Explore all of the beauty and culture that Greece and Italy have to offer on this tour of Europe exclusively for Older Teens! From postcard perfect beaches and rich history to lively piazzas and mouthwatering meals, you’ll experience the best that both countries have to offer.
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 laidback Italian lifestyle on the Amalfi Coast. Try a variety of water-sports and swim around the forgotten islands on the gorgeous Greek island of Lefkada. Take an authentic Greek culinary course, interact with the locals, and dig deep into ancient historical sites in Athens. Prepare to fall in love with the culture, people, history, cuisine, and pure beauty of Greece and Italy!
During this program, you will…
- Wander through the Roman Forum and Colosseum, once at the heart of Ancient Rome
- Wander through the vast interior of St. Peter’s Basilica and stare in awe at Michelangelo’s masterpiece in the Sistine Chapel
- Visit the ancient city of Pompeii and marvel at the ruins that were covered by ash during the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD
- Cruise along the incredible Amalfi Coast to the beautiful towns of Positano and Amalfi
- Snorkel and scuba dive* in the crystal clear Ionian Sea
- Eat like a Greek with plump tomatoes, local feta, and fresh calamari served by the sea
- Climb the Acropolis for a close-up look at the Parthenon, one of the most spectacular ancient ruins in the world
- Go off the beaten path and explore the charming Plaka neighborhood of Athens
*This is an optional excursion
Don’t want the fun to stop? Most travelers on our June 26 departure choose to extend their stay as part of our Europe For Older Teens: Greece, Italy & the Islands program!
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, hike to hidden waterfalls, get our first taste of Greek cuisine (feta, anyone?), and discover that Greece really is the perfect summer destination!
DAYS 11-12: DELPHI > ATHENS
We’ll head towards Athens with a stop along the way at the infamous Delphi, 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 neighborhood, beautifully lit up at night and lined with quaint cafes and restaurants. We’ll celebrate our final night together with a special dinner on a rooftop terrace overlooking the city of Athens 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 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.
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 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 Lefkada, Pompeii, and Sorrento. This program allows them to discover the similarities and differences of the unique cultures in Greece and Italy, while understanding how the ancient Roman and Greek worlds together formed the base for much of Western Civilization. The overall theme of antiquity throughout this program is fascinating and exciting, but we also give students a break from city life to soak up the sun on an island adventure!
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.
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!