We felt comfortable and safe everywhere we went. We also never felt any discomfort with being a same sex couple traveling in Croatia.
One regret -- I wish we had included Plivitce on the itinerary while traveling from Zagreb to Split. Toni took us to an overlook where I got some fantastic shots of all the waterfalls. In talking with him and with other travelers, it's not always jammed with tourists. I think if we had planned an 8 a.m. arrival to somewhere other than the main gate, we would have been very pleased. One suggestion -- as you write out the itinerary, give a more explicit idea of the time we'll spend with guides. For example, we knew that on Brac, we'd be returning sometime in the afternoon. It would help to know it's really an all day excursion and the boats return only at 3:30 and 6:00 p.m. Spending any less time than a full day on Brac would be a mistake. That island with its diversity, history, archaeology and beauty is an absolute gem.
Croatia is a relatively new destination for Americans. The numbers will undoubtedly blossom in coming years, and your business will continue to grow. You have my permission to use these comments in any publicity and you can forward requests for references for potential future travelers to me.
All our best, and thanks for a wonderful Croatian experience!
Eric and Lorn
We had a fabulous vacation in Croatia. You live in such a beautiful country with very nice people. - Croatia exceeded my expectations by a long shot.
I really enjoyed the day with Dom- Braca Island- good challenging hike for sure with a delicious lunch. Goren was great- very interesting tour of the military tunnels- he also provided some information regarding herbs growing on the island- and had us smell some of them he was able to locate on our tour. He recommended a terrific restaurant for dinner- Rocki's- had the best squid. - Anna and Maria were very informative and easy to talk to . I enjoyed my time with both of them.
The day we spent with Mario at his vineyard and then did some mountain biking was really fun- I'm not as big on wine as Tim- very interesting - and a very delicious lunch.
THe 2nd winery was disappointing and nothing that special- the bike ride was nice with Draco.
I would have preferred to go to the WIld Life Reserve near Dubrovnik on instead of the 2nd winery or probably the best day to go would have been the day we went kayaking. - I wouldn't recommend the kayaking- it was a bit boring (group tour, not private)
I would definitely would suggest to anyone going to Croatia to make sure to see one of the National Parks now that I know more about them from Croatians that we met. That the only thing I was disappointed that we didn't get to do.
Overall, a terrific vacation for sure and will definitely speak highly of your agency and Croatia. All the drivers were very polite and helpful. - really great staff.
Thank you for a wonderful vacation!!
Here are some thoughts regarding our trip:
1. All logistics, connections, transfers, etc. were seamless. No glitches anywhere.
2. We liked all of your guides and drivers. Not only did we learn a tremendous amount about your country's history and culture, but we also truly enjoyed their company! They were all willing to answer endless questions from us.
3. The hotels were all wonderful in a different way. The Palaca Judita was exceptional in terms of service, ambience and location and was the perfect introduction to the country and culture. The Adriana was beautiful in a totally different, more contemporary way and had a great location. However, the rooms were not perfectly functional (extremely dark, and we could not control the temperature--front desk told us to open the window to stop the air conditioning since that was the only way to make the room warmer on a chilly, rainy day). To balance that, the food was excellent, both breakfast buffet and lunch. And lastly, the Royal Princess was wonderful, and the perfect place to be for the last few days when we wanted a little relaxation. The suite was perfect with stunning views and by that time we were very happy to be away from the crowds and spend time by the sea!
4. All of our tours were great, but looking back I might have skipped the Montenegro day trip. Kotor bay was beautiful, and the walking tour was interesting but by that time I felt a little overload and the drive, although scenic, was a bit long. And as Drazan (spelling?) may have told you, we skipped the visit to Our Lady of the Rocks because we were a little tired. The place he suggested for lunch was perfect, though. Maybe we should have taken a day "off" somewhere along the way. We sure did enjoy the last 2 days of relaxation!
5. Your effort to retrieve our adaptor/converter was greatly appreciated! Lessons learned: bring more than one next time we travel overseas, and make sure you have a good travel agent to come to the rescue in case of "emergency".
In summary, our vacation was amazing--one of our best trips, and we are very happy with our decision to use Secret Dalmatia. Please feel free to use my comments in any way that would be helpful, and I will be writing a positive review on TripAdvisor and/or Facebook.