Summer 2023 registration is opening soon! Be the first to know when BBYO summer programs become available at the lowest price of the year and what exciting additions we have planned. Fill out our interest form.
Jun 28 - Jul 26, 2023 Available
current grades CURRENT GRADES: 9-11
COMMUNITY SERVICE: ~2 Hours
DURATION: 29 Days
LAND COST (EARLY BIRD PRICE): $TBD
October 6–November 17, 2022
Unearth Europe's cultural diversity and rich history as part of a close-knit group of teens on this transcontinental odyssey traveling from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean Sea. You'll dive deep into the cultures of this region and discover how the world-changing ideas that originated in these European nations continue to shape our own lives. This supersized tour gives you even more chances to be mesmerized by the landmarks of the area, including the ancient mystery of Stonehenge, the canals and waterways of old Venice, the grandeur of Buckingham Palace, and even a Roman gladiator for-a-day class. Songs to add to your Spotify playlist for the trip:
- “Take Me Back to London” by Ed Sheeran featuring Stormzy
- “Amsterdam” by Coldplay
- “Paris” by The Chainsmokers
- “Pompeii” by Bastille
We have provided the following sample itinerary to give you a better feel for this experience. The actual program will vary. A confirmed itinerary is distributed no later than two weeks prior to the start of the program.
UPDATED ITINERARY LAYOUT
DAY 1 | DEPARTURE FLIGHT
Meet your staff and teens at the airport before traveling together to Europe on an overnight flight. The program starts with our Western Europe Discovery program. Once we land, your trip officially begins! We’ll break the ice with some fun and engaging activities so that you get to know everyone in the group. To learn more about how we organize travel to and from the program, click here.
DAY 2–5 | LONDON, ENGLAND
Our adventure begins with a tour of Windsor Castle, the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. We’ll watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace and explore Borough Market. Spend your first Shabbat abroad in the city with your new friends. We’ll walk to Marble Arch before enjoying Kabbalat Shabbat services.
Spend Shabbat relaxing at Coram’s Field with sports activities and free time with the group. View the treasures of Ancient Egypt, Greece, Persia, and Rome at the British Museum. Take the London Underground—famously known as “the tube”—to Greenwich, the center of London. Then, walk to the hilltop of Greenwich Park and enjoy a panoramic view of London City. The group will have some free time at Greenwich Market before we go ride the London Eye, London's iconic Ferris wheel. We’ll take a walking tour of London and see Westminster Abbey, Big Ben clock tower, and 10 Downing Street, the British Prime Minister's residence. Before you know, it’ll be time to say cheerio to London. We’ll drive to Brighton for an afternoon in the city, then cross the English Channel on a ferry out of Newhaven.
DAY 6–8 | PARIS, FRANCE
When we arrive in France, you’ll have time to solemnly explore Mémorial De Caen—Caen’s Peace Museum—as well as Normandy's U.S. military cemetery from World War II and recount the D-Day landing at Omaha Beach. Say Bonjour to Paris and all its breathtaking beauty! We’ll explore the palace and grounds of Versailles, home to French Royalty and Marie Antoinette. The group will walk through the Parisian Jewish Quarter—Le Marais—the center of Europe's largest Jewish community.
Learn about the experience of French Jews during World War II at the Shoah Memorial. Experience Paris on foot, passing by the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe, and the Champs-Élysées. Spend a morning at the Louvre and view Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa painting in addition to thousands of centuries-old artwork. Climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower for an unforgettable view. Watch the magic unfold as you walk through Disneyland Paris.
DAY 9–11 | BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
After Paris, we’re bound for Bruges! Teens will spend time at Choco-Story Bruges—the Chocolate Museum in Bruges—and sample some delicious Belgian chocolate. Everyone will also have a chance to eat some delicious Belgian fries at the Frietmuseum.
Our final stop in the region is to Brussels. Stop to see Fort Breendonk, a former military installation in Belgium which served as a Nazi prison camp during World War II. Then, drive by the NATO and EU Headquarters. We’ll spend our second Shabbat relaxing and exploring the Grand Place, which is the central square of Brussels, before we walk by the famous “Manneken Pis” fountain sculpture. We’ll continue towards Amsterdam for the final stop of our European adventure!
DAY 12–14 | AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
Take a walking tour of Amsterdam, stopping at the “I Am Sterdam” sign in front of Rijskmuseum. Enjoy some time to explore the Jewish Historical Museum and Portuguese Synagogue. We’ll visit the Anne Frank House to understand the legacy she left before seeing the masterpieces of Vincent Van Gogh at the Van Gogh Museum.
Our last day will be spent in the picturesque Dutch countryside's windmills on a bicycle ride. Learn about Dutch cheese-making techniques at Henri Willig Farm before we head back to Amsterdam and go to A’DAM Lookout, an observation deck with an unrivaled panoramic view of Amsterdam. Enjoy your final evening in Europe on a river cruise through Amsterdam. The Pancake Boat takes you around the city and provides an all-you-can-eat pancake meal.
DAY 15–18 | ROME, ITALY
Teens will continue to build on this awe-inspiring adventure by connecting into one of our Mediterranean Discovery trips. We’ll head to the airport for a transfer flight to Italy. Once we arrive, our journey begins walking in the footsteps of the Roman Empire at the Colosseum and the Forum Romanum. Stand beside the massive Arch of Titus and view a depiction of the Temple Menorah that is believed to have been carried off to Rome after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. Then, channel your inner warrior as you take part in a “Gladiator for a Day” training. Afterwards, we’ll settle into our accommodations in Rome.
You’ll spend the next day exploring Vatican City in the heart of Rome and see St. Peter’s Basilica as well as the Sistine Chapel. Stare in awe at Mount Vesuvius—the volcano that led to the ancient city of Pompeii’s untimely demise—and learn about how it remained perfectly preserved through a tour with a local guide. We’ll return to Rome for Shabbat dinner and take part in our first Shabbat service abroad at an Italian Synagogue.
We’ll wrap up our time in the city with a walking tour of Rome’s Jewish Quarter, the oldest continually settled Jewish community outside of Israel. Then, continue exploring Rome on foot, stopping at the Pantheon Temple and Spanish Steps.
DAY 19–20 | FLORENCE, ITALY
Teens will leave Rome and make their way to Florence, stopping to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa en route. Once we arrive and get settled, you’ll learn more about the city of Florence through a sightseeing tour of the city’s most popular landmarks, such as the Duomo, Piazza San Lorenzo, and Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge).
Visit the Grand Synagogue, one of the world’s most beautiful synagogues. See Michelangelo’s famous sculpture of David at the Galleria dell’Accademia. Climb to the top of Giotto’s Campanile Tower for a stunning panoramic view of Florence. Then, enjoy an afternoon visit at the amusement park Gardaland.
DAY 21–22 | KRANJSKA GORA, SLOVENIA
Depart Florence in the morning and set off for the Slovenian backcountry. Raft down the Soča—one of Europe’s most beautiful rivers—before traveling through the Slovenian mountains to Kranjska Gora. Get your safety gear on, because we’re going to Adventure Park in Bled! This natural environment of trees offers dozens of attractions for teens. The group will take a boat ride to the tiny Bled Island in the middle of a crystal blue lake and make a wish before ringing the island’s legendary wishing bell.
DAY 23 | LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA
Though our time in Kranjska Gora is short, you’ll love traveling to Ljubljana—Slovenia’s capital—and taking in the views from a castle towering over the city. Teens will take in a spectacular view from the funicular (a type of cable railway) of the castle prior to their walking tour of the city. Then, we’ll put your Mario Kart skills to the test in real life as we go karting at the Grand Prix. Experience Europe’s state-of-the-art multi-level track and feel the adrenaline rush as you race around.
DAY 24–25 | ZAGREB, CROATIA
The people of Bela Krajina are passionate about sheep. So, naturally, it should come to no surprise that teens will spend some time playing traditional shepherd’s games before we head to Zagreb, Croatia’s capital. We’ll also take some time to canoe on the Kolpa River. Once we arrive in Zagreb, we’ll prepare for our second Shabbat together.
Teens will spend Shabbat relaxing and taking a walking tour of Zagreb, seeing sites like Ban Jelacic—the main square—and Strossmayer promenade, the best spot for a panoramic view of Zagreb’s rooftops. We’ll also stop to view Lotrscak Tower and Saint Mark’s Church!
DAY 26–28 | VENICE, ITALY
Cool off underground as you discover the treasurers of the Postojna Cave, then cross back into Italy and travel towards Venice via the Tuscan countryside. We’ll enter the water-filled streets of Venice on a vaporetto waterbus and take an evening walk through Venice.
Set sail for the island of Murano and visit a traditional Venetian glass-making factory. Then, travel to Lido and enjoy beach time and swimming in the Adriatic Sea. Afterwards, we’ll return to the main island of Venice and see the sites of the city on a walking tour. Teens will explore Piazza San Marco, including the Basilica and Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace). We can’t end our time in Italy without a private gondola ride through the waterways. We’ll enjoy one final dinner as a group before saying ciao to Europe!
DAY 29 | RETURN FLIGHT
It’s never goodbye, just see you later. Give your friends one last hug and part ways once your flight arrives at the airport. While your summer trip with us is over, the memories you’ve made will last a lifetime!
Our most frequently asked questions about this program are answered below. Additional program-wide FAQs are also available. Still need something? We’re here to help! Schedule a call to learn more about this trip or contact us.
How will my teen travel to the program?
BBYO requires all North American participants to fly on the group supervised flight for this program. Flight costs are not included in the program’s land cost. BBYO will purchase a ticket for each traveler and charge the family directly. The flight cost for programs with supervised flight options will be announced, along with the flight details for all programs, in the spring. The supervised flight for this program will depart from the New York City area, typically Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) or John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). Learn more about flying to the program.
Where will my teen be sleeping?
The group stays in a variety of 3-star hotels. When booking accommodations, we request for each teen to have their own sleeping accommodations in a shared living space.
How is the program staffed?
Each group is accompanied by a team of madrichim (counselors), a local European tour leader, and a bus driver. Senior field staff also circulate between our groups for extra support. Staff names are sent out approximately 2–3 weeks prior to your departure as part of the pre-trip preparation emails. Staff are asked to make welcome calls to teens before departure. Feel free to ask them any remaining questions you may have. Learn more about our staff team.
What’s the summer weather like?
The weather in Western Europe is usually mild-to-warm and mostly sunny. Daytime temperatures range from the 60s to the low 80s. Evening temperatures in the summer can be as low as the 50s. Rain is common in the summer, especially in London, so plan accordingly.
The weather throughout Italy, Slovenia, and Croatia is a typical Mediterranean climate—dry heat, cool evenings, and little to no rain. Temperatures will typically be in the 80s and 90s. Due to the dry nature of the heat in the Mediterranean, the sun is deceptively strong and you should plan to bring plenty of sunscreen and a good hat for outdoor touring.
How do you approach security?
The safety of the teens under our care is our guiding consideration. Learn more about our organization’s approach to safety & security.
What’s the typical group size?
Although it varies from year to year, our average group size for Western Europe & Mediterranean Discovery is 35-42 teens. Some teens choose to sign up together with a friend or two and most teens choose to come on their own. Either way, our participants will have the opportunity to meet a diverse group of peers from various locations across North America which makes exploring a new place together even more exciting. On some programs, we might have multiple parties from the same area register together. In this case, we are unable to inform families when this occurs and though we are always willing to share the group dynamics of the current registrations, we typically have a good idea of the general group make up after our cancellation deadline.
What’s the food like?
You’ll try delicacies like fish and chips, frites, crêpes, and stroopwafels in Western Europe, and pizza, pasta, and gelato in Italy, Slovenia, and Croatia. When traveling, your teen may encounter new foods that will not be to their liking, so we ask teens to be flexible and have snacks and other alternatives on hand just in case.
As a travel-based program, our meals take a variety of forms and may include hotel buffets, restaurants, catered meals, and allowance funds for participants to purchase a meal on their own. When a meal is served in a public buffet format (e.g. hotel breakfast), we will always ensure that there are vegetarian, pescatarian, or dairy options available and we will not restrict teens from eating the food of their choice.
Some meals may be provided via a cash allowance where teens will be given money to purchase the food of their choice, called a pizur meal. Such meals are typically arranged in an area where there are multiple restaurant options and teens can choose the food of their liking. When time is limited for meal choice, staff may choose to facilitate meal orders on behalf of teens using their allowance funds.
Participants with special dietary needs (i.e. lactose intolerance, gluten-free, kosher, etc.) should review our dietary restrictions commitment document and contact us in advance to be sure we can accommodate your needs during the program.
Will I need a visa?
If you travel with an American, Canadian, or EU passport, good news! You don’t need a visa to enter any of the European countries we travel to. If you travel with a passport from another country, you may need a visa.
What are the payment and cancellation terms?
All of these details are available here: Registration Terms.
Looking to combine two experiences for an extended summer of adventure, learning, and self-discovery? BBYO makes it easy! This trip connects our Western Europe Discovery program with our Mediterranean Discovery program. Check out these other trips that connect into one of these two European experiences:
Learn more about our trip connections for Summer 2023.
Experience the ancient mystery of Stonehenge
Visit Big Ben up close and watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace in London
Spend an authentic Shabbat with the Jewish communities of London and Amsterdam
View the Mona Lisa painting and much more at the Louvre
Navigate the canals and waterways of old Venice by gondola
Explore the treasures of the Vatican and the Jewish Quarter in Rome
Pay homage to the Roman Empire, visiting the Colosseum, Pantheon, and Forum Romanum
Channel your inner warrior while taking part in a gladiator-for-a-day class