Travel through The Netherlands, France, Switzerland and Italy this summer on one unforgettable journey. You will see the big cities of Amsterdam, Paris and Rome, the quaint alpine towns of Annecy and Zermatt, the Adriatic Riviera and so much more! This program balances memorable historical sites, adrenalin pumping adventure, relaxing beach time and vibrant nightlife. There aren’t words to describe this amazing summer escape.
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 Amsterdam. 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 Amsterdam and we help coordinate your flight times and greet you upon arrival.
For the 21-day trip return flight from Rome, our leaders help you to check-in and remain in the airport until flights in designated times have departed. They remain in Europe for the duration of the longer 30-day program and chaperone that group flight home. Depending on the number of students departing after 21 days, one staff may chaperone that flight as well.
“Hallo!” Your European adventure of a lifetime starts in the vibrant capital of the Netherlands. From the 165 picturesque canals beautifully lit up at night to the renowned, historical architecture, this photographic city will capture your heart and your camera! Join the local cyclist population of 881,000 as you get to know your fellow trip members while pedaling through Amsterdam on a guided bike tour. Reflect on the history and cultural significance as you visit the Anne Frank House. Discover the works of Van Gogh. Elevate your senses as you smell the tulips at the only floating flower market in the world and savor some of Amsterdam’s traditional treats! Dutch pancakes, anyone?
Welcome to the city of fashion, art and fabulous food! You will experience la joie de vivre (joy of living) discovering this unforgettable city filled with amazing sights, world class museums and the best people watching in the world. Our trip mixes Paris’ iconic landmarks of the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral, and Arc de Triomphe with Parisian living – sipping a cafe on the famous Champs Elysees, eating croissants for breakfast, munching on baguettes at lunch and crepes for dinner. Admire Mona Lisa at the Louvre and Rodin’s The Thinker. Get to know the student hang out of the Latin Quarter, Ile de la Cite, and the artist haven of Montmartre.
It’s good to be King! The court of Louis XIV set the cultural standard for all of Europe, this can be seen nowhere better than at his famed country home. Be amazed by the majestic Hall of Mirrors and elegant gardens on your guided visit of this historic treaty site. It is said that if you’re planning to visit one palace in all of Europe make it Versailles.
The Little Venice of the Alps! This endearing city is magnificently set between the Alps and crystal clear waters of Lake Annecy that reflect them. This is the hidden gem you tell all your friends about at trip’s end. Chill out lake side after spending some time leisurely biking along the cycle path. Whitewater raft along the roaring Isere River through the Tarentaise Valley beautifully set amongst the snow-capped peaks.
When you think of the Swiss Alps, what comes to mind? Charming alpine villages? Check. Breathtaking mountain scenery? Got that too! Sipping on hot chocolate and eating yummy fondue? You bet! Ski* or snowboard*? Naturally we do that as well in the Valaisan Alps in the shadow of the mighty Matterhorn. You can also ride the gondola for scenic mountain views and explore the eco-friendly car free zone village. (* Note skiing and snowboarding require intermediate level ability or better.)
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.
Bridges, canals and gondolas! Described as one of the most beautiful and unique cities for the past 500 years, no trip to Europe would be complete without a visit to Venice. Comprised of over 100 islands connected by 150 canals and 400 bridges is the perfect place to start exploring this country of art, cuisine, romance, and fashion. Visit the workshop of the 700 year old glass blowers of Murano. Wander through the winding streets exploring small store fronts and artisanal shops until you reach the Piazza San Marco, where you can visit the Doge’s Palace or feed the pigeons. Indulge your taste buds with Italian feasts of pizza, pasta and parmigiana after experiencing the ultimate Venetian transport, a gondola!
Beach time! This seaside resort is hot and the nightlife is even hotter. Soak up the rays during the day (don’t forget your sunscreen) and dance the night away at a fantastic international club on the Adriatic Riviera.
The Eternal City! Visiting this amazing city you see it has one foot in the past and one in present. Visit and live the history with the gladiators at the Coliseum, discover ancient treasures including the Pantheon and Forum and check out the enormous St. Peter’s Square, home of the Vatican, Pope and the Sistine Ceiling showcasing Michelangelo’s masterpieces. However, Rome is not all ruins, churches and Vespas! Watch the beautiful people and maybe even a fashion show at the Spanish Steps, dine in the celebrated Piazza Navona and even attend a Roman Toga Party. Guarantee your return to this city by tossing three coins into the Trevi Fountain.
Located in the heart of Amsterdam at Rembrandt Square, the Hampshire Rembrandt is close walking distance to all of the local attractions.Visit Website
Stay in the heart of the capital at the Novotel Paris Centre Tour Eiffel hotel. The best monuments and shops in Paris are easily accessible. This property offers comfortable and modern rooms as well as a fitness room and indoor pool to unwind in after your exciting days exploring all of Paris’ top attractions!Visit Website
While staying in the heart of Annecy’s city center at Novotel Annecy Centre Atria or BW Hotel International, you will be very comfortable in this charming mountain village. Your hotel is just a few minute walk from the old city and Lake Annecy.Novotel Annecy Centre Atria BW Hotel International
Enjoy the cozy rooms of the mountainside retreat of the Hotel National with breathtaking views of the Matterhorn.Visit Website
In Cinque Terre, we stay at Hotel Corallo. Enjoy this ideal location in the city center of La Spezia, Cinque Terre, just in front of the Harbor.Visit Website
While in Venice, we stay in the heart of the action at Hotel Carlton on the Grand Canal, just minutes away from the Rialto Bridge and Piazza San Marco.Visit Website
While staying at Hotel Diana you will be surrounded by Rome’s famous monuments and landmarks such as the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, the Roman Forum, the Colosseum, the Spanish Steps, and the Trevi Fountain.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. 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! Skiing or snowboarding the Swiss Alps, whitewater rafting in the French countryside. Cultural and historical sites include the Coliseum, Sistine Chapel, Versailles and the Louvre. Nightlife ranges from modern dance clubs in Rimini, a boat cruise down the river Seine Paris and even a Roman toga party. Your European Active Teen Tour will combine the best of big city Europe, small charming towns, Alpine villages and great beach resorts.
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 staring at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel or walking through the Ancient Forum.
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 well-deserved break from overly scheduled lives during the school year, you will enjoy a very healthy reprieve from the usual pressures associated with your lives. We want you to be empowered and will provide you with an opportunity to become a leader and grow your self-confidence!
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 205 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!
Once your action packed day is over, you’re going to need a place to crash. You will enjoy terrific centrally located properties. Every participant gets his or her own bed to ensure a proper night’s rest. For more detailed information, visit the section marked Where We Stay.
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, warm fondue in Switzerland and crispy baguettes in France? 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.
You’ll ride in a chartered deluxe, air conditioned motor coach with a professional driver. Our buses have entertainment systems for movies and music, and restrooms. Coaches are outfitted with seatbelts. If you prefer to travel by trains and local transport, please see our Backpack France, Switzerland & Italy program.
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!