A trip to Europe is a rite of passage and an opportunity to learn about other cultures and history and to make new friends from all over the world. Group tours are often considered to be the domain of older people, but numerous companies specialise in young-adult tours. Some explore one country in depth while others set out for panoramic tours of a large part of the continent.
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Since the early 1960s Contiki has specialised in tours exclusively for the 18-35 age group. Tours range in length from as little three days to a grand tour lasting 47 days. Special winter tours include an Austrian ski week and a trip to Spain's sunny beaches. In addition to a wide range of traditional multi-country and multi-city tours, Contiki hosts trips to special events like Munich's Oktoberfest, Edinburgh's Military Tattoo Festival, and Easter in Amsterdam for tulip season. Cruise tour options are available for Greece, Turkey and Croatia.
801 E. Katella Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92805
YOLO Tours is a division of adventure-oriented GAP Adventures and is geared toward the 18 to 30-something age group. The 12-day Paris to Prague tour is a whirlwind trip through Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Netherlands, and Poland, with visits to places like the canals and Belgian beer gardens of Bruges, the nightlife of Amsterdam, the museums of Munich, and the architecture of Krakow. The 25-day Venice to Istanbul trip is a more in-depth tour of just Italy, Greece and Turkey. From exploring Michelangelo's masterpieces in Florence to the beaches of Corfu and Santorini and the mosques of Istanbul, the vacation mixes leisure and learning.
Gap Adventures/YOLO Tours
19 Charlotte Street
EF (Education First) College Break
EF is a leader in educational tours for teachers and students. Its College Break division runs tours for the 18 to 26 age group, mixing organised sightseeing with ample free time. Travellers can spend St. Patrick's Day in Ireland or New Year's in London, Paris and Amsterdam. Travellers on the Ultimate Europe tour embark on a 35-day journey through some of the continent's most beloved landmarks: the Parthenon in Athens, Vatican City, Germany's Heidelberg Castle, and Parque Guell in Barcelona. Most tours last 10 days to two weeks and visit two to four countries.
EF College Break
One Education Street
Cambridge, MA 02141
Those who want to explore a single country in depth can take advantage of local tour operators. Short young-adult tours are particularly popular around Great Britain and Ireland. Shamrocker Irish Adventures organises low-cost tours around Ireland and the British Isles. A weeklong escorted tour covering the Burren, Giant's Causeway, Derry, traditional pub music and other highlights includes guaranteed bed reservations in shared dorm accommodations, but they must be paid for directly and travellers have the flexible option of finding their own lodgings. Shorter three or five day tours visit just one or two cities, and discounts are available for booking multiple tours, which can be selected in any combination.
MacBackPackers caters to 17 to 35 year olds, mostly solo travellers who want to join up with other like-minded people to tour Scotland. Special tours include a three-day "Monsters and Myths Tour," with a visit to Loch Ness, and a "Water and Whisky" trip with whitewater rafting. All tours depart from the MacBackPackers hostel in Edinburgh, which also offers low-cost accommodations for young adults.
Shamrocker Irish Adventures
Kinlay House , 2/12 Lord Edward Street
105 High St.
Edinburgh EH1 1SG
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