16 Jun 2013 - 06 Jul 2013
I met up with the group in Paris, which did put me in a bad position for making friends. The Paris accommodation was average and a bit of a trip out of Central Paris. But oh Paris!! LOVE IT!!
The Contiki chateau was ok.. Something different. I found the perfumery a complete waste of time. The trip to Barcelona felt like a lifetime!!!! We didn't get into Barcelona until late. Had a full free day then to only leave super early the next day. Just remember that they have siesta and everything closes from 2-5 (I think) which I found to be very frustrating. I did make my way to Mar Bella which was a nudist beach which was definitely something different!!! Stayed at the generator hostel which was really good! From there went to Nice, which was lovely! Just remember though, it is expensive. Then to Monaco for a night trip which was cool and through to Italy. Oh the gelato!!! Did a stop over in Pisa on the way to Florence (I think) Very average. My highlight was sadly a Mc Donald's. Venice itself I enjoyed. The campground was dreadful! Stayed in tin shelf like things and had no hot water!! Florence, I found to be ok, but didn't love it as much as the other guys. Ladies just we warned, the campground cabins were ok.. However were told we couldn't use hair dryers or straighteners because the power would go out in the cabin. The was a shower block though. I loved Rome. I thought it was stunning! Did the colosseum tour which I recommend to cut the queue. We were also in Rome/the Vatican on a 'holy Sunday' so Contiki didn't book any tours of the Vatican because it was free. WORST DECISION EVER!!! It was beyond busy. We tried to get a 'tour' but we're ripped off. The tried to get us to cut the line and that was our 'exclusive entry'. This resulted in being booed by the public and - yep, nuns. We all just bailed and went to the end of the line. The Vatican museum line was beyond crazy!!! The pope was just about to do his speech.. I had a decision to make.. See the pope.. Or the Sistine chapel that was about to close at 12. I chose the chapel. The accommodation was about a 30min train ride from Rome.
We made our way to Athens via a overnight ferry. We were lucky enough to have cabins. Apparently some tours only get seats to sleep in overnight. Corfu- amazing! Greece is very cheap!!! 50 Euro cents for 2lts of water. Athens was very busy and our accommodation was in a very shady area. Just be careful at night!! My driver was lovely! My so called guide.. An absolute wanker!!! Rude, arrogant and even made me cry!!
Review written Aug 2014event 0.3
19 Jun 2014 - 09 Jul 2014
This tour was the best decision i ever made... I had so much fun and made friends for life. I don't have any negative things to say about this tour because without some of the negatives i wouldn't have had the experiences i had.
The contiki villages for me were the best accommodation because there were only contiki tours living at the sites so everyone was keen to meet new people and have fun. This tour has taught me a lot about the world and a lot about myself. It has shown me that i don't have to be afraid to be the real me. It only took a group of new people and some good times to do it but i am so glad that it happened.
I think your experience all depends on the group that you get, the people honestly make the experience 10x better and if your going alone it makes it that much more fun.
Our whole tour was basically sightseeing by day, partying and drinking by night and sleeping on the tour bus when we were traveling from city to city.
I love my new friends and i love my first experience in Europe, a trip i will never forget !
Big shout out to our tour manager Kate Nickelchok and our first time bus driver who i will never forget Barry Meehan....
LONDON TO ATHENS/IM TWENIEEEE/BEST DAYS EVER!!!!
Review written Jul 2014event 0.3
15 May 2014 - 04 Jun 2014
This trip will be life changing & I know that I came back as a completely different person after the 21 days overseas!
I chose to do this trip on my own - I was told a lot of people generally do that, and there was no point during the trip where I regretted that decision.
You will make PLENTY of friends that I am still in touch with weeks after the trip has ended :)
- WIFI IS NOT ALWAYS FREE. WiFi became a thing of our group that was needed constantly, especially if you need to contact your bank or parents, please be aware that the WiFi is not ALWAYS free in the hostels you stay at. It is generally around 8euros for 6 hours in most places. The generator (BARCELONA) has WiFi in your room, but that is the only place throughout the whole trip where you will have that luxury. (There is WiFi in MOST restaurants you eat at)
- Beware of cover charges at restaurants once you get further into the trip and bread charges.
- Be aware of all types of scams, make sure you bring a small bag to carry your necessities in (Camera, Phone, Money) and make sure it can easily be secured and ALWAYS cover your pin when using an ATM
- Be aware you will need some spending money, around $1,000 - $3,000 depending on how much alcohol, food, cigarettes, etc. you are looking on spending.
- The Contiki bus will now be your new home for the next three weeks, so pack comfy light clothing for those long bus rides, food/snacks/water and movies on your phone or media player. The longest bus ride will be around 8 hours, and you will stop every 2 hours for services, toilet breaks.
- Stock up on your Vitamin C and other drugs, you WILL get sick on this trip. If you don't wish to bring any Vitamins on your trip, don't stress! there are hundreds of Pharmacys (Chemists) around Europe and they are incredibly cheap.
- Be aware of bed bugs! Bring bug spray, anything that will prevent any infection, etc. There will be a few nights in Corfu where the hotel does not allow you to bring a sleeping bag, there are wooly blankets in the cupboards in your room, I recommend DO NOT sleep with them, and make sure they thoroughly clean your white sheets on your bed before sleeping.
- You will spend a lot of your money on cabs, your tour manager will let you know how much it generally is to get a cab from A to B.
It is incredibly cheap when you take the ride with others from your tour, and MOST of the time, they will allow five people in the taxi with you after a big night out. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE YOUR HOTELS ADDRESS WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES FOR THIS.
- (TIP FOR GIRLS) Pack flats, flats, flats and Nikes or running shoes. Even on your nights out, there is a fair walk to the location and unless you are pro at walking in heals, I recommend flats, wedges, or boots.
Ellie our tour guide was incredibly knowledgeable and created day sheets of where we will be staying, what times you will have to get up in the morning, (Cookies and Dishies too... Be aware you MAY be chosen to do this through the duration of your trip) what times of the activities we will be doing, and maps before every city we went to so we were aware of where the main places to go were for shopping, museums, bars, clubs, etc.
Ellie would also let us know about any scams or pick pocketers we had to look out for in each city we went to, what they will do, and how to avoid such things. How much it generally costs to take a cab from city centrals to our campsites/hostels. As well as making us aware of when we can drink the tap water and when we couldn't.
The optionals are optionals for a reason, before the trip I read a lot of reviews about different things, what to do, what not to do, etc.
I pretty much did every optional except for the Cabaret, as that was the only one I read that was not worth the money, and I don't regret not going :)
They are all worth it, If I could do it again I would probably not do the guided tour (except Pompeii, Vatican and Colosseum) as they fall on the day after some of the groups biggest nights out. Nobody in our group opted to do the Car Hire as Gas in Europe (At the time) was around 2euro a litre.
And as EVERY single review I have seen has written, you HAVE to do the Captains Cruise (Georges Boat), It is the most relaxing and fun filled day you will have, with AMAZING views, AMAZING food, and George is lovely and hilarious.
Mostly, go into every location with an open mind, and just enjoy yourself.
This is a trip of a lifetime, and you will be planning your next trip as soon as you get home :)
Review written Jun 2014event 0.3
09 Jun 2013 - 01 Jul 2013
I went solo and had such an amazing time on this tour! This was my second time visiting Paris and I loved it even more the second time around. Trying escargot and champagne is a must, as well as the cabaret show and, of course, O'Sullivan's afterward. It's the first big night out on tour so don't miss it!
The Chateau was the perfect chance to relax a bit before moving on to the rest of this fast-paced journey. I wouldn't have wanted to spend any less time in each location, so I'd definitely recommend choosing a tour that spends 2+ nights in each city.
Barcelona was a huge highlight, I want to go back there one day! I really enjoyed the flamenco dancing optional, plus the dinner we attended that evening was delicious.
All of Italy was gorgeous and interesting but make sure you know what you're getting into regarding the accommodations - the cabins are the bare minimum when it comes to comfort. Be sure to take/buy plenty of bug spray as mosquitoes are everywhere. Nightlife was good though; the I Love Rome party was so much fun! One of my favorite nights on tour. Myself and 2 other girls did unfortunately get bed bugs at some point in Italy but that's not Contiki's fault, it can happen anywhere, so I'd never hold it against them. It's just part of budget travelling. And it didn't ruin my trip so don't stress!
My favorite location ended up being Corfu - from the gorgeous clear blue water to the awesome parties at night, we had a blast there. It's a very relaxing atmosphere which is much-needed after the go-go-go mindset from the rest of the tour. We took an overnight ferry to get to Corfu and we were exhausted so a day laying on the beach was just the right cure.
Our tour manager Matt was absolutely incredible - and it was his first time as a TM! I never would have guessed until he told us on the last day. Him and our driver Pedro made the trip even better than I could've expected.
Definitely do all the optionals! There are some which probably weren't worth the money but it's really the bonding experiences which made them special. If you had to choose one optional though, do George's Boat... it was by far the BEST day.
The on-site teams were always very knowledgeable and friendly, the provided meals were good enough to not complain about (it's free food!) and, most importantly, my tour mates were WONDERFUL. I made some friends who I will never forget. I tried to mix it up at each stop and have different roommates each time so I could get to know everybody and I recommend trying to do the same. You'll obviously find some people who you click with more than others, but you'd be surprised at some of the connections you make when you give others a chance.
Essentially, this tour alternates between one full day of sightseeing/a night of partying, and one full day on the bus/an early night. So you're never TOO burnt out for the city days. Go into it knowing two things: you'll be spending a LOT of time on the bus, and you'll never get the proper amount of sleep per night. You'll be tired and you'll want to sleep for days but it's all part of the experience. YOU'RE IN EUROPE! This may or may not be a one in a lifetime opportunity, so make the most of it. Seriously, have NO regrets... do everything you want to do and I promise you'll have an amazing time.
Review written Sep 2013event 0.3
06 Aug 2013 - 26 Aug 2013
Amazing. Just amazing. The places we went and stayed at, the things we got to see and try, and the food! (Beware people! They do feed you. A lot!) Everything went above and beyond my expectations, I loved every second of it. Not to mention the best tour manager and driver. I just had an awesome time, I didn't want it to end. I would definitely recommend this tour to anyone wanting to travel Europe.
Review written Sep 2013event 0.3
30 Jun 2013 - 20 Jul 2013
The optionals offered are so much fun and definitely worth doing. You're able to see everything that you want in each country. In Paris though be prepared for queues which may lead you to not be able to see inside some museums or inside Versailles. Accommodation wasn't the greatest, but it is what you pay for and there weren't any complaints. All of the food is amazing! All of the Contiki workers were amazing! I would definitely recommend this tour! It's a great tour for people seeing Europe for the first time.
Review written Jul 2013event 0.3
17 May 2013 - 08 Jun 2013
This trip was absolutely incredible. I had so much fun, and only wish I could have stayed longer!!! I myself chose to travel with two other friends which was great, but it's definitely not necessary. I made a ton of new friends on this trip, and would even go alone next time if I had no one to go with. Contiki made this trip the great experience it was, and without them I don't think that would have been possible.
They do a really great job making sure everyone is happy and this trip had a little something for everyone. Travelling with Contiki was a great way to get around, the tour guides know a ton of spots for great eats, they know secrets on skipping some of the queue's at some of the attractions you may choose to visit, and also know all the hot clubs to party at ! They take you to most of the main attractions for each city, and our tour guide Laura (who was AMAZING) by the way gave us metro maps, and maps of the city with basically all the tourist attractions marked on it. From my experience I found The Contiki staff to be very knowledgeable, and if there was a question they didn't have the answer to they would get it for you no problem. I loved meeting all the different Contiki staff members at each Contiki Resort we stayed at they're a great bunch, who love to have fun! On this tour you stay at at least 5 "Contiki Resorts" - (Chateau in France, Venice, Florence, Rome, and Corfu), which usually had at least one or two other Contiki tours there at a time, along with some of the hotels you stay in, which is also great because you can meet even more people who you will most likely bump into later on on your tour as well. For the most part I found the rooms we stayed in to be average, this is a budget tour so I mean they aren't the fanciest of places but they were decent. We didn't spend a lot of time in our rooms, for the most part we were just there to sleep anyway so they did their job. The party nights the Contiki onsite crews plan were a blast! On our tour we had 4 Contiki planned parties and they were all tons of fun, so if you're on a budget and stay in on some nights, I would suggest to at least attend the parties they plan for you. These parties are on site where you're staying so there's no paying for taxis, the other Contiki groups staying at the resort also attend, and drinks for the most part are reasonably priced! You can also pre drink in your rooms which is another option to save money, it's quite easy to buy a bottle of wine or mickey of vodka in town during the day and just bring it back for later. My friends and I did this most nights, you can find HUGE bottles of wine (1.5 Litres) in Europe for 5 Euros, which for most people will last 2-3 nights.
For those planning on doing this tour I think it's a great investment for your time and money, this trip honestly opened my eyes to travel, and I can't wait to go on my next trip ... which may be with Contiki again. Although you could backpack through Europe, which I may do eventually, this was great way to learn about the Continent, and the particular countries we visited for the first time. I liked not having to worry about where I was going to go/stay next. Having everything already taken care of was a huge relief and just made it that much more enjoyable. A few tips for those going on this or any other European tours check the weather first ! That was one thing I didn't do London was a little chilly and so was Paris, but that was expected at the time we were visiting, so just making sure you have the appropriate clothing is a good idea. One more tip DO George's Boat if your tour offers it ! That was the most fun I've ever had. George is a cheeky old man, and it just makes all the more fun !!! As long as you love the water, and you like fun then it should be an amazing time ! I myself did most of the ME Time optionals, they were all pretty well done, the only ones I didn't do was the Cabaret Night in Paris, and the dinner in Florence. Those were just personal choices, based on reading some of the previous reviews on this tour. I suggest reading as many reviews as possible, just so you're aware of what different people thought of it, but overall I found it to be a lot of fun, and would recommend it to everyone! Also if you have the time and it's available to you, do the Greek Island hopping! Unfortunately I could not, I didn't know it was possible to pair a Contiki with a Contiki, had I have known before I left home I definitely would have done it. Trust me once you get to Greece you won't want to leave, and it's extremely hard saying goodbye, especially when you know some of your fellow tourists are going on to have fun without you. I also learned for next time, which I suggest to think about doing if you're planning on going to Europe on this tour or another to not book your flight home. I myself would have loved to fly back to some of the places we visited on the tour to go back and explore a bit, and also would've loved to extend my stay in Greece where the tour ended. So if it's available to you it's a good idea in case your plans change.
Overall it was an amazing trip, I would do another Contiki in a heart beat no questions asked. On this trip not only did I meet new people from all around the world (Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, USA and Canada) I made friends for life, and I can't wait to go visit them! I think using Contiki to travel is a great idea. and I know my trip would've been nearly as fun as it was without the Contiki family I was with! And one last tip take HEAPS of pictures, there's never a dull moment on these types of trips, and being able to show your friends all the pictures when you get home and telling the stories behind them is like reliving all the good time!
Review written Jun 2013event 0.3
01 Aug 2008 - 23 Aug 2008
This tour was hands down, the most memorable and amazing experience I have been lucky to do. I met so many great people from all around the world and because it was such an extended tour, we became like a family. The sights and sounds were breathtaking and I will never ever forget taking the plunge of going into the tour completely solo, but leaving arm-in-arm with some many friends.
Review written May 2013event 0.3
22 Apr 2012 - 12 May 2012
This is a great tour as an introduction to western Europe, as you'll visit all the major cities with a few interesting stops and Contiki special locations along the way. At least two nights in each place means you're not in a rush and can enjoy your time.
Paris is a big, beautiful city with so much to see and do - I'd recommend you plan ahead and check museum opening times, as many are closed on certain days. The Parisian dinner was the best of the optional meals, amazing food and atmosphere. The regular Cabaret show was closed when we were there, so our tour manager organised us tickets to the Moulin Rouge instead, which was an incredible show and worth the extra cost (note you can't take photos inside though). Whilst the excursion to Versailles is very interesting it is very busy, so be prepared to queue and you may not get to see everything.
After busy Paris the days at Contiki's Chateau are very relaxing. Apart from the included picnic lunch in the hills (study the map - easy to end up on the wrong path!) most people just chilled out by the pool or in the bar.
In Barcelona the hotel is far out from the city centre, so make the most of your time. Must visits are Gaudi's Sagrada Familia and Park Guell - you won't see anything else like them. The optional Flamenco show is fun and you will be invited to participate!
The French Riviera is a mix of charming small towns to the opulence of Monaco and Monte Carlo. Nice was great for shopping with markets and little local stores, and I was surprised at how comfortable the Contiki campsite was.
Venice is everything you would expect, picture perfect and beautiful. Spend the day just walking the streets and do the optional Gondola ride - yes, it's expensive and touristy but who knows how long the sinking city will be around for, so take the opportunity.
Pisa is all about the Leaning Tower, and there's not much else to see but it's fun to take the typical "holding up the tower" photo. Florence is another great walking city and the local guide on the walking tour was really knowledgable, especially about art. The optional dinner was just ok and I skipped the Space Disco but for most people this is the BIG night out on tour.
In Rome again the campsite is far out from the city centre but if you plan you can still see all the major sights in your days here. The optional tour of The Vatican is fascinating, you will see the famous Sistene Chapel and St Peter's Basilica. A few of us opted to do a guided tour of the Colosseum simply so we could jump the queues.
Unfortunately due to traffic we were running late so our tour of Pompeii was really rushed and disappointing. Luckily I'd been there before; I'd highly recommend it if you have the time, it's an amazing place.
Corfu was the best. The Contiki resort has everything and you can do as much or as little as you want whilst you're here. By far everyone's favourite was George's Boat - so much fun! It's a day filled with food, music, swimming and water sports, the best optional of the whole tour. Another day a few of us hired a car (cheap!) and drove around to different swimming spots.
Athens isn't the prettiest city but it has the Parthenon and the Acropolis, plus there are some great markets. The optional dinner is like a farewell meal as it's your last night on tour. And then you're done!
Overall this was a great tour, I had so much fun. Our tour manager was so knowledgeable and made everything really easy, as did the Contiki crew members at the accommodation sights. As for things like laundry, wifi, etc. they are all readily available at various places. You do spend a lot of time on the bus but it's clean and comfortable, and the scenery is beautiful (also a good time to catch up on sleep!). If I was to do it again, I'd definitely spend more time in London before the tour and go on after the tour to visit the Greek Islands.
Review written Apr 2013event 0.3
11 May 2012 - 31 May 2012
This trip is an amazing way to see Western Europe. FInishing in Greece is absolutely amazing!! Love how you have 2-3 nights in 99% of locations. There is no rushed pace to this at all.
Would have loved for it to keep going as the worst part about the trip was saying goodbye to all of my Contiki family. Truely is a great way to meet people. Lifelong friends on this trip!
My suggestions are if you are a real foody to maybe skip SOME (but definitely not all) optional dinners and find your own spots. Contiki's optional dinners are more about the company your with than the food. So you have to choose between good food and a more expensive night or awesome company and OK food for a very reasonable price.
All of the other optional's I think are epic. If you are going to do your own thing there is one optional you must do. I really think its compulsory. Go on George's Boat. The most amazing day sailing around the Mediterannean!
Hopefully your Tour Manager will be as amazing as ours and tell you how to make sure you skip the ques (got into the collosseum in about 30 seconds and the louvre in maybe 10 seconds).
I found most people on our tour also stuck around to do their own time around the greek islands so if you can leave time at the end for some more nights to spend on Ios or Santorini.
Would do the trip again in a heartbeat!
Review written Jun 2012event 0.3
09 May 2012 - 31 May 2012
I have just had the most life altering 23 days of my life!
If you are thinking about this tour do-it!
Take an extra few days and go to London early, get a subway day pass and tour london for 8 Euros or less. Visit The Tower of London it is worth every pennie!
First off - Load up on Vitamins, You are going to get sick on tour, the "Contiki Cough" will find you. You party all night every night and get up early to tour a city.
Bring a travel pillow, gravol, and vitamins. You will need those to counter balance the lack of sleep and nutrition you will get on tour.
Coach Life- These tours are well planed, after a massive night out you recouperate on the coach the following day. This is so you aren't hungover while viewing immaculate cities such as Paris. On board is a bathroom and outlets for electronics (you will need your adapters/converters). Long days are spent on the bus so I recommend comfy clothes and layers.
Paris- The is breathtaking! The Cabaret is worth the 77 Euro, out of all the optionals this is by far a MUST DO! It is fun, entertaining and there is something for everyone at the show. You also have Champaigne included in your fare. After which you go out to O'Sullivans. This is one of THE BEST nights out, go out! Get "Sullied" and buy a flaming Jagerbomb, not a Jagerbomb fan? Neither am I but these are awesome and you must do at least one! Purchase a Muesum pass and gain entrance to many locations in Paris.
Contiki Chateau- The perfect amount of time to unwind and enjoy some wonderful French Wines. The Picnic is so much fun same with the party held in The Cave at the Chateau.
Barcelona- Unfortunatly Barcelona was not my favorite, we also had terrible weather so perhaps my opinion is spoiled. Great night out, beautiful veiws. Not the best food on site.
Antibes- While we were there the Cannes Film Festival was there so I opted out of Nice and the French Perfumere and went there instead. Celebrities were spotted. Monaco is spectacular, budget for this Casino! It is extremely expensive but at the very least go get a drink and play a table at this immaculate casino. Rub shoulders with the rich and famous and enjoy all the exotic cars and views.
Italy- Florence is a really great time - DO THE GROUP PHOTO!! Red Garter is the nightclub that you go to here, it is extremely fun and the campsite you stay at is the best on tour. Venice is gorgeous, unfortunatly we had pouring rain. I opted out of the walking tour and wandered around on my own in the city with friends and had a really great time. Prepare yourself for the accomodation and the smell of Venice in general. Beautiful City, the water just smells very badly. Pisa - Very cool to see the tower, is worth to go up if you wish. Rome- Breathtaking, I only wish we had more time in Rome. Public transit is very easy to navigate in Rome and it is easy to get back to the campsite. There is a pool and wifi here. I love Roma party is also a highlight and is held on site so no need to cab home.
Corfu- BEAUTIFUL! Georges boat is a must do! Great to spend a day relaxing on a boating drinking with your new found Contiki Family. Rent a ATV and see the island, definatly worth travelling to the gorgeous beachs.
Athens- Because of the economic downturn in Greece brace yourself for Athens. Even though the city has beautiful arcetecture it is not the cleanest, safest place to be. As long as you are aware of this you should enjoy Athens for the time you are there.
Take the extra time and visit the Greek Islands!! A ferry to Ios costs 54 Euros, it is a 5 hour ferry. Stay at Francescos Hostel, the most magnificant veiw, clean and very affordable. www.hostelworld.com will provide you with insight needed. Club hopping is BIG in Ios, Slammers and Flames are the best bars but they are all very fun. P.s they party til 8 am in Ios so prepare yourself for a wild time.
Wifi- There is wifi at basically every location, London, Paris, Barcelona, Rome and Contiki Chateau are free of charge. Everywhere else you have to pay. Find a Starbucks or McDonalds in the cities without and use the wifi there to contact family and friends til you reach one of the free locations.
Feel free to comment and ask as many questions as desired, I had a spectular time, i met alot of wonderful people. Some of them I will be friends with for a life time. The memories created are those you will cherish.
DO THIS TOUR!!!
Review written Jun 2012event 0.3
23 Jun 2011 - 13 Jul 2011
Contiki was definitely the best thing I have ever done!! Not only did I get to visit amazing cities all over Europe, I learnt so much from my Tour Manager, Steve, and made the best friends I'll ever have who I know will be my friends for life!! I can't wait to do another tour asap, and I definitely want to work for Contiki one day, I can't think of a better job in the world! Big shout out and thanks goes to the amazing Steve and our awesome coach driver Vitor, wouldn't have been nearly as good without those two!
Review written Aug 2011event 0.3