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It was a treat as unexpected as it was intimate and compelling. Sophie Robinson was among a party of A&K guests exploring Dubrovnik's warren of blonde stone, when someone casually mentioned they'd love to see behind the striking facades. Cue an instant phone call from our guide to her mother, followed by coffee at the family home, and a long warm chat with her grandfather, a former sea captain happy to share his memories and photographs of former Yugoslavia.
How typical. Croatia's warm Mediterranean hospitality is exemplified by our highly qualified guides - we even offer A&K guardian Angels, a nationwide network of helpful locals smoothing out any travel wrinkles. They're one arm of our multi-centre European team that, over a quarter of a century, has built up superb contacts. In this Adriatic hotspot, it offers premium travel services from deluxe villas to personal concierge.
Take an Abercrombie & Kent luxury holiday in Croatia, and Dubrovnik - the UNESCO listed treasure trove of 15th and 16th century architecture - is merely the start. You'll be equally impressed by Split's water-front Diocletian Palace where shops, restaurants and apartments are laced through ruins dating back to the 3rd century. It provided the atmospheric setting for an A&K group to join a card game at a local's favourite coffee house. Sign language and laughter rather than English turned it into a memorable if losing experience.
Head north and you'll find Zagreb with its stylish locals, cafes and museums, along with Istria, the Adriatic's largest peninsula, where Italy's influence extends to the glorious food, language and archaeology, including Pula's Roman amphitheatre. But it would be a shame - make that a crime - to travel to Croatia with A&K and stay on the mainland. Sailing to, or around, some of the 1,185 islands cradled by translucent turquoise water, offers everything from Hvar's sophisticated nightlife to the mountains, vineyards and villages of Vis, Tito's former naval base on the archipelago's western edge. The landscapes are gorgeous, the sun warm and, as elsewhere, the southern European hospitality fabulous. Just ask our guides.
Best time to be there
April to October is considered the best time to visit with July and August being the busiest months. The summer months see a plethora of cultural activities, such as the Dubrovnik Summer Festival and a series of festivals of music, film and art at the
Roman Amphitheatre in Pula.
Dubrovnik or Split (British Airways - daily)
2 hours 45 minutes
GMT +1 hour
"Tea is totally unique - her knowledge of the local area is unsurpassed. Mishlav has a love of his city and it shows. We learnt more from Ivo in a morning than we could find out in the previous six months. I would thoroughly recommend every single one of them - they are all a credit to A&K "
- PS, Essex