Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
This was my first contiki and I loved every second of it! Everyone was super friendly and the tour managers knew Greece inside and out. The optional extras were worth it and you still had plenty of time to explore and relax after. The only optional I didn’t enjoy as much was the winery because I felt it was a rushed talk and then three wine tastings – although the location and view was breathtaking! I also found that the included dinners weren’t as good as the places we found on our own, but was a good way to meet talk to your tour members. All the hotels were awesome but heads up the showers are tiny and flood the bathroom. The locations were either beachfront or a short walk /bus ride from town - and despite ‘island time’ the buses actually come on time! I’d still recommend hiring a quad bike in Mykonos though so you can explore whenever in your free time. The Mykonos beach party was insane and the nightlife was even crazier! In ios clubs don’t get going until early hours in the morning so your tour guides start your night at Fun Pub – which despite the name gets boring quite quickly. They do have cool things like ‘buy 7 shots and get a free shirt’ and giant jenga– but once everyone’s done that, you want to move to the next bar. The rest of the night is sick! Just watch out for people assuming you are tipping them/giving back the wrong or no change… some places took advantage of us tourists and we didn’t realize until later on. Despite that I’d highly recommend this tour to anyone who loves partying, exploring and relaxing! Can’t wait for my next contiki :)
Made tons of friends and had a ball!
Having been to Europe a few times already, I had read the reviews before I signed up for this trip and knew what I was getting myself into. When you sign up for a tour that goes to so many places in such a short time frame, you have to understand that you're going to be spending a lot of time on the bus. This wasn't typically a problem, however, as we mainly used that time to catch up on some sleep we had been missing from being out the night before.
The food was mostly okay, the sites were fantastic, and the optionals were great, but what really made the trip exceptional was the people. I was a little nervous to travel alone, however I met so many people even on the first night and following days that it didn't make a difference at all.
Kristin, our tour guide, was incredibly knowledgeable about everywhere we went, and was always around to help you out if you needed her or had any questions. I ended up getting sick on our last stop and she personally took me to the pharmacy in paris and got the medicine I needed - so thank you Kristin :) (on that note, if you do get sick easily, it might be wise to pack some cold and flu pills in your bag before you go).
I would definitely recommend doing the optional Moulin rouge in paris and the sex show in Amsterdam - though it does seem kind of costly, particularly the Moulin Rouge show, pretty much our entire group went to both and it was well worth it.
I'd definitely recommend this trip to anyone who wants to have a taste of Europe, its great for deciding which places you want to come back to and explore in depth!
My trip was the best thing I've ever done. Meeting and become so close with my Contiki family and getting to experience Europe in the best way possible. Our tour manager Joe defiantly made the trip, his passion for travel and how he talks about each country it was like having a book on tour he just knows everything and is the best at what he does. If it wasn't for him I don't think I would of experienced as much as I did. Thank-you Joe for giving me the best days of my life. My favourite place was Lucerne in Switzerland it was like living in a picture for a few days. I'll never forget my trip and miss everyone so much already.
This tour was insanely good. The perfect amount of time spent on each island, generally a good distance from the towns and if not right in it then easily accessible buses. The tour managers were incredibly fun and easy to get along with who also knew tonnes about where we were and what we were doing. The only thing I would say is watch out for the sting of optional extras. They're all worth the money but they are a bit pricey for what they are. I felt like a lot of them should have been included in the price of the tour, but they were pretty great activities. Also plenty of free time, even if doing all the optionals, to explore the townships and sleep in after big nights. Overall I adored this trip! Warning - the first optional in Mykonos which is the dinner and bar hopping, the food for the dinner was quite poor so choose a vegetarian option if you hate dry mystery meat.
First off, our guide, Cam, was excellent. Very friendly, knowledgeable and organized. Our driver Jakub was also very good and always on time.
The optionals were great, I would recommend all of them. The food and accommodations were as expected for the price.
A couple of things that surprised me were 1) this is a modular trip. I was 1 of just a few people joining a larger group of about 40 people who had already spent 2 weeks together becoming friends and making memories. 2) the average age of members on the tour I figure was about 19 or 20. Much younger than I expected (especially given that euro trips are quite expensive). For this reason I would not recommend this trip for anyone over the age of early twenties traveling solo.
If you're reading this, it's probably to see whether or not doing a Contiki tour is the right thing for you; look no more! Trust me when I say it was the most AMAZING time of my life.
This particular tour is draining in more ways than one, you see soo much of Europe in 2 weeks. Yes, there will be early mornings and yes, there will be LONG bus rides, but I wouldn't have it any other way. It's most definitely an adventure of a life time. The bus is a second home, a place for recaps of the night before (or at least what you can remember). You will learn to love the bus.
The one question I get asked is always about the optionals. My opinion - do them! Everyone else does and it's something fun to do with the group. I skipped a few based on the short amount of period in each city and decided to prioritise my time elsewhere.
All tour inclusions (accommodation and food) were perfectly fine - no problems at all.
And finally, the people. I was a little hesitant, but I can happily say, I now have a bunch of amazing friends all over the world who made the experience 100 times better than what I imagined. Friendships form extremely quickly, and after two weeks with one another, we were more of a family.
It doesn't matter where you are from or how old you are, I guarantee you will have the time of your life.
Smile at Europe, and it will smile back at you!!!
I went on the European Whirl June 27th- July 14th. i met my group in Amsterdam and the minute i met all 52 of them i instantly liked them. I got to know them all really well and made amazing friends. We started in Amsterdam and it was mad fun drinking and going out to these cool clubs, then we went to Berlin were we got to watch Berlin play in the world cup and that was the best thing to do :) then off to Prague and enjoyed the history and culture there, then we did a one day stop in Munich and i did the ME TIME activity Mikes Bike Tour and YOU HAVE TO DO IT this bike tour is the funniest and best bike ride i have ever been on you see so much of Munich in so little time with this great bike tour and you laugh the whole way. Then we went for another 1 night stop in the Austrian Tyrol and that was just BEAUTIFUL we also had our Tight, White & Bright Party at the place we were staying and that was a fun party with my contiki group and other contiki groups as well :) then we went to the beautiful country ITALY we stayed in campsites through out the whole time in Italy and they were alright (you will need your sleeping bag there and in Venice buy mozzie spray as they will bite you bad) Venice is a beautiful city i could live there, Rome didn't interest me that much but thats my personal opinion you may think different of Rome. We only had 1 day in Florence and from what i saw it is a beautiful city. We had our group photo and dinner in Florence which is a ME TIME OPTIONAL and i suggest you do it as its amazing and after dinner we went to a karaoke bar and drank and sang the night away ( hahahaha- Oh and eat lots of GELATI in Italy i did its so AMAZINGLY GOOD) we then headed up to Switzerland and it was cold but OMG such beautiful views and such a beautiful place we stayed in. another ME TIME OPTIONAL in Switzerland is going up to the top of Europe in the snow called JUNGFRAUJOCH and i enjoyed that heaps (but pack warm clothing as you will need it and Switzerland is expensive so if you are thinking you want to eat at the snow buy food at the place your staying and take it up there as its very expensive up the top of the mountain) then after that we headed to our last stop PARIS and just like the talk it is a BEAUTIFUL CITY we went as a group in free time on the first night we all bought wine and champagne and went to the Eiffel Tower at midnight and watched it light up it was so beautiful. Then the last night we had out goodbye dinner and cabaret show and those are both ME TIME OPTIONALS and you have to do them as its a fantastic night out with everyone for pretty much the last time :) then on the morning everyone left i was staying in Paris 1 extra night and i didn't think it would be that hard but saying goodbye to 52 people you have been with on and off a bus with and shared rooms with and toured around Europe with for the last 18days is so hard and sad to say goodbye to them i cried but i know i will have a friendship with them for life and will catch up with them soon :) This was my first ever CONTIKI TOUR and i LOVED IT i now have the travel bug and i will be booking to go on another Contiki December 2015 but on an American Tour - if you are hesitating about doing a contiki tour or hesitating about doing this tour - DONT HESITATE just do it as you will not regret it and you will have the best time ever and also don't be nervous going by yourself as i went by myself and i made the most amazing friends and had the most amazing time ever :)
Travelling to Europe for the first time ever, and travelling solo for the first time ever I felt this was a wonderful way to kick start my adventure! Our tour guide was named Meggy and she was absolutely awesome! I hadn't done a contiki before or any other tour but I felt totally blessed to have such an amazing guide for the first time.
Day 1 - We stayed at The Regent Hotel in Rome. To be completely honest with you none of the hotels in Italy were very nice although they claimed to be 3-4 stars. It is not a big deal though because basically all you do there is sleep because you are too busy to spend time there!
Meggy held a meeting with our group in a restaurant close to the hotel and explained in great detail every optional, every included meal & backstage pass, and every day where to find the info sheet outlining our itinerary for the days ahead.
We had an in included dinner and a walking tour of Rome. The walking tour went for about 1-2 hours and was worth it. Out tour guide Meggy took us through Rome city centre and showed us the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, Piazza Venezia, Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, plus all the shopping streets in Rome, where to find a pharmacy, supermarket basically everything we could have asked for.
Day 2 - We actually visited and had a guided tour of the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. This was an optional and definitely has to be done if you haven't before! You simply cannot go to Rome and not visit the Colosseum. It is definitely a must see!
This night there was an optional dinner which was an Italian cooking class which I did not do. The reason I did not do it is because I come from an Italian family where we make our own tomato sauce and pasta so I could not justify paying 48.00 euro to see this done. (I do appreciate that it would be different in Rome but I had to budget to have enough to backpack around after this trip) Every person I spoke to that did this optional said it was awesome but. You learn to make 3 different kinds of pasta then the chef cooks it for you and you eat it! I heard very good things about this dinner.
Day 3 - We had an included guided tour of St. Peter's basilica, the Sistine chapel and the Vatican state. This was one of the standout moments of my entire trip. The whole Vatican state is absolutely amazing and definitely a must see. Your tour guide will remind you but inside any of the churches you must have shoulders and knees covered so remember to bring a cardigan, wear a t-shirt, long skirt or pants.
After this we had free time so I ventured off on my own to visit the Castle of Saint Angels. This was probably my favourite thing to see in Rome, it was breathtakingly beautiful. (A quick tip also if you haven't already I highly recommend you watch the movie Angels & Demons which is the sequel to The Da Vinci Code before visiting Rome, it was amazing to see so many of the statues and monuments that I remembered seeing in the movie in real life).
Day 3 - We took the coach from Rome to our next destination Sorrento via Pompeii. On the coach we got to see glimpses of Mt. Vesuvius which was pretty cool! We stopped in Pompeii which is the home of an endless supply of lemon and orange trees, so there is plenty of fresh lemon juice, fresh orange juice, lemon sorbet basically anything you can think of in those flavours. Oh and of course limoncello which you must try!!
There was an optional guided tour of the ruins Pompeii which I highly recommend, everyone on the tour loved this. It is a massive city of ruins, I think I took over 100 photos just there alone.
After this we continued on the coach to Sorrento with view of the Mediterranean Sea. As we were driving in the coach we had spectacular views of the sea and our driver was nice enough to stop off at the top of a cliff/lookout for photos.
This evening there was an optional dinner which I didn't participate in. Everyone I spoke to about this dinner said it was an amazing view on top of the cliff overlooking the bay but the food wasn't very good and thought it was overrate and overpriced for what they got.
Our hotel in Sorrento named Cavaro Hotel was the worst one we stayed in - everyone agreed. It was in a good location very easy to walk into town, had a swimming pool (not that we really had much of a chance to swim as we were always off doing things) but the rooms and bathrooms were small, run down and a bit dirty.
Day 4 - We had a day trip to the Island of Capri. This island is stunning, but very very expensive (it is where all the rich and famous go). I did the optional cruise around the island and got to see all the grottos. We didn't get to swim in them but was still amazing to see. Our boat driver did stop off somewhere off the island and we all got to jump off the boat and swim in the Mediterranean Sea. Just a heads up 3 people on the boat got seasick. I personally did not find the ride to be rough or anything but if you do suffer best to take some motion sickness tablets just to be safe!
On our Capri excursion myself and 2 other girls chose to walk up the island (you can walk which takes about 20 mins) or catch the cable car which I think is about 5 euro and takes a few minutes. It was a steep walk, it was about 34degrees so drink plenty of water and try to stick to the shade if you can. When we got to the top we had lunch in a beautiful restaurant overlooking the entire island. We walked back down again but you also have the option to take the cable car.
This night we had an included dinner which was a pizza buffet, and the pizzas were very very nice! They have all different types and literally want to keep feeding you (typical Italians) After this our entire group went to a karaoke bar which we pretty much turned into a night club. It was so much fun until all the Italian 17 year old guys came in trying to dance with everyone!!
Day 5 - We got on the coach to Bari, then a 9 hour ferry ride to Igoumenitsa (Greece). While it's true 9 hours on a ferry is a long time and we only had aeroplane type seats to sleep/sit in, a group of us went up to the deck of the ship with a pack of cards and entertained ourselves for majority of it playing drinking games and getting drunk! We spent the night in a hotel by the port in Igoumenitsa.
Day 6 - We got a 1.5 hour ferry to Corfu, one of the Greek Islands. Our accommodation was called Corfu Village, which is a contiki only village. At first sight the village looks amazing, there's an awesome pool and each room had a balcony overlooking the beach. The only negative I have on this was that our bathroom was not clean when we got there and wasn't cleaned once during our stay.
The optional on this day was the Captain's cruise of Corfu aka George's boat. Everyone on the tour agreed this was the best optional/best day we had all tour. George is a 63 year old man who is a little inappropriate at times, but very entertaining and very hilarious! We all had lots of drinks and laughs on this day. George provides a lovely fresh lunch on board too. Drinks and souvenirs are not included but I definitely recommend buying a shirt - you buy a keyring and get a shirt for 10 euro.
Day 7 - This was the first free day we had where we weren't rushing around to be somewhere or setting alarms to wake up early. Most of us slept in ad missed breakfast but we weren't too concerned! I caught the bus from across the village into town and went shopping. The shopping was pretty good and fairly cheap in town.
This evening we had a toga party with another contiki group that were also staying in the village which was awesome and so much fun!
Day 8 - We travelled nearly 9 hours on the coach to get to Athens. We stopped at a service stop and got to see The Corinth Canal - which is a man made canal. If you are massively afraid of heights like I am I would recommend not getting too close!
We arrived in Athens and had an included dinner in town which was about 20 mins away from our hotel.
The accommodation was called The Arion Hotel and the first place we had good wifi AND wifi in our rooms!
Day 9 - We had an included guided tour of The Acropolis which was pretty cool. Just a heads up but it was hot - very hot so take a little daypack with water, sun cream, hat and wear good shoes!! It is also very slippery inside there so be careful where you walk - we saw a few people slip over. Later this day we drove to the first modern Olympic stadium, then Parliament where we could either choose to stay on the bus back to the hotel or get off to go explore town and make our way back on our own. I got off the bus as witnessed the changing of the guards outside Parliament, then went wandering through the markets and shops to get back to the hotel.
This night there was an optional dinner that I did not participate in but I wish I did! It was a typical Greek dinner with Greek dancing, games, fire and ouzo! Everyone said it was very cool so if you have the option to do it then do it!
Day 10 - I was unaware when I booked this tour but this day was the day our group got split up. Some people were going home, most were doing a 3 day Greek Island cruise and 9 of them including myself were off to do an 11 day Greek Island hopping tour with a new tour group. Myself and another girl used out free morning and caught the train to Lykovatiss Hill, which we were told by our guide was a hill overlooking the entire city of Athens. When we got off the train it was about a 20 minute walk up hill then to a cable car which costs 7.50 euro return. It was well worth it but the view was spectacular.
We got back to the hotel and met our new tour guide Paola who took us on a bus to the new hotel with our new group. This day is the reason I rated this tour 4 out of 5 stars and not 5 out of 5. The 9 of us who joined this new tour were unaware but the new group had an optional dinner this night, which was the exact same optional dinner we had done be nigh before therefore we were advised not to do it again. To be perfectly honest I would have preferred to be told in the first place that the 2 dinners were the same and done the one with the new group. All of us who came to the tour technically came 2 days late and felt like we had missed out on a lot of the bonding with the new group.
Day 11 - We got aboard a ferry to Mykonos which took about 5 hours. This ferry ride was sooooooo rough. The swell must have been at least 5-6 meters and even for a big ferry boat it was rocking back and forth. If you were inside you felt seasick and if you were outside you would be sprayed with water so it was a no win situation! We arrived safely though and I was surprised to discover Mykonos to be soooo windy! And I mean extremely windy! We checked into our hotel Mykonos beach resort which was about a 20 minute drive out of town, were told that if we were to try to walk from town to the resort it would take about 3 hours, and there are a total of 32 taxis on the entire island. The resort was beautiful the only downside to it being so far from town was that the only restaurant close by was a taverna right next to the resort which was ridiculously expensive. A main meal and a pint of beer was about 40 euro. We were told Mykonos was the most expensive of all the Islands but we were not told that if we walked about 5 mins away from the resort there was a small mini mart selling snacks and other stuff. This would have been handy to know before spending so much money on food!
This night I did the hidden treasures of Mykonos tour which was literally a walking tour of the town with an included dinner followed by a bar crawl. I originally didn't put this down and my tour guide talked me into it saying it was really good. Honestly, it wasn't. The walking tour was okay but we could have done it on our own, the dinner was very nice and the bar crawl was interesting. The first bar we went to was tiny but a lot of fun, the next bar was so packed you literally could not move. Myself being only 5'2 I purposely avoid mosh pits and overly crowded areas especially when there is alcohol involved because I cop elbows to the head. I walked out of this bar and stood out the front wanting to leave and go back to the hotel but we were warned many many times in Mykonos that girls should not go anywhere alone as it is not safe! Luckily my friend wandered out and there ended up being about 7 of us that waited for a taxi together...2.5hours later we finally got one but I guess that's what happens when there are 32 taxis for a whole island!
Day 12 - Paradise day beach party - the best kind of fun! This was an awesome awesome day! Try the devils tongue cocktail which is only 11 euro and has about 10 shoes in it! The day starts off tame enough everyone is sitting down at tables and before you know it everyone is dancing on the bar and on tables. Definitely do this optional it is absolutely worth it!
Day 13 - This was a free day so we were able to swim at the beach, do water sports or head into town to explore!
Day 14 - We left Mykonos for Santorini. Santorini was my absolute favourite place of anywhere I went and unfortunately no photos will ever do it justice. It is not a party island but a bit quieter and more relaxing. The shopping in Santorini is absolutely amazing too - clothes, shoes, bags, souvenirs you name it whatever you want they have it. We had an included dinner this night in a restaurant atop a cliff overlooking the amazing sunset. Although almost any restaurant you visit in Santorini is stop the cliff so you can literally go anywhere and are satisfied!
Day 15 - We had a free morning this morning so my friend and I did the Volcano trek & swim which although is listed as an optional on contiki was not organised through contiki. The volcano was a ferry ride then about a 20 minute hike to the top - word of advice wear good shoes! The actual volcano itself was not that spectacular to be honest I would not do it again. After this we took the ferry to another island about 15 mins away where we had the option to jump off the boat and swim to the hot springs. The hot springs were pretty cool it was a strange feeling swimming through sea water to water that eventually got warmer and warmer.
This night we had a walking tour and dinner in the town of Oia. This is the part of Santorini you see on the postcards where the buildings wth the blue domes are. After this we walked to a restaurant on the very top of the cliff and watched the sunset over the sea which was beautiful!
Day 16 - We had a tour where we visited the guides home village, the highest point of Santorini where you over look the whole island, and the red and black sand beaches and Santo Wines Winery. Unfortunately I was extremely hungover this day so didn't enjoy it as much as I should have but still had fun!
Day 17 - We got the ferry to Ios aka the party island. We had a free day this day followed by an included dinner in town. Every night in Ios we had a bar/pub crawl after dinner. There are a total of 5 taxis on the entire island but our accommodation - Far out village & spa - was a 15 minute walk from the main part of town.
Day 18 - We had an optional sailing excursion 'Sailing
spectacular Ios.' We got aboard a pirate ship and sailed to a secluded beach where we swam and had lunch for the day. The boat ride over was extremely extremely rocky, at least half the boat felt sick and I'm pretty sure at least 5 people were throwing up! It was a fun day though I don't know if I'd recommend it for 40 euro, but I guess for a boat trip and lunch that seems pretty standard. This night we had another bar crawl out of 68 people only about 30 came out and by 4am there were about 12 of us left!
Day 19 - We had a free day today so most of the girls made the most of it by booking massages/pedicures at the hotel spa! This was our last day/night altogether so after dinner we went into town again and most of them watched the FIFA soccer final then went dancing until the wee hours!
Day 20 - I actually ended up departing this tour a day early and decided to stay in Ios to meet a girlfriend who was coming over the following day so I didn't get the ferry back to Athens with everyone, nor did I participate in the Farrell dinner with everyone!
Overall I think next time I would stick to a tour of more sightseeing than partying. Although this tour had both and I don't regret it I did not enjoy the Islands as much as I enjoyed the Mediterranean trail. I think the Islands don't need to be done on a contiki you can easily do then on your own. The Islands were pretty much just partying (except for Santorini) so prepare your liver and wallet. Courtney and Paola were fantastic guides though - I enjoyed how it felt like they were everyone's friend as opposed to our tour manager.
Also forgot to mention - every city we went in we were given maps of the city and told where things were, how to get there, what to avoid etc. It was all very organised and a great way to meet people, I feel like a lot of the people I met I have known for years and years.
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.
Loved every second of this tour especially with Enzo being the tour guide! I highly recommend this to tour anyone!!
Where to begin? This trip was amazing! It is safe to say we all had the time of our lives! Our driver was John and TM was Chris Tabone who, if you’re lucky enough to get him, was voted best Tour Manager 2 years running, so he knew what he was doing! It should be noted this tour is extremely fast paced but is perfect for those on a tight budget/time frame or are doing extra travels before/after the tour. You get to see so much in such a short time it truly is value for money.
Straight up some tips I’ve learnt:
Do all the optional activities - you never know until you’ve tried them all! Pack as light as possible: most hotels have tiny elevators that take forever and most of the time it will be easier to lug your suitcases up the stairs. Even if you go in summer always have a thicker jacket/pair of jeans: it rained at some point almost every day we were there in July! Don’t bother with a tablet/ipad for this tour – there isn’t enough time, so just use your smart phone for free wifi. You will most likely get sick towards the end so I recommend taking at least cold and flu tablets, throat lozenges and hydralite/berocca to get you through (the contiki cough is real)! For Europe you don’t really need fancy going out clothes: we only really had to look nice for the night in Florence and last night in Paris. I used the multi-currency cash passport and had no problems with it - thought it was the best way to carry currency around with little fees.
Summary of each place and optionals:
London: Although this is just the starting point for most people I recommend a couple of days in London. Best way to see the sights is a Hop-on Hop-off tour, which I found really enjoyable. We stayed at the Royal National Hotel – was basic but convenient and you hardly spend much time in the hotel. After the startup meeting a few of us went to the London pub for drinks and to get to know each other.
Amsterdam: Early next morning departed for Amsterdam. Hotel was one of the best and served good buffet breakfast and dinner. Canal cruise had unlimited drinks and was a great way to mingle with everyone. We then had a walk through the red light district and did the optional sex show. Not all TMs will offer the sex show, but most of us did it and found it quite hilarious and entertaining, especially when a few girls were called up to undress the male stripper! The night was then free for us to party. Next morning we had the chance to see the Anne Frank Huis which I would recommend.
St Goar: The scenic drive to St Goar was beautiful. The town is quiet but pretty and the hotel was surprisingly nice. In the afternoon there is the chance of the optional wine tasting. Most of us quite enjoyed the white wine and cheese on offer. It was yet again a good activity to get to know one another better in a candlelit cellar. After was drinks at the hotel bar. The next morning we also went to the beer stein demo and could do a bit of souvenir shopping before heading off to Munich.
Munich: The bike ride was a good way to see the city. Would have been better for us if it wasn’t raining the first half of the tour. In between you get to stop at a place for some beer and food then carry on the bike tour. Afterwards was the Hofbrauhaus, which was a huge beer hall. The atmosphere is great and the beer was actually really good – and I don’t even drink beer usually!
Austria: Next is a drive through the Austrian Alps and a chance to do white water rafting. I highly recommend this optional – it was so much fun and the waves aren’t so dangerous that your raft will tip, but just rapid enough to get the adrenalin pumping! Next up was a stop to the Swarovski crystal world. I actually say don’t do this optional because it isn’t really a museum but more an abstract/surrealist art exhibition where crystals are used. Found it a bit of a waste of money and even the gift shop wasn’t that impressive. The hotel we stayed at in Austria was reasonable with excellent dinner and breakfast. Take advantage of ‘schnappy hour’ and go to the pub where your TM recommends. I made the mistake of staying in that night and missed out on one of the craziest nights at the pub I was told.
Venice: Loved Venice for its charm. First up is a guided tour of Venice which was interesting, then the glass blowing demonstration which was insightful and an optional Gondola ride. I enjoyed this optional as our Gondola man actually sang for us and the canals had a certain charm to them! I also recommend doing the Venetian dinner as I found the food to be plentiful and tasty, however some on tour thought that the food was undercooked and not enough. Note about breakfasts in Italy – they suck. At best you’ll get cornflakes, plastic ham and cheese, plain bread and instant coffee and juice.
Rome: After a long drive into Rome we had a walk about tour at dusk which was perfect! The Park Roma hotel was another good hotel which had its own disco. Note that the alcohol they serve is extremely overpriced but all in all our tour had fun with dancing and hallway parties! Next day you have the optional Vatican and Coliseum tours, which I highly recommend as you get proper access and guided tours of the sights. Next up is free time, which we spent going to the Pantheon and Spanish Steps.
Florence: Florence was one of my favourites as it’s not as crowded as Rome but is just as beautiful and rich of history. The guided walking tour was excellent to see the major sights. We then had some free time in which a few of us went to the Ufizzi Gallery to look at some artworks. You then head to the hotel to get ready for the optional Tuscan evening. The food was by far the best here and entertainment was fun, especially when our whole tour jumped up for the macerina! Next was a trip to the Space Disco. There is nothing particularly special about the club but it was a great night due to dancing, drinking and laughing with our new buddies.
Switzerland: The first optional was the Mt Stanserhorn excursion, which I highly recommend as the views were stunning! The watch and knife demo was great for purchasing swiss army knives and other souvenirs. The Lake Lucerne cruise was also a great optional as we could all relax with a few drinks and great scenery. We stayed at the Jailhouse hotel, which in all honesty was perfectly fine – you hardly spend much time there anyway!
Paris: The next morning is a long drive to Paris. When you get there you have a bit of a driving tour to see the major sights. After was free time and as we were there on Bastille Day we got to see a fireworks show around the Eiffel tower. Next morning we had our trip to the top of the Eiffel tower. Views are breath-taking and it is a must do! Next up we went to the French perfumery and museums – the girls loved it but not so sure about the guys. Next up was free time in which we used the metro to get to the Arc De Triomphe, walk up the Champs Elysees, see the Lourve and Lover’s Lock bridge. We then headed back to the hotel to get ready for the cabaret show. Another must – the dinner was tasty and the Nouvelle Eve show spectacular. We then retired to the Irish pub for celabratory drinks and a final dance. The next day was the saddest by far as you have to say goodbye to all your new friends. With the complimentary transfer back to London you can expect to arrive back at around 6pm.
I absolutely loved my experience. The famous sights and the cultures. My favourite was Cinque Terre, San Gimignano, Florence and Barcelona. To see Gaudi's architecture in Barcelona was unforgettable. The glitz and glamour in Monaco and the ancient ruins in Rome is a must-see. We had a backstage pass to the Vatican museum and had a city tour of Florence. The authentic cuisine is part of the experience. This is were you get to know your fellow travellers. I have made such good friends on the trip. We had the best tour manager, Maite. She told us of all the best places to visit, the most delicious food to eat and to experience the cultures. Our day song, 'One day', surely helped to live the saying 'No regrets'. It was an amazing unforgettable experience. I loved every moment!
Eastern Road was the second Contiki tour for my husband and I. We loved the European Discovery trip a bit more than Eastern Road, but have no regrets and had a fabulous time.
One major difference is that with Eastern Road, many of the cities aren't as well known as say Rome or Paris and doesn't have major attractions like the Colosseum or Eiffel Tower, but this trip we felt was best enjoyed through taking in the culture of the city, the food & drinks, & the history (more so pertaining to WWI & WWII). We also really enjoyed having 2 nights in each city with more of a relaxed itinerary. I'd have to say that Prague was most beautiful, especially at night. Budapest is a great city, easy to get around, lots to see, & great food. Krakow was a wonderful surprise. Easy to walk everywhere & great atmosphere. All of the included meals on this trip were great and at decent restaurants, some with traditional music. All of the hotels were nice & clean and close enough to the city center to either walk, take a tram/train, or a cheap taxi. They all had decent to great wifi.
ME TIME OPTIONALS:
Berlin Walking Tour: skipped because we walked around the day before and saw most of the sights and wanted to check out other things (the Jewish Museum in Berlin is incredible and worth going out of your way to visit)
EyeSpy Tour: also skipped, heard mixed reviews from the group.
Traditional Czech Evening: Live music & dancing. Fun atmosphere. A plate full of duck, sauerkraut, dumplings, cranberries, ambiguous meat patty... basically a pile of meat with a few sides. Very filling.
Nuclear Bunker Tour: Could have been uninteresting and boring, but the guides were entertaining and interesting and we also had a Communist dress-up photo-shoot.
Schnapps museum: skipped to have more time walking around the city.
Viennese Classical Concert & Dinner: skipped to see a different concert in St. Stephen's. Less than half of the group attended, mixed reviews.
Budapest Dinner Cruise: Great buffet. Gorgeous view of Budapest at night. The lights are stunning. Good time socializing with the group. A must.
Parliament Tour: The architecture and interior of the building is stunning. The tour is boring. I tend to take in everything visually and not retain much historical information, but I found the building worth seeing. You might only be there once.
Salt Mines Tour: Be prepared to walk 100 + meters underground for 2-3 hours. Aside from that, it's super interesting, unlike anything I've ever seen. Lick the wall.
Polish Pierogi Night: Excellent food. Demonstration of pierogi making was fun. Overall great dinner.
Bike tour in Prague: My husband enjoyed this way more than I did. Prague is crowded. The streets are cobbled. I couldn't enjoy the city on a bike because I was too concerned with not hitting a pothole in the cobblestone, not hitting a pedestrian or the bike in front of me or other random bikers, not getting hit by a tram, getting thru the 6 second tram lights, and your face will jiggle the entire ride also. Wasn't my fav.
Auschwitz/ Birkenau: Moving. Eye-opening. Sad. A place you will never forget with history that should never be forgotten.
Walking/bus tours: The best walking/bus tour was in Prague, mostly because we had a fantastic tour guide that was interesting and engaging. The guides in Budapest, Krakow, & Warsaw were a little dry. We did a bit of them then would cut off on our own.
Our Tour Manager, Tasha, was fantastic. Very easy-going and organized. She created great handouts called "Tasha in Your Pocket" which we used many of her recommendations for museums, restaurants, & sights. Super helpful. Pete, our bus driver, was very friendly also.
After doing two European tours, personally nothing has yet to compare to Paris, but these cities were very enjoyable and beautiful. Berlin and Warsaw were my least favorite. Berlin doesn't have quite the grandeur and beauty of other European cities and much of the architecture is very blocky and rigid, but the history is compelling and there are many monuments & wonderful museums (Pergamon & Jewish Museum were excellent). The public transportation was the worst in Warsaw, couldn't find any tram or bus maps. The city is quite spread out and we spend the majority of our time in the Old Square. Did eat twice at Zapiecek's, a fantastic traditional polish restaurant, worthwhile!
Being married and a bit older than most of our tour mates, we tended to split off on our own more so than most of the group. Nonetheless, I would highly recommend this trip. And most of all, to travel without expectation. Then everything will be a surprise and a new experience. My biggest pet peeve was to hear people whine about how something wasn't as they thought, 'why they didn't have free wifi at a cafe in Slovakia or that the caesar salad they ordered wasn't the correct caesar salad...' Traveling is an adventure. So why leave home, travel hundreds of miles, spend lots of money, and have the same expectations as you do at home? Contiki's motto is all about NO REGRETS. We experienced amazing cities, visited 7 countries, ate delicious food, met 50+ new people, and thoroughly enjoyed our time in eastern Europe!
This tour was absolutely amazing, had the best on road team that made the experience even better. made some amazing friends that i don't think i would have made if it wasn't a camping tour. Food was absolutely amazing, thank you Laura. Lucas gave us some amazing tips on where to go, and Ian was an amazing driver. If you can't do this tour, you have to at least make it to dubrovnik somehow, most amazing place ever!
Had an absolutely amazing trip, tour manager Steve was absolutely fantastic very knowledgeable and worked hard to ensure everyone had the time of their lives. Too many brilliant stories and locations to mention and would strongly recommend this trip for anyone who wants to see a number of the major sites in Europe as well as a few hidden gems off the beaten track, big shout out to miki our driver as well. As for the optional extras, all were well worth the money and really added to the entire experience in particular the cabaret dinner and show and white water rafting were exceptional!
Greek Island hopping was by far the best tour I have ever been on with any group! Our tour manager Courtney Dailey was amazing! She gave us all the best info on each city we went to and made sure that we had the time of our lives! I could not have asked for anyone better :) The places I went and ESPECIALLY the people I met will never be forgotten! If you like to get lost in small towns,do a little sightseeing, go to the beach , eat amazing meals and party at night then this is definitely the trip for you!
Also, you will never see a more gorgeous sunset then in Greece! Each is more spectacular then the next!
This was an absolutely amazing tour! It was fast - paced and exciting. The memories I made on my trip will remain with me for the rest of my life. Our tour manager was excellent and so was our driver.
There is no doubt that Contiki is an organized, fun and affordable way for young people to travel the world!
This trip was a once in a lifetime for me (although I hope maybe one day to go back again). Greece and more importantly thee Greek Islands are a sight to see. Where do I even start.... if you are looking for relaxation, swimming, shopping, partying, sun and socialising this tour has a bit of something for everyone. And the views are just from out of this world, Greece is so amazingly stunning you can't even put it into words, it's just something you have to experience for yourself. I think this has been my favourite holiday so far, this being my third Contiki, and having travelled elsewhere solo, this has to be my favourite by far! Courtney our Tour Manager did such a great job, and she always had suggestions and things we could do and explore on each Island. The Greek food is beautiful, so tasty. Mykonos was beautiful very relaxed and laid back, Santorini had the spectacular views and so much to do in town, and Ios you can get pampered at the spa or hit the town at night for its incredible night-life. Highly recommend this tour Greece is definitely a place that everyone should experience.
9 day greek island adventurer tour.
10/10 for nearly every aspect of this trip.
If you like to party Greece is definitely the place to do it and this trip takes you to all the best places to have a drink or three... beautiful sunset bars, sailing around the islands, local clubs (with cheap prices for contiki) and don't let me forget Club Tropicana; the worlds best beach party - it literally blew my head off!
This is obviously different for each contiki but I couldn't have asked for a better group then the one I travelled with. Made some great friendships!
The only slight criticism I have are the descriptions of the optionals at the beginning of the contiki i don't think they gave you a true idea of what you were doing. That being said I did all but two of the optionals and was only slightly disappointed with one of the optionals I did. And no skin off my tour managers nose, he was awesome! Maybe just better descriptions on paper beforehand?
And lastly, did I mention that the Greek islands have some of the most beautiful places I've ever seen? Crystal clear water, mountanous rocky backdrop, not a cloud in sight and gorgeous women everywhere... lock me in for round 2!