01 Nov 2014 - 23 Nov 2014
This journey was my first experience with Contiki, and boy was I glad with the results! Whilst 13 countries in 23 days does sound like a daunting task at first, it is actually just enough time to go to a large portion of all the major sights in the cities visited.
There is one or two things that I will bring up as these always seemed to stump at least one or two (myself included on one point) people on our tour. First of all, it is a budget tour. You will not be staying at the Ritz every night. That said, the hotels and hostels that you stay in are rather nice for what they are. Do not use the Wi-Fi at the hotel in Venice though. It costs about five Euros and only works in the lobby.
Secondly, do all the me-time options of the budget permits. This is the one that caught me a little off guard when on tour, as doing every single one worked out to be about twenty euros per day, much cheaper than what I had thought. There may be one or two things that you may think wouldn't interest you, but trust me, every optional on that list is an absolute blast! As the motto goes, you leave all events with #NoRegrets.
Personally, I loved Kraków the most. It's an absolutely beautiful city filled with a rich history and friendly people. As long as you can speak basic Polish (they teach this to you on the bus), then they will speak English back to you. As will most Europeans. While you're there, try the beer with fruit juice. It's an odd combination, but it does work and most importantly it's a local custom.
Happy trails, fellow Contiki goers!
Review written Nov 2014event 0.3
20 Sep 2014 - 12 Oct 2014
This trip was everything I had ever dreamt of and more what I had bargained for. All my dreams started coming true as I boarded my plane in Auckland, New Zealand bound for London, Heathrow. On the way to London I planned what I would like to see and a little anxious as to how this Contiki was going to work. It was a joyful experience. My Contiki team were AMAZING! Jesse, our tour manager is very knowledgable of the destinations, helpful and highly entertaining to say the least. Our driver Magic was a genius. Driving us through some very tight spots as we journeyed for three weeks through Europe, through Italy and brave as he went around the Arc de Triomphe twice to my delight. I had never experienced anything like it before.
Our tour were joined and left by a few other smaller tours – it added to our fun and the bus changed every seven days. When we had to say goodbye it was sad – but not something a few drinks could not fix and a night out that some were struggling to remember and others did not want to remember.
We saw Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Krakow, Budapest, Ljubljana, Venice, Rome, Vatican, Florence, Lauterbrunnen and Paris – with a few stops along the way. Lake Bled, Dresden, Lucerne, Auschwitz are now just a distant memory.
I made so many friends from around the globe on my tour. Individuals and couples joined the tour hailing from the far end of the world and they each brought their own individuality into the group. From New Zealand and their close rivals Australia, across the Pacific Ocean to the United States of America and Canada, individuals from Japan and South Africa to those from the United Kingdom – we became a close knit group, and a crazy bunch of people.
Pick a tour or several because one won’t be enough. Prepare yourself for little sleep, nights out, singing the day song wherever in the world you are – living for the moment and having no regrets.
The trip home was another thirty hours on the plane to Wellington, New Zealand. My time was taken up with looking through photos and how happy I was for taking the plunge and travelling solo. It was the most amazing trip I have done, so plan it, do it and travel.
I am already planning my next one - and besides my family now have to listen to my adventures.....
Review written Oct 2014event 0.3
30 May 2014 - 22 Jun 2014
This tour was 100% amazing, and exceeded any expectations I had. We saw something incredible every day - It took adjusting to normal monotonous life pretty difficult after a month of excitement. All the countries we went to were mind blowing - and Lucy - our tour guide was so insightful and helpful to lead us to things to do and places to party. It was a nice taste of the places we went because we were only in each place about 2 nights - it gave me a great idea where I would like to go my next trip. The Prauge bike tour was well worth it, the salt mines, cabaret show, Jungfrau mountain day, the optional dinners were great, especially the parisian meal. The only excursion I didn't particularly enjoy were the Venice walking tour. Accommodation was great - considering how cheap you are paying to get to stay for 24 nights in Europe. Of course breakfasts and the room were quite simple - but we barely spent any time at the hotels anyways. The group of people we were with was great! and there was a good mix of personalities that made things really work. You could go out and party almost every night or stay in some nights too and still have loads of fun. My favourite country was Hungary - which surprises most people but all of the countries were amazing. The best moments were the ones wondering the unknown streets late at night with a bunch of great people laughing and talking about anything. The bus rides were typically spent catching up on sleep - it worked out perfectly!! Our tour guide and Contiki outdid themselves with organization and planing of this tour. My only stress of the entire tour was to make sure I made it to the bus on time to get to the next city. I would recommend this tour to anyonewho wants a taste of some Europe countries, to see incredible things, meet great people and make unforgettable memories. The price was well worth it - you couldn't do it any cheaper on your own! Amazing time, great tour - HIGHLY recommended.
Review written Aug 2014event 0.3
19 Oct 2013 - 10 Nov 2013
I have to be honest I was skeptical about the pace and constant get up and go nature of contiki. However once I arrived on the first day at the royal national all those concerns were gone. We were straight onto the bus and getting to know each other. Within 2 hours everyone was comfortable and I knew I was in for a good time. The accommodation was awesome and our tour manager mike was so organised it was ridiculous. Both himself and Michele (aka Macklemore,because he looked like him) were terrific and always helping out at with anything we needed. The people I met and the things that I did will be some of my longest lasting memories in my life. Walking tour in Berlin, jäger trains in Vienna, massage at the Budapest baths, Halloween in Ljubljana and snowball fights in lucerne are all things I would have never dreamed of doing but I now have them as a memory. As a first time traveller I was unsure about certain things, but contiki always had it sorted and the tour manager (mike) was always in control. The experience provided is like no other and I had the privilege to get to know some of the best people ever!!!! I know that there will forever be a bond forged by contiki with these people and I highly recommend a contiki to anyone wanting a life changing experience :) #wherestheplacetobe
Review written May 2014event 0.3
19 Oct 2013 - 10 Nov 2013
As a concept tour, you agree to pay a little less, to stay in lower grade accomodation. Do it. Choose this option. You can drink more, buy more and eat more.
Accomodation: Yeah, it's mainly hostels and you bunk with a few of your new friends, but after the first night and day with your group of around 50, it'll feel almost natural. Most breakfasts were included and continental. Take advantage of this, it's free and why buy food when you don't need to?
Locations: Every country was different and every city was more beautiful than the last. Make sure you have a good camera and a large memory card, because you're going to want to take as many pictures as you can because it's that fricking pretty.
People: I travelled with my sister, and a lot of people travelled either alone or with another friend. It takes a while to remember everyone's names but I guarantee you will be friends with most if everyone by the end of the first week. Spending an entire day on a bus with them all kind of forces you to, but you know #noregrets.
General review: I thoroughly enjoyed this tour. Even though we only spent 2 nights in most places, I know exactly which places I want to go back to. This is a great all rounder trip and there's plenty of oppurtunities fro everyone no matter what you're in to. Solo exploring, making friends, museums, parties, culture, whatever it is, there's plenty of it.
My two top tips for this tour are
1) Sleep the first night in a new city, rest up and explore during the full day, then party hard (if that's your style) the second night. The next day will be mostly spent on the coach, so as long as you're on there when the bus leaves the hostel, you're free to sleep your hangover off.
2) Eat as healthy as you can. If you're young, and in Europe, chances are you're gonna do your liver a bit of trouble. Even if you're not a drinker, make sure you eat fruit and veg and as balanced of a diet as you can get jumping between cities. Try new foods, but make sure you don't only eat pringles and drink vodka. If you get sick on this trip, you're gonna have a bad time. If one person gets a cold on the coach, it'll spread pretty quickly.
Review written Feb 2014event 0.3