29 Dec 2014 - 16 Jan 2015
This trip was amazing! If you want to get a taste of Europe, this journey had a great balance between culture and party! We had an awesome group, spread right from 18 to 35. The people were mainly Aussie on our tour with a few cool South Africans and Kiwi's. We all got along and the contiki staff made sure we got to know each other.
Tammy our TM and Krzysztof the Driver were fantastic and flexible. They were well informed and gave us plenty of tips on each city. The countries we visited were beautiful in Winter. It was the perfect way to get a taste of each capital city. 2 nights would be the minimum though, you only get 1 full day in each city and 2 nights.
The cities! Amsterdam was awesome but 2 days was enough, choose all the ME time activity!
Germany was more cultural than fun, I'd suggest booking some good bars or clubs in advance as it gets busy.
Prague was the stand out, so unexpected, best country by far. The people are really friendly and the food is amazing. Be sure to only eat in small groups as most of the restaurants are pretty small. They also have the cheapest shopping, basics like H&M etc... but really good quality and lowest prices. YOU MUST TRY THE ANONYMOUS BAR or the VODKA BAR. Google them and book at least the Anonymous Bar, so worth it!
Italy was amazing! Be prepared to pay a little more and eat in the more expensive cafe's, the alley ways are a little over rated. Just go and get lost in Venice, eat everything you can in Florence and do all the touristy stuff in Rome. Rome was a good party city. In Florence, don't just shop at the expensive leather places, the markets are OK quality too.
Switzerland was expensive but worth it. If you buy in bulk at the Watch & Swiss Knife stores you save!
Paris was great but be prepared for a lot of walking if you want to squeeze everything into one day. I didn't want to miss anything and we managed the Eiffel Tower, Arc Di Triumph, shopped along Champs-Elysees, Eating Escargot (just off Champs, go down the side stress for good value) and the Love Lock Bridge in one day, but had to miss the Louvre. The line was massive.
The ME time optional activities were pretty cool, but touristy, be sure too budget for them. I chose them all which was an additional $750ish but worth it. You could easily venture off on your own though and still discover each city, but a majority of the group go so it's nice to stick together. If you don't want to spend the additional $$ on the ME Time's, you can skip the dinners but do all the day activities. You can still catch up with everyone after the meal.
Everything was really well organised, the tour manager was hilarious and really cool. I would go back!
My hot tips are;
For the Wi-Fi junkies, if you don't have global roaming (expensive) go to a 3 store or Vodafone in London (there's one close to the Contiki Hotel) and get yourself the "Feel at Home" package. It cost me 15 pounds for unlimited data in 6 of the 8 countries. The other 2 I just used hotel Wi-Fi or a local café.
Listen to the Tour Manager, read their map and take their list of tips. Prepare each day in advance and make the most of the daytime in each city. You will regret missing out.
Help your hangover! The tour moves fast! Eat plenty of fresh & healthy food @ the service stops on bus days. You tend to let yourself go in each country so use the bus days (every 2nd - 3rd day) to rejuvenate before the next drinking session! You can buy fruit and water from most places, stock up in advance!
If you're clever and see a cool bar or restaurant whilst wandering around during the day, book it for night-time, save you moving from place to place looking for a seat in the busy months.
Ask your Tour Manager in advance how long the walking tours are, some are 1 hour some go for 3 hours. My recommendation is do them all to orientate yourself but you don't have to stay the whole tour.
Use trains as much as possible, they're cheap. But if you use taxi's agree on the price or ask them to put the meter on before you get in!
Don't forget your ID for the clubs, crazy on that!
DONT MISS THE BUS! Set your alarm and use the wake up calls from the hotels, they come in handy!
It's rude not to tip! They get paid less in Europe so spare a few coins for all the walking tours or restaurants, they also treat you better at a bar if you tip early in the night!
Review written Feb 2015event 0.3
27 Dec 2014 - 14 Jan 2015
This trip was an experience of a lifetime!
In just 19 days we all become one little family sharing new experiences together, visiting amazing places and enjoying one another's company.
We saw some incredible sights and famous monuments throughout our travels from Amsterdam to Paris. The Colosseum, the Vatican, Moulin Rouge, Eiffel Tower, Berlin wall.. the list could go on and on.
If I could go back and do it all over again I would!
Our tour guide was amazing, always full of energy and helped us to get the absolute best out of our time travelling in a foreign country. She made sure we saw the best bits of Europe!
Review written Jan 2015event 0.3
15 Dec 2014 - 02 Jan 2015
Words can hardly describe the experience of Contiki...
We started our tour in London on a drizzly morning after meeting everyone for a few too many drinks the night before. 6am on the bus ready for Amsterdam.. arriving just before dinner time, we set off to the infamous red light district to a sex show.. awkwardness was left in Amsterdam after watching our new friends eat banana out of places banana shouldn't be eaten out of.....needless to say the breakfast topic the next morning was quite funny.
Amsterdam day 2. we were given free time to explore the picturesque, cultural city for ourselves. An optional canal cruise and open bar.. we were set for a great last night in the Dam...
Some people recovering from sore head on our trip through the hills and far away to Berlin. Driving along the Autobahn at 200km/ph was an interesting experience. Checking in to our hotel and having a nice family dinner at the hotel before hitting the Christmas markets in Charlottenburg. Few mulled wines later we set back to the hotel.
Berlin day 2. More free time and an optional walking tour where we learnt about Berlin's dark and historical past. Another few mulled wines later and we were set for our night on the town. With a walk about dinner we opted for a bar instead.. chucking back multiple European measured vodka lemonades and Jagerbombs... Then one bar to another to a nightclub... Berlin's nightlife is epic!!!
Next stop Prague..
Some people barely made the bus that morning.. finally getting back to the hotel at 5am for a 7:45 departure.
We hit the ground running in Prague heading straight to the Castle/historical sector of the city. 2 hours later and alot of walking we got back to the hotel for another family dinner.
Prague day 2. Rest day, a few of us had come down with the well known "contiki cough" and stayed in all day, re-joining the group for a cruise down Vltava River and learning alot about Czech Republic's history and love of beer.
Crossed the border and back into Germany.. We went off the trail to a secret location called Neuschwanstein Castle, the inspiration behind the design of the Disney Castle.. breathtaking views.
Munich we have arrived.
First things first... HOFBRAUHAUS!!! Traditional Beer hall time.. multiple steins were consumed that night.
Munich day 2. Despite the hundreds of litres of beer the group would have consumed the night before, we were all dandy and ready for another event full day on tour. **Munich beer contains 0 preservatives so drink as much as you like and NO HANGOVER!** Another family dinner and some people opted for a quiet night at the hotel, others returned to the Beer Hall to get the last of the magic beer.
On the road again...Venice via beautiful Tyrol, Austria
a few apple strudles and shots of liquor later we rolled out of Tyrol and continued down to the floating city of Venice. Our Italian adventures begins.
We had a very chilled night in Venice as our hotel was situated on mainland Italy.
Venice day 2. Christmas Eve.. we headed on our private boat to central Venice. Walking tour, taking in the sights and a few Prosecco's later we were ready for our romantic Gondola rides. Down the grand canal and under many low lying bridges and tight corners we made it back to St Marks square. We were then taken to a glass blowing demonstration which was incredible.
Dinner that night we were treated to an amazing Christmas eve feast.. the wine was flowing, the saxophone was playing, we headed back to the hotel and dried out their bar. Everyone called home to wish family a Merry Christmas. It was probably one of our best nights on tour.
Christmas day our amazing tour manager Joe and tour driver Joao treated us to a decked out tour bus.. tinsel, misteltoe, Santa and little presents for us all, along with a secret santa. We continued our journey to Rome.
We travelled to another special location for our Christmas family photo. Arriving at the hotel and having Christmas drinks before heading to bed.
Rome day 2. Eventful day. Alot of walking. We saw every tourist attraction/sight. Thats right 35 sights.. in 16 hours.
From the Vatican where we got blessed by the pope himself to the Colloseum, to the Roman forum, the Pantheon and everywhere inbetween!
Rome was conquered by contiki that day!.
We had a wonderful walk about dinner and returned back to the hotel bar to keep the night going.
Our travel morning quickly rolled around and we hit it off with a visit to Vatican City (worlds smallest country) at 8:30am. Florence we are in our way!!
Hit off our first night in Florence with a wine tasting in the Florentine hills before hitting the city for an amazingly funny night at a karoke bar.
Litre cocktails, songs and multiple haunting videos later we turned in for the night.
Florence day 2. We all went to a leather demonstration and spent our euros well on some of Italy's finest. We then met in Florence's main square for our souvenir group photo and our walking tour.
A little bit more shopping and we were ready for a nap.. heading back to the hotel. We made our way into the Tuscan Hills for an amazing dinner. Multiple bottles of wine and a creepy opera singer later we were up and singing "YMCA".
We continued our party time on the coach with a rave party and the electronic disco... again more drinks in European measurement. We were finally ready to call it a night at an early 4:45am...
Another day comes to an end.. and our Italian adventures are over but not before we made a quick detour to the leaning tour of Pisa.
Switzerland we are on our way.
Arriving in an actual winter wonderland. Lucerne was a snap to the system, calf deep snow and -14 degree temperatures.. we decided to have a snow ball fight!
Lucerne day 2. Such a beautiful city we trecked it all the way to the top of Mount Rigi, through the snow. The views we granted were worth freezing our butts off.
Phenomenal views and covered in snow we set back to the city for some exploring, shopping and even more snow ball fights.
Time to leave our detoxifing winter wonderland for an insane few days in the "city of lights" Paris!!
We arrived in Paris on NYE.. hit the showers and then hit the city at O'sullivans by the Mill... right nextdoor to the Moulin Rouge. Spending our NYE with 7 other contiki groups we saw a few familiar faces from other nights we had crossed paths. Drinks were flowing, music was epic, New Years celebrations in full swing. We counted down to the new year in a massive group hug and a few bottles of cheap French champagne.
Paris day 2. And 01/01/15.
Our first experience of 2015 climbing the Eiffel Tower. Breathtaking views. We continued our day throughout Paris spending ridiculous amounts on perfume and macaroons on the Champs Elysees. Before returning to the hotel to get all dressed up for our Moulin Rouge night.
Despite the price... The Moulin Rouge is totally worth it. When will you be in Paris with such an amazing group of amazing people?
The next morning came around... the one we all dreaded the most. Saying Goodbye to everyone!
Some stayed in Paris, others were dropped off at the airport to extend their trips in other countries and the rest of us made our way back across the channel to London.
Back at the Royal National and a few sad departing songs later we unfortunately had to say goodbye.
Like I said at the beginning... words can hardly describe the experience and the people you meet.
To anyone considering this trip... stop considering and book it!!
Go in there with an open mind and dont be scared!
You only get one shot at life... make it Beautiful! ♥♥
Review written Jan 2015event 0.3
23 Nov 2014 - 12 Dec 2014
I realized when I booked this trip that it was going to be amazing, but I was not prepared for how wonderful it actually was! Our tour manager Mike, paid such close attention to the little things! trying to figure us all out to make sure that he did something for each and every one of us! whether it was something we wanted to see or somewhere we wanted to go! he made sure it was possible! This was an incredible experience and I would HIGHLY recommend it to anyone that is interested in using Contiki. It is totally worth the money! I wouldn't have had the trip I did, had I gone on my own!
Review written Jan 2015event 0.3
28 Dec 2011 - 15 Jan 2012
We departed Dover on Wed 28th Dec 2011 and never looked back. The ferry over to Calais, France was rough but we were buzzing with the excitement of what lay ahead, and too busy getting to know our Contiki family for the next 19 days.
We hit Amersterdam running with our first stop the elusive Red Light District. What a way to get up close and personal with your tour buddies than to watch a dazzling and entertainig live 'show', of which included a gorilla and lots of laughs ;)
From there the tour was non-stop, and full of excitement. Not even the zero degree tempertaures (it was the middle of winter) were going to stop us. We explored the canals of Amsterdam with an intriguing tour of Anne Franks Haus.
Next stop Berlin for the most amazing New Years spectacle ever. The streets were jam packed with locals and tourists wielding fireworks and celebrating in 2012 with many a German Ale. New Years day and we explored the dark history of Berlin, including visiting the Wall and Checkpoint Charlie, to name a few stops.
Prague brought many a surprise, including amazing gothic architecture, an interesting lunchtime canal ride and a crazy 5 story nightclub.
One highlight of the tour, among the very many, was our time in Munich and our lively dinner at the famous Hofbräuhaus Beer Hall. This was followed by an informative walking tour of Munich, with a focus on Hitlers time there.
With a quick stop in Austria to visit the Swarovski Crystal store, we wound our way through the Alps, in the snow whilst singing to the Sound of Music (hehe) and arrived in beautiful Italy. Six days were spent exploring the magistic canals and alleyways of Venice, the strength and history of Rome and beauty of Florence and Tuscany.
Nearing the end of our trip, we arrived in Lucerne, Switzerland and journeyed thousands of metres up to the most amazing view of Mt Pilatus. Something we will never forget. Not to mention being pelted in the head with a snowball by our cheeky tour guide Garai, it was a once in a lifetime view of the clear, snowtopped mountains.
It was finally time for our last stop, but perhaps one of the best - Paris! The ultimate highlight was skipping the line and being taken to the very top of the Eiffle Tower at night to view the cityscape of Paris. Finally to top off such a mindblowing trip, was our final night at The Moulin Rouge. A must see for anyone visiting Paris (The trip back to London the next day was not so much fun with the headaches we all had).
To cap it all off, this tour can be described in one word as - spectacular! The instant life-long friends we made on day one made it even more incredible. Our tour guide Garai and bus driver were hilarious and made sure we had the time of our lives. The bus was our home away from home for the 19 days and super comfortable and modern. All the accomodation was comfortable and accessible.
I highly recommend anyone wanting to visit Europe, but a bit unsure about where to go, to give this tour a go. My hubby and I loved it as a couple, but there were also just friends and singles with us.
Thanks Contiki for helping us live our European dream xx
Review written Jul 2013event 0.3
19 Jan 2013 - 06 Feb 2013
I booked the European Inspiration tour for January 2012 and toured alone, however I terminated the tour in Prague. I was absolutely disgusted in the quality and the calibre of people on board the tour including the staff. It should be age banded 18-25 not 18-35. I am 31 and I have never experienced such childish, immature, bitchy behaviour in my life. I felt like I was back in high school. I was totally ostracised by everyone. Most people on the tour were 18-20. I should have done my research then I would have known Contiki has a bad name for that exact reason. Trafalgar would have been a much better option. The tour manager Hannah was very immature and seemed to enjoy the childish atmosphere. She encouraged everybody to be rowdy and drunk and was always getting drunk herself, she swore a lot and was very unprofessional....perhaps attempting to lower herself to the standard of the passengers on the tour. She even implied that I should terminate the tour! Every stop we had entailed pub crawls of which eventuated in the stranger I was sharing a room with stumbling in drunk at 2-3am every morning, turning on lights and making lots of noise. I've never been so sleep deprived in my life. What an absolute waste of $3500. I am flying back to London at a cost to myself to resume interacting with adults not children!!! Shame on you Contiki....no where on your website does it stipulate that this tour is basically a 3 week long party for young teens who wish to take drugs, get drunk and act like idiots. Contiki take some responsibility!!! I'm absolutely appalled!! I will definitely be sharing my horrible experience with others!
Review written Jan 2013event 0.3
24 Dec 2012 - 11 Jan 2013
Had the best time of my life spent Nye and Christmas with my new contiki family which was so much fun. Our tour manager was such a good bloke and very helpful if we wanted to know anything extra. My most enjoyable moment was probably my bday which fell on the same day as the Prague pub crawl something I will always remember and followed closely by Nye in Munich where alot of us dressed up in true Bavarian outfits and went to a festival where they hold Oktoberfest. If you get a chance and have the money go along for the ride you will never regret it.
Review written Jan 2013event 0.3
05 Nov 2012 - 23 Nov 2012
I am 19 and his was my first trip overseas by myself. I was so nervous but ended up having the most amazing time. It is really hectic and exhausting (if you wish to make the most of every city you are in including binge drinking for 19 days straight) Our tour guide JB was awesome, and Rasto out driver was a legend. From drunk party bus rides home including light shows and sing-a-longs dancing down the bus, to watching a proposal on top of the eiffel tower I really had the most fantastic trip made some incredible memories and made lifelong friends. THANK YOU CONTIKI!
ps do this tour!
Review written Dec 2012event 0.3
13 Oct 2012 - 02 Nov 2012
First let's just say this was my first trip to Europe and travelling with Contiki was so easy! Our Tour Manager Mick (Michael) was the best and so was our driver Sam. First night in Amsterdam was so interesting and fun it really let us get to know each other - suprise we were off to a sex show! From there it was just 18 more days of craziness. Sam, our driver really put his awesome skills to work when we got stuck on the highway in Germany for hours and then again in the traffic circle in Paris - with him driving the coach I always felt safe.
Mick, our Manager ensured we each had a great time. He would always greet you in the morning so cheery and excited for the day (even though a few of us were sometimes hungover). He arranged extra optionals for us from a tour of the Colosseum and Forum to an open bar night or a pub crawl. He made the trip - he knew each city like the back of his hand and could answer any question of where something was and whether or not it was worth your time visiting it.
Accommodation wasn't what I'm use to here in North America at all I'll be honest but in most cities we were upgraded. I did find the hotels/motels in Italy to be the worst - Venice and Florence could have been a lot better but as Mick put it, it's just a place to sleep. The food in the included meals were fine - nothing special but it was the optional meals that you must do. All were great!
I would do another Contiki again in a heartbeat! My tour mates were awesome and totally made my trip as well. Some of the best memories include all of them and all the stuff we got up to. I would recommend this tour to anyone who wants to see pretty much all the major cities in Europe in a short period of time. You don't have enough time to see every site in every city but you get the feel for each city and see all the major sites and attractions there are to see.
Review written Nov 2012event 0.3
04 Jan 2012 - 22 Jan 2012
This tour was amazing!! Our tour guide knew everything about everywhere!! Great as a taster of Europe. Spent about 2 days in each place, just enough time to see most things. When food was not included, our tour guide pointed us (or dined with us) in the most amazing local spots. Made many friends of whom I still keep in contact with. I recommend everyone to go on this tour!! Best holiday yet! =]
Review written Oct 2012event 0.3
04 Feb 2012 - 22 Feb 2012
This tour was absolutely fantastic! There isn't anything else I could have asked for in a tour! It was the best thing I've ever done and I had the time of my life. We had a wonderful Tour manager and tour driver.
We went during one of the coldest winters in a long time, but it was still fun. I met the most amazing people and have made life long friends!
While on tour you experience fabulous places, food, attractions and different cultures and lifestyles. It's all so good.
To anyone thinking of doing this tour or any contiki tour, I strongly recommend it!
Review written Feb 2012event 0.3
21 Dec 2011 - 08 Jan 2012
I could not have asked for a better tour! Our tour manager was very engaging, friendly and knowledgeable.Our tour manager always knew the best places to eat and visit and every new city we went to we got a map showing were major sites were. Our bus driver was also very nice and a good driver. The two of them always went the extra mile for our group, for example we made two extra stops that weren't included in our itinerary, to innsbruck, Austria, and to the Ferrari centre where you could drive or be a passanger in one. All the included walking tours and dinners were great as was the accomodation (for european standards). I did all of the side tours offered which made the tour all that much better as it helped you get the most out of the cities you were visiting and get to know everyone on the tour a little better. As or getting to know everyone on the tour- its very easy and you meet some really fantastic people who you end up spending all your time with. The bus we travelled on was comfortable enough, for a bus so no complaints there! The fact that this particular tour ends in paris was a highlight as it really finishes the tour in a special way (especially if you see the moulin rouge). The cities visited were all fantastic and worth seeing and having two nights in every place meant we mostly had enough time to see everything in such a jam packed tour. I would reccommend it to everyone and would go on another contiki trip in a second!
Review written Jan 2012event 0.3
15 Oct 2011 - 04 Nov 2011
The European Inspiration Tour was more than I ever expected. We visited so many countries and made life long friends. The tour was a perfect mix of culture, fun and party time! The fact that you have 2 nights in every city makes a world of difference, I did not feel rushed in any city and saw so much from the eiffel tower & lourve museum in Paris, to the Berlin Wall, to the astrological clock in prague, to the mountains in Lucerne, and everything else in between. Our week in Italy was by far my favorite part of the trip. FLORENCE & ROME were amazing!!! I would do this trip again in a heartbeat! Our TM and driver were top notch first class!! Thank you Contiki!! :) :) Can't wait to do it again!!
Review written Nov 2011event 0.3