Travelling Through Dalmatia

April 16, 2018
By Robert Bralić

Many have written about and to Dalmatia. From ancient writers who recorded the newly coined toponym at the turn of the first century, through various travel writers who travelled through these parts as early as in Renaissance times, all the way to modern-day authors and bloggers who admire this God-given land and everything it has produced.

Alberto Fortis – one of traveller- writers who passed through Dalmatia – 18th century, copercarving of Luigi Rados

Alberto Fortis – one of traveller- writers who passed through Dalmatia – 18th century, copercarving of Luigi Rados

In the company of all of these masters with either smaller or bigger level of authority, I do not feel the least bit nervous about writing about Dalmatia. In fact, I feel carefree, grateful that I was born and get to live here, transferring the wealth of its heritage to travellers and passers-by, revealing its most hidden curiosities along the way.

Dalmatia in the Bible

Dalmatia in the Bible

In this post, we will cross Dalmatia from its north to south, pausing in certain places and providing some basic information. In later posts, these areas will be addressed in much more detail.

To begin with, I must mention that to people who travel to Croatia, Dalmatia is a relatively unknown term. Unfortunately, the vast majority are only familiar with the dog breed, and that’s it. I have no problem with that, I do not mind. Some think Dalmatia is an administrative part of Croatia, but that’s not true. There is indeed a mention of its name in the title of “Split-Dalmatia County,” although the reasons for that seem quite inexplicable and illogical. The area around Split does not claim the right to that name any more than the area around Zadar or Dubrovnik. There is, however, Dalmatia in Pennsylvania, USA, which got its name God knows how. If you are inquisitive, more on that topic you can read on this interesting blog. There are five hundred inhabitants living there, whereas in my original Dalmatia, nearly a million.

Illyrians pushed it as far as Pennsylvania, apparently because the name Georgetown became overused.

Illyrians pushed it as far as Pennsylvania, apparently because the name Georgetown became overused.

In that sense, Dalmatia is seen as a historic region of Croatia, along with Istria, Slavonia and Croatia Proper. It extends from the area of the city of Zadar in the north to Dubrovnik area in the south.

In addition, Dalmatia is the place in which the first Croatian Principality, Kingdom, or State, if you will, was founded. This is why it should have a sort of precedence over today`s Croatia. I was always raised to respect the elders.

Pre-Romanesque Church of the Holy Cross from Nin, considered the smallest cathedral in the world, built within the area of ancient Roman basilica sometime in the earlyer 9th century.

Pre-Romanesque Church of the Holy Cross from Nin, considered the smallest cathedral in the world, built within the area of ancient Roman basilica sometime in the earlyer 9th century.

On the other hand, I see Dalmatia as an experience, a way of life, an intense smell of abundance in every sense. To me, she is the sound of a seagull, the fishhook thrown into the sea, the call of swallows with church bells pounding in the distance, grannies grumbling and friends singing acapella out of the blue. To me, she is the sweat and the shattering of rocks, windswept islands in the southern weather, the smell of the tavern and the stern look in my father’s eye. Blinding fullness of green and blue, sharp and freezing bura* wind whipping my ears. The sound of a million crickets. That`s Dalmatia.

*Bura – fierce wind common for the area of Coastal Croatia. Blowing usually with more than a 100 mph, it closes its season with „three Bura`s of march“; on the 7th, 17th and the 27th.

Boiling sea and the fiersome bura wind in Senj harbour, beneath Velebit mountain. This one was the second from the three that commonly blow in March each year.

Boiling sea and the fiersome bura wind in Senj harbour, beneath Velebit mountain. This one was the second from the three that commonly blow in March each year.

Its northern end is located under the mighty Velebit mountain, stretching lazily along the coast and losing herself in hundreds of white boulders in the blue sea. Although it is not technically in today`s Dalmatia, we shall start with the island of Pag because is easilly accessible from the mainland. In fact, this is where Dalmatia begins symbolically, with the birthplace of the bura wind and an ancient olive grove on the tip of the island with more than a thousand of milennia-old trees.

Islands – Pag, Vir, Maun, Olib, Silba, Premuda, Ist, Molat aerial view from Velebit mountain.

Islands – Pag, Vir, Maun, Olib, Silba, Premuda, Ist, Molat aerial view from Velebit mountain.

Sunlit and moonlike-surfaced Dalmatia bows down in the sea before the mighty Velebit.

Sunlit and moonlike-surfaced Dalmatia bows down in the sea before the mighty Velebit.

Descending southeast, we come across the towns of Pag and Nin, and the beginning of a long necklace of fascinating Dalmatian islands, stretching all the way to Dubrovnik. Certainly, Nin can be singled out as a unique place because of its position and historical importance in which the salt production played a significant role, due to which the town of Pag became familiar in somewhat later times as well. When travelling this way, it would be a shame to miss the culinary specialties of this region. Therefore, when on Pag, try cheese and lamb with baby onion and half a glass of red. Mmm, it already smells like one of the future posts. For more manly men, the Benedictine nunnery features an exhibition of the famous Pag lace, enlisted as intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO. 🙂

The town of Pag, as seen from the road.

The town of Pag, as seen from the road.

Going further, we will reach Zadar, a quiet Dalmatian city, the second largest in all of Dalmatia, today mostly known for its Sea Organ and incredible sunsets. It was the capital city of Dalmatia from the time of the Byzantine themata** until the period when Austria annexed Dalmatia as its province.

**Byzantine themata – were the main administrative divisions of the middle Byzantine Empire. They were established in the mid-7th century in the aftermath of the Slavic invasion of the Balkans and Muslim conquests of parts of Byzantine territory, and replaced the earlier provincial system established by Diocletian and Constantine the Great. – source: Wikipedia

Zadar, the churh of St. Donatus, main landmark of the town, built on an ancient Forum Romanorum.

Zadar, the churh of St. Donatus, main landmark of the town, built on an ancient Forum Romanorum.

Otherwise, this place is ideal for longer stays, especially for people who prefer to travel off the beaten track, hidden bays and desert mountain trails. The town of Zadar offers outstanding archaeological heritage to study, from remnants of the Roman Forum, to great collections and museums such as the Museum of Ancient Glass with their glass blowing and jewellry making workshops. The surrounding area does not lag behind either. As many as four national parks are located in the vicinity of Zadar. There are also the Zrmanja River Canyon, Vrana Lake, Bukovica Region with numerous archaeological sites, fertile fields with numerous vineyards and olive groves, islands and islets arranged perfectly off the coast. Everything here seems somehow on a human scale.
adriatic, sea, zadar, sunset, tours

In Dalmatia, Sun rises from the mountains and falls into the Adriatic Sea.

In Dalmatia, Sun rises from the mountains and falls into the Adriatic Sea.

Before entering the central Dalmatia we come across the town of Sibenik and the Krka River. This is one of the few cities that hasn`t got ancient, but medieval roots. It is certainly worth to stop here to explore the Krka River and visit the city with the Cathedral of St. Jacob, a truly artistic achievement, also featured on the World Heritage List.

Cathedral of St. James in Šibenik, a true masterpiece of art done by Italian and local masters – Francesco di Giacomo, Lorenzo Pincino, Pier Paolo Bussato, Bonino da Milano, Georgio da Sebenico and Andrija Budčić and Grubiš Šlafčić.

Cathedral of St. James in Šibenik, a true masterpiece of art done by Italian and local masters – Francesco di Giacomo, Lorenzo Pincino, Pier Paolo Bussato, Bonino da Milano, Georgio da Sebenico and Andrija Budčić and Grubiš Šlafčić.

In the central part, Dalmatia changes its appearance, drawing mountains closer to the shore and thus connecting the hinterland with the coastline and the islands in a fairly narrow strip. The best way to see that is to climb up a back road from Sibenik to Trogir and Split on a fine day. Before descending to Trogir, at the southern slopes of the Vilaja mountain, the view opens onto a large part of Central Dalmatia.

Trogir & Kaštela bay, the city of Split in the distance with Biokovo Mountain behind.

Trogir & Kaštela bay, the city of Split in the distance with Biokovo Mountain behind.

There are three World Heritage sites located here within mere 38 square kilometers; the town of Trogir, the city of Split, and the ancient Greek Plain in Stari Grad on the island of Hvar. The view spans the coast all the way to the slopes of Biokovo mountain, including all the Central Dalmatian islands. Precisely that area, from Trogir via Split up to Omis, is the most densely populated region of Dalmatia with nearly 400.000 inhabitants. The city of Split, the second largest in Croatia, is the center of Dalmatia and the hub of maritime routes for all Central and Southern Dalmatian islands and Italy.

Amazing Split waterfront view from Marjan hill

Amazing Split waterfront view from Marjan hill

This is truly a unique city; the most beautiful city in the world, according to its residents, myself included. This city has a certain magic. No one knows what it is, but everyone feels it. If I were forced to walk a hundred cities blindfolded, among them I would still easily recognize Split.

Aerial view on Split and Marjan park forrest

Aerial view on Split and Marjan park forrest

Split has emerged from Diocletian’s Palace and the ancient town of Salona. For tourists it was once no more than a transit hub toward the islands. Today, the situation has changed and everyone is keen on Split, on seeing it, walking through the Peristyle and admiring its past and present.

View on cathedral belfry and Iron Gate of Diocletian`s Palace from Pjaca square

View on cathedral belfry and Iron Gate of Diocletian`s Palace from Pjaca square

However, there is no need to focus only on the urban centers, as they are already overcrowded with tourists in high season. A serious traveller needs to know the right time to visit the cities. In any case, the area around Split is so full of diversity that one can spend a lovely vacation there alone. The hinterland and the islands offer a rare contrast within a short distance of each other. Here, it is only a 30 km drive from pristine beaches to a thousand-meter high mountain tops.

Biokovo mountain in the distance

Biokovo mountain in the distance

It would be a shame not to see the ruins of Salona, the fortress of Klis, the towns of Sinj, Vrlika, Kaštela, Trilj, Omiš … And the list goes on forever. Certainly, the surroundings of Split hold some very interesting, still secret places of fascinating beauty.

Ancient Roman amphitheatre in Salona

Ancient Roman amphitheatre in Salona

From here, there are several different directions in which one can continue the journey to the south of Dalmatia and Dubrovnik, either by sea or land, depending on which part one would want to explore further. The inland, for example, offers karst terrain and beautiful spots along the two river flows, the Cetina and the Neretva. A journey to Dubrovnik via the Dalmatian hinterland is something I usually recommend to people who do not have sea legs or to those who have already seen enough of it during their trip. The Dalmatian hinterland, as I have already mentioned, offers a vast cultural diversity. The border with the neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina is very close, so here the Catholic, Orthodox and Islamic cultural influences can all be experienced within a few kilometers.

Mostar, view on the Old Bridge from the eastern side of Neretva river.

Mostar, view on the Old Bridge from the eastern side of Neretva river.

On the other hand, the sea offers irresistible islands, each a story of its own. The islands of Brac, Hvar, Korcula, Mljet, the Elaphiti Islands and the open-sea islands of Vis and Lastovo certainly can extend the journey to Dubrovnik for a week. There are a number of excellent themed cruises covering the islands and their natural and cultural attractions. Whichever way you go, you cannot skip the Peljesac peninsula, the largest peninsula in Dalmatia and the second largest in Croatia. In the Bay of Mali Ston you can taste unique oysters, visit the famous walls and saltpans, or even try a typical Ston cake.

The saltworks of Ston with the settlemant and part of the famous Ston Walls

The saltworks of Ston with the settlemant and part of the famous Ston Walls

For wine lovers, the real adventure awaits on the road leading from Ston all the way to Orebić. Peljesac peninsula is home to the best known and renowned wine regions (terroirs) in Croatia, Dingač and Postup. Touring the vineyards, visiting tasting rooms and mingling with the locals is something one should definitely do.

Tasting in an authentic cellar on Pelješac.

Tasting in an authentic cellar on Pelješac.

Returning from Pelješac and descending further south from Ston, it is only a short panoramic ride to Dubrovnik, at the very end of our little trip. The Pearl of the Adriatic, as it is affectionately known, is a magnificent and unparalleled architectural and artistic achievement. The people of Dubrovnik and the Dubrovnik Republic have left a significant mark on world history, which is evident in every corner of this city. Flight connections from Dubrovnik to the rest of the world are constantly increasing, making it one of the ideal points to end your journey on a high note.

Dubrovnik old town

Dubrovnik old town

Thus we reach the end of this blog post, modestly rounding off the story of this world travel destination, ideal for visiting in pre- and post-seasonal times. Whichever one you choose, you cannot go wrong. Travelling in Croatia, whether in spring or autumn, leaves enough room for a truly intimate feel of the destination. Unless of course you yearn for higher temperatures and a refreshing swim in the crystal-clear Adriatic Sea. And those millions of crickets…

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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

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

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

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

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

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’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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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

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 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

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

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 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

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

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

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

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)

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

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 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’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

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

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

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

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

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 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

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

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

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

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

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 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 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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

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)

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

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 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’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

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

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

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 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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

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