Ancient ruins, beautiful scenery, incredible food, and one unforgettable adventure await you on this program that will take you off the beaten path. Be amazed standing in front of the Acropolis, watch the sunset on the beach in Santorini and hang tight waterskiing in the Ionian Sea. This small group experience will allow to you discover that perfect beach, browse the smaller galleries, and eat the best local dishes.
Participants on this trip have the option to fly overseas on our chaperoned group flight that leaves in the evening from the New York area to Milan. Our leaders greet you at the airport and are with you from check-in onward. For the many travelers from outside the New York area, you can choose to join the chaperoned flight and we are happy to assist you with arranging connecting flights at suitable times into New York. You may also choose to meet us in Milan and we will help you coordinate your flight times and greet you upon arrival.
For your return from Athens on the 25-day program, we offer a chaperoned flight to New York. For travelers from other areas, you may choose to join that flight and arrange transfers at suitable times from New York after the group has cleared customs and immigration in the USA; or you may fly from Athens to your home city and our leaders help you to check-in and remain in the airport until flights in designated times have departed.
Arrive in style! Get acquainted with your new friends. Visit the breathtaking Piazza del Duomo, and marvel at the famous cathedral which took nearly 600 years to complete
Part of the “Italian Riviera”, these five small, classic Italian towns are built into the cliffs and rise from the sea looking much like they did when they were first settled in the 17th century. Enjoy some chill time in these quaint fishing villages of the Cinque Terre. Hike from village to village, stopping for amazing coastal views and irresistible pesto (this is where it was born!). Soak up the Italian sun during a relaxing day at the beach and chill with a night of group activities and bonding overlooking the Mediterranean.
Soak up the festive vibe of Piazza IV Novembre while enjoying a gelato. Wander through the marketplaces and bargain for everything from books and crafts to local breads and cheeses. Prepare your own feast at Italian cooking school. Satisfy your sweet tooth and sample your way through a guided tour of a chocolate factory.
Take the deluxe ferry from Ancona, Italy to Igomenitsa, Greece and head to the picturesque coastal village of Sivota. Enjoy an incredible beach day and waterski or tube in the crystal blue waters of the Ionian Sea. Dine on authentic Greek cuisine in the neighboring village of Parga.
Venture into the mountainous region of Epirus, stopping at the capital city of Ionnina, famous for feta cheese and silver jewelry. Swim in the clear waters of the Papingno natural lakes. River tube the Voidomatis River and visit the many bridges that connect the small surrounding villages.
Discover the home of the first Olympic Games in 776 BC. Stop for lunch in the beautiful seaside town of Nafpaktos. Dine overlooking the hills of the Peloponnese region.
Whitewater raft the thrilling Alfeios River before continuing on to Nafplio, the first capital of modern Greece. Climb the many steps up to the Palamidi Fortress. Imagine being entertained at the Epidavros Theatre and inspired by the Mycenean citadel. Learn to dance Greek style overlooking the Aegean Sea at dusk.
Venture to the heart and soul of Greece and its capital city of Athens. Marvel at the astounding architectural feat of the Parthenon and Acropolis. See Aphrodite amongst her friends in the New Acropolis Museum just down the hill from where she used to live. Wander through the streets of the Plaka area filled with shops and markets with something for everyone. After saying goodbyes to our friends on the 17 day program, the incredible action continues onto the Greek Islands for more adventure that begins with a warm welcome to some new travelers who join us for our last 10 days.
Ferry across the Aegean Sea to the Island of Naxos. View the Venetian castle while meandering through the main streets of Hora, lined with charming cafes and shops. Relax on the beautiful beaches that surround the island. Learn how to SCUBA dive on an underwater adventure. Prepare an authentic Greek meal in the village of Galini. (For your safety, all SCUBA operators restrict participants with certain medical conditions. Please ask about your own circumstances if applicable.)
Once you visit, you’ll always remember the signature view of the white painted houses of Fira, perched high atop sheer cliffs, with the bluest of skies and sea behind. Enjoy sunsets over the volcano that will mesmerize. Explore the town of Fira and take a cable car ride to the port. Voyage across the sea to hike the volcano Palea Kameni and stop to swim in the hot springs that surround it. Enjoy dinner in the town of Oia. Wander through the archaeological site of Akrotiri. Explore the incredible red, white and black sand beaches on our guided sea kayaking excursion and frolic in the warm waters of the Aegean Sea.
You will stay near the historical city center of Perugia at either Hotel Fortuna, Sangallo Palace Hotel or Hotel Gio Wine e Jazz Area. The hotels are a short walk from Corso Vannucci, where all major tourist attractions are located.Hotel Fortuna Sangallo Palace Hotel Hotel Gio Wine e Jazz
Close to beautiful town of Sivota, the Karavostasi Beach Hotel is 150 meters from the beach. The rooms overlook the crystal blue waters of the Ionian Sea or resort pool. All rooms are equipped with air-conditioning and Wi-Fi.Visit Website
Conveniently situated in the hillside of the Epirus region, the Hotel Archontiko Zarkada is a beautiful hotel decorated with fine wood curved ceilings and stone works of art.Visit Website
Hotel Pelops is a family run neo-classical hotel in Ancient Olympia. Just 800 yards from the Archaeological site (where the Olympic stadium is) and museums.Visit Website
Hotel Astir of Naxos is one of the newest hotels in Cyclades at Naxos Island. The hotel is close to the beach and to Naxos center. It is one of the most modern hotels in Naxos built according to the traditional Naxian architecture, combined with modern facilities and services.Visit Website
While in Santorini, we will be staying at either the El Greco or Santorini Palace. Both properties are luxury resort hotels that combine simplicity with beauty in the heart of the island. Located minutes away from the center of the magnificent capital town of Fira, this hotel offers a vibrant place full of life and excitement.El Greco Santorini Palace Hotel
At Westcoast Connection nothing else comes first. From our extensive trip planning department through our management team and our leaders, it is our single biggest priority! Safety procedures, equipment – we’ve got it covered. All Trip Leaders and Directors are certified in First Aid and CPR. We are extremely proud of our safety record and welcome all questions you may have in this area. Please see more under Safety First.
Once you are on your trip, you will have sensitive leaders that are caring, approachable and always there for you. Your Trip Director and Trip Leaders are people with incredible backgrounds including teachers, guitar players, IRONMAN triathletes, SCUBA divers, volunteers, and so much more.
Every staff member takes part in and must complete our extensive training weekends that review our philosophy and procedures to provide a well-supervised and fun-filled program.
Our Trip Directors, the individuals responsible for overseeing each itinerary, take on the roles of teachers, coaches, camp counselors, mentors, concierges and hosts. They’ve been trained to provide individual attention and create an all-inclusive family atmosphere (our EACH & EVERY philosophy). There’s a definite art to building dynamic groups, and we’ve worked hard to master it! We want you smiling on day one right through to a teary goodbye at your farewell banquet.
Our leaders are non-smokers. To learn more about our staff, please visit our Summer Leaders section.
We can’t say it too many times, this is a really incredible group experience. This small group experience greatly enhances development of a warm and welcoming family environment. A great dynamic starts with our secrets for group bonding. Our bag of tricks goes way beyond traditional ice breakers. Imagine people hunts, Rock, Paper, Scissors championships, Ninja tournaments, flash mobs and so much more. We work hard to get everyone moving beyond first impressions and creating an atmosphere of total acceptance. Our staff hiring and training emphasizes social safety and establishing an inclusive culture. Many of our travelers come as individuals and we have a geographically diverse enrollment. This mix helps eliminate cliques at the outset and establish an open environment that benefits you. We take great care in assembling groups to create an unforgettable social experience.
Your summer of a lifetime starts with us carefully crafting the perfect program. Our team is dedicated year round to creating exciting, meaningful experiences! You have a detailed itinerary, but not one that is so rigid that you lose chances for spontaneity! Our Trip Planning Department pays painstaking attention to detail, sweating the small stuff so that your summer experience is stress free. Our trips are designed with a very logical flow: action, adventure and excitement balanced with structured downtime and relaxation. There is a reason our itineraries are known to be “Perfectly Planned. Perfectly Paced.” Our year-round team has 499 summers combined working with teenagers and we understand what you’re looking for. We describe our trips in as much detail as these web pages allow, but to truly appreciate the flow of a particular program, please speak with us to review the trip of your choice.
Planning teen trips is, of course, a science; but it is also an art. We know when to pick up the pace to get the adrenaline flowing. We also know when it’s time to chill on the beach or have a sleep in. As you review our European itineraries, know that we have worked year after year to make every minute of every day just right.
If we’re not seeing the sights, eating like there’s no tomorrow or resting up because there is a tomorrow we’re out there playing! Waterskiing the Ionian Sea, sea kayaking, and SCUBA diving. Cultural and historical sites include the Colosseum, Sistine Chapel, the Acropolis and the Parthenon. Nightlife ranges from modern dance clubs, watching the sunset in Santorini, and even a Roman toga party. Your European program will take you “off the beaten path” and allow you to experience Europe!
But “active” also means you get to play a big part in how the summer turns out. We want you engaged and we're interested in what you have to say. You have a role in this trip and how it gets molded.
There is so much more to a teen travel experience than just traveling. Summer after summer we love nothing more than the feedback from parents sharing with us that their son or daughter has matured, has become more confident and outgoing, is more poised, more responsible and more worldly having had not just the summer of a lifetime, but a life changing experience as well. It’s amazing how much growth can occur when you are traveling and sharing the experience with incredible people in a warm and welcoming environment.
As you travel overseas and experience other cultures and customs first hand, your perception will change as your understanding of and empathy for citizens of other countries naturally grows. Whereas prior to your travels media headlines about a foreign government may have led to generalized conclusions, your new interactions with locals and firsthand experience will enable you to see we often share more in common with others than we may have known.
Imagine seeing first hand all you’ve learned about in a global studies class when you are staring at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, walking through the Ancient Forum or listening to the history of the Acropolis.
Our experience lends itself to trying new things and stepping just outside of one’s comfort zone. With a taste of age-appropriate independence, and a healthy reprieve from the usual pressures associated with school life, we want you to be empowered and we provide you with an opportunity to grow.
Living, experiencing, and learning together, you will be afforded the chance to interact with other teens who share both similar and different backgrounds and interests. Everybody grows in their social acceptance of others. By the end of the program we hope to have lit a spark – to travel, to learn, to meet new people, to try new things and to explore. With new friendships, new memories and new life skills on which to build, our teen travel experiences are truly unforgettable.
There really is a difference in how different summer programs operate! Motivated teens going away with qualified leaders is a given. But what sets us apart is the depth of our qualified personnel that allow us to perform with the greatest consistency at the highest level.
Your Trip Director and Trips Leaders are with you throughout your program. They have daily contact with one of our two 24-hour Communication Centers and are in regular contact with our Company Directors. Our Company Directors are the most seasoned veterans who each oversee specific programs providing support to trip staff and to assist with any situations that may arise. Our Company Directors alternate between traveling to visit programs and being reached in the office.
Program visits enable us to provide ongoing support and development to our Trip Directors, allows trip staff to have a sounding board for their own progress in reaching trip goals, helps us to identify any challenging areas for improvement while it still has relevance to your summer rather than as a mention on your end-of-summer survey, and helps us to identify the future Directors from the current crop of all-star summer staff. These visits are by Company Directors along with our Regional Supervisors, who are former Trip Directors with further experience out in the field. Collectively our planning, supervisory and management team is an incredible resource with 499 summers of combined teen travel experience. This way, we can lend a hand wherever and whenever a little extra effort is called for. Last year, we had 212 scheduled supervisory trip visits to make sure all was running well, provide ongoing support to our staff in the field and have fun! This investment in depth of personnel is unrivaled in teen travel and is a critical element to achieving consistent, excellent program quality and surpassing client expectations!
Included in the trip tuition are all activities and entertainment described, breakfast and dinner daily, lunches as indicated on your specific program, gratuities, taxes, land transportation, accommodations, and fanatical customer service from our full-time team and summer Communication Centers. This can add up to tremendous value!
A big part of a journey’s success depends on how well you eat. We are proud of the fact that year after year we are complimented for our quality, quantity and choice of food! Breakfasts in Europe are eaten at our hotels and served buffet style with a variety of options. For dinners, either the whole group goes to the same restaurant or we divide into smaller groups of your choosing with our staff. For lunch, you will enjoy eating in smaller groups and choosing from local cafés, bistros and other restaurants. Are you ready for fresh pasta and pizza in Italy, Greek frozen yogurt and delectable feta and gyros? The food in Europe is terrific, so get set to eat extremely well!
We have satisfied the choosiest of eaters and gladly accommodate most special dietary requests including vegetarian, anaphylactic food allergies, lactose intolerance, celiac disease and kosher style. We welcome discussing your individual requirements with you and have extensive personal experience in this area. Please speak with us to review your needs.
In Italy and Greece we travel by a private motor coach. From Italy to Greece as well as between islands, we will travel by ferry. On the resort island of Naxos we travel by a local bus to our SCUBA experience.
You only need to bring one week’s worth of clothing as outlined in our packing list. Every week you may drop off your laundry at a local wash and fold service and then pick it up clean, folded and ready to go.
While you’re out having the summer of your life, your parents should feel like they are in on the action as well. We post updates to our blog and Facebook page and e-mail photos approximately once a week so those at home can be in on the fun. Parents also have access to our dedicated office Trip Monitors 24/7 for any questions and/or concerns. We’re as in touch as any trip operator could possibly be via smartphones with e-mail and text. The goal is uncompromising safety and peace of mind, day after day, hour by hour, minute by minute. Participants may bring their personal cell phones.
In last summer’s surveys, 98% of responding teens and parents said they would recommend us to others. We must be doing something right!