Get ready for the ultimate adventure! The Alps are legendary for their breathtaking beauty and adrenaline-pumping activities. Set off on an unforgettable journey with Travel for Teens filled with majestic views, fresh alpine lakes, and postcard-perfect mountain scenery. Our Alpine Adventure is perfect for any nature-loving teen and includes the best outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, high altitude rock climbing, water sports, and even the opportunity to go skiing! We will also climb, jump and slide our way through natural rock formations and waterfalls during a thrilling canyoning adventure.
In addition to these exciting activities, we will enjoy quaint villages nestled in both the Swiss and French Alps and discover what the mountain life is all about. We’ll relax on the shores of Lake Annecy, one of France’s hidden gems. During our time in Switzerland, we’ll even visit Zermatt, which is home to the most famous of the Alps: the Matterhorn itself. We will finish our trip with a visit to experience the laidback lifestyle in Lake Como, Italy. Here we will enjoy peaceful lakeside landscapes, hiking, a relaxing boat cruise around the lake to visit several of the towns, and even a visit to an olive oil factory!
This program is the perfect combination of natural beauty and outdoor activities to help us appreciate the best of Alpine culture in Europe!
During this program, you will…
- Test your limits with a high-altitude rock climbing course filled with panoramic views over the French Alps
- Hook up to a ropes course and conquer incredible heights
- Experience the thrill of paragliding while flying high above the French Alps in Annecy*
- Try out stand-up paddle boarding or kayaking on gorgeous Lake Annecy
- Go for a swim in Lake Geneva on the grounds of a beautiful medieval castle
- Hit the mountain to go ski (yes, even in summer!) on the glacier slopes of the Swiss Alps*
- Take a mountain biking trip through the idyllic Swiss Alps (Can accommodate all skills levels)
- Climb, slip, slide and jump your way through rocks and waterfalls on a canyoning adventure in Switzerland
- Stay in a traditional Swiss chalet and spend an evening relaxing at the spa in our quaint mountain village
- Ride the traditional mountain cog train to Zermatt for unbeatable views of the Matterhorn
- Breathe the pure air of the Swiss Alps while hiking through alpine highlands full of wildflowers
- Go swimming in a pool overlooking the Italian Alps
*This is an optional excursion
Important Note: Keep in mind that we will be participating in physical outdoor activities such as mountain biking, hiking, and canyoning. Please come physically prepared to be active, hike in the mountains, and participate in this range of supercool activities.
DAY 1: DEPART FROM NEW YORK (JFK)
DAYS 2-4: ANNECY
We begin our alpine expedition in the heart of the French Alps exploring the quaint town of Annecy, often referred to as the “Venice of the Alps” due to its beautiful canals. We’ll be spoiled by the unbelievable mountain views surrounding us and the breathtaking turquoise blue lake in the center of this picture-perfect city. We’ll wander through the enchanting old town, lined with pastel buildings covered in flowers and charming cafes, to the iconic Palais de l’Isle Chateau sitting serenely in the center of the main canal.
We’ll get the adrenaline pumping on the Via Ferrata, a high altitude ropes course where after being hooked up to a safety harness you will reach incredible heights and navigate the mountains while marveling at the views over Lake Annecy. Later we’ll enjoy a boat cruise around the lake and stop to do some hiking, stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, and hanging out at the beach. The highlight of our time in the French Alps will be soaring through the air above Lake Annecy as we will have an option to go paragliding in this beautiful mountain town.
DAYS 5-7: MONTREUX > SAAS-GRUND
On the way to our next destination, we will make a stop in Montreux, Switzerland for lunch and shopping. Here we will visit the Chateau de Chillon, one of the best-preserved medieval castles in Europe, and take a dip in Lake Geneva with a stunning view of the Chateau! Then we’ll continue on to Saas-Grund, where fresh mountain air awaits us at our chalet in the Swiss Alps, a sunny paradise of rivers, alpine pastures, forests, and glaciers. Using a mountain lodge as our base, we’ll explore the area and all of the outdoor activities on hand including mountain biking, hiking the spectacular trails nearby, and canyoning through waterfalls. We will also have the option to go skiing on a glacier mountain in one of the most renowned ski resorts in the Saas Valley! Of course, no visit to Switzerland would be complete without a visit to the impressive Matterhorn! As always, our emphasis is on safety and we will be accompanied by professional local guides as we hike, bike, canyon, and ski.
DAYS 8-9: LAKE COMO
We’ll head to Lake Como for the final destination of our trip. We’ll immerse ourselves in rich Italian culture with a constant backdrop of beautiful Lake Como and magnificent alpine peaks. We’ll take a cable car to a hillside village for the best views over the Lake. No trip to Como is complete without swimming at the local lido, or lakeside pool club. There’s no better place to end our Alpine Adventure than Italy, and we’ll spend our final night dining on incredible Italian food and reminiscing on the trip of a lifetime. And of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t get a gelato (or two)!
DAY 10: RETURN FLIGHT HOME
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of teen typically participates in a TFT program? What are the requirements to join?
Teens from all over the world join this program! Typically, our participants are culturally curious individuals who are excited to make new friends, experience something unique, and interested in stepping out of their comfort zones and expanding their horizons.
Where do we stay?
Our hotels are chosen specifically in safe areas and are well suited to facilitating group supervision. We stay in centrally located accommodations, usually within walking distance of the main attractions. We do not use large, impersonal chain hotels on the outskirts of cities; we prefer to select smaller, family-run hotels where we establish personal relationships with the owners.
In Annecy, we stay at a charming hotel in the center of the old town, just steps from the best shopping, restaurants, and beautiful canals of this medieval city. In Saas-Grund, we stay in a traditional Swiss chalet complete with absolutely stunning views of the Alps from our balconies. In Lake Como, we will stay in a top-rated hostel overlooking the lake.
For safety reasons, we do not publish the names of the accommodations we use. We do not feel it is safe to publish the name of a hotel where a group of teenagers is staying abroad. After registering, participants and parents are given access to our secure parent website where you will be able to see the names of all of the accommodations for the program.
Do most travelers go on their own?
Yes! In fact, over 75% of students who travel with us choose to come independently. This encourages teens to step further outside their comfort zone and make new friends. We believe that one of the most rewarding and exciting elements of travel is the new friendships that form along the way. When we travel by ourselves, we are bound to make new friends from all over the country and even the world. The best part is, you can travel again with your new friends on another TFT program the next summer!
If you are thinking about joining a TFT program by yourself but you are feeling unsure, please let us know! We have plenty of references from solo travelers who had great experiences and would be happy to chat with you about it.
Can I bring a friend?
Absolutely! We ask that if you do come with a friend, you and your friend(s) maintain openness to meeting new people and sharing this special experience with the entire group.
What do students like most about this program?
Students love that they are able to explore the beautiful Alpine towns of three different countries. This program allows them to discover the similarities and differences of the unique cultures in France, Switzerland, and Italy.
What is unique about this program?
From an option to soar over one of the paragliding capitals of the world in Annecy, to our stunning accommodation in a Swiss chalet, and relaxing at Lake Como and soaking up the Italian lifestyle, this program provides unique insider access to all three places. It also provides an adrenaline pumping opportunity for adventure, and in no better place than the alps!
What is included?
Tuition cost includes ground transportation; accommodation; chaperones and guides; program-related activities and admissions; taxes and tips; all breakfasts, three lunches, and dinners.
Not included in the cost (not intended to be an exhaustive list): Airfare, lunches, visas and visa application fees, beverages other than filtered water at meals, activities and admissions not referenced in the itinerary or deemed not program related, such as movies, expenses incurred by the participant that are outside the program description, such as excess baggage fees and damage to hotels, expenses related to unforeseen circumstances, such as transportation strikes and natural disasters, as well as personal and medical expenses.
How do the optional group flights work?
Upon registration, you will be contacted by our International Logistics Team to discuss the program’s flight details. There is no requirement to take the group flight, but there are several advantages to doing so. The group flight is usually chaperoned by a TFT staff member, and it also offers an opportunity for the students to get to know one another prior to the start of the program. Parents are responsible for coordinating transport to the departure airport – however, the logistics team will send out instructions detailing the exact meeting spot and airport point person. For additional information about flights, visit our dedicated flight page.
Who leads the program?
Our staff is a cut above the rest! We seek out two main characteristics in our counselors – extensive knowledge of and experience in our destinations, and a passion for working with teens. Our staff’s backgrounds include living abroad and working in summer camps or other educational settings. Team members are proven leaders and role models, who connect easily with others and form genuine friendships with each student – all while bringing each destination to life.
We celebrate diversity! Our staff represents 49 different nationalities, speak a combined total of 21 languages, and visited 142 countries. Additionally, 80% of our staff lived or worked abroad in their lives. With so many unique experiences to share, you are sure to gain a global perspective.
Our average minimum ratios are one staff member to every seven participants. Each program has one Trip Director with several support staff, depending on the group size. Directors must be at least 25 years old and have prior experience working with TFT.
What are the safety qualifications for our staff?
Our staff members undergo a rigorous hiring process. They receive the same background check as school educators, an extensive training process to go over all safety precautions and protocols, and are required to be certified in CPR and First Aid. We exclusively hire responsible, multi-talented individuals who are safety-minded and are as passionate about teen travel as we are.
What is the average group size?
We pride ourselves on small group sizes to create a more authentic and personalized experience. Our group sizes fall between 14 and 21 students – the perfect size to facilitate new friendships without feeling lost in a crowd! We believe smaller groups eliminate the likelihood of cliques, and allows for a well-rounded, healthy group dynamic.
How does this program connect to other programs?
Our program dates are designed specifically so that participants can opt to combine trips throughout the summer. When connecting to another program, your counselor will escort you to the airport on the last day of the program and assist you in meeting your next group at your new destination.
Families who sign up for more than one program will also receive a 15% discount on the lesser-priced program.
What is the food like on this program?
In a word – delicious! At TFT, we believe food should be an integral part of the travel experience and always make an effort to eat at authentic establishments when we can. What better way to immerse yourself in the culture of a place than by sampling the local delicacies, and we encourage students to do so whenever possible! Just as we stay away from Americanized hotel chains, we try to avoid restaurants with menus that cater only to tourists because every good traveler knows the best food is found wherever the locals are eating!
In France, we’ll enjoy classic French café fare, including the world-famous croissants, French bread, and a classic fondue dinner. And for the brave, escargot of course!
The cuisine in Switzerland has a French influence, and every meal during this duration of our stay is served fresh daily and specifically for our group at our accommodation. There will be fresh veggies and fruit available every day to keep us healthy for all of the activities we will be participating in!
Italian food is all about fresh, simple ingredients. We’ll sample the best of the “three Ps”- pizza, pasta, and panini! Indulging in these Italian specialities for the first time is a life changing experience, and we will be there to document every minute of it as you fall in love with the fresh mozzarella, warm Italian bread, mouth watering prosciutto, and homemade pasta. Don’t forget about gelato! After your trip to Italy, no dessert will ever be the same.
Of course, we are always willing and able to accommodate vegetarians, vegans, gluten allergies, and other dietary restrictions.
Do we ever get time to go off on our own?
Our staff and teens are nearly always together, but we do provide the opportunity to break up into smaller groups to allow for flexibility and customization within the itinerary.
We offer free time in defined safe areas – for example, shopping in a market or exploring a museum. During these times, students remain in groups of at least two and are given no more than an hour. Of course, the counselors remain nearby and available. Additionally, a lifeguard-certified counselor supervises the campers any time they are involved in water activities.
Do I need any vaccinations for this program?
We recommend checking with your family doctor regarding vaccinations and medical advice for the destination you are visiting. For more information, please check the World Health Organization’s website. Upon registration, we provide a list of recommended vaccinations that can be discussed further with your doctor.
What kind of visa do you need for this trip?
Any US citizen that enters Europe is automatically granted a free 90-day tourist visa.
When joining a TFT trip from outside of the US, please be sure to check your country’s specific visa requirements.
Do I need to speak the language?
No, our skilled staff members will help you get around and even teach you a few fun phrases!
Authenticity is engrained in everything we do.
Eat, stay, and travel like a local. Check out what past travelers have to say about TFT and discover why we were awarded top youth travel organization in 2017.
"This past summer I had an unforgettable experience. Being a curious girl since I was little, I have always dreamed of traveling the world and discovering new places. TFT has allowed me to follow this dream of mine. I never would have thought I would have the opportunity to climb the Eiffel Tower in Paris or hike through Cinque Terre. I even got to go paragliding in Switzerland and hike through the Swiss Alps! Going on this trip has let me experience new things with people who are now my life long friends. We are actually planning on a reunion for this summer! If I had the chance to go on this trip again I wouldn’t even have to think twice about saying yes. This experience of trying new activities and making new friends is one I will treasure. If you are adventurous and a daredevil, I definitely recommend this trip."
"I am so glad I chose to sign up for two trips with TFT the summer of 2019! At first I was nervous traveling without my parents to a country I had never been to before, but this trip showed me my passion for traveling. My favorite thing about TFT is all the amazing people I met. I went on my trips not knowing anyone but everyone was so excited to meet new people so we quickly became a little family. I loved my counselors, they were so fun and amazing role models. They always made me feel safe and I knew I could talk to them if there was ever any problem. If you want to travel TFT is an amazing program and I definitely recommend you take the opportunity."
"I know you saw on social media, but I just wanted to “officially” tell you how wonderful the SHA British Isles trip was. Every day was full of fun and so many different activities and the pacing was perfect. Hannah and Hunt are awesome and felt just like SHA people (like you do too!). Our students were so happy and enjoyed it so much. It is truly a privilege to get to travel with them and be their teacher/friend in an entirely different capacity. All the trips are up on there on my “best of” list, but this one ranks near the top. Thanks for all the work that you and TFT do to make these trips possible. I know how much behind the scenes work goes on and how many different hands are involved. One of our Sacred Heart principles is educating to global awareness and I can’t think of many better ways to help them continue to develop into global citizens than through travel. I hope your summer is wonderful- with travel near and far- and that all the TFT trips are successes! Cheers!"