This Epic Summer Trip in Croatia Lets You Work With Dolphins

As part of a four-week scholarship with an emphasis on sustainability, you’ll get to conduct research on the marine mammals.

This Epic Summer Trip in Croatia Lets You Work With Dolphins

Korčula is one of several islands that the scholarship winner will visit.

Photo by Kite_rin/

Mention a free trip, and you’ve got our attention. Mention a free trip that involves dolphins and Croatia? Now we’re talking.

This summer, cruise company Unforgettable Croatia is launching an all-expenses-paid scholarship for nature enthusiasts that will take place in 2020. The winner of the Croatia Conservation and Exploration Scholarship will spend the first half of the four-week placement volunteering with the Blue World Institute in Losinj, an island in the northern Adriatic. For two weeks, the scholarship winner will work on field research boats and be part of a team that’s collecting data on dolphins. (According to Unforgettable Croatia, in the summer, it’s “not uncommon” to see 50 dolphins a day.)

A private tour of Plitvice Lakes National Park is part of the scholarship.

A private tour of Plitvice Lakes National Park is part of the scholarship.

Photo by Zysko Sergii/

After those two weeks, the “travel” portion of the scholarship begins, with private transfers and luxury accommodations covered by the company: Activities will include everything from wine tasting and truffle hunting on the Istrian Peninsula to a private tour of Plitvice Lakes National Park. (All food and drink is also covered.) From Split, the journey will continue to Dubrovnik by small ship, with overnights on Hvar Island, Vis Island, Korčula (reportedly the birthplace of Marco Polo), Mljet (Croatia’s “greenest” island), and the city of Ston.

Sustainable travel is the backbone of Unforgettable Croatia’s work: In early June, it announced a goal to become the most eco-friendly cruise line by the end of 2020, which it will pursue by reducing the use of plastic onboard, supporting local communities, and—fittingly—fund-raising for the Blue World Institute. The cruising company says it will donate 10 percent of its annual profits to the nonprofit research center.

Interested? All you have to do is apply by filling out a form on the cruise company’s website, telling them why you deserve to be selected for the scholarship. If you’d rather nominate someone else, you can do that, too—you’ll just have to submit the form by Monday, July 9, when the application window closes. One winner will be selected by Unforgettable Croatia.

>> Next: Where to Escape the Summer Crowds in Croatia

Katherine LaGrave is a deputy editor at AFAR focused on features and essays.
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