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**Cultural Immersion Tour to Croatia, 2018: September 12-24 "GORSKI KOTAR, ISTRA, PLITVICE LAKES, & NORTHERN-MIDDLE DALMATIA CRUISE" SOLD OUT! To find out more information, please email: melissa@heartofcroatia.com or call 614.230.2634.

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September 12-24, 2018


($400 deposit will be applied to cost of tour. Remainder of TOUR COST can be paid in 3 installments, if you wish.

We prefer that all payments be made by check. However, we will accept payments by credit card but please note that we will charge you an additional 3% for this service.)


 Price Does NOT Include Airfare. We will recommend a wonderful Croatian travel agent who can assist you with your airfare arrangements as well as with travel insurance.


(There is a $600 Single Room Supplement)



“It’s Like Going on Vacation with Friends…”


"The Soul of a People Can Be Found in its Songs,
The Heart of a People Can Be Heard in its Music"

 If you would like to experience the true flavors of CROATIA with the rich addition of dance, music and song, then consider traveling with Pam Kelley and Melissa Obenauf, Co-Directors and Co-Founders of ŽIVILI Dance Company. The tour will begin in Zagreb, where we will hear the beautiful sounds of tamburitza players while dining in our beautiful hotel. Welcome to Croatia!

 Image result for opatija statue

 From Zagreb, we will travel by bus to Opatija by way of Risnjak National Park where we will walk on the beautiful Leska Nature Trail, and then be treated to the culinary delights of the Gorski Kotar region as we dine in the picturesque Risnjak Lodge. Oh, and you’ll meet Melissa’s family in her grandparents’ village of Crni Lug! In the late afternoon, we will arrive in Opatija Riviera and check into our lovely, newly-renovated hotel!



From Opatija, we will enjoy excursions on 2 separate days to the spectacular ISTRIAN PENINSULA…which is also being referred to as “The New Tuscany.” We will see the walled town of Motovun; visit the postcard-like artist’s town of Grožnjan and the 2000-year-old Roman amphitheatre in Pula; enjoy an agro-touristic lunch and taste the renowned truffles of Istria; and finally, sip on cocktails in romantic Rovinj while watching the sun set…

Image result for motovunImage result for pula amphitheatreImage result for rovinj


On Sunday, September 16th, we will board our beautiful, brand NEW in 2017, A+ Category ship, MV 'MOONLIGHT,' chartered just for our group, and we will sail from island to island/port to port, for 6 days, from September 16-22. Our tour will be packed with guided tours in ports, wine tastings, traditional, fresh Mediterranean cuisine, sunbathing, swimming...and heavenly cruising amongst some of the most beautiful locations in Croatia. 


Included will be fabulous folklore because that is our specialty, that is our expertise, that is our love!

Itinerary for the 6-day cruise portion of our tour will be as follows:



Following our disembarking from the ship in Split, we will go by bus to the Nikola Tesla Memorial Centre in Smiljan and experience a picnic nearby; spend the night in Lika, and the next day tour the stunning, spectacular and sensational Plitvice Lakes National Park!



* Accommodation and Sumptuous Breakfast at 4-Star Hotel in Zagreb: Sept. 12 and Sept. 23

*Welcome Dinner, Traditional Croatian Cuisine, and Tambura Orchestra

* Visit Risnjak National Park and Village of Crni Lug in Gorski Kotar

*Transport by Chartered Bus from Zagreb to Opatija via Crni Lug

* Accommodation and Sumptuous Breakfasts at 4-Star Hotel in Opatija: Sept. 13-14-15

*Transport by Chartered Bus on Excursions from Opatija to Various Locations in the Istrian Peninsula (Motovun, Grožnjan, Pula, and Rovinj)

*Sunday-Saturday Cruise on the Adriatic, Beginning in Opatija and Ending in Split

*September 16-22 Accommodation in Cabins (A+ Category) with Private Bathrooms and A/C

*Buffet Breakfast and Lunch on Board (includes 1 glass of soda, wine, or beer with lunch)

*Guided Tours in Pula, Rovinj, Opatija, Rab, Zadar, Šibenik, Trogir, Krka Falls, and Split

*Captain's Dinner with Music

* 1 towel per person per half week (2 per week) for personal use (additional towels available at small fee upon request)

*Daily cabin cleaning - daily cabin servicing, fresh bed linen and towels midweek

*Visitor's Taxes, Port Fees, City Tour Guide Tips, and Entrance Fees are Included

*Wine Tasting

*Agro-Tourism Lunch/Party in Village 

*FOLKLORE & Klapa Groups

*Additional traditional dinners in Crni Lug, Istra, Rab, and Lika.

*Swimming/Sunning in Various Locations...Beaches, Coves and/or Inlets

 *2-Day Bus Tour to Plitvice Lakes and to the NEW Nikola Tesla Memorial Museum

 *Overnight at Hotel in Plitvice Lakes Region in Lika: Sept. 22

 *Transport to/from Hotel/Airport provided for those arriving on September 12th and departing on September 24th

 Cruise Manager on board the NEW (2017) MV 'Moonlight' Marija Volf Puž

Hosts for the Entire Tour will be Melissa Pintar Obenauf and Pamela Lacko Kelley


Price Does NOT Include Airfare. We will recommend a wonderful Croatian travel agent who can assist you with your airfare arrangements as well as with travel insurance.

(There is a $600 Single Room Supplement)

September 11th (departure from USA), Tour Begins on September 12th in Zagreb

September 24th (departure to USA from Zagreb, Croatia) 


For more information, or to sign up for this very special tour, please contact Melissa at melissa@heartofcroatia.com or @ 614.230.2634

Traveler Feedback

I was humbled to find this country – it’s people, through all they have experienced, have found  a better way to live and am thankful to Pam and Melissa for their efforts allowing us the experiences that put us in contact with the places and people of Croatia in such a way that not only is it a life changing- education, but will now and forever be a part of our hearts.

 WOW! What a whirlwind tour this was! I had never been overseas before and Melissa and Pam had done such a superb job in the organization and planning that we had a chance to see so much in our 12-day tour. If you are considering this tour, consider no further! It's a memory worth having...

 You packed a lot of activity into 14 days, yet I never felt rushed.  At the end of each day I felt exhausted, but in a good way and I couldn’t wait till the next day’s activities. Our trip was the perfect balance.

It will all be a memory of a lifetime for me!  You were all so kind, helpful, and patient with us Senior Citizens who had more difficulty than the rest in walking ancient pathways.  Croatia is so much more beautiful than I could have ever imagined and the people so kind…

 What made the trip priceless were the things that we could not have done on our own.  All the “in the know” and connections you and Pam have.  Having the Tambura bands (Orchestra Trenk was my favorite) and a Klapa group perform just for us was amazing.  Having our own special performance by Lado, thrilling.....

 You both knew all the best places and I loved walking into a shop and saying, “I’m with Pam and Melissa’s tour,” and seeing the shopkeepers’ faces light up, get even better service. It was so apparent that everywhere we went, people not only thought highly of you but with genuine warmth and respect.

This tour is a nice balance of experiences in the city, country, seashore and mountains. The sights, music, meals, and company were outstanding. Melissa and Pam arranged local tour guides who made me feel so welcome, it felt like visiting family. They showed me the soul of Croatia.

If you want to: 1) be serenaded by several tambura bands, 2) learn to sing Croatian songs (even if you can’t sing very well and don’t understand the words), 3) eat at fabulous restaurants handpicked by Melissa and Pam, 4) do a lot of sightseeing in beautiful Croatian cities, towns, and villages, 5) ride on a boat to islands in the Adriatic sea, and 6) only have to unpack two times…., this is the tour for you!  I joined the 2011 tour and when people ask me how I enjoyed it, I always say that it was magical, very well planned, and was my “trip of a lifetime”--every day was better than the day before (if that’s possible)!  You couldn’t ask for better tour directors than Melissa and Pam, and I know that if you decide to go in 2015, you too will have memories to cherish the rest of your life as I do.

 ...what will remain with me for a lifetime is the blend of the beauty of the culture with the beauty of Melissa’ and Pam’s joy in sharing it.

...the most perfect trip I can possibly imagine. Never before have I had a two-week experience that was so rewarding and so flawless. I truly would not change a minute of it...


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