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  • Alice Level 2 Traveler
  • 2 Contikis
  • 19 Countries

This tour was FULL ON. In a good way and with some hiccups. Definitely make sure you're up for constantly being on the move because this tour is nothing short of fast paced. I found myself sick when I arrived to start the tour and honestly I got worse as time went on. I ended up having to see a doctor in Cusco, Peru and was diagnosed with bronchitis, a throat and sinus infection, YAY ME. Haha. First things first, TRAVEL INSURANCE. Get it.

Take lots of meds with you, cold and flu, altitude sickness, normal panadol etc, gastro, everything. Apparently our group was the least sick any group has been, but I'll tell you what, you're pushing your body to the limits with lots of walking and exploring and weather changing at every destination. We had sunny weather in Miraflores, pouring rain, thunderstorms, snow slush in Puno. See what I mean? So I recommend taking a jacket and warm clothes, or if you're up for buying alpaca jumpers and crazy pants like I did, do that.

In South America, you'll rarely see an elevator, so if you have a suitcase, prepare to be dragging that thing up staircases, which is what I did, didn't really bother me, but just for the heads up.

SPANISH! Oh gosh, how could I forget. Okay, if you're going to SA, I HIGHLY recommend learning some simple phrases or if you're like super talented, learn more than that. The language barrier was much more intense than I thought. I couldn't flip through my language book fast enough to understand what they were saying. You'll be playing charades, a lot. But for your own sake and for fun, learn some things. It's actually rewarding when you smash out a full sentence AND they understand what you said.

I was never let down by the food in SA. Churros, chocolate, empanadas, you name it. Oh and for the Guinea Pig, well, that tasted like chicken, and it was 'meh'. But alpaca was definitely nice, try that. Just be open to everything. Especially pisco sours, be very open to them, mwuahaha.

Money wise, I think I spent a good $2000-$3000. Including optionals and food, gifts etc...I can't remember, but I came home with money. It's very cheap over there apart from the major cities. Peru, cheap cheap cheap. Argentina, a bit more expensive…and Brazil, relatively cheap!

Okay so skipping along, Machu Picchu, was just far better than anything I could have imagined. Really. Like a dream. We luckily had amazing weather so we were very lucky. I dipped out on the Inca Trail as something was stuffed up in my booking but me and one of the boys ended up climbing Machu Picchu Mountain, and that was INCREDIBLE. Take photos, LOTS of photos. If you love photography like I do, definitely take an DSLR with you. You'll capture some crazy moments.

Places I LOVED. Colca Canyon was definintely a favourite. very remote, but beautiful views. The little cabin-like hotel you stay in is gorgeous. A warm fire to laze around, board games, it's just cosy. There's also a crazy pet alpaca that roams the halls like a ghost in the middle of the night and you don't want to get on his bad side. But when waking up there was the snowy mountains in the distance, gorgeous. If you get the chance, do the zip lining. That was a rush for sure!!

Honestly just driving around on the bus, you get to see so many beautiful views…Peru is just landscape heaven. Make sure you do take good shoes to walk in, runners etc…

GIRLS YOU WILL NEVER NEED HEELS. DON'T BRING THEM.

I loved Puno/Lake Titicaca - seeing the floating markets, having lunch on the island and playing soccer with the locals was a great experience.

I must say you don't get a lot of rest time on this tour. I found it very exhausting in the sense that you will some days be up at 4am. Yep, 4am. Haha, but the early bird gets the worm right? I guess every tour is like that, 5-6-7am wake ups. But be prepared for that. This wasn't a huge party tour. We went out some nights, karaoke, played drinking games, had a few big nights, but it wasn't 'that' kind of tour. Which was fine.

Argentina, Buenos Aires was actually a little daunting for me. I didn't really like it there. Just a lot of men harassing you on the streets, so make sure you cover up ladies - if you don't want that attention. But we didn't have a lot of time there anyways, so I'm sure there would have been more to see?

Iguassu Falls was amazing. DEFINITELY recommend doing the speedboat tour. As you go right in and under those waterfalls. Waterproof camera, check.

Brazil, brazil, brazil. So Buzios, was a time to relax. Pool time, go for some walks, do a bit of shopping, definitely go to the crepe place for food. Oh so yum. But yeah this is the chill out time.

And then onto Rio, Rio was reeeeally cool. Saw a lot here. Christ the Redeemer was amazing! Again, perfect weather, so we saw him in all his glory. Haha. We went to Sugarloaf mountain, a huge view of Brazil, that was awesome. Ended up getting to go to a soccer game in maracana stadium - EPIIIICCCC. If you get the chance, do it. The crowd is so insane, you think your country is sport crazy - go there.

Okay so things I wouldn't recommend in Brazil. The Favela Party - hit or miss. We ALL had to go together to this party which was in a huge club in the Favelas. Lots of seedy men and locals, we had our own sectioned off area upstairs, but It just wasn't that good. it's good for a few hours and then a few of us wanted to go home, but in that, EVERYBODY has to want to leave because you all came together.

Another thing I didn't like was we couldn't end up hang-gliding because the weather wasn't good, so they cancelled it, but we couldn't get our money back because they were going to see if we could do it the 'next' day. But that day was meant to be our free day to explore. So we all wanted our money back but didn't get it unless the next day again was cancelled. It was, so we got our money back. But I didn't like the mess around, because we would have lost spare time in Rio. With that day we ended up going to these really good markets in the centre of the city, lots of bits and bobs, I then went and soaked up some sun on Copacabana beach, sooo nice. Had lunch at some restaurant where the waiter gave us a rose - sweet.

I left the day after our tour ended - kind of wished I had another day or two to relax because we didn't get THAT much free time. So definitely do that if you can.

The people on my tour, were awesome. We had the best mix of people, from South Africa, London, America, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. PERFECT. Quite a few couples on this tour - but everyone became really good friends, like brothers and sisters. You really get to know everyone on a personal level and I loved it. I've already met up with some of these people and know I will see them all in the future!

I could keep writing but my hands are sore now. All in all, the good comes with the bad. You've honestly got to make the tour your own. If you want to do something, DO IT. If you really don't want to do something, DON'T DO IT. It's your holiday at the end of the day - and my best advice would be, listen to your body, listen to your mind, and just take each day as it comes. Soak up every opportunity.

I hope this helps! And if anyone wants more information, feel free to message me or email me, I'm happy to share my experiences :) I also have a blogging website you can check my adventures out on!

www.alicepye.com
alice.pye@optusnet.com.au

A x

My Contiki was: adventurous, breath-taking, rewarding

  • Sarah Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 1 Country

What an amazing trip! I highly recommend everyone to do this trip. What an unbelievably great Contiki crew that I had to make my trip absolutely awesome. Rachel and Ricky were so helpful the whole trip AND after the trip. I had an absolute ball. #family #noregrets

My Contiki was: amazing, full on, mateship

Yucatan Highlights

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Amazing
  • Deshan Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 1 Country

Amazing time. Excellent mix of free time and planned activities. Time for cultural things like the Teotihuacan and Chichen Itza ruins, museums, unwinding on the beach and crazy nights in Cnacun. Ish was a wonderful guide with heaps of local knowledge. Best.

  • SamanthaO Level 2 Traveler
  • 2 Contikis
  • 12 Countries

This trip was the first time I had travelled solo, and I was feeling super nervous when I met my tour group that first night in London. My concerns quickly vanished within minutes of meeting my tour group, within five minutes I felt like I had known them forever. Our group was about half couples and half singles which normally would have annoyed me, but literally everyone on this tour was so wonderful and fun it didn't matter at all. Our tour manager Matt and our driver Jonny were the most UNREAL duo I have ever had the pleasure to meet. Their knowledge and passion for the job was evident from day one. If you get lucky enough to have these two as part of your team you will have the most amazing trip of your life. I honestly cannot say enough good things about them.

The trip itself was busy, we had long bus days and early mornings a lot of the time but that is the cost of getting to see all the beautiful places we got to see. The Swiss Alps and Rome were highlights for me, but every single city we went to was great.

Do ALL the optionals (especially paragliding) they make the trip a once in a lifetime experience, and most people do them all anyway so if you don't do them then you end up missing out.

The friends I have made on this trip are all amazing people, and I am so lucky to have them as part of my life. If you choose this tour be prepared to come back home a different person because this experience changes you, and in my opinion it is for the better.

My Contiki was: unreal , magical, adventure

There are no words to describe how absolutely amazing this tour is. The people you will meet, the places you will go are what makes this trip the best ever. Thanks to our amazing tour guide Mohawk Matt and Coach Driver Vania who made this the best trip ever… compared to all the other managers and drivers we met these two were the best they went out of their way to make sure everyone had the most amazing experience.

You will start the tour with a bus full of strangers and leave with a whole new family that you will miss everyday and will end up travelling the world just to see them. Do all the optionals minus the walking tours because hungover walking through Venice in +25 weather is a waste when you could explore it yourself. If your manager says off nights don't listen.. off nights aren't real. Skip the leather demo in Florence but do the glass work in Venice... Do everything!!!! You will not regret it… In Vienna make sure to hit up the hostel bar with its 4 for 10 euro jager bombs, do the 5 story club in Prague and spend the money to go into the ice bar.. pack your neck travel pillow the only time you get a good sleep is on the coach… eat all the european food and drink all of the wine you may gain 10 pounds but it will be completely worth it in the end.

  • Katrina Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 9 Countries

This tour would have to be the best decision of my life. The tour was amazing, the places you go are breathtaking. Our tour manager Joe was amazing, very knowledgeable and insightful. Our bus driver Jonny was incredible if you ever get these two together on a tour you won't be disappointed.
The me time options are great. I would have to say Amsterdam is a night you won't forget. The group of people on the tour were fantastic and was very hard to leave. It's surprising on how close we got and the bonds we made within a short amount of time.
This is a tour that everyone should do if you want a taste of Europe. :) #NOREGRETS

My Contiki was: Amazing, Unforgettable, Incredible

  • Holly Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 1 Country

This is an amazing way to see so much in a short space of time. From biking around the Grand Canyon to pool parties in Vegas to boat rides in Miami, there was so much to see and do. The optionals were fantastic, great variety of activities. I went on my own and it was my first time travelling out of Europe but I met so many great people, there was a fantastic atmosphere between everyone. The accommodation was good, some lovely hotels and some basic but we were so busy that we hardly spent much time in the hotel rooms. Our tour manager and bus driver were amazing, they were always there to help, give advice and just have a chat. It takes the hassle out of planning and organising and allows you to make the most of travelling and having fun!
I would highly recommend doing a contiki tour, it is one of the best things I've ever done. I'm doing another contiki next year in Australia!

My Contiki was: Amazing, Incredible, Unforgettable

  • whoomphy Level 2 Traveler
  • 2 Contikis
  • 2 Countries

I have a few suggestions for Contiki..

Boston; The motel was in Dorchester, which is South of South Boston (Southie area) Opposite the hotel is a clothing liquidator, a sure sign that it's hardly a great neighbourhood. Getting a taxi was expensive. All the Uber drivers I had told me I was lucky to get an Uber out there as it was a seriously unfriendly area after dark. The wifi was limited in the motel...

Quebec City:
Again the hotel was a 15-20min drive out of the centre of Quebec. The wifi was atrocious. The second night we stayed in at the motel which had a bar. There were people doing meth in the toilets of the bar and there were drugs being exchanged, witnessed this with my own eyes.

Montreal:
Again, out of town but near a subway stop. You can stay one street away from the Anglo area of Montreal for under $100 per night yet we were out in the white lower class (read into that how you like) area of 'Longueuil' (I know a few people in Montreal) We should have stayed on the Montreal Island, not on the other side of the bridge. Taxi's again very expensive.

Toronto:
Single beds. I am 6ft3 I couldn't fit on the beds. I had to upgrade the room at my own cost of $38 per night after tax so I could get a double bed and my room mate could have two singles... This was one of the better located hotels for access to amenity and sight seeing. I know this area well (was born here) pity about the rooms.... Oh and they didn't have free wifi.... In 2014....

Kenab, Utah: That motel was disgusting. The carpets, I only wish I took a photo, with a black light I hate to think what I would have found there!!!!

Harrah's Las Vegas: Again no wifi... in 2014..... Hard to believe.

I will give credit for the hotels in Chicago and Harrah's in regards to their locations, which were really good!

Lastly, I made some awesome friends, and Vegas was a trip. I'm glad I met some cool people and had a good room mate. I only wish I had the option to pay more for better located accommodation. All the money I saved by being in fringe areas was wasted on taxi and Uber rides....

Cities I recommend: Montreal (Anglo Area), Toronto, Chicago, Madison (Wisconsin), Las Vegas

Feel free to contact me with any feedback or questions....

My Contiki was: Made , Awesome, Friends

  • Hayley Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 13 Countries

This trip was everything I had ever dreamt of and more what I had bargained for. All my dreams started coming true as I boarded my plane in Auckland, New Zealand bound for London, Heathrow. On the way to London I planned what I would like to see and a little anxious as to how this Contiki was going to work. It was a joyful experience. My Contiki team were AMAZING! Jesse, our tour manager is very knowledgable of the destinations, helpful and highly entertaining to say the least. Our driver Magic was a genius. Driving us through some very tight spots as we journeyed for three weeks through Europe, through Italy and brave as he went around the Arc de Triomphe twice to my delight. I had never experienced anything like it before.
Our tour were joined and left by a few other smaller tours – it added to our fun and the bus changed every seven days. When we had to say goodbye it was sad – but not something a few drinks could not fix and a night out that some were struggling to remember and others did not want to remember.
We saw Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Krakow, Budapest, Ljubljana, Venice, Rome, Vatican, Florence, Lauterbrunnen and Paris – with a few stops along the way. Lake Bled, Dresden, Lucerne, Auschwitz are now just a distant memory.
I made so many friends from around the globe on my tour. Individuals and couples joined the tour hailing from the far end of the world and they each brought their own individuality into the group. From New Zealand and their close rivals Australia, across the Pacific Ocean to the United States of America and Canada, individuals from Japan and South Africa to those from the United Kingdom – we became a close knit group, and a crazy bunch of people.
Pick a tour or several because one won’t be enough. Prepare yourself for little sleep, nights out, singing the day song wherever in the world you are – living for the moment and having no regrets.
The trip home was another thirty hours on the plane to Wellington, New Zealand. My time was taken up with looking through photos and how happy I was for taking the plunge and travelling solo. It was the most amazing trip I have done, so plan it, do it and travel.
I am already planning my next one - and besides my family now have to listen to my adventures.....

My Contiki was: We are going, on an , ADVENTURE

  • PetaT Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 1 Country

This contiki was amazing! Such a great experience! I met some incredible people and saw so many beautiful parts of Australia. Definitely the best time of my life!

My Contiki was: Incredible , Educational, Picturesque

I LOVED this trip! I want to go back and think about it every once in a while. It was the perfect amount of touring and free time, with lots of people to go out with and friends for life. Advice: even if it is warm, bring a sweater during the day...the weather can change in an instant and be very cold, even during the summer!

Wow where should I begin? What an amazing trip! A friend and I decided to do some touring on our own before meeting up with Contiki and the difference was night and day! Trying to navigate around Italy on our own was a challenge so when we joined the group it was like a breath of fresh air! Everything was planned for us! We also, of course, felt safer.

If you've never done a Contiki trip and you're still contemplating because of the price... book it! It's such a better way to travel! Every night is booked for you, every transportation is booked, and almost every meal is taken care of. You're also hanging with the same group of awesome people who have endless stories about traveling and their lives back at home. Also, some people brought their DSLRs and I totally would have brought mine if I wasn't backpacking before. I would recommend bringing yours!

The extras on this trip were amazing, especially Jungfrau mountain! DEFINITELY a must! No regrets! Bring warm clothes as it gets super chilly! And sneakers that will do well on snow. Remember to bring cash if you want to do activities on the top of the mountain. We didn't partake in the Parisian Show, there was a group of us that just grabbed some drinks instead. But we heard it was entertaining and involved the audience! The group photo had a beautiful background of a view of Florence. Worth the few bucks.

I do want to mention one thing that would have definitely played a part in my booking this trip. We joined onto an existing tour of almost 20 people. So they already had relationships, connections, inside jokes, etc. Our group meshed well together but I think it would have swayed my choice when booking.

Hope this review helps!

  • Krista Level 3 Traveler
  • 3 Contikis
  • 2 Countries

So what does one expect to find in the Outback? Let me tell you. ALOT of red dirt that contrast so well with the blue sky above. You'll do a lot of walking on this tour so I recommended a good pair of runners (tennis shoes) or hiking boots. It does get extremely hot out there (I went in Sept) so take a lot of sunscreen. September is Spring in Australia so it doesn't reach it's highest temp yet. I think the hottest day we had was about 36 degrees so bring sunscreen.
Bring along a travel pillow, this is handy to have for when you're sleeping under the stars and also for those long bus drives from one place to another.
I shared a room with 3 other girls for most of trip so I recommended buying a cheap power power from Kmart (I'm sure you can pick them up for about $3)
I would bring a lot more clothes you can wear during the day (not nice ones, they'll get smelly and ruined) because I felt like I was going through 2 tops a day.
If you plan to Visit the outback in Winter (June-Aug) make sure you bring something warm with you because it can get quiet cold at nights.

So many hightlights on this trip I can't just pick one!
Uluru was awesome! I did the helicopter flight over Uluru and the Olgas (did the 30min flight) as we felt that was enough time see all. Scenic flight over Kakadu was beautiful. it really does show you how small you actually are when you're up looking down at it.
The hot air balloon ride was beautiful - it was cold that morning but be sure to wear something warm and comfortable so it's easy to get into the basket :)
If you have some old clothes bring them as I went to a glow party and that paint stuff doesn't come out. we went to an op shop and bought some items there.
the Kings Canyon Rim Walk was beautiful! make sure you pack at least 1.5ltrs of water (Depending on the time of year you go) it takes about 2-3 hours to walk but it's worth it.
the walk around Uluru was long but good. it's about 10.6km around and we're given 3hrs to complete. we did it in 2hs and 40mins including stopping for photos.
keeping in mind that you can't take photos in certain areas (there are signs to tell you) bring thongs (flip flops) to use in the showers :)

Also you can't drink water in Kakadu so make sure you have bottled water with you and on that note I would buy 2 bottles and just keep filling them up when you can. cheaper than buying water all the time.

Bring at least 1 or 2 good outfits :) sunset champagne was an awesome end for the trip :) The thermal pools are really pretty. little suggestion, wear your swimmers there because the bathrooms are not close to the pools. Edith Falls was nice, but the water was cold and Litchfield national park was great! just be careful if you climb the rocks to jump off!

Accommodation wasn't that good in some places. Uluru is very small (2 lots of bunk beds) and that's it. you have to walk to the bath room.
Food is expensive and so is the alcohol. you're given plenty of chances to buy alcohol so buy a little bit more for other nights too.

I hope this helps! I can honestly say it was such a great trip and I'm glad I have seen more of my own back yard. if you have any questions I'll do my best to answer them :)

  • Beth Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 8 Countries

Be aware that by booking this trip you will be starting a tour half way through another, meaning; most of the people you will be travelling with started their trip in London on The Easy Rider tour a few weeks earlier. I had a great time on The Easy Roller tour but when I got home every time someone asks me "Hey! how was your trip to Europe?" I would say "Great! but....". This is because by the time I arrived there everyone had already bonded, had stories that I wasn't a part of and had inside jokes/sayings/songs that I didn't know, so I had to learn them in order to keep up. Don't get me wrong, everyone was awesome, the mix of people was perfect, the tour manager was amazing and the experiences were great. I would use Contiki again but I don't recommend this tour as you my regret being "the newbee" in the group. I joined on the same day as 9 people who were in three friend groups, that left me..out of the entire tour I was the only one who knew no one...great. None of us 10 arrivals knew we would be joining a tour half way as it is either written no where or very well hidden on the website. I tried to go with it and just soak up the experience BUT when I look back I get a kind of disappointed feeling. I am a 20 yr old student, I used almost all of my savings from when I was 15, working through High School and Uni part time. New Zealand money doesn't get you very far. I loved my trip but for the amount of money I spent I regret the fact that I get the disappointed feeling to go with those memories. I would most definitely do things differently next time.

My Contiki was: Great, Dissapointed, Crazy

European Magic

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ #tooeasy
  • Conrad Level 2 Traveler
  • 2 Contikis
  • 9 Countries

Great trip, if you haven't got too much time and want to see a lot. This trip is perfect, very fast moving but so worth it. Huge bonus for our trip was that it overlapped with Oktoberfest which was unbelievable! Paris by night spectacular. Evan was a fantastic TM, his tips for every city were spot on! Just do it!!!!

  • Claudia Level 4 Traveler
  • 4 Contikis
  • 3 Countries

New Zealand is absolutely gorgeous, but this tour was just too short to love. With 2 days travel time, the tour was really only 3 days, it wasn't enough time. And 2 of those days were raining, which cancelled a lot of the optional activities, so that didn't help either. Unlike the Europe Contiki tour that I went on, Jaffas n Jandals is just one section of a longer tour, almost like a hop-on-hop-off bus situation. Some people already knew each other from being on the tour earlier, everyone left the tour at various times, there wasn't much time or opportunity to get to know people. I would not recommend this particular tour, definitely go for a longer one.

My Contiki was: raining, short, unfulfilled

  • Matt Level 2 Traveler
  • 2 Contikis
  • 3 Countries

For a kick off there's heaps to do in both cities. There's something for everyone in the activities and if you're like myself and enjoy a bit of free time you'll fall on your feet here as well.

The accomodation was ideal both Hotels were in good locations especially the one in Prague you were a ten minute stroll from the main meeting point.

The people I met up with were great fun and easy to get along with. It was my first Contiki and left a great impression.

The best moments had to be the first night in each place, simple as that.

If I could change one thing it would be to extend the time in Dresden. It's a beautiful city and I would love to have seen more of it.

My Contiki was: Fun, Exciting, Chilled

  • Matt Level 2 Traveler
  • 2 Contikis
  • 3 Countries

For a kick off there's heaps to do in both cities. There's something for everyone in the activities and if you're like myself and enjoy a bit of free time you'll fall on your feet here as well.

The accomodation was ideal both Hotels were in good locations especially the one in Prague you were a ten minute stroll from the main meeting point.

The people I met up with were great fun and easy to get along with. It was my first Contiki and left a great impression.

The best moments had to be the first night in each place, simple as that.

If I could change one thing it would be to extend the time in Dresden. It's a beautiful city and I would love to have seen more of it.

My Contiki was: Fun, Exciting, Chilled

  • zoejanaye Level 4 Traveler
  • 4 Contikis
  • 4 Countries

Forget everything you know about Contiki coach tours, the cruises are completely different! This is an ideal way to travel if you are wanting to do a cruise of the greek islands, as cruises are generally marketed towards older people. Contiki really helped as we had our own group of people. The size of your group will depend when you go, I went towards the end of the season, so there were only 24 of us, but it meant we were small enough that we could all hang out together and actually get to know everyone.

All the optional extras are operated by the cruise line, not Contiki, so you will notice the prices aren't as discounted as what normal optionals are. Your tour manager always goes with the majority of the group and what tour they do, so you may end up with your tour manager, or you may not. Our tour manager did a great job of keeping us all together on the days we didn't book any excursions and had free time in the port, and most of the time, we were on our own bus for the excursions, occasionally with a few elder people who were thrown in with us as well.

I only opted to do 4 of the tours out of the ones that were offered. The first one was the Ottoman Empire & Byzantine Legacy Tour which is a full day tour in Istanbul. You visit the basilica of Hagia Sophi, Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque, the Bazaar and the Spice Market. Unfortunately there were quite a few cruise ships in Istanbul the day we were there, and so the queues were quite long and we ran out of time to do the Spice Market. The Bazaar is great if you're looking for genuine fakes, learn how to bargain! Never accept the price they want. Also be careful, as some of the people can be quite sleazy. Turkey use the Lira, but you can also bargain in Euros, just make sure before you begin bargaining, you let them know which one. Overall the tour was great and we saw alot in one day, but we had no free time in Istanbul. If I had the time over, I'd probably do the tour again, or spend the day at the Bazaar, but it does get overcrowded, so if you're not a fan of crowds, Istanbul probably isn't for you! Lunch was also included, but nothing really special to rave about.

The next excursion I did was Ancient Ephesus through the ages, which was a great half day tour. We spent the first part of the tour exploring Ephesus which we went through with our guide, make sure you wear good shoes as the ground is super slippery. We were also given some free time throughout the tour to take photos and explore. The next part of the excursion included a carpet demonstration on the way back to the cruise ship. The demonstration itself was very interesting, but as soon as the demonstration is over, you get attacked by the salesmen. The carpets are not cheap and started from about $300 USD, but you can also purchase them in Euros, so again make sure you let them know before hand which currency you'll be bargaining in. We got free time in the afternoon/evening to spend in Kusadasi which was great and we went to the Bazaar which is similar to the one in Istanbul, just without the crowd, and grabbed some Kebabs before heading back to the ship and watching us sailing away.

The next stop was Santorini where I did the Cruise to Santorini’s islands and Visit the volcano. I would not recommend this one unless you are a super keen fit person and want to cross climbing a Volcano off your bucket list. I'm not an overly fit person, and I managed to climb it okay, I just thought it was a waste of time. It is only a half day tour, and we got to spend the afternoon in Oia, but given the chance over, I would have spent the day in Oia. Oia is beautiful, it's where you will be able to see the iconic white wash buildings and the churches with the blue domes. I could have sat there and enjoyed the view all day. There is also a bookstore in Oia which is one of the top 100 you must visit before you die, and it's definately worth a look even if you're not into books! There's a saying in Santorini.. there's more wine than water, more stairs than streets, more donkeys than taxis and more churches than days of the year!

The next day we were headed Crete and ported in Agios Nikolaos and did the The Crystal-Clear Waters of Elounda and Spinalonga excursion. Spinalonga is cool and used to be a leper colony. We had the worst tour guide here, and I've no idea what she was saying the whole time. But it's a pretty little island! We then had free time that afternoon in Crete where we got fish massages, something you have to do if you've never done it before! We then found a bar along the beach and sat there and drank cocktails until it was time to head back to the ship.

Crete was the last port where we got to spend a full day, and the next day we were headed to Rhodes in the morning, and Symi for the afternoon. Rhodes is a beautiful medieval town so very unique. Our tour manager took us on a walking tour and showed us a few places like where they still have the moats (there's no water now) but it is something different to where we'd been. We also did a little bit of shopping before heading back to the ship. We then set sail for Symi, where we ported at about 5pm, just in time to have dinner as the sun went down over the harbour. There isn't a lot to do in Symi, except buy some sponges (these are great!) and climb up a hill (using stairs) to get a view. This night on the cruise, our tour manager arranged for a private party in one of the bars, and we had our own toga party.

The next day we ported in Chios in the morning, before arriving into Mykonos about 5pm. Mykonos was probably my favourite and I wish we got to spend more time here. We arrived just in time to get some quick photos before the sun was setting over the iconic windmills. We grabbed some Gyros for dinner (these are a must try in Greece!) They're a bit like a kebab, with potato chips/fries & a special sauce! We then headed to a bar, and partied in a club before having to be back on the ship at midnight.

There is also a captains cocktail on one of the nights, which is a great opportunity to get dressed up and get some free champagne!

The cruise also offer drink packages starting at 10 euros for the basic one, or 20 euros to do the unlimited (including alcohol) and we definately got our money's worth. The only problem is, your roommate on Contiki has to do it as well. So if you get put in a twin room with someone who doesn't drink, you could have some issues there. It's always worth asking the tour manager if she can have a word to the bar manager to see if they can do an exception, but in our case you couldn't.

The next morning our cruise came to an end, and we arrived back into Athens. Not many people stuck around the next day, and I was headed to Italy.

All in all, it's a great cruise. It was definately great not having to live out of a suitcase for a week!

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask :)

Ireland

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Ireland October 9-18 2014
  • Karen Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 2 Countries

ThIs trip was amazing! Traveling to Ireland was the first trip I've taken outside Canada. I'd been dreaming of going for years and when we had the chance my friend and I jumped at the opportunity... and Contiki doesn't disappoint!
My tour manager was Evan. I can't begin to say enough good things about him- he was hilarious (especially his Hollaback girl karaoke), knowledgable, entertaining, always has a smile on his face, and knows how to get us going. Our coach was masterfully navigated by Sammy who can drive a bus as if it was a compact car.
A Contiki tour is full of non-stop places to see- many included and a few additional add ons. We saw Dublin, Trinity College, Temple Bar, Belfast, Giants Causeway, Derry, Galway, Aran Islands, Blarney Castle, Jameson distillery, Guinness brewery, Cliffs of Moher, Cork, Kilkenny, traditional bands, cows, sheep...lots of pubs and it was ALL fantastic!
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 Auzzies (and there obsession with how ridiculous Newfoundlands culture is), the Americans, 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 will definitely be taking another Contiki tour in the future!

My Contiki was: Amazing, Interesting, Ireland

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