08 Jul 2014 - 17 Jul 2014
I just returned from the the European Magic Tour and had a fantastic time! This was my 4th time to Europe, but first time traveling with a tour group and I have no regrets choosing Contiki. It made traveling very easy and I was very happy that it wasn't a "Follow my umbrella" guided tour around Europe. I was still able to take in the sights as a individual, but still have planned activities if I wanted to participate. It was the best of both worlds.
Reviews of the Stops:
London: I recommend arriving a few days early or taking the free transfer back after the trip to take in the city. There isn't any planned things here with Contiki, but there's lots to do! My friend and I missed the Meetup meeting on the first night. Don't worry about this, a sheet is posted outside the Basement door with all the info you need. I never felt left out because I didn't attend.
Amsterdam: We stayed at a Best Western, so it was a really comfortable hotel stay. Since we arrived at night, we hopped right into the "nightlife" of Amsterdam - aka (pot and sex). I opted not to go to the sex show and I didn't regret it. It saved me 22 euro and the people on my tour said it really wasn't that great. They could tell that the people were just going through a routine. I did find it interesting to walk through the Red Light district to the sex show with the group since this is part of Amsterdam culture. I was glad that I was able to experience this part but didn't need to do anything else. There is free time in the morning and I recommend going to the Anne Frank House. You wont have time to do anything else that morning, but the tour was really worth it. Our group arrived late to Amersterdam after a slight bus problem in Belgium so we weren't able to take the canal cruise. Contiki bought us all public transport passes to make up for it, which was nice. While in Amersterdam, definitely try stroopwaffles! They are delicious.
St. Goar: Definitely just a stop over place. There isn't really anything to do in the town, but the wine tasting that Contiki sets up is nice. All the wines are really sweet though, so it's great for those that are new to wines. Plus you get to try ice wine which is expensive to buy on its own. Hotel Montag was also nicely redone for the stay.
Munich: Personally, I just love this city and have been before. The bike tour was really well done and the guides for funny and interactive. Really worth the time. The stop for dinner at the biergarten was great. You're going to wish you had more time in this city. Our hotel was amazing too. Easily the best stop.
Innsbruck: I loved the chance to bobsled (even though we almost missed it because we were late getting on the road and the bus driver got lost...). The bobsled is really short though so it almost doesn't seem worth the money, but how many times can you say you've bobsledded on an Olympic course? I recommend sitting in the front seat of the bobsled to avoid getting jostled around too much and take the recommendation to hold yourself upright like the instructors say. The town was really nice, but we didn't get to stay long because we were behind schedule. It would've been cool to explore more. There isn't a tour at the Swarovski Crystal store, they just welcome you and then you shop. If you're looking to buy something nice as a souvenir then it's a nice place to spend time. Otherwise, I would just enjoy a nice relaxing lunch in the town.
Switzerland: It was too bad that this was our one rainy day of the trip, because the low hanging clouds made it difficult to see the mountains. Since you have to pay for the optionals beforehand, pray for a clear day here! I really couldn't see anything from the stop of Mt. Stanserhorn because of the clouds, but they cleared when the second half of our group was up top and they had great pictures. It was fun to be that high up a mountain though, just wish the weather was better but thats not something anyone can control. The stop at the watch/knife store is really not anything worthwhile, just a time filler. If you want to buy one of those then it's worth it otherwise it's obviously a company that has joined with Contiki. They also own 4 other stores all connected. I recommend walking a little further down the street where there are other shopping places. Just one street up from the jail hotel is a bunch of big shopping names. The JailHotel was interesting. You just have to take it for the experience. There was nothing wrong with the room (aside from our musty bathroom because it doesn't air out). I was glad we only stayed there for one night, but it was just an experience and something you can say you did. The boat cruise would've been nice if the weather was better. It was raining so noone could go on the top deck and the captain sounded really bored. He had some interesting facts, but noone was paying attention. I listened and actually found it interesting, just wish we could've seen the sights.
Paris: What a crazy city! I thought the traffic in NYC was bad, but it doesn't compare to here. The driving tour that our Tour Manager took us one was really great. She was very informative and it allowed us a chance to see where everything was located in order to kind of plan for the following day. I then went up the Eiffel Tower that night which was totally worth it because it saved so much time the next day. Plus I got to watch it sparkle which was beautiful (it shimmers for five minutes on the hour beginning at 10pm, 11pm and midnight). The next day I toured the Opera Garnier (where Phantom of the Opera is set), Norte Dame (go when there is a free guided tour, it saves you from waiting in line) and the Museum D'Orsay (closes at 5:30, be aware). I opted not to do the Moulin Rouge because of the price although everyone said it was fantastic! Instead, a few of the other people from the tour and myself went to the grocery and bought food and wine for a picnic under the Eiffel Tower. It was perfect. We ended the evening with a river boat cruise and then met the rest of our group at O'Sullivan's bar to enjoy our last night together. It was a great day.
I had a great time on this tour and really enjoyed meeting everyone from around the world. We had a great mix of people and everyone really got along and cared about one another. Our Tour Manager, Tamsyn, was incredible. Very sweet and knowledgeable. It's unfortunate that this was her last tour because she was fantastic.
As an American, we are a very time driven, schedule driven society. You will never receive a full time itinerary with hours listed for the full trip. Each night your Tour Manager will post the timings for the following day, but don't expect to receive one before hand. What you see on the website for the full trip is what you get. You come to realize that with traffic and large groups you don't always stay on time. They don't give you a timed itinerary so that you don't freak out about being behind. You will still get to do everything, but you might just not stay in one place for as long.
Also, know that you will spend long driving hours on the bus. Bring a good book (or 2 or 3) and prepare to catch up on your sleep here! They stop at nice services though to get meals and snacks.
Overall, I was highly pleased. It was just what I was hoping for and I made some incredible memories. After this tour, I was given a taste of many countries and now I can decide where to return to.
Review written Jul 2014event 0.3
04 Aug 2013 - 12 Aug 2013
Firstly what made this tour so awesome was having a great tour manager (Felippo) and bus driver (Mark). It also helped that everyone on the tour were absolute champs!
Starting in Amsterdam was great as the ice breaker for the group was a canal cruise and then a sex show!
This tour had enough sites to tick off the bucket list, but also enough places to let loose and party hard.
Highlights included the night out in Munich and Lucern, bike riding and rapids (don't forget your swimsuit) in Munich and Paris.
Would have been great to spend more time in Munich and Paris but all in all, great way to see a lot of Europe quickly.
Can't wait to do another Contiki!
Review written Sep 2013event 0.3
16 Jun 2013 - 24 Jun 2013
We had the time of our lives. We amazing people and made such good friends form all over the world. I don't think it is possible to see so much in the 9 days other than with Contiki. I would recommend this to anyone having limited time but want to see as mush as possible. The optional extra's are worth doing and is really not expensive. Do it...you know you want to!
Review written Jul 2013event 0.3
14 Jun 2013 - 24 Jun 2013
The European magic tour was a jam packed tour and a fantastic way to see tons of sites quickly!
We had a great group, mostly couples and we had a higher median age which made for a nice, chill group. Don't get me wrong, we definitely partied (and I don't drink but you can still have fun hanging out with everyone!) although our tour manager probably partied harder than the rest of us! ;)
We ended up doing most of the optionals, which we hadn't intended on doing but turned out to be a ton of fun and we're glad we did. Moulin rouge was a great optional to end the tour!
The bus was our main source of transport (although if you hung out late at night you had to take the train or taxi home... Pretty cheap and manageable though). It could get a little cramped in the window seat if you're like me and like to stretch out when you sleep but it was otherwise a very comfy bus and it was so convenient to just get to sleep between cities. We also only had like 34 people so we had some extra open seats which was very nice.
I loved getting to eat a couple provided meals (breakfast was crucial) but then getting to run off sometimes and grab our own meals. Food in Europe is tasty! Tip: eat at the trattoria alla Madonna in Venice for lunch... Best pasta I've ever had.
This was an amazing tour and we're already plotting our next!
Review written Jun 2013event 0.3
21 Sep 2012 - 01 Oct 2012
This tour was ah-mayyy-ziiiinnnggg. But it also isn’t for the faint of heart. There were all sorts of different personalities on our tour. There were couples, friends/siblings who traveled together, and people traveling alone. Some chose to do their own thing, and others joined other groups. There was enough of different types of personalities to not make anyone feel awkward, at least in my tour group.
So if you’re a couple looking to do your own thing, or honeymooning, you can easily do this tour if you want to see a lot of places in a short amount of time. BUT as I mentioned before, this isn’t for the faint of heart. We were literally on the move all the time. The only rest time you had was in the long hours on the bus. (Yes, there are LONG hours on the bus. We hit traffic on the way to Switzerland, and we were so late, we had cancel shopping and the boat cruise). A lot of people chatted up, talked to our Tour Manager, Amy, got shut eye, or took pictures of people sleeping. (I totally hid my face every time I slept, and I didn’t get caught... but there are times you’re so freakin’ tired, you can care less.)
People traveling alone, EVERYONE on our tour was nice. Yes, we played pranks and teased each other, but that was all part of the camaraderie. If there is one thing I noticed, we may joke, but people are respectful (at least on my tour). You can easily join other people, or wander off on your own.
People traveling with friend/siblings, (which is the category I fell in) you can easily have fun with your bestie and see the sites, while getting to know other people. If you’re weirded out by going with a sibling, don’t be. There were 4 sets of siblings, and they all had a blast with each other and with the group. What usually happened was that they ended up separating and hung out with new tour friends.
Tip 1: Get to know everyone and make FRIENDSSSS! What I enjoyed about the Contiki experience is that not only are you seeing new places and enjoying new experiences, but you’re thrown into an awesome social setting with like-minded people your age. They are people from different cultures, ethnicities, and nationalities. Take advantage of that! You’ll learn so much more than the cities you visit, and you potentially can start planning your next trip to visit your new friends. For sure, I want to visit Australia, South Africa, and Canada to see the beautiful places my friends spoke of and to see them!
London. The first day, it’s a little awkward. Everyone doesn’t know what to expect. No one knows each other. If they want you go to a meeting place like a pub after the initial meeting, go! Make friends. These are the people you’re going to be around A LOT. Might as well start early and break the ice. My friend and I met two girls who were traveling alone and decided to explore London. We ended up having a great time and became pretty good friends.
Tip 2: If you have the money, do all the optionals. It’s part of the experience. And you get to experience it all with your new friends.
Amsterdam. DO the BOAT CRUISE! This is the place where EVERYONE will let loose! (This is because it’s a booze cruise, no lie.) I’m a loud and sociable person, so instead of staying with the same group of people, I went and mingled with as many people to get to know everyone and break the ice. Turns out, it was the best idea I ever had. Everyone I met became my friend and we all had a blast. After that, it’s a sex show. Be open to it. It’s not super disgusting or anything. It’s people on a stage having sex. We’re adults. Some parts of the show is pretty funny. Oh, and you get two drinks at this show. After that, we partied the night away. The next morning, you get to explore Amsterdam by day. I recommend the Anne Frank Huis. It’s really amazing and it’s such a big part of World history. If you’re gonna partake in herbal remedies... cookies are weak. Just sayin’
St. Goar. This is the place you recover from all the Amsterdamage. You go on a wine tasting and a beerstein demonstration. (I went for Oktoberfest, if you’re going to do this tour, BOOK IT FOR OKTOBERFEST!) The wine tasting wasn’t all that great, but it was only 8 Euros, and you get a free shot glass. St. Goar the town is small, so going off wandering wouldn’t be all that great either since the shops close at 6 PM. I bought an Oktoberfest beerstein, and everyone back home I’ve shown it to has coveted it. (Mind you, it’s really heavy, think about that when you think of luggage requirements.) The inn we stayed at was cute and quiet. Take this time to relax because the next day is Munich.
Munich. We did the bike ride, and Tony, our tour guide, was hilarious. He was an American, so I was able to clearly understand him (though, to European credit, many speak better English than I do). It was nice seeing the sights and riding a bike again. But to the real reason I love Munich was Oktoberfest. I was one of four people in a tour of 50 that booked this trip WITHOUT knowing about Oktoberfest. Thank my lucky stars I chose this tour. Oktoberfest was flat out AHHH-MAAAYYY-ZIIIINNGG. DO IT. Even if you don’t like beer! It’s such a culture shock, and everyone has SO MUCH FUN. Partying with happy Germans and your tourmates is just fun. I can’t emphasize it enough. DO IT. AND, these tours book fast, since there is only TWO European Magic tours that do it (but there are other tours that do it as well like European Discover), just sayin’. And don’t think you can get German beer anytime, they SPECIFICALLY brew a new beer every year for Oktoberfest. It’s definitely on my to-do list, again.
Stopover in Austria. We bobsledded. I’ll tell you, I LOVE watching bobsledding in the Olympics, but I didn’t expect that ride. It’s really rough, but an awesome experience. Seriously, it’s awesome to say that I bobsledded on an Olympic run with an Olympian. You stop off in Innsbruck, which has a Swarovski store. I spent a LOT here. The bottom floor has the cheaper good because they’re not technically Swarovski brand, but they’re designed by local Austrian designers with Swarovski techniques. Still very pretty. They also gave me the option to charge with American dollars versus Euros, so it saved me on transaction fees.
Venice. The first night is a chill night. Rest up, because there will be a LOT of walking when you actually get into Venice. (You won’t be staying in the actual city of Venice to keep costs low.) Get lost in this city. We went up St. Mark’s bell tower and the views are LOVELY. It doesn’t even cost much. Eat Italian food (It’s freakin’ delicious, obviously). I shopped away from the big stores and bought things at the stands. I have to say, my favorite thing I bought from the whole trip was my Murano glass ring. They have cheap leather bags, and cool masks.
Switzerland. We hit a lot of traffic so we missed out on shopping and the boat cruise, but we did go to Mt. Stanserhorn, and the views are glorious. The Swiss are very orderly and their landscape proves it. Bring a jacket, I went in September, and I wore a cotton jacket. It was enough. You stay at the Jail Hotel. It’s an experience. It’s a little scary at first, but it’s just a place to sleep. I’ve read reviews where it said it was dirty. I didn’t see that in my room.
Paris. Expect a LONG road ahead of you. It took us 9 hours, I believe. The first night is a chill night and you do the city of lights tour. It’s pretty and you learn a lot of the rich history of the French. The next day, you go to a perfumery. This really wasn’t all that great, but I did buy lovely French perfume for really cheap, and they only sell in Paris. I wear it all time now. We had 45 minutes of free time, and a group of us booked it to the Lourve to see the Mona Lisa. The Lourve is HUGE, and we literally got in, saw the Mona Lisa, and ran back to the bus. We took our group picture, then went up the Eiffel Tower, and were given free time. One day in Paris is barely getting an intsy winsty taste of Paris.
Tip 3: Extend in London BEFORE the tour starts and extend in Paris when the tour is over.
One day in Paris is seriously not enough. Make a plan of attack of what to do in Paris, ask your tour manager on what you should do and how to do it efficiently. I did the Moulin Rouge... I have to say, it was cool, but it wasn’t my thing. But most of the tour went, and you want to spend your last night with them. After that, the last night was spent at O’sullivans, the bar right next to the show, and partied our final night.
Other tips you should know. They do check your weight before you head out, but they don’t check afterward. Just be aware of any baggage allowance for your flight back home. Don’t bring a laptop. You’re on vacation. Bring a phone or iPod to do fast emails, instagram posts, and facebook updates. There are some hotels that offer free wifi. If you’re an iPhone user, download skype or viber. You can call another phone with the same app for free using internet (so you can call home on a budget). Bring a neck pillow, it’s great on the bus. TAKE A LOT OF PICTURES AND VIDEOS! I made a video for my group, which I will share with you, and I’m grateful that I can relive these moments. Emergen-C will be your friend. I took it everyday a month before I left and sporadically while I was there, I never got sick, even when I got back home. My best friend wasn’t so lucky (and she didn’t take Emergen-C). Buy jewelry and accessories. It’s a nice reminder incorporated to your every clothes when you go back to reality.
You’re on HOLIDAY! Have fun! Don’t sweat the small stuff, and just enjoy what’s around you.
I like to party. If you like to party, I HIGHLY recommend doing Contiki. If you don’t like to party, that’s okay too! You can have fun without partying. You get to see the sights, do the activities, and meet cool people in a short period of time. If you don’t like a fast pace, don’t do this tour. This tour also caters to people on a budget, so don’t expect 5 star rooms and 5 star food. In return, I got 5 star service from my tour manager and bus driver. Amy and Sergio were fantastic. I really can’t emphasize how much I’ve enjoyed this tour. I plan on doing Contiki again, and you should really consider it.
If you have any questions, feel free to message me. And here’s the youtube video I made with my tour: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__Ug3o5xVh8
Review written Dec 2012event 0.3
07 Oct 2012 - 15 Oct 2012
If your even considering for a minuite to go on a contiki tour... DO IT NOW
it is the best thing ive ever done, amazing people, beautiul places and so so so much more
This tour is very fast and you do spend alot of time on the coach.
Saying that our AMAZING tour guide lucian and our driver GAZZA made it so much fun all the time.
I have made friends for life and have some unforgetable memories
And girls.. all the hotels on this tour had HAIRDRYERS
AMAZING TOUR CANT WAIT FOR MY NEXT ONE
Review written Nov 2012event 0.3
17 Aug 2012 - 27 Aug 2012
Definitely not for the casual traveler. This tour is almost a country a day. Expect to spend a lot of time traveling on the bus. And plan to do most of your sleeping on the bus because we went out and got smashed just about every single night. It's a lot of fun, definitely had the time of my life, but don't expect a particularly in-depth look at most of the places you visit. You get some extra time in Venice and Paris, but Munich and Innsbruck go by in a flash. You probably won't remember Amsterdam, but that's OK! You'll know you had fun anyway ;)
Review written Sep 2012event 0.3
29 Jun 2012 - 09 Jul 2012
I was a little skeptical about taking a Contiki tour because I'm not a big fan of large organized groups while traveling, but I was glad to be proved wrong. I had the best time while on this trip. European Magic was a great tour for someone who can only take 2 weeks off of work. You see almost everything on this whirlwind tour. From the canals of Amsterdam, to skipping the line at the Eiffel Tower, everything is included in these 11 days.
The tour part was great as well. Our tour manager Matt was fantastic. He really knew his stuff and I learned a lot from him as we pulled into each city. Our driver was also awesome and saved us from a few sticky situations. The bus was really comfortable and thankfully had air conditioning. The rides between each city were long, but we got plenty of rest stops and time to sleep if needed. Also, everyone on the tour was amazing to hang out with.
Overall, I suggest everyone take a Contiki tour, even if it's not this one. There is nothing better than travelling the world, and doing it in this way, where everything is organized and ready to go for you is so helpful.
Review written Aug 2012event 0.3
17 Jun 2012 - 25 Jun 2012
Let me first say that I had a great time on this tour. I got to see a ton of cool stuff in a very short amount of time. Thats both the good and the bad. If you want to cram as much as possible into a short time this is a great trip, but if you want to relax and take in EVERY sight then I would find a tour that covers less ground. My guide was great, my group was pretty awesome as well so I rated it 4 stars but that just because we we up early and on the bus quite a bit. Had it not been for the early mornings this would have been a 5 star trip. They did a great job of giving us as much time in a place as possible considering the distance we traveled.
Review written Jul 2012event 0.3
10 Jul 2009 - 20 Jul 2009
This is a really great option for someone first time to Europe. You will see many different countries and site in a short period of time. Accommodations were very good the majority of them to be 3*+. However obviously depending on the destination, accommodation can vary. St Goar and Lucerne were typical germanic style hotels. Small rooms, but clean. All accommodations were easily accessible to the areas many sites and attractions. Either by taxi or public transit. This tour is rather fast pace, there is plenty of time on the bus to get to know your tour mates.
I happened to do all of the optional tours. Highly recommend the canal cruise in Amsterdam. This is a great opportunity to open up and get to know your tour mates on your first day. The bike tour of Munich was a highlight, not expensive and a great way to see this awesome city!
Travelling Solo on Contiki? No Worries! you will meet plenty of interesting people on tour and make new friends. This was the option that i choose and i would not have done it any other way!
Review written Oct 2011event 0.3
16 Sep 2011 - 26 Sep 2011
I cannot even begin to express the amazing time I had on the European Magic Contiki trip. I was excited as anyone would be, to see the world etc. But it was over and beyond my expectations. Contiki planned the trip so well that I didn't even have time to be bored or said that I was leaving a certain country because I was so excited to reach our next destination. The only time that I was upset was the last day because we had to leave our Contiki family that we made. Everyone on the bus was so friendly and I couldn't have asked for a better tour manager and driver. I have already recommended Contiki to four other people and I have only been home for three days. I cannot wait to start planning my next trip! Thank you so much for the memories!
Review written Oct 2011event 0.3
24 Jun 2011 - 04 Jul 2011
It was absolutely amazing. My tour guide was very helpful with regard to sites and shortcuts around long lines. the people on my tour were some of the most amicable people I've ever met. I would totally do this again.
Review written Sep 2011event 0.3
10 Oct 2010 - 18 Oct 2010
A friend and I went on this tour in Oct 2010, and had such an amazing time. Leona, our tour manager was excellent, heaps of fun and so knowledgeable. And Aaron our driver drove himself a mean bus lol.
Europe is so beautiful, so ancient and often quite gothic looking.
Highlights for me were the gondola ride in Venice and just being there really, clubs in Munich, the Eiffel Tower, Jim Morrisons grave and the Moulin Rouge in Paris, the awesome night we had partying in Lucerne, the canal cruise in Amsterdam, and also a certain live show they may take you to there aswell ;o)
The group atmosphere was great, bus was comfy with good tunes, accommodation was all nice, everyone was friendly, so so so so so much fun!
Contiki was awesome, so much so I'm doing Europe and the US with them in 2011.
If you're looking at doing the European Magic tour, I cannot recommend it any more highly :o) have a ball!
Review written Dec 2010event 0.3