Some thoughts on the fashion of travel and contemporary attitude on it. Is it only more and more that is important?!
Our work is rooted in:
• EXPERIENCE and KNOWLEDGE: more than 20 years of experience working in tourism and with a lot of inspired guests,
• KNOWING THE RIGHT PEOPLE in the places we organise our tours,
• EXPERTISE: Alja's professional studies of culture, art history, pedagogy, and sociology,
• VOCATION: an innate feeling and love for what we do, a detailed feeling for guests and their experiencing. On the tours- delivering complicated topics in easy, enjoyable, and humorous ways,
• PASSION: A passion for working with our guests and the people in general, for the places we organise our tours, the beauty, culture, and creativity accompanied by a deep need to always grow our knowledge further.
We closely follow the events and health and security developments in the countries where we take our guests via our network of local partners.
• STRICT EU RULES: We are bound to strict EU rules for tourist agencies and their business.
• LICENCE: Elegant Cultural Tours, Ltd. (d.o.o.) is registered at the TGZS- Tourism and Hospitality Chamber of Slovenia, (Turistično gostinska zbornica Slovenije) with the license number: 2412 and 2413.
1. Meaningful and respectful relationships: we cultivate meaningful relationships with our guests. We stand for the respect toward our guests, within the group, and for the people we meet on our travels.
2. A passion and deep love for what we do: we work very hard and we feel passionate about the guests we work with and the experiences we bring to our tours.
3. Cultural travel with responsibility toward the visited culture: we observe and think of the impact we have on the visited culture. How much and how we leave our footprints – physically and culturally – is important to us.
4. Understanding the unpredictability of travel: we believe that travel is like life. There are many things that change daily, or hourly. Many times patience and a readiness to understand, change, and learn brings the best moments that we all remember for many years to come.
5. We are sensible to the wrongs of the societies and injustice of the helpless. We try to do as much as we can to help the beautiful people we work with, to earn an honest living with their good work and their talents. Whenever we can, we like to support humanitarian projects with donating a part of the profit with a non-profit in the country or a city we visit.
Our guests can expect a fresh experience, something away from mass market tourism, and different from typical luxury tours. The feel on our tours is an elegant and well-prepared time spent with a good loving friend who is a little bit of quirky, full of knowledge, ideas, stories, inspiration, and wit. With our immersive cultural experiences, special cultural events and a workshop or two, our guests connect deeper with the visited culture and get a chance to express their creativity. They get a lot of new knowledge, meaningful insights, and also big emotional input and love from us.
Important note: Good preparation is the key to a beautiful experience on a tour. We encourage our guests to investigate the country they would like to visit before they decide for the tour. We offer many suggestions, upon request we send out more travel tips for the selected destination, and we also send out an Information letter before travel to all our guests in which we describe the visiting culture and what to expect from it. This is a very important document that prepares our guests for the travel, happenings within our program, and the places we will visit. We are also always here to help with any additional questions.
VIBRANT AND ELEGANT CULTURAL CAPITALS
We spend time in inspiring cultural capitals, and to get away from it all, on our longer tours, for a day or so, we retreat to a remote, quiet place where our guests can relax and recharge.
ONLY RELEVANT AND BEAUTIFUL PLACES
We only include the most culturally important and beautiful sites, and we avoid the “must see” visits per se. We are not fond of following the tourist guide books and the “must see” lists.
Our tours are led by the owner of Elegant Cultural Tours, Alja Mravljak. She is a natural-born tour guide and tour leader.
• PROFESSIONAL, IN-DEPTH and INFORMATIVE
• A WARM AND HOMEY FEEL on tour with passion and deep emotions about culture, art, and beauty
• NEVER IMPERSONAL AND ACADEMICALLY COLD, but instead full-hearted, passionate, and effortlessly in-depth.
• Our main objective on most of our programs is less group activities and more quality, so we do not prepare our programs with “See everything, experience everything” idea . . . but rather take our guests to selected places that we love dearly and want to share with them.
• At those places we take time together (or guests on their own) to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee (accompanied with a good cake maybe), taste great food with excellent wine, take pleasure in an unforgettable painting, experience a memorable musical piece, take in a breathtaking panorama, join a creative workshop, sit in a charming garden, visit an inspiring gallery, explore a museum's collection, sit in a gondola and imagine we live in the Venice of 300 years ago, learn a step (or two) of the Viennese Waltz, and then dance the night away (using only those three steps).
• The emotions and experiencing need time to develop and deepen. We love to take that time
• Additionally, we plan free time for our guests in nice places so they can enjoy their own time, and have an individual experience of the place. We are always there to assist with ideas and information.
An example of a day on an ECT tour:*
• Everybody starts their day when, and how they wish,
• Most of the days we start our group programme after breakfast, so at around 9-10 am,
• We usually have about a three-hour programme,
• Lunch is either organised with a group or at leisure (for details, please check the program of the selected tour),
• Some free time (about 1 hour) after lunch to have a rest, a Mediterranean siesta
• Afternoon activities that last for about 2 hrs. more,
• The late afternoon programme and evening activities differ from day to day and from destination to destination.
*An exception to this plan are the days when we transfer between cities. Another exception is the tour in Morocco where the distances demand more daily programme, but we relax it with relaxing days in between the travel to rest and enjoy. On our longer travel days we enjoy in talks, stories, local music, and visits en route.
In order to really feel and enjoy the places we visit, we believe accomodations are of great importance. The atmosphere of the accomodations can greatly add to the sensing of the place and experiencing it altogether.
Our accommodations have been chosen in accordance with its ambience, atmosphere, and are located in the city centre, so our guests can dive into the city life and experience becoming locals for the time being. However, somethimes we do have to make a compromise when the places we love are not available, or the visited places do not have special accommodations (which happens occasionally). When we do, we always give priority to the accommodation that cherishes the importance of aesthetic pleasure and best quality, and is always in accordance with what we stand for and what our guests love.
Basic informations on the accommodations on our tours:
• 4 OR 5-STAR authentic and boutique elegant hotels*
• BED AND BREAKFAST basis
• IN THE CENTER of the cities
• ALL ROOMS HAVE AIR CONDITIONING AND/ OR HEATING
*At some destinations (Cuba) - we use elegant boutique colonial private accommodations on a Bed and Breakfast basis, or 4 or 5-star hotels
The guest's luggage is taken care of, so they do not need to worry about carrying heavy suitcases in and out of the hotels, and onto the coach. When checking out, the guests leave the luggage in front of their room, and it awaits them in front of the room of the following hotel upon arrival.
At Elegant Cultural Tours we believe that we travel to see the world and different cultures, experience new things, and encounter new insights. We travel elegantly, but we do not intend to travel in a bubble. We do not avoid the hosting cultures, their traditions, and customs, but rather interpret and accept them all as they are. If the country's standards are lower than those at home, we understand it and appreciate the efforts local people put into trying to meet our expectations.
Why creative hands-on workshops? Read here…
Our workshops are not meant only as a creative addition, but have many aspects that we believe are an important and unique part of Elegant Cultural Tours tours. They aim at giving the guest a chance to open up, have time to discover the feelings within, and share the experience with other guests in a group of like-minded people and with a host artist.
• THE LEVEL OF SKILLS: our guests usually aren't artists, or experienced in a certain technique. The level of intensity and creativity is always adjusted to our guests' wishes and demands (from total beginners to advanced levels).
• ENJOYING IN A CREATIVE AUTHENTIC ENVIRONMENT with professional tools, and with the help and guidance of a local master.
• DEEPER CONNECTION TO THE COUNTRY: All of the workshops have pedagogic background and aim at connecting our guests in a more direct way to the visited culture. We always thoroughly think of where in our tour to include a workshop, and what kind of activity would add to the experiencing of the place.
• DISCOVERING OR EVOKING A TALENT: We invite our guests to take the path to discover something new and invigorating, maybe evoke an old (or sleeping) talent that they can then later introduce to their home living.
• MAKING A UNIQUE SOUVENIR: Another very positive outcome is that every guest will make their own souvenir that will remind them of their tour and the visited country.
• MATERIALS AND EQUIPMENT: All the necessary equipment, materials, and tools are provided on the tour (but for some tours a basic supply list is sent together with an information letter to our guests before the tour)
*NOTE: if the guests do not wish to join a workshop, we kindly ask them to let us know at the time of booking their tour, so we can organise their time and experience, and know how many guests will be joining.