Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
Being a solo traveler and finding out closer to the trip that my trip is part of a bigger 'Quest' got me worried that I would be joining a group that has already formed their own cliques and would be resistant to 'newbies'. However, that was not the case :) There were a couple of stretches that we had people leaving and coming in as well, so it was a good mix and I got to meet more people as a result.
I do have to say it was a little awkward in the beginning (as do most trips when you join a group of travelers that you don't know), but after a while, I got to know quite a number of friends who were lovely people! I've heard of some stories about trips being only about parties every night, but it really depends on what you want out of the trip. I didn't go out a lot during my trip, but that gave me more rest time and being able to enjoy the sights of the places visited more!
Our Trip Manager, Ellie and our coach driver, João were the coolest people! They're so friendly and helpful throughout the trip. While there were hiccups a few incidents here and there, they were dealt with amazingly well. I liked how organized the whole trip was! I can basically just relax and not have to worry about logistics and stuff...they're all taken care of by Ellie :) Traveling in the coach is also not a big problem (even though we have a lot of travel days, which can be a little tiring) as the coach was spotless and João has amazing driving skills, especially navigating through the teeny tiny roads of the Italian countryside! I could not have felt safer in the amazing crew's hands :)
The accommodations provided were better than I expected! Having stayed in some not-so-satisfying hostels before, the accommodations in the trip were quite comfortable for a 4-person sharing room. It's not a 5-star accommodation, but it's decent enough for you to crash after a long day of exploring in the city :)
I really liked the places that we visited in the trip...there were even some places that we stopped by that were not listed in the itinerary during our service stops, and that made it even more of a cool surprise as I could see more of Europe than if I were to travel on my own! I had so many favorite places that it's hard to name any...some were even unexpectedly nice, especially given that the weather was exceptionally wonderful in this time of the year (we got sunny and/or mild days almost throughout the whole trip...rainy and windy days were only towards the end!)
I did all the optionals, and most of them did not disappoint as I'm a history buff and I really enjoyed the walking tours! I'm not too psyched about some of the dinner optionals, as they were a little too 'similar' in concept (especially in Italy), but they were still good experiences though. If you can, I would recommend to do them all :)
All in all, it is definitely a most memorable trip for me thanks to the people that I've met, and enhanced definitely by the awesome crew on the tour! I would definitely recommend this stretch, but if you can...go to Barcelona a few days ahead so that you can experience Barcelona yourself before the trip starts, as this stretch directly travels to Nice from Barcelona. I made this mistake by not booking ahead, but I wouldn't trade my experience for another one yet :)
I wish more people would've written recent reviews for me to see so I'm doing it for you: DO THIS TRIP. I'd never been to Europe at all and this was more than incredible. We saw soooooo much in so little time. You may think the me-time's are pricey but do them all. I did and it made my experience something I could never get if I had traveled on my own. I never was much of a partier but I experienced almost every night of partying and then got up early to explore the cities the next day and it was so worth it. Don't worry, there's some nap time on the drives that everyone takes advantage of ;).
Accommodations were mostly pretty great and decent for the price you pay. A couple odd ones but to be expected! Food is best experienced through me-times and going off with some new friends and finding cool little restaurants.
Speaking of friends, you'll make them. Lifelong travel buddies that will have so many memories with you. You spend all day and night with these people and it doesn't take long to become a family and you may cry when you leave them but my best advice is to take TONS of photos (with them and in general. There's so much that happens and you'll forget it all and then you'll see a picture and it'll come back.) oh yeah and if you're wondering about ages and stuff, it varies. We had 18-35 for real. And it depends on the group but there were couples, siblings, friends, and people who went on their own and everyone was friends so don't worry about that at all!
This specific trip is a lot of tours of the main touristy points of Europe. It may get kind of boring during those and it's a lot of touristy areas but you learn a lot and go everywhere that's popular. You end up seeing a lot more than you thought you could. And there's always time to explore on your own too.
PS the cruise? Yeah. Best part of the whole thing. Get the drinks package. Do it.
If you happen to get tour manager Evana, she's the best in the business and consider yourself extra lucky. If you get driver Mitch, you'll wonder how a "bus driver" could ever be so cool.
I 100% recommend this trip. Do it do it do it. You'll get the contiki cough and you'll be more tired than you ever thought possible but I promise it's worth it.
My Southern Adventure was amazing! Everyone on the trip was awesome, and the driver and trip leader were one of the best tour teams iv traveled with! definitely recommend this tour as a way to see the southwest in a short time frame! Highlights are 45 min Helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon, all of Memphis, and without a doubt New Orleans was one hell of a way to start the trip! My only regret was not starting in New York and doing the eastern part too! Already looking at the northern version!
I spent twelve days travelling a fascinating and diverse country with a group of wonderful people. This was my second Contiki tour and so different from my first in the US. Being a small group of about 20, we all got to know each other quickly. Our tour manager Alex was great with his vast knowledge of the history of the country, as well as where all the best Western toilets were! The addition of the 5 local guides at each destination was helpful, I especially enjoyed the visit to our guide Lilly's neighbours house in a Beijing Hutong for lunch.
We saw so many iconic sights: The Great Wall, the terracotta warriors, the Shanghai Skyline, and yet one of my favourite moments was the overnight train from Beijing to Xi'ian, where we all crammed into one compartment and partied all the way there!
Accommodation was great, especially in Shanghai and Hong Kong, and food is nice and cheap. There are plenty of opportunities to eat western food if you want, but make sure you try dumplings!
I also did all of the "Me time" optionals and I would do them all again. The cooking course was a personal favourite, and the light show in Yangshuo was spectacular, although some in the group were underwhelmed...
If you've never been to Asia before like I hadn't, take hand sanitiser and tissues for the squat toilets! Also prepare to stand out in a crowd, I never quite got used to being asked for photos due to my blonde hair, and the attention a group of tall westerners will attract!
This tour exceeded all expectations and led me to discover what an incredible place China is. I will definitely be going again as soon as I get the chance. I am currently planning to meet up with around 10 people from my tour, which is testament to how well we got on! I just cannot recommend this tour enough, and since returning, I have loved responding when people ask "Oh, why China? I'd never think to go there"!
This trip was incomparable to anything that I have ever done in my entire life. It was by far the best experience that I have ever done in my entire life.
The places we visited were amazing, from Vegas to Miami, from the Grand Canyon to Memphis, from Savannah to Panama City Beach - every place was a perfect stopover for another beautiful day with everybody on the trip.
It's crazy to think what suddenly becomes the norm, waking up every morning hungover and yet, still so ready for the day ahead with the people you love, is all but over now. While the majority of the people on the trip were Australian, we had influences from the UK, New Zealand, Canada and Switzerland who were all just the loveliest of people.
Our tour guide Serena was the perfect leader for a group so kind and caring and I can't thank her enough for making my first Contiki trip so enjoyable that now I can't wait to do many more. Money is all but irrelevant to the time you spend gaining such an enriching experience on Contiki.
The places were great, the tour was great, the options were great but what trumps all were the people on my trip. They are what made our trip the best time of my life and while I like to think I've made everyone's trip just a little bit more enjoyable, I'm grateful and humble that they have made such a positive impact on my life.
Book this trip, enjoy the journey and when it gets to the end, don't be upset that it's over and it's "goodbye", it's just a "catch you later".
I so badly want to give this a five: the sites, the me-times, and the guide (Sherif) were outstanding and could not have been better.
The only thing that prevents me from giving this a five is the sexual discrimination and uncleaniness of the Victoria Hotel in Cairo. Fortunately the staff and cleaniness everywhere else has made up for it - but still an unforgettable experience. Dont let that hold you back from going; just be vigilant and report anything and everything to the tour manager (he has a big heart).
I never felt unsafe during this trip. I never will be the same person after this trip. Go on this trip- and go on this trip knowing that only the most wild people in the world - with the biggest heart for travel and culture- would go to this country right now (everyone else is dumb and has no idea how amazing this place really is!).
Seriously, go. Go now. Go and pack snack bars and have the time of your life.
First of all, a confession: I'm older than the usual Contiki crowd (33) and not much of a party guy, so I was a bit afraid I would not fit weel with the group, given the reputation. I was completely wrong, though: the group was diverse and there was time to party (hard) but also to learn about the culture and explore the amazing sights of Vietnam. If you have the same doubts do yourself a favor and give it a try.
I must say that a lot of the success of our tour is due to our amazing Tour Manager, Az, who made everyone feel awesome basically the whole time, even on long drives after long nights. He is a rockstar and you'll be lucky to have him in your tour.
Vietnam is, itself, an amazing place to visit. Here are some of my personal highlights:
- the food: whether having a fancy dinner at the Sailing Club in Nha Trang or sitting on a tiny plastic bench in Hanoi, vietnamese food will always delight you;
- Ha Long Bay: I've been lucky to visit over 60 countries already and Ha Long Bay is one of those world class places that you won't see anywhere else;
- Hanoi: from the peace and quiet of the Temple of Literature to the hustle and bustle of the old quarter, Hanoi is delightful..if you survive crossing the streets!
- Mekong Delta: you'll only experience this if you do the Experience tour (not the Highlights) and I'd recommend you do it if you have the possibility. From all our stops I think it was the most vietnamese, as in less touched by tourism, and you get to eat very exotic food while drinking some killer jungle juice.
Finally, I'd like to mention the group spirit as another highlight in itself: this is of course always different, but I've realized that Contiki catches the attention of the right people, young fun and adventurous. You'll make friends from all over the world
tl;dr: just do it, you'll love it!
I did this trip two years ago and have travelled alot more afterwards. This by far has to be one of the best trips of my life. The friends that i have made on this trip i made for life. The unbelievable places that you get to see from Paris to Austria it was amazing. My tour manager Jah was seriously the best and my trip wouldn't have been the same without her helpful day sheets and hints on what to see. She is truly amazing. I would 100% recommend this trip to anyone.
Hands down this trip was the best decision of my life! The people that I have met, the sights that I've seen and the things that I have experienced will be so precious to me. The trip was so well organised thanks to the staff everything ran really smoothly which would definitely make me want to return to Contiki .
this tour is great for a quick bite of LA. You won't get to do everything but you get the highlights. A great way to start or finish a longer trip.
before I talk about this tour I'll just preface by saying that before booking this, see if you can possibly afford to book the Grand Southern. Getting off the tour in New Orleans and watching all your friends continue on to New York is pretty sad. If you can manage to do the Grand then absolutely do it.
Now, to this tour. It was breathtakingly amazing! I honestly can't say enough good things. I'd done Contikis before and enjoyed them, but our Road team on this trip was just outstanding. Our tour manager was Charity and she was so friendly, helpful and just lovely. Her historical knowledge of the areas was excellent and her tours were much better than the local guides. She went out of her way to make our trip amazing, booking extra activities and giving personal tips to help us out. Our driver was Harold (the Chocolate Man) and we just loved him! He was funny, friendly and a great driver. Together, this team was the best!!!
I always get car sick so I was a little worried about the bus days but we played games, watched movies and had time to sleep and I wasn't sick even once!!! Plus, we stopped regularly for food and shopping breaks.
I travelled with a friend, but we also made lots of friends on the tour. It was just a great group of people. I also recommend doing the extras, they really make the trip memorable and you'll regret not doing them.
Monument Valley was a surprising highlight for me. It was simply breathtaking. In Durango go to the Rocky Mountain chocolate factory and buy triple what you think you should buy. We snack on it for the whole trip and it was the best chocolate ever!!! You'll be sad when it runs out.
- Bring ear plugs in case your roommate snores
- there's no phone coverage at the Grand Canyon so warn family and friends back home that you'll be off the grid for a few days. There is limited wifi but it's very weak
- bring an alarm. We leave the hotels early in the morning and we almost had to leave a few people behind because they slept in.
- eat local foods. You'll enjoy the experience so much more if you embrace the culture
- do the extras! They are so worth it
- if you can do the Grand Southern then DO IT!!! This tour was great but you'll hate watching everyone continue without you
This tour had so many opportunities for thrill seekers! The optional activities were things like bungy jumping and sky diving! I had an absolute blast! What I liked about this tour too was there was down time and also lots of party time. It had a good mix, so you could relax and feel like you're on vacation but it also had the exciting activities.
I also went as a solo traveller and would really recommend this tour as many other were travelling alone and the group of people was great!
This tour is the second half of another tour. So you will be joining people who have already been together for 10+ days.
I did a Europe contiki right before this one and preferred the European sites a little more. But that is personal preference. New Zealand is beautiful but the towns are small and it's very outdoorsy but this tour isn't work seeing well known monuments but rather for seeing the mountains…so if you are looking for a tour like that this is the one!
I cannot even put into words how amazing this trip was! Our tour guide Ashley was the epitome of a perfect tour guide. She was so fun and knowledgeable and planned everything for us so we could enjoy our vacation. This is definitely a fast paced trip. Lots of travelling but you get used to the bus rides and they start to actually become fun. Almost everyday is a new country so prepare yourself for very little sleep! I went on this tour as a solo traveller and I wouldn't have done it any other way. The group of people was amazing! I made a VERY close group of friends during this trip too. It is now almost 2 months after my trip and we all still talk almost everyday. I could not believe how close I got to people who were total strangers…it felt like we'd known each other for years. Honestly if you are considering this trip DO IT!!!! You won't regret it. I did this tour, a contiki New Zealand and G-Adventures tour all back to back and this was my fav!
Here are some highlights:
- Red light district and Anne Frank's house in Amsterdam
- The timing of our tour allowed for us to go to Oktoberfest in Munich for opening night
- Paragliding and White water rafting in Austria
- Gondola ride in Italy
- Going to the top of a Swiss alp in Switzerland
- Climbing the Eiffel Tower and Seeing a French cabernet in France
It's been a year and I still can't shut up about this trip!
You'll meet great people in amazing places.
For those who want an ADVENTURE, this is it!
I arrived two days early; I stayed at the Royal National Hotel where your tour will start and finish. Personally, what you pay is what you get there, the staff wasn’t really friendly and the restaurant wasn’t that great. Oh and the WIFI was hopeless, I didn’t use the phone sim that Contiki sends you in your pack I ended up buying a EE sim for 25 pound and lasted me the whole trip, although it didn’t work in Ireland so I bought another cheap one at Vodafone for a couple pound till I was back in London and used the EE again. I ended up eating dinner at the pub next to the Royal National and lunches I found cafes along my adventure. I met my roommate there, she was doing another Contiki. I went for a wonder to Covent Garden the next day to keep me going after jetlag and it’s the cutest suburb! If you get a chance before or after your tour go to Gordon’s Wine bar – we got there just as it was closing but the wine is good and it’s a cute little set up.
London- Get to London at LEAST one or two days before the tour begins. There is so much to see, all the touristy attractions, museums, pubs, coffee shops, shopping etc. When I go back I will spend at least 2 days before and after the trip to see more of London and the surrounding areas. The day before your tour starts everyone met up at the Contiki basement which is right around the corner from the Royal National, after we met our tour Manager (Rhett) and Driver (Joey) everyone ended up at the London Pub and mingled and broke the ice before our early start to the next morning.
First day of the trip is a driving tour of London so you won’t get to do anything but take pretty picture of London. To start off the trip we had to do a “Speed dating” on the on the bus to get to know everyone. Who ever sat in the aisle seat had 3 mins then move to the next seat, was a great way to meet everyone on the bus that didn’t come to the pub the night before.
Liverpool- What an awesome city! The lady that talks about the city is amazing and easy to understand. The waterfront is beautiful and yes there is Beatles stuff everywhere. A group of us went for a wonder to the shops to buy some alcohol and just have a wonder to the Cathedral (So many on this tour) it also bucketed down raining and none of us had an umbrella so we had fun running back to the hotel.
Carlisle- Is this tiny city, that basically consists of the one main street. Everyone ended up drinking at the Cocktail bar and myself and a few from the tour had a game of Beer Pong with the locals. England 1 Australia 2 !! across the street and if you felt like it, you walked up the road and find more pubs or dancing. We also had our mock HEN’S & BUCK’S night here. So much fun.
Gretna Green- Get ready for one of your to get married !! and a group photo for the memory of this incredibly awkward event. When you get back home tho you may end up with another groups photo, if you email Gretna Green tho they are really good and will send you another copy.
Oban- The hotel is right on the water, beautiful scenery. We again went tour walk about dinner and ended up at Ceildah House and Skipinnish were playing. AWESOME band with bagpipe players and they played old school and some of their own songs. Amazing night of dancing and lots of laughter. Oh and the fish bowls. Make sure you have panadol for the next day haha
York- Was lovely but we didn’t get to do the Ghost Tour but we got our monies given back to us.
Lake District- Do the high ropes activity! It was windy as the day we did it and I was scared beyond belief so I skipped half of it but did the zip line after. So much fun!. The Windermere cruise was alright, I would have skipped it if we could have.
Hadrian’s Wall- A must see! Beautiful scenery and a fantastic place to show the beauty of Scotland.
Edinburgh- More travellers will join you here and may or may not finish in London with use. This was the highlight of my trip. Edinburgh is beautiful!! We spent 2 nights there. Luckily we went during the festival time. The Fringe festival is EXTREMLY crowded (not my scene), Contiki also had pre booked tickets for the MILITARY TATTOO, OMG if you get the chance do it, was amazing to see it live. Weather held off good and rained after when we were leaving so I recommend taking a poncho or umbrella. The next day I spent it at the Castle, shopping, and again just pub hopping haha Sainsbury’s is across the road so I topped up on supplies as we were off to the Lochness the next day.
Try the Haggis or share with someone like I did and DO the Traditional Scottish dinner. Good food and our Tour Manager organised a bagpipe player to come and perform for us after. It was amazing!
Scottish Highlands/Lochness- This is the only place that the whole group is has to stay in the hotel and it was a really cute place! I think it was my favourite hotel on the trip. There is nothing around to do so most of us spent it in the bar after dinner and had a few drinks. Also do the Lochness challenge!! So much fun and bloody cold! Take a bottle of whiskey to warm you up beforehand.
Glasgow- This is where the travellers who only did up to Scotland leave (Sad Face) LOTS of goodbye drinks and Ping pong at the bar which turned out to be a bit of a pub crawl. (stay away from Sleazy's nigh club) title says it all.
Dublin- You will spend your first night here then your last before the long drive back to London on your last day (again sad face). Also the hotel you stay at the Elevator is really dodgy so take the stairs! Dublin you’ll pick up the rest of the gang who are only doing Ireland. Be nice to them! They wont be the same gang that started with you but they are still family on this trip.Dublin there's basically one street for drinking and night life, the locals told us though to head a little outside of where the main drinking areas are as its cheaper to drink. We weren’t happy to pay 9 euro for a drink, so go hopping around and listen to all the live music and dance.
Do the Guinness Storehouse (if your into getting a free Guinness at the end, and see how it is supposed to taste. I became a fan of the Ruby colored beer. you'll also get a Group photo and a certificate to say you are competent in pouring a pint of Guinness.
Jamesons Distillery - Amazing! try the cocktails.
Belfast – was interesting I’d love to go back and see more, I didn’t go to the Titanic tour so a few of us got dropped into town and we went to the markets instead. Was great!
Giants Causeway- A must see!. Great scenery and a place to take photos of the beauty of Ireland.
(London)Derry- This place will blow your mind. I don’t want to spoil the history here, make sure you do the walking tour.I've forgotten his name but the walking tour guy is lovely. Pack a poncho also as it was bucketing when we did our walking tour.
Galway/Aron Islands- Again AMAZING views. Rent the bike! Other options are using the bus (you won’t see much that way) and a horse and carriage or simply walk (it will be a very looong walk).
Cork- Cliffs of Moher is beautiful and it was a clear day and time to kiss the Blarney stone too (Yes it’s safe to kiss)
Kilkenny- Another highlight to the trip, DO the bike tour and say G’day to Jason! He is great
The last night before the tour finishes there will be your last 3 course meal with everyone at a Traditional Irish dinner and Irish Dancing, DO it! I'm a big fan of traditional stuff so I highly enjoyed it.
The hotels you stay at are pretty good. Get used to the Bacon, Eggs, baked beans and haggis every morning. there's also toast, muesli fruit etc but it's the same every morning.
All in total the GB + Ireland is amazing! Everything I imagined it to be!
Where do I begin?? I decided that I wanted to go overseas after coming out of a relationship because I decided to see the world how I wanted to see it. I went into my trusty flight centre for an enquiry and came out with my trip fully organised HAHA!
I was incredibly sick on the way to my trip with tonsilitis and then sick again with whooping cough at the end, BUT Besides being sick I had the most amazing time :D
If you want to see all of these fabulous places but not be away from work or home too long then I definately recommend this tour!
Gonna keep it short.. Some of the most Beautiful cities in the world.. Great informative tour with loads of fun stuff and laughter.. New friends for life.. Another bucket list ticked off ;) Prague & Budapest just Amazing !!!
Went for Machu Picchu and fell in love with this country along the way. Amazing guide (Jonathan) that was the perfect mix of culture and fun. Would definitely recommend staying the extra few days for the Amazon part. We didn't and were super bummed. Even if you don't do the inca trail (we didn't the permits were sold out by the time we booked ) this trip is still worth it. Go!
Happy Fourth of July!!! if there was ever a time to see philly and Washington its Independence Day weekend.
Last July (2014) I was lucky enough to be state side for independence day and in philly aswell which made it that much better. This trip really has something for everybody! the perfect mix of history, laidback lifestyle and ofcourse partying!!!
Highlights include cruising down Niagara Falls imaging yourself as Jim Carey on the Maid of the Mist aswell as letting your karaoke juices flow that night, in the theme park city that is Niagara.
If you are planning to do this trip underage, you are actually in luck as over the border in Canada the drinking age is actually 19 so this gives you the chance to party with your group.
Washington is absolutely amazing, downtown old dc is beautiful. Toronto is also beuatiful, be sure to use your free 2nd day wisely as the night before this is when you head out on your pub crawl!
The trip was great, met amazing, friendly people!! Italy was fabulous but I would recommend getting there's few days before if you want to explore the city on your own. First day is a waste because you're getting settled and the hotels throughout the trip is outside the city so it's difficult exploring on your own. And the second day you're doing touristy things so you don't experience the vibe of the city. The ME optional meals are HORRIBLE! We figured that the guide was getting some sort of kick back from the restaurants because of some of the comments that were made throughout the trip, not to mention that guide discouraged members from going to dinner meals on their own. Also, the bus ride to Barcelona from Avignon was 7 1/2 hours and 10 hours from Barcelona to Madrid.
Positives: lots of cool places, great group, lots of free time to explore Florence, nice, Barcelona and Madrid.
Cons: hotel wasn't in the city so difficult to get around, discouraged to go outside of group for dinner, long bus rides (lose 2 days)