Join us on an exploration through some of the most culturally rich and welcoming countries in the Mediterranean during this Gap Year Program in Greece and Croatia. 

From the rich history of the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations that once roamed these lands, to the crystal blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea - you will get to experience the very best of what these beautiful countries have to offer

Throughout this journey you will learn the ropes and maneuvers of what it takes to be a true sailor on board our very own vessel off the Croatian coast, and you’ll enjoy an adventurous sea kayaking island expedition where we will not only explore but give back to the coastal waters of the region. Then we will head a little south to the city of Athens, where you will delve into the cultural history of the area and then spend time in the famously welcoming small Greek communities of Crete where we will work on some projects around the island. Basking in the delicious cuisine, picturesque coastlines, and vibrant culture throughout the entire journey. 

 

  Pacific Discovery Top Rated Organisation Voted Best Gap Year Program

 

This Gap Year Program Is For You if You...

✓ Explore some of the most scenic and ancient sites of the world

✓ Would like to experience the cuisine, scenery, and pristine waters of the Mediterranean Sea

✓ Love the idea of working and staying in small local communities

✓ Are interested in immersing yourself in two ancient culture

✓ Want to learn activities like sailing, rock climbing and kayaking

 

Not sure where you want to go yet?

Our Program Quiz can help you find your perfect Program match! Or get the full Program run-down in our catalogue. This catalogue provides information about Pacific Discovery's values and program design, as well as program descriptions and testimonials!

Request Online Catalogue

 

 

  • Service-learning and Volunteer Projects
    • • Work in two local communities on organic farms and olive picking in the rolling orchards of Crete
    • • Debris and ocean clean-ups along the Sibenik Archipelago
  • Outdoor Adventures
    • • Learn new skills and gain valuable experience in sailing, navigation, and seamanship on our intro to sailing excursion
    • • Five day sea kayaking and camping amongst the Croatian Islands 
    • • Enjoy a range of water-based activities, including snorkeling, coasteering, and kayaking on the southern Greek Island of Crete
  • Cultural Immersion
    • • Experience the vibrant culture of coastal towns and villages, sample delicious local cuisine, and immerse yourself in the local way of life
    • • Visit the ancient landmarks, including the Acropolis, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, and the Ancient Agora
    • • Immerse yourself in Croatia's stunning coastline, rich culture, and fascinating history
    • • Visit a gorgeous rural olive farm and get to make your own olive oil
    • Take a Greek dance class and learn about the ancient rhymes of this traditional art
  • Personal Development
    • • Become a global citizen with a global perspective on environmental issues
    • • Work confidently and collaboratively with others
    • • Transfer the applicable learning activities to benefit both school and personal life

**This is a guide to what you can expect to do on Program. The order in which the activities occur might vary**

Week 1. Orientation and Exploring Old Town Dubrovnik 

We start our Mediterranean Adventure in Dubrovnik - Dubrovnik is a stunning city located on the southern coast of Croatia, known for its picturesque Old Town and seaside location. The city is surrounded by a wall that dates back to the 16th century, which provides an impressive and imposing sight as you approach from the sea.

The Old Town itself is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and for good reason. Its beautiful architecture, narrow winding streets, and countless hidden alleys and courtyards make it a perfect place to wander and explore. The city is particularly famous for its red-roofed buildings and beautiful baroque architecture.

Here we will settle in, orient ourselves to each other, and prepare for the adventures ahead. We will do our first, but definitely not last, Island exploration with a day trip to Lokrum Island, home to a botanical garden, salt lake, and Benedictine monastery dating back at least to 1023, a great escape from the bustle of Dubrovnik. 

Week 2. Sailing and Sea Kayaking of Croatian Coast 

Week two we make our way up to Croatia's ancient and exuberant city, Split. Here life has just the right balance between tradition and modernity. One of the main attractions in Split is the Diocletian's Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage site that was built in the 4th century AD for the Roman emperor Diocletian. The palace is a stunning example of ancient Roman architecture, with its towering walls, grand archways, and intricate details. Today, the palace serves as a living museum, with restaurants, shops, and cafes located within its walls. In the evenings we will stroll along the Riva, a promenade that stretches along the city's waterfront. The Riva is a lively gathering place for locals and visitors alike, with its many cafes and restaurants offering stunning views of the sea and nearby islands. And along its shores are some of the most ancient ports in the world-  which is where our next adventure begins. 

Have you ever dreamed of sailing the open seas, feeling the wind in your hair and the sun on your face? Well, from the ports of Split we will get experience just that on our  intro to sailing excursion. Here you will get some hands-on experience with boat handling, sail setting, and navigation with an experienced Skipper. You'll gain your sea legs while also taking turns in the galleys, scullery, and as first mate as we tack and jibe our way through the Adriatic Sea. All the while taking in the beauty of the open water surrounding us while experiencing first hand that not all treasure is silver and gold.  But don't worry, no experience is needed to climb abroad, just a willingness to learn and a mindset to enjoy the adventure of the open sea. 

Now that we have our sea legs under us, after two days on land in Split we pack our bags and head off to the island of Zlarin - for another epic sea adventure, but of a very different kind. From this small island we embark on a 5 day sea kayaking exhibition - here we will kayak and camp our ways across the Sibenik Archipelago - a stunning collection of over 200 islands and islets, each with its own unique beauty and charm. During this journey we will take breaks to not only swim and snorkel - but also pause to do some beach and ocean clean-ups - giving back to the pristine waters that have been such a large part of our adventures thus far. We will wrap up this excursion back where it began on the island of Zlarin - which after this jam packed week we will relax, unwind, and reflect on our time at sea. 

Week 3. Visit Zadar and Telašćica National Park 

From our week full of adventures at sea, we step back onto the mainland to head up the coast to our final Croatian stop - Zadar. Zadar has a very historic Old Town, which is surrounded by medieval walls and features a number of important landmarks and attractions. We can explore Roman Architecture, the Cathedral of St. Anastasia, and the Sea Organ, a unique instrument that uses the power of the waves to create music.

Zadar is also a great base for the surrounding countryside and nearby islands.  From here we will hop on yet another vessel to go explore Telašćica National Park. This time we get to sit back and enjoy the stunning nature reserve located on the island of Dugi Otok, which is part of the Zadar archipelago in Croatia. The park is known for its rugged cliffs, crystal-clear waters, and rich marine life, and is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. During this excursion we will get to immerse ourselves in the secluded coves and hidden beaches that are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing. 

Week 4. Explore the Ancient Sites of Athens and Greek Culture 

Welcome to Athens, the historical and cultural capital of Greece! Athens is a city steeped in history and mythology, with countless ancient landmarks and archaeological sites that have captivated visitors for centuries. The most famous of these landmarks is the Acropolis, a hilltop citadel that houses the Parthenon, one of the most iconic ancient buildings in the world- and we will get to take it all in first hand as we navigate our way through the vibrant ancient streets. As an introduction to Greek culture we will participate in a traditional Greek dance lesson, led by an experienced instructor who will guide you through the steps and rhythms of this lively dance style. Learn about the history and significance of Greek dance, and immerse yourself in the joy and energy of this vibrant art form.

After your dance lesson, savor the flavors of Greek cuisine with a delicious meal that highlights the best of the country's culinary traditions. Enjoy classic dishes like tzatziki, spanakopita, and moussaka, paired with fresh salads, grilled meats, and locally sourced seafood. Now that we’ve been fully immersed in what Athens has to offer - we are going to jump on a ferry and head south to Crete.

Week 5. Stay and Work in the Greek Communities of Crete  

Finally we make our way to the island of Crete. Crete is the largest island in Greece, located in the southern Aegean Sea. It is a beautiful and diverse island that offers something for everyone, from stunning beaches to rugged mountains, ancient ruins, and charming villages. The nearby hills are home to olive groves, vineyards, and fruit orchards that this region is so famous for. 

And we will jump right into these hills and villages by working with two local communities on projects ranging from helping with the olive picking in the rolling hills, getting our hands dirty on the organic farms, and participating in the cleanup of the beaches and the pathways used to explore the beauty of this quaint island. 

During these days we will find some peace as we get to slow down, enjoy the warm welcomes of the locals, and take in the traditional Greek architecture, narrow cobbled streets, and watch the fishing boats head out to sea each morning. 

Week 6. Adventure Around the Coastline of Crete

Now that we've been introduced to the quieter side of Crete, we will spend our last week diving into the more adventurous side of this versatile island. Our adventures will be based out of Kalyves - a village on the north coast of Crete. Here we will spend five days exploring both the adventures and the culture of the Cretans.

Our mornings will be filled with rock climbing the island's cliffs, mountain biking through the hills, and coasteering along the pristine beaches. Coasteering is a thrilling adventure activity that involves exploring the coastlines and cliffs of a coastal area, using a combination of swimming, climbing, and jumping. Our experienced guide will lead us on this one of a kind adventure - an absolutely epic way to explore the Crete coastline.  

Afternoons will be spent diving deeper into the culture here, learning how to build traditional rafts that were used to navigate the sea, taking in the tunes and rhymes of Creten music, and learning more about the ancient process of making olive oil that has brought economy to this island for centuries. 

This is the picture perfect way to bring our time and adventures in these beautiful two countries to an end. We will spend our last few days as a team reflecting on our experiences, sharing our stories, and making the final memories of our journey together. 

 

*Each week there will be some designated free time so that you can catch up on email, laundry, rest, and explore independently with others in the group.

**Pacific Discovery reserves the right to alter and/or change the order of the itinerary, the locations, the focus of the projects or the activities themselves due to dates, availability, and safety precautions.

For full program details, please request the information booklet

What's included?

✓ All in-program travel and transport, excluding flights

✓ All accommodation

✓ All meals

✓ All expeditions, activities, excursions, volunteer projects and entry fees as described in the itinerary

✓ Experienced Program Instructors and local guides

✓ Informal lectures from resident experts on conservation and eco-tourism

✓ Experiential core curriculum that pushes students to reflect and ask questions of themselves

✓ Certificate of Program Completion

Activity Level

   

Medium Activity Level: Anyone with an average fitness level and an enthusiasm for the outdoors and new experiences will have a great time on this mini semester! You will need to be prepared for some physical work during the volunteer projects on the program, like trail building or the removal of invasive plants.

Camping Level

    

Low Camping Level: You will be camping for a couple of nights on this program, but you will spend most of your time in comfortable hostels and lodges.

Volunteering Level

   

Medium Service Learning Level: You will be able to make a difference to the local community during your stay. Be prepared to get your hands dirty and do some hands-on learning about local issues.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Our accommodation will be a mix of apartment style rooms, hostels, camping, and a few nights on a sailboat. Laundry and Wi-Fi facilities will be available some days, except during the weeks in the field on the volunteer projects and on expeditions. Accommodation is diverse, comfortable and carefully chosen to fit our needs.

Meals are fresh, tasty, healthy and varied. Special dietary requirements and vegetarians are catered for. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included in the program cost. Any snacks are at an additional cost, which we recommend budgeting around $12 per day for.

Meals are a mixture of eating out at restaurants and food preparation shared by students. An average day on program would consist of the following:

  • Greece -  
    • Breakfast- bread, pastry, fruits, and Greek yogurt.
    • Lunch- a homemade vegetable stew or casserole. served with staple sides of cheese, bread, and salad.
    • Dinner- A variety of delicious greek dishes consisting of -  fish, meat and vegetables. Popular Greek ingredients include olive oil, lamb, potatoes, an abundance of seafood, and its most popular dessert, baklava, is a deliciously sweet way to end any Greek meal. 

 

  •  Croatia 
    • Breakfast - eggs, bread, cold cuts, pastries 
    • Lunch - a bowl of soup followed by an entree of roasted meat, vegetable or salad, potatoes or noodles, and dessert.
    • Dinner - hearty mixtures of vegetable or meat based stews, freshly baked breads, potatoes, pasta, fish,  and savory pies

To make things easy for you, we partner with a full service travel agency that can arrange flights, appropriate travel insurance and post program arrangements for our students.

They have access to a "Cancel For Any Reason" or CFAR travel insurance for US citizens in participating states. This optional travel insurance product allows travelers to cancel for any reason whatsoever up to two days prior to departure and still receive a significant refund. This allows you to keep planning for the future while avoiding the stress and the financial worry of canceling a program if you need to.

Our program locations and itineraries have been carefully selected and modified to minimize risk of exposure to anyone outside the group with most being located in rural areas. This allows for a more focused learning environment, as well as a safe haven from the stress of our modern world.

We've been working hard and watching closely to any CDC recommendations about group sizes and testing requirements to come up with options that will allow you to have a safe, healthy, and stress-free Gap Year experience. We do the hard work so you can come and enjoy the fresh air, adventures, and new friends!

We have been running successful international programs in Spring, Summer and Fall 2021. The students shared their experiences in testimonials and wrote their stories down in blog posts - feel free to have a look.

Check out the information on our COVID-19 page to find out more about our Covid-19 policies, procedures and updates.

We have answered the most frequently asked questions in the FAQ SectionIf you still have any other questions, feel free to  schedule a call with our admissions team for more information.

Fall Dates 10 Oct - 20 Nov, 2024
Duration 42 days
Program Tuition $10,875 USD Estimated Flight Cost $1,800 USD
Availability Open
Group Size 12 Students & 2 Instructors Ages 17 - 22 Ideal Covid-19 Vaccination Requirement Vaccination Strongly Recommended
Optional College Credit No Start/Finish Program Start: Dubrovnik, Croatia
Program Finish: Athens, Greece