The Adriatic Sea, Plitvice Lakes National Park and Dubrovnik are the most famous travel terms related to Croatia. This program aims to launch the term "natural laboratory". The diversity of characteristics of continental, mountain and Mediterranean climates as well as their intermediate climates, differences in vegetation and animal areas, differences of lowland and mountain relief forms – all that can be studied, although on the spot - in nature, with laboratory speed and precision. We will give just one example. In February 2012, Croatia was hit by a winter blow that brought around 40 inches of snow and temperatures below 14oF to the Dalmatian hinterland. At the same time, the Makarska Riviera was sprinkled with rain with temperatures around 40oF. From one climate to another, through the St. Ilija tunnel it takes literally 4 minutes, a time that is often not enough to transfer a test tube from one laboratory to another within the same building. The program is set compositionally, in the first part of the program the transition from climate to climate is gradual, during the journey the transitions are gradually accelerated to eventually move from one climate to another within a few minutes. The "Natural Laboratory" program, therefore, valorises the specificity of condensed diversity and represents a synergy of its wide cognitive and unique travel potentials.
DAY 1 - Exploring Croatia’s capitol
Arriving to Zagreb and accommodation in the hotel. Panoramic drive over downtown: Central Railway Station, Zrinjevac park, Croatian National Theatre, Museum Mimara. Exiting the bus and walking along the cathedral, the Josip Jelačić Square with Manduševac Fountain and Tkalčićeva Street. Passing through a Stone Gate in the Upper Town. Walking along St. Mark's Square and Church, Croatian Parliament, Government's Palace to Katarina Square, Jesuit Square and arriving to the tower Lotrščak. Overnight.
DAY 2 - Enjoying the freshness Gorski kotar
Breakfast. Leaving the capitol and drive to Gorski Kotar region. Visiting rural households - introduction to the vegetation, climate, relief and way of life of this mountain part of Croatia. Accommodation in hotel. Evening gathering. Overnight.
DAY 3 - National Park Risnjak – Lokvarka Cave - Golubinjak Forest
Breakfast. Drive to Crni Lug and entring National Park Risnjak – walking through educational trail "Leska" with expert guidance. Sightseeing of the cave Lokvarka with expert guidance. Visiting Forest Park Golubinjak which covers fifty hectares of protected areas with monolithic rocks and stones. The park features two caves: Ice cave and Golubinja cave. Return to the hotel, evening gathering. Overnight.
DAY 4 - Trsat - Rijeka - Opatija
Breakfast. Driving over Gorski kotar to Trsat in City of Rijeka. A tour of the church and sanctuary and visit to the Trsat Castle. Continuing drive to the centre of City of Rijeka. Sightseeing the city. Visiting nearby town Opatija. Walk through this beautiful city, known as the cradle of Croatian tourism. Uphill drive to the Učka Mountain Nature Park and exploring beautiful landscapes and panoramas. Accommodation in the hotel. Overnight.
DAY 5 - Velebit - Zavižan
Breakfast. Driving on the coastal road to town Sveti Juraj followed by an uphill drive over the slopes of spectacular Velebit mountain. Observing how vegetation floors shifts with the altitude, changes in temperature and relief forms. Arriving to Zavižan and visiting mountain lodge, meteorological station and a Velebit Botanical Garden. Descending to Lika plateau. Accommodation in the hotel. Overnight.
DAY 6 - From mountains to the sea
Breakfast. Drive toward Gacka River Valley. Arrival to the area of many of Gacka’s springs and visiting traditional mills with the presentation of traditional mill crafts. The river Gacka is one of the most beautiful small rivers in Europe. It has a population of brown trout that grow five times faster than average. Driving over Lika with a stop before Sveti Rok tunnel and observing meteorological and environmental elements. Another stope several minutes after, after passing the tunnel through Velebit to its coastal side. Re-measurement of elements and observing great differences between to stops only several minutes apart. Drive to the Makarska Riviera. Accommodation in the hotel. Overnight.
DAY 7 - Makarska Riviera - Biokovo – Dalmatinska Zagora
Breakfast. In one day, the participants can compare three relief units and three climatic and vegetation belts, Mediterranean (Makarska Riviera), mountain (mountain Biokovo with the highest peak Sveti Jure) and sub-Mediterranean (Dalmatinska zagora). During the program the group goes twice through the newly built tunnel Sveti Ilija, visits Dalmatian hinterland and town Imotski with two spectacular carst lakes deep in gigantic carst holes, Blue and Red Lake. Return to the hotel. Overnight.
DAY 8 - Plitvice Lakes National Park
Breakfast. Return to Zagreb via Plitvice Lakes National Park - tour over tourist routes of the national park. Return to Zagreb at the end of the program.