I love Croatia: walking the walls of medieval Dubrovnik, viewing the ruins of Roman Emperor Diocletian’s 3rd-century AD Palace in Split (the city is literally built into the ruins), wandering through the winding streets of the historic town of Trogir, being astonished to come upon a beautifully preserved Roman amphitheater in Pula, exploring larger cities like the double-Z combo of 3,000-year-old (!) Zadar and culturally rich Zagreb (the capital), and cruising among Croatia’s 1,000 islands, which sit like sparkling jewels in the Adriatic.
They’ve made Croatia one of the hottest destinations in all of Europe, and a favorite of baby boomers. (Both Super Bowl head coaches, Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots and Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks, are of Croatian descent.)
But despite two trips there, there’s still much of Croatia I’ve yet to see, including the intriguing-sounding coastal town of Opatija, not far from the Postojna Caves across the border in Slovenia, and the emerald-hued lakes of Plitvice Lakes National Park, which I keep reading about but have no idea how to pronounce.
That’s why I was glad to come upon a tour company that specializes in Croatia, and whose guides could no doubt teach me how to say at least some of the names so that I don’t completely embarrass myself (like the time…well, I’ll leave that for another day).
The company is called Adriatic Luxury Journeys and they hit both the landmarks (like those I named above) and offer “behind the scenes” experiences. For example, depending on which tour you choose — or customize yourself, because they offer both options — you might visit a local winemaker at his private cellar, sample traditional Croatian specialties at a family estate, zip line across the Cetina River or hunt for black-and-white truffles on the Istrian peninsula.
Their small-group tours have a maximum of 12 travelers (with no minimum numbers) and promise guaranteed departures. That means you won’t get a surprise message a few weeks before your planned trip saying, “Sorry, your trip is cancelled due to lack of fellow customers.”
Their small group tours run eight to 14 days and range from gourmet excursions sampling local Croatian wine and culinary specialties to cultural tours focused on art galleries, theaters and historic attractions. They focus on immersive experiences meant to authentically convey the Croatian way of life, and typically include accommodations, local dining, activities, entrance fees to attractions and local English-speaking guides licensed for their area of expertise, as well as a Tour Director to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Adriatic Luxury Journey’s private journeys allow you to build custom-tailored trips for your own group of friends and/or family according to your own timing and interests, as well as the level of service you’re seeking. (Would you like your own private chauffeur? No problem.) They offer a menu of potential itinerary ideas, including Gourmet Journeys and Off the Beaten Path Journeys, which explore local towns, villages and islands.
Finally, they offer Boutique and Tailor Made Journeys, which offer maximum flexibility — limiting guests only to their imaginations with a completely open canvas for dates, activities, destinations and service level. Since they have offices both in the U.S. and Croatia, they can provide ongoing support for your trip.
The company, founded by Croatian native Maria Kuchan, is currently celebrating its tenth anniversary. I recommend going to their website and checking out the specific offerings.
I should also mention that Adriatic Luxury Journeys ventures into some of Croatia’s neighboring countries as well, such as Montenegro, Bosnia, Slovenia, Italy, and the one I’m eyeing, Albania.
There’s a lot packed into this small corner of Europe, much of which (like Croatia) used to be the former Yugoslavia. After a number of years of strife following the death of Yugoslav dictator Marshal Tito in 1980, the region is now peaceful and one of my favorite areas on the continent. I’m glad to know a specialist company like Adriatic Luxury Journeys is helping travelers make the most of their visits there.
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