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.

Lawrence Scott, USA
Discover Dalmatia private program

July 2015

Mariana -

We just arrived back in the US with big smiles on our faces from a great trip, and many wonderful memories from Croatia. Thanks for sending along the photos from Dom. We had a very enjoyable day with him.

We had a very positive experience with Secret Dalmatia. We found your service very professional, with excellent communication and responsiveness, and appreciated you checking in with us during the visit. The guides and captains you selected were all excellent - personable, friendly, knowledgeable and they made big efforts to make sure our experience was very positive. The vehicles used for transfers, and the boats were all top quality. The hotel choices and restaurant selections were all excellent.

We only have very minor suggestions:
- suggest guests bring water shoes since most all the beaches we visited were rocky
- encourage guests to make restaurant reservations a day or two in advance to make sure you can get in during peak times (perhaps you can even offer to make reservations for guests)
- regarding the tours, you could give more detail in advance regarding the itinerary and possibly tailor to the guests interests......we are very adventurous and were happy to do whatever the guide suggested, but I could see some people wanting more input.

These are all relatively small things. All in all, a great experience and we will definitely recommend you to our friends interested in visiting Croatia.

All best,

Larry

Jon S. & James P., USA
Discover Dalmatia private program

June 2015

Sorry for our delay, Diana. It is never easy coming back from a vacation and was especially difficult after such an incredible experience in Croatia.
Thank you for truly creating a hassle-free vacation. We can't express enough how easy the vacation felt which allowed us to really relax and enjoy all the beauty of Croatia. Every excursion you created for us was planned with such precision and care that we felt completely comfortable and well taken care of the entire time. No detail was missed! Every guide and driver we met were extremely friendly and knowledgable and we enjoyed our interactions with all of them. The personal touches they were able to add to their torus really enhanced the experience.
Both of the hotels in Split and Dubrovnik were very nice and we'd stay in both of them again. Staff was helpful and friendly and the rooms were clean and spacious.
We loved Lana and both excursions with her. Would highly recommend Krka and lunch at Pelegrini.
Loved the wine tastings and dinner on Hvar Island - highly recommend.
We'd also highly recommend the meal in Ston with Mr Dennis.
As you know, we did not care for the hotel in Hvar. Not only were the rooms very very small but the "sea view" actually means that you can hear the club music being played loudly until 2am every night even with your window closed. The staff was also not very helpful and actually gave incorrect information. We would not stay here again. I know you warned us that your favorite hotels were already booked but this hotel was a miss.
The only excursion we wouldn't do again (although we are glad we saw it) was the trip to Montenegro. Noting was wrong with it, we just didn't think it was as special as the other trips you planned. Perhaps if we knew more details such as time in the car then we may not have gone. Also, if you said "highly recommend" or "guest favorite" on other excursions then we would have placed them above this one.
Overall we couldn't be happier with the entire trip and all that you did for us. We would highly recommend your services to others and will definitely be using you again in the future. Thank you for everything. Please feel free to share or post our comments, without using our full names, and let me know if you have any follow up questions. Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy!

Janice Ong & Timothy Chiodo, USA
Discover Dalmatia private program

June 2015

Hi Mirna,

I meant to write to you last week, but didn't have a chance to. I wanted to thank you for organizing a wonderful trip for us. Both of the hotels we stayed at were terrific. The driver who took us from Dubrovnik to Hvar was great. We also greatly enjoyed the half day tour in Hvar visiting the two wineries and the dinner in the abandoned village - would definitely recommend that to other visitors and thought the tour guide was great.

Thank you again!
Regards,
Janice

Timpson family, USA
Adventures in Croatia private program

June 2015

Dear Vlasta,

Thank you so much for a wonderfully planned trip in such a beautiful country!  It was a very special time for us and I have already given your name out to friends.  Wishing u a happy summer.  We certainly miss swimming in the Adriatic Sea!  Amazing,

Gratefully,

Sue and Al

Hancock & Wardlaw families, USA & UK
Croatia Sailing private program

June 2015

HI Mirna,

We had a wonderful time on our trip! Our skippers and hostesses were amazing and took very good care of us! Sanja Galaso was great about making arrangements for our dinners and knowing where to go in the different ports. A wealth of knowledge! Our crew always seemed to appear at all the right moments to make sure we were all doing well. Very thoughtful!

One recommendation I would suggest is on our last night it would have been fun to stay at port in the town of Split as oppose to having our last night on the boat in Trogir. Since our flight was not until later in the day, it would have allowed for time to have a tour guide take us through the historic parts of the town. It is absolutely gorgeous and we wished we had someone to give us the history behind it.

We thought the trip had a nice balance of activities and time to relax. We definitely enjoyed our afternoons relaxing and swimming in the different island coves. We could have had a little more time doing that. That being said, I know we had to be in port at specific times before it got too busy and our crew was great with timing.

Lastly, maybe one less meal at a family's home. Out of them all,  we loved our the tours and lunch on Solta, the dinner on Brac and in the abandoned village on Hvar. The dinner on Brac was unanimously the favorite!! Absolutely delicious food and great wine! And loved the husband and wife team!

We can't wait to return to Croatia and explore more of the islands! It really is a beautiful part of the world!

Thank you and look forward to coming back soon.

All the best,

Emily

Emily W. Hancock

John Stratton & Family, USA
Discover Dalmatia private program

June 2015

Mirna

We had a fabulous trip and may want to come back and do a boat trip.  Our guide for the bike day in Split was superb and he mentioned he may be getting a large sailboat.  If he does, we would be very interested in a 3-4 day trip out of Split with him.  Please let me know if this develops.  Would you refresh my memory as to what other countries you cover?

We felt that things were very well organized by you and that you offered us terrific experiences and we really appreciate it.

Overall highlights for all of us were many but especially

            -bike day

            -oyster tour

            -guide and tour in Dubrovnik

            -hotels—highlight was Judita Palace in Split but all were very good

           

I really liked being in Stari Grad as a contrast to the busyness of Dubrovnik and Split, maybe somewhat more than the rest of the group.

We heard from several people at hotels or the guides that your agency was the best, and I would agree.

Thanks for all of your help.

John

Mr. & Mrs. Lenstra, Canada
Discover Croatia & Bosnia private program

May 2015

Dear Diana,

As I said in my last email, our visit to Croatia/Sarajevo was exceptional.  There are so many of your guides and drivers who made the experiences wonderful.  The hotels were all very comfortable and the staff excellent.  I would suggest that if you have guests staying in Hotel Europe, Sarajevo, the larger rooms are very dark and the bathroom is not what most would appreciate.  It was comfortable, the service was good despite the fact that they were very busy and the breakfasts excellent.

Marija in Dubrovnik was very pleasant and knowledgeable.  Climbing the walls did not kill us and we were so happy that we did it!

Dajana and Drivers in Sarajevo were 200%.  She gave us the perfect tour of the city, then the most fun day in the Bosnian Highlands.  She realized we were only 5km hikers and they planned the trip accordingly!  We visited a village (without amenities) where Mountain people lived.  It was exceptional.  A very spry 78 years young lady invited us in for coffee!  It was an experience of a lifetime!  The mountains were so exceptional!  I know mountains and these were the most beautiful I have ever seen.  Dajana found a great restaurant in the middle of the mountains (????) where we had lunch!  We had so much fun bouncing along the mountain roads - I giggled so much my sides ached!  The driver who took us to Split (can't remember the name) was also exceptional and pointed out many interesting things along the way.  

Just when we thought we could not enjoy anything as much as the Bosnian Highland tour, Domagoj  took us on the Dalmation Hinterland trip.  again 200%. The landscape was so stunning, the personal touches he added to the trip were a first for us and so exceptional that I can only say - 'What a fabulous man'!  

Dalibor was so extraordinarily pleasant.  The long trip plus the hike at Pltvice with Ivana was very enjoyable.  I was happy that we were not there at the height of tourist season because of the crowds - there were thousands of people there!

Ljerka was not able to take us on our Pula/Rovinj tour but more than made up for it when we went on the wine tasting tour.  More giggles!  She chose 3 very different wineries who all treated us so nicely.  THE LUNCH!  Oh my goodness, that was the best restaurant gourmet lunch EVER!  
Ljerka was so lovely, I wished I had a daughter just like her!  Again, an exceptional day!

Then the Truffle Hunt!  Exceptional!  Worth every penny!  The dogs were so fun, the lady adorable, the truffle lunch along with local wine,  out of this world!  YUM!  Zdenka did a great job organizing the stops along the way plus the lunch.

So, as you can see, you get 200% for organizing the best holiday ever!  You organized it with great sensitivity and care.  We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the most memorable experience.  Please thank Alan for all that he organized for us - I suspect he may have organized Dalmation Hinterland tour with Dom.   The joyful experiences we had were way above our expectations and that does NOT happen often.  Croatia and it's people, however diverse, were absolute treasures.

With Gratitude,

The Lenstra's

Mr. & Mrs. Thompson, Canada
Discover Dalmatia private program

May 2015

Thanks, Mirna. It was a great vacation for us. The hotels were terrific. They were well run with, especially in Stari Grad and Split, lots of personality. The drivers were punctual, helpful and careful. Your restaurant recommendations were great. We had a good balance of free time and pure-arranged travel. And we had good weather. It was a pleasure to work with you and we wish you continued good success with your business. We will not hesitate to recommend Secret Dalmatia to our friends.

Regards,

Ian

May 2015

Hello Vlasta!

I’m so sorry for the lack of reply since our return.  I was a bit swamped with work when I got back, and then had some work travel and am only now digging out from my emails.

I’ve got nothing but positive feedback from our experience with you!  We booked a last minute trip, gave you the start and end dates, and you did the rest, giving us a fantastic range of options.  Our itinerary was perfect, and the personal touches and check-ins while we were in country especially helped us feel well taken care of.  It was obvious you value your work and it showed in how you paid attention to every detail. We liked all of the hotels and the tour guides and drivers were all personable, helpful and added so much to our experience. We will from now on try to get personal tours to accompany future travel because it was such a positive experience.

Thank you again, and all the best!

-          Oktay

Ms. Leona Chen, USA
Majestic Croatia Private Program

May 2015

Vlasta,
We all had a wonderful time visiting Croatia and cannot wait to share our experience with all of our friends.

I myself am a very organized person. I am the one who usually does all the planning, scheduling, arranging, reserving, confirming, researching...for everyone's vacations. When we decided to go to Croatia, I had so little knowledge and I thought the language might be a barrier. As well, from my research, it seemed no easy task to cover all the places we wanted to visit because trains are not a good option, planes direct from the U.S. are not available, and I didn't want to drive in an unfamiliar land with unfamiliar language. And I really didn't know where to begin, what to see, how much time to spend. So when I say, you did a better job planning and arranging this trip for us than I could have done myself, this is meant as a big compliment! You took care of every detail and anticipated every need!

We were extremely impressed with all of your drivers. They were friendly but professional. All were very responsible and safe drivers who made sure we were comfortable, with water, airconditioning, conversation, and every one of them was prompt. No need to call to confirm the night before. And no one (meaning me) got motion sick even on the very winding roads!

We also enjoyed each local guide. Each was very loyal to their home cities, and explained the complex history of your country well. Their English was great and their suggestions as to where to eat were really reliable.

Ida took us through the old part of Zagreb and, along the way, recommended Vinodol, and we enjoyed it for dinner. She also urged us to visit the green market, which we did, and the strawberries were delicious.

Davorin, our driver to Split, took us to a small place for lunch after Plitvice Lakes, which was amazing! Great roast pig and a kind of fluffy cheese, or as he described it, "chogurt", halfway between cheese and yogurt. And so reasonable in price!

Igor took us to a beautiful tavern overlooking vineyards in Varazdin, where he got us to try a blueberry aperitif. Wonderfully fruity and since we didn't have to drive, we all indulged. And of course we fell asleep on his drive back to Zagreb.

Tijiana, our guide to Plitvice, was incredibly thoughtful, bringing Emily a bouquet of flowers from her own garden, a bunch of balloons, AND a box of chocolates to congratulate her on her graduation from college. Completely unnecessary but so very kind. The day in Plitvice Lakes was just amazing. Really a must see on a visit to Croatia. Emily is still talking about it. Pictures don't do it justice.

Our driver to Dubrovnik, Dalibor, (but we heard it as Oliver, so please apologize for us), was so accommodating. What a small world that the small city he has lived in, in the United States, is my hometown! And how did he know that Bruce so wanted to see the aqueducts outside of Split that he drove by them on our way out? And he pulled over to a stand so we could try the regional candied orange peels and sugared almonds, (which we have already have been finished). He stopped for us at scenic points so we could take photos, and pointed out things for me to photograph for my Game of Thrones fan son, who could not come on this trip.

Ana was one of the most enthusiastic tour guides we have had. She really loves Split and conveyed her interest in archeology and history. She told us stories that really stayed with us, and it made it so much fun to return to Split on the following days and explore it again on our own.

Maris, our Dubrovnik guide was just fantastic. She managed to pull together the complex history of Croatia and distill it into a detailed talk without being boring or overwhelming. We all felt we learned a tremendous amount. We followed her recommendation for dinner at Kamenice and were rewarded with delicious food at reasonable prices.

At every stage of this tour, we felt no one tried to "up-sell" us. There was never any pressure to have to add on things to the tour. We were not pushed to expensive restaurants. But we felt that if we either needed more, or wanted more, we could ask.

Now, the hotels! Well, Hotel Esplanade in Zagreb was fabulous. The service was exemplary (they helped us a great deal when Emily's luggage did not arrive with us on our flight). The room layout worked well, with a separate bedroom for us and Emily on a sofabed in the living area. The bathroom was in the hallway, so easily accessible for her without having to disturb us. The hotel breakfast was elegant and diverse. We could not have chosen a better hotel, both for quality and the location.

Radisson Blu in Split had a spectacular view of the sea that was breathtaking. I had asked for a hotel where Emily could enjoy a sunbathing day so their pool gave us that option. It is a modern hotel but quite strange in its layout. The room/suite is very large but about half of it is taken up by an "open concept" bathroom, making it essentially wasted space. A big bathtub sits centrally with absolutely no privacy. The stall shower has three walls and water sprays all over because there is no curtain or barrier (or privacy). The lights go on by motion detection so you have to draw heavy shades to prevent lights going on when you don't want them. There is little place to put your clothes without risking them getting wet from the shower spray, there are no drawers close to the bed.  And as we knew ahead of time, there is no separation between the rollaway bed in the living area and the king bed in the bedroom area, so if privacy is even a small issue for a client, this would be a big problem. Again, we knew this ahead of time, but it is a strangely laid out room. And things in the Radisson were not as well kept up as the Esplanade. (Carpet soiled, bathroom fixtures broken, all minor but noticeable).

Hotel Lapad is a beautifully renovated building with a lot of character. The suite worked very well for us. We had a big bedroom and balcony, with a large ensuite bathroom. Emily had a sofabed in the living area that could be separated from us with a sliding wood door, giving some privacy. As well, she had a separate toilet and sink which was very nice. Their pool is very pretty and a nice alternative to walking and touring. I think that because of the large cruise ships depositing so many people into Dubrovnik, entering the old city is discouraged between 8-4 pm. Taking a taxi or bus from the hotel can be very challenging at that time. It might have been nice if we stayed at a similarly nice hotel within walking distance of the old city, if there is one. That would allow us to go back and forth more easily during the day because there is so much to do that is centered in the old city area. But again, I don't know if there are many hotels that would fit.

The cable car to the top is worth the view though the museum at the top is not. That is the only museum where we found the English translations to be quite poor, and thus difficult to follow. The laundromat you recommended was very good. Very easy to find near the Ploce gate, and the owner himself was helpful and fun to talk to.

Every detail in this tour was taken care of. The tours were the right length, not too long or tiring. The hotel breakfasts were a great idea and fortified us for each day's activities. We appreciated starting each day at a reasonable time. I am so enthusiastic about your tour company, I have begun telling everyone. My friends are planning a trip next year and we are definitely going to steer them in your direction. We feel like we now have a connection to Croatia, a part of the world we knew little about before. It was a wonderful week. Thank you so much for putting it all together for us.

Sincerely,
Leona