Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
This is a great tour for getting to see the top places to visit in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. We had moments of activity and also moments to just rest and take it all in. Be advised, there are some long transport days, but the method varies from boat, to train, to coach, and even plane. The hotels were typically nice, some were a little run-down and moldy, but most of the time we were only in them for one night so it didn't make much of a difference.
Overall, the included activities were enjoyable but they were not the most memorable, those were the optional activities which you must pay extra for. For example, elephant rides, playing with tigers, and kayaking. However, they are not that expensive.
There is a lot of bar-hopping, it is optional, but in a strange place you probably don't want to be alone, so if bars are not your thing, find a few friends who also feel the same and plan out your nights. Some ideas might be to get a massage, go to a dinner/show, night markets, etc. Its your trip, so don't feel like you cannot make it your own.
The only reason I am not giving this review a 5 star, is because I specifically chose this trip for the Lantern festival in Thailand. I inquired to make sure we would be in the right place at the right time, however, the plans seemed to change and we were in a different city. Not only that, but our tour guide did not seem to know about the event at all. This was a MAJOR bummer. Heart breaking, even.
All in all, it was an incredible adventure, I met some amazing people and made memories that will last a lifetime. My advice, don't waste your life thinking "should I?" just do it! #NoRegrets
As it was the first time I had been to Europe I was nervous about if contiki would be for me. I had a 5 week period to travel and I decided to spend 2 of those weeks on contiki doing European Highlights. It was an awesome decision but in reality I wish I had picked a three week option. (Regretted not going to Swiss Alps and Austria people I spoke to said it was their highlight).
Contiki is amazing if you go in with the right attitude be realistic and make the best of every situation your in. Also remember this tour is "high energy" they mean it, you will see the "highlights" of Europe, but you will not have much time to relax and take them in. Think of it as a bucket list tour, you can tick of so many items and decide if you want to go back.
There where people on our group that expected 5 star accommodation that is not what your going to get. The accommodation is fine but basic I went during the height of Summer and it was very hot and there where not fans in any of the accommodation and air conditioning was a rarity that you normally had to pay for. Contiki will tell you that you need a sleeping bag, if you go in Summer don't bring a sleeping bag bring, bring a silk sleeping bag liner you will be a lot more comfortable, they also have bed bug repellant on them if you buy the right brand. (Mum gave me this advise from when she did her contiki when she was my age).
My highlight was Munich make sure you have a night out at "Cult Fabric" it's a red light district with an almost theme park layout. Entry was 10 Euro's my tour manager Zac recommended it, but other tours went to Pacha don't do this go to "Cult Fabric" you will not regret it. The "Mikes Bike" option was also heaps of fun.
Another thing to note is make an effort to speak to your bus driver. My tours bus driver Pedro was a great guy who had seen it all. He helped out people when they where sick and went the extra mile to make sure that everyone had a great time.
All things considered you will have an amazing time if you decide to go on this tour, you will meet lots of amazing people, you will see so much in such a short space of time and you will make memories that will last a life time. Just go in with the right attitude and remember in the words of my tour manager Zac "it's not weird, it's different".
7/10 does better justice than 3*s - these are undeniably some great cities and I enjoyed my trip. Do be prepared to pay the extra €250 or so for ME time activities as these were the highlights of the trip and the thing which really sets apart travelling with Contiki rather than hostelling by yourself. Also, the vast majority of travellers on this trip will have been together for the previous 2 weeks - it can be a little harder to break into the group, especially as by this stage people are feeling the effects of non-stop travel &partying for 15 days! Unless you've already visited, choose the first module of the Europe trail (Amsterdam, Berlin etc) to avoid this. Bear in mind as well that coach days will use up all the (short) daylight hours so for the nights where there's no activity planned, research in advance what you might like to do before the daily trip to a watering hole! Overall this is a fun, sociable and stress free European experience.
The amount of countries and cities I was able to visit in 37 days was absolutely incredible. We had an exceptional Tour Manager who did everything she possibly could to make sure everyone had the best experience possible no matter what they wanted out of the trip.
But, I have a gluten intolerance which has put me off travelling as I can rarely eat in restaurants at home because of the worry of having a reaction. Contiki state that they will cater to any dietary requirement which put my mind at ease and was one of the main reasons for me choosing a Contiki tour. Needless to say, they didn't.
Breakfasts became a huge struggle for me, and baring in mind the cost of breakfast is already included in the trip cost, I was having to go to cafes and supermarkets to buy my own breakfasts, meaning I was paying for breakfast twice nearly everyday. Where I was able to eat breakfast, I was paying the same amount as everyone else but could eat about 10% of what was available. In the Contiki run chateaux in France, a buffet style breakfast was available in which we queued up for. Amongst other things there was fresh fruit, which was all I could eat, but by the time I reached the front of the queue this was all gone. I went to the kitchen to ask for more but they had said that that was all they had. I was shocked that a plate of fruit was not put aside for me and that people able to eat the other food on offer had got priority on the only food I could eat. In the hostel in Dubrovnik, I presented my 'Gluten Free' card the first morning and I was told that there was nothing the kitchen could do for me and after a long discussion I was handed a moldy banana (it literally had grey fur growing on it) and the second morning there was nothing for me at all.
Dinners weren't any better either, particularly the included dinners (in one place I was presented a slice of ham. Just that.) and in a restaurant in Mykonos my gluten intolerance was confused with a cucumber allergy and after this was resolved i was left uncertain as to what was in what I was given.
Having already 'bought' the included meals, I did not budget for these meals (I am a student and I was looking for a BUDGET holiday) which left me significantly over budget as I was paying about an extra 6 euros a day on buying breakfast from cafes or supermarkets (on all but 2 days) and re-buying myself dinner. This soon adds up. I mentioned my concerns to my trip manager who did the best she could do in trying to make sure I had enough to eat - checking in with me after each meal to see if I'd been given something) and argued with kitchen staff in numerous places about getting me a gluten free meal. She did her absolute best and I am so grateful for this.
When I arrived home, I phoned Contiki to ask for the breakfast and dinners that I had paid for in the trip cost to be reimbursed as I had not eaten these in the majority of places to which I was told that it was 'my fault', 'my problem and not theirs' and when I asked what they were going to do with the money I had paid them for food, that clearly hadn't been used/spent, I was hung up on. I sent emails and received a letter saying that would have been aware when signing up to the trip that eating would be difficult for me and that it is common knowledge that European breakfasts often consist of pastries. So why do they say they can cater for all dietary requirements, when clearly they can't? They refused to reimburse me and I was left out of pocket some 200 euros. This is appalling as they are not following by what they have stated on their website and it is leading to false advertisement. It was such a shame because I had the time of my life on this trip but the stress and upset of how meals were handled has put me off signing up for another Contiki or even travelling again.
I'm disappointed and angry about how my complaint was handled by their customer service - how can they tell me that this is my fault for having a dietary requirement?!
If you are thinking of travelling with a dietary requirement, think careful, over-budget and ignore everything that Contiki says about catering for you - it isn't true.
The London, Paris, and Amsterdam trip was my first Contiki and it was truly amazing! I went as a solo traveler and met so many awesome people from all over the world. I highly recommend traveling with Contiki as it is safe, takes care of all the logistics, and is way cheaper than booking all of these places separately. I have already booked another Contiki and will continue to travel with this company for years to come!
Had an awesome time exploring Scandinavia in August September, join in on the extras, bobsledding is the best! The only think I regret is not doing the Russia section as well. Do both if you can.
If you choose trail to Rome you will, and i guarantee have the most amazing time of your life. One night you are partying away at the biggest club in Berlin and the next night you are attending the opera in Vienna. It is truely amazing the amount of things you see and how much there is to do! We have an incredible tour manager Jake "the snake" Stewart and a cracking driver Porfirro who made every aspect of the trip unforgettable and knew exactly where to an not too go. One absolute must do is the scare house in Krakow which was the most exhilarating 20 minutes of my entire life. We had big group which worked really well. Every single day keeps getting better! Highlights were Krakow, Budapest & Amsterdam. You will not regret!
Being a solo traveler and finding out closer to the trip that my trip is part of a bigger 'Quest' got me worried that I would be joining a group that has already formed their own cliques and would be resistant to 'newbies'. However, that was not the case :) There were a couple of stretches that we had people leaving and coming in as well, so it was a good mix and I got to meet more people as a result.
I do have to say it was a little awkward in the beginning (as do most trips when you join a group of travelers that you don't know), but after a while, I got to know quite a number of friends who were lovely people! I've heard of some stories about trips being only about parties every night, but it really depends on what you want out of the trip. I didn't go out a lot during my trip, but that gave me more rest time and being able to enjoy the sights of the places visited more!
Our Trip Manager, Ellie and our coach driver, João were the coolest people! They're so friendly and helpful throughout the trip. While there were hiccups a few incidents here and there, they were dealt with amazingly well. I liked how organized the whole trip was! I can basically just relax and not have to worry about logistics and stuff...they're all taken care of by Ellie :) Traveling in the coach is also not a big problem (even though we have a lot of travel days, which can be a little tiring) as the coach was spotless and João has amazing driving skills, especially navigating through the teeny tiny roads of the Italian countryside! I could not have felt safer in the amazing crew's hands :)
The accommodations provided were better than I expected! Having stayed in some not-so-satisfying hostels before, the accommodations in the trip were quite comfortable for a 4-person sharing room. It's not a 5-star accommodation, but it's decent enough for you to crash after a long day of exploring in the city :)
I really liked the places that we visited in the trip...there were even some places that we stopped by that were not listed in the itinerary during our service stops, and that made it even more of a cool surprise as I could see more of Europe than if I were to travel on my own! I had so many favorite places that it's hard to name any...some were even unexpectedly nice, especially given that the weather was exceptionally wonderful in this time of the year (we got sunny and/or mild days almost throughout the whole trip...rainy and windy days were only towards the end!)
I did all the optionals, and most of them did not disappoint as I'm a history buff and I really enjoyed the walking tours! I'm not too psyched about some of the dinner optionals, as they were a little too 'similar' in concept (especially in Italy), but they were still good experiences though. If you can, I would recommend to do them all :)
All in all, it is definitely a most memorable trip for me thanks to the people that I've met, and enhanced definitely by the awesome crew on the tour! I would definitely recommend this stretch, but if you can...go to Barcelona a few days ahead so that you can experience Barcelona yourself before the trip starts, as this stretch directly travels to Nice from Barcelona. I made this mistake by not booking ahead, but I wouldn't trade my experience for another one yet :)
I wish more people would've written recent reviews for me to see so I'm doing it for you: DO THIS TRIP. I'd never been to Europe at all and this was more than incredible. We saw soooooo much in so little time. You may think the me-time's are pricey but do them all. I did and it made my experience something I could never get if I had traveled on my own. I never was much of a partier but I experienced almost every night of partying and then got up early to explore the cities the next day and it was so worth it. Don't worry, there's some nap time on the drives that everyone takes advantage of ;).
Accommodations were mostly pretty great and decent for the price you pay. A couple odd ones but to be expected! Food is best experienced through me-times and going off with some new friends and finding cool little restaurants.
Speaking of friends, you'll make them. Lifelong travel buddies that will have so many memories with you. You spend all day and night with these people and it doesn't take long to become a family and you may cry when you leave them but my best advice is to take TONS of photos (with them and in general. There's so much that happens and you'll forget it all and then you'll see a picture and it'll come back.) oh yeah and if you're wondering about ages and stuff, it varies. We had 18-35 for real. And it depends on the group but there were couples, siblings, friends, and people who went on their own and everyone was friends so don't worry about that at all!
This specific trip is a lot of tours of the main touristy points of Europe. It may get kind of boring during those and it's a lot of touristy areas but you learn a lot and go everywhere that's popular. You end up seeing a lot more than you thought you could. And there's always time to explore on your own too.
PS the cruise? Yeah. Best part of the whole thing. Get the drinks package. Do it.
If you happen to get tour manager Evana, she's the best in the business and consider yourself extra lucky. If you get driver Mitch, you'll wonder how a "bus driver" could ever be so cool.
I 100% recommend this trip. Do it do it do it. You'll get the contiki cough and you'll be more tired than you ever thought possible but I promise it's worth it.
My Southern Adventure was amazing! Everyone on the trip was awesome, and the driver and trip leader were one of the best tour teams iv traveled with! definitely recommend this tour as a way to see the southwest in a short time frame! Highlights are 45 min Helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon, all of Memphis, and without a doubt New Orleans was one hell of a way to start the trip! My only regret was not starting in New York and doing the eastern part too! Already looking at the northern version!
I spent twelve days travelling a fascinating and diverse country with a group of wonderful people. This was my second Contiki tour and so different from my first in the US. Being a small group of about 20, we all got to know each other quickly. Our tour manager Alex was great with his vast knowledge of the history of the country, as well as where all the best Western toilets were! The addition of the 5 local guides at each destination was helpful, I especially enjoyed the visit to our guide Lilly's neighbours house in a Beijing Hutong for lunch.
We saw so many iconic sights: The Great Wall, the terracotta warriors, the Shanghai Skyline, and yet one of my favourite moments was the overnight train from Beijing to Xi'ian, where we all crammed into one compartment and partied all the way there!
Accommodation was great, especially in Shanghai and Hong Kong, and food is nice and cheap. There are plenty of opportunities to eat western food if you want, but make sure you try dumplings!
I also did all of the "Me time" optionals and I would do them all again. The cooking course was a personal favourite, and the light show in Yangshuo was spectacular, although some in the group were underwhelmed...
If you've never been to Asia before like I hadn't, take hand sanitiser and tissues for the squat toilets! Also prepare to stand out in a crowd, I never quite got used to being asked for photos due to my blonde hair, and the attention a group of tall westerners will attract!
This tour exceeded all expectations and led me to discover what an incredible place China is. I will definitely be going again as soon as I get the chance. I am currently planning to meet up with around 10 people from my tour, which is testament to how well we got on! I just cannot recommend this tour enough, and since returning, I have loved responding when people ask "Oh, why China? I'd never think to go there"!
This trip was incomparable to anything that I have ever done in my entire life. It was by far the best experience that I have ever done in my entire life.
The places we visited were amazing, from Vegas to Miami, from the Grand Canyon to Memphis, from Savannah to Panama City Beach - every place was a perfect stopover for another beautiful day with everybody on the trip.
It's crazy to think what suddenly becomes the norm, waking up every morning hungover and yet, still so ready for the day ahead with the people you love, is all but over now. While the majority of the people on the trip were Australian, we had influences from the UK, New Zealand, Canada and Switzerland who were all just the loveliest of people.
Our tour guide Serena was the perfect leader for a group so kind and caring and I can't thank her enough for making my first Contiki trip so enjoyable that now I can't wait to do many more. Money is all but irrelevant to the time you spend gaining such an enriching experience on Contiki.
The places were great, the tour was great, the options were great but what trumps all were the people on my trip. They are what made our trip the best time of my life and while I like to think I've made everyone's trip just a little bit more enjoyable, I'm grateful and humble that they have made such a positive impact on my life.
Book this trip, enjoy the journey and when it gets to the end, don't be upset that it's over and it's "goodbye", it's just a "catch you later".
I so badly want to give this a five: the sites, the me-times, and the guide (Sherif) were outstanding and could not have been better.
The only thing that prevents me from giving this a five is the sexual discrimination and uncleaniness of the Victoria Hotel in Cairo. Fortunately the staff and cleaniness everywhere else has made up for it - but still an unforgettable experience. Dont let that hold you back from going; just be vigilant and report anything and everything to the tour manager (he has a big heart).
I never felt unsafe during this trip. I never will be the same person after this trip. Go on this trip- and go on this trip knowing that only the most wild people in the world - with the biggest heart for travel and culture- would go to this country right now (everyone else is dumb and has no idea how amazing this place really is!).
Seriously, go. Go now. Go and pack snack bars and have the time of your life.
First of all, a confession: I'm older than the usual Contiki crowd (33) and not much of a party guy, so I was a bit afraid I would not fit weel with the group, given the reputation. I was completely wrong, though: the group was diverse and there was time to party (hard) but also to learn about the culture and explore the amazing sights of Vietnam. If you have the same doubts do yourself a favor and give it a try.
I must say that a lot of the success of our tour is due to our amazing Tour Manager, Az, who made everyone feel awesome basically the whole time, even on long drives after long nights. He is a rockstar and you'll be lucky to have him in your tour.
Vietnam is, itself, an amazing place to visit. Here are some of my personal highlights:
- the food: whether having a fancy dinner at the Sailing Club in Nha Trang or sitting on a tiny plastic bench in Hanoi, vietnamese food will always delight you;
- Ha Long Bay: I've been lucky to visit over 60 countries already and Ha Long Bay is one of those world class places that you won't see anywhere else;
- Hanoi: from the peace and quiet of the Temple of Literature to the hustle and bustle of the old quarter, Hanoi is delightful..if you survive crossing the streets!
- Mekong Delta: you'll only experience this if you do the Experience tour (not the Highlights) and I'd recommend you do it if you have the possibility. From all our stops I think it was the most vietnamese, as in less touched by tourism, and you get to eat very exotic food while drinking some killer jungle juice.
Finally, I'd like to mention the group spirit as another highlight in itself: this is of course always different, but I've realized that Contiki catches the attention of the right people, young fun and adventurous. You'll make friends from all over the world
tl;dr: just do it, you'll love it!
I did this trip two years ago and have travelled alot more afterwards. This by far has to be one of the best trips of my life. The friends that i have made on this trip i made for life. The unbelievable places that you get to see from Paris to Austria it was amazing. My tour manager Jah was seriously the best and my trip wouldn't have been the same without her helpful day sheets and hints on what to see. She is truly amazing. I would 100% recommend this trip to anyone.
Hands down this trip was the best decision of my life! The people that I have met, the sights that I've seen and the things that I have experienced will be so precious to me. The trip was so well organised thanks to the staff everything ran really smoothly which would definitely make me want to return to Contiki .
this tour is great for a quick bite of LA. You won't get to do everything but you get the highlights. A great way to start or finish a longer trip.
before I talk about this tour I'll just preface by saying that before booking this, see if you can possibly afford to book the Grand Southern. Getting off the tour in New Orleans and watching all your friends continue on to New York is pretty sad. If you can manage to do the Grand then absolutely do it.
Now, to this tour. It was breathtakingly amazing! I honestly can't say enough good things. I'd done Contikis before and enjoyed them, but our Road team on this trip was just outstanding. Our tour manager was Charity and she was so friendly, helpful and just lovely. Her historical knowledge of the areas was excellent and her tours were much better than the local guides. She went out of her way to make our trip amazing, booking extra activities and giving personal tips to help us out. Our driver was Harold (the Chocolate Man) and we just loved him! He was funny, friendly and a great driver. Together, this team was the best!!!
I always get car sick so I was a little worried about the bus days but we played games, watched movies and had time to sleep and I wasn't sick even once!!! Plus, we stopped regularly for food and shopping breaks.
I travelled with a friend, but we also made lots of friends on the tour. It was just a great group of people. I also recommend doing the extras, they really make the trip memorable and you'll regret not doing them.
Monument Valley was a surprising highlight for me. It was simply breathtaking. In Durango go to the Rocky Mountain chocolate factory and buy triple what you think you should buy. We snack on it for the whole trip and it was the best chocolate ever!!! You'll be sad when it runs out.
- Bring ear plugs in case your roommate snores
- there's no phone coverage at the Grand Canyon so warn family and friends back home that you'll be off the grid for a few days. There is limited wifi but it's very weak
- bring an alarm. We leave the hotels early in the morning and we almost had to leave a few people behind because they slept in.
- eat local foods. You'll enjoy the experience so much more if you embrace the culture
- do the extras! They are so worth it
- if you can do the Grand Southern then DO IT!!! This tour was great but you'll hate watching everyone continue without you
This tour had so many opportunities for thrill seekers! The optional activities were things like bungy jumping and sky diving! I had an absolute blast! What I liked about this tour too was there was down time and also lots of party time. It had a good mix, so you could relax and feel like you're on vacation but it also had the exciting activities.
I also went as a solo traveller and would really recommend this tour as many other were travelling alone and the group of people was great!
This tour is the second half of another tour. So you will be joining people who have already been together for 10+ days.
I did a Europe contiki right before this one and preferred the European sites a little more. But that is personal preference. New Zealand is beautiful but the towns are small and it's very outdoorsy but this tour isn't work seeing well known monuments but rather for seeing the mountains…so if you are looking for a tour like that this is the one!
I cannot even put into words how amazing this trip was! Our tour guide Ashley was the epitome of a perfect tour guide. She was so fun and knowledgeable and planned everything for us so we could enjoy our vacation. This is definitely a fast paced trip. Lots of travelling but you get used to the bus rides and they start to actually become fun. Almost everyday is a new country so prepare yourself for very little sleep! I went on this tour as a solo traveller and I wouldn't have done it any other way. The group of people was amazing! I made a VERY close group of friends during this trip too. It is now almost 2 months after my trip and we all still talk almost everyday. I could not believe how close I got to people who were total strangers…it felt like we'd known each other for years. Honestly if you are considering this trip DO IT!!!! You won't regret it. I did this tour, a contiki New Zealand and G-Adventures tour all back to back and this was my fav!
Here are some highlights:
- Red light district and Anne Frank's house in Amsterdam
- The timing of our tour allowed for us to go to Oktoberfest in Munich for opening night
- Paragliding and White water rafting in Austria
- Gondola ride in Italy
- Going to the top of a Swiss alp in Switzerland
- Climbing the Eiffel Tower and Seeing a French cabernet in France