Ecstatic About the Adriatic
A Q&A with our dear friend Vanja Jelic Stjepovic of
Adriatic Travel Collection
Croatia and Slovenia’s rare blend of glamour and old-fashioned authenticity makes this region an “it” destination, as does its increasing popularity with foodies, oenophiles, nature lovers, and history buffs. Thankfully, despite this reputation as Europe’s vacation hotspot, Croatia and Slovenia haven’t given in to mass tourism. So NOW is the time to go! You’ll discover cultural treasures, ancient architecture, time-tested folk traditions, and breathtaking landscapes. You’ll also meet some very welcoming locals. Here’s one of them. Allow us to introduce you to Poe’s dear friend and colleague, Vanja Jelic Stjepovic of Adriatic Travel Collection.
POE: Croatia and Slovenia continue to be an emerging destination; how’s that changing the face of travel in the area?
VANJA JELIC STJEPOVIC: The changes are evident daily—from positive developments in infrastructure to service. The experiences offered are surpassing travelers’ expectations as everyone tries to represent their small region in the best way possible. There’s a boom of small luxury hotels and yachts offering excellent services.
POE: What are some not-to-miss destinations?
VJS: From the traveler’s perspective, Dubrovnik has always been the top destination for the Adriatic region. Today, plenty of clients are visiting Dubrovnik while on a cruise and deciding to come back to explore more. However, some lesser known arears are finally getting their due, such as the island of Korcula, hometown of Marco Polo, the Istria region, also known as Croatian Tuscany, Hvar, famous for its secluded bays and wine region; Bled lakes in Slovenia; and the capitals of Croatia and Slovenia, Zagreb, and Ljubljana.
POE: What sets Adriatic Travel Collection apart?
VJS: We’re a small group of travel enthusiasts who work 24/7 to make our clients happy and exceed their expectations. We’re located in the center of Dubrovnik and have more than 15 years of experience creating personalized tours in which luxury is incorporated into every detail. With our extensive local destination knowledge, we help clients discover the Adriatic’s extraordinary places, from the hilltop towns in Slovenia to the island and secluded beaches in Croatia to fisherman villages around the Montenegrin coast. We work hand in hand with experience local guides, professional drivers, and other travel enthusiasts to coordinate and execute seamless land operations tailor-made to each unique itinerary.
POE: Tell us something special you’ve arranged for a client.
VJS: My personal highlight was as surprise sunset dinner in a secluded bay on the island of Lokrum, overlooking Dubrovnik’s city walls and the glorious Adriatic Sea. The clients were celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary and were already on a sunset cruise. Right after the sunset, the captain took them to a completely dark bay, lit only by candlelight, where a fantastic five-course dinner of Croatian specialties and wines awaited them.
POE: What would you say to someone who has only experienced the south of France or Italy but never Eastern Europe?
VJS: Come visit! Especially now, while it is still mainly undiscovered by many American travelers. You’ll experience Mediterranean beauty as it once was. Whether it is a first-time Adriatic highlights tour for the family, a relaxing, romantic escape to a secluded beach resort, or a personal expedition off the beaten path, each journey is individually tailored to your needs. It is a region whose rich cultural heritage is discovered not only in its numerous museums, galleries, and churches—many of which today are included on the UNESCO World Heritage List—but also along the magical Mediterranean, where even the shortest stroll becomes a journey down a staircase thousands of years old, which takes one through a history that is at the same time turbulent, exciting, and glorious.