Explore the Highlights of Europe with Robina Frosinini

Explore the Highlights of Europe with Robina Frosinini
October 2019

A&K’s Europe Product Manager, Robina Frosinini, lived and worked in Italy for 10 years, has been visiting the continent since 1994 and is fluent in the language. Her intimate local knowledge has shaped the 2020-21 Europe portfolio, A&K’s most extensive ever. Robina has combined new destinations and itineraries with the timeless classics combining remarkable sites accessed through private viewings and behind-the-scenes visits with experiences that take travellers well off the beaten path.

She knows just how to see the blockbuster sights without the crowds, how to access those little-known galleries and museums where priceless exhibits reveal Europe’s finest artistic talent, where to appreciate the finest orchestral performances or who is the best gastronomic guide for a food walk through urban markets and produce stores.

We sat down with Robina to discuss her favourite European places and experiences and what’s new in the extraordinary Europe portfolio. 

Sicily 

“To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is not to have seen Italy at all, for Sicily is the clue to everything!” Goethe, German poet and polymath. I couldn’t agree more! Anyone who has travelled to Italy and loved it needs to see Sicily. It is a remarkable island brimming with diversity in culture, rich history, fascinating art, architecture and archaeology, innovative cuisine and wines – all the result of centuries of serial invasion, colonisation and civilisation. Plus the landscape is truly breathtaking.

My highlight is the newly added exploration of Mt Etna, Europe’s largest active volcano, by jeep then short hike towards the top. This is a fascinating experience and views of the island below are spectacular and worth the effort!

A&K’s 10-day ‘Splendours of Sicily’ is priced from 11,070 per person.

Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia 

The Caucasus are trending now as the ‘next big’ countries to see and with good reason! Given they offer a variety of experiences and remarkable UNESCO sites without the huge crowds that the more often-visited European countries attract. Plus the scenery is dramatic with valleys dotted with medieval villages and rugged mountain ranges. Georgia is the birthplace of viniculture with so many fine wines to be sampled.

My highlight is the signature building of Baku, Azerbaijan, the Heydar Aliyev Centre, designed to appear fluid in form, springing naturally from the landscape. The futuristic architecture of cosmopolitan Baku is a major contrast to traditional villages and monasteries visited in Georgia and Armenia. A&K’s 17-day ‘Ancient Crossroads: Azerbaijan, Georgia & Armenia’ is priced from $13,540 per person twin share.

Treasures of the Low Countries 

I am an absolute art lover, so it was an easy decision to include a private journey that visits the Rijksmuseum, the Mauritshuis Museum, and the homes and museums dedicated to iconic artists Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Rubens. But this tour has been designed to offer a diversity of experience in terms of culture, history, landscape and cuisine. The architecture of Amsterdam with its tall rows of brightly-painted buildings contrasts with the Art Nouveau style of Horta House in Brussels and the impressive castles and grand sophistication of Luxembourg.

My highlight is the cruise along the tree-lined Amsterdam canals by private boat, because the perspective of a city by water is always memorable, and the pace is always relaxing.

London and Southern England 

I believe this itinerary offers the best that London and the Home Counties have to offer – see hidden gems like the Wallace Collection in London and the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford; stay in extraordinary hotels that are destinations in themselves like The Bloomsbury London, perfectly located a short walk to Covent Garden and Soho, and Gravetye Manor in the picturesque Sussex Downs, where you can admire the beautiful garden and dine on exceptional cuisine in the Michelin-starred restaurant.

My suggestion is to time this itinerary in June-August and include at least one Glyndebourne opera performance (schedule permitting). With the London Philharmonic Orchestra in the pit, see world-class performers in astonishingly creative productions.

A&K’s 10-day ‘London & Southern England’ is priced from $9,315 per person twin share.

Nordic Adventure

Scandinavia and her neighbours offer a wide variety of experiences, from the civility of Royal Denmark, to the wilds of Iceland. This itinerary includes all the hits, from Scandi art and design and grand castles to the iconic Bergen and Flam mountain railway for the magnificent scenery. In Iceland, take a dip in the Blue Lagoon, see the incredible landscapes, geysers and waterfalls of the Golden Circle. Visit the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo and go on a private backstage tour of the Royal Danish Opera House in Copenhagen.

The highlight is a snowmobile expedition to the Langjökull ice caves and into the icecap on foot. A&K’s 13-day ‘Nordic Adventure: Denmark, Norway & Iceland’ is priced from $24,380 per person.

If you are inspired to explore the endless wonders of Europe, you can check out our complete 2020-21 portfolio here.