Summer Experiences

Western Europe Discovery

Travel throughout England, Scotland and Holland to explore the old world grandeur, rugged natural beauty, and cultural treasures of these storied lands.

  • Western Europe Discovery is a two-week journey combining hands-on historical touring, exhilarating outdoor experiences in the Scottish countryside and bonding with fellow Jewish teens in a region renowned for its old European charm and contemporary culture.

    You’ll travel to the grand European capitals of London, Glasgow and Amsterdam where you’ll cover all of the must-see sites and must-do experiences. But you'll also discover how the world-changing ideas that originated in these European nations continue to shape our own lives today.

    As a Jewish experience, Western Europe Discovery is about understanding the colorful history of Jewish Europe - its origins, triumphs and sorrows. You'll visit centuries-old synagogues, spend an authentic Shabbat in London and Amsterdam, and be moved by the story of Anne Frank where it happened.

     

    Program Highlights

    For a more detailed view of the program, check out the Program Itinerary
    Browse Piccadilly Circus, visit Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, and go “punting” in Cambridge University
    Visit Windsor Castle, see Big Ben up close, and watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace in London
    Hike, kayak and search for lake monsters in the stunning Scottish backcountry 
    Discover the epic tales of the Vikings and the William Wallace rebellion where it happened
    Travel across the fabled North Sea on an overnight ferry connecting Scotland and Holland
    Cruise on an Amsterdam canal and bike past traditional windmills in the Dutch countryside
    Explore the colorful Jewish history of the region, including a moving visit to the Anne Frank House.
    Spend an authentic Shabbat with the Jewish communities of London and Amsterdam

    Itinerary Snapshot

    A complete sample itinerary is available for an even fuller sense of the experience.

    WEEK #1 | England & Scottish Countryside

    Land in England and immerge yourself in the world heritage sites of London, including Big Ben, the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, 10 Downing Street, and Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. Enjoy a special Shabbat with the Jewish community of London, and then head north to Scotland – going “punting” in Cambridge and scaling the walls of old York along the way. Our travels in Scotland begin in the backcountry where we’ll hike, kayak and search for the monster of Loch Ness!

    WEEK #2 | Edinburgh & Holland

    Our second week picks up in Edinburg, the capital of Scotland that is complete with castles, colorful markets and stylish kilts! From Scotland we board an overnight ferry from New Castle to Holland across the North Sea. Our journey concludes in Amsterdam, a magical city of crisscrossing canals and the home of Anne Frank. In Holland, we also explore the Dutch countryside on bikes and learn how to make traditional cheeses and unwind on the seashore. Our final Shabbat is based in Amsterdam, including an experience at the historic Portuguese Synagogue.

     

  • We have provided the following sample itinerary to give you a better feel for this experience, including the types of accommodations we use. The actual program may vary slightly. An updated itinerary is distributed 3-4 weeks prior to the start of the program.

    DAY #1 | Tuesday | Take Off!

    • Depart from New York City on a supervised group flight (optional)
    • Spend the night in the sky en route to Europe

    DAY #2 | Wednesday | Welcome to Europe!

    • Arrive to London’s Heathrow Airport in the morning
    • Meet our local staff and travel to London for an orientation and tour at Windsor Castle
    • Orientation programming and group night out on Oxford Street in London
    • Overnight: Royal National Hotel – London, England

    DAY #3 | Thursday | London, England

    • Take the “tube” to the center of London
    • Watch the Changing of the Guards ceremony at Buckingham Palace
    • Lunch and exploration time in Borough Market
    • Tour Westminster Abbey, view Big Ben clock tower and visit 10 Downing Street
    • Evening: Ride the London Eye, London’s iconic Ferris wheel
    • Overnight: Royal National Hotel – London, England

    DAY #4 | Friday | London, England

    • Morning volunteering project in London
    • Discover the world of the “Bard” touring Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
    • Group programming at Russel Square
    • Kabbalat Shabbat experience at the Marble Arch Synagogue
    • Enjoy Shabbat dinner with the local community
    • Overnight: Royal National Hotel – London, England

    DAY #5 | Saturday | Shabbat in London

    • Shabbat morning programming and lunch
    • Sports activities and free time at Coram's Field
    • Free time to explore the famed British Museum in central London
    • Evening: Enjoy a traditional fish and chips dinner
    • Overnight: Royal National Hotel – London, England

    DAY #6 | Sunday | Cambridge & York

    • Depart London for the English countryside
    • Explore the University of Cambridge and go "punting" through the local waterways
    • Stop in York on the English coast to scale the city's ancient walls
    • Learn about the region's distant past at the Jorvik Viking Centre
    • Overnight: Glasgow Hotel - Scotland

    DAY #7 | Monday | Scottish Highlands

    • Take a walking tour of the culturally rich city of Glasgow
    • Learn about the unique Jewish history of Scotland at the Garnethill Synagogue
    • Travel north to hike on Ben Navis, the highest peak in Britain, and visit Fort William at its base
    • Check-in to our accommodations and enjoy a group dinner in Inverness
    • Overnight: Inverness Hotel - Scotland

    DAY #8 | Tuesday | Loch Ness, Scotland

    • Take a kayaking tour of Loch Ness and look out for the fabled monster
    • Explore the ruins of Urquhart Castle overlooking Loch Ness
    • View the William Wallace Monument towering over the Scottish countryside
    • Arrive to Edinburgh, Scotland's capital, and check-in to our accommodations
    • Evening: Meet with a Scottish-Jewish maker of contemporary kilts
    • Overnight: Edinburgh Hotel - Scotland

    DAY #9 | Wednesday | Edinburgh, Scotland

    • Walk the Royal Mile through downtown Edinburg
    • Tour the Edinburgh Castle and view the Scottish Crown Jewels
    • Hike the extinct volcano atop Edinburgh
    • Evening: Meet with a Scottish-Jewish maker of contemporary kilts
    • Overnight: Edinburgh Hotel - Scotland

    DAY #10 | Thursday | The North Sea

    • Depart Edinburgh and travel to Alnwick Castle, Harry Potter's Hogwarts grounds
    • Continue on to New Castle, explore the city, and board an overnight ferry to Holland
    • Overnight at Sea

    DAY #11 | Friday | Amsterdam, Holland

    • Disembark in Holland and get refreshed on the Zaanse Schans beach
    • Arrive to Amsterdam – Get oriented on a canal barge tour
    • Check-in to our accommodations and prepare for Shabbat in Amsterdam
    • Kabbalat Shabbat services and dinner with the local community
    • Overnight: Hotel Atlantis – Amsterdam, Netherlands

    DAY #12 | Saturday | Shabbat in Amsterdam

    • Shabbat programming and lunch
    • Visit to the Jewish Historical Museum of Amsterdam
    • Afternoon walking tour and relaxation time in Amsterdam
    • Evening: Group night out strolling through the Leidseplein Square
    • Overnight: Hotel Atlantis – Amsterdam, Netherlands

    DAY #13 | Sunday | Amsterdam, Netherlands

    • Learn about Dutch cheese-making techniques at Clara Maria Farm
    • Explore the picturesque Dutch countryside’s windmills on bicycle
    • Return to Amsterdam to visit the Anne Frank House
    • Photo opportunity at the "I Am Sterdam" in front of Rijskmuseum
    • Evening: Canal cruise
    • Overnight: Hotel Atlantis – Amsterdam, Netherlands

    DAY #14 | Monday | Farewell!

    • Depart Amsterdam on a supervised group flight

     

  • You have questions? We've got answers! Our most frequently asked questions for this program are answered below. Additional program-wide FAQs are also available. Contact us to learn more.

    How will my teen travel to the program?
    An optional group flight is offered – typically from New York City. In some cases a group flight may also depart from Newark, Atlanta, Boston, or Miami. You are responsible for your transportation to the group flight departure city. Flight arrangements will be released in the spring. Families are also able to book their own tickets that mimic the group flight itinerary or book separate flight itineraries entirely and make arrangements to meet our staff in Europe. Learn more about our group flights.

    Where will my teen be sleeping?
    We stay in a variety of 3-star hotels, and each teen will have their own sleeping accommodations.

    How is the program staffed?
    Each group is accompanied by a team of madrichim (counselors), a local European tour leader, and a bus driver. Staff names are posted approximately 3-4 weeks prior to your departure, and you can expect a staff welcome call in the lead up to summer. 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. Day time 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.

    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 in Europe is 30 teens.

    What's the food like?
    Meals will be either kosher or vegetarian. Some meals will be provided according to the “pizur” system – an allowance for purchasing your own meal at a local eatery. Participants can buy whatever food they wish with pizur funds. Europe draws travelers from all over the world, so there is a wide range of cuisine available.

    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 visit. 

    For more information, check out our general FAQs.

  • BBYO makes it easy to combine two experiences for an extended summer of adventure, learning and self-discovery. 

    Connected Experiences

Western Europe Discovery is a two-week journey combining hands-on historical touring, exhilarating outdoor experiences in the Scottish countryside and bonding with fellow Jewish teens in a region renowned for its old European charm and contemporary culture.

You’ll travel to the grand European capitals of London, Glasgow and Amsterdam where you’ll cover all of the must-see sites and must-do experiences. But you'll also discover how the world-changing ideas that originated in these European nations continue to shape our own lives today.

As a Jewish experience, Western Europe Discovery is about understanding the colorful history of Jewish Europe - its origins, triumphs and sorrows. You'll visit centuries-old synagogues, spend an authentic Shabbat in London and Amsterdam, and be moved by the story of Anne Frank where it happened.

 

Program Highlights

For a more detailed view of the program, check out the Program Itinerary
Browse Piccadilly Circus, visit Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, and go “punting” in Cambridge University
Visit Windsor Castle, see Big Ben up close, and watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace in London
Hike, kayak and search for lake monsters in the stunning Scottish backcountry 
Discover the epic tales of the Vikings and the William Wallace rebellion where it happened
Travel across the fabled North Sea on an overnight ferry connecting Scotland and Holland
Cruise on an Amsterdam canal and bike past traditional windmills in the Dutch countryside
Explore the colorful Jewish history of the region, including a moving visit to the Anne Frank House.
Spend an authentic Shabbat with the Jewish communities of London and Amsterdam

Itinerary Snapshot

A complete sample itinerary is available for an even fuller sense of the experience.

WEEK #1 | England & Scottish Countryside

Land in England and immerge yourself in the world heritage sites of London, including Big Ben, the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, 10 Downing Street, and Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. Enjoy a special Shabbat with the Jewish community of London, and then head north to Scotland – going “punting” in Cambridge and scaling the walls of old York along the way. Our travels in Scotland begin in the backcountry where we’ll hike, kayak and search for the monster of Loch Ness!

WEEK #2 | Edinburgh & Holland

Our second week picks up in Edinburg, the capital of Scotland that is complete with castles, colorful markets and stylish kilts! From Scotland we board an overnight ferry from New Castle to Holland across the North Sea. Our journey concludes in Amsterdam, a magical city of crisscrossing canals and the home of Anne Frank. In Holland, we also explore the Dutch countryside on bikes and learn how to make traditional cheeses and unwind on the seashore. Our final Shabbat is based in Amsterdam, including an experience at the historic Portuguese Synagogue.

 

We have provided the following sample itinerary to give you a better feel for this experience, including the types of accommodations we use. The actual program may vary slightly. An updated itinerary is distributed 3-4 weeks prior to the start of the program.

DAY #1 | Tuesday | Take Off!

  • Depart from New York City on a supervised group flight (optional)
  • Spend the night in the sky en route to Europe

DAY #2 | Wednesday | Welcome to Europe!

  • Arrive to London’s Heathrow Airport in the morning
  • Meet our local staff and travel to London for an orientation and tour at Windsor Castle
  • Orientation programming and group night out on Oxford Street in London
  • Overnight: Royal National Hotel – London, England

DAY #3 | Thursday | London, England

  • Take the “tube” to the center of London
  • Watch the Changing of the Guards ceremony at Buckingham Palace
  • Lunch and exploration time in Borough Market
  • Tour Westminster Abbey, view Big Ben clock tower and visit 10 Downing Street
  • Evening: Ride the London Eye, London’s iconic Ferris wheel
  • Overnight: Royal National Hotel – London, England

DAY #4 | Friday | London, England

  • Morning volunteering project in London
  • Discover the world of the “Bard” touring Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
  • Group programming at Russel Square
  • Kabbalat Shabbat experience at the Marble Arch Synagogue
  • Enjoy Shabbat dinner with the local community
  • Overnight: Royal National Hotel – London, England

DAY #5 | Saturday | Shabbat in London

  • Shabbat morning programming and lunch
  • Sports activities and free time at Coram's Field
  • Free time to explore the famed British Museum in central London
  • Evening: Enjoy a traditional fish and chips dinner
  • Overnight: Royal National Hotel – London, England

DAY #6 | Sunday | Cambridge & York

  • Depart London for the English countryside
  • Explore the University of Cambridge and go "punting" through the local waterways
  • Stop in York on the English coast to scale the city's ancient walls
  • Learn about the region's distant past at the Jorvik Viking Centre
  • Overnight: Glasgow Hotel - Scotland

DAY #7 | Monday | Scottish Highlands

  • Take a walking tour of the culturally rich city of Glasgow
  • Learn about the unique Jewish history of Scotland at the Garnethill Synagogue
  • Travel north to hike on Ben Navis, the highest peak in Britain, and visit Fort William at its base
  • Check-in to our accommodations and enjoy a group dinner in Inverness
  • Overnight: Inverness Hotel - Scotland

DAY #8 | Tuesday | Loch Ness, Scotland

  • Take a kayaking tour of Loch Ness and look out for the fabled monster
  • Explore the ruins of Urquhart Castle overlooking Loch Ness
  • View the William Wallace Monument towering over the Scottish countryside
  • Arrive to Edinburgh, Scotland's capital, and check-in to our accommodations
  • Evening: Meet with a Scottish-Jewish maker of contemporary kilts
  • Overnight: Edinburgh Hotel - Scotland

DAY #9 | Wednesday | Edinburgh, Scotland

  • Walk the Royal Mile through downtown Edinburg
  • Tour the Edinburgh Castle and view the Scottish Crown Jewels
  • Hike the extinct volcano atop Edinburgh
  • Evening: Meet with a Scottish-Jewish maker of contemporary kilts
  • Overnight: Edinburgh Hotel - Scotland

DAY #10 | Thursday | The North Sea

  • Depart Edinburgh and travel to Alnwick Castle, Harry Potter's Hogwarts grounds
  • Continue on to New Castle, explore the city, and board an overnight ferry to Holland
  • Overnight at Sea

DAY #11 | Friday | Amsterdam, Holland

  • Disembark in Holland and get refreshed on the Zaanse Schans beach
  • Arrive to Amsterdam – Get oriented on a canal barge tour
  • Check-in to our accommodations and prepare for Shabbat in Amsterdam
  • Kabbalat Shabbat services and dinner with the local community
  • Overnight: Hotel Atlantis – Amsterdam, Netherlands

DAY #12 | Saturday | Shabbat in Amsterdam

  • Shabbat programming and lunch
  • Visit to the Jewish Historical Museum of Amsterdam
  • Afternoon walking tour and relaxation time in Amsterdam
  • Evening: Group night out strolling through the Leidseplein Square
  • Overnight: Hotel Atlantis – Amsterdam, Netherlands

DAY #13 | Sunday | Amsterdam, Netherlands

  • Learn about Dutch cheese-making techniques at Clara Maria Farm
  • Explore the picturesque Dutch countryside’s windmills on bicycle
  • Return to Amsterdam to visit the Anne Frank House
  • Photo opportunity at the "I Am Sterdam" in front of Rijskmuseum
  • Evening: Canal cruise
  • Overnight: Hotel Atlantis – Amsterdam, Netherlands

DAY #14 | Monday | Farewell!

  • Depart Amsterdam on a supervised group flight

 

You have questions? We've got answers! Our most frequently asked questions for this program are answered below. Additional program-wide FAQs are also available. Contact us to learn more.

How will my teen travel to the program?
An optional group flight is offered – typically from New York City. In some cases a group flight may also depart from Newark, Atlanta, Boston, or Miami. You are responsible for your transportation to the group flight departure city. Flight arrangements will be released in the spring. Families are also able to book their own tickets that mimic the group flight itinerary or book separate flight itineraries entirely and make arrangements to meet our staff in Europe. Learn more about our group flights.

Where will my teen be sleeping?
We stay in a variety of 3-star hotels, and each teen will have their own sleeping accommodations.

How is the program staffed?
Each group is accompanied by a team of madrichim (counselors), a local European tour leader, and a bus driver. Staff names are posted approximately 3-4 weeks prior to your departure, and you can expect a staff welcome call in the lead up to summer. 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. Day time 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.

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 in Europe is 30 teens.

What's the food like?
Meals will be either kosher or vegetarian. Some meals will be provided according to the “pizur” system – an allowance for purchasing your own meal at a local eatery. Participants can buy whatever food they wish with pizur funds. Europe draws travelers from all over the world, so there is a wide range of cuisine available.

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 visit. 

For more information, check out our general FAQs.

BBYO makes it easy to combine two experiences for an extended summer of adventure, learning and self-discovery. 

Connected Experiences