Explore all of the beauty and culture that Greece and Italy have to offer on this Mediterranean summer adventure exclusively for Older Teens. From island cruises and snorkeling in crystal blue waters to lively piazzas and mouthwatering meals, we’ll experience the best that Europe has to offer on this Travel For Teens program!
Step back in time to Ancient Rome and marvel at the Colosseum and Roman Forum. Relax on endless beaches, sail on a private boat, sample authentic cuisine, and enjoy the laid-back Italian lifestyle on the Amalfi Coast.
In Greece, dig deep into ancient historical sites in Athens and jump right into a postcard as you island-hop your way around the rest of the country! The islands are home to stunning beaches, white-washed homes, charming towns and centuries of rich history. Snorkel in the Ionian and Aegean Seas, relax on six island paradises, eat like Greek gods, and explore the ancient culture in the very heart of western civilization. Prepare to fall in love with the culture, people, history, cuisine, and pure beauty of Italy and Greece!
During this program, you will…
- Guarantee your return visit to Rome by tossing a coin into the Trevi Fountain
- Wander through the vast interior of St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church in the world and stare in awe at Michelangelo’s masterpiece in the Sistine Chapel
- Cruise along the incredible Amalfi Coast to the beautiful towns of Positano and Amalfi
- Snorkel or scuba dive* in the crystal clear Ionian and Aegean Seas
- Climb the Acropolis for a close-up look at the Parthenon, one of the most spectacular ancient ruins in the world
- Learn to cook like a Grecian with a private cooking lesson
- Marvel at the white buildings and blue domes that line the charming islands of Paros and Santorini
- 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
DAY 1: DEPART FROM NEW YORK (JFK)
DAYS 2-4: ROME
We start our adventure in Italy, where we will immerse ourselves in one of the most beloved cultures in the world. The city streets of the Eternal City buzz with antiquity around every corner. You’ll be in awe as we transport ourselves thousands of years back in time while exploring the most important monuments and structures. Rome never ceases to amaze with its talent for fusing ancient buildings and streets into an incredibly modern and pulsing city. From the Colosseum, where we’ll envision the bloody spectacle of gladiator competition, to the Roman Forum, which once housed the ancient city’s bustling center and main marketplace, our expert guides will bring Rome’s history to life.
We’ll then fast-forward to the Renaissance, crossing the Tiber to Vatican City and marveling at the massive basilica dedicated to St. Peter. This is the largest church building in the world, and definitely the most impressive. St. Peter himself is entombed beneath its altar, and you can see Michelangelo’s breathtaking “Pietà” before staring up at the famous Sistine Chapel. We’ll stroll down the Tiber and venture slightly off the beaten bath to Trastevere, one of Rome’s hippest neighborhoods, to see the local Romans in action and indulge in some of the best food in the city, including fresh homemade pastas or pizza “al taglio.” Marvel at the Pantheon, shop on the famous Via del Corso, toss a coin over your shoulder into the Trevi Fountain, and hang out on the Spanish Steps, enjoying a classic Roman night of people-watching in a beautiful piazza.
DAYS 5-7: AMALFI COAST
We’ll say “ciao” to Rome and head towards our next destination: the Amalfi Coast! We will settle into our gorgeous hotel in Sorrento, explore this charming coastal town, and enjoy our first dinner at one of Italy’s top summer destinations.
The next day we will hop on a private boat and discover the enchanting Amalfi Coast from the sea. We will enjoy the sapphire blue sea and unbelievable views as we sail down the Mediterranean marveling at the pastel-painted towns nestled along the coastline. With stops along the way, you’ll have a chance to jump into the crystal clear water, swim among cascading waterfalls and in several secluded bays. When we arrive in Positano, you’ll think you’ve been transported into a postcard as you gaze at the quaint hillside town perched up above. Hop off the boat to explore this picturesque coastal gem and wander the narrow streets surrounded by multicolored buildings, blooming flowers, and sweet-smelling lemons. Visit the iconic church of Santa Maria Assunta with its ornate dome covered entirely in tiles. Enjoy the best shopping in the chic stores that line the streets, from handmade shoes and clothes to an abundance of lemon-themed products.
On our final day in Sorrento, we will explore the stunning island of Capri. Go shopping in the ultra-chic boutiques, take a hike around the craggy coast of the island, and enjoy a scenic chairlift ride up to Mt. Solaro, the island’s highest point for breathtaking views and incredible photo opportunities!
DAYS 8-10: POMPEII > LEFKADA
We’ll say goodbye to Italy, but not before stopping to explore the remains of Pompeii, a thriving ancient Roman port city that met an abrupt end in 79 AD when the volcano Mt. Vesuvius erupted, covering the town in a deep layer of volcanic ash that perfectly preserved its treasures for visitors today. There is no other archeological site in the world like Pompeii, where you can walk down actual Roman streets, read original 2,000 year old graffiti on the walls, and pop in and out of original ancient Roman houses, often still bearing their original paint jobs!
As we leave Italy behind we’ll sail overnight across the Ionian sea to the island of Lefkada, one of Greece’s hidden treasures. As the birthplace of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, we’ll be surprised if you don’t fall in love with the country of Greece after your time on the island. We’ll spend our days getting into the Greek summer rhythm of life, where we’ll wander through charming towns, learn how to windsurf and snorkel in the electric blue water, cruise on the Ionian sea to hidden islands, get our first taste of Greek cuisine (feta, anyone?), and discover that Greece really is the perfect summer destination!
DAYS 11-14: DELPHI > ATHENS > HYDRA
En-route to the capital, we’ll stop to ask the infamous Oracle of Delphi for our fortune. As the home to the Oracle that initiated the story of Oedipus, this mysterious and spiritual place will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on anyone who visits.
Then it’s onward to Athens, where we’ll go back in time almost 4,000 years to where western civilization was born and new ideas about philosophy, government, and democracy thrived. We’ll 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 with live music and an authentic Greek atmosphere. The next day will be filled with culture and history. 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 District, beautifully lit up at night and lined with quaint cafes and restaurants.
We’ll also take a day trip to Hydra, a nearby island that embodies the spirits of yesteryear Greece. After a quick ferry ride, wander the winding cobblestone streets (there are no cars on this island)! We’ll set off to find the perfect spot by the seaside to soak up the Grecian summer sun at a gorgeous beach, and then back to Athens before our adventures in Paros begin.
DAYS 15-17: PAROS
Next we’ll travel by ferry to our next Greek 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 18-20: 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 21-23: 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 24: ATHENS
After a quick flight back to the mainland, we will return to Athens for one last goodbye and to catch any sights that we may have missed the first time around. Visit the Central Market, the heart and soul of Athen’s culinary scene and also the best location to pick up some last minute souvenirs. Pick up a pair of custom-made leather sandals from a famous sandal maker 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 25: RETURN FLIGHT TO THE USA
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.
"My second consecutive TFT trip was one for the books. Every aspect of it was perfect; from my other travel mates to my counselors. the destinations that we visited were perfect and I couldn’t be thankful enough for the personal touch that every TFT trip has. We did things that you wouldn’t even think of doing on a regular vacation. We experienced Greece and Italy to the fullest extent. My favorite part of the trip was scuba diving in some of the most beautiful water in Greece. I loved the food in Italy and I loved the culture that surrounded both countries. I love and am extremely grateful for TFT and everything that they do to make sure you have the best possible trip."
"It sounds like Marisa is having an amazing time on the trip with you. Thank you so much for making this a great experience!!"
"My family and I are enjoying the photographs and reports. In fact, we are longing for a similar trip for ourselves. :) It sounds glorious! Touring, learning history, experiencing fellowship and wonderful, wonderful eating. A trip of a lifetime."
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 Rome we stay at an elegant hotel located a short walk from both the Colosseum and the main train station. On the island of Lefkada, we stay in the capital of Vasiliki in a hotel only minutes from the beach. 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?
This program combines the best of both worlds: Italy, Greece, and the islands are explored in a way that allows students to have a full understanding of the two countries. Students explore two major European capitals that boast some of the richest history in the world. They also love the opportunity to visit smaller, charming parts of these two countries such as Sorrento, Pompeii, and Lefkada. Once they reach Greece, students are able to hit the sea and backpack Greek-style. They have the opportunity to visit up to seven Greek islands, two major European cities, swim in countless seas, and truly discover the similarities and differences of the unique cultures in Greece and Italy. The overall theme of Mediterranean traveler on this program is fascinating and exciting!
What is unique about this program?
With scuba and snorkeling excursions, a hands-on learning experience at a Greek cooking class in Athens, and TFT’s expertise in leading trips through Rome, this program provides unique insider access to the best of Greece and Italy. Additionally, 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.
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.
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.
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!
Italian and Greek cuisine are all about fresh, simple ingredients. In Italy we’ll sample the best of the “three Ps”- pizza, pasta, and panini! Indulging in these Italian specialties 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. And don’t forget about gelato! After your trip to Italy, no dessert will ever be the same.
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 trains and boats to travel between the two countries. You’ll learn how to navigate the local transportation systems, which will be helpful for your next trip to Europe!