Europe for Older Teens: Greece Island Hopping
$4,395 + Airfare
Jul 8 – Jul 20
|Who can go on this trip?||
Students from around the world!
|Places we visit:||
Athens, Paros, Naxos, Antiparos*, Despotiko*, Koufonisia, Santorini
|Optional group flight there:||
New York (JFK) to Athens
|Optional group flight back:||
Athens to New York (JFK)
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 houses, 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!
On 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
- Visit a famous sandal maker for a pair of custom handmade leather sandals in Athens
- Go off the beaten path and explore the charming Plaka District of Athens
- Try the world’s most delicious gyro in the historical Monastiraki neighborhood of Athens
- Snorkel, kayak, windsurf, and scuba dive* in the crystal clear Aegean Sea
- Learn to cook like a Grecian with a private cooking lesson on the Greek Islands
- Visit the pristine island of Antiparos
- Marvel at the white buildings and blue domes that line the charming islands of Paros and Santorini
- Take a private boat tour of the small Cyclades, Greece’s best kept secret with world-renowned turquoise water
- Explore the quaint town of Chora in Naxos, complete with castles and hidden whitewashed alleyways
- Relax on the endless golden sand beaches of Naxos
- 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
*These are optional excursions.
DAY 1: GROUP FLIGHT DEPARTS 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 a private boat tour around the island and enjoy a wide variety of activities, including windsurfing, beach volleyball, and snorkeling. 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 6-7: 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. 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, all from our own private boat tour!
DAYS 8-11: 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 houses, 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 and whitewashed houses. While here, we’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
We’ll 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 District, 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: GROUP FLIGHT BACK TO THE USA
WHAT KIND OF TEEN TYPICALLY PARTICIPATES IN THIS PROGRAM? WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS TO JOIN?
We have teens join this program from all over the world! 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.
This program is only for students who are currently in 11th and 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 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 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 and a short walk from the port. On Santorini, we stay in the capital of Fira in villas looking out over the island.
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 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 like the most about this program?
Students love the opportunity to travel around the Greek Islands like a local, visiting smaller, charming parts of Greece such as Paros, Naxos, and the small Cyclades. This program allows them to discover the outstanding beauty of the Greek Islands, while understanding how the lifestyles can vary quite dramatically from place to place in Greece. The overall theme of island hopping/true Greek traveler on this program is fascinating and exciting, but we also give students a break from city life to soak up the sun with plenty of beach and water adventures!
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?
Ground transportation, accommodations, all breakfasts and dinners, chaperones and guides, program related activities, program related activity admissions, taxes and tips.
Not Included (not intended to be an exhaustive list): Airfare, 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 this program’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 program starts, and we get preferred group flight prices on programs 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 LEADS THE PROGRAM?
The Trip Director for every program 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 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 program 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. Programs 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 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!
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.
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.
How much free time do we get?
Our counselors are with the group almost always. Everyday we will break up into smaller groups to give our participants some choices and flexibility in their itinerary. At our accommodations, students will have a good amount of free time to enjoy the facilities but will not be able to leave the grounds without one of our staff members. Our time in Athens, Paros, Naxos, and Santorini will be fairly regimented to maximize the activities we can enjoy during our time, however there will be some free time to go shopping in certain areas of the cities and safe pedestrian areas. Additionally, a lifeguard certified counselor will be supervising the students any time that they are involved in water activities.
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/.
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!
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! Pack light!