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London to Athens Review

7 Aug 2011 Miss Amanda Hope said

Miss Amanda Hope

Hi guys!
I came home about a week ago from my London to Athens tour and had an absolute ball! Anyone with questions about this trip feel free to ask!
Contiki was one of the best decisions of my life, had the best time met some amazing people and had experiences that I'll never have again!
So please ask away!
:) Amanda

  • 8 Aug 2011 Miss Amanda Hope said

    Miss Amanda Hope

    Haha ok
    Packing… PACK LIGHT! You do have to carry you bags everyday when you move from place to place. You also buy a lot (well girls do anyway) and I ended up sending stuff home. Definitely pack a spare two photos of your passport photo because I lost my passport and spent about an hour having to get more photos taken.
    We were really lucky and got really good weather so I only wore my jeans once but September may be different so maybe check out what other ppl say about september travelling.
    Dressing clothes are also good so maybe take a few good clothes to go out in
    If you’ve got space as well you will have a themed party at least once on your tour so if you can bring something funny to dress in.
    Nightlife! We had the best nights out but they were mostly followed by really early morning starts so just be prepared for that. Everywhere was awesome for nightlife. Chateau in France had an amazing bar downstairs which you’ll love ridiculously cheap drinks too!
    Barcelona is pretty famous for its nightlife but apparently lines are huge and ppl dont arrive there until like 1-2am so its a big night when you go.
    When we went to Florence I was sick so I missed Space Disco but all my friends said it was awesome!
    Everywhere you go you get an awesome night because you’re with everyone so no where was really bad.
    Optionals I did them all the only one I wouldnt recommend would be the last night Greek dinner only because the food wasn’t great and neither was the dancing. However it is your last night and its good to be with everyone one last time so its up to you
    DEFINITELY do George’s boat it’ll be the best day on the tour!
    Get your washing done in Barcelona (because its cheap) and then in Rome because Nonna will clean it for you and fold it and its really really cheap compared to everywhere else.
    Not sure what else you want but if you think of anything else let me know :)

  • 9 Aug 2011 Racheee said

    Racheee

    Hi Amanda,

    I am doing the short version of this tour which is the London to Rome bit, I just wanted to ask how much money would you recommend on taking?

    And what did you pack? I am a keen shopper so I think I will have to pack lightly to bring stuff back, and also do you know if they are really strict in regards to what the measurements are for your suitcase?

    Thanks!!

  • 9 Aug 2011 Miss Amanda Hope said

    Miss Amanda Hope

    Hi there!
    Well I took about $4000 AUD and spent that during the 21 day tour…. So it should do for the 16 days :)

    I packed way too much even though I really tried not to pack much haha. I would pack like maybe four or five tops, one jacket, one pair of jeans (depending when you’re going) and two pairs of shorts, maybe two or three dresses at least one or two that you can wear out for a good night out (like when you go to Monaco and fancy dinners) also skirts or dresses that you can wear during day and night will help. In saying all that, anything you dont have you can buy. H&M is ridiculously cheap and has some great stuff! If you’re a big shopper just remember to pack really really light!
    Measurements they weren’t at all concerned with. Weight is very strict on the first day so you’ve gotta be under 20kg on the first day! If not you have to repack which isn’t too bad but at 6am in the morning its better not to.
    Any other questions just ask :)

  • 2 Nov 2011 Amber said

    Amber

    hey amanda!

    I’m seriously interested in doing this trip next year with one of my friends, and we’ll both only be 18 at the time, so I was just wondering what the other people were like on your trip? and were you by yourself or did you go with a friend?

    cheers :)

  • 22 Nov 2011 Ellie said

    Ellie

    Hey Amanda. I really love the sound of this tour, and I’m pretty sure that I will do this one or the one where you stay longer in Greece. I have a couple of questions if thats okay. First, did you find that 23 days wasn’t enough time to see everything? Second, how much did you actually spend on food while there/ drink? Third, I’ve been reading that people on budget tours also have to take sleeping bags. Im slightly confused as I thought all the places we stay had beds. Please help!

  • 25 Nov 2011 Miss Amanda Hope said

    Miss Amanda Hope

    HI girls!
    Sorry for the late reply have been doing all my exams
    Ok so firstly re Ambii’s comment. This trip is amazing I can’t rave about it enough
    The people on my trip was amazing have made some life long friends. Our ages ranged from about 18-27. I went with a girlfriend. I was extremely lucky that my friend and I were very close and didn’t fight at all. Its important to go with someone who you get on with very well and who is like minded to yourself. If you do go by yourself you’ll be ok too. A few people went by themselves and everyone ends up being everybody’s friend.

    Re Ellie’s comment
    I found it was a great time. We spent at least two nights everywhere which was a great chance to taste everything. You’re never going to be able to see everything but you got to see the main things. I also found that it was the perfect time as we all had a good time and didn’t get sick of each other which can happen on the longer tours.
    Its hard to say how much I spent on food. I’d say about 50-70 euros a day on food. Breakfast is included and some dinners. You can spend more or less depending on your budget.
    Yeah you have to take sleeping bags. There are beds everywhere you stay but no blankets on most of them. We went in their summer and hardly used it but we definitely did need to use it in certain places.
    :)
    Hope this helps girls :) :)

  • 25 Nov 2011 LadyRainbow said

    LadyRainbow

    I did this tour in May last year and had the best time ever! You’ll make so many friends and see the most amazing sights. A few things you have to be prepared for:



    ~ Some of the accommodations are SMALL. Especially the cabins in Paris. Since it’s a Concept tour (the London – Athens bit anyway), you have to kind of expect that. But each place gets better as you go along. And at the end of the day, if you want better accommodation, best you do a Timeout tour (which the Greek Island Hopping tour is).



    ~ Bring cold and flu tablets, or cough drops, to prepare yourself for the notorious Contiki Cough.



    ~ Take a neck pillow. It will be your saviour whilst sleeping on the bus!



    ~ Take comfortable walking shoes, a pair of thongs and some nice shoes (for a night out).



    ~ Be prepared for all weather. While the weather was absolutely perfect when I went, it rained in Rome, so I had to buy an umbrella.

    And I should mention to bring a sleeping bag. I was told everything would be provided for us, but was then advised in London that we had to supply our own, so I had to buy one ~ not cheap either! Sheets were provided though.

You will be going out to bars/clubs in most cities, so take a couple of nice outfits to mix and match. There are bars at some of the campsites also, so when you’re not out on the town, you’ll probably be hanging around the bars.

I did all the tours and enjoyed all of them, except the disco in Florence, and the casino in Monaco. I could have given both these options a miss, but they weren’t terrible. The only problem is that Monaco is VERY expensive, and there isn’t much to do there anyway without spending a lot of money.

I thought it was just the right amount of time in each city/village. Of course there’s always more to see, but the time spent allowed everyone enough time to really check out the hot spots and get a feel for the culture.


    Some other tips:



    ~ Take a bag that you can wear across yourself to avoid bag-snatchers.

~ When in Rome, watch out for the guys dressed as Gladiators. They run up to you and insist on having a photo with you, only to charge you 5 Euro after.

    

~ Take your own spare toilet paper roll. Some places don’t have any and it’s very welcome when needed. Also, most places in Europe charge you to use the public toilets, so have a few spare Euro’s handy.

    

~ Be careful in Athens. The area where we stayed was very sleazy and dirty ~ def not a place you’d wanna be by yourself, so always have a friend or two with you. But shopping in Athens is great. 



    ~ Another thing you should know about Greece…they don’t flush their toilet paper. You have to put the used tissue in the bin next to you. Pretty gross.



    ~ The Metro’s in Europe are a cheap and easy way to travel, so don’t be afraid to use them.


  • 19 Jan 2012 Explorer1351369 said

    Default_avatar

    HEY GIRLS!
    alright so i am planning on doing this tour in July 2012 with a couple of my girlfriends.

    My 1st question is how much cash did you bring along with you for the 23 days? and what would you say you spent your money on most?

    second, did you feel rushed throughout the trip or did you have enough time to yourself to explore the cities?

    third, did you spend way too much time on the bus? or was it okay and a comfortable trip?

    thanks a lot!!!!

  • 29 Jan 2012 Jane said

    Jane

    Hi Amanda,

    I’m doing this tour in April. Just wondering what you thought of the accommodation in Athens (Dorian Inn)? I’ve heard the hotel is not in the best area… I’ve got a couple of nights booked post tour, by myself – would you recommend staying there or booking somewhere else?

    Thanks :)

  • 29 Jan 2012 Miss Amanda Hope said

    Miss Amanda Hope

    Hi there girls!
    First of all – Money: I think all together I took about 1000 euro cash. It was probably the right amount, but it does depend on what you feel comfortable. All in all for the whole trip I think I spent about $11000 including the tour and flights and I did a few of the greek islands as well.
    The trip was a bit full on but the time in Chateau and Corfu was very relaxing. With the cities we have a good amount of time to see a few of the main attractions, but not all. However, I dont feel like I missed out on anything I desperately wanted to see though.
    There was a few whole days on the bus. Especially to and from Barcelona. However it was comfortable you play games, watch movies and catch up on much needed sleep.

    Jane to be honest I wouldnt stay there alone. The area isn’t the best and while its ok if you’re with a few people, I wouldn’t have left the hotel alone. Maybe the first night as most of my friends stayed on for another night but definitely not for anymore.
    I wouldnt walk the streets alone, as there were a lot of scary looking men constantly on the street.
    My friend and I had to catch a train to the airport at about 4am (the taxis were on strike which is apparently a regular occurrence) and despite the train station being quite close to the station the men around were terrifying. Another one of our friends was walking to the train later the same day and was pushed down the stairs by the men. Apparently the accommodation that the Greek Island Hopping Tour stays in is supposed to be lovely so maybe see if you can find out the name of that and stay there?

    Hope this helps!! :)

  • 29 Jan 2012 Pete said

    Pete

    Hi guys, I’m Pete from Australia. I’ve just started an online postcard site so you can send your postcards straight to facebook or email. yay, no more stamps. Please check it out and let me know if you like it. Just google theperfectpostcard.
    No, that’s not me on the homepage. I wish I was that handsome. haha :)

    Thanks guys.
    Enjoy your trip, you’re gonna love it over there!

  • 30 Jan 2012 Annelise said

    Annelise

    Hey Amanda! I’m doing the trip in July and I just had a question about your budget. Did you bring all your money with you, or did you use an ATM/Credit Card overseas? Also, did you exchange your money in your hometown or when you got overseas? I’m confused on which would be the smartest and safest way. And how much would you recommended for a budget? Thanks so much!!

  • 13 Apr 2012 M.Rachele said

    Default_avatar

    Hey Amanda. Im doing the trip in May and was just wondering about packing. So is a sleeping bag and pillow needed? I was told to for sure bring a towel. Plus were internet cafe’s easy to find? as for clothing, do we need some dressy ones? And are sweaters enough or jackets a good idea too? Hope you can help, and thanks.

  • 15 Apr 2012 Miss Amanda Hope said

    Miss Amanda Hope

    Hi Annelise !
    SO sorry about the late reply! I took some cash which i exchanged from home (about 1000 euro i think) which is what i felt safe carrying around in my luggage. I took a travel card which was good and saved a bit on fees. I also took my own ATM/Credit Card but just check the fees and charges with your bank cos it can be expensive to use your ordinary card overseas. I believe NAB has a good account to use overseas (If you’re from australia)
    A budget you’re probably looking at about 100-150 euro a day

    HI M.Rachele :)
    I bought my sleeping bag in London prior to the tour but I didn’t need a pillow. Definitely a towel, I had a travel towel which you can buy online and I also bought a beach towel over there which I threw out after the tour (as well as the sleeping bag)
    Most sites have wireless or some type of internet connection but I found I didn’t really need to use it because you’re having too much fun!
    Clothes you definitely need a few dressy outfits maybe two or three.. Wouldn’t worry about heels because you won’t wear them really. Its hard to say about the jumpers because I went in June/July and it was 40 odd degrees everyday haha. Remember you can always BUY more so don’t overly stress about packing because everything you might need you can get over there :) I bought HEAPS!

    Hope this helps let me know if you need more :)

  • 13 May 2012 laurenameliaaa said

    laurenameliaaa

    does your day bag stay on the bus ?

  • 2 Apr 2013 Nikki said

    Nikki

    Hi, quick question, I know this was AGES ago, but the people doing my tour of this in June all want to go to Moulin Rouge, but it seems that our optional is Nouvelle Eve. We want to skip Nouvelle and book our own trip to Moulin Rouge, but you have to book super early and contiki wont tell us which night is the Paris city night tour and which night is the Parisian dinner and which night is the cabaret.
    Do you remember which order your trip was in?

  • 2 Apr 2013 Rachel said

    Rachel

    We had our show on the 3rd night, I think it can change with each tour though…

  • 20 Jan 2014 Hayley said

    Hayley

    Hey everyone, not sure if people are still reading this. But since the tour finishes in Athens, how do people get back to London? Do you have to arrange your own transport, or can you get the bus back? thanks :)

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