Incredible scenery, ancient ruins, crystal blue waters and one unforgettable experience! Browse the local galleries, sample the best espresso, dine in the most amazing restaurants and travel like a local through Italy and mainland Greece on this small group adventure. Whether marveling at the Olympic sites, whitewater rafting or river tubing, your journey will be full of memories and once in a lifetime thrills.
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 Rome. 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 Rome and we will help you coordinate your flight times and greet you upon arrival.
For the 17-day trip return flight from Athens, our leaders help with check-in and remain in the airport until flights in designated times have departed. They then remain in Greece for the duration of the longer 25-day program and chaperone that group flight home. Depending on the number of students departing after 17 days, one staff may chaperone that flight as well.
Imagine gladiators at the Colosseum. People watch at the Spanish Steps. Dine in the celebrated Piazza Navona. Check out the fun nightlife in Trastevere. Discover the ancient treasures of the Pantheon and Roman Forum. Visit Vatican City and enormous St. Peter’s Square. Try to picture Michelangelo painting the famous ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Don’t forget to toss three coins in the Trevi Fountain to guarantee your return to this incredible city!
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.
Best Western Blu Hotel Roma is surrounded by Rome’s famous monuments and landmarks, such as the Roman Forum, the Colosseum, the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain.Visit Website
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
This hotel features spectacular views of the old city of Nafplio and the Palamidi Fortress. It is the ideal place for a relaxing stay in this beautiful seaside town. All of the rooms have air conditioning.Visit Website
You will stay in the city center, on the doorstep of the new Acropolis Museum, and right at the foot of the entrance to the Acropolis. Surrounded by small art museums, cafes, and galleries, enjoy the most elegant and residential blocks of Athens.Visit Website
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 over 420 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, river tubing, and whitewater rafting are just a few of our activities that will get your adrenaline going! Cultural and historical sites include the Colosseum, Sistine Chapel, the Acropolis and the Parthenon. Nightlife ranges from modern dance clubs to 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 over 420 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 208 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 mainland Greece we travel by a private motor coach. From Italy to Greece, we will travel by ferry.
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, 99% of responding teens and parents said they would recommend us to others. We must be doing something right!