Europe for Older Teens: Spain, Portugal and Morocco
$4,995 + Airfare + $500 Rail Pass and Intra Trip Flight
Jul 3 – Jul 20
|Who can go on this trip?||
Students from around the world!
|Places we visit:||
Lisbon, Sintra, Belem, Lagos, Seville, Granada, Madrid, Marrakech, Essaouira, the Atlas Mountains, Ouzoud, Casablanca
|Optional group flight there:||
New York (JFK) to Lisbon
|Optional group flight back:||
Casablanca to New York (JFK)
Spain, Portugal and Morocco: three complementary countries that are at the top of any Euro-traveler’s list. In Portugal, you will be wowed by the vibrant culture and eclectic architecture of Lisbon and Sintra. In Lagos, soak up the sun and sand at the beach as we kayak through hidden grottoes, snorkel in crystal-clear waters, and watch the sun set at the End of the World! Cross over the border into Spain, where you will wander the quaint cobblestoned streets of the Andalusian cities of Seville and Granada, before exploring the capital city of Madrid in all its royal glory. You’ll take traditional dance classes in Seville, wander the halls of the Alhambra Palace, and get a massage and soak in a traditional Arab bath-house in Granada! Lastly, a quick flight from Madrid brings you to Morocco to experience life like nothing you’ve seen before. Between ancient cities, gorgeous mountains, and marketplaces beyond your wildest dreams, you’ll see all the ways that these three countries have influenced each other during the past 1300 years. Your expert TFT guides will tie together history, day to day life, cuisine and the arts to create the ultimate travel and immersion experience on this special trip reserved for older teens. Come with TFT to Spain, Portugal and Morocco to experience three of the most exciting countries in one unforgettable trip!
On this trip you will:
- Get a bird’s-eye view of Lisbon and the Tagus River from atop St. George’s Castle
- Climb the Castle of the Moors and explore lagoons at a mansion in Sintra, Portugal’s gorgeous mountain estate town
- Try the famous Pasteis de Belem at the original Portuguese bakery where they were invented
- Go on a sea-kayaking tour of Lagos’ picturesque caves and grottoes
- Get up-close and personal with the fish in the crystalline waters of Lagos on a snorkeling tour
- Soak up a Flamenco dance show, then learn traditional Sevillan dances yourself with a professional dance teacher
- See the Alhambra in all its majesty and learn about the Moors who lived in Spain and Portugal for 700 years
- Find treasures in Granada’s Arab spice market
- Relax with a soak and a massage at a traditional Arab bath-house
- Have some retail therapy in la Puerta del Sol, the heart of Madrid
- Feast on paella and churros, and go on a Tapas Tour of downtown Madrid
- See masterpieces by Picasso and Dali at the Reina Sofía Museum
- Tour the home of Real Madrid Football Club at the massive soccer stadium where they play
- Stroll through Marrakech’s Plaza Djmaa el-Fnaa at dusk and marvel at the street performers, food stalls, and artisans
- Ride camels during a daylong excursion to the Moroccan countryside
- Follow a local guide through Marrakech’s maze of souks and purchase handicrafts from the artists who made them
- Take a day trip out of Marrakech to the spectacular Waterfalls of Ouzoud, where you’ll go on an easy hike before cooling off in the falls!
- Journey out to the coastal city of Essaouira and have surfing lessons, go kayaking, and indulge in some delicious crepes
- Follow our local guide into the amazing Hassan II Mosque, one of the only mosques in the world that non-Muslims can enter, and walk on the glass floor over the ocean!
- Learn a little Arabic and how to make traditional Moroccan dishes at a cooking class
- Have a delicious final feast overlooking the ocean in Casablanca
DAY 1: GROUP FLIGHT DEPARTS FROM NEW YORK-JFK
DAYS 2-4: LISBON and SINTRA
Our journey begins in Lisbon, Portugal’s vibrant capital city. Here we’ll visit the San Jorge Castle, from which you can see all of Lisbon; eat famous Portuguese pastries in the bakery that invented them (the recipe is still a secret); and explore the best shopping areas and nightlife of the city. We’ll listen to traditional Portuguese fado music as we dine on local specialties that include codfish, potatoes, and chicken. We will also visit the nearby mountain estate town of Sintra, where we will climb the Castle of the Moors and the Pena Palace for phenomenal views of the landscape and Atlantic ocean, and explore the gardens of a mansion that includes a spiral staircase leading into tunnels and lagoons.
DAYS 4-6: LAGOS
Our next stop is the fun resort town of Lagos in Portugal’s famed Algarve region. Here we’ll spend an afternoon snorkeling and soaking up the sun on the pristine beaches, as well as take a sea kayaking tour of the grottoes and caves of its stunning coastal cliffs. You can even hike up to the lighthouse!
DAYS 6-7: SEVILLE
We then head to southern Spain and the region of Andalusia. Sunny Seville, a fantastically romantic city rife with history and culture, attracts thousands of study-abroad students a year for good reason – it typifies quintessential southern Spanish life. Visit Columbus’ tomb in the world’s third largest Cathedral, go for a paddleboat ride on the Guadalquivir River, and even take traditional Sevillanas dance classes! We’ll also see a spectacular flamenco show and enjoy tapas in a typical Spanish taberna.
DAYS 8-9: GRANADA
Our first stop in Granada will be to explore the majestic Alhambra palace. We will learn about the history of the Moorish people who lived here for several centuries, and how they defended the city of Granada from the “reconquering” Spanish Catholics from this point. You’ll next have the chance to explore the Arab marketplace, where you can find all sorts of treasures, like spices, weavings, ornate lanterns, and carpets. We’ll see the tomb of the Catholic Monarchs who united Spain, enjoy a wonderful tapas dinner at a bodega, and top it all off with a massage and a soak in a traditional hammam, or Arab bath-house.
DAYS 9-11: MADRID
Next, we’ll head up to Spain’s bustling capital, where you’ll get a sense of a more metropolitan Spanish lifestyle. We’ll explore the Puerta del Sol (and do some major shopping!), learn about the bullfights and beheadings in Plaza Mayor, and go to a churrería so good it’s even where the king enjoys his churros! You’ll gaze in awe at the massive Santiago Bernabéu soccer stadium, home to Real Madrid, and go for a fun rowboat ride in el Parque del Retiro, Madrid’s version of Central Park. We’ll see original works by Dalí and Picasso, including his masterpiece Guernica, and feast on a wonderful paella dinner.
DAYS 12-14: MARRAKECH and OUZOUD
Welcome to Africa! While in Morocco, we’ll see just how related the cultures of Spain, Portugal, and Morocco all are, thanks to their shared history. We’ll get lost in the maze of souks and meet local artisans, from whom we’ll be able to buy things like pottery, carpets, blankets, scarves, and wood carvings. Learn a little Arabic and take a cooking class so you can learn to make delicious Moroccan cuisine for yourself at home. Stroll through Plaza Djmaa el-Fnaa at dusk and marvel at the street performers, food stalls, and bustling nightlife. Visit the garden memorial to Yves St-Laurent, and see the massive Koutubia Mosque. We’ll also take a day trip out of the city to the amazing Waterfalls of Ouzoud, where you’ll go for a leisurely hike around the falls before jumping in the water. Finally, no trip to Marrakech would be complete without a camel ride through the Atlas Mountains!
DAYS 15-18: ESSAOUIRA and CASABLANCA
We’ll continue on to Essaouira, where we’ll really get immersed into Moroccan culture as we walk through the Medina and haggle with street vendors like locals. You’ll have your choice of taking surf lessons, kayaking along the shore, or just relaxing on the wide white beaches. Finally, we will depart for Casablanca, where we’ll get to go inside the Hassan II Mosque and walk on the glass floor over the water, before having an incredible final dinner overlooking the ocean in Morocco’s most cosmopolitan city.
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! 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 Lisbon, we will be staying in a fantastic hostel inside a train station. As one of our favorite accommodations, this hostel has friendly staff, a spacious common area for group bonding, and is very conveniently located in the heart of downtown Lisbon. Students will be in rooms of 2-8 and will only ever room with other TFT students (i.e. no sharing hostel rooms with other travelers).
Our Lagos accommodations are also wonderful, just steps from the beach and the bustling town center.
In Madrid, we will be staying in a 3-star hotel right in the Puerta del Sol, the very center of Madrid (and of Spain). Metro lines 1, 2, and 3 stop here, as well as numerous buses and taxis.
In Granada, we will be staying at a 3-star hotel right in downtown, just a few blocks from the Cathedral, Arab Baths, and main pedestrian plazas.
Our Sevilla hotel is in the city’s oldest neighborhood, but is a modern and spacious 4-star hotel with easy access to all of our activities. It’s just behind the Cathedral and Alcazar, and a few blocks from the Flamenco studio. It also has a rooftop pool and breakfast buffet.
In Marrakech, we stay in an authentic Riad featuring a pool, rooftop cafe, and laundry facilities, right in the heart of the medina.
Finally, our hotel in Essaouira is a converted Riad with gorgeous mosaic walls, luxurious double beds and a wonderful common area for students to relax.
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 generally like most on this program?
Students love that they are able to explore how the cultures of Portugal, Spain, and Morocco overlap thanks to their shared history, and the fact that they get to experience two continents.
What is unique about this program?
Between the mix of adventure activities and cultural exploration, the opportunity to ride camels, and our local connections who give us off-the-beaten-path experiences, this program provides unique insider access to these three countries.
What is included?
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 and 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!
The Portuguese love their fresh fish and seafood, as well as pork and chicken; Spaniards can’t get enough ham and cheese; and there’s nothing like a steaming tagine of Moroccan couscous and veggies. Many of the foods might look unfamiliar to you, so we encourage you to be adventurous, step out of your comfort zone, and try something new!
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. We do offer some free time to do some shopping in defined areas that we are very familiar with, for example, Gran Vía and Sol in Madrid, Calle Sierpes in Sevilla, the Baixo neighborhood in Lisbon, and Djmaa el-Fnaa in Marrakech. 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. US citizens traveling on an American passport do not need visas to enter Morocco. 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!