/ Alumni and Family Engagement

Croatia and the Adriatic Coast: Lands of Contrast and Beauty

From October 15–26, 2020, explore with John Tammi, professor emeritus of theatre, and Michael Boonstra ’72. You will view a stunningly beautiful part of Europe while learning about the complicated history and culture of the region.


Trip Highlights

Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro are among the newest countries in Europe formed out of the violent collapse of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Their longstanding history is complex and fascinating. These regions have been at the crossroads for centuries: between the East and West; between Rome and Constantinople; between the Ottomans and Hapsburgs; between Catholic, Orthodox and Muslim peoples; and between the communist and more democratic worlds of the 20th century. Today, these small countries strive to find their place in Europe, in the world, and to prosper as independent states for the first time in centuries. Visitors here will experience a veritable tapestry of fascinating culture, stunning physical beauty, friendly people and several UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Jajce WaterfallWe will begin our journey in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia and a little jewel in the tiara of Hapsburg provincial cities: deep in history and rich in culture. Then, it’s on to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina, where East and West truly meet as we hear the Muslim call to prayer from one side of our hotel and the ringing of the Catholic cathedral bells from the other. This city has risen from devastating years of war in the early ’90s to once again offer centuries-old traditions of hospitality. We will learn from the survivors of those difficult years, hear about the incident that sparked WWI and enjoy traditional sites like the old bazaar (Baščaršija).

StreetscapeFrom Sarajevo we travel south along the emerald-green Neretva River to Mostar, the iconic little city that is the administrative center of Herzegovina. We will stop long enough to view the famous Old Bridge and to visit a 16th century Turkish house. Then it will be on to Split on the Adriatic Sea. Roman ruins of the third century palace of the Roman Emperor Diocletian constitute the core of the old center of Split. Next we hop a small ferry to the island of Hvar which has a lovely Mediterranean character. Here we will have a walk around the town and up to Spanjola Fortress overlooking Hvar Town and the island. We will enjoy a wine tasting and a lovely day of leisure.

SeasideOur final stop is in the “Pearl of the Adriatic,” the beautiful walled city of Dubrovnik. For centuries, as Venetians and Ottomans battled for control of the Adriatic, Dubrovnik enjoyed its independence as a republic. From our hand-picked hotel close to the historic center, we will walk its walls and narrow streets and explore its lovely monasteries and museums. As a finale, we will make a day-trip from Dubrovnik along the stunning Bay of Kotor in Montenegro.

Program Leaders

John TammiJohn Tammi, professor emeritus of theatre at Hope College and founding artistic director of Hope Summer Repertory Theatre (HSRT), holds degrees from Gustavus Adolphus College and the University of Minnesota. John is an avid traveler. With his wife, Marilynn, he hosted the popular “Hope friends and family" tour of Scandinavia in 1996 along with leading more than 20 student programs to Ireland. His experience in former Yugoslavia began in 1967 and includes a documentary film, Yugoslavia: Land of Contrast (a.k.a. East Meets West), which he directed in 1986. John looks forward to re-discovering this vibrant, colorful and historically significant part of the world with fellow Hope travelers.

Michael BoonstraMichael Boonstra ’72 first experienced former Yugoslavia when traveling with Michael Petrovich in 1972. He returned as an instructor for two more Petrovich tours. He spent two years teaching in a new program at the University of Sarajevo in the ’70s. He stays in contact with former students and has returned several times for visits and to serve as a judge at theatre festivals. He was invited by director Vesna Ljubic to be her assistant and to act in her film, Prkosna Delta (Defiant Delta). Michael's personal contacts and conversational knowledge of the native language will be a great asset to our program. After a 30-year career as a production coordinator in film and television, Michael is currently a theatre freelancer in New York City.


Day 0, Wednesday, October 14 
Fly to Zagreb, Croatia
Leave the USA on October 14 arriving in Zagreb on October 15 — the day our program begins. If you want to arrive earlier than the program start date, we can arrange for you to stay in the same hotel that the group will use.

Day 1, Thursday, October 15 
You will be transferred to our hotel from the Zagreb airport. The program starts officially with an introductory reception at the hotel where you’ll meet your fellow travelers followed by a welcome dinner at a nearby restaurant. (D)

Day 2, Friday, October 16 
With a local guide, enjoy a morning sightseeing tour learning the ancient history of this rich and delightful locale. The tour will include the Cathedral and Lotrščak Tower. Following a tasty lunch you will have time to continue your explorations on your own or in small groups. You may wish to visit the The Croatian Museum of Native Art, The Museum of Broken Relationships or The Museums of Ivan Meštrović, or return to places you learned about during the morning tour. (B, L, D)

Day 3, Saturday, October 17 
Zagreb - Jajce - Sarajevo
Travel by bus to Sarajevo seeing the countryside and stopping for lunch in the town of Jajce which is situated in the countryside mountains, near two beautiful rivers, the Brbas and Pliva, which form a large (72 feet high) waterfall. We will arrive in Sarajevo in time for a walk before dinner. (B, L)

Day 4, Sunday, October 18
We will start with an extensive tour of Sarajevo with a local guide. This is the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the city where East meets West, where mosques, synagogues and churches stand side by side, where the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand sparked World War I. It is also where the 1984 Winter Olympics were held and home of the Tunel Spasa which was used in the 1990s to connect Bosnian neighborhoods during the Bosnian conflict. Free time in the afternoon. (B, L)

Day 5, Monday, October 19 
Continue our exploration of Sarajevo. Meet with a war witness survivor and hear his story of how he struggled for survival and the impact on his life. We will take a cable car ride for a panoramic view of the city and valley. Other specific events are in the works. Free time in the afternoon. (B, L)

Note: Dinner one evening in Sarajevo will be with a native-born historian. This will offer an opportunity for questions and discussions regarding this historically significant and beguilingly charming city. Time and place to be determined.

Day 6, Tuesday, October 20
Sarajevo - Mostar - Split
Travel by bus along the Neretva River and sightsee Mostar visiting the most celebrated and storied bridge along with entering a local mosque and a 16th century Turkish home. We finish our travel in Split, with free time to enjoy an evening promenade and dinner on your own. (B, L)

Day 7, Wednesday, October 21 
Split - Hvar
The historic city of Split is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where we will see the mausoleum of Emperor Diocletian and visit Diocletian’s palace. After lunch will travel by bus and ferry to Hvar and enjoy dinner on your own. (B, L)

Day 8, Thursday, October 22 
Hvar belongs to a central group of Islands in the Adriatic and is one of the most beautiful. Visit Hvar’s fortress and then enjoy a delightful lunch after which we will appreciate some wine tasting hosted by a local Hvar winemaking family, Tomić. Later we will have free time to relax and enjoy wandering the narrow, cobbled streets of this picturesque town and then dinner will be on your own. (B, L)

Day 9, Friday, October 23 
Hvar - Ston - Dubrovnik
Transfer by bus to Ston, where you will take in the quiet sea and a true Mediterranean atmosphere on the Pelješac peninsula. Enjoy wine and the famous oysters and mussels for which this region is well known. We will arrive in Dubrovnik and check into Hotel Argentina, an elegant hotel overlooking the sea and close to the walls of the historic Old Town. (Box breakfast at the hotel, L)

Day 10, Saturday, October 24 
Dubrovnik is rich in culture and history and is a major UNESCO World Heritage Site sporting intact city walls which run for over 1,900 meters surrounding the older city. We will tour the city and visit the Cultural History Museum at the Rector’s Palace, the Franciscan monastery and the local cathedral, enjoying a relaxing lunch along the way and a cable car ride. Dinner will be yours to enjoy on your own. (B, L)

Note: We are working on arranging a special meeting and conversation with a citizen of Dubrovnik during one of our days there.

Day 11, Sunday, October 25 
Today we will visit Montenegro driving along the beautiful Bay of Kotor, the deepest fjord in the Mediterranean Sea. Taking a short boat excursion, we will visit Our Lady of the Rock island before returning to Dubrovnik. For our final event, we will have a farewell dinner and attend a folklore show. (B, D)

Day 11, Monday, October 26
Departure from Dubrovnik back to USA.
After breakfast, transfer to the Dubrovnik airport to take flights back to your originating airports or to other travel adventures. If you are returning directly to the US, most of you will be home the same day you leave Dubrovnik. (B).

Note: This itinerary can be subject to change due to circumstances encountered while making reservations or on-site. B, L, and D indicate meals included in the program fee. 

What to Expect

Hotels chosen for this program are often the best available, given our group size. We sought to be as close to city centers as possible, opting for 4 or 5 star as much as possible. You can expect private bathrooms and English-speaking staff.

The autumn weather should be pleasant during our journey. Average highs and lows for our destinations in October are:

  • Zagreb: low 45°F, high 60°F
  • Sarajevo: low 41°F, high 60°F
  • Split: low 56°F, high 66°F
  • Hvar: low 60°F, high 73°F
  • Dubrovnik: low 60°F, high 71°F

Keep in mind that temperatures rarely actually fall on the average. We recommend that you are prepared for a variation of 5–10 degrees in either direction and pack with layers that can be added or removed as needed. There is a chance of rain, of course, so you may also want a light rain jacket or travel umbrella.

Between cities we will transfer by air-conditioned private motor coach, while in the cities we will get around primarily on foot.

To participate in this program, you must be able to walk a minimum of three to five miles per day, stand for two to three hours at a time, and to use stairs that may not have handrails, keep pace with an active group of travelers on long days of traveling, dealing with the emotional highs and lows that can occur when experiencing a different culture, and of traveling with a group for several hours each day. Facilities, resources, accommodations and protections for disabled and special needs individuals can be sharply limited outside the U.S.A.

You are responsible for reviewing the specific requirements for your program and judging the appropriateness of these travel activities to your physical, mental and behavioral capabilities. Any participant who is unable to fulfill the program requirements may have their registration cancelled. Any participant who has demonstrated an inability, in the opinion of the program leader, of keeping up with the group or of safely participating in program activities may be prohibited from participating in certain activities or excused from the program.

You should plan on seeing your family physician or a travel doctor at least four to six weeks prior to departure, preferably earlier, to talk about routine vaccinations. For more information on travel health, visit cdc.gov or who.int.

Program Fee

The program fee is $3,975 per person. Based on double occupancy, it includes:

  • Discussions led by John Tammi and Michael Boonstra
  • Assistance by a national guide
  • Accommodations
  • Breakfast daily and group meals as listed on the itinerary
  • Admissions for group activities
  • Local guided tours as listed
  • Ground transportation during the program
  • Gratuities to group guides
  • Drivers and meal servers

For single occupancy, add $525. Airfare to Zagreb, Croatia, and from Dubrovnik, Croatia, is not included. Also not included are:

  • Airport transfers 
  • Passport fees
  • Immunizations or vaccinations
  • Trip cancellation and baggage insurance
  • Beverages at group meals when not included
  • Laundry
  • Dry cleaning
  • Phone charges
  • Room service or other items of a personal nature 
  • Expenses incurred during free time or non-group activities
  • Lunch and dinner, unless specifically included on program itinerary.
Travel Insurance

Hope College provides limited travel insurance for medical situations, emergency medical evacuation and security evacuation. Review a travel insurance description.

Travel insurance, including trip cancellation, trip interruption, theft or loss of property, and emergency medical and dental coverage is the responsibility of the participant. We strongly suggest you purchase travel insurance to protect your travel investment. We recommend that you see what is covered by your personal credit card's travel benefits and consider purchasing travel insurance from your insurance agent or by contacting Ally Flinski at Buiten & Associates at 616.284.3039 or ally.flinski@buiteninsurance.com.