London to Athens » Review by Madison
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