08 Nov 2013 - 18 Nov 2013
As I write this, I'm already booked for my third Contiki.
London & Paris Plus Rome was my first ever time in Europe, and naturally my first Contiki. I'd had a recommendation from a former college roommate, who traveled the continent with Contiki after graduation.
Logistically, Contiki is best in show. I got to pay layaway without interest, so even if I could afford to pay in full up front, I didn't have to stress.
The trip was a-mah-zing. I made REAL friendships. This trip is how I met my "travel friends," a core group of girlfriends who meet up with me a few times a year (including one from Australia and one from Canada, so...#internationaltrips). That alone is worth the money I spent.
It's been a few years, but I remember highlights:
- Drinking champagne atop the Eiffel Tower
- Taking that cliche London phone booth pic
- A woman swimming with snakes at the Moulin Rouge
- Visiting Marie Antoinette's house and seeing the door mistresses snuck in/out
- Sitting around the hotel bar before deciding where to go
- Dancing at Le Queen, a nightclub on Champs-Elysee (this was not organized by Contiki, but we all went thanks to the surge of energy I got from going to Moulin Rouge immediately prior)
- Exploring Rome (unguided) on foot with a friend that I made on the trip
- Eating snails near the Sacre Couer
- Also post-Moulin Rouge, the entire bus singing Lady Marmalade at the top of our lungs
I've visited (and been visited by) so.many.people from my trip. I've gone on trips with them. We are a likeminded bunch who just love to sightsee all day and dance all night. We are SO FUN! So excited to see more and more of the world with Contiki.
Review written Jun 2016event 0.3
03 May 2013 - 13 May 2013
This tour was everything I could have hoped for and more. With two full days in each city you really have the time to enjoy your surroundings and take in everything. Jason, our tour guide and Tony, our driver were both fantastic! Jason was so knowledgeable and informative which made the trip run smoothly. The day trip to Stonehenge and Bath from London was a great opportunity to experience a bit of the English countryside and interact with the locals. The Eiffel Tower and Versailles in Paris were well worth the wait and although the Rome section of the tour was unguided we were given more than enough information and necessities to comfortably find our way around.
My suggestions would be to take advantage of every optional activity available to you, they are all well worth it. Eat like the locals and enjoy their authentic cuisine. Also, take a moment to relax and really take it all in. This is a busy tour. Most of my days started by 7am and some nights I didn't get back to the hotel until after 1am. You always have time to sleep on the bus so don't worry about not getting enough sleep!
I would 100% recommend this tour. It is a great beginner tour for Europe if you are looking to see multiple cities, without being overwhelmed all at once.
Review written Feb 2015event 0.3
09 Jun 2012 - 18 Jun 2012
This tour was great! As first-time travellers we didn't know what to expect, but there was an excellent amount of free time. The tour guide Ben was very friendly and knowledgeable and made sure that everyone in the group felt included.
London is a whirlwind of excitement, we got there a few days earlier to explore the Portobello Road market, London Dungeon and the Sherlock Holmes museum. The day trip to Bath & Stonehenge is a bit slow but worth it if you are interested in Roman history or are interested in Paganism.
A strange man was in the paddock near Stonehenge and kept shouting at the tour group. Don't look at him and he won't say anything.
I recommend you do the bike tour in Paris, it's scary but worth it! I felt that too much time spent in Paris was focussed on the Eiffel Tower, and once you've seen it there isn't much else to do. On the first day you'll drive around it, then the second day you'll go up it, then the third day you'll have it as the backdrop for the boat cruise. Oh, and take the underground entry to the Louvre - no line at all (we went in June).
Our tour friends took the Amsterdam extension, and my partner and I were the only ones going to Rome. Unfortunately, once you get to Rome the tour seems to end - you are left on your own with a met card to see the sights. I would have liked a tour guide to help us find the monuments - even a short bus tour would have helped orient us.
Overall this tour was a fantastic experience. I made some great friends and had a lot of laughs, made a lot of memories and I don't regret a thing.
(well, maybe drinking a little too much and causing friends to miss their train....)
Review written May 2014event 0.3
24 May 2013 - 03 Jun 2013
I took this tour at the end of May. I wish someone had warned me not to and told me how disorganized Contiki tours were or how rude the people working for them are!
When I arrived in London the morning my travel documents stated that I would be staying at the Imperial Hotel in Russell square. However after paying a taxi to get me there when I went to check in I was told that I was moved to the Royal National Hotel. No explanation provided was just told to go there. After waiting in another long like to check in, the Royal National tells me I should be checking into the Contiki Basement. At the C.B I tried to inquire and possibly check in early (I had made this request when booking and was told they would try to accommodate it) the girl at the desk told me that she would not speak to me until 2pm. No explanation to the hotel change, no courtesy whatsoever. Finally at 2pm (4 hours after I got there), they acknowledge my presence and check my in. They gave me a drink voucher for the inconvenience and and a free breakfast for my extra day.
However when I tried to redeem the drink voucher that night I was told by hotel staff that they had never seen it before and didn’t know where I could redeem it. After traveling over 7 hours to get to London and getting the run around for at least 3 hours by Contiki staff I was in no mood to find this free drink.
I tried to use the breakfast voucher the next morning and was told that I had to pay $5 if I wanted the English breakfast, so I settled for the continental breakfast. When I joined the group the next day I was told my card needed a stamp which said ‘English Breakfast’ that others on my tour had but I did not.
The bathroom ceiling in my room was full of mold. This above all else is a sanitary health concern. When I told my tour manager her response was that this is London standards. I have friends in London who visited me in my room and assured me that this was not London standards.
The first night of the tour we went on a ‘walking tour’ off London. Which may not have been the smartest idea after a long day especially since this was the night that London was hosting the soccer final of two German teams. The streets were packed to say the very least. Halfway through the tour the group was split up when a large group exited a pub splitting the group up. We didn’t have a chance or hope to find the group. A few of us stuck together with the hopes of at least finding our hotel, which we did hours after walking around looking for the way back. Our tour manager was not clear about what our next stop was so it was impossible for us to try to find the group. When I let her know the next day she claimed she waited. When I reconnected with the group the next day the few that were able to stick with her informed me that she did not wait for us and she had just made a comment about how we must have decided to split off and kept walking.
The other big blunder we felt was when we arrived in the airport in Rome. I understand that the Rome portion of the trip is unguided. However in all travel documents and what we were told when we left Paros was that a Contiki representative would meet us at the airport and would be holding a Contiki sign. After a half hour of waiting patiently reading all the signs that didn’t say Contiki we decided to split up and figure out where the representative was. After what was at least another half hour we reconvened to learn that a few people from our tour called the hotel (paying for long distance charges) and were told that the tour guide was not meeting us at the hotel and instead we should look for a Contiki bus that was picking us up. Another group of people found the driver who was driving an unmarked van and said he was our driver and also informed them that the Contiki representative was meeting us at the hotel not the airport. I can assure you if I wasn’t with a group of people I would not have gotten into an unmarked car in a foreign country! We finally get to our hotel and meet the representative who gives us our metro/bus/subway passes. When any of us asked him a question like where is a good place to eat his answers were vague or often “I don’t know”. He said he could only talk/answer questions for a few minutes as we were late (like this was our fault) and he had somewhere else to be by this time.
My stay in Rome was the best part of my trip. I no longer had ties to Contiki and could rest assured that nothing else would go terribly wrong. By this time I had made friends and spent time with them in Rome seeing the sites without the stress of Contiki.
I emailed my concerns to Contiki and received a letter about a month later. They ‘regret’ the things that happened and offered a less than satisfactory 5% off my next tour. I hope I have made it clear that I will NEVER be travelling with Contiki again and hope that I can save someone from making the mistake that I did. The only way I would even consider another Contiki tour is if they were offering me one for free. And even then I’d have to think if it was worth my time. The least they could have done was offer me a percentage off the tour I already paid for as I did not get my money’s worth!!!
Review written Aug 2013event 0.3
16 Mar 2013 - 25 Mar 2013
This was the best holiday ever! Met so many lovely people on this trip and had great tour manager and driver who helped out with au problems.
There was lots of free time for things we wanted to do by ourselves. Do the extras on this trip they are definitely worth it and get the group photo!!! We had so much fun on this trip with lots of things to do! The hotels were all beautiful.
Travelling to rome without a tour manager was I little daunting but our group all stuck together and we got there fine! Our local guide in Rome did barlely anything and couldn't even recommend a good restaurant but the reception at our hotel was very helpful with anything that we needed.
Overall amazing tour and would definitely recommend to anyone!!!
Review written Jun 2013event 0.3
17 Aug 2012 - 27 Aug 2012
I went on this tour in August 2012. It was the best time ever, made tons of friends and I am still sorting through pictures.
You have to know that if you can, book more time before and after in the cities you are visiting. There is not enough time to see everything. But this is a great tour to get to see and experience the basics and then you can plan where and when to come back.
I booked the London Explorer before, so I ended up with 5 days in London, which was great and gave me plenty of time to do a lot. Paris was the only disapointment, as if you do the optionals (which are so worth it, Moulin Rouge and the Bike Tour which was THE favoritest moment on the tour) you are running a bit short on time, especially with the included Palace de Versailles visit.
I picked the + Rome option, so I feel like I did not have enough time in Paris, but for a first time, I did get to see a lot. I also booked an extra night in Rome, which allowed me to get off the touristy path and take a morning off to a beach outside the city. Totally worth it!!!
Contikis are fast paced but well organized and you do experience travelling in a completely different way, but its so worth it. Yes, the hotels aren't always the best and the included food sometimes is just ordinary, but those are just minor details in exchange for all the breathtaking moments Contiki will give you a chance to experience!!!
Review written Sep 2012event 0.3
23 Jun 2012 - 02 Jul 2012
I just got back from my contiki holiday about a month ago, and I have to say, if you're thinking of doing a contiki tour, especially this one, DO IT! It's the most fun you will ever have. You'll meet heaps of new people from different places, and do as many of the optionals as you can, you'll see so much and do so much that you normally wouldn't get to do. The tour manager gave us tips on where to get tickets for sites and how to avoid the long lines, and the bus driver on my tour had the best bus driving skills I've ever seen! It's so true what they say, you'll have so much fun and the memories will stick with you forever!
Review written Aug 2012event 0.3
14 Jul 2012 - 23 Jul 2012
I have recently returned to Australia from the 10 day London, Paris plus Rome tour and I have nothing but positive feedback! The tour was fantastic - we got to see so many sights in a short period of time. We also had 3 nights in each of the cities so we didn't feel too rushed and we had plenty of free time in each city to explore by ourselves. It was really great to have the last 3 days in Rome unescorted - it meant that we could relax and explore the city at our own pace.
We had a fantastic tour manager (Thanks, Alex!) and it really made a big difference. I would definitely recommend getting involved in all of the optional activities - the day-trip to Stonehenge and Bath and the night at the Moulin Rouge in particular! I would also recommend arriving in London a few days early if you are able to - I did and was able to see a lot of extra sights and recover from the jet lag before the tour started.
Overall I was super impressed by this tour. It was my first time in Europe and my first Contiki tour and I have to say that it was even better than I expected it would be. Being a part of the tour meant that we skipped the lines at places such as Stonehenge and the Eiffel Tower and we had an incredible guide who filled us in on the history of all the places we saw and visited. Ideally, it would have been great to have more time in each of the cities (because there is just so much to see!) but we were able to fit a lot into the time we had. I would highly recommend this trip for anyone travelling to these cities for the first time - I can't wait to start planning my next trip!
Review written Jul 2012event 0.3
11 May 2012 - 21 May 2012
I honestly had the time of my life on this tour. I got to see the most beautiful sights and met some great friends along the way. Even though I was nervous about it at first, going solo was one of the best decisions I've ever made. Our tour manager (Hugh) and bus driver (Flash) made the trip even better than I had expected - Hugh was always full of random facts about the places we visited, so I learned a lot, plus he was so much fun! My favorite part of the tour was going to Moulin Rogue in Paris; it was awesome and totally worth the money. There's a great bar next to it called O'Sullivan's which was pretty much the best bar I've ever been to. The hotels we stayed in had everything I needed and were all in good locations. I loved how we did plenty of things as a group, but we also had time to ourselves to do our own activities. There are just so many things to do in each city, it didn't feel like nearly enough time - I'm already planning my next Contiki! The only regret I have is not opening up to my tour mates sooner. The trip was so short and I waited way too long to start making friends, so before I knew it, I was saying bye to them! I can't wait to do my next tour... the experience was priceless. I'd absolutely recommend Contiki to everyone.
Review written May 2012event 0.3
04 May 2012 - 14 May 2012
I had an amazing time on this trip! Our tour manager Chris and coach driver Raf were an awesome pair and SO much fun! They definitely made the trip so entertaining and fun. I loved how we were able to spend at least 3 days in each city which gave us ample time to see all of the sites with free time to spare! The hotels in each city were great, nothing extravagant but all were central and easy to find. I met amazing people and I was so sad to see them go, but we all added each other on Facebook and are keeping in touch.
Overall this trip was AMAZING. I had such a great time, with great food, great people and awesome memories. Thanks Contiki!
Review written May 2012event 0.3
17 Jun 2011 - 27 Jun 2011
My husband and I went on this trip for our Honeymoon and it was amazing. We got the chance to experience all the greatest spots London, Stonehenge, Bath, Paris, and Rome had to offer. We made lasting friends we still talk to monthly. It was the best way to tour overseas! I can't wait for our next big adventure!
Review written Nov 2011event 0.3