As you journey through the land of fire & ice you will see massive glaciers, geysers, volcanoes, hot springs and lava fields. As you raft, cave and hike you will be awestruck by the natural beauty and dramatic landscape. Come experience the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa, amazing waterfalls and an incredible whale watching experience. As you continue to the Greek Islands, somewhere between SCUBA diving in Naxos, kayaking around Santorini and touring Athens you’ll fall in love with Greece. This will be a combined adventure unlike any other!
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 Reykjavík. Our leaders greet you at the check-in area and are there to assist you and introduce you to new friends. 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 Reykjavík and we will help coordinate your flight times and greet you upon arrival.
For your return from Athens, we offer a chaperoned flight to New York. For travelers from outside the New York area, we can help you arrange transfers at the suitable times after the group has cleared customs and immigration or you may fly home directly 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.
Known as ‘smoky bay’ for its natural geysers and geothermal springs, Reykjavik is the northernmost capital of the world and is increasingly well-known for its culture, art, history, and natural beauty. Climb through the Leiðarendi lava tubes, relax in a famous Blue Lagoon, raft the Hvítá River and explore Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site. The capital is our base to explore the world’s most magnificent waterfalls, bubbling geysers, black sand beaches and hot springs. It is no surprise that people from around the world flock to the capital and the surrounding areas of the Golden Circle and south coast to experience these natural wonders.
Look for rainbows while standing at Skogafoss and behind the Seljalandsfoss Waterfalls. Walk the Reynisfjara black sand beach to spot puffins and put on crampons and grab axe in hand to head up the Solheimajokull Glacier.
Snæfellsnes Peninsula in West Iceland is often referred to as mini Iceland for its dramatic scenery and stunning landscape packed into a 55-mile long surface boasting shear sea cliffs, mountain peaks, lava fields, volcanic craters, and awe-inspiring glaciers. Hike Eldborg crater, sail from a charming harbor village on a Viking sushi tour, observe the seal colony at Ytri-Tunga Beach and revel at the Gerðuberg basalt columns. Test your strength lifting the famous stones at Djúpalónssandur and walk the awe inspiring coastal path from Malarrif to Þufubjarg.
Akureyri is on Eyjafjörður, Iceland’s longest and most magnificent fjord, embraced by white tipped mountains, stunning waterfalls and lush countryside. It is the second largest city in Iceland with 18,000 residents and considered the “capital of the north”. Encounter humpback whales and spot white-beaked dolphins as you set out on a whale watching tour. Take a day trip to hike Lake Mýtvan, check out the Námaskarð Geothermal Area and hike from the Dimmuborgir Lava Rock Formation to top of Hverfjall Crater. Visit Goðafoss, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the country.
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.
Ferry across the Aegean Sea to the unique 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 our 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 always remember the signature view of the white painted houses of Fira perched high atop sheer cliffs, with the bluest of skies and seas 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.
We provide reasonable, comfortable accommodations. For your convenience and consistency of the group experience, we do not have any homestays. We stay at simple hotels and lodges; there is no camping. Each student has their own bed to ensure a proper night’s rest.
While in the Snæfellsnes peninsula, we stay at either the Fosshotel Stykkishólmur or the Westpark Guesthouse. Both properties offer amazing views of the area and are ideal for exploring the beautiful fishing village of Stykkishólmur.Fosshotel Stykkisholmur Westpark Guesthouse
This hotel features a dorm style layout with spacious rooms and shared bathrooms. Its central location allows easy exploration of the wonders of the North & Iceland’s charming second city.Visit Website
While visiting Athens, we stay at either the Best Western Amazon Hotel or Hotel Philippos located in the center of Athens. These properties provide comfortable accommodation with walking to distance to Athens’ famous Plaka Street and right at the base of the Acropolis.Hotel Philippos Best Western Amazon Hotel
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
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.
We can’t say it too many times, this is a really incredible group experience. 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 with students joining us from across the USA, Canada and internationally. 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 Iceland plus Greek Islands program, know that we have worked to make every minute of every day just right.
Enjoy whitewater rafting the Hvítá river, hiking the Sólheimajökull Glacier, sea kayaking and SCUBA diving in the Greek Islands. Cultural and historical sites include the Acropolis and the Parthenon. We experience local culture, witness local wildlife and visit off the beaten path places as well. You’ll be in for the experience of a lifetime – so much more exciting than summer camp!
But “active” also means you get to play a big part in how the summer turns out. We want you engaged and are 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 walking through the ruins of Akrotiri, or listening to the history of the Acropolis. Address global warning and how it is affecting the landscape of Iceland.
Our experience lends itself to trying new things and stepping just outside of one’s comfort zone. Enjoy the break from the highly scheduled school year. You will find opportunity to become a leader, to form deep friendships and for personal reflection.
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.
A big part of a program’s success depends on how well you eat. We are proud of the fact that year after year we are complimented for our quality and quantity of food and variety of options. Breakfasts are at our hotels and dinners are enjoyed out at restaurants. For lunch, you will have the opportunity to eat in smaller groups and to choose from different options in the various towns and cities you’ll be visiting. No matter what there is always choice and variety.
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.
We travel using a chartered air-conditioned mini coach with a professional driver and by ferry between Greek Islands. 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 we either drop off laundry at a local wash and fold service and then pick it up clean, folded and ready to go; or where possible, we visit local laundromats.
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!