18 May 2014 - 19 Jun 2014
Words can't describe how incredible this trip was. It defeated my expectations, and was hands down the best thing I've ever done.
Our tour manager, Steve, was so professional and organized, it really made our trip so much more special. We really couldn't have asked for a better guy to take us around Europe, he was amazing.
We saw some of the most beautiful and well known places on earth, and if I could do it all over again I would in a heartbeat!
From sitting below the Eiffel Tower in awe, to chugging Sangria buckets in Barcelona, then seeing Monte Carlo during the Grand Prix, getting lost in Venice, donkey riding in Santorini, going to 5 level clubs in Croatia, having no hangover after a night at the Beer Hall in Austria wearing German outfits, climbing the Swiss Alps, and even seeing all Amsterdam has to offer; our trip literally accommodated to every single person.
We were able to see so many different types of cultures (in the historical/artistic sense, as well as experiencing the night-life).
The age groups on our trip ranged from 20-34 and it was honestly really awesome to get to know so many people from such different walks of life.
We were in hotels every night which was great! The only thing I would say is that if you're used to a huge breakfast, be prepared for the European way of breakfast (a croissant, a coffee, and some cheeses and meats). But that was fine because then you get to gorge on the amazing foods on your walk abouts in each city.
The cruise was so amazing, it was a nice change of pace to just relax for a few days as our trip so far had been really full on and so much to see!
The people I was blessed enough to meet on this trip will remain friends for life and will always hold such a special place in my heart. I shared some of the best days of my life with them and it was a very hard goodbye at the end of our tour.
One main suggestion- DO ALL OF THE ME TIME OPTIONALS! Every single one was so amazing. From Moulin Rouge in Paris, to yacht jumping in Dubrovnik, every single me time was one I would do over 100 times again. If you're thinking about the money side of it, don't! Think in the sense that you'll never be able to experience this with these people again, you're already in Europe, so why not!
Just do them all and you'll thank yourself at the end.
If you're worried that 33 days is too long, I can assure you it's not long enough! By the end you'll be wishing you had another 33 days! You become a family with your group, you fall in love with every city, you even love the bus rides to each destination. Thinking back now I really miss those bus days, we all had so much fun!
So I'll stop rambling now, but I hope this review helps even one person in their decision on choosing this contiki, because I guarantee you it is honestly the best thing in the world. A trip of a lifetime that I'm truly grateful I got to experience :)
P.s. eat as much gelato as you can in Rome, it is incredible! I also recommend staying back an extra week in Europe after your tour. I did and my friend and I went back to the places we loved the most.
Review written Jul 2014event 0.3
16 Jun 2013 - 18 Jul 2013
This tour is definitely worth the money! You get to stay in hotels for the whole tour, some were amazing some not so (e.g. the jail hotel in Lucerne) but you will be out exploring Europe for most of the day anyways so the hotels are just for sleeping. They all have good bathrooms and warm showers so you can look forward to that too at the end of your adventures.
In terms of optionals i know wish i had done them all but because i wanted to save money i skipped a couple but found i could have paid for all of them because i ended up going home with quite a bit of extra money. I don't recommend the Venice walking tour because you can find amazing little parts of the city on your own without the guide and i didn't like the swiss fondue lunch that much but the entertainment was pretty funny and all of the people on your tour make it feel worth it!
Included food was great for the most part, get used to eating chicken for dinner on these nights! But you can always grab a bite to eat while you are out in the cities!
The coach we had was super new so it was so nice and comfy to sleep on for those long driving days, and our Tour Manager Lee and our driver Patrice were the BOMB! They made the trip so much fun and i will always love them for that!
In most of the cities you have to catch the metro to get around but its not too bad just get used to reading maps and asking for directions if you need help. You also get mostly 1 full day in the cities and if you get there early enough you may have 1 and a half days to go around, which is plenty if its your first trip because you then can decide where you want to go back later on in life.
I loved the cruise even though it was pretty short and the time spent on the islands was not long enough for me! The food and crew on the cruise were amazing and they feed you delicious food at the buffet. i also suggest getting the 80 Euro (that's the price it was when i went) unlimited drinks package because you get alcohol, water, juice, smoothies etc included in that for the duration of the cruise so you don't have to worry about overspending on the drinks while you party!
I would do this tour again in a heartbeat with no changes even if there were a few bumps along the road, nonetheless it is an awesome tour that you will enjoy and have fond memories of because the people you tour with are amazing as well and they will be there forever!
If you want specific details about the tour check out my travel blog, it has daily recounts of what i did on this tour in June/July 2013 (summer):
Happy travelling! x
Review written Apr 2014event 0.3
15 Jul 2011 - 18 Aug 2011
Saw the most amazing places, & met the most amazing people... Thank you contiki for inspiring me to see the world and travel more. This was truly the time of my life and I would do another tour in a heart beat.
Review written Jul 2013event 0.3
13 May 2011 - 16 Jun 2011
Best Tour!!!! Had such an amazing time, met a lot of great people, loved my tour manager!!! Loved everything about this tour and all the amazing places we got to see and experience!!!!
Review written Feb 2013event 0.3
04 Sep 2011 - 06 Oct 2011
This trip was amazing, incredible, spectacular and so much more. I went on the one in September 2011 for my gap year. I was travelling alone, but I knew that I would meet some friends on the tour... and that I did. I met some really wonderful people who I know that I will be friends with forever (in fact, we are all meeting up in Sydney in 2 weeks for the weekend and I'm doing another Contiki soon with a girl I met on this one!). I became really close with 5 other girls on the tour and we started a band - not really, but that's what we called ourselves instead of a gang or team or group or whatever. It's kind of an inside joke... but that's the whole point!!!
Our tour manager Filippo and our driver Katya were so good at everything. They were so helpful. Filippo has 'Filippo's Tips' for every place we went, which was a double sided page with hints and tips of all the good places to go while we were there. As he explained it, the tour is like a cheese platter - you are just getting a taste for each place, so you can see which ones you really want to go back to. Which is the perfect way to describe it.
The hotels we stayed at were nice. Some of them were a little out of the way (the one in Amsterdam for example, and Paris a bit too) so if you went into town for the day you had to say there. There was no coming back to get things you forgot, or to have a nap, or whatever you wanted to do - unless you were willing to pay the taxi fare. Which probably wasn't much in the grand scheme of things, but still, the brochure made it sound like the hotels were right in the thick of things. Although, to be fair, a lot of the hotels were in pretty good locations - London, Nice, Rome the main ones I can think of. It was probably a 50/50 split.
I did all the optional extras. They were all really good. Some of them were good, and I enjoyed them, but I probably could have survived without doing it. The Opera in Austria for example. One thing I would recommend you try is parasailing in Nice. It isn't an optional extra with Contiki, but if you go down to the beach you can book it there. I did it with 2 other girls and it was so much fun! They take you up and then dunk you in the water!!!!!!
The weather was perfect the whole time I was there. I think it rained once (and when I say it rained, it was more like a drizzle) on the last day in Amsterdam. Other than that it was blue skies and sunshine everyday.
The bus that we got was a tester bus that Mercedes was trying out with Contiki. It was really spacious and comfortable. The only down sides were that it didn't have power plugs, so we couldn't change things during the long drives, and there was a toilet too (sounds like it may be a positive... but it wasn't). The rule was 'NO POO IN THE LOO!'. One chick didn't understand this rule though - a couple of times!!! - so when that happened the whole bus reeked until it could be cleaned out at the next service stop!
The food was alright. I am a pretty fussy eater though so I'm not the best person when it comes to explaining how the food was (I know! I need to quit it!). A running joke of the food came about pretty soon though. We seemed to get chicken and potatoes every night - What's for dinner? Chicken and potatoes for a change! By the end of the tour I was definitely craving a decent steak that's for sure.
On Contiki, I have learned, that a theme song for the tour is chosen and is the first song played every time you get on the bus. Last Summer by the Lostprophets was the theme song.
Overall, the tour was amazing. I would highly recommend it!!!! If you get the chance, this is a really excellent tour and should consider going on it. I have so many incredible memories. We had so many laughs. We all made so many wonderful new friends. It was my first time in Europe and I can't wait to get back!
I will leave you with Filippo's favourite quote that he told us on the first day:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
- Mark Twain
Review written Jun 2012event 0.3
04 Sep 2011 - 06 Oct 2011
This would have to have been the most amazing experience I have ever had. So well run, so many sights to see and I feel like we fit more into a day then I thought possible. But what's more is I made some really amazing friends that I know I am always going to keep in contact with. So worth the money, so much included and the memories you make just make it all the more unforgettable.
Would recommend it to anyone and everyone!
Review written May 2012event 0.3
14 Aug 2011 - 15 Sep 2011
My partner and I had a great time with this well organised trip. It was 33 days of action with great long term friends we made on the trip including the tour manager and driver! Highlights everday (except Albania - that place is so backwards it makes everywhere else look better). We left Aug 14 - it was almost 40 degrees everyday - it was hot humid and didn't rain once. Not many places to do washing - be prepared for that. Not much time in Florence, but enough to get a feel for the place. Everywhere was busy! Time was saved lining up for the Eiffel Tour - we went straight up - anyone not on the tour had to wait over 3 hours on the same day. Dave out TM was great at entertaining us all the time and if you dont want to do something or be involved in something like drinking all night then no-one will make you. There is a lot of time spent on the coach but its necessary to get from A-B - you can sleep, watch a "documentary" (movie or tv show), listen to coach music or your own ipod, charge your cameras on the coach or talk to your new mates! Highly recommended! Also the island hopping option is better than the mykinos option (you get plenty of time there on the cruise and get to go to turkey! plus the volcano in santorini is a great experience). food is good everywhere - we did most optional meals (some are too big - be prepared to eat a lot and walk it off).Accomodation was standard - comfortable, some places were far from town like paris but the coach will take you in or the public transport is easy and cheap to use. Buy lots and send it home from Amsterdam (its the cheapest and best option for your souveniers). Nice was lovely and so was croatia - wish i was back there now.....
(Completed by Samantha Regan)
Review written Oct 2011event 0.3