Seventy-five TASIS England eleventh graders learned about historical Croatia during their October break. It was a scenic adventure through the cobblestone streets, exploring the medieval charm of this beautiful country.
A Dubrovnik Dream
The tale of our students' adventure began with the promise of warmer weather in the historic city of Dubrovnik. Sure enough, the sun greeted them as their plane touched down, setting the stage for a day of exploration. Join them on this journey through cobblestone streets, historic marvels, and the sweet serenade of the Adriatic Sea.
Their first stop was Dubrovnik's Old Town. Entering through the Pile Gate, they stepped onto Stradun, the main street of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lined with cafes, shops, and historic buildings, it was the perfect place to soak up the atmosphere. The students admired the stunning architecture as they indulged in gelato and meandered through the narrow streets.
The highlight of the day? Scaling the city walls. It was like stepping into a postcard, with breathtaking panoramic views of the terracotta rooftops against the backdrop of the Adriatic Sea. And then, there it was – Fort Lovrijenac, the filming location for Game of Thrones. Standing where their favorite characters once stood, the excited students could feel like part of the story, if only for a moment.
Ston: Exploring Ancient Walls and Savory Delights
The next leg of their Croatian adventure led them to the small town of Ston, nestled on the Peljesac Peninsula in southern Croatia. The town's imposing stone walls have stood the test of time since the 14th century. The students took the opportunity to walk to the top, and these defensive structures – often referred to as the "European Walls of China" – offered a mesmerizing view of Ston, giving a unique perspective of the town below. Ston is also renowned for its salt production and attracts buyers from around the globe.
After exploring Ston, the students had lunch at a quaint restaurant near Mali Ston Bay, known for its high-quality oyster farms. They enjoyed a wonderful panoramic view of the bay while savoring the delicious offerings and enjoying the entertaining antics of the restaurant's staff. As they settled into their hotel after a scenic two-hour bus ride, they looked forward to delving into more of the rich history of Split.
A Day in Split's Timeless Embrace
The students' adventure continued in the ancient city of Split, steeped in history and tales of emperors. Facing out toward Italy, it is both the second-largest city in Croatia and one of the oldest cities in the Adriatic and Mediterranean regions. Our students' first stop was the legendary Diocletian's Palace, built by the Roman Emperor Diocletian in the 4th century AD. The walls and towers of the rectangular palace were constructed from local limestone and marble. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is still inhabited and forms the historic core of Split.
Afterward, our students explored the heart of Split's Old Town, a labyrinth of narrow side streets adorned with cafes and local shops. Everyone then headed to the mall to enjoy some free time shopping with their friends. During the evening, the students excitedly anticipated the next day's trip to Skradinski Buk waterfall, a natural wonder that is one of Croatia's most well-known landmarks.
Beauty and Learning in Krka National Park
In bright sunshine, the group arrived at Eko-kampus Krka, a hidden treasure along the upper and middle part of the Krka River – a modern sanctuary for knowledge, creativity, and a deeper connection with nature. Designed and refurbished into a modern interpretation, education, and volunteer center, the campus is intended for students, volunteers, researchers, and other visitors interested in gaining more in-depth knowledge of the wealth of the natural, cultural, and historical heritage of Krka National Park.
During an engaging workshop that included a few pop quizzes, the students learned how to take care of the environment and reuse material in various ways. They also participated in an activity that had everyone's senses tingling – mixing salt with other fragrances to make different flavors, which can be used in the bath or put on food. Afterward, each student used their creativity as they decorated their own tote bag, a fun keepsake to bring home.
Basking in the warm sunshine and surrounded by beautiful scenery, everyone enjoyed the sandwiches that had been packed for their lunch before embarking on the much-anticipated visit to Krka National Park. A boat tour was the stage for an awe-inspiring encounter with the famous waterfalls, definitely everyone's highlight of the trip. The park's wonders unfolded around them, showcasing nature's artistry with waterfalls, lakes, and abundant greenery.
The students had a wonderful time walking alongside the waterfalls, exploring nature, and capturing the essence of Krka National Park in amazing panoramic photos. They will forever cherish the memories of their incredible experiences in Split.
Journey's End: A Spectacular Finale
Back in beautiful Dubrovnik and with the afternoon at their disposal, the students eagerly explored their hotel with its spectacular view. They relaxed, sitting alongside the pool and walking down to the beach to see the extravagant cruise ships parked in the bay.
The group then gathered for a last excursion into Dubrovnik’s city center, where they headed to a cable car outside the western walls of the Old Town. Starting from a station near the Fortress of St. Lawrence, it climbs to the top of Mount Srd, a short but scenic journey that offers breathtaking views of the city, the surrounding coastline, and the nearby islands of the Adriatic. Luckily, no one was scared of heights!
The timing was perfect for the phenomenal sunset and they watched as the sun dipped low on the horizon and cast its warm glow over the ancient city of Dubrovnik, signaling the end of their extraordinary journey through the heart of Croatia. There was just enough time for one more visit to the cute cobbled streets of the Old Town, where the students made the most of their free time to enjoy one last shopping and a gelato stop.
They set their sights on the journey home, taking with them souvenirs, photos, and memories that will last well into the future. Croatia has left its imprint on them all.
You can see the trip photos in our Flickr album.