Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
This Trip was amazing! So much to see and the people were incredible! Highly recommend this to everyone. Tour Manager and Driver where great, happy to help and were there for anything we needed. They recommended the best places to eat, drink and the me time extras :)
Made some amazing friends from all over the place.
Contiki is very dangerous. It makes me spend too much money. First Scandinavia and Russia made me book this one because it was awesome and this one somehow topped it! From eating deep dish pizza in Chicago, Ice Hockey in Montreal, Niagara Falls, helicopter ride over the grand Canyon, having many inside jokes on day one of the tour with my awesome tour mates. 5/5 would highly recommend this trip.
This trip is an amazing way to see some of the best parts of South East Asia! Had such an awesome time on this tour, never a dull moment! We saw some amazing sights and ate amazing food and partied hard too! Came out the other end wishing it wasn't over and with a big family of friends from all over the world!
This was my first big overseas tour, my first Contiki and my first time in Japan and the greatest experience of my life so far.
I went from 12th September to 24th September. I knew August is the hottest month in Japan but i found September very hot too! definitely t-shirt and shorts weather.
Tokyo was amazing, such a beautiful, vibrant city and so clean! I've never seen streets so clean in my life! Our Hotel was lovely, rooms were big and spotless and our view was pretty neat from the 16th floor. Breakfast every morning was a delight, so many pastries!
Did alot of walking, and many trips on the subway. Sushi making was very fun, unfortunately eating it did not agree with me so much! Meiji shrine was cool, set in a lovely park. I even got to see a traditional wedding, which was very special. Harajuku was packed with people but was still fun to look at.The Tsukiji fish markets were cool, but we weren't there for the tuna auctions, something I didn't realise, but was still fun regardless.
Hakone was very lush and a lot cooler than being in the city. Our hotel was nice and clean, if a little worn. Unfortunately I didn't find my futon very comfortable but this didn't seem to worry others. Slight downside was that we could only access wifi in the lounge, but for one night this wasn't a worry. Dinner was several courses of traditional Japanese food some of which was tasty, and othhers not so tasty. But they can canter to anyone with special dietary requirements.
Matsumoto castle was beautiful and rather compact, and many steep stairs to climb on the inside. Hida was nice, but it was rather damp with the rain.
Our hotel in Takayama was a highlight of my trip. Again a lovely fairly, spacious room and nice view over the gardens below. The real gem of this hotel is the patisserie that is on the first floor. Amazing food. there are a few restaurants in the hotel and the buffet one was impressive. Ate there for two nights. Great choice of food.
The bullet train to Hiroshima was lots of fun and Hiroshima itself was a beautiful city. Lots of trams!. Our hotel was a few mins walk from the station and was a nice hotel, but with rather small rooms. The A-Dome and the Peace Park and Museum were beautiful and interesting to see.
Kyoto was definitely a highlight. Such a beautiful place. Kinkakuji was just as beautiful in person as it is in photos as was Fushimi Inari shrine. Our tour guide Matt, had given us the option of getting dressed up in Kimono one evening while in Kyoto. It was a great experience and we got alot of attention from people in the street taking photos etc.
Nara was good, I was less interested in the deer and more in Todai-ji temple which did not disappoint.
Wakayama is a beautiful place, and the monks were so welcoming. We had a traditional Japanese dinner, which was nice as the Monks don't eat any meat or fish, along with a traditional breakfast. Our room was clean and looked very new. Futon again. You have a toilet in your room but public baths are the only of washing, so many of us simply had a shower when we got to Osaka.
Osaka was great, we all got dressed up and wandered down Dotonbori for some Karaoke that was great fun. we had okonimiyaki for dinner as well as other dishes like chicken, and some octopus tentacles (!!) which was pretty good. Our hotel was really nice and modern and possibly the best sleep i had in all of Japan. The hotel is right above the train station, and right next door buses leave to both Itami and Kansai airports so easy to leave from.
Overall, our tour guide Matt was amazing, such enthusiasm and always willing to help and Naito-san was a brilliant guide, so knowledgeable about everything and had a great sense of humour.
However we did have to pay for the ME time optional extras in cash, if you wanted to do them, which I was not aware of.
We also had alot of late starts, which was great if you wanted to sleep in, but also meant there there were tourists everywhere by the tie we got to attractions. But this was ok.
Overall it was a brilliant trip with a great group of people. Would go back in a heartbeat.
As two American Honeymooners, we were very excited to see as much of Italy as we could. Our travel agent recommended Contiki because of our age and the sites that we could see. Now that we've done it, we have a few positive and negative things to say, both of which we hope will help future Italian Espresso goers.
Being that we had spent two days in Rome prior to starting the tour, we were disappointed in the location of the first hotel, The Grand Hotel Fleming. Especially since our first hotel was so close to everything and not as expensive. It was very far from the main sights, about 20 Euros by taxi, to get back to the hotel from downtown. If you're planning on doing the tour, go a few days early, so you have TIME to go see the places you get to see (briefly) on your free time. All of the main attractions are short walking distances from each other, so you'll not be disappointed going to Rome early and seeing these sites in greater detail. Being that the ME times were either in the middle of the day, or at the end of the day while in Rome, your ventures could be shortened if you like spending time at each location. BOTH of the ME times for Rome are worth it. The things you'll learn and see about the Roman Forum and the Colosseum are short, but very informative. And the pasta cooking class was SO MUCH FUN!! Do BOTH!
Vatican City was amazing! But again, you're only in the Sistine Chapel for maybe 10 minutes and in St. Peter's Basilica (which is HUGE) for 20 minutes, so its very quick and a little disappointing-more so in feeling that you got robbed of your time in such beautiful places. The place you stop for lunch is a restaurant in a toll stop- super expensive if you get the buffet! Order a sandwich- much cheaper and tastes good.
Florence is beautiful. MAKE SURE YOU BUY TICKETS to see the Uffizi Gallery and Michelangelo's David. We had misinterpreted the vague description of the brochure and thought that we'd be seeing these things as a group. Yes, as a group you'll see the fake David (which is where the real one used to stand) and the location of the Uffizi Gallery, but you will not go in. Some people on the tour knew about buying tickets, not sure how, but it would have been nice if there was a heads-up on not seeing the real David, or going into the Uffizi Gallery. And expect Florence to be super busy on Tuesday when you have the whole day to explore the town. The museums are closed on Monday, so everything has huge lines to get in. If Contiki could change San Gimignano to Tuesday and explore Florence to Wednesday, I think that would be beneficial. My husband and I did go into the Vecchio Museum and climbed the Vecchio tower- worth it. There was no line. We did get to see a lot of art work thorough the Medici house and got beautiful views of Florence and the Duomo from the Vecchio tower. The optional dinner was good, worth the money, because there is so much food and the service and entertainment were excellent. Karaoke night on our first night in Florence was fun too. And the restaurant that is included as a group meal on the first night was good too. The hotel was nice, the Wifi- not so much. The connection kept dropping- so don't expect to upload all of your pictures.
This was probably mine and my husband's favorite day on the tour. It was relaxed, yet you got to see things, and we were really able to soak up the Tuscan countryside and culture. San Gimignano was great. Not super busy, yet there were plenty of shops to stop in. We climbed the tower and got excellent views of Tuscany. The winery tour was great too. The wine was excellent, and the tasting was more of drinking rather than a tasting! Maybe the Italians do tastings a little differently. But it was great! You could easily have had 3-9 glasses of wine rather than one at the end of the tastings. Loved day five!
Most of day six is traveling. Pisa was cool, but really- the tower is the only interesting thing. You're only there for 90 minutes, so a quick visit, which was fine. The outlet mall was a waste of time! We weren't sure if because Italy has restrictions on how long the bus driver can drive (2 hours), if that was why we stopped. But it was a waste of time. The outlet is the same as those in the States, and really not much cheaper. If there was something else to see, Contiki, please consider that. Verona was beautiful. When you picture an Italian City- Verona is what you picture. There's no graffiti (like every other city in Italy) its small and quaint. We could have easily spent more time in Verona. The included dinner is DISGUSTING!!! Even though you've already paid for it, either order something else or go somewhere else. It was like bad, cheap Chinese food that tried to pass as country Italian food. It was gross. Contiki- please break your contract with this restaurant and GO SOMEWHERE ELSE!
Venice is cool. The glass blowing demonstration was very cool, but if you plan on buying Venetian blown glass, expect to drop at least 100 Euros. The city is beautiful and the optional city tour was worth it. My husband and I didn't go on the gondola ride- which, money wise, is worth it as a group, but as something romantic to do, is 80-100 euros for just two people. And after finding out on the city tour that the sewer systems drain into the canals, we were glad we didn't do it. The optional dinner was worth it, more because its your last meal together and you're able to spend time together before saying goodbye that night. The hotel was fine, wifi was not. Don't expect to upload anything.
Overall, we liked Contiki as a tour because of everything you get to see, but have decided to not go on a tour again. Many of the places we could have seen and spent more time at if we planned ahead of time and gone by ourselves. There was so much free time that it almost felt like you were on your own anyway. It was nice and convenient that we didn't have to worry about transportation for the week. Because you're on a tour, if there are people who annoy you, you're stuck with them until the tour is over. If you're single, in or fresh out of college, go for it. If you're older (26+) or established in your life, single or not, do a different tour. Yeah, you'll have people your age/situation to hang out with, but the loud, younger crowd will just annoy you with their need to cling to each other and their constant desire to get drunk rather than enjoying the time and company. There were three other couples there on their honeymoon, so its pretty common to go as a couple.
This was the first Contiki trip I have ever done and I was a bit apprehensive about it. It is pretty far outside my comfort zone and I wasn't sure if I would enjoy it.
How wrong I was! This trip is absolutely amazing! I have genuinely had the time of my life and would go back in a heart beat. Not only did I meet some brilliant people but I also had so many once in a lifetime experiences.
This trip is very full on and your days will be jam packed but you will be astounded by the number of different things you will see and do. We had Courtney as our group leader and she was absolutely amazing. There was not one question she could not answer and she made everything so easy.
The days are all fully planned out and you really don't have to do any thinking for yourself which makes things so easy.
A few helpful tips if you are planning to do this trip...
1) It is a very full on trip and you will be up early every morning - even after a few late night party nights! There are also two mornings when you have to be up before 5am but believe me, both are totally worth it!
2) It is HOT! Very hot and very humid so be prepared to sweat! Bring clothes which are light and breathable.
3) You need temple dress for all temple visits (there are quite a few of them) which means you need to have your shoulders and knees covered. So bring long trousers/skirts and t-shirts. You can buy elephant pants everywhere when you are there but beware as they are not great quality and rip easily! I went through 3 pairs in just a few days!
4) Don't bring fancy clothes! We had 4 nights out on our trip, all of which were very casual - shorts and t-shirts.
5) Bring a good travel pillow - you will spend a fair amount of time on coaches. I got one called a "Travel Rest" which is amazing and meant I could catch up on some sleep during long journeys. Also, if you are prone to travel sickness then bring some medication as there are a couple of journeys along bumpy roads.
6) Bring an umbrella or rain jacket. We were there during rainy season and it rained a lot and I was so thankful to have remembered to bring my umbrella!
8) Money wise - everything is very cheap so you won't spend much money at all!
I'd suggest taking about £200 in Thai Baht to get you started. You can then change that into Laos Kip when you get to the border. You can then easily take money out at ATMs in Laos.
For Cambodia, everyone uses US dollars which again you can get from any ATM.
9) Bring insect repellant and bite relief cream. I had super strong insect repellant and I still got quite a few bites.
10) Beware of the Contiki cough! If one person catches a cough or a cold it tends to spread pretty fast so bring some cough mixture and cold and flu meds with you. Also bring some vitamin C and rehydration stuff to make sure you keep healthy.
11) If you can, bring a waterproof camera. There are many moments I missed as my camera wasn't waterproof.
12) Try to pack light and bring plenty of underwear! Also, i'd suggest bringing some travel laundry detergent so that you can wash stuff in the hotels yourself. There is laundry service available but only at a few of the hotels.
13) Say YES to everything! There are quite a few optional extras you can do on this trip. Do them all! They are not expensive and trust me you will love every single one!
14) Be prepared to make friends for life! I went on this trip with a friend from home but many people came on their own. Do not hesitate to do this trip on your own as I guarantee you will make so many new best friends. We were a big family and there were many, MANY tears when we all had to say our goodbyes.
Hopefully I have covered everything and made you change your mind if you were having second thoughts about doing this trip. Enjoy!
Oh My Buddha! what can I say about this trip. it was the best time ever and I wished it never ended. Shannon was the best tour manger and new all the right spots to go and made sure we we're all having a 10/10 trip! I went on this trip solo but the people I meet became family and now I have friends for life.
My favourite places probably would have to be Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang in Laos. They were both so laid back and had the best atmosphere.
Another Favourite was Hoi An. This little French inspired town on the river was absolutely stunning during the day and just lit up at night with lanterns everywhere. Its also a great place to get clothes made, I just wish I got more! Another highlight would have been our Cruise through Halong Bay. It takes your breath away and is great way to end the perfect trip
This trip is definitely something I'd recommend to everyone and the perfect way to experience part Asia!
I am so glad I went with this trip vs. the highlights one. Visiting Mekong Delta was so worth it and I highly recommend you choose this tour over that one!
Be prepared to be shocked…in a good way!
I fell in love with Vietnam! The country is so beautiful in its own way. Not all cities are pretty and polished. You get to actually see Vietnam and that is what I loved about it!
Ho Chi – not much to do in this city. The night life is pretty good; we went to this bar where you can get pitchers drink – 2 for 1 and that was a lot of fun! A must try is Pho. I can’t say which place our tour guide, Shannon, took us, but the one she did take us – by far best PHO I ever had!
Mekong Delta – this was a lot of fun! The tea house and lunch was nice; loved the tea! Staying at the guesthouse was an experience! Had a lot of fun going on the bikes and then of course the night time festivities was great!
Nha Trang – this city I found to be very tailored for tourists. Mud bath excursion is something to try for an experience if you haven’t done it before; I was a bit disappointed as I was expecting something else BUT I did enjoy it regardless. Like me, if you are not doing the cruise/snorkel, do not worry – HIT THE BEACH! It’s GORGEOUS! The water was beautiful! This was the only day I basically did nothing but stay at the beach all day long! Loved the tan I got!
Hoi An - by far, my favourite city was Hoi An. It’s a small city but it’s beautiful, especially at night. I HIGHLY recommend you do your entire souvenir shopping here! No other city beats it – this was my mistake; saved it all for Hanoi and I regret it. A must – the cooking class! This was A LOT OF FUN and the food we made and ate after…omg…I can’t replicate it! The city light up at night and it’s just breathtaking. Ask your tour guide about Banh Mi; apparently this one shop makes the best Banh Mi ever and it’s true – they do! Also, I can’t say much but apparently everyone else was happy when we stopped by this shop where they can tailor basically anything. Check it out and see if it’s for you. But again – definitely do all your other shopping!
Now it’s not part of the Contiki tour but if you love to EAT and love Vietnamese food, I HIGHLY recommend you sign up for Taste of Hoi An Food tour. You will love it – I promise! Read about it on Trip Advisor!
Hue – this was okay; short, which was good a good thing. The cyclo ride was a lot of fun (included in tour price) so enjoy that! Not much to say here as I didn’t really spend a lot of time doing much of anything really. It was 1 day and the day was long. Ended up coming back to the hotel and watching some movies and resting
Hanoi – this city was pretty and oh so busy! You can easily get lost – like I did! But it’s a nice city. Got some shopping done but again, try to get it done in Hoi An. Got some pretty neat stuff from this Poster store – close to the hotel; hard to miss. Go on Trip Advisor to find this little shop that sells Bank Mi. They too had an amazing Banh Mi; went there quite a few times while in Hanoi.
Halong Bay – OMG. This was beautiful! I can’t describe what I saw but be prepared to see something very beautiful. FYI the dinner on the cruise…if you are not FULLY a fan of sea food like myself, then go with the veggie option.
Overall – I love Vietnam! No regrets; wish I could go back! If you like Vietnamese food, then perfect! If you LOVE smoothies and juices – then you’re in luck. They are EVERYWHERE and really good!
FYI – It’s bloody hot here! I went end of August – first week of September and wow. The humidity will kill you; stay hydrated!
For days where you go on your own for lunch/dinner, use Trip Advisor. It REALLY saved me and I was not disappointed.
Hotels were surprisingly REALLY nice and proper! And yes, they have AC, free wifi and couple of tv shows that play English movies
I was able to pull cash from the ATM’s – mainly got it all done in Hoi Chi. Many places take VISA. And the exchange rate done on my VISA/bank account was pretty good (CDN – Dong).
First up, I LOVED the Turkey component of the tour. Ahmet was a fantastic guide, & it was a beautiful country to see. The activities were great, however some of them weren't so "optional", as due to the remote location of some of the sites, your choices were to either do to activity or sit on the bus. These should be included in the overall price. Accomodation throughout the tour was great & Enver our trusty bus driver did a wonderful job. Cleanest bus in Turkey, I swear it!
The major let down was the cruise. Firstly, it is not a Contiki friendly cruise & completely missed our demographic. We were a bunch of 20-somethings on a boat with retirees! They did not appreciate our presence & were actually very rude, which is something everyone on our tour felt. Furthermore, the intinerary is slightly misleading as to exactly how rushed everything is. We literally only got a few hours on each island! Seriously, seeing the sunset at Santorini was AMAZING, but we were literally hearded from one lookout to the next, watched the sunset, then rushed back to the bus to we didn't miss the tender back to the ship. No time to explore or anything. Plus it cost €57! The lack of time allowed for those sorts of activities was really disappointing. The tours off the ship were very overpriced in my opinion. Additionally, the ship itself was average. The decks flooded (I mean almost ankle deep!) every time it rained, I have stayed in hotel rooms bigger than the only pool on board, & the lack of wifi onboard throughout the ship - not just the lounge - meant that our group found it very hard to keep track of one another, particularly since our rooms were spread out across so many floors. I realise there were different types of rooms paid for, but there was no effort made whatsoever to keep us together. Plus we didn't get pizza at our Toga Night - sad face!! On the plus side, the staff were wonderful & polite.
Ultimately, should I have the opportunity to explore these 2 countries again, I wouldn't choose this tour, solely because of the experience I had with the cruise. I met some wonderful people on this tour & I wouldn't trade that for the world, & I can guarantee I'll be heading back to Greece in the future!
I got back from my European Inspiration Contiki 1 week ago and already I am missing it more than anything. I did this trip solo. I was one of 8 solo travelers on this tour. And not once did we feel left out! The age group of my tour was 19-34 and everyone got on really well!
This tour is an Easy Pace, this means more time in each place. (Around 1 & 1/2 days in each place). I highly recommend doing this type of tour as you get the most out of each destination.
I went over to Europe budgeting for only 4 of the ME TIME options. I ended up doing around 10. This ate right into my savings, so a little advice - save more then you think you will need as you will most probably spend more then you anticipate!
Contiki Hotel Tours usually do not stay in the center of town. you are usually around a 15-25 Euro taxi out of the city center. You will get a taxi A LOT of the time as well after nights out and big full-on days! It's usually helpful to share taxis with your fellow Contiki buddies to split the bill!
The ME TIME EXTRAS that I strongly recommend:
*Amsterdam Lake Cruise (Free drinks, Great Views)
*Berlin Historical Walking Tour (If you like history)
*Berlin Alternative Tour (If you like street art & want to get into exclusive clubs & experience the amazing Berlin night life)
*Munich Mike's Bikes - THIS IS A MUST DO. (It sounds ridiculous but it is amazing & the guides make it so much more fun!!)
*Tyrol - White Water Rafting. (Well worth it!!)
*Venice - Explore Venice yourself. Take the time to get lost, find your own food. Trust me on this one.
*Florence - Tuscan Feast. (the food is amazing and very nice. you get so much good food and more wine then you can imagine!!)
*Florence - Space Disco (if you like clubs and music then this is the place for you. Let loose and just dance with your new friends!)
*Lucerne - Mt Pilatus - (THIS IS A MUST SEE. The views are spectacular.This tour is a MUST.)
*Paris - Moulin Rouge. (This is the most expensive ME TIME on this tour. But it is the last night and it is a very nice dinner & A LOT of wine. It is nice to spend it with everyone before saying goodbye.)
The only disappointment that many people and myself included had was that the hotel you stay in, in Venice, is around 40km from the actual canals of Venice. So it's a bit of a trek into ACTUAL Venice - a long bus & ferry ride. You do get a FULL day there though so that is a plus.
We were in Munich for Oktoberfest - This was the most incredible experience of the tour. Everyone on the tour dressed up! We bought our outfits that same day at the local shopping center. It was just amazing. It is just such a massive festival you can't even imagine it until you see it for yourself. I had such a great experience, I met Germans, Austrians, Swiss, Dutch & Italians. It was a real authentic experience for me which I am thankful for!! So much beer & food - You will never forget this! Highly recommend doing this tour when Oktoberfest is on!
My tour manger was Jess - She was amazing like a big sister or best friend to everyone on the tour. Everyone felt like they could instantly go to her for anything & everything. And for that I am thankful. She really looked after me on the trip more than anyone I met - she was always there for me. My driver was Attila - He was incredible. So skilled, funny and we all felt so safe & secure thanks to him. We were Attila's last Contiki tour (His Number 74) - Couldn't thank him enough!!
Contiki is all about doing everything you can and living your time overseas with No Regrets - I can say that I definitely did this. I look back on my trip and know that I wouldn't change a thing. It did change my life though in many ways then one. It makes you grow, makes you stronger as a person, appreciate life and what it has to offer & your thrown in the deep end with a lot of things which is a great learning curve for everyone.
I highly recommend doing a Contiki! It is a great taste for Europe & all what it has to offer.
This trip was a great time! I'm very spontaneous when it comes to travel plus I usually travel on a budget and Contiki doesn't disappoint!
This was my second Contiki. My tour manager was Scottie. I can't begin to say enough good things about him- he was hilarious, knowledgable, entertaining, always has a smile on his face, and knows how to get us going. Our coach was masterfully navigated by Rickie who can drive a bus as if it was a compact car.
This Contiki tour is full of non-stop places to see- many included and a few additional add ons. We saw the high energy of Amsterdam's Red Light District, the history soaked streets of Berlin, the stunning city of Dresden, the rich culture in Prague, and classical feel of Vienna.
Last but not least- the people! I met so many new friends that are part of some of the best experiences of my life. I won't forget the Aussies, the couple of Kiwi's (especially my Kiwi ;) hehe); the Americans (especially my sassy love), and fellow Canadians (even though I'm a Newfie before I'm a Canadian) who I shared this amazing adventure with! They all helped make the trip what it was! I am already planning my next Contiki tour! haha
This tour is a great way to see the main cities around the Mediterranean. It's not as fast paced as some other tours and allows you a bit more time to relax and explore the sights. This was an incredible experience and I am definitely glad I chose this as my first ever tour. It definitely prepared me for the Contiki life and I met people I will never forget. Not many people did all of the optional activities and it really came down to whether that specific thing interested you or not. If you don't do all the extras there is always plenty to see and do in each place! The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona is definitely one of the things that you must go inside and check it, it's simply breathtaking! It's a good idea to pre-book your tickets online to the more popular sites as the queues can be pretty crazy!
This was an incredible experience that I would recommend to anyone wanting to get a taste of Peru or South America. The Inca Trail option is a must do if you are heading to Peru and is suitable for all levels of fitness! All of the optional activities are worth doing and not overly expensive. I found that everyone on our tour did basically every optional and definitely did not regret it. The food is incredible all around Peru, in the included meals, optionals and just normal street food that you find along the way. Definitely try both the Alpaca and Guinea Pig (Cuy) when you have the chance to. Peru can be quite cold at times especially on this tour when you travel through different altitudes, make sure you have an appropriate selection of clothing for all weather conditions. I cannot recommend this tour and Peru enough!
I had never travelled solo before. Hence, I was very iffy about taking this trip. I mean.. a new country, that is going through a financial crisis, and to top it all, I didn't know the language.. it was very nerve-wracking. But, I have to say that it was one of the best trips of my life. Greece was a dream, and I ended up booking one week before I left. I had an amazing tour manager, and the rest of the group was great as well. Greece is so beautiful. I didn't want it to end. I was crying during the last two days, wishing we could go to atleast one more island. Anyways, I do hope to go back and I recommend this trip to everyone! Don't even think about it.. just do it! You will not regret it!
I don't have words to describe what I lived on this trip and the such amazing people and friends I made... Here is the link for the video that shows our amazing asian adventure https://vimeo.com/141276240 #noregrets
If you want memories and friends that will last a lifetime, this trip is definitely for you. I cannot speak highly enough of it. There's really not much of the USA you don't see, all the inclusions are amazing and the optionals are all worth it. 100% do the helicopter rides, hot air ballooning and jet boating. The food is incredible and the people are ridiculously friendly. And if you're lucky enough, you might even have Rachel as your TM.
This tour is a great option for a number of reasons.
1. Great length of time
The trip itself is only 16 days. This is a great period of time to spend on Contiki - you can make friends, see so many things and not get "over it" - sometimes Contiki can be really full on and overwhelming, not to mention exhausting.
2. Great destinations
The places you visit are all really interesting and have heaps to offer, whether you want to go out and drink with your Contiki friends, or see the city sites. The opportunities to do things built into your tour are great, and the ME time optionals are mostly really good too.
3. Great Contiki crew
Both the tour managers and drivers have been professional, personable and trustworthy on both tours I've done. I can't complain about Contiki staff - they do a great job in trying conditions. Contiki busses are comfortable, and if you're lucky enough to get the selfie bus, you can't miss it!
4. Great companions
The people who do Contiki have varied personalities, which is great because everyone is welcomed and is accepted. You don't find yourself left out or abandoned, because your mates are watching out for you. Whether you're a party animal or a bit more reserved and introverted, you will be fine. You will enjoy yourself!
Re feedback for the tour itself, I have a couple of things to mention:
Venice accommodation is awful. Please find somewhere else. If it means a price rise, do it anyway. I would rather have paid more than have stayed there... and that's putting it politely! I am happy to discuss this further with Contiki if necessary.
The included dinners - mostly average to bad. The standout was the meal provided in Krakow. Please consider sourcing other meal options for included dinners OR remove most of them. I honestly would rather have not paid for them and found my own food. The group doesn't need them to bond either, if that is a concern. You spend enough time with people doing other activities that the dinners are not necessary if the quality of the meals is going to remain the same. I know other people on the tour felt this way after discussions about this.
Some of the ME time optionals should be assessed at the time of attending - the reason I say this is because I don't think the form provided just before the conclusion of the tour is given at an ideal time to supply genuine feedback.
My biggest gripe with this tour, and should be noted by people booking this, is that it says the tour finishes at midday on the last day. On my particular tour, the colosseum tour was booked for 1:30pm the day of the finish. Because I didn't stay for another night in Rome, I completely missed out on the colosseum tour. This is not acceptable, and IMO is falsely advertised. If the tour itinerary advertises the colosseum as included in the time frame of the tour, the tour should deliver that, end of story. Despite the fact that I didn't miss out financially, I missed out on an opportunity, which is really disappointing. Please amend this. To anyone booking - if you want to see Rome, you need to stay at least 1-2 days extra.
I've posted this feedback publicly both for the benefit of people looking at this tour, and for Contiki to review.
This tour was the most amazing experience of my life!
The people, places, hotels, food, sights, tours and the optionals were all way more than i ever expected!! My tour leader was Hannah and bus driver was Attilla and they both went out of their way to make it an amazing experience for us. Make sure you do ALL of the optionals otherwise you miss out! Take in and experience every single city, culture and sight that you see. Every city has something different to offer and they are all amazing. Be prepared for your liver to be destroyed, contiki love to provide free shots and theres always a bottle of wine going around. I went alone and I made friends within the first hour of meeting everyone, most of those I will be close to for the rest of our lives. I still talk to them everyday. I cant recommend doing a contiki tour enough. It absolutely changed my life!!!!
You will have the absolute time of your life on this trip. It's the perfect amount of time, if you're trying to see a lot in not a lot of time. HOWEVER, there's a few things I wish I knew before I chose this trip:
1) If you are traveling later than July, you will encounter bed bugs. I traveled for the month of August and had three separate bed bug infestations - all at the "special" contiki stopovers, not any of the hotels. The management will not do anything about it unless you throw a fit, which I did both the second and third time, at which point you receive tokens for laundry and they "steam" your room. I got into the habit of checking my bed before every night I went to sleep, but there isn't much you can do to prevent them.. The bits are gross and itchy and it's beyond frustrating how little contiki does to mitigate such a disgusting problem.
2) You WILL get sick, like VERY sick. Bring enough cold medicine to last the entire trip, every single kind you can think of.
3) You WILL get lice. It's not as common as the bed bugs, but still very prevalent, and absolutely impossible to handle while traveling. Most people don't realize until they have already gotten home from the trip, but enough people in my same travel group got it as well to know that it was contiki (I ONLY traveled contiki, not a single accommodation was outside of them, so I can 100% know that where I got it).
*In the end, if you're with a good group of people these things aren't going to ruin your trip, but my trip would had been a lot less STRESSFUL (I mean come on I was trying to enjoy my holiday) had I known these precautions going into it.