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Tips On Optionals& Trip Review-European Experience

16 Nov 2011 Explorer1307236 asked


I did the European Experience in September 2011 and had the time of my life! I went with my sister and there were 30 people on our tour. It was a small tour but it was great cos alot of us got a whole seat to ourselves on the bus! We all got along and partied every night. Most of us (Even those who didn't drink) didn't get to sleep till 3 - 4am. We all still did all the site seeing and optionals. Most of us just slept on the bus! Here are a few tips on the optionals and others i have added:

DAY ONE is usually just driving to the destination and stopping for Optional activites. DAY TWO is your free day site seeing & shopping. My tour manager gave us a map and marked all the major attractions. Usually we would get dropped off round 9am and the bus would be back at 4pm. You could stay Shorter or Longer you just had to catch a cab back to site. Our tour manager also gave us a lesson in French, Italian & German. We learnt to say Hello, Goodbye, Please, Thank You & cheers which was really help ful. the places we stayed in were mostly contiki Villiages Cabins, A few hotels and the Chateau. They were all clean but small. At the end of the day you are only there to sleep. no one on my tour got bed bugs but i would suggest taking ointment just in case. I also reccommend you take insect repellent. You will need it in Venice. Food supplied at the sites was hit & miss. It wasn't the best but it would be hard ifyou were a Vegetarian or Vegan. Make sure you do tell Contiki if you have a special diet when you book the tour. Also tell the tour manager on the first day! All Up i probably spent approx $175 AUD per day. I didn't drink much on tour but i did alot of shopping - Florence is where you will spend most of your money!

- The parisian dinner was amazing. probably up there with the best food in the whole tour. My reccommendation is the Duck! The waiters are fantastic and they do try to keep topping up your glasses with wine!

- Nouvelle Eve In Paris was amazing. It was such a laugh but they were all great dancers! this is a must do optional.

- You MUST have a nutella crepe! It's the most amazing thing i have ever eaten!

- make sure you ask your tour manager about the "Secret" way in to the Louvre (If you don't you can be waiting for an hour or more and then you still have to wait inside

- Monte Carlos Casino is really expensive for drinks. It cost us 30 Eurofor a cocktail! My suggestion if you don't like the gambling scene is to go up to the rooftop bar. There is an amazing view and drinks are a little cheaper.

- Our 2 party nights in Florence were the most fun on tour. Karaoke at the Red Garter and Space Disco. The Tuscan meal was pretty good - not the best but the amount of food you get is unbelievable. You even get a shot of Lemon Cello at the end!

- If you are chasing some leather my suggestion is Leonardo's. It's where the leather craft demo is held but be warned you will spend LOTS! I went over my budget because of Florence!

- Rome was really Humid and hot. The vatican was beautiful but there were far too many people inside to enjoy it.

- Make sure you purchase your tickets to the Collosseum at the Forum. Don't pre order your ticket because some days you get in for free. Once you have the tickets you can skip the line and go straight through.

- Venice was amazing - Food was fantastic. Shopping is really expensive - unless you have alot of money venice isn't really the place for shopping. We all got a different plate of food and shared our meals. That way we got to try everything.

- White water rafting - Was the most fun of all the optionals. The Guides are great fun! I wish i could have done it twice.

- Mountain Bike tour - The hardest ride ever but the scenery was worth it. Austria is the most beautiful place.

- Zorbing & Paragliding - Zorbing wasn't really worth it. You were only in there for 30 - 40 seconds and that was it. Paragliding was amazing. I'm scared of heights but forced myself to do it & the scenery is fantastic!

- Swarovski Crystal World & Beer Hall - The crystal world was pretty amazing. We didn't go to the Beer Hall as we went to Oktoberfest instead. We had an amazing time. I would go back again just for the Pork Knuckle & you have to try the fruit covered in toffee! YUM

- Jungfrau - This was spectacular. I have never seen snow before this so i was really excited. It is really beautiful. The ice palace is also great but not for those who are chlostrophobic.

- It's your last day in Amsterdam so do all the optionals one last time with your group. For those people who go to the Ann Franks House i suggest pre purchasing your tickets. We waited for an hour!

- Our last nights Amsterdam were the most fun! We all went out and had the greatest time. There was lots of laughter and everyone was sharing their memories on tour.

- Hand sanitizer and tissues are a MUST for everyone. The toilets are terrible and most times you have to pay to use them.

- Our trip back to London was the saddest because we knew we were all going to be saying our goodbyes. Everyone had a few tears. You will miss your tour mates. Most of us were from Australia so i guess it will be a bit easier to catch up. We are even planning our next trip together.
Here are my favorites & not so favourites:

Favourite Country: Austria & Switzerland
Favourite City: Rome, Paris
Most Beautiful: Austria, Swiss Alps / Lucerene - I can't decide out of these places!
Best Optional: White Water Rafting & Paragliding
Worst Optional: Vatican City Tour - ROME, i was looking forward to this but it was too crowded and was way too hot!
Favourite Food: Pizza in Rome & Venice, Pasta in Bolonga, NUTELLA CREPE, Stroopwafels in Amsterdam!
Least favourite Meal: Rhine Valley - Our tour manager pre warned us that this meal was not great and we were glad we listened and had a big lunch! We don't know what meat it was but it was some roast- Apparently Pork, Peas & Pasta & Gravy.

Hope this helps and if there is anything else you want to know i will be happy to give some advise!

  • Read the responses 23 responses so far
  • 19 Dec 2012 RJ1817 said


    you have to pay for your optionals up front with cash

  • 19 Dec 2012 Nicky said


    Yes, you have to pay it up front in cash, but you don’t pay all the optionals for the whole trip at once. You pay for the first half of the trip and after 20 days you pay the second half.

  • 19 Dec 2012 RJ1817 said


    well, it depends on how long your trip is. If it’s a shorter one, you pay it all at the start.

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