Trip Region: Europe
Country(ies): Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia, Serbia, Hungary
Partners Trek? No
Trip Cost: $1515
Airfare Estimate: $2000
Nightlife: 8 • Activity: 5
So you crushed the GMAT and nailed the Ross interview – now it’s time to reward yourself with an amazing and well-deserved international excursion! We’ll be having a once (till you lead a trek next year)-in-a-lifetime experience through Eastern Europe to enjoy the culture, food and nightlife. We’ll utilize Michigan’s Action Based Learning approach as we show you what it really means to “Go Blue, Go Anywhere” by exploring 5 (yes, 5!) countries over 10 days. Soaking in Budapest’s thermal baths, boozing and cruising the Danube in Belgrade, exploring Europe’s most southerly fjord, and raiding King’s Landing (or at least pretending to in Dubrovnik) are just a few of many great adventures awaiting you. Come thirsty, come hungry, and get ready to form some incredible bonds with your future MBA classmates!
Travel Day — Friday, Aug 17
Ready, set, go! You are free to depart Ann Arbor after orientation activities are over around 5pm.
Day 1 — Saturday, Aug 18
Szia! Welcome to Budapest, Hungary's intoxicating capital on the banks of the Danube River! After the welcome meeting at 6pm local time, we will head out to our first dinner where we will get to know one another over some great food and strong drinks. We will take a night walk along the Danube River to see the surrounding buildings and bridges lit up in lights, followed by a crazy night out in Budapest's funky 'ruin pubs.'
Day 2 — Sunday, Aug 19
After waking up and trying to remember (or not) what happened the night before, we will get a short orientation walk of the city by our travel guide. Afterwards, we’ll have a full free day to explore Budapest, known as 'The Pearl of the Danube'. First, we will culture ourselves with a tour of Hungary’s Parliament Building, the largest building in the country. Next, we will explore the Castle District and meander through winding streets snacking on local delicacies. After working up a sweat exploring the city, it’s time to spoil ourselves with some R&R as we soak in the famous Szecheny Thermal Baths! After dinner and drinks, it will be time to say good-bye as we head off on an overnight train to Belgrade!
Day 3 — Monday, Aug 20
Known as the' White City', Belgrade is one of the oldest cities in Europe. Here we will experience an energetic mix of progressive flamboyance and conservative customs. Today we will go boozin and cruisin’ on the Danube and Sava rivers as we witness some amazing views of the city and the historic Kelmegdan Fortress. In the evening, we will head down to Skadarska Street in the bohemian quarter of Skadarlija to sample some authentic local food and “enjoy” the lively atmosphere.
Day 4 — Tuesday, Aug 21
Free day! We can visit the Pijaca Venac market near the Hram Svetog Save (St Sava Church), take a stroll through the Nikola Tesla Museum, or check out the city's Military Museums. We can climb the 118-foot, 1896 Gardos tower in Zemun for sweeping views of the city and the Danube, or get a crash course in Serbian contemporary art at Zepter Museum. Or we can head off to the Ada Ciganlija beach, where we can swim, take part in water-sports, or simply soak up the sun with a fancy cocktail(s)! After our urban adventures, we will do some “action-based learning” on how the city’s nightlife has become legendary throughout Europe, with several hundred floating bars, restaurants and nightclubs lining the Danube and Sava rivers.
Day 5 — Wednesday, Aug 22
Today we travel by bus through the beautiful countryside to Sarajevo. The city often draws comparisons with Istanbul as a place that mixes east and west – dotted with minarets, mosques, bazaars and the aroma of coffee. On arrival, perhaps we’ll embark on an optional guided tour to gain insight into the history and culture of the city. Sarajevo is one of the few cities in the world that features an Orthodox church, a Catholic church and a mosque (the famous Begova Džamija) all within close proximity. In the evening, we will enjoy a simple but delicious meal in Baščaršija, Sarajevo's old bazaar before heading out for a night out in the town! Note: this is a long travel day.
Day 6 — Thursday, Aug 23
Another free day of exploration! Seriously, Sarajevo is an amazing place to uncover! Discover local history with a visit to the History Museum and the Sarajevo War Tunnels (dug underneath the airport runway and used to smuggle provisions into the city during its siege) and Sniper Alley, or learn about the tragedies faced by the city's Jews at the Jewish Museum. Get cultural with a stroll through the Art Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina. After a day of adventure, we will come together to break bread at The Pivnica HS brewery, a place to sample local award-winning beer and kick off another intoxicating night!
Day 7 — Friday, Aug 24
Feeling tired yet? Of course not!! Today we head out of Sarajevo by early morning train to Mostar, a town situated in a beautiful valley in the high mountains of Herzegovina. The city was the most heavily bombed settlement in Bosnia during the war, but it has since been rebuilt and now features on UNESCO's World Heritage list. On arrival, we will journey to the famous Stari Most (meaning Old Bridge), first built by the Ottomans in 1565. Apparently, people love to jump off the bridge into the icy waters below, but for our purposes, we’ll just tip the locals brave enough to show us how it’s done. After our pit-stop in Mostar, we continue to…
Day 8 — Saturday, Aug 25
…Europe's most southerly fjord, Boka Kotorska (Bay of Kotor), where we will enjoy an orientation walk around Kotor town, with free time to explore by ourselves for the rest of the day. This 5th-century World Heritage-listed city is set on a secluded bay, with towering peaks surrounding a rocky coastline dotted with pretty waterside towns. Speaking of water, we will take a cruise in the Koto Fjord to get lost in the amazing beauty of Montenegro. Afterwards, we’ll scope out the boutiques and cafes, and maybe climb the hills behind the city to visit Kotor's ruined fortification walls. A one-anda-half hour hike up the stone steps, past churches, gates, and bastions to the Fortress of Sveti Ivan at the top rewards us with magnificent views across town and the brooding Bay of Kotor. In the evening, the city walls are lit up to provide a unique night-time perspective as we wine and dine the night away!
Day 9 — Sunday, Aug 26
Today we leave Montenegro by bus, riding along the beautiful southern coast of Croatia to Dubrovnik, enjoying views of the sparkling Adriatic Sea in this renowned jewel of the Dalmatian Coast. Afterwards the day is free to explore the city on our own. Perhaps check out the 13th-century Franciscan monastery or the Sponza and Rector's Palaces, the only Renaissance buildings in the city to survive a devastating earthquake and fire in 1667, or maybe simply unwind on the beautiful beaches of Croatia. On the last night of our trip, we will come back together to enjoy one last meal and raise our glasses to our conquest of Eastern Europe’s Balkan peninsula! Note: this is a long a travel day.
Departure Day — Monday, Aug 27
SHAME! SHAME! SHAME! On our last day (already??!!), we power through our hangovers and culminate our trip by getting our inner-nerd on with a Game of Thrones tour, walking through Farmer’s Market, Walk of Shame, King’s Landing and many other of the locations from the series. After we take over King’s Landing and take our rightful place on the Iron Throne, we unfortunately have to hop on our dragons and fly back to Ann Arbor to return to the reality of Ross. (We check out from hotel at 11am. To provide enough time after the Game of Thrones tour we recommend flights only after 5:00pm local time.) Fortunately though, we’ll have made some awesome memories and created some dope stories for you to share with your classmates at Skeeps. Also, let’s be honest, Ross is awesome, and this will just be the first of many great experiences along the way!