Sustainability – The Divine Comedy

July 20, 2023
By Robert Bralić

A Journey through the Nine Circles of Sustainability

We want to open this mini non-masterpiece with a quote by an Italian novelist, a Calabrese, from a small village of San Luca, who once said: “The blackest despair that can take hold of any society is the fear that living honestly is futile.“ Have we reached that point?

Musing about this, one can hardly believe that this non-picturesque Italian town is the very navel of the notorious N’drangheta. A coincidence?

Drawing on the Camusian notion of the eternal dualism of human existence, we wrote nine stories about our beginnings and the journey through sustainable tourism, about the sense which makes no sense at all, about the cheerful in deceitful, the degenerative in the regenerative, or, if you will – about irresponsibility in responsible tourism, and if anyone should recognise themselves in our words, so be it. We dare to compare sustainability with hell because, during our 10-year-long journey, we have sometimes felt as if we were walking through it. But we will let you judge for yourselves.

Everything that is written below applies only to us, the authors of this text, and does not necessarily reflect the experience of other service providers in the tourism sector. In case of contraindications or side effects, please consult Travelife staff. Every man’s journey to sustainability is highly individual.

The Guide

We shall model our story about sustainability after the structure of Dante’s epic poem because, apart from the nine circles which correspond nicely with the stages in our journey, Dante’s guide Virgil was also a lover of the countryside, nature and erudition in his poetry. The Virgil on our journey through sustainability is our professional association – UHPA—a small group of people with abundant knowledge and enthusiasm. Our Virgil, with whom we have embarked on the journey towards our goal, is largely responsible for our victory. It is a sort of reward for their efforts as well.

Our colleagues from the professional association. Always at our service. We learn, celebrate and sometimes even suffer together. Credit: UHPA

Virgil himself – the mysterious man who knows stuff. Credit: UHPA

The First Circle – Dreams

We have a dream! A dream both small and big, a reverie, a fantasy, a dream just beyond our reach, near but far, difficult yet easy, but as clear and indispensable as the Sun. Oh, if only our tours were completely sustainable… If they could stimulate the local life, agriculture, manufacture, authenticity, and science instead of storytelling and fabricated history for the purpose of over-tourism… If they could fill our clients with new experiences and knowledge, so that their memories of the journeys never fade, but set a new standard. We ask our guide whether we are all aware of the things we might encounter along the way? No, we are not. Are we naïve? Yes, we are. Do we care? No, we do not. We keep going, and whatever happens, happens.

Our hometown central squares at 7 PM after the tourist season. Only a few people still live on these squares, experiencing a great contrast, from gloomy silence to unbearable season noise.

The same square during the season

From the town that had more than 20 barbers in the old town centre, only a couple remained, and this one almost got kicked out by the City of Split officials. Shoe repairers, another worthy trade, don’t exist at all

 

A scene not seen in Split old town for a decade now

The Second Circle – Commitment

Our guide took us to the Room of Commitment, in the lobby of which, staring at the pile of defeating analyses and results from the area of natural sciences, our dreams, our fine ideas and grand words form into loan obligations and deadlines, feeling almost like an unpleasant lump in our throats. Believing that things can and must be done better, and with faith in a better tomorrow, we proceed into the Room of Commitment where we leave our names and honour. We do it for the children, for the planet, for the future. We pass on the world to future generations as we have left it, and judging from the current state of affairs, we will pass it on in a hundred times worse condition than it was when we inherited it from our forefathers. Ouch! We assume our commitment with our signature, our logo, our word, time and finances. We seek order and work. Having left the Room of Commitment we realise that there is a lot of self-sacrifice ahead of us.

Travelife is recognized by various industry organizations and initiatives, including the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). It is considered a reputable certification program within the travel industry and can provide travellers with assurance that certified companies are operating in a sustainable manner. Travelife Certification evaluates a wide range of criteria, including environmental management, biodiversity conservation, community engagement and support, fair business practices, and cultural heritage preservation. The certification process involves an assessment of a company’s policies, practices, and performance against these criteria, conducted by independent auditors. Credit: Travelife

The Third Circle – Unawareness

We start implementing our plan, armed with nothing but good intentions, naively thinking they will be sufficient. Our guide leads us through the forest of systems and documents, examples of good practice. After a relatively small amount of effort invested, we realise that we understand nothing. We bow our heads and knuckle down to work, filling in forms and producing documents, handling paper, plastic, e-mail samples, promoting sustainable hotels, creating new products… all the while bursting at the seams while doing a parallel job that earns our livelihood.

The Fourth Circle – Intercourse

The guide leads us into the Intercourse Room; the Room of Joint Duties, where dreamers and supporters, the seekers of sense, professional colleagues, those responsible and sustainable, conformists and anarchists alike, those who are forced and those who came voluntarily, traditionalists and panellists meet each other, sharing dreams, awareness and responsibility. We are searching for a way to achieve our dream, a recipe for Heaven. Some shine brightly as if they had just ascended into heaven, while others lurk on the sidelines, blinking sceptically. Ideas and systems multiply, laws and regulations with which you need to comply. We partake in panel discussions and conferences, and prompt solutions. We leave the room inspired and doubtful simultaneously, confused as a bee in an artificial flower factory.

Picture from one of the conferences we attended as panel speakers. According to our experience, many similar conferences finish with big promises. At the same time, they emit a lot of greenhouse gasses, and create a lot of printed materials that usually end up in bins. Credit: Aspira

The Fifth Circle – Awakening

Without even realising it, our guide accidentally leads us into a room containing a bucket of cold water. Wait a minute, what is this? We are sorting waste which later gets mixed together again; we have several e-mail templates to communicate sustainability, some basic human rights which are commonsense anyway; we have installed LED bulbs in our offices, taken pictures next to trees we had planted and all of a sudden we are sustainable? Wah! Realisation. Product. Yes, sustainability in tourism is a product, not a news article. Just like corn flour bread which, containing hardly any corn at all, does indeed have that pretty yellow colour, but tastes like wheat and sugar; like a random Facebook friend who increases popularity by means of a selfie taken on the most recent trip, but in your Facebook feed takes your calories away. While searching for solutions for our company, we encounter a multitude of companies and individuals who offer certificates, labels and signature logos all across the World Wide Web. All you need to do is join a movement, write a declaration, mission and vision statement, take a photograph next to a tree, pay a few bills, of course – and you are in Purgatory. Over and over, pictures of social networks full of smiling companies and individuals who are into sustainability spin our minds. Like a ball of sand paper, the lump in our throats gets harder and harder to swallow. Wet and cold, we exit the Room of Awakening, fearing we might stumble upon a conference or, God forbid, a panel discussion. We feel sick to our stomach.

Does our article look more sexy with this image?

The Sixth Circle – Division

We follow our guide into the Room of Division, where self-promoting braggarts yell at dreamers with a sustainability label. Sceptical anarchists grab supporters by the throat, while the seekers of sense watch incredulously, turning into conformists. Braggarts have planted a tree; big whoop! How much garbage have their clients left behind, how many traffic jams have they caused in the cities, how much smog have they released into the atmosphere, and how much food have they thrown away? It’s all talk, some say, nothing else! A flood of sustainability certificates for two nickels; a photo of a seedling in the wrinkled palms of an old man. Hands covered in dirt and pressed together in the shape of a heart. The supporters of the regenerative approach challenge those who advocate sustainability. Images of arms wide open and a gaze into the distance on Instagram. What did we get ourselves into? Who needs this? Ain’t nobody going to lecture us and prescribe how we are going to do our jobs. We have better things to do than this. Jeez, I don’t have time for this. Perhaps we should have thought twice before embarking on this journey.

Marjan Hill – an oasis of greenery on the western side of our hometown; something we have inherited from our forefathers from the later 19th and early 20th century, but recently the City of Split has had trouble even with the essential maintenance of trees because of over bureaucracy combined with subconscious ignorance. Credit: The City of Split

Karepovac Hill – opposite Marjan, on the Eastern part of the town, shows us a hidden picture of Split that is not popular, hidden from the eyes of the tourists. According to the current waste management statistics, only about 300 000 m3 capacity remains, which would cover its utilisation for the following two years. Credit: The City of Split

It is regrettable and disturbing to see that the worst statistics come from the Croatian coastal towns with the most considerable numbers of foreign visitors, even worse data is coming from the islands, with some separating less than 1%

The Seventh Circle – Spite

The sixth and seventh circles are separated by the river Rubicon. Wait a minute, hold on a second, aren’t we the same as all the others? What is it exactly that makes us saints, as opposed to sinners? Isn’t the inertness of the entire society a bit uncontrolled, chaotic, in fact? I recall it well, because it hasn’t been that long ago when we stored and used almost all types of packaging seasonally, went to repair our shoes. I remember when our block of flats with thirty apartments had only four slightly larger rubbish bins which stood in a tiny room in the building, while today we can hardly manage with five large dumpsters. I recall visiting relatives in the old city centre and the numerous barber shops and shoe repair shops, while today tourism prevents the locals from exercising even the most basic rights, such as the right to sleep. We are buying left and right as if there is literally no tomorrow, and not to mention how nicely we dispose of our waste. There is no way the world could ever improve as long as everyone behaves like this, so what is the point of us changing? What do we tell our kids? So how long will we go on like this, then? We are going to roll up our sleeves out of spite and see how we can sweep our own front porch first. We are crossing the Rubicon.

The Eighth Circle – The Journey

Determined to move from words to deeds, making sure that during our tours clients leave nothing but their footprints behind, we start packing for the journey. Fearful of road overload, our Virgil guides us slowly and systematically, one step at a time. We stumble upon the next room which consists of three layers. Armed with steadfastness and a desire to have a spotlessly clean front porch, we enter the first layers.

The First Layer: „Esotericism” (from the Greek ezotheo, “internal“) – is a wide range of ideas and philosophies that deal with the study of the laws of the visible and invisible worlds.“ Source: Wikipedia
In the company of the select few we enter the Forest of Criteria. Each of the criteria needs to be scaled and the treetops need to be checked for airiness so that the squirrels can jump freely and the fruits can grow unhindered. We climb the trees like monkeys jumping from one branch to the next, on the lookout for our own flaws. Some trees are too low; others are too tall; some offer a wonderful view of the horizon, while others have proved to be too difficult to climb and sent us plunging down headlong. Just a little bit further and we’re there… just a tiny bit more… Nngh!

The Second Layer: „Mathematics (from the Greek μάθημα (máthēma), “science”) – it is an exact, unambiguous science which investigates axiomatically defined abstract structures by using mathematical logic”. Source: Wikipedia
Dreading hypocrisy, but driven by the desire to compensate for our emissions, we are eager to find the best possible solution. However, we learn that mathematics and sustainability do not really get along. Confused like a pupil who failed to bring his prescription glasses, with a sharpened pencil in our hand we stare at the simplest mathematical problem for which we do not have a solution. Steering clear of anything that might make us feel gassy, we are trying to figure out what to do with the greenhouse gas emission money; rubbing our eyes in disbelief, we keep searching. When we ask the select few for a solution, they start to hem and stammer. Whichever corner of the world we peek in, our clients’ money can buy us nothing but a bunch of fancy words and various colourful commodities. Heavens, we are never going to get out of this layer! But salvation arrives at the last minute.

We’ve spent a year searching for the optimal solution to offset the CO2. After we almost lost hope, we found the world’s first commercial DAC plant. Compared to other approaches to removing CO2 from the atmosphere, we found the DAC technology is independent of agricultural land, has a small footprint, is punctual and fully scalable. Just what we searched for. Credit: Climeworks AG

The Third Layer: „Exotericism (from the Greek ἔξω eksô, from, out of, outside) – refers to the knowledge that is outside of and independent from a person’s experience and can be ascertained by anyone (related to common sense)”. Source: Wikipedia

Common sense? Everyone is standing before us with their eyes and ears open. Hmm, things don’t look optimistic. How to convey all of this so that everyone understands? Not an easy task. So much data and criteria, and policies… Competing against colourful commodities, tedious information appear to be losing the match for now. No wonder. If one is to conduct a quick statistics search, it immediately becomes obvious that both greenwashing and the need for sustainable products are rising like a teen’s erection. The percentages are enormous.

We have been exposed to greenwashing for that year mentioned in the caption above. We have even had online meetings with people with high persuasion capabilities, but with no third-party numbers we were looking for. Source: RepRisk ESG data science and quantitative solutions, www.reprisk.com

The Ninth Circle – „the Goal” (from the Greek τέλος, aim, purpose) is the philosophical subject of study in teleology. Telos denotes the purpose of things, defined as the reason why something exists.” Source: Wikipedia

At the end of Exotericism, Virgil stopped, turned towards us knowingly and said, “Only those who exit the eighth circle can see the goal.“ And the goal is far away. We can barely make it out, but it is there. It looks like a star which barely twinkles in the night sky; now you see it, now you don’t, because, objectively speaking, so much effort is invested by all of us and our suppliers into waste sorting, while on the other hand, we see that there are huge problems in waste management, or in the better case scenario – in the recycled raw materials market. If, according to the principles of market economy, we reach the end user and achieve a profit margin, then we have to be able to go back to the beginning of the process with the same profit margin. That is the gist of the story. Should the world fail to turn sustainability into a genuine business instead of greenwashing, life on this planet will be rather esoteric. We do not wish to advertise how fantastic we are or lead anyone down the garden path. There is still much we don’t know, but we look forward to all those things, out of spite. And that is what sustainability is, from our perspective.

Is this image someday going to be just a memory. It’s happened to many other small family trades. This one is no exception

This is a true storyteller our travellers usually encounter. Nothing beats spontaneous encounters, genuine modesty and wisdom

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Best vacation ever! Robert planned it perfectly and thought of everything. I loved how he could customize the packages according to my needs and wishes and was always available when I needed him or had questions before and during the trip. He personally selects only the best guides, hotels etc he knows for the best quality/experience for his clients. I will be booking all future travel with him and recommend him to all my friends and family. My trip was very affordable and he can work with all budgets. I also loved how connected he was to so many people and places in the country and was so knowledgeable. Five stars!

Mary Frenkel, Texas (USA)

Dubrovnik, Hvar & Salona – Talior-made programme

Rob at Ventula Travel is incredible – he is detail oriented, organized, and went above and beyond to ensure we had a terrific vacation when my husband and I visited Croatia! He even noticed and remembered that my husband had a birthday while we were visiting and made sure to drop off some wine and dessert for us to celebrate! All the travel arrangements were seamless, punctual and very thought out/considerate. Our off the beaten track tours to an ancient water mill, an olive oil tasting and sea kayak tours were perfect! Just what we had asked for. We will definitely recommend any one to make use of this hidden gem of a travel agency for the best travel experience in Croatia!

Prachee Pathak, New York (USA)

From Zagreb & Rovinj to Dubrovnik, Tailor-made tour

Very personal and seamless arrangements with careful selection of unique experiences. Ventula was with us through out the ten days of our trip, making sure that plans were well carried out, that we were comfortable and enjoying learning about this very interesting part of the world. And the guides were extraordinary in their knowledge and ability to individualize a tour!

Whitley party, Spokane (USA)

Exploring Croatia & more, Tailor-made program

Its a great family vacation. The Croatian coast seems unspoilt versus the rest of the Mediterranean and the water & landscape are beautiful. Lots of activities on land as well, the kids were never bored. Would highly recommend it.

Keiling family – Berlin, Germany

Family island hopping private cruise, Tailor-made tour

My experience with Ventula Travel was easily one of the best I have had whilst travelling. As a student of archaeology, the excavations at ancient Siculi gave me practical experience in the field with a team of friendly people, and the added bonus of being right next to the beach! The days at the site were physically demanding, but also incredibly rewarding; there is truly nothing like watching a 2000 year old amphora emerge from the earth! As it was my first time at a dig, the local archaeologists running the site, Dijana and Ivan, were very helpful and patient in answering all my questions, making the experience that much more educational. The excursions in the afternoons and on the weekends really allowed us to experience what the region has to offer. Croatia is so much more complex and diverse than I had ever imagined in terms of culture, history and food. The excursions allowed us to experience all sorts of aspects of this heritage, from prehistoric sites and Roman Salona and Split, to stunning medieval Trogir, regions of the hinterland and the Alka Museum at Sinj, to name just a few. The personal service and guiding on this tour was also exceptional; after being delayed for 5 hours on arrival, I was still met by Robbie with a friendly face and an enthusiastic welcome (despite it being 1am!). The quality of the guiding was also excellent; Robbie has a superb knowledge of the region and its history, and was always thinking of ways to make our time in Croatia more enjoyable. He even managed to organise a last minute trip to the Augusteum at Narona, which for me was a dream come true. I would highly recommend this tour to anyone with an interest in archaeology or history in general. Croatia’s Roman past is fascinating, and the opportunity to dig incredible, but this is only the tip of the iceberg. Great coffee, pizza and prosciutto await you, as do historic sites from the prehistoric to the modern, and all with some of the friendliest people in the world to guide you through it.

Grace Stafford, University of Oxford (England)

Siculi Excavations Program

I would not hesitate to visit Croatia again as there are many more options to explore. The islands of Croatia are an excellent option and they offer such remarkable experiences. The people of Croatia are full of warmth and hospitality as well and were the stars of the destination.

I would not hesitate to recommend Ventula Travel. This great boutique travel agency was very attentive and delivered personalized service from start to finish. They helped to connect us with the heart of Croatia and we were fully immersed in authentic experiences, which we thoroughly enjoyed absorbing.

Aik Wye, New York (USA)

Touring Croatia & beyond in 11 days, Tailor-made program

The excavation was fantastic! I was able to learn so much about ancient Roman archaeology and enhance my education in archaeology and environmental studies. Croatia is now my favorite country that I have traveled to within Europe, and I will definitely be returning. All of the excursions that I was able to attend were absolutely fantastic! There is so much history and culture – truly such an amazing program and destination.

Katya Perez, San Diego (USA)

Excavations of the Ancient Salona 2022

An incredible trip, one which will always be remembered. Robert was incredibly attentive and planned a wonderful detailed trip for us. He was always accessible during the trip if we had a question. Also he gratuitously offered to give us an private tour of the ruins on a Sunday, his day off.

Byron Olson, Baltimore (USA)

Montenegro & Croatia – Tailor made

The guides, sightseeing destinations, accommodations, transportation vehicles were are first class. There was admirable attention to detail and excellent choices of guides who were knowledgeable, engaging and professional. Choices of hotels were what we expected. I would recommend this company to friends and family. Nancy G.

Nancy Gooding, Denver (USA)

Split & Dubrovnik – Tailor made tour

Ventula was excellent. Flexible, patient & responsive. I`d highly recommend Robert Bralic to any traveler to the Croatia area.

Michael Baxter, Baltimore (USA)

Montenegro & Croatia – Tailor made

I’m not used to taking packaged trips. I usually do my own research and planning for travel. But I feel like I got to know the area on a level I haven’t with other destinations. I think you’ve fundamentally changed how I approach traveling from now on due to how wonderful this experience was. Thank you for hosting us and letting us take part. The attention to detail was phenomenal. Everything worked like clockwork. Everyone we met was wonderful, on time, helpful. For all the transportation, I never had to wonder where someone was or if I was in the right place. It all just worked exactly to plan. And given the traffic at Pile Gate, that is saying a lot. It was a delight. We spent part of the way home looking for rental property in Croatia. Whether on vacation, while working remotely or during retirement, I can safely say we’ll be back. It has quickly become one of our most favorite countries. It was one of the best vacations we’ve ever taken.

Jessica E., Maryland (USA)

Dubrovnik, Hvar & Salona – Talior-made programme

There are no words to adequately describe the two weeks I had. Having been on tours before and travelled to many interesting places I still didn’t know what to expect. Croatia is a country rich in culture and history, in the end I didn’t want to leave. I know a large part of that is due to Robert and the programme that was set up for us. Each day was filled with adventure and new interesting things to see. After a few days of the programme we started eagerly anticipating our pickups, realising that each day was going to bring a wealth of new incredible experiences. I loved eating the pekka which I was fortunate to experience twice! The wine tastings was also very refreshing given I don’t normally drink wine. My favourite places to go were Sinj and Kliss but a lot of what made the trip special were the small magical moments whether they were driving through the breathtaking scenery, visiting one of the sources of the Cetina, stumbling upon one of the most incredible museums I’ve ever seen (of the Alkar tournament and 1715 siege), or having that museum topped by an equally amazing one (Narona). In comparison to some of the dry and bland tour groups we passed while exploring Split I have to say I pity anyone who ends up in this amazing country without a guide like Robert because he truly brought everything to life. I am already desperate to go back, I think I left part of me behind!

Elina Larravide, Maryland (USA)

Customised Tour of Dalmatia

Croatia was magical. The wine, accommodations and transportation services were top notch. Tomislav did a fabulous job of handling all aspects of coordinating transportation, especially changes, guides, food, and experiences for our group of 14 people and she did it seamlessly.

Susan B, (USA)

Tour of the Croatian coastline

Robert and Jelena were absolute pleasures to be around from Split to Plitvice Lakes to Zagreb. Everything was taken care of with no stress from pick up at the airport to drop off. My friend and I were in Croatia for a specific reason and these amazing people added to the experience and even changed original “plans” to accommodate our adventure as we went. All restaurants chosen were fantastic. Great food and even better service! We received so much more than we had requested or could have imagined. Amazingly friendly people from restaurant staff to winemakers.

Robert and Jelena are very knowledgeable in the history of their country but also, for a couple friends wanting to go out on the town, they knew exactly where to go for great beer, music and entertainment.
Warm, kind and heartfelt people. I cannot wait to plan my next trip with Ventula Travel!

Joan Minnie, Canmore (Canada)

Touring Croatia in 9 days, Tailor-made program

The memories, experiences, tours, knowledge, and the digs I participated in are definitely worth it. Everything included with this experience (our tour guide Robert, food, hotel, etc.) was also very top-notch and high quality, with no downsides whatsoever. I’ll definitely be coming back, as this trip was a life-changing experience in terms of both leisure and work. My highest thanks goes to Robert, Dino, and everyone else who makes this wonderful trip work smoothly!

Peter Eger, Colorado (USA)

Excavations of the Ancient Salona 2022

We never experienced Croatia before and we are a high-expectation travelers as we like to dwell into the possibilities before even planning the trip. Zagreb was great to start with; although we had to go with it because of our flight. Great room overlooking the central square. Great location. Good buffet breakfasts. A lot of food! The tour of the city in thet special little vehicle was a great way, especially once he was able to put the top down. Very informative and enthusiastic. We talked a lot about history and other topics.

Great car on the way to Plitvice, I wanted to drive. Ivan was also informative and enthusiastic. And, he helped with luggage from hotel to car. Amazing stop at the Mills. I want to return and stay there! He helped us again with luggage from car to hotel, which was not an easy task with roll-around luggage on slate stones. The “buggy” normally used for transfer was not available.. The park! What to say? Absolutely amazing walk through one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever visited. Our guide was a ranger there, so he knew how to avoid crowds. The hotel room was outstanding, nonetheless their food as well – a lot of food.

The Velebit Pass was awesome. The views were spectacular. Another unexpected trip highlight. And, we saw a bear!!! That was a highlight for all 3 of us… go figure! Dragan’s driving through the pass was safe and informative. While all the drivers we had on our trip drove safely, this stretch of road required an extra level of caution. I also appreciate the stops he made along the way for photos. He was also very friendly and talkative. We’ve had lots of good conversations!

Zadar vineyard was a nice addition to a perfect day. We enjoyed the wine pairing. Again, it was a lot of food! The accommodation stunning. Location, location, location – beautiful! The apartment was very comfortable and well maintained. Views of the sunset were fantastic, simply unforgettable. Zadar felt like a mini Venice. Ivana took us on a great tour of the city. I must admit I was hesitant about the glass museum but Ivana made the visit enjoyable – and short. She was very informative and knows lots of interesting historical facts. Sibenik – never heard of it until this trip, but another extraordinary surprise on the way to Split. Again, after living in Turkey, wine tasting and servings of pork are much appreciated. Bibich was a good stop.

The trip just continued thrilling us more and more. Split architecture tour was the best of all. It was more a tour of Diocletian Palace, which I found fascinating – the way the palace has been repurposed over the centuries as a village, and now a gathering place for the entire city. Goran was obviously very respectable and knowledgeable person because everyone seemed to know him and he knew all the littlest details about the history of the palace and seemed energized by my interest in what he knew. I think we turned our 2 hour tour into 4 hours. Lots of walking around the Palace. Largely my fault for taking such an interest in the tour. Velora is a Game of Thrones fan, as was our guide Andrea on the day after. She kept pointing out scenes of the series that were filmed at sites between Zadar, Split, Diocletian’s Palace and including Klis fortress and she also was very knowledgeable about the real history of the surroundings. Lamb from spit was a fantastic meal. We tried to eat it all, but just couldn’t.
The winery in Kastele is not quite ready for prime time, but after visiting all the professional slick presentations at the more well established wineries, it was quite refreshing to be in a more informal family run environment. I enjoyed it, and besides, there was wine and pork!

What to say about Dubrovnik? After the “you know which” situation, it wasn’t a ball. However, you guys made things happen. Firstly, the ambulance drive, well… being an ambulance, the driver was remarkably nice, helped us with our luggage. We didn’t lift a thing. We actually tipped him good. Cannot say much good though about Argentina although everyone was very nice and we have been given a complimentary drink on arrival. The one person ‘assigned’ to help us was very cordial, helpful and patient. He seemed genuinely sympathetic, but he couldn’t really do anything to help. The poor rating from us is only because we didn’t really get to know any of the staff because we didn’t stay there due to their room alternative, which was simply unacceptable for us. But that was faith! What a find Ventula! Of everything Ventula travel did for us on our trip through Croatia, finding the alternative apartment in light of the Argentine Hotel fiasco was the best! We loved this place. We wanted to buy it! We had a beautiful four nights here! We enjoyed Petra’s company walking the walls. She was great, while we felt terrible because we were so tired.

Montenegro was a fantastic addition to our trip as we never heard of Kotor before. Now, we’ll never forget it and will recommend to others. Great tour with the boat and the island with the small church, remarkable meal in the mills restaurant. Farewell experience was another unforgettable meal – high quality food, extraordinary view. We will definitely recommend Ventula to anyone we know who will visit Croatia. Our tour was a proper below the radar travel experience. Shows that Ventula does make sure to choose the best services. We would love to visit again!

Stephen & Velora Brown – Istanbul, (TUR)

Croatia & Montenegro – tailor made trip

Our agent in Croatia, Robert was excellent. His knowledge of the area was amazing and nothing was too much trouble for him. We had a very full days and we were exhausted after but had such an enjoyable and memorable times. I would highly recommend to anyone that is going to Croatia to organise a tour with Robert.

Carolyn Davies, Perth (Australia)

Customised Tour of Dalmatia

We did the island hopping from Split to Dubrovnik Brilliant tour – highlights were – The abandoned shepherds village and the agri estate on Hvar. Stari grad was our favourite little place. Food, people, sights, service – everything was beyond what we expected. Jelena took great care of us throughout.

K. J. Sandman, Melbourne (Australia)

Dalmatian Island-hopping tour, Tailor-made program

We asked Ventula to devise a program for us outside our cruise and they did an extraordinary job. We got a real feel for Croatia away from the obvious tourist sites, although we enjoyed those too. Particular highlights were the town of Sinj and our traditional peka lunch in an abondoned village with a local family. Our drivers and guides were excellent – thoughtful, knowledgeable, flexible and charming!

Kohli family, Boston (USA)

Gulet cruise add-on, Tailor-made program

We really enjoyed our time in Croatia. The days we spent with you were very easy, informative, and well planned. Tamara, our guide was outstanding; I’d welcome time with her again. Favorite visits were to Sinj and Ston. We were intrigued in the Alka, and hope to return to visit during this event. Thanks to Robert, and all your staff. Hoping to work with you again in the future.

Deborah Stegman, Colorado (USA)

Dubrovnik & Split Tailor-made program

We work with a small number of family run DMC’s in the countries where we offer trips, some for many years. I’m pleased to say we have developed excellent relationships with all of them and both we and they have consistently gone the extra mile or beyond to try and help the other and to deliver an excellent service both directly to the partner company as well as to guests. We are very pleased that Ventula has become part of this family of DMC’s which are all very special. This is only the 4th year we are working in Croatia but we are very much looking forward to developing a wider range of trips and to expanding our collaboration with Ventula.

Peter Sommer, CEO at Peter Sommer Travels, Monmouth (UK)

CEO at Peter Sommer Travels, Monmouth (UK)

The Ancient Salona program has been one of the most fantastic travel experiences I’ve ever had. It’s overflowing with historical and cultural depth, from participating in the archaeological excavations of Salona, to exploring several cities and sites, both on and off the mainland, led and organized by the incredible Robert, who went above and beyond to make sure we had a truly great experience. The program included 2 weeks of hard but rewarding digging under the overview of the ever knowledgeable Dino who brought ancient history to life, the most delicious and sumptuous meals, incredible scenery, and immersive tours. Highlights include olive oil and wine tastings, walking tours of 10+ charming and interesting towns, interactive weapons demonstration, and getting to know a great group of people in the process. If I could do this again tomorrow, I definitely would. I can’t recommend this program highly enough!

Liana Muresan, New York (USA)

Salona 2021 excavations programme

Robert put together a perfect time and introduction and immersion to the culture people and food of beautiful Croatia.

Terry Mather, Littleton (USA)

Split & Dubrovnik – Tailor made tour

I’ve been wanting to come Croatia for about 25 years and when the opportunity to visit and experience my first archaeological dig came up I just had to sign up. I spent 6 weeks altogether in Croatia, but it was the last 2 and a half weeks on the Ventula tour that I really enjoyed the true Croatia. Robbie is highly organised with a range of engaging add ons (included in the price except for the scuba diving). The second scuba dive at a shipwreck in 25m of water was incredible, I’d highly recommend the experience. Clis Castle with the guys letting you get ‘hands on’ with the swords and long bows was also lots of fun. But for me the reason I came to Croatia was also the highlight of my trip. I came to give a proper archaeological experience a go and it was without a doubt one of the greatest experiences of my life. Building the relationships with the students, PHD students, Tomislav and Santa, was life changing. And to be led by someone with the knowledge and experience of associate professor Dino from Zagreb university and his wife Anna, was truly awesome. For anybody contemplating a career change to archaeology or just wanting to ‘dip your toe in’ to see what it’s like I strongly recommend the Ventula Travel experience at old Salona! Value for money and great people.

Adam Poulus, Brisbane (AUS)

Excavations of the Ancient Salona 2022

A truly unique and rewarding experience! Robert, his family, and colleagues are warm, knowledgeable and proud to show their beautiful and historic country. Spending two weeks gave me the opportunity to appreciate the diversity and delights of Dalmatia. Wine, food, history and culture were all a short walk or drive from my accommodation. I highly recommend Ventula travel and a vacation to Split!

Tom Riherd, Florida (USA)

A two-week Split & Dalmatia Tour, Tailor-made program

We had a fabulous time in Croatia and Montenegro! We went with two other couples and Robert tried his best to accomodate everyone’s needs. Bogdan, our tour guide in Montenegro, was fabulous! He made the tour fun and interesting; we enjoyed him a lot. Anada was our tour guide in Dubrovnik – she was fabulous too! So knowledgeable and very kind. Each meal Robert set up for us was better than the last. All the food was incredibly fresh and so yummy and the restaurants weren’t commercial – they were little “finds” away from it all! We really enjoyed Split’s Kašjuni beach and wish we could have stayed there another day or two. Overall, Robert did a wonderful job on the itinerary for our trip and we would absolutely use Ventula again and recommend him to all our friends!

Liza M. (USA)

Montenegro & Croatia – Tailor made

Robert responded informatively and helpfully throughout the planning of our month long sojourn to the amazing Balkans region. His advice and recommendations were excellent. As he learnt more about us during our email conversations, he amended the itinerary to suit us more personally. It was a superb experience that ran seamlessly. We were driven, hiked, flew, and self-drove within and between Croatia, Bosnia and Montenegro and back. A myriad of different experiences and with local guides who were such a delight to get to know, and were such a wealth of knowledge. Our admiration and respect for the people of this region is enormous. The choice of accommodation, the guides and drivers were arranged to suit our travel style, and couldn’t have been better. As an example, a night alone amongst the stars alongside a crackling fire above the Tara River was a surprise that is unforgettable and was totally unexpected. Dinner was delivered so we didn’t have to leave. This sort of attention to detail doesn’t surprise us now that we have experienced what Ventula is capable of. Thank you for everything . . . we can’t wait to return.

Lucille Franklin, Perth (Australia)

Western Balkans experience, Tailor-made program

We are experienced older travelers who have always booked our own travel, however our trip to Croatia was a bit overwhelming when we realized we would have many stops and transfers to see everything we wanted to see in two weeks. Ventula was recommended to us by friends and I am grateful for the recommendation. Robert and his staff with very short notice and little time to plan supplied us with an itinerary that met all our needs. We started in Zagreb at the spectacular Espanade Hotel and ended in the little town of Trogir near the Split airport. I have to commend all of our private guides and drivers, Drazen, Andrija, Antonio, Ivana, Leo, Lea, and Anada to name a few. All very knowledgeable of the area, so friendly and helpful. The hotel accommodations at every stop were exceptional from the Chalet at Plitvice Lakes, the Villa Nepos in the Diocletian Place at Split, the Korsal Hotel in Korcula, the Sun Gardens in Dubrovnik and the Berislavic Palace in Trogir. The Plitvice Lakes are a must see. Small stops along the Dalmatian coast at Nin, Zadar, a speedboat ride from Split to Korcula with a stop at Hvar was incredible. Split and Dubrovnik are unlike any “city” we have ever seen. Great food, a visit to the oyster beds in Peljesac, visits to several vineyards, wine and olive oil tastings made this trip one we will remember for a long time and all personalized just for us. Fantastic experience. Thank you, Robert.

Judy Poe, Chicago (USA)

Zagreb to Dubrovnik – Tailor made

Croatia should be in the list of every avid traveller. It has a rich history, art heritage, diverse culture and has varied gastronomical delights. Our group was lucky to have found Ventula Travel to create this tour for us. From the moment Robert Bralić submitted his initial proposal for a customized tour of Croatia for 11 days for a group of 6, we knew that his version stood out from the other 3 companies we asked to submit proposals. Apart from the usual tourist destinations, Robert incorporated unique experiences that only a learned and passionate local guide would know about. It was actually a risk on his part to depart from the usual tour packages and offered a package to a group he hardly knows would welcome such off the beaten tracks. And as such, while the likes of Dubrovnik, Diocletian Palace, Dalmatian Islands tour, Plitviče Lakes would top the list of a regular tourist’s experience in Croatia, our group would forever remember the moments we had cruising the Nretva river in a traditional boat, getting to know the family that owns a Medieval watermill (that still operates) and being served local cuisine; being served ancient cuisine while getting educated on olive oil in a historic site, having fun following a dog hunting for truffles, listening to an energetic local entrepreneur in his quest to get a trade patent to protect his strudel recipes, and many more unique encounters with locals that made our holiday truly enriching. The tour guides assigned to us were all excellent. As tour guides, being educated is our minimum expectation. We were assigned Archaeologists, art historians, educators who passionately shared with us not only what they know and learned from books but also stories from their own family experiences which makes the exchange even more meaningful. No moment was wasted with any of them as we devoured every information they were sharing with us. We got very good tips on where to eat or where to spend our free time or what to watch out for when we are walking around. While we will not retain everything that we learned about Croatia, the moments we shared with a lot of the people we met in this trip would last a lifetime.

Sol Vivas, Manila (Philippines)

Customised Tour of Croatia for Friends

We worked with Ventula Travel on a couple of shows over the past years, and they are our favorite. The creativity, passion for the project and attention to detail is hard to match in another partner. We recently brought a large group to Dubrovnik this past September. Robert and the team helped us walk through options, explore creative solutions and worked with suppliers as our needs and numbers grew. In all seriousness I can say that we would not have been able to accomplish the event without Ventula. The whole team worked around the challenges and gave the event the attention I couldn’t only have hoped for.
Anything in the area, Robbie is the only option I would ever look at.

Will Davies – Muse Events Management

LifeVantage Incentive trip – Croatia 2022

We bring back with us fond memories of our tour to Croatis, thanks to my son who has picked the right choice for our destination, Ventura Travel. We have had a great time, dining and touring with your professional guides. we would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Robert, ( our star guide ), Katarina, Julija, Timea. Miho, Stella and others who have accompanied us on this tour. We will certainly recommend Ventula Travel to our friends who intend to travel to Croatia. Thank you, once again for making our vacation a very memorable one

Amazing trip throughout Croatia. Very pleased to be able to learn about this remarkable destination through the eyes of the Ventula DMC team.

Mr & Mrs Ng Ting Ah (Mdm Gan Kam Yoong), Georgetown (Malaysia)

Touring Croatia & beyond in 11 days, Tailor-made program

My husband and I worked with Robert at Ventula Travel for our recent visit to Croatia. He was easy and quick to communicate with via email. Being local he had the insight and connections that were so valuable to our experience. He curated a trip through the country from Zagreb to Split, island hopping with a stay in Korcula, the Peljesac Peninsula and ending in Dubrovnik. We hit all the highlights with the best guides and were treated like family in the best locals restaurants. We traveled with wonderful private drivers in comfortable cars and boats seeing and experiencing more of this amazing country than we ever could have otherwise. I would highly recommend Ventula Travel to anyone looking to travel to Croatia.

Jill K, San Francisco (USA)

Zagreb to Dubrovnik by land and sea, Tailor-made program

Croatia is a wonderful country and Ventula Travel is the company to use to see it. The drivers and guides were a key to enjoying the sites and cities of the country and getting a real understanding of the history of the country. Something that we could not duplicate on our own.

Robert was endlessly patient with us during the planning phase of the trip – we had so many questions and ideas. The trip exceeded our expectations. Every detail had been attended to and we got to see and experience so much of this lovely country, much of which we may not have discovered on our own. Our drivers and guides were top notch.

Clark & Smith group, (USA)

Croatia & More - Wrapped Around a Cruise

Ventula Travel made me fall in love with Croatia and archeology. The trips we were on, the food, wine, and company were truly outstanding. I had the pleasure of meeting the most intelligent and interesting people with unique hobbies and vast knowledge. Trips to the Archaeological Museum in Split and the fortress of Klis will forever remain in my memory. Just as diving in the submerged port of Siculi settlement. In addition, I absolutely LOVED the excavations in Salona – they were very rewarding! The group was supervised by a highly specialized archaeological team, Dino and Ana, who made us feel very welcome. It was truly a wonderful visit, and I will definitely be coming back.

Daniela Wojas, Illinois (USA)

Salona 2021 excavations programme

This really was a once in a lifetime trip for me. Each of our guides showed such passion and love for their city, it made us fall in love with the cities as well. I loved getting to try so many new experiences, food and activities, and doing so in such a beautiful place. My favorite part of the trip was meeting and talking with the people in each city. Hearing their stories and how their families are intertwined with the history of Croatia.

Hannah B., Oregon (USA)

Dalmatia – A Historical Exploration – Tailor-made program

Excellent tour, organised and carried out by competent and excellent people.

Ventula Travel organised an excellent visit to Croatia and some nearby countries for my wife and I. There was very good explanation of what we were seeing and how it fitted into history. We unfortunately have zero language skills ai any thing other than English and Ventula coped with this magnificently.

Penny & Ian McDonald, Katanning (Australia)

Private tour of Croatia & beyond

I’ll try to put into words one of the most memorable trips of my life. When I decided I would go to Croatia it never crossed my mind that the experience would mean returning home with the impression I had loved every single moment there. It was INTENSE. People made me feel comfortable and at ease, the places I visited were what I was looking for. The history in Split and Dubrovnik together with the beaches, the little streets full of stories, the museums and restaurants and squares and bars. I was in Zagreb as well and in Zadar and moved around without much effort in spite of being my first time there. Absolutely everything made me love that country. The people, tasting different types of oil, eating peka and drinking wine. I don’ t know, so many wonderful little moments I’ll cherish for the rest of my life…. And most of all, I was very lucky to have contacted a travel agent, Ventula Travels. As I see it that was crucial to my well-being and the success of my trip. For two reasons; one, they understood exactly what I was looking for and made sure I got it and second, they contacted me constantly to see if everything they had organised was correct and if I was doing well. It was perfect. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to go back but it won’t matter really because Croatia and all the people I met will always be in my heart.

Sandra Ricketts, Montevideo (Uruguay)

Customised Tour through Croatia

Ventula put together a great tour for us. The destinations were a good mix of what inland Croatia and Slovenia have to offer, the recommended restaurants were great, and the personal guides made the trip a total pleasure. We felt we had a fantastic scenic and cultural experience. I would highly recommend Ventula to friends traveling to the region.

Karen W., USA

Slovenia & Croatia – Tailor made tour

I had an excellent trip to Croatia planned by Robert and Jelena. The food was excellent, the tours were all great, and the hotels were very deluxe. The Hotel Adriana in Dubrovnik was especially nice; we had a great view from our room and there was a nice area you could swim in the Adriatic right from the hotel. We also had a great meal at their restaurant. The second half of my trip I spent helping on an archaeological dig, which was a bucket-list item for me. Dino, in charge of the dig, was knowledgeable and patient with me and the other tourists. Overall, it was an experience I will never forget and I hope to get back soon!

Laura A., Washington, (USA)

Dalmatia – A Historical Exploration – Tailor-made program

We had an unforgettable custom tour with Ventula Travel to Serbia and Montenegro where my parents grew up. The tour was well-organized and tailored specifically to our desires. Marko gave us an excellent overview of Belgrade — driving and walking. Salon presented one of the top meals of our entire trip. Absolutely delicious. Very good wine. We had beautiful weather, Nicola was a great driver and once again, Marko was knowledgeable and sensitive. He did careful research, he was kind and informative and very sensitive. It was an emotional day for sure but I will remember it for the rest of my life! Montenegro is an absolutely stunning destination. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Helen Bogolubov Desai, Richmond (USA)

Serbia & Montenegro – Tailor made tour

We really enjoyed working with Ventula and especially found working with Robert a rewarding experience. The time that was spent working with us on our itinerary far exceeded our exceptions. Robert made sure our priorities were met and made fabulous recommendations on what we should experience in our 3+ week trip. Logistically the trip was seamless, the guides and drivers were all excellent. Julija was a lot of fun. Very much enjoyed our tine with her and the knowledge she provided. enjoyed spending time in a small family winery. Very nice wines. Ivana in Zadar was very knowledgeable and personable as well. She provided some great recommendations. On the was to Plitvice Iva was fabulous. A wealth of knowledge. She had the day well planned logistically as there was a lot of ground to cover, with wonderful stops and picnic lunch crossing over Velbitt mountain. Istria far exceeded our expectations, staying in Motovun was highly appreciated when we saw crowds in Rovinj. Adriano was amazing.

Slovenia started great with the private cave tour. What a surprise! We also loved Ljubljana. Would loved to have some extra days here. The winery in Vipava had great wine (we still need to check on getting some shipped back to US) and having our wine guide play the guitar for us was awesome. What a talented family!! The views from winery in Dobrvo was beautiful and enjoyed the wine and lunch there. Stay in the Apls was something else! I could have stay here for a while (given I could get some groceries for the kitchen). The lodging highlight of our trip. The facility and the views were spectacular. The hosts were outstanding.

We really enjoyed having a day in Italy, still one of my favorite countries. Helene was an excellent guide there. Very much enjoyed being with her. The monastery was well worth the visit. The town was gorgeous – particularly the frescos. Well worth the trip. The farewell dinner experience at Hisa Franko – A great experience. Definitely not something I would want to do everyday but we don’t eat at a lot of Michelin starred restaurants. It was different from the other Michelin restaurants we have been to. We are glad we went. The courses were certainly not something I would attempt at home which is often the case at many expensive restaurants we go to. Certainly a great way to end our trip.

I could not recommend you highly enough. Our bar has been raised for future companies we will work with. It was a seamless trip. Everything went off as planned. That does not always happen as we have experienced in several of our past travels. I felt like it anything needed to be addressed it would be in short order. The follow up including this survey is outstanding. We would love to return. Compared to other countries in western Europe we have visited – the destinations were extremely clean (not something we always find), people we encountered were very friendly and kind and wanted us to have a great experience. We appreciated that English was widely spoken as our ability to even attempt the local language except for pleasantries was not going to happen.We will certainly recommend Ventula our friends and family that travel to make this a destination.

Kim Griffith – St. Petersburg, (USA)

Croatia, Slovenia & Italy – tailor made

It is a 5 stars archeological and cultural tour of Croatia. With every minute planned by Robert to the last detail. Robert takes care of each person in the group based on individual needs and preferences. I had many guides and tours in my life but nothing even close to the one Robert provides. Hotel is located right near Salona excavation site with beautiful view on the park from the room’s balcony. Room is very nice and clean. WiFi works great. Service is amazing. Hotel serves breakfast and dinner with large selection to any taste. There is a general store and bakery across the street. This was my first archeological dig. Archeological team consisted of 5-7 tourists, 10-12 students from Zagreb university and supervised by dr. Dino Demicheli. Dino is a great person and has extensive knowledge of history and archeology that he is willing to share. Dino supervised our every day excavations with detail explanations of how work should be done and why. All students spoke very good English and it was wonderful working with them everyday and share experiences. Daily trips around Split area cover diverse historical and cultural past of Croatia. Robert carefully selects guides for different places or guides himself. Each day trip is an unforgettable experience.

Alex Shulman, Illinois (USA)

Salona 2021 excavations programme

I wish I could use Robert for all my travel planning! If it wasn’t for him, I would have given up planning our Croatia boat cruise. At the time I couldn’t find an available cruise to suit our dates or flights. But Robert was persistent and he found us the perfect match. Prior to our arrival, all emails were handled promptly and clearly. He was able to answer all our questions, and provided everything we needed to know. Upon airport pick up, he was extremely professional and friendly, but mostly, informative. He gave us a fascinating car ride around Split, showing us the layout of the city. It was practical too, so that we were able to navigate the city ourselves when we had the next day to explore. He arranged for our luggage to be taken to the hotel and then to and from the boat. It was seamless. We decided last minute to get a hotel for the final day as we had to leave the boat by 9am but had a day to explore in Split. Within half an hour of contacting him, a hotel was booked and all arrangements and payments were confirmed. His colleague Frane picked us up. He was punctual, polite and also full of interesting stories about Croatia. This is how all travel agents should be. I will insist on any friend visiting Croatia to use Robert’s services.

Crew: Nikolai, the tour guide on cruise was extremely helpful and tried his utmost to make us feel welcome.

Nikolai the bar tender was excellent, remembering our names and drinks preferences by the second day!

Heritage Hotel: Marco was the most helpful and courteous concierge we have ever met. He carried our heavy luggage all though the old town, he gave us detailed information regarding sight seeing, and restaurant recommendations, he served us breakfast and made our stay in Split so wonderfully pleasant.

Annette Lee Polley, Coventry (England)

Island Hopping Cruise from Split to Dubrovnik

We would have no hesitation what so ever in recommending Jelena and Ventula travel. The professionalism and knowledge exhibited by this company and the tour guides was outstanding. They planned and organised our trip to Split and Dubrovnik. The personal guides provided were extremely knowledgeable and took us to some of the places where tourists would not normally go. We Have no hesitation in recommending this company to organise your travels.

Kaye & Mal Wolfe, Perth (Australia)

A Week in Croatia, Tailor made program

I have spent many years travelling the world, and the 2 1/2 weeks I spent in Croatia this year would be one of the highlights. The excavation site of Siculi was amazing, so much material to be uncovered, and great finds happening along the way. During the two weeks, we saw much of Croatia in and around Split, and learned a lot about the history of the country. Our guide/friend was very knowledgeable, and willingly shared his knowledge with us. I would thoroughly recommend Ventula Travel to anyone looking to spend quality time in Croatia.

Joy Fisher, Adelaide (Australia)

Siculi Excavations Program

I’ve been wanting to come Croatia for about 25 years and when the opportunity to visit and experience my first archaeological dig came up I just had to sign up. I spent 6 weeks altogether in Croatia, but it was the last 2 and a half weeks on the Ventula tour that I really enjoyed the true Croatia. Robbie is highly organised with a range of engaging add ons (included in the price except for the scuba diving). The second scuba dive at a shipwreck in 25m of water was incredible, I’d highly recommend the experience. Clis Castle with the guys letting you get ‘hands on’ with the swords and long bows was also lots of fun. But for me the reason I came to Croatia was also the highlight of my trip. I came to give a proper archaeological experience a go and it was without a doubt one of the greatest experiences of my life. Building the relationships with the students, PHD students, Tomislav and Santa, was life changing. And to be led by someone with the knowledge and experience of associate professor Dino from Zagreb university and his wife Anna, was truly awesome. For anybody contemplating a career change to archaeology or just wanting to ‘dip your toe in’ to see what it’s like I strongly recommend the Ventula Travel experience at old Salona! Value for money and great people.

Adam Poulus, Brisbane (AUS)

Excavations of the Ancient Salona 2022

The Ancient Salona program has been one of the most fantastic travel experiences I’ve ever had. It’s overflowing with historical and cultural depth, from participating in the archaeological excavations of Salona, to exploring several cities and sites, both on and off the mainland, led and organized by the incredible Robert, who went above and beyond to make sure we had a truly great experience. The program included 2 weeks of hard but rewarding digging under the overview of the ever knowledgeable Dino who brought ancient history to life, the most delicious and sumptuous meals, incredible scenery, and immersive tours. Highlights include olive oil and wine tastings, walking tours of 10+ charming and interesting towns, interactive weapons demonstration, and getting to know a great group of people in the process. If I could do this again tomorrow, I definitely would. I can’t recommend this program highly enough!

Liana Muresan, New York (USA)

Salona 2021 excavations programme

A truly unique and rewarding experience! Robert, his family, and colleagues are warm, knowledgeable and proud to show their beautiful and historic country. Spending two weeks gave me the opportunity to appreciate the diversity and delights of Dalmatia. Wine, food, history and culture were all a short walk or drive from my accommodation. I highly recommend Ventula travel and a vacation to Split!

Tom Riherd, Florida (USA)

A two-week Split & Dalmatia Tour, Tailor-made program

The excavation was fantastic! I was able to learn so much about ancient Roman archaeology and enhance my education in archaeology and environmental studies. Croatia is now my favorite country that I have traveled to within Europe, and I will definitely be returning. All of the excursions that I was able to attend were absolutely fantastic! There is so much history and culture – truly such an amazing program and destination.

Katya Perez, San Diego (USA)

Excavations of the Ancient Salona 2022

My experience with Ventula Travel was easily one of the best I have had whilst travelling. As a student of archaeology, the excavations at ancient Siculi gave me practical experience in the field with a team of friendly people, and the added bonus of being right next to the beach! The days at the site were physically demanding, but also incredibly rewarding; there is truly nothing like watching a 2000 year old amphora emerge from the earth! As it was my first time at a dig, the local archaeologists running the site, Dijana and Ivan, were very helpful and patient in answering all my questions, making the experience that much more educational. The excursions in the afternoons and on the weekends really allowed us to experience what the region has to offer. Croatia is so much more complex and diverse than I had ever imagined in terms of culture, history and food. The excursions allowed us to experience all sorts of aspects of this heritage, from prehistoric sites and Roman Salona and Split, to stunning medieval Trogir, regions of the hinterland and the Alka Museum at Sinj, to name just a few. The personal service and guiding on this tour was also exceptional; after being delayed for 5 hours on arrival, I was still met by Robbie with a friendly face and an enthusiastic welcome (despite it being 1am!). The quality of the guiding was also excellent; Robbie has a superb knowledge of the region and its history, and was always thinking of ways to make our time in Croatia more enjoyable. He even managed to organise a last minute trip to the Augusteum at Narona, which for me was a dream come true. I would highly recommend this tour to anyone with an interest in archaeology or history in general. Croatia’s Roman past is fascinating, and the opportunity to dig incredible, but this is only the tip of the iceberg. Great coffee, pizza and prosciutto await you, as do historic sites from the prehistoric to the modern, and all with some of the friendliest people in the world to guide you through it.

Grace Stafford, University of Oxford (England)

Siculi Excavations Program

We had a fabulous time in Croatia and Montenegro! We went with two other couples and Robert tried his best to accomodate everyone’s needs. Bogdan, our tour guide in Montenegro, was fabulous! He made the tour fun and interesting; we enjoyed him a lot. Anada was our tour guide in Dubrovnik – she was fabulous too! So knowledgeable and very kind. Each meal Robert set up for us was better than the last. All the food was incredibly fresh and so yummy and the restaurants weren’t commercial – they were little “finds” away from it all! We really enjoyed Split’s Kašjuni beach and wish we could have stayed there another day or two. Overall, Robert did a wonderful job on the itinerary for our trip and we would absolutely use Ventula again and recommend him to all our friends!

Liza M. (USA)

Montenegro & Croatia – Tailor made

Croatia was magical. The wine, accommodations and transportation services were top notch. Tomislav did a fabulous job of handling all aspects of coordinating transportation, especially changes, guides, food, and experiences for our group of 14 people and she did it seamlessly.

Susan B, (USA)

Tour of the Croatian coastline

I’m not used to taking packaged trips. I usually do my own research and planning for travel. But I feel like I got to know the area on a level I haven’t with other destinations. I think you’ve fundamentally changed how I approach traveling from now on due to how wonderful this experience was. Thank you for hosting us and letting us take part. The attention to detail was phenomenal. Everything worked like clockwork. Everyone we met was wonderful, on time, helpful. For all the transportation, I never had to wonder where someone was or if I was in the right place. It all just worked exactly to plan. And given the traffic at Pile Gate, that is saying a lot. It was a delight. We spent part of the way home looking for rental property in Croatia. Whether on vacation, while working remotely or during retirement, I can safely say we’ll be back. It has quickly become one of our most favorite countries. It was one of the best vacations we’ve ever taken.

Jessica E., Maryland (USA)

Dubrovnik, Hvar & Salona – Talior-made programme

Excellent tour, organised and carried out by competent and excellent people.

Ventula Travel organised an excellent visit to Croatia and some nearby countries for my wife and I. There was very good explanation of what we were seeing and how it fitted into history. We unfortunately have zero language skills ai any thing other than English and Ventula coped with this magnificently.

Penny & Ian McDonald, Katanning (Australia)

Private tour of Croatia & beyond

We asked Ventula to devise a program for us outside our cruise and they did an extraordinary job. We got a real feel for Croatia away from the obvious tourist sites, although we enjoyed those too. Particular highlights were the town of Sinj and our traditional peka lunch in an abondoned village with a local family. Our drivers and guides were excellent – thoughtful, knowledgeable, flexible and charming!

Kohli family, Boston (USA)

Gulet cruise add-on, Tailor-made program

We had an unforgettable custom tour with Ventula Travel to Serbia and Montenegro where my parents grew up. The tour was well-organized and tailored specifically to our desires. Marko gave us an excellent overview of Belgrade — driving and walking. Salon presented one of the top meals of our entire trip. Absolutely delicious. Very good wine. We had beautiful weather, Nicola was a great driver and once again, Marko was knowledgeable and sensitive. He did careful research, he was kind and informative and very sensitive. It was an emotional day for sure but I will remember it for the rest of my life! Montenegro is an absolutely stunning destination. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Helen Bogolubov Desai, Richmond (USA)

Serbia & Montenegro – Tailor made tour

Croatia is a wonderful country and Ventula Travel is the company to use to see it. The drivers and guides were a key to enjoying the sites and cities of the country and getting a real understanding of the history of the country. Something that we could not duplicate on our own.

Robert was endlessly patient with us during the planning phase of the trip – we had so many questions and ideas. The trip exceeded our expectations. Every detail had been attended to and we got to see and experience so much of this lovely country, much of which we may not have discovered on our own. Our drivers and guides were top notch.

Clark & Smith group, (USA)

Croatia & More - Wrapped Around a Cruise

Robert responded informatively and helpfully throughout the planning of our month long sojourn to the amazing Balkans region. His advice and recommendations were excellent. As he learnt more about us during our email conversations, he amended the itinerary to suit us more personally. It was a superb experience that ran seamlessly. We were driven, hiked, flew, and self-drove within and between Croatia, Bosnia and Montenegro and back. A myriad of different experiences and with local guides who were such a delight to get to know, and were such a wealth of knowledge. Our admiration and respect for the people of this region is enormous. The choice of accommodation, the guides and drivers were arranged to suit our travel style, and couldn’t have been better. As an example, a night alone amongst the stars alongside a crackling fire above the Tara River was a surprise that is unforgettable and was totally unexpected. Dinner was delivered so we didn’t have to leave. This sort of attention to detail doesn’t surprise us now that we have experienced what Ventula is capable of. Thank you for everything . . . we can’t wait to return.

Lucille Franklin, Perth (Australia)

Western Balkans experience, Tailor-made program

We really enjoyed our time in Croatia. The days we spent with you were very easy, informative, and well planned. Tamara, our guide was outstanding; I’d welcome time with her again. Favorite visits were to Sinj and Ston. We were intrigued in the Alka, and hope to return to visit during this event. Thanks to Robert, and all your staff. Hoping to work with you again in the future.

Deborah Stegman, Colorado (USA)

Dubrovnik & Split Tailor-made program

I would not hesitate to visit Croatia again as there are many more options to explore. The islands of Croatia are an excellent option and they offer such remarkable experiences. The people of Croatia are full of warmth and hospitality as well and were the stars of the destination.

I would not hesitate to recommend Ventula Travel. This great boutique travel agency was very attentive and delivered personalized service from start to finish. They helped to connect us with the heart of Croatia and we were fully immersed in authentic experiences, which we thoroughly enjoyed absorbing.

Aik Wye, New York (USA)

Touring Croatia & beyond in 11 days, Tailor-made program

Ventula Travel made me fall in love with Croatia and archeology. The trips we were on, the food, wine, and company were truly outstanding. I had the pleasure of meeting the most intelligent and interesting people with unique hobbies and vast knowledge. Trips to the Archaeological Museum in Split and the fortress of Klis will forever remain in my memory. Just as diving in the submerged port of Siculi settlement. In addition, I absolutely LOVED the excavations in Salona – they were very rewarding! The group was supervised by a highly specialized archaeological team, Dino and Ana, who made us feel very welcome. It was truly a wonderful visit, and I will definitely be coming back.

Daniela Wojas, Illinois (USA)

Salona 2021 excavations programme

We worked with Ventula Travel on a couple of shows over the past years, and they are our favorite. The creativity, passion for the project and attention to detail is hard to match in another partner. We recently brought a large group to Dubrovnik this past September. Robert and the team helped us walk through options, explore creative solutions and worked with suppliers as our needs and numbers grew. In all seriousness I can say that we would not have been able to accomplish the event without Ventula. The whole team worked around the challenges and gave the event the attention I couldn’t only have hoped for.
Anything in the area, Robbie is the only option I would ever look at.

Will Davies – Muse Events Management

LifeVantage Incentive trip – Croatia 2022

I have spent many years travelling the world, and the 2 1/2 weeks I spent in Croatia this year would be one of the highlights. The excavation site of Siculi was amazing, so much material to be uncovered, and great finds happening along the way. During the two weeks, we saw much of Croatia in and around Split, and learned a lot about the history of the country. Our guide/friend was very knowledgeable, and willingly shared his knowledge with us. I would thoroughly recommend Ventula Travel to anyone looking to spend quality time in Croatia.

Joy Fisher, Adelaide (Australia)

Siculi Excavations Program

Our agent in Croatia, Robert was excellent. His knowledge of the area was amazing and nothing was too much trouble for him. We had a very full days and we were exhausted after but had such an enjoyable and memorable times. I would highly recommend to anyone that is going to Croatia to organise a tour with Robert.

Carolyn Davies, Perth (Australia)

Customised Tour of Dalmatia

I’ll try to put into words one of the most memorable trips of my life. When I decided I would go to Croatia it never crossed my mind that the experience would mean returning home with the impression I had loved every single moment there. It was INTENSE. People made me feel comfortable and at ease, the places I visited were what I was looking for. The history in Split and Dubrovnik together with the beaches, the little streets full of stories, the museums and restaurants and squares and bars. I was in Zagreb as well and in Zadar and moved around without much effort in spite of being my first time there. Absolutely everything made me love that country. The people, tasting different types of oil, eating peka and drinking wine. I don’ t know, so many wonderful little moments I’ll cherish for the rest of my life…. And most of all, I was very lucky to have contacted a travel agent, Ventula Travels. As I see it that was crucial to my well-being and the success of my trip. For two reasons; one, they understood exactly what I was looking for and made sure I got it and second, they contacted me constantly to see if everything they had organised was correct and if I was doing well. It was perfect. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to go back but it won’t matter really because Croatia and all the people I met will always be in my heart.

Sandra Ricketts, Montevideo (Uruguay)

Customised Tour through Croatia

It is a 5 stars archeological and cultural tour of Croatia. With every minute planned by Robert to the last detail. Robert takes care of each person in the group based on individual needs and preferences. I had many guides and tours in my life but nothing even close to the one Robert provides. Hotel is located right near Salona excavation site with beautiful view on the park from the room’s balcony. Room is very nice and clean. WiFi works great. Service is amazing. Hotel serves breakfast and dinner with large selection to any taste. There is a general store and bakery across the street. This was my first archeological dig. Archeological team consisted of 5-7 tourists, 10-12 students from Zagreb university and supervised by dr. Dino Demicheli. Dino is a great person and has extensive knowledge of history and archeology that he is willing to share. Dino supervised our every day excavations with detail explanations of how work should be done and why. All students spoke very good English and it was wonderful working with them everyday and share experiences. Daily trips around Split area cover diverse historical and cultural past of Croatia. Robert carefully selects guides for different places or guides himself. Each day trip is an unforgettable experience.

Alex Shulman, Illinois (USA)

Salona 2021 excavations programme

I had an excellent trip to Croatia planned by Robert and Jelena. The food was excellent, the tours were all great, and the hotels were very deluxe. The Hotel Adriana in Dubrovnik was especially nice; we had a great view from our room and there was a nice area you could swim in the Adriatic right from the hotel. We also had a great meal at their restaurant. The second half of my trip I spent helping on an archaeological dig, which was a bucket-list item for me. Dino, in charge of the dig, was knowledgeable and patient with me and the other tourists. Overall, it was an experience I will never forget and I hope to get back soon!

Laura A., Washington, (USA)

Dalmatia – A Historical Exploration – Tailor-made program

Ventula put together a great tour for us. The destinations were a good mix of what inland Croatia and Slovenia have to offer, the recommended restaurants were great, and the personal guides made the trip a total pleasure. We felt we had a fantastic scenic and cultural experience. I would highly recommend Ventula to friends traveling to the region.

Karen W., USA

Slovenia & Croatia – Tailor made tour

We are experienced older travelers who have always booked our own travel, however our trip to Croatia was a bit overwhelming when we realized we would have many stops and transfers to see everything we wanted to see in two weeks. Ventula was recommended to us by friends and I am grateful for the recommendation. Robert and his staff with very short notice and little time to plan supplied us with an itinerary that met all our needs. We started in Zagreb at the spectacular Espanade Hotel and ended in the little town of Trogir near the Split airport. I have to commend all of our private guides and drivers, Drazen, Andrija, Antonio, Ivana, Leo, Lea, and Anada to name a few. All very knowledgeable of the area, so friendly and helpful. The hotel accommodations at every stop were exceptional from the Chalet at Plitvice Lakes, the Villa Nepos in the Diocletian Place at Split, the Korsal Hotel in Korcula, the Sun Gardens in Dubrovnik and the Berislavic Palace in Trogir. The Plitvice Lakes are a must see. Small stops along the Dalmatian coast at Nin, Zadar, a speedboat ride from Split to Korcula with a stop at Hvar was incredible. Split and Dubrovnik are unlike any “city” we have ever seen. Great food, a visit to the oyster beds in Peljesac, visits to several vineyards, wine and olive oil tastings made this trip one we will remember for a long time and all personalized just for us. Fantastic experience. Thank you, Robert.

Judy Poe, Chicago (USA)

Zagreb to Dubrovnik – Tailor made

We really enjoyed working with Ventula and especially found working with Robert a rewarding experience. The time that was spent working with us on our itinerary far exceeded our exceptions. Robert made sure our priorities were met and made fabulous recommendations on what we should experience in our 3+ week trip. Logistically the trip was seamless, the guides and drivers were all excellent. Julija was a lot of fun. Very much enjoyed our tine with her and the knowledge she provided. enjoyed spending time in a small family winery. Very nice wines. Ivana in Zadar was very knowledgeable and personable as well. She provided some great recommendations. On the was to Plitvice Iva was fabulous. A wealth of knowledge. She had the day well planned logistically as there was a lot of ground to cover, with wonderful stops and picnic lunch crossing over Velbitt mountain. Istria far exceeded our expectations, staying in Motovun was highly appreciated when we saw crowds in Rovinj. Adriano was amazing.

Slovenia started great with the private cave tour. What a surprise! We also loved Ljubljana. Would loved to have some extra days here. The winery in Vipava had great wine (we still need to check on getting some shipped back to US) and having our wine guide play the guitar for us was awesome. What a talented family!! The views from winery in Dobrvo was beautiful and enjoyed the wine and lunch there. Stay in the Apls was something else! I could have stay here for a while (given I could get some groceries for the kitchen). The lodging highlight of our trip. The facility and the views were spectacular. The hosts were outstanding.

We really enjoyed having a day in Italy, still one of my favorite countries. Helene was an excellent guide there. Very much enjoyed being with her. The monastery was well worth the visit. The town was gorgeous – particularly the frescos. Well worth the trip. The farewell dinner experience at Hisa Franko – A great experience. Definitely not something I would want to do everyday but we don’t eat at a lot of Michelin starred restaurants. It was different from the other Michelin restaurants we have been to. We are glad we went. The courses were certainly not something I would attempt at home which is often the case at many expensive restaurants we go to. Certainly a great way to end our trip.

I could not recommend you highly enough. Our bar has been raised for future companies we will work with. It was a seamless trip. Everything went off as planned. That does not always happen as we have experienced in several of our past travels. I felt like it anything needed to be addressed it would be in short order. The follow up including this survey is outstanding. We would love to return. Compared to other countries in western Europe we have visited – the destinations were extremely clean (not something we always find), people we encountered were very friendly and kind and wanted us to have a great experience. We appreciated that English was widely spoken as our ability to even attempt the local language except for pleasantries was not going to happen.We will certainly recommend Ventula our friends and family that travel to make this a destination.

Kim Griffith – St. Petersburg, (USA)

Croatia, Slovenia & Italy – tailor made

We would have no hesitation what so ever in recommending Jelena and Ventula travel. The professionalism and knowledge exhibited by this company and the tour guides was outstanding. They planned and organised our trip to Split and Dubrovnik. The personal guides provided were extremely knowledgeable and took us to some of the places where tourists would not normally go. We Have no hesitation in recommending this company to organise your travels.

Kaye & Mal Wolfe, Perth (Australia)

A Week in Croatia, Tailor made program

We never experienced Croatia before and we are a high-expectation travelers as we like to dwell into the possibilities before even planning the trip. Zagreb was great to start with; although we had to go with it because of our flight. Great room overlooking the central square. Great location. Good buffet breakfasts. A lot of food! The tour of the city in thet special little vehicle was a great way, especially once he was able to put the top down. Very informative and enthusiastic. We talked a lot about history and other topics.

Great car on the way to Plitvice, I wanted to drive. Ivan was also informative and enthusiastic. And, he helped with luggage from hotel to car. Amazing stop at the Mills. I want to return and stay there! He helped us again with luggage from car to hotel, which was not an easy task with roll-around luggage on slate stones. The “buggy” normally used for transfer was not available.. The park! What to say? Absolutely amazing walk through one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever visited. Our guide was a ranger there, so he knew how to avoid crowds. The hotel room was outstanding, nonetheless their food as well – a lot of food.

The Velebit Pass was awesome. The views were spectacular. Another unexpected trip highlight. And, we saw a bear!!! That was a highlight for all 3 of us… go figure! Dragan’s driving through the pass was safe and informative. While all the drivers we had on our trip drove safely, this stretch of road required an extra level of caution. I also appreciate the stops he made along the way for photos. He was also very friendly and talkative. We’ve had lots of good conversations!

Zadar vineyard was a nice addition to a perfect day. We enjoyed the wine pairing. Again, it was a lot of food! The accommodation stunning. Location, location, location – beautiful! The apartment was very comfortable and well maintained. Views of the sunset were fantastic, simply unforgettable. Zadar felt like a mini Venice. Ivana took us on a great tour of the city. I must admit I was hesitant about the glass museum but Ivana made the visit enjoyable – and short. She was very informative and knows lots of interesting historical facts. Sibenik – never heard of it until this trip, but another extraordinary surprise on the way to Split. Again, after living in Turkey, wine tasting and servings of pork are much appreciated. Bibich was a good stop.

The trip just continued thrilling us more and more. Split architecture tour was the best of all. It was more a tour of Diocletian Palace, which I found fascinating – the way the palace has been repurposed over the centuries as a village, and now a gathering place for the entire city. Goran was obviously very respectable and knowledgeable person because everyone seemed to know him and he knew all the littlest details about the history of the palace and seemed energized by my interest in what he knew. I think we turned our 2 hour tour into 4 hours. Lots of walking around the Palace. Largely my fault for taking such an interest in the tour. Velora is a Game of Thrones fan, as was our guide Andrea on the day after. She kept pointing out scenes of the series that were filmed at sites between Zadar, Split, Diocletian’s Palace and including Klis fortress and she also was very knowledgeable about the real history of the surroundings. Lamb from spit was a fantastic meal. We tried to eat it all, but just couldn’t.
The winery in Kastele is not quite ready for prime time, but after visiting all the professional slick presentations at the more well established wineries, it was quite refreshing to be in a more informal family run environment. I enjoyed it, and besides, there was wine and pork!

What to say about Dubrovnik? After the “you know which” situation, it wasn’t a ball. However, you guys made things happen. Firstly, the ambulance drive, well… being an ambulance, the driver was remarkably nice, helped us with our luggage. We didn’t lift a thing. We actually tipped him good. Cannot say much good though about Argentina although everyone was very nice and we have been given a complimentary drink on arrival. The one person ‘assigned’ to help us was very cordial, helpful and patient. He seemed genuinely sympathetic, but he couldn’t really do anything to help. The poor rating from us is only because we didn’t really get to know any of the staff because we didn’t stay there due to their room alternative, which was simply unacceptable for us. But that was faith! What a find Ventula! Of everything Ventula travel did for us on our trip through Croatia, finding the alternative apartment in light of the Argentine Hotel fiasco was the best! We loved this place. We wanted to buy it! We had a beautiful four nights here! We enjoyed Petra’s company walking the walls. She was great, while we felt terrible because we were so tired.

Montenegro was a fantastic addition to our trip as we never heard of Kotor before. Now, we’ll never forget it and will recommend to others. Great tour with the boat and the island with the small church, remarkable meal in the mills restaurant. Farewell experience was another unforgettable meal – high quality food, extraordinary view. We will definitely recommend Ventula to anyone we know who will visit Croatia. Our tour was a proper below the radar travel experience. Shows that Ventula does make sure to choose the best services. We would love to visit again!

Stephen & Velora Brown – Istanbul, (TUR)

Croatia & Montenegro – tailor made trip

This really was a once in a lifetime trip for me. Each of our guides showed such passion and love for their city, it made us fall in love with the cities as well. I loved getting to try so many new experiences, food and activities, and doing so in such a beautiful place. My favorite part of the trip was meeting and talking with the people in each city. Hearing their stories and how their families are intertwined with the history of Croatia.

Hannah B., Oregon (USA)

Dalmatia – A Historical Exploration – Tailor-made program

Robert and Jelena were absolute pleasures to be around from Split to Plitvice Lakes to Zagreb. Everything was taken care of with no stress from pick up at the airport to drop off. My friend and I were in Croatia for a specific reason and these amazing people added to the experience and even changed original “plans” to accommodate our adventure as we went. All restaurants chosen were fantastic. Great food and even better service! We received so much more than we had requested or could have imagined. Amazingly friendly people from restaurant staff to winemakers.

Robert and Jelena are very knowledgeable in the history of their country but also, for a couple friends wanting to go out on the town, they knew exactly where to go for great beer, music and entertainment.
Warm, kind and heartfelt people. I cannot wait to plan my next trip with Ventula Travel!

Joan Minnie, Canmore (Canada)

Touring Croatia in 9 days, Tailor-made program

Rob at Ventula Travel is incredible – he is detail oriented, organized, and went above and beyond to ensure we had a terrific vacation when my husband and I visited Croatia! He even noticed and remembered that my husband had a birthday while we were visiting and made sure to drop off some wine and dessert for us to celebrate! All the travel arrangements were seamless, punctual and very thought out/considerate. Our off the beaten track tours to an ancient water mill, an olive oil tasting and sea kayak tours were perfect! Just what we had asked for. We will definitely recommend any one to make use of this hidden gem of a travel agency for the best travel experience in Croatia!

Prachee Pathak, New York (USA)

From Zagreb & Rovinj to Dubrovnik, Tailor-made tour

We bring back with us fond memories of our tour to Croatis, thanks to my son who has picked the right choice for our destination, Ventura Travel. We have had a great time, dining and touring with your professional guides. we would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Robert, ( our star guide ), Katarina, Julija, Timea. Miho, Stella and others who have accompanied us on this tour. We will certainly recommend Ventula Travel to our friends who intend to travel to Croatia. Thank you, once again for making our vacation a very memorable one

Amazing trip throughout Croatia. Very pleased to be able to learn about this remarkable destination through the eyes of the Ventula DMC team.

Mr & Mrs Ng Ting Ah (Mdm Gan Kam Yoong), Georgetown (Malaysia)

Touring Croatia & beyond in 11 days, Tailor-made program

Its a great family vacation. The Croatian coast seems unspoilt versus the rest of the Mediterranean and the water & landscape are beautiful. Lots of activities on land as well, the kids were never bored. Would highly recommend it.

Keiling family – Berlin, Germany

Family island hopping private cruise, Tailor-made tour

We work with a small number of family run DMC’s in the countries where we offer trips, some for many years. I’m pleased to say we have developed excellent relationships with all of them and both we and they have consistently gone the extra mile or beyond to try and help the other and to deliver an excellent service both directly to the partner company as well as to guests. We are very pleased that Ventula has become part of this family of DMC’s which are all very special. This is only the 4th year we are working in Croatia but we are very much looking forward to developing a wider range of trips and to expanding our collaboration with Ventula.

Peter Sommer, CEO at Peter Sommer Travels, Monmouth (UK)

CEO at Peter Sommer Travels, Monmouth (UK)

My husband and I worked with Robert at Ventula Travel for our recent visit to Croatia. He was easy and quick to communicate with via email. Being local he had the insight and connections that were so valuable to our experience. He curated a trip through the country from Zagreb to Split, island hopping with a stay in Korcula, the Peljesac Peninsula and ending in Dubrovnik. We hit all the highlights with the best guides and were treated like family in the best locals restaurants. We traveled with wonderful private drivers in comfortable cars and boats seeing and experiencing more of this amazing country than we ever could have otherwise. I would highly recommend Ventula Travel to anyone looking to travel to Croatia.

Jill K, San Francisco (USA)

Zagreb to Dubrovnik by land and sea, Tailor-made program

Croatia should be in the list of every avid traveller. It has a rich history, art heritage, diverse culture and has varied gastronomical delights. Our group was lucky to have found Ventula Travel to create this tour for us. From the moment Robert Bralić submitted his initial proposal for a customized tour of Croatia for 11 days for a group of 6, we knew that his version stood out from the other 3 companies we asked to submit proposals. Apart from the usual tourist destinations, Robert incorporated unique experiences that only a learned and passionate local guide would know about. It was actually a risk on his part to depart from the usual tour packages and offered a package to a group he hardly knows would welcome such off the beaten tracks. And as such, while the likes of Dubrovnik, Diocletian Palace, Dalmatian Islands tour, Plitviče Lakes would top the list of a regular tourist’s experience in Croatia, our group would forever remember the moments we had cruising the Nretva river in a traditional boat, getting to know the family that owns a Medieval watermill (that still operates) and being served local cuisine; being served ancient cuisine while getting educated on olive oil in a historic site, having fun following a dog hunting for truffles, listening to an energetic local entrepreneur in his quest to get a trade patent to protect his strudel recipes, and many more unique encounters with locals that made our holiday truly enriching. The tour guides assigned to us were all excellent. As tour guides, being educated is our minimum expectation. We were assigned Archaeologists, art historians, educators who passionately shared with us not only what they know and learned from books but also stories from their own family experiences which makes the exchange even more meaningful. No moment was wasted with any of them as we devoured every information they were sharing with us. We got very good tips on where to eat or where to spend our free time or what to watch out for when we are walking around. While we will not retain everything that we learned about Croatia, the moments we shared with a lot of the people we met in this trip would last a lifetime.

Sol Vivas, Manila (Philippines)

Customised Tour of Croatia for Friends

Ventula was excellent. Flexible, patient & responsive. I`d highly recommend Robert Bralic to any traveler to the Croatia area.

Michael Baxter, Baltimore (USA)

Montenegro & Croatia – Tailor made

Very personal and seamless arrangements with careful selection of unique experiences. Ventula was with us through out the ten days of our trip, making sure that plans were well carried out, that we were comfortable and enjoying learning about this very interesting part of the world. And the guides were extraordinary in their knowledge and ability to individualize a tour!

Whitley party, Spokane (USA)

Exploring Croatia & more, Tailor-made program

There are no words to adequately describe the two weeks I had. Having been on tours before and travelled to many interesting places I still didn’t know what to expect. Croatia is a country rich in culture and history, in the end I didn’t want to leave. I know a large part of that is due to Robert and the programme that was set up for us. Each day was filled with adventure and new interesting things to see. After a few days of the programme we started eagerly anticipating our pickups, realising that each day was going to bring a wealth of new incredible experiences. I loved eating the pekka which I was fortunate to experience twice! The wine tastings was also very refreshing given I don’t normally drink wine. My favourite places to go were Sinj and Kliss but a lot of what made the trip special were the small magical moments whether they were driving through the breathtaking scenery, visiting one of the sources of the Cetina, stumbling upon one of the most incredible museums I’ve ever seen (of the Alkar tournament and 1715 siege), or having that museum topped by an equally amazing one (Narona). In comparison to some of the dry and bland tour groups we passed while exploring Split I have to say I pity anyone who ends up in this amazing country without a guide like Robert because he truly brought everything to life. I am already desperate to go back, I think I left part of me behind!

Elina Larravide, Maryland (USA)

Customised Tour of Dalmatia

An incredible trip, one which will always be remembered. Robert was incredibly attentive and planned a wonderful detailed trip for us. He was always accessible during the trip if we had a question. Also he gratuitously offered to give us an private tour of the ruins on a Sunday, his day off.

Byron Olson, Baltimore (USA)

Montenegro & Croatia – Tailor made

Best vacation ever! Robert planned it perfectly and thought of everything. I loved how he could customize the packages according to my needs and wishes and was always available when I needed him or had questions before and during the trip. He personally selects only the best guides, hotels etc he knows for the best quality/experience for his clients. I will be booking all future travel with him and recommend him to all my friends and family. My trip was very affordable and he can work with all budgets. I also loved how connected he was to so many people and places in the country and was so knowledgeable. Five stars!

Mary Frenkel, Texas (USA)

Dubrovnik, Hvar & Salona – Talior-made programme

Robert put together a perfect time and introduction and immersion to the culture people and food of beautiful Croatia.

Terry Mather, Littleton (USA)

Split & Dubrovnik – Tailor made tour

We did the island hopping from Split to Dubrovnik Brilliant tour – highlights were – The abandoned shepherds village and the agri estate on Hvar. Stari grad was our favourite little place. Food, people, sights, service – everything was beyond what we expected. Jelena took great care of us throughout.

K. J. Sandman, Melbourne (Australia)

Dalmatian Island-hopping tour, Tailor-made program

I wish I could use Robert for all my travel planning! If it wasn’t for him, I would have given up planning our Croatia boat cruise. At the time I couldn’t find an available cruise to suit our dates or flights. But Robert was persistent and he found us the perfect match. Prior to our arrival, all emails were handled promptly and clearly. He was able to answer all our questions, and provided everything we needed to know. Upon airport pick up, he was extremely professional and friendly, but mostly, informative. He gave us a fascinating car ride around Split, showing us the layout of the city. It was practical too, so that we were able to navigate the city ourselves when we had the next day to explore. He arranged for our luggage to be taken to the hotel and then to and from the boat. It was seamless. We decided last minute to get a hotel for the final day as we had to leave the boat by 9am but had a day to explore in Split. Within half an hour of contacting him, a hotel was booked and all arrangements and payments were confirmed. His colleague Frane picked us up. He was punctual, polite and also full of interesting stories about Croatia. This is how all travel agents should be. I will insist on any friend visiting Croatia to use Robert’s services.

Crew: Nikolai, the tour guide on cruise was extremely helpful and tried his utmost to make us feel welcome.

Nikolai the bar tender was excellent, remembering our names and drinks preferences by the second day!

Heritage Hotel: Marco was the most helpful and courteous concierge we have ever met. He carried our heavy luggage all though the old town, he gave us detailed information regarding sight seeing, and restaurant recommendations, he served us breakfast and made our stay in Split so wonderfully pleasant.

Annette Lee Polley, Coventry (England)

Island Hopping Cruise from Split to Dubrovnik

The guides, sightseeing destinations, accommodations, transportation vehicles were are first class. There was admirable attention to detail and excellent choices of guides who were knowledgeable, engaging and professional. Choices of hotels were what we expected. I would recommend this company to friends and family. Nancy G.

Nancy Gooding, Denver (USA)

Split & Dubrovnik – Tailor made tour

The memories, experiences, tours, knowledge, and the digs I participated in are definitely worth it. Everything included with this experience (our tour guide Robert, food, hotel, etc.) was also very top-notch and high quality, with no downsides whatsoever. I’ll definitely be coming back, as this trip was a life-changing experience in terms of both leisure and work. My highest thanks goes to Robert, Dino, and everyone else who makes this wonderful trip work smoothly!

Peter Eger, Colorado (USA)

Excavations of the Ancient Salona 2022