Amsterdam, Belgium and Paris
$4,295 + Airfare
Jul 20 – Aug 1
9, 10, 11, 12
|Who can go on this trip?||
Students from around the world!
|Places we visit:||
Amsterdam, Zaanse Schans, Bruges, Damme, Antwerp, Ghent*, Paris, Giverny, Versailles
|Optional group flight there:||
New York (JFK) to Amsterdam
|Optional group flight back:||
Paris to New York (JFK)
Come join us for a trip that provides a thrilling mix of Europe’s most popular destinations and its lesser-known marvels! Stroll along the canals of Amsterdam, tour its notorious Red Light District, and visit Anne Frank’s house, all while familiarizing yourself with Dutch culture, history, and food! Leave your mark spraypainting graffiti in Ghent, reflect on the lessons of history at Fort Breendonk Concentration Camp, and bike through the stunning Belgian countryside with a local guide. In Paris, you’ll soak up the City of Light as you explore the hip artistic neighborhood of Montmartre, get the best view from the top of the Eiffel Tower, go on a guided tour of the Louvre including a visit to the Mona Lisa, cruise along the Seine at sunset, and so much more. Come to know these three countries just as well as any local with this hands-on travel experience!
On this trip you will:
- Explore Amsterdam’s beautiful canals
- See priceless works of Impressionist art at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and the Musee d’Orsay in Paris
- Visit Anne Frank’s house and learn about her family’s hardship during the Holocaust
- Walk through the notorious Red Light District
- Imagine yourself as royalty at the Royal Palace of Amsterdam
- See Fort Breendonk Prison Camp and pay your respects to those lost during the war
- Experience the famous Dutch windmills, and learn how to make Dutch wooden clogs and cheese in the quaint countryside
- Taste your way through a Belgian Waffle tour of Ghent*
- Have some retail therapy in the charming shops of Bruges and the grand boulevards of Paris
- Go on private walking tours of Bruges and Amsterdam, and get to know these cities like a local
- Bike through the lush Belgian countryside to the village of Damme with a local guide
- Go to the most visited museum in the world, the Louvre, and see works like the Winged Victory, Venus de Milo, Mona Lisa, and so many more
- Visit the most iconic Parisian sites such as Notre Dame Cathedral, the Arc de Triomphe, the Luxembourg Gardens and the Champs Elysées
- Explore the Royal Palace of Versailles, learn about the Sun King’s lavish parties, and stroll through the stunning gardens
- Bike through some of the hidden gems and hip neighborhoods of Paris
- Enjoy fondue in the Latin Quarter, escargot at a classic bistro, and crepes along the Seine
- See where Van Gogh and Picasso hung out, as well as where the movie Amelie was filmed, in Paris’ artsy neighborhood, Montmartre
- Go to Monet’s house and gardens in beautiful Giverny*
- Have a fancy final dinner followed by the best ice cream in Paris
*These are optional excursions.
DAY 1: GROUP FLIGHT DEPARTS FROM NEW YORK-JFK
As our flight takes off, the trip officially begins!
DAYS 2-4: AMSTERDAM
Welcome to Europe! Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, is known for its vibrant culture of young travelers eager to explore the city’s treasures. The city itself is a sight to behold, filled with bicycles and gorgeous old buildings, which makes it ideal for exploring on foot. Our focus is on providing a safe and energetic tour of this dynamic place, as we tour the Vondelpark, check out the masterpieces on display at the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum, and even take a walking tour through the notorious Red Light District. Throughout, we’ll peer back into the origins of Dutch culture, and pause to reflect on the events of modern history as we visit the Anne Frank House, where the famous diarist and her family lived while in hiding from the Nazi forces that occupied the city.
During our time in Amsterdam you will also take a half-day trip out to the Dutch countryside. You’ll get to go inside windmills and see how they work up close, visit a cheesemaking shop, home-make your own hot chocolate, attend a Dutch wooden clogmaking demonstration, and more as you explore this quaint Dutch village that has been frozen in time!
DAYS 4-7: BRUGES, GHENT & ANTWERP
Belgium awaits! Our first stop enroute from Amsterdam to Belgium will be Fort Breendonk Prison Camp, where we will continue to learn about the toll the Holocaust took on this region. We will be based in Bruges, also known as the Venice of the North with its picturesque canals. During our stay we will be within walking distance from the most beautiful sections of the city, making it easy to walk out the door of our fantastic hotel and be steps from the Burg, the Stadhuis, and the Markt. Perhaps the highlight of our time in Belgium is our visit to the countryside, where our awesome local guide will take us on a leisurely and scenic bike ride to Damme, a wonderfully quaint town that is home to dozens of bookshops and delicious eats. We’ll finish off our time in Belgium with a day trip to Antwerp, where we will explore the Diamond District, stroll through the Old Port, and learn about the immigrants who passed through here on their way to the US.
This trip offers abundant options, and travelers may elect to spend a day in Ghent, where they will go on a waffle-tasting tour to decide for themselves what makes a perfect Belgian waffle! The group will also learn about Flemish culture at the impressive Gravensteen Castle and have time to shop in the beautiful historical quarter of the city. You’ll even get to unleash your creative side and spray-paint in a special graffiti alley!
DAYS 7-12: PARIS
In Paris we’ll experience the best of French culture as we marvel at priceless masterpieces and stunning architecture, stroll along the quintessential Parisian boulevards, and eat our way through the different arrondissements, or neighborhoods. You’ll see Quasimodo’s home at the Cathedral of Notre Dame, where Amelie was filmed in Montmartre, and shop til you drop on the Champs Elysées. Bike through some of Paris’ “hidden” neighborhoods, explore the Luxembourg Gardens or Pere Lachaise Cemetery, and take a sunset cruise down the Seine. Try some of your favorite recipes at authentic restaurants, such as crepes, fondue, and omelettes, or maybe taste something new–escargot anyone? There will be time for you to explore some of the cool shopping districts and street markets with a friend to bring home souvenirs, and our counselors will accompany you to help you get the best bargains. Don’t forget to indulge in a pastry from a Patisserie or a fresh Baguette from a Boulangerie. Finally, let’s not forget the experience of a lifetime going all the way to the top of the Eiffel Tower!
While in Paris, you can also choose to take day trips out of the city. Art lovers can sign up for our optional excursion to Monet’s home and gardens in Giverny. Fans of impressionist paintings will recognize his beautiful Japanese bridge over the lily pond. You may also visit the Palace of Versailles and learn about the rise and fall of the French Monarchy, as well as walk through Marie Antoinette’s gardens and go for a rowboat ride on the beautiful lake!
DAY 13: FLIGHT BACK TO THE USA
We offer an optional chaperoned group flight which leaves in the morning of the last day of the trip and lands in the USA at New York-JFK airport mid-afternoon.
Who can go on this trip? What kind of teen typically goes on this trip?
We have teens join this program from all over the world! Students who will have finished 9th-12th grade are eligible for this trip. They are typically culturally curious teens who are excited about making new friends, stepping out of their comfort zone, expanding their horizons, and trying something new.
Where do we stay?
Our hotels are specifically chosen to be in safe areas and well-suited to facilitating group supervision. We stay in centrally located accommodations, usually within walking distance of the main attractions. This means 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 Amsterdam, the group stays in a family-oriented hostel just outside the canal district, meaning we have direct access to downtown without all the street noise! In Bruges, we stay in a charming hotel also centrally located within the quaint city center, steps from the main square a.k.a. the Markt of Bruges. In Paris, we will be staying in a modern 3* hotel right by the Opera House, in the heart of the 9th Arrondissement.
For safety reasons, we do not publish the names of the accommodations we use on our main website. 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 a trip.
Do most travelers go by themselves?
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 are formed along the way. If you travel by yourself, you 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 BFFs on another TFT trip the next summer!
Can I bring a friend?
Absolutely! We just ask that if you come with a friend, you and your friend(s) are still open to meeting new people and sharing this special experience with the entire group.
What do students generally like most on this program?
Students love that they are able to explore four major European cities in three of the most visited countries in the world. This program allows them to discover the similarities and differences of the unique cultures in The Netherlands, France, and Belgium.
What is unique about this program?
Between learning how to navigate Amsterdam with our local guide, the one-of-a-kind biking experience offered in Bruges, and TFT’s sixteen years of expertise in leading trips through Paris, this program provides unique insider access to all three countries.
What is included?
All ground transportation, accommodations, all breakfasts and dinners, chaperones and guides, trip related activities, trip related activity admissions, taxes and tips.
Not included (not intended to be an exhaustive list): Airfare, rail passes, lunches, visas & visa application fees, beverages other than tap water, activities and admissions not referenced in the itinerary or deemed not trip related such as movies, clubs and the like, expenses incurred by the participant that are outside the trip description such as damage to hotels, excess baggage fees and the like, expenses related to unforeseen circumstances such as transportation strikes, natural disasters and the like, personal and medical expenses.
How do the optional group flights work?
Upon registration, you will be contacted by our International Logistics Team to discuss this trip’s flight details. You are not required to take the group flight, although there are several advantages to doing so. The group flight is chaperoned by TFT staff, it offers an opportunity for the students to get to know each other before the trip starts, and we get preferred group flight prices on trips that have group contracts (ask for details). Parents are responsible for arranging for participants to get to the group flight airport. Travel For Teens staff are at the airport, greet arriving participants, and help them get to where the rest of the group has assembled. For more information about Flights, visit our Flights page.
Who are the counselors on the trip?
The Trip Director for every trip is a seasoned teen travel professional with extensive TFT experience. Trip Directors often live or have lived and worked in the destination country. Extensive knowledge of the language and culture of the destination is crucial. Our Senior Counselors are experienced, responsible and fun-loving individuals who our participants can share experiences with and look to for guidance and support. At Travel for Teens we pride ourselves on our rigorous staff application process and the professionalism of our full time and summer staff.
It is the job of the counselors to keep the trip fun and exciting, the learning and the laughter in good balance, and to oversee the safety of the participants. Minimum ratios are on average one staff member to every seven participants. Trips may also include one or two Junior Counselors, who are college students with a history of TFT travel, and one or more Counselors in Training (CIT’s) with limited responsibility. CIT’s are not counted in staff-participant ratios.
What are the safety qualifications for our staff?
All of our staff members attend a week long training session every May to prepare for the upcoming summer and go over safety precautions and protocols. Likewise, every counselor is CPR/First Aid certified and Trip Directors are Lifeguard certified. All staff undergo a rigorous interview process and thorough background check.
What is the average group size?
Group size is important! A smaller group size provides unique opportunities that a large group cannot accommodate. Think of your favorite local restaurant; could it easily accommodate a group of 50 teens? Probably not! Our group sizes average between 14 to 21 students, which means that we are able to comfortably use local transport, enjoy local restaurants, and have a more authentic experience overall! A smaller group size also eliminates the likelihood of cliques, meaning that our groups all tend to bond as a cohesive unit. We guarantee that you’ll have enough people to meet some new best friends, but not so many that you feel like “just a number” or lost in a crowd.
How does this program connect to other programs?
Most of our Europe programs are designed specifically so that participants can combine them with other trips. If you are connecting to another program, your counselor will escort you to the airport on the last day of the trip and help you get to your next destination where you will meet up with your new counselors and group.
What is the food like on this trip?
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!
In Amsterdam we will experience its wide variety of cuisine and indulge in some of the city’s favorite specialties including sweet and decadent stroop waffles and even enjoy a tasty pancake dinner one night at one of the city’s most famous pancake houses! We will also sample some of Holland’s famous cheese and for those who dare, try a salty herring sandwich!
And in Belgium, you’ll get to try the classic Belgian waffles and pommes-frites with a variety of different sauces!
We also love to have picnics al fresco, and do this whenever possible, which is a great way to taste some local food while sitting out in the fresh air taking in the sights and sounds of our surroundings.
As always, we are willing and able to accommodate vegetarians, vegans, gluten allergies, and other dietary restrictions.
Do I need any vaccinations for this trip?
We recommend that you check with your family doctor regarding vaccinations and medical advice for the areas you will be visiting. For more information, please check out the World Health Organization’s website www.who.int/en/.
How much free time do we get?
Our counselors are with the group nearly always. Every day we will break up into smaller groups to give our participants some choices and flexibility in their itinerary. We do offer some free time to do some shopping, for example, in defined areas that we are very familiar with. If participants are ever shopping by themselves within these defined areas they go in groups and for no more than an hour. On this trip, the group will have some free time to explore some of the safe pedestrian areas of Bruges, Antwerp, and Paris. A counselor will always be nearby when participants have free time in each city.
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. If you are coming from somewhere outside the US, please be sure to check your country 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!
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