15 Sep 2015 - 03 Oct 2015
I got back from my European Inspiration Contiki 1 week ago and already I am missing it more than anything. I did this trip solo. I was one of 8 solo travelers on this tour. And not once did we feel left out! The age group of my tour was 19-34 and everyone got on really well!
This tour is an Easy Pace, this means more time in each place. (Around 1 & 1/2 days in each place). I highly recommend doing this type of tour as you get the most out of each destination.
I went over to Europe budgeting for only 4 of the ME TIME options. I ended up doing around 10. This ate right into my savings, so a little advice - save more then you think you will need as you will most probably spend more then you anticipate!
Contiki Hotel Tours usually do not stay in the center of town. you are usually around a 15-25 Euro taxi out of the city center. You will get a taxi A LOT of the time as well after nights out and big full-on days! It's usually helpful to share taxis with your fellow Contiki buddies to split the bill!
The ME TIME EXTRAS that I strongly recommend:
*Amsterdam Lake Cruise (Free drinks, Great Views)
*Berlin Historical Walking Tour (If you like history)
*Berlin Alternative Tour (If you like street art & want to get into exclusive clubs & experience the amazing Berlin night life)
*Munich Mike's Bikes - THIS IS A MUST DO. (It sounds ridiculous but it is amazing & the guides make it so much more fun!!)
*Tyrol - White Water Rafting. (Well worth it!!)
*Venice - Explore Venice yourself. Take the time to get lost, find your own food. Trust me on this one.
*Florence - Tuscan Feast. (the food is amazing and very nice. you get so much good food and more wine then you can imagine!!)
*Florence - Space Disco (if you like clubs and music then this is the place for you. Let loose and just dance with your new friends!)
*Lucerne - Mt Pilatus - (THIS IS A MUST SEE. The views are spectacular.This tour is a MUST.)
*Paris - Moulin Rouge. (This is the most expensive ME TIME on this tour. But it is the last night and it is a very nice dinner & A LOT of wine. It is nice to spend it with everyone before saying goodbye.)
The only disappointment that many people and myself included had was that the hotel you stay in, in Venice, is around 40km from the actual canals of Venice. So it's a bit of a trek into ACTUAL Venice - a long bus & ferry ride. You do get a FULL day there though so that is a plus.
We were in Munich for Oktoberfest - This was the most incredible experience of the tour. Everyone on the tour dressed up! We bought our outfits that same day at the local shopping center. It was just amazing. It is just such a massive festival you can't even imagine it until you see it for yourself. I had such a great experience, I met Germans, Austrians, Swiss, Dutch & Italians. It was a real authentic experience for me which I am thankful for!! So much beer & food - You will never forget this! Highly recommend doing this tour when Oktoberfest is on!
My tour manger was Jess - She was amazing like a big sister or best friend to everyone on the tour. Everyone felt like they could instantly go to her for anything & everything. And for that I am thankful. She really looked after me on the trip more than anyone I met - she was always there for me. My driver was Attila - He was incredible. So skilled, funny and we all felt so safe & secure thanks to him. We were Attila's last Contiki tour (His Number 74) - Couldn't thank him enough!!
Contiki is all about doing everything you can and living your time overseas with No Regrets - I can say that I definitely did this. I look back on my trip and know that I wouldn't change a thing. It did change my life though in many ways then one. It makes you grow, makes you stronger as a person, appreciate life and what it has to offer & your thrown in the deep end with a lot of things which is a great learning curve for everyone.
I highly recommend doing a Contiki! It is a great taste for Europe & all what it has to offer.
Review written Oct 2015event 0.3
16 Jun 2015 - 04 Jul 2015
My Contiki trip was one of the best things that I have chosen to do. The people on the tour were all amazing and I now consider them great friends who I want to keep in touch with. Our tour manager and bus driver weren't only amazing at their jobs, but they were crazy great people to tour around with too. I would recommend this tour to anyone looking for a stress free holiday to some of the most beautiful countries in the world with some awesome people!
Review written Jul 2015event 0.3
14 Jul 2014 - 02 Aug 2014
In taking this tour for three weeks has giving opportunities to see amazing places in Europe and place I never though seeing or traveling to. Accommodation were great and traveling bus road was great. The group of people were awesome. I love every bite of tour. The best adventure I never took traveling alone.
Review written Jun 2015event 0.3
16 May 2015 - 04 Jun 2015
Okay, let me start off by saying I was equally excited and nervous for this trip...
Nervous because I was traveling solo and never traveled Contiki before. I wasn't sure what to expect or how I would like the people I was going to spend 19 days with. I was excited for the obvious reasons...SEEING EUROPE!!
I also did the London Explorer package prior to the Inspiration tour so the few days leading up to the trip I had visited the Contiki basement a few times. Every member of the staff was super helpful and felt like they were old friends. The day before we left we did a meeting at the basement where we got to meet the people who were also on the trip.
When I arrived I immediately met 2 people that I connected with right away. As soon as we started chatting, all my concerns were at ease. I knew it was going to be a good trip! After the meeting a group of 10 of us went to a pub for a few pints and to get more acquainted. For anyone doing a trip, I would suggest using this time to meet your trip mates because it was a great way to break the ice quickly.
Now for the trip...This honestly could not have been better. Everything went perfectly and at no point was I concerned over timing, accommodations, drive time, lines into the attractions etc etc..Our driver(Jason M) and trip Manager(Nick P) were on top of everything!!
For the amount of time we had in each city, they made sure we maximized it to the fullest!! And they always did it with a friendly face. I never once got a bad vibe from them and they both seemed genuinely happy with their jobs and to help us out with anything we needed. I unfortunately got sick, but Nick stepped up to the plate and helped me locate a doctor when I needed it. This was extremely valuable to me because I had no idea what to do or where to go.
I can't say enough good things about these 2. But they definitely exceeded my expectations and set the bar high for any other driver and tour manager.
The trip was an absolute blast and I made lifelong friends that I'll keep in contact with. We're actually already talking about another trip for next summer.
Thanks Nick, Jason, my Contiki family and Contiki for an awesome trip!
Review written Jun 2015event 0.3
02 May 2015 - 21 May 2015
This was my first ever Contiki and well it was definitely the BEST first ever Contiki I could have chosen!! It was almost a month of my life that I would constantly relive if I could!!
With the most amazing tour manager Lee and coach driver Szabi that we couldn't have asked for any better…as well 50 of the most amazing people I've ever met, I could not have imagined a better way to see the culture and sights of Europe!
There is definitely sooo many experiences I want to share!!
I did the European Inspiration tour from 02 May 2015 to 21 May 2015 from London - Amsterdam - Berlin - Prague - Munich - Venice - Rome - Florence - Lucerne - Paris!! I had never been to Europe before so I did a lot of researching and read a lot of reviews to try and prepare myself. I will try to make this review as detailed as possible to help anyone thinking or going on this tour. It was completely amazing for any first time European travellers to see LOADS of many of the main and popular cities!
I highly recommend this tour! I had the best time of life and have honestly never been more happy and content. The memories and friends I have made on this tour I will treasure for life. I can’t describe in words how beautiful Europe is, each place is so unique and different from the next. I truly believe that if you have never been to Europe before, Contiki is the best thing you can do, and this tour was great because it went to so many places over a decent amount of time. Don’t worry about it not being enough time! Usually when we arrived in a new place we had the afternoon/night and the whole next day/night. It doesn’t sound like very long but you really squeeze everything that needs to be seen in, it’s exciting this way! Some places don’t even really need a full day to see things (eg. Lucerne, Munich, Venice) so you end up having time to chill out, relax, and have some fun with your new friends, and just enjoy and relish where you are in the moment. Some places you will love and some places you may absolutely hate and you might be grateful that you only spend one day there. In general Contiki is a great taste tester so you know where you would like to go back to and spend longer (I would really recommend you being spontaneous and revisiting places after the tour). It’s so convenient with Contiki, each day you get a map, time schedule, some suggestions where to go and where to eat, how to speak the languages, currency exchange info, and you get dropped off right in the heart of everything. Some places were quite overwhelming and a little scary, even though I was travelling with a friend I couldn’t imagine us travelling by ourselves and organizing everything on our own (would be so stressful!), I felt so safe and carefree with the group, all we had to do was sit back and enjoy while everything was being organized for us. We got lucky because most of the time it was all sunshine with only 3-4 days of rain. The coldest places were London (it as more windy than anything). The other places were warmer than I thought (especially Prague and Rome). You could actually get away with just wearing one layer.
Our coach driver (Szabi) and tour guide (Lee) were so amazing!! Very professional and they sure know how to have fun too!! Words cannot describe enough how utterly amazing they were the entire trip!! Both were so great at what they do and it was so awesome that they were always coming out with the group, they took such good care of us. It shows how much they enjoy their jobs and put great effort into making sure that we have the trip of a lifetime!! I just can't thank them enough!!! I would definately recommend them both. I didn’t realize that the coach driver had “specific driving times”, i.e. past certain times of night they aren’t allowed to drive, some days they have to rest, every 4 hrs the bus MUST stop for 45 minute breaks. But if the coach couldn’t take us somewhere, our tour guide Lee would buy us train/metro tickets and show us how to get around and back to the hotel. If we ever had questions about what to see or how to get somewhere, Lee was really informative and helpful.
What did you see? what did you do?
Pretty much everything on the itinerary and a bit more! Usually we would get some sort of brief tour on the bus or walking tour by our tour guide and then the rest of the day we would have to explore. Some things you only get to “see”, while other stuff you get to physically explore, it’s all up to what you want to do.
Before we met with our fellow Contiki mates/travelling buddies, my friend and I stayed 3 nights in London prior to the start of the tour to see everything we wanted to see.
London- tour starts in the morning and you cross the English Channel on a ferry and head for Amsterdam (take motion sick tablets beforehand because it is a bit bumpy). There is a lot to see and do in London so I would try get there a few days before hand like we did. I visited St. Paul's Cathedral and walked to the very top for some pretty panoramic views of London (its worth the climb), visited the tower of London, seen the London bridge, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace (where we were also there for the birth of the Royal Baby #2 Charlotte - which was a highlight of my trip as well)!! We seen the changing of guard (I enjoyed it but is pretty long and I would recommend getting there early to get a good spot), saw houses of parliament, Big Ben, went to Trafalgar square (cool place to just chill out). Everything in London is super easy to get to on the tube, once you work out how to use it.
Amsterdam- Amsterdam is a beautiful relaxed place with plenty to see and do. I completely love the Dutch culture of how relaxed and laid back they are! We went on a bike ride with our granny bike in the small village of Edam. Amsterdam is also as easy to get around as London due to the trams which are everywhere and many "pyschopaths on the cycle path!" LOL. We got to see the Anne Frank Haus which is a must see!! We walked into Red light district as well the first evening we arrived.
Berlin- Stopped in Dresden for lunch a cute little town, walked along east side gallery, saw checkpoint Charlie, remains of the berlin wall that used to divide east and west, Brandenburg gate, holocaust memorial, and we went on a historical walking tour which was really good in my opinion!
Prague- On the way there we stopped at German Dachua concentration camp which was very overwhelming and depressing but a place very worth visiting. I will cherish my pebble we picked up and have it on my nightstand as a constant reminder of what they have been through. We went to castle district (like the Disney castle), saw John Lennon wall, walked over Charles bridge, went to old town square and saw astronomical clock and even waited for it to chime on the hour - a long 7 minutes you can't get back - but still worth it!
Munich- Everything in Munich was closed because it was a Sunday and a holiday, but walked around and waited for the clock Glockenspiel to do its special thing! Went to traditional beer hall (2nd largest beer garden in the world and the greatest place on earth, drink beer and eat a pork knuckle!). We went on a bike tour through the city and through the Englisher Gardens, another highlight of my trip!!
Venice- my heart was left here. Such a charming city! Seen St. Marks Square, San Marco, Doges Palace (but didn’t go inside), bridge of sighs, Rialto bridge, saw a glass blowing demonstration. Try to get lost in Venice, Venice is beautiful to just wander around.
Rome- Started at Roman forum then to coliseum, went to Travi fountain (which was under construction, grrr!), went to the Pantheon, Piazza Novena, Spanish steps (which is also under construction), had a tour Vatican city and the Sistine Chapel (breath taking).
Florence- stopped at leaning tower of Pisa on the drive. We saw Ponte Venchio, Dumo (defiantly go inside), Statue of David, had lunch in the pizzeria strip (best pizza you will ever eat). We went to a leather demonstration too which was pretty amazing.
Lucerne- Saw Lion monument, walked across chapel bridge, visited Harry Swiss watch shop, went up a cable car ride to the summit of Mt. Pilates (2132m in elevation) and had a snow fight with the little bit of snow remaining up there - there was not much!
Paris- City of lights tour at night was great, went up the Eiffel tower, went to the Louvre, Love lock bridge, went inside Notre dame (so beautiful inside), walked to Latin Quarter (great places to eat), saw Arc de Triumphe (and climbed the winding stairs to the top too) and champs eylsees street
What were the optionals like?
Everything I read before I left told me to do all of the optionals, so I did them all. I definitely recommend all of them! I don’t regret them.
Moulin Rouge – It’s a lot of money and probably not worth what your paying but it’s a MUST do when in Paris. I think it was absolutely AMAZING!! After the show, we all went to O’Sullivans next door and danced the night away as it was our last night together, the whole group was there and we all had so much fun!
Mt. Pilatus – This is defiantly a must do. You ride in a cable car up to the top of the mountain and look at the most breath taking view of the swiss alps.
Swiss Fondue Lunch – Swiss Fondue is cheese, not chocolate! The meal is delicious, you get bread to dip into the hot cheese and then you get a sausage for the main.
Tuscan Evening – This is a must do!! It was a beautiful evening!!
Space Electronic Disco – This was a pretty groovy place with a card you use to get drinks, karaoke, LED paint. The music was great and everyone had fun, the only bad thing I would say is that the Italians there were very young and I felt weird dancing among young teenagers.
Souvenir group photo – Everyone should get this. The picture is a nice keep safe and comes in a little card cover, which everyone signed at the end of the tour with a little comment, its nice to read them now that the tour is over.
Vatican Tour – Must do, the Vatican is huge and the tour takes you inside the Sistine chapel, into the museums and into St. Peters Basilica. I have never seen anything like it, all of the art and the detail in the ceilings. I was really blown away.
Rome of the Emperors and Gladiators including the Colloseum – Another must do, the guide is so informative, learnt so much about the history and I found it so interesting. Plus: you get to skip all of the lines!
Venice walking tour – Such a good tour, we all got ear pieces and walked with her around the streets, it didn’t go for long was short and sweet and covered all of the main sights. But Venice is small so you probably could give it a miss and do it yourself.
Gondola ride – Must do when in Venice! Everyone formed groups of 6, was about 30mins long. Was so beautiful going around all of the canals and under the bridges
Venetian Dinner – I have never eaten so much in my life! I would recommend it because its really bang for your buck. Venice is very expensive, most restaurants charge you 30% on top of your bill so it works out better to do this dinner rather than finding somewhere yourself. The one person who didn’t do this dinner actually got lost and left behind in venice.
Tour t-shirts – Everyone actually got sweatshirts too! We had a pretty cool design too! I wear mine all of the time.
River cruise with buffet meal – This was a lovely optional, it went up and down the main river that flows under Charles bridge, it was a great view with all you could eat. Everyone got two complementary drinks as well.
Berlin historical walking tour – Best Walking tour. It went for 3hrs, and there was a lot of walking but was so informative. German history is fascinating, and the guide was so passionate about it. You see everything in this tour, including the holocaust memorial. If your going to pick a tour, this is the tour you cant miss.
Volendam Dinner – The food was delicious, the restaurant was really nice.
Canal Cruise- Must do. Was the best way to finish the tour. The cruise went around the canals of Amsterdam and there was a show of lights, we went under colourful rainbows, in between giant tulips light, past a ship made with water mist. All while drinking all you can drink.
Boat cruise during free time in Lucerne, Switzerland
Seeing the white chalk cliffs of Dover.
Seeing the Eiffel Tower lit up at night.
The Moulin Rouge night out.
Putting a lovelock on Lockbridge and throwing away the key.
Cable Car ride up to Mt. Pilates in Swiss Alps.
Seeing the Vatican museums and Sistine chapel.
Walking around inside the Colleseum.
Riding in a Gondola in Venice
Hofbrauhaus beer, 1L Radler beer and pork knuckles
Bike rides in Village of Edam and Munich
Visiting the Anne Frank House
Review written Jun 2015event 0.3
16 Sep 2014 - 04 Oct 2014
For a few reasons I was quite apprehensive about the tour - mostly spending a lot of times on the bus and with a big group of people (and you always wonder what kind of people you get for your tour). But this was, by a long shot, the best thing I have ever done. The crew was amazing - Our tour guide Chloe and drive Antonio were the absolute highlight of the trip for all of us. I had an amazing group of people - some I am glad to have met and will have the pleasure to call them my friends for the rest of my life. The included bits in the trips were amazing and so were the optionals. If you are still on the fence - DO IT! you won't regret it. The price was great value for what you get on the trip - and the is trip is very well planned out logistically to ensure a fantastic experience. amazing, amazing ,amazing.
Review written Mar 2015event 0.3
16 Sep 2014 - 04 Oct 2014
Words cannot describe how amazing this tour is. Firstly, a HUGE THANK YOU to my tour manager (Chloe) and driver (Antonio). They put in 110% effort (plus more) and made every single one of us (there was not one empty seat on the bus) feel happy and enjoy every moment of this tour.
You have to actually do this tour to understand how fantastic it really is. The places you see, the places which are included and the optionals which are fantastic value and well worth it.
I'd honestly do this tour again and again, there's always so much to see and do. There needs to be more time in the day to include everything - Paris is impossible to see in just two days.
Accommodation was fine, if you go on Contiki expecting 5 star luxury - you're dreaming.
The food was amazing; every place you goto has something different so you're not stuck with the same food every day, there's a few walkabout meals - where you go find your own food - and they're always fun, even more fun when you get lost! It's all part of the experience!
Transport? Antonio's driving skills got us everywhere! If we wanted to go out and party, we had great advice given to us by Chloe on how to get back, best way to get back and any details (trams/trains/stops/etc).
Every moment was a best moment for me on this tour.. I'm from Australia and I spent 19 days with amazing people, met plenty of locals, and I was in Europe!!!
Every single person on our tour has made memories, all which are fun memories and we'll always remember this tour for many years to come. I encourage anybody who wants to experience the best of Europe to do this tour.
Review written Oct 2014event 0.3
31 Aug 2013 - 18 Sep 2013
My husband and I loved this trip, it really was the trip of a lifetime! We did all the extras on the list, saw and did so many amazing things. Made friendships with great people to last a lifetime. I would do this trip again in a heartbeat. Our tour manager Alex is the best in the business and our driver Kevin knows how to move a bus! This trip is the best way to see all the best bits of Europe in one visit.
Review written Aug 2014event 0.3
15 Jun 2014 - 03 Jul 2014
Met some amazing people, had a lot of fantastic experiences and saw many beautiful and interesting things.
I would HIGHLY recommend doing this tour for the excellent variety of countries and also you REALLY need the 2 days per place. If this is your first Contiki/time overseas its a great pick for you, its a huge range of personalities on the trip so you will find your place in the group VERY easily and another positive it that it is short enough tour to avoid getting homesick and long enough tour to make you feel like a genuine traveller!
Accommodation is what you expect of a 3 or 4 star hotel, most stays were in the IBIS hotel chain if that gives you a better understanding. Food everywhere is amazing because its Europe of course!
Everyone is different obviously but I highly recommend at least these three optional extras:
1. Lake Cruise in Lucerne (STUNNING!)
2. Tuscan Dinner (lots of wine included and you're fed enough to last you a week)
3. Moulin Rouge (Dinner and a show, its great fun and awesome send off for your last night together)
My tour manager Mark and bus driver Christian were fantastic, you would be lucky to have either on your trip :)
I rate my Contiki experience 10/10 - not a single complaint!
My advice to you is to make the most of all the experiences on offer, I did almost ALL of the optional extras and don't regret any of them but I genuinely appreciated the "Free Time" when I could explore with my new friends and get lost in beautiful places.
Review written Jul 2014event 0.3
15 Mar 2014 - 04 Apr 2014
This trip was everything I had hoped for and more. It was my first time leaving the states and I was traveling alone so needless to say, I was a little nervous. From the time we met up with our Contiki group, the good times started rolling. Ebony, our Tour Manager, was AWESOME! She was so helpful and very clear about what to expect in regards to how things were going to work with times, hotels, travel, etc. Marco, our driver, was equally awesome! I don't know how he did it but he managed to make it through the craziest driving conditions without so much as a knick on the coach. He even took a detour not included on our tour so we could visit the Disney castle in Germany on our way to Venice! They both made it extremely easy to enjoy my vacation without worrying about the little things. Ebony knew a lot about the cities we were visiting and would recommend things to see and places to eat. She was so fun yet professional and I don't think anyone could have done a better job!
I did all the Optionals except for the Eye Spy in Berlin. I was told it was a good time though! I probably wouldn't do the Fondue lunch again in Switzerland but it was always fun having meals with most of my tour mates. Mt Pilatus is a must and so is the walking tour of Berlin. Our local travel guides were very cool.
I could not have lucked out with a better group of people to travel Europe with. The people in my group were from the US, Mexico, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
We also lucked out weather wise. I was expecting it to be a little chillier but most days, a light jacket would suffice (except at the top of Mt Pilatus!). I had to buy t-shirts and tanks in Prague because I mainly packed long sleeve shirts. So glad I went in March/April because I didn't feel like there were too many tourists. Italy would have been jam packed if it was summer time!
Hands down it was one of the best vacations I've ever taken. Not only was it amazing to see the beautiful sites and get immersed in the history of Europe, it was great to meet people from all over that will become lifelong friends. It was worth every penny and every minute away from home. It definitely was an experience I'll never forget and will think about often.
Review written Apr 2014event 0.3
03 Aug 2013 - 21 Aug 2013
Best tour to do for a first time, and for a lone traveller. Fantastic contiki team, even better fellow travellers. Perfect to have 2 nights in each city - gives you more time to explore.
Will definitely do another contiki!
Review written Aug 2013event 0.3
15 Sep 2012 - 03 Oct 2012
This is the most amazing tour. Having two nights in each city is really great and gives you more time to see the city. Lee was our tour manager and Kev our tour driver, both were the best anyone could ask for. I am a coeliac and had no problems with finding gluten free food on this tour. There is absolutely nothing I would change about this tour, I had the time of my life. No regrets.
Review written Oct 2012event 0.3
09 Jun 2012 - 27 Jun 2012
Thank you to the best tour manager and coach driver Garai and Mark for making this experience so memorable. We loved ever moment of the tour and we gained so much knowledge from Mark and Garai. I will recommend you two to anyone who asks!!! Thank you.
Review written Jul 2012event 0.3
19 May 2012 - 06 Jun 2012
i can't talk this tour up enough! it was the BEST thing I've ever done in my life. i got home 2 days ago and I'm having major withdrawals! our tour manager bri was AMAZING! she was so fun and knew everything! the people on the tour we're amazing. SO fun, so nice! the sights were incredible and we saw a lot!! i HIGHLY recommend this tour! on the first day, bri said that all the other tour mangers were jealous of her because she gets to do the best tour. it was seriously incredible! it changed my life and i love it SO much! hope this helped!
Review written Jun 2012event 0.3
11 Jun 2011 - 29 Jun 2011
This tour was one of the best thing I could have done as a first time traveler. The inclusions were amazing and so well organised, I saw the Effiel Tower at night, went white water rafting in the Austrian Tyrol, walked up a mountain in Switzerland and saw the most amazing fireworks from one of the best hotels I've ever stayed at in Lucerne. For the most part we stayed in above standard accommodation all of which seemed quite happy to have Contiki stay with them. I would say to anyone considering doing this tour, do it! My group was amazing, there was such diverse range of people from all over the world.
Review written Mar 2012event 0.3
09 Jun 2011 - 29 Jun 2011
This was the perfect trip to see all of the well-known sites of Europe. It was very exhausting with only two nights per city but I would recommend this trip to anyone who is eager to see all of Europe. I met some of the greatest people on my trip and truly had the time of my life! Can't wait to book another Contiki!
Review written Jul 2011event 0.3