Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
Having never traveled internationally by myself, this was a great way to get some experience in travelling abroad.
The trip is technically under the "easy pace" category because of all the free time you get, but don't let that fool you! There's a lot to do in a short amount of time, so get used to walking briskly from place to place (we averaged about 7-8 miles a day!) The rooms in the hotels where I stayed were a bit smaller than expected, but when I'm on a trip like this, I don't really plan on spending much time in my room. You unfortunately lose almost a day of vacation due to travelling from London to Paris, but use that time to rest your legs. I wish I had spent more time in Amsterdam, but all of the other's who travelled to Amsterdam with me extended their stay independently after the Contiki tour was over.
Pieces of Advice:
Europe is expensive! Just be ready to fork out some money to pay for food. English is spoken commonly in Amsterdam, but it's hit or miss in Paris, so keep that in mind when travelling. Amsterdam leans more heavily on cash than other countries, so have some Euro's handy. Lastly, the Amsterdam extension is one of two extensions for this trip. In my case, I was in a larger group in London and Paris, but the group was split when some headed off to Amsterdam, Rome, or back home.
Travelling again with Contiki in November!
The Ireland trip was my first Contiki and my first solo adventure! To say that this trip was life changing, is an understatement. Ireland was breathtakingly beautiful, the adventures were some that I would have never done on my own and the people were the best! I made some great friends and my trip manager was amazing!
If you are even thinking a little about taking this trip or any other Contiki trip, I say go. Jump at the chance. You only live once and this will change your life!
I will be back to do another Contiki, soon!
This was my first time traveling out of the country since I was younger and I am beyond happy I made the decision to go with Contiki for this trip! It was the most educational and best sight seeing tour ever, I never wanted it to end.... Our tour guide was absolutely amazing and made it so much more enjoyable because she was so easy to get along with. I would definitely recommend doing as much of the optional activities as you can but if that's an issue definitely include one of the bungy jumps in there - AMAZING!! This tour is great even if you are on a budget as the inclusions that they have keep you entertained just as much!
This tour is very live out of your suit case the first few nights but don't worry this changes in queens town. Definitely over budget yourself for this trip as the Me time activities are amazing and if you are into the night life than you are in for a treat. There is literally something on every single night.
Once you get into Queenstown you need to make it a rule to get down to Ferg burger, best burgers ever no word of a lie. The traveling from stop to stop goes quite fast and you do stop a lot which eases it up and you don't feel like you have been traveling for 5+ hours sometimes. My Contiki group was bloody unreal and I hope the same for anyone else because the crazy bunch I was on tour with are already my mates for life. I think this factor made a big difference on the way I enjoyed myself, this trip is definitely something you can fly solo on though too.
If you are an adrenaline junky and love the outdoors, this is the tour for you! From bungy jumping, canyon swinging, sky diving, water rafting and ice hiking... YOU WILL LOVE EVERY SECOND!!
Nabbing a last minute deal for a spur of the moment trip to the Northern Territory, this tour delivered on everything I wanted to experience here.
Normally one to backpack, I chose the Outback Adventure tour instead since it offered a great price for this region (paired with the frequent Contiki traveller discount) of Aus which isn't so easy or affordable to travel solo.
I wasn't disappointed with the tour in any way and as an Australian, felt it was a wonderful option to see more of my own country.
Travelling quite a distance in a short time meant a lot of time on the bus which was super modern, comfortable and clean.
Youngy, our driver is amazing at his job and never failed to start the day (no matter how early or how many hundreds of km's he had to drive!) with a smile. Zammit, our guide was also extremely knowledgable, organised and passionate about his role and the pair made the tour look and feel seamlessly effortless for us all, despite the hard work that surely went on behind the scenes.
The accommodation at each stop was in my opinion, really great for where we were, which was often (unsurprisingly for this region) the middle of nowhere! We almost always had a pool and since our group was a small one (around 20 people) as we travelled in out of peak season in March, often quad share was less and we were only 3 to a room.
I usually choose a tour based on itinerary and this one covered a lot of highlights from Darwin to Alice Springs. The most exciting in my opinion was Kakadu, Katherine and Uluru, but each stop had its highlights. Even sleeping in a swag for the night was pretty fun, despite some original hesitations!
Compared to other companies which offer a similar product for often a much larger price tag, I felt the Outback Adventure tour with Contiki was a great value option to see the best of the NT :)
This was easily the best trip I've ever done. The group was absolutely amazing, we all got along so well and were all on board for some serious sight seeing during the day, followed by some equally intense partying at night. #ContikiGazelle was fantastic, super knowledgeable and friendly. Prague and Budapest were favourites. I drank more beer on this trip than I ever have in my life, it was that good (plus no hangovers!). Time on the bus was minimal, which was great. Even when we were driving, the views out the windows were phenomenal. Food was okay, but that was to be expected from that part of Europe (so much schnitzel, no complaints here). I thought accommodations were decently central and actually really nice. DO ALL THE ME TIME OPTIONALS - don't miss a thing. They were all worth every single penny. Personal favourites were the traditional Czech evening, Czech river boat cruise, Vienna classical concert and Vienna snapps museum. It was an easy pace, so a ton of free time to wander around the cities and throw back a few pivos. If you can, stay an extra day in Budapest and do the beer biking around town! You get 30 litres of beer with up to a party of 6 - easily best part of my whole vacation. Lots of young single people on this one, which was totally opposite of the Italian Espresso one I did last year.
Of course there were some concerns when booking the trip, but I didn't hesitate at all. I'm so glad I did it, and the timing was 100% perfect. I went during Christmas break/NYE, and WOW that was the best experience I've ever had. The temperature was a nice 70 degrees fahrenheit on average, cooler at night. And going inside the tombs it was so muggy at that time, I can't imagine it in the summer. The pictures and itinerary should speak for themselves, but if you need some convincing...let me just tell you...Abu Simbel was mind blowing, the Pyramids were breath-taking, and my camel named Michael Jackson was a doll.
The group was the largest he had had in months-there were 40 of us, and I think he said they usually have like 12. By "he", I mean Sherif aka tour manager aka the best. He had the best sayings...."Wakey wakey!" or "We go inside this tomb and take a sneaky tiki picture". So knowledgeable and sincere. Please, don't forget to tip your tm. On top of all of that, I'd say the highlight of the trip was the optional $140ish hot air balloon ride. We saw the last sunrise of 2015 that morning in Egypt overlooking the Valley of the Kings and I don't know a person in that damn basket who wasn't moved.
I know it's corny, but my soul felt better after visiting one of the most ancient and historic places on Earth. The food was good, the Egyptians were respectful, and I didn't get a thing stolen or lost or anything bad! Honestly. I made some awesome life-long friends to say the least. A few of us already planned and paid for our next NYE contiki together in Asia. What are you waiting for?!
I would definitely recommend Contiki's Greek Island Hopping trip to anyone who is looking to explore Greece in an activity-packed yet laid back way! Our trip leader Karin did such an amazing job of making us feel like every detail was taken care of from the hotel bookings to the private meals and excursions to the travel logistics. This allowed us to really enjoy our vacation and take in the sights without worry.
Although most of the other travelers in the group had booked the trip with friends, I felt totally comfortable being a solo traveler with Contiki. The attitude of the group was welcoming and there were so many activities that made it easy to make new friends. Our trip leader, Karin, did a great job of ensuring everyone felt included.
I would recommend choosing to do as many of the ME Time Optional activities as possible. They don't cost too much extra money and they truly allow you to take advantage of being in Greece and get a taste for its culture and landscape. My favorites included the Athens Affair and Farewell to the Greek Islands dinners as well as the Santorini Highlights day!
This trip also allows for plenty of free time/down time to explore at your own pace, nap or just hang out with your friends. The pace of this trip was perfect for someone looking to relax and just get away from the monotony of everyday life!
Overall, I was happy with the trip's accommodations. Except for our hotel in Santorini, I felt I was truly getting value for my money. Hotels in Greece are funkier than the hotels you might be used to, but the proximity to the beach make up for less than functional plumbing and older facilities.
Taking a trip with Contiki allows you to experience so much more than you would traveling on your own and takes much of the stress out of travel. Contiki booked all the ferries and hotels and took care of many of our meals. They also arranged a wide range of activities for us from private tours and entertainment to picnics and transportation to volcanoes, donkey rides, and warm springs on deserted islands.
Another plus of traveling with Contiki is that there are plenty of opportunities to party. Our group stayed out drinking and dancing early into the morning on many occasions! If this is your thing, you will not be disappointed. If it's not, there are always opportunities for you to go back to your hotel early or choose not to drink.
As a bit of a nerd, I would have liked to learn more about the historical context of the islands we visited. But Contiki certainly doesn't market itself as an educational tour company, so the lack of the historical information didn't surprise me.
All in all, I would recommend Contiki Greek Island Hopping because it makes discovering Greece easy and fun. Traveling with Contiki is a great way to make new friends and truly get to experience it all!
This was my first journey with Contiki and my first time travelling solo. That being said, I didn't have any expectations so my review may be a little biased.
I arrived in Athens a day earlier than when I was to meet my group, and had the day to relax, get adjusted and catch my breath from the journey from Canada. I had some time to walk around a very quiet Athens, as it was Greek Orthodox Easter the day I landed. I met my group the next evening, and arrived at the hotel a couple hours early.
The tour itself was very busy and jam packed, waking up early each day though arriving to our destinations around 6-8 in the evening, which made time to wind down and relax, which I thoroughly appreciated. What I enjoyed about Contiki was that everything was arranged and laid out for me, and each evening before we left we were given our schedule for the next day so we knew what to expect. Included were helpful instructions like wear good walking shoes, have your cameras ready, and dress appropriately (for a beautiful Greek Orthodox church that we got an inside peak of).
Coming to Greece I wasn't sure what to expect or what I was to learn, but our tour guide Tom was so full of information, and his personality made all of the stories he shared funny, relevant, and easy to listen to. Because I chose the first tour of the season, our group was only 14 people large, so we got to all take the time to know each other and learn from each other too. I've made some wonderful friends who I look forward to keeping in touch with on their future journeys :)
The hotels were very pretty, some of them out of the ordinary and very neat and personable, and the sights were fantastic. I *loved* all the food, and the coach was clean, comfortable and spacious. I think one of the best parts of the tour was that there were so many stops along the way between Athens, Delphi and Olympia, and it was nice to often get up and off the bus, walk around a little, and grab a snack. In addition, some of these small stops are places you wouldn't see if you made the journey on your own, and there are many hidden gems to discover. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and my experience, and I hope others will when they make the choice to come on this tour too!
(The picture I included was my favourite of the entire trip, in Galaxidi, a small coastal town with the beautiful Greek Orthodox Church)
The places you visit on this trip are amazing - the Contiki experience and organisation sucks. If you can get away from the main group during your fee time and put up with the naff organisation when you have to then you will have a good experience. You don't actually stay in Bass Lake as advertised/sold - but an hour away in a basic motel with no 'beautiful views'. The San Fran hotel is unsafe, we had bad experiences both in the hotel (people trying to get into the room) and outside with people injecting drugs and having drug induced seizures within steps of the front door - no-one gave a damn about our concerns and we were given very limited info of where to and where not to go - luckily most of the tour stayed in bed all day with hangovers!?!?! I would not recommend to anyone who has travelled with a well organised company and therefore knows a bad trip when they experience it.
Where to begin? The trip was intense from start to finish. You do as much as possible with the small amount of time given. Great for anyone looking for a taste of europe. If you want a restful relaxing trip. Don't book this one haha.
Accommodation? Was good. I've never stayed in hostels so i was expecting the worst but these were really nice. Usually 4 person rooms with private bathrooms some with shared and a couple twin share rooms. Not a lot of space but all pretty cozy and tidy. There were 2 places during our trip that we could do washing one in Austria and the second in switzerland.
Travel time? Tour manager? Well you spend alot of the time on the bus so be prepared. Some bus rides are 6 hours long. You do stop at service stations along the way (not the usual kind we have in australia) which are huge and have fresh food. The food is amazing by the way. Our tour guide was awesome. So knowledgeable about every place we went to. We had a wake up song (hated that song by the end of the trip lol) that would play about a half an hour before we reached our destination so that our tour guide ashley could give us an introduction to our destination and a bit of a history lesson as well. Our bus driver was also amazing. Felt safe on the road at all times. He could park like a boss and fit the bus through impossible gaps without a scrape!
Optionals? I found out are not so much optional. There isn't anything you can really do while the optionals are running. I did do all of the optionals except for the train up the mountain in switzerland. I enjoyed every single optional i did and would have loved to do the train but didn't budget for it before i went on the trip. I recommend putting money aside to do all the optionals because you miss out on so much with your tour group if you don't.
People/other travellers? Were awesome met some great people and now we share some great memories. Even though it was only a short trip it felt like we spent much more time together.
Other tips? Hmm? always have change for the toilets. You have to pay to use most public bathrooms but all are really tidy and clean so it's worth it. Other thing to note is if you're looking for some downtime during this trip you won't find any. The great thing about this trip is that you don't miss out on anything but you will sacrafice sleep for it :)
Overall? I would do it all again!
Alls i can say is WOW !
The best 18 days of my life if you've never done this trip you have to do it ! #NOREGRETS
This was my first Contiki and I thoroughly enjoyed it! It was very fast-paced, which called for lots of naps on the bus. If you want to see many countries in Europe, this is the tour for you! A downside was not having a significant amount of time in each location. Overall, the accommodation was better than expected. The Me-Time Optionals were great, with most people taking part. Some included dinners were lacking (hotel buffet wasn't the best), but you will probably want to buy food to sample the local cuisine. One of the best parts of this tour was the great Contiki crew and meeting new friends from around the world!! The people on the tour helped make it unforgettable! Overall, I would recommend this tour.
This was my first ever trip with Contiki, and going to Europe as well. I had such an amazing experience, not only with the group I was travelling with but with all the places we has visited. I arrived early into London so had a couple days of exploring on my own before meeting with the group and checking into the Hotel. Throughout the trip, there was definitely lots of rain, but I went prepared with rain boots. The only thing I would want to do differently next time, is to pack a little lighter! We stayed in cozy and comfortable hotels every night, so there was a lot of carrying our luggage to and from the coach each morning and night. We were always provided with a continental breakfast in the morning, and the dinners that were provided always gave lots of option to choose from; especially when it came to having the option to try traditional foods from the area. Our tour manager and bus driver were so, absolutely amazing and super friendly. It was so easy to be able to sit and have a drink and talk life with them. I would definitely recommend this trip to anyone, and I can't wait until I can book my next Contiki trip =D
Loved this trip, was very busy & full on. So you get to see a lot in a short time. I did the Sydney Bridge climb, tried surfing at the surf camp. Loved Bryon Bay with its hippy vibe (not too keen on the hostel there tho) went sea kayaking & saw so many Dolphins! Fraser Island has to be my fav place on the trip, it's just so beautiful!
I did the trip with sailing, & I don't really think it was worth the extra. The boat was very cramped & hot & uncomfortable, though the experience of sailing was good. I think I would have preferred to stay on land at the hotel & just done the sailing day trip! That would be my only negative of the trip.
The sailing day trip on the Great Barrier Reef was so good & we had the best weather! Water rafting in Cairns was also ace!
This trip was just awesome! We had the best view of the fireworks, right in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The atmosphere was amazing!
Before embarking on such an incredible adventure I went through many stages. Packing, VISAs, preparation and, of course, goodbyes. This was an emotional time for me as it was my first trip without my family. Little did I know it would change my life forever.
Over two weeks I managed to discover my talents, my wants, my desires and those of my fellow travelers. A group of 43 people sounds like a lot but was actually the perfect group. I built relationships with each and every person on the tour (and being one of the youngest people on the trip, I thought I might have difficulty doing so).
Before going on this trip, I was very never minded about traveling... Now, I cant wait to go on my next one, meet new people, see new places...
Contiki taught me how to explore the world as well as myself. How to let my guard down and open my arms to new experiences and people. How to fall in love after a mere 12 days.
Contiki has changed my life forever.
Joao and Trent were the best tour guides/drivers I could have hoped for and anyone who manages to get that combination on a trip is guaranteed an unforgettable experience.
See you soon Contiki!
Spent a really fun four days travelling around Greece. Fortunately our tour only had 14 people and so it was a lot more close and personable. It may have only been a couple of days but we got a good overview of Greece and I didn't feel a need to stay any longer.
To start off with we had an optional dinner for 44 euros. This was tricky as it felt hard to say no to a group dinner just as you start the tour. However the dinner is no way worth 44 euros it should be more like 22 euros. It is really just a standard meal and the entertainment was short and hard to see.
Unfortunately we missed going into the ruins of Mycenae as they were closed but we got free lunch instead so that was appreciated. There is quite a bit of bus travelling, about 10 hours over 4 days. Fortunately this time was enlivened by doing some group games, historical facts and music.
The ruins and museums at Olympia and Delphi were nice. Although when it says ruins it means there is virtually nothing left. At each site we had a local tour guide but I didn't find them all that helpful, often rushing through the museum and telling us things we already knew.
The quality of the hotel rooms were fairly poor with hard beds and rubbish showers however very little time was spent in the room anyway. The reception and bar areas were much nicer.
There were also several stop overs at small towns along the way which were quite interesting and off the main tourist routes. The view from the bus was always beautiful.
At Delphi we went to a night club which was surprisingly fun. Hashtag SelfieinDelphi!
Returning to Athens we got to see the Parthenon although sadly it is under construction and very little of it remains. I think the temple of hephaestus would have been nice to include being the best preserved greek temple and just down the hill. We then got in the bus and drove past some other important buildings, not really sure why? We briefly saw the pancreatic stadium for all of 2 minutes.
Note: The tour finishes at 6pm so dinner is not included on that day which i think is pretty dodgy. No one caught a flight out that night so everyone was forced to pay for an extra night.
So total additional expenses
-Taxi to and from airport 80 euros
-First night dinner 44 euros
-Lunch for three days 30 euros
-Entry to night club 10 euros
-Last night dinner 25 euros
-Drinks at bars in hotel (0 euros for me as i didn't have any)
-Souvenirs 70 euros (4 statues, 2 fridge magnets, 1 pot)
-Additional night in Athens 75 pounds
What really made this trip awesome was the company of fellow travelers and our awesome trip managers Tom and Izzy.
This was my first Contiki, but hoping it won't be my last. I have done several escorted tours throughout Europe and China, and by far this was the most enriching experience. Not only was that because of the places we visited, but because of the fellow travelers that became my friends. There is something so amazing about traveling with a group of people that have the same passions as you and operate at the same pace, and enthusiasm as you.
I enjoy slower paced tours as I like to get to know each city, so this tour was pretty good for me. My favorites were Berlin and Prague. Vienna and Budapest were stunning, but with one less night I felt like I didn't get a full chance to soak in the culture, but they were amazing.
My biggest tip -If you can - do the FULL TOUR - Berlin, Prague, Vienna and Budapest. We were so sad to see so many of our friends leave after Prague and Vienna.
I loved sampling all the food and beers and the night clubs in Eastern Europe are amazing. We hit an awesome night club in each city and we always felt safe and had fun! Totally a different experience than ANY club I've been to in the States. LOVED the 5 story night club (complete with ice pub) in Prague - and the Sex Museum, that was an experience.
The hotels weren't too shabby - served their purpose, and I'm kind of picky and I didn't mind - we were barely in them. Stay out all day. They aren't always the most CENTRAL hotels, but again - we leave in the morning and don't come back until late, so never a big deal.
A lot of people don't opt for these countries, but they truly are amazing. I love Eastern Europe - the people and food and siteseeing are fantastic. The history is intense and should be witnessed and remembered.
Some of my favorites: Bike Ride in Berlin, The Berlin Cathedral (climb to the top for great views!), Bike Ride in Prague, Dinner River Cruise in Budapest. We had some free time in each city, and it was nice to have that to explore on our own!
I met some of the best friends I've ever met on this trip and if you're considering it - GO! Loved it!
Firstly, I highly recommend this tour for anyone who is unsure if they should travel to the USA.
Rachel Bushner was our tour manager and she is highly knowledgable and gave us a massive insight to every place we visited.. The bus driver, less enthusiastic but got us from A to B. Rachel made playlists and regular stops along the way so we got the best possible experience of our life.
Making friends is really easy, you get used to being out at 2am and waking up at 6am for the bus. Sometimes they'll sick around and you'll see them after the tour has finished and some you'll never talk to again.
Here is my full review on the tour.
I went in November, it was a little warm for a winter, but was cool in some places. IE, the Grand Canyon. I also suggest taking pillows and a blanket to sleep on the bus as the trips can be long a tiring. Also take some card games to play with your fellow passengers, it makes boning a hell of a lot easier.
Los Angeles, is alright. We stayed in downtown LA and there wasn't much to do, expect head over to Hollywood or Universal Studios.
Las Vegas, was incredible. I highly recommend doing the $10 surprise, everyone did it on my tour and it was amazing. Best $10 spent. All the inclusions are amazing as well. I also suggest doing the High Roller, but do it at night, you get a full 360 degree view of Vegas. Don't oversleep on the morning of your departure either, you'll have the bus waiting for a while on you.
Grand Canyon, will take your breath away. It was a little chilly, but the views are absolutely stunning. Do the optional helicopter flight, I almost chickened out, but some a quick chat with Bushy and I was ready to go. You get an amazing view of the canyon. Well worth my money. I didn't do the Jeep tour, but heard it was good. Also go watch the sunset and sunrise on the edge of the canyon. It will take your breath away - trust me.
Durango, Via Monument Valley.
We stopped at Monument Valley, which was pretty awesome, learnt about the Novajo's and their culture. Also got to walk on the ride where Forrest Gump ran along. Durango was a short visit, we went to a local bar and played some beer bong and danced on the bar, before meeting some very interesting locals.
Albuquerque, was one of the highlights of the tour. Such a nice little city, we can the option here to go to the Breaking Bad House, which I didn't attend. Buffet style dinner was god followed by some Karaoke. Our optional Hot air ballon trip was cancelled due to windy conditions, so we got to sleep in. This was another one night stop over.
Amarillo, now we're talking. Visiting Texas was the highlight of my tour. Something about Texas that I loved so dearly. Here we watched two of our fellow Contiki members try and conquer the Steak Challenge, which they both failed on. The food at the steak house was amazing. The night followed by some line dancing, beer pong and some dancing, until there was about 4 of us left until closing time. Amarillo, was another one night stop over, with an early get up - running on no sleep..
Dallas, arriving in Dallas we got the option to head to the Ice Hockey after our included dinner, which for me was an awesome experience. We watched Dallas vs Winnipeg. The atmosphere was amazing, followed by visiting the honky tonk. Here you also have the option to visit AT&T Stadium, which is a must do, even if you don't support NFL. I love the Dallas Cowboys, so I was like a kid in a candy store. Also visit the JFK Museum, the place has a wealth of knowledge and I could've spent all day in there. In the evening you also visit the Rodeo in Fort Worth. Which once again is an amazing experience, the calf tying may upset a few people. I also got the sad news of a friend passing away while I was here, so I was a bit of a downer while I was in Dallas.
Memphis, visiting Beale St is a must. Four of our Contiki boys took on a burger challenge here, was assuming to watch, but also made the stomach churn and how big the burger was. Visiting Graceland is a bucket list item tick, do check out the Rock and Soul museum and Sun studios.
I unfortunately this is where my tour ended, I wasn't able to go to New Orleans, but I heard it was an amazing experience for all who went.
To sum it up, the Southern Adventure is well worth every single cent, there was not one place where I felt it wasn't worth my money. If you don't sleep in your hotel, catch up on your sleep on the bus, bus buddies make comfortable pillows. Try and mix and match with people. I sat with my roomie for the first few stops, before I started talking and making other friends. Make sure you stay hydrated and go to the bathroom before you leave and at stops. Don't be that person who stinks out the bus. Take snacks as sometimes you'll be stuck in traffic for a very long time.
I can not praise Rachel Bushner enough for her wealth of knowledge and making this the best possible trip ever. I would happily do the Grand Southern Adventure next time, visiting the same places and many many more.
Coming from a Australian visiting her own country, this was without a doubt a amazing tour with so many #wowgasms and experiences I will never ever forget. Even times when it was raining the tour managers always gave us something to do which was fun and sometimes very entertaining. 10/10. As we were told don't treat it like a holiday treat it as an adventure, you only get out what you put in.