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.

Dawnel Davidson, USA
Discover Croatia

September 2012

Alan,

Everything was wonderful! We had a great time. Thank you for all of your hard work. We had no problems whatsoever. We really enjoyed our time in Dubrovnik. Our boat tour was fantastic. Our time in Split was also very nice. Our guide was great and we really enjoyed our time at the wine tasting. Those guys at Art of Wine are really fun! We also really loved Istria. We drank some excellent wine and ate great local food. We had dinner at Stari Podrum in Momjan and I think it was one of the best meals of our lives.

Thanks again for everything you did to make our trip so enjoyable. We've already told so many people how fantastic Croatia is - and how great your company is to work with.


Dawnel Davidson

September 2013

Dear Diana and Alan,

Sorry this has taken so long but we only got back to Perth yesterday and have been unable to send emails from our ipad.

We had a very enjoyable time and were very impressed how smoothly everything went, well organised, great hotels and knowledable guides. The steps everywhere were a challenge but we have come back with stronger legs! We loved Dubrovnik and would probably have spent more time there – so amazing. The private dinner was very special in the olive grove with those amazing views in Hvar. The only thing we might have changed on the itinerary was Vis which although quieter than Hvar was a bit similar. Also the boat ride, which was a lovely idea but it was quite rough and you thumped through the water holding on for dear life! Loved the lakes – very beautiful.

A very impressive trip and we will highly recommend you to everyone here and thank you so much for all the effort put into it at such short notice.

Kind regards,

Nigel and Jeanette Sinclair

Kay Minnich, USA
Discover Croatia

September 2013

Alan -

Thanks for putting together a great trip. We thoroughly enjoyed it. The country was beautiful, the guides were very knowledgeable and prompt, and all accommodations were good. You had a nice mix of land, water, activity, and free time. At first I was surprised that the tours began at 5:00 pm, however, as our guide pointed out, it certainly was a good time because all the other tour groups were gone and we could actually hear and see everything. Good idea. The hotels were in a good location and the staff very helpful. It was such a relief right from the start, the pickup in the airport in Zagreb, when our transfer agent was on time, and our luggage was not, and he was able to help us through that process. I will definitely recommend you to all my friends.

Have a great day - you provided me with many!
Kay Minnich

Janine and Jim Cober, USA
Croatia Discovery

September 2013

Dear Alan and Ivana,

The trip you planned for us could not have been better. Every accommodation was lovely, the guides were so accommodating and knowledgeable, and the schedule was just perfect. Your country is absolutely beautiful and at every turn there is another awesome sight!

Our weather was one sunny day after another except for the slight rainfall at Plitvice National Park. That actually worked in our favor as the little bit of rain and clouds kept the crowds to a minimum.

And our new favorite hotel is the Hotel Monte Mulini in Rovinj! We had such a lovely 2 days there in that beautiful setting on the Adriatic Sea.

We thank you for your efforts on our behalf and will definitely recommend your company to anyone we know who will be planning a trip to Croatia or Slovenia.

Thank you so much,
Janine and Jim Cober
Dallas, Texas USA

Jeryn Freeman, USA
Dalmatian discovery

September 2013


Alan,

thank you so much for our wonderful visit to Croatia!
I will put a great review on your website, but wanted to send you a personal message.
First, out of five stars, you are a 10. Everything was stress free & perfectly planned. Our tour guides, Doris, Leo, and Timea could not have been any better. Doris also led us to a wonderful wine shop in Split where we spent a couple of hours talking to the owner about everything from culture to sports to governments to wine - delightful. The wine tour with Leo in Hvar was amazing. And the lunch at a private setting in Hvar was wonderful - I took so many pictures of the beautiful setting there. Timea was engaging & knowledgeable - great personality. Our drivers & ferry transfers were seamless and stress free.
The things I would change (realizing we gave you little help with expectations & we planned late!): would have stayed elsewhere in Hvar; the Old Town setting is youth oriented with pounding, electronic music until 2 a.m., & the hotel room was tiny; the taxi transfer in Split from the airport - would have been nice if he had led us to the hotel, which we did request, but perhaps the communications fell through - we got lost. Those are the only things I would change.
The lunch during the drive from Split to Dubrovnik was wonderful, as was the driver.
The Bellevue hotel in Dubrovnik was incredible, world class.
I have (& will continue to do) recommended your services to everyone who is considering a trip to Croatia.
We absolutely loved the country & everyone we met there. Every restaurant server & taxi driver amazed us with their intelligence, their knowledge of the country and its history, and their pride of the country. Our last night before flying home, we ate at a restaurant in the Frankfurt airport & the server was Croatian, charming & engaging.
We plan on returning to your lovely country. My husband wants to retire there - we'll see how that works out….
Thank you so much for your amazing service,
Jeryn Freeman

August 2013

Hi Alan

Sonja was absolutely amazing and was very informative. The food and wine pairing was also fantastic and we tasted some amazing and interesting wines. Thank you so much for arranging such a special event and will let my friends know when they visit Split.

Cheers
Shelley

August 2013

Alan,

We just wanted to send a THANK YOU!!!! The itinerary that was planned for us and the professionalism of your staff was astounding. As corporate travel managers we realize the importance of attention to all of the details and Secret Dalmatia exceeded all of our expectations.

Every agenda item was planned and addressed to the smallest detail. Every vendor we encountered to provide services was spectacular!

You met every item on our wish list from the wine tasting to cooking classes and the boating adventures. Croatia is a beautiful country and with your assistance we were able to experience not only the scenery but the true spirit of hospitality offered for visitors to Croatia. We sincerely felt like special visitors. Meeting with Tatiana in her home for cooking was such a wonderful experience the food was not only fantastic but her warmth and charm made the day. Leo who offered the wine tour was not only an expert in his knowledge of the wine but a wonderful host. Our skipper in Hvar was amazing and offered us not only the things we asked to see but gave us a glimpse into the local lifestyle as well.

Each of us had the experience of a lifetime and will be telling all of our friends about the “Secret” of visiting Croatia. We hope to return to Croatia and when we do, you will definitely be hearing from us again…

Hvala!

Colleen, Jessica, Toni and JoAnne

Alexander Wong, USA
Discover Croatia

August 2013

Alan,

I want to send a big thank you for organizing our family trip to Croatia in August. The whole trip was an absolute delight - well balanced between our expectations of relaxation, activities, and sightseeing. The handoffs between the guides, drivers, and hotels was seamless and we enjoyed many insightful conversations with your staff. Our favorite part of the trip was probably the private yacht rides around Hvar - the clear waters and private beaches was so unique in our extensive travels. Also, thanks for responding promptly to my questions during the trip - that made the trip very stress-free.

Anyways, I'm pretty sure that will not be my last visit to Croatia. Would love to head back even just for more fish and Peke.

Hvala!
Alex

August 2013

Alan,

Many apologies for not getting back to you sooner, both immediately after our trip--as we had planned--and for the several day delay in responding to your email! Immediately after we returned, we celebrated our middle son's 5th birthday; then school started for the older two boys; and I'm leaving tomorrow for a trip to Estonia... it's been very busy!

I can't tell you how much we adored Croatia, and the personal touches we found along the way meant so much. Firstly, thank you for the lovely bottle of wine that awaited us in Korcula. What a perfect way to end the day! It was wonderful. We really enjoyed meeting Diana in Split--she was so helpful and we felt an instant connection :) It's so hard to put into words all of the great feelings and memories we made throughout the country; we're just sorry we couldn't meet you there as well. By the way, I really want to say our guide in Split was wonderful, but Timea in Dubrovnik was absolutely a gem. If there is a way that she could be mentioned or given additional business I wouldn't hesitate at all to recommend her. We made our connections to Mljet without too much trouble; we fortunately found a cab that could take us to Polace from Pomena--though the most unfriendly person was the woman in the tourist office. We couldn't leave our luggage there but the friendly woman who ran the konoba next door let us leave our luggage there (of course we had lunch and even invited some new friends there too and they enjoyed a couple of bottles of wine there). I got into a minor bicycle accident on the road between veliko jezero and polace but I'm healing up fine.

Renting a car and driving from Zagreb down the 1 road (instead of the A1) to Plitvice was the way to go. We stopped for lunch in Slunj, which was gorgeous and the food was excellent. It was a great way to see a lot of the countryside. We found no problems at all in terms of a language barrier. Not to be annoying Americans but it was convenient to be able to get by mostly in English and when that didn't work, Russian--sprinkled with as much Croatian as I could possibly use--filled in fine (and people didn't seem to be too annoyed by that, either). Plitvice was stunning, as you know. We wandered around the top of the park where you don't have to buy a ticket on our first evening there, and when we returned to the hotel, our room was very comfortable and the desk clerk was so friendly. We hiked for nearly 5 hours the next morning (got there bright and early before the park filled up) and were amazed by all the beautiful sights to see. Driving further south we were solemnly aware of the impact of the war on the countryside as we drove through empty village after village down to Knin, where we stopped again for lunch and a quick tour of the fortress (can I say that driving the road up to the fortress was NOT for the faint of heart?!) We then went to Sibenik for the afternoon and for dinner, where we were able to get a reservation at Pelegrini. It was FANTASTIC! Great view, great food. We toured around the St. Lawrence monastery gardens and walked up to St. Michael fortress/St. Ana cemetery--amazing views over the countryside and down to the coast (and the islands right off the coast). We watched a MASSIVE yacht pull into harbor and could tell that Croatia is very popular for those living the Really Good Life, too :)

We made it to Split around 9pm but because it was a holiday finding parking was an absolute nightmare. Even the hotel's reserved parking spot was gone. Trying to get into the Perestil to get assistance with the parking was a significant challenge since their recommended temporary lot was completely full; and returning the car to the rental agency took almost an hour to navigate (our garmin REALLY wanted us to go for a swim.) We were glad to have the car so we could go to Solin but I would definitely advise ditching the car as soon as possible upon arrival to Split for future tourists as you are no doubt aware! The accomodations in the hotel Perestil were excellent, and the room was lovely--I was amazed to see you were able to help us secure the room recommended in the guidebook as the best in the hotel :) So thanks again for your thoughtfulness and your knowledge about the hotels/restaurants.

Diana's assistance in making the ferry was invaluable. It docked in Hvar and another island as well before arriving in Korcula. We had a tasty lunch at Adio Mare and a wonderful dinner at LD restaurant and enjoyed the olive oil tastings they offered there, with exceptional service. We rented bikes and rode out a ways, and found a nice place to go snorkeling for a while. By the way, when we were snorkeling in Mljet, I was thrilled to see so many pen shells growing--I had no idea they were so big!

Dubrovnik was a fascinating, wonderful city. Since my ankle was pretty messed up we took it easy the first night and went to the Taj Mahal Bosnian restaurant nearby--the food was tasty enough we ducked in a second time on our trip. We went to Nautika and the views were just amazing. (They were out of a couple of things on the menu but nevertheless the experience was fantastic). As I mentioned, the tour was fantastic. Timea directed us to a store off the Stradun for gifts (Medusa) where we found the shopkeeper to be very knowledgeable; she helped us pick out some souvenirs. The cable car was another good way to get a great view of the city and gain appreciation for its strategic location. We also went to the War Photo gallery; it is a sobering but important stop if anyone is interested in the history of the Balkans conflict.

Overall, my friends have been drooling about my photos and the stories we came back with. It would be extremely difficult to pick a favorite place or event. We really appreciated your assistance in lining up all of our accommodations. Now, the only question is what to do NEXT time we're able to come! :) I friended Secret Dalmatia on facebook and I'll continue to read your blog with interest.

Sincerely,
Annaliis

Linda and John Schwamm, USA
Croatia Explorer program

July 2013

Hi Alan,

we had a wonderful time and appreciate the lovely accommodations as well as the amazingly qualified people you have assembled. We truly think the guides and drivers are what made visiting Croatia such a pleasure. The history and monuments stand on their own but come alive with the help of the talented guides you connected us with. I have the names of several I want to particularly mention which I will do at another time.

Thank-you, Linda and John