Step right into a postcard as you explore the best of Greece and its islands with TFT! Greece is home to stunning beaches, white-washed homes, charming towns and centuries of rich history. We will travel like locals and island hop through some of Greece’s most popular destinations.
Snorkel through crystal clear water, relax on up to six island paradises, eat like Greek gods, and explore the ancient culture in the very heart of western civilization. Stroll the white-washed streets of Paros, explore the glorious castles and beaches of Naxos, and relax on Santorini’s famous beaches. Prepare to fall in love with the culture, people, history, cuisine, and pure beauty of Greece and Greek island life!
During this program, you will…
- Climb the Acropolis for a close-up look at the Parthenon, one of the most spectacular ancient ruins in the world
- Try the world’s most delicious gyro in the historical Monastiraki neighborhood of Athens
- Snorkel and scuba dive* in the crystal clear Aegean Sea
- Marvel at the white buildings and blue domes that line the charming islands of Paros and Santorini
- Tour the small Cyclades with a private boat tour, Greece’s best kept secrets with world-renowned turquoise water
- Take in breathtaking and world famous sunsets from the best vantage point in Santorini
- Soak up the sun on the famous red sand beach of Santorini
*This is an optional excursion
*This exciting adventure begins by joining our Europe For Older Teens: Greece, Italy & the Islands program for the last 13 days.
DAY 1: DEPART FROM NEW YORK (JFK)
DAY 2: ATHENS
We’ll start off our tour in the historic city of Athens and go back in time almost 4,000 years to where western civilization was born and new ideas about philosophy, government, and democracy thrived. To shake off the jet lag, we will stroll through some of the best neighborhoods in Athens, and end our first evening with an incredible Greek feast in the heart of the historical center of Athens with live music and authentic Greek atmosphere.
DAYS 3-5: PAROS
Next we’ll travel by ferry to our first island destination: Paros! Famous in ancient times for its immaculate white marble and for having sided in battle with the Persians against the Greeks, this island is a hidden gem and has yet to become overcrowded with tourists. Here we will learn about traditional island life, past and present, with our afternoons saved for sun and sea. We will enjoy boat rides around the island in search of the best beaches where you can try your hand at paddle-boarding, inter-tubing or beach volleyball as we relax next to the crystal-clear Aegean sea. We will also hike the historical Byzantine Road for some amazing views of the Cycladic Island landscape, pass through beautiful white-washed villages, and end the walk in a fortified village!
Our evenings in Paros will be spent enjoying the vibrant island sunsets and strolling along the whitewashed streets. We’ll even try our hand at cooking our own delicious Greek meal with an authentic cooking lesson at a local seaside taverna!
Our last day on the island will bring us to its small but mighty neighbor, Antiparos. See the island paradise where the Hollywood elites spend their peaceful summer holidays–maybe you’ll grab a souvlaki with Tom Hanks while you sit on the endless Mediterranean beaches.
DAYS 6-8: NAXOS > SMALL CYCLADES
After touring Paros, we’ll head out to the neighboring island of Naxos, the largest Greek island in the Cyclades and the island where it is believed that Zeus was raised. Naxos is a close-kept secret of travelers to the Mediterranean where we will explore the endless golden sand dunes that line the coasts of the island and indulge in some of the best Greek island cuisines. We will also take the opportunity to explore some of the tiny islands that dot the Aegean and take the true traveler’s path to the hidden islands of the Small Cyclades. Only hitting the Greek tourist map a few years ago, these islands have remained untouched by bustling tourism. At the end of our time here, we will enjoy the most stunning turquoise waters the Aegean has to offer.
DAYS 9-11: SANTORINI
Now it’s time to head back out onto the sea and towards our final island destination: Santorini. Voted the best island in Greece as well as one of the best islands in the entire world, this volcanic island boasts dramatic red and black sand beaches, whitewashed homes, and winding cobblestone alleyways, making Santorini one of the world’s premier luxury travel destinations. You will recognize the postcard-perfect town of Oia, famous for its blue domes. In between our private boat trip exploring the red, black, and white beaches, and our photoshoots in Oia, you’ll even have the option of taking a scuba-diving lesson! Best, of all, our laidback island days will always finish with gazing out at the breathtaking Santorini skyline by night.
DAY 12: ATHENS
After a quick flight back to the mainland, we will return to Athens for one last goodbye. Stand atop the magnificent Acropolis and imagine ancient Greek life as it was thousands of years ago as you marvel at the architectural wonder of the Parthenon. Return to the modern part of the city and wander amongst the lively markets full of fresh food and authentic handmade goods. Go off the beaten path to the charming Plaka neighborhood, beautifully lit up at night and lined with quaint cafes and restaurants. Pick up some last minute souvenirs, including a pair of custom-made leather sandals from a famous sandal maker perhaps and savor your last Greek gyro! To finish our incredible Greek journey, we’ll enjoy a beautiful final dinner at a traditional Greek taverna overlooking the Acropolis lit up at night.
DAY 13: RETURN FLIGHT TO THE USA
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of teen typically participates in this 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.
This program is exclusively for students who are currently in 11th or 12th grade and approximately 16 to 18 years old. Students living outside of the USA are welcome to join!
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 Athens we stay at a great hotel only a five minute walk in the center of Athens near Syntagma. On Paros we stay in the capital of Parokia in a beautiful hotel close to the port and two minutes from the beach. On Naxos we stay in the main town of Chora. On Santorini, we stay next to Fira in one of the most photogenic spots on the island, experiencing the local architecture and staying in our own personal caves, with views overlooking the sea and rolling vineyards.
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 the most about this program?
Students love that they are able to explore a major European capital that boast some of the richest history in the world as well as the opportunity to visit smaller, charming parts of Greece via the islands. This program allows the teens to hit the sea and backpack Greek-style.
What is unique about this program?
This program visits several islands in Greece that are not only off the beaten path, but also stunningly beautiful. Many students on this program expect the popular Santorini to be their favorite destination, but in the end, decide that one of the lesser known islands went above and beyond their expectations!
What is included?
Tuition cost includes ground transportation; accommodation; chaperones and guides; program-related activities and admissions; taxes and tips; all breakfasts and dinners.
Not included in cost (this is not intended to be an exhaustive list): airfare; lunches; visas and visa application fees; personal and medical expenses; activities and admissions that are not program-related or referenced in the itinerary; beverages other than filtered water at meals; participant expenses that are outside of the program description, such as excess baggage fees and damage to hotels; expenses related to unforeseen circumstances, such as transportation strikes and natural disasters.
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!
Greek food is all about fresh, simple ingredients. In Greece, we will enjoy classic Greek cuisine, including the original Greek salad with mouth-watering tomatoes and locally made feta, famous grilled meats and fresh seafood, and world-renowned baklava. After this trip you’ll begin to understand why the Mediterranean diet is one of the best in the world.
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!
Do I have to bring a backpack?
No–the bag you bring is up to you, but we strongly recommend a smaller lighter bag, preferably one with rolling wheels to make your travel a bit easier. Larger “backpacker-style” backpacks are also appropriate. Please keep in mind you will be responsible for your own bags throughout the duration of the trip so packing light like a true traveler is key!
How will we travel from city to city?
In the backpacking spirit, we will be using boats to travel between the Greek islands. You’ll learn how to navigate the Greek ferry system, which will be helpful for your next trip to Europe!
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.
"I wanted to say THANK YOU! I am so grateful that Ally had all of you there to help and take great care of her. She was so far from home and I appreciate that you all made her feel comfortable. It would not have been possible without the help of you and your thoughtful and caring team! Thank you again with the greatest appreciation!"