Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
I definitely recommend this tour if someone is looking for a short and brief taste of the east coast. I only did this short trip because I also flew over to Australia's west coast for a week and a half. I know everyone says it's expensive in Australia, but seriously, prepare yourself for how truly expensive everything is there!
This trip was an experience of a lifetime!
In just 19 days we all become one little family sharing new experiences together, visiting amazing places and enjoying one another's company.
We saw some incredible sights and famous monuments throughout our travels from Amsterdam to Paris. The Colosseum, the Vatican, Moulin Rouge, Eiffel Tower, Berlin wall.. the list could go on and on.
If I could go back and do it all over again I would!
Our tour guide was amazing, always full of energy and helped us to get the absolute best out of our time travelling in a foreign country. She made sure we saw the best bits of Europe!
This tour is great for people that want to see a lot in a short period of time. I can't believe how much we managed to do in only 9 days! The optional activities were all excellent and decently priced, definitely worth doing the lot. After all you are there to see Europe! Accommodation is good, but to be honest you are so tired at the end of each day it doesn't matter as long as it's clean! Food was to die for!! Definitely try the pork knuckle in Munich :) I would definitely recommend doing this tour, you meet some incredible people along the way and see some amazing sites. Great for first time Contiki goers!
Couldn't have asked for a better first time OS! Somehow this week packed everything and more into the North Island I could have ever expected. From adventurous White Water Rafting even the experts had never experienced to captivating culture in Rotorua, I got the full experience. Taz (tour manager) and everyone on the tour were the nicest people I've ever met and although I travelled by myself, I never once felt alone. Already planning my next trip for the South Island and the rest of the world. Contiki gave me the travel bug and I couldn't be any happier!!
Even though this is not a "typical" Contiki where your day is filled with tours and activities (you will probably sleep most of the day), I would not change anything to this trip. We had 2 full buses, so over a 100 of party people and 2 amazing TMs, Craig and Phil. What you get is an amazing bus tour of Vegas at night with surprises, a great "get to know your new friends" dinner, 3 nights of partying in clubs (with free drinks or open bar and mostly skipping the lines) and the experience of a lifetime. There are lots of great optional activities, do NOT miss the Limo Party and the important thing to remember is to suit up and get ready for some legendary times!!!! Chances are you will never want to leave.
this was an absolutely amazing tour! Well worth it if you love an active type of holiday. Plenty of amazing sites and hiking so make sure to pack a comfortable pair of shoes!
This was one of the most amazing experiences in my lifetime and I have traveled the globe. I made great friends on this trip that I consider family. From breathtaking Machu Picchu to tracking the Amazon jungle this is an amazing adventure of two trips in one. I loved every aspect of it and if you're lucky to have Monica as your tour guide she is a very caring knowledgeable and motherly figure that will keep you safe and look out for you at all times. I cannot recommend this trip any higher.I love my Egypt in the Nile tour but I love this tour even more which is hard to imagine.
As much as you can, try new experiences with activities, food, drink, exploring.
Definitely try the Quinoa soup on Tequile Island (Lake Titicaca), the alpaca in Arequipa and the guinea pig whenever you can. Yum!
The zip-lining at Chivay/Colca was really fun (and not scary at all).
Kayaking the Amazon River in the jungle was amazing. We saw so many wild animals including monkeys!
MACHU PICCHU of course. Best day of my life.
My favourite experience was bringing food and toys to a very poor family living on Lake Titicaca. Words cannot begin to describe how good it felt to help them and make a small difference in their lives, if only for a short time.
Learning Spanish (if you didn’t learn it in school) would be helpful as only a handful of people I met on the tour spoke English (outside of the tour group I mean). Plus, learning a new language is fun!
Buy a handmade artwork on Uros Island. They are only the equivalent of $30 and are absolutely beautiful, plus your money goes straight to the locals. But wait until Cusco for the rest of your shopping it’s so cheap and there are many bargains to be had.
Even if you're super fit, you could still become a victim of altitude sickness, especially headaches were very common on my trip. Take a big box of paracetamol with you. Don’t worry about antibiotics, you can buy them over the counter at pharmacies everywhere in Peru. Don’t stress about it too much though or you'll just make yourself sick.
Our tour guide, Flor, was simply wonderful. I could go on and on about what a fantastic job she did of showing us everything and taking us everywhere, all with a smile on her face. Muy bueno Flor!
Don't bother getting the group photo at Machu Picchu, it's poor quality photography and isn't bigger than a standard photo in size. Your tour manager will probably offer to take a group photo on your iphone (or equiv.) and the quality will be muuuuch better.
The awesome part about travelling with Contiki is you don't have to feel pressured to do everything the group does. If you’re sick, tired (this WILL happen at some point, more than once) take the night off and don't go to dinner. Have a nap if you need to. Go for a walk by yourself. You're not "stuck" to the tour.
Having said that, don't limit your experiences by staying all day/night in the hotel and sleeping. Get out there, get lost, meet the locals and see everything! Those are the experiences you'll remember for the rest of your life.
Overall, Peru is a wonderful country with so much rich culture and history, definitely immerse yourself in it! It’s an adventure and it should be approached with an open mind.
I absolutely loved this tour and would visit Peru again in a heartbeat. Thank you Contiki.
Brilliant tour. The people (both the Contikiers and the Thai's) were lovely. The culture was rich and enchanting. And the food...so worth the "Bangkok Belly" I had for a week after I returned home. The accomadtions were just fine. The meals provided were decent, and my tour mates were awesome. Worth every penny. I wish I could go back and do it all over again!
Words can hardly describe the experience of Contiki...
We started our tour in London on a drizzly morning after meeting everyone for a few too many drinks the night before. 6am on the bus ready for Amsterdam.. arriving just before dinner time, we set off to the infamous red light district to a sex show.. awkwardness was left in Amsterdam after watching our new friends eat banana out of places banana shouldn't be eaten out of.....needless to say the breakfast topic the next morning was quite funny.
Amsterdam day 2. we were given free time to explore the picturesque, cultural city for ourselves. An optional canal cruise and open bar.. we were set for a great last night in the Dam...
Some people recovering from sore head on our trip through the hills and far away to Berlin. Driving along the Autobahn at 200km/ph was an interesting experience. Checking in to our hotel and having a nice family dinner at the hotel before hitting the Christmas markets in Charlottenburg. Few mulled wines later we set back to the hotel.
Berlin day 2. More free time and an optional walking tour where we learnt about Berlin's dark and historical past. Another few mulled wines later and we were set for our night on the town. With a walk about dinner we opted for a bar instead.. chucking back multiple European measured vodka lemonades and Jagerbombs... Then one bar to another to a nightclub... Berlin's nightlife is epic!!!
Next stop Prague..
Some people barely made the bus that morning.. finally getting back to the hotel at 5am for a 7:45 departure.
We hit the ground running in Prague heading straight to the Castle/historical sector of the city. 2 hours later and alot of walking we got back to the hotel for another family dinner.
Prague day 2. Rest day, a few of us had come down with the well known "contiki cough" and stayed in all day, re-joining the group for a cruise down Vltava River and learning alot about Czech Republic's history and love of beer.
Crossed the border and back into Germany.. We went off the trail to a secret location called Neuschwanstein Castle, the inspiration behind the design of the Disney Castle.. breathtaking views.
Munich we have arrived.
First things first... HOFBRAUHAUS!!! Traditional Beer hall time.. multiple steins were consumed that night.
Munich day 2. Despite the hundreds of litres of beer the group would have consumed the night before, we were all dandy and ready for another event full day on tour. **Munich beer contains 0 preservatives so drink as much as you like and NO HANGOVER!** Another family dinner and some people opted for a quiet night at the hotel, others returned to the Beer Hall to get the last of the magic beer.
On the road again...Venice via beautiful Tyrol, Austria
a few apple strudles and shots of liquor later we rolled out of Tyrol and continued down to the floating city of Venice. Our Italian adventures begins.
We had a very chilled night in Venice as our hotel was situated on mainland Italy.
Venice day 2. Christmas Eve.. we headed on our private boat to central Venice. Walking tour, taking in the sights and a few Prosecco's later we were ready for our romantic Gondola rides. Down the grand canal and under many low lying bridges and tight corners we made it back to St Marks square. We were then taken to a glass blowing demonstration which was incredible.
Dinner that night we were treated to an amazing Christmas eve feast.. the wine was flowing, the saxophone was playing, we headed back to the hotel and dried out their bar. Everyone called home to wish family a Merry Christmas. It was probably one of our best nights on tour.
Christmas day our amazing tour manager Joe and tour driver Joao treated us to a decked out tour bus.. tinsel, misteltoe, Santa and little presents for us all, along with a secret santa. We continued our journey to Rome.
We travelled to another special location for our Christmas family photo. Arriving at the hotel and having Christmas drinks before heading to bed.
Rome day 2. Eventful day. Alot of walking. We saw every tourist attraction/sight. Thats right 35 sights.. in 16 hours.
From the Vatican where we got blessed by the pope himself to the Colloseum, to the Roman forum, the Pantheon and everywhere inbetween!
Rome was conquered by contiki that day!.
We had a wonderful walk about dinner and returned back to the hotel bar to keep the night going.
Our travel morning quickly rolled around and we hit it off with a visit to Vatican City (worlds smallest country) at 8:30am. Florence we are in our way!!
Hit off our first night in Florence with a wine tasting in the Florentine hills before hitting the city for an amazingly funny night at a karoke bar.
Litre cocktails, songs and multiple haunting videos later we turned in for the night.
Florence day 2. We all went to a leather demonstration and spent our euros well on some of Italy's finest. We then met in Florence's main square for our souvenir group photo and our walking tour.
A little bit more shopping and we were ready for a nap.. heading back to the hotel. We made our way into the Tuscan Hills for an amazing dinner. Multiple bottles of wine and a creepy opera singer later we were up and singing "YMCA".
We continued our party time on the coach with a rave party and the electronic disco... again more drinks in European measurement. We were finally ready to call it a night at an early 4:45am...
Another day comes to an end.. and our Italian adventures are over but not before we made a quick detour to the leaning tour of Pisa.
Switzerland we are on our way.
Arriving in an actual winter wonderland. Lucerne was a snap to the system, calf deep snow and -14 degree temperatures.. we decided to have a snow ball fight!
Lucerne day 2. Such a beautiful city we trecked it all the way to the top of Mount Rigi, through the snow. The views we granted were worth freezing our butts off.
Phenomenal views and covered in snow we set back to the city for some exploring, shopping and even more snow ball fights.
Time to leave our detoxifing winter wonderland for an insane few days in the "city of lights" Paris!!
We arrived in Paris on NYE.. hit the showers and then hit the city at O'sullivans by the Mill... right nextdoor to the Moulin Rouge. Spending our NYE with 7 other contiki groups we saw a few familiar faces from other nights we had crossed paths. Drinks were flowing, music was epic, New Years celebrations in full swing. We counted down to the new year in a massive group hug and a few bottles of cheap French champagne.
Paris day 2. And 01/01/15.
Our first experience of 2015 climbing the Eiffel Tower. Breathtaking views. We continued our day throughout Paris spending ridiculous amounts on perfume and macaroons on the Champs Elysees. Before returning to the hotel to get all dressed up for our Moulin Rouge night.
Despite the price... The Moulin Rouge is totally worth it. When will you be in Paris with such an amazing group of amazing people?
The next morning came around... the one we all dreaded the most. Saying Goodbye to everyone!
Some stayed in Paris, others were dropped off at the airport to extend their trips in other countries and the rest of us made our way back across the channel to London.
Back at the Royal National and a few sad departing songs later we unfortunately had to say goodbye.
Like I said at the beginning... words can hardly describe the experience and the people you meet.
To anyone considering this trip... stop considering and book it!!
Go in there with an open mind and dont be scared!
You only get one shot at life... make it Beautiful! ♥♥
I realized when I booked this trip that it was going to be amazing, but I was not prepared for how wonderful it actually was! Our tour manager Mike, paid such close attention to the little things! trying to figure us all out to make sure that he did something for each and every one of us! whether it was something we wanted to see or somewhere we wanted to go! he made sure it was possible! This was an incredible experience and I would HIGHLY recommend it to anyone that is interested in using Contiki. It is totally worth the money! I wouldn't have had the trip I did, had I gone on my own!
Contiki does an amazing job with planning this trip! Firstly our tour guide lee was amazing she was great to hangout with. Everyday is jam packed with activities and excursions and the hotels are pretty much 4 star! We had a big crew of 25 and the parties were epic. I made some friends for lifetime and still keep in touch, now going on my 2nd tour this year the Asian adventure! Enjoy the buckets! Turn Up!
Check out day by day breakdowns and tips @ sageoftheworld.com
I booked this trip last minuet on a whim because I had no New Years plans. I'm so glad I went!
Seeing Italy during the winter is a truly unique experience. The cities are a beautifully lit up with sparkle lights and Christmas decor. Ringing in the New Year in Italy you can feel a sense of hope, love and peace in the air. Our trip was lucky enough to celebrate New Years eve in the stunning seaside town of Sorrento, New Years Day in Florence and the Italian Holiday Epiphany in the Cinque Terre. It was fascinating and truly special to celebrate with the locals and see their beautiful traditions.
Our amazing manager Enzo constantly praised us for our decisions to visit his country during the winter. We were often reminded of our luck when visiting towns like Capri and Venice which during the summer are usually impassable due to the high influx of tourists. Seeing how crowded Verona and Milan were in January, I can only imagine that during the summer these places must be miserably crowded.
I come from a mild climate state so the cold weather didn't really bother me. But many of my Australian tour mates had a pretty rough time on some of the colder days. Apparently it was the coldest January much of the country had seen in 40 years? It snowed in the South!
I think what really makes or breaks your trip is how you spend your free time. I was lucky enough to meet a couple of like-minded people who believed in the Contiki moto #noregrets. We stayed out most nights, met the locals and explored the cities on our own. Some of my favorite memories are when I went walking by myself in Capri and Sirmione. Being in a group is great, but its important to find time for reflection on your own.
I recommend doing all of the me time meal options. I loved the group dinners and most of them provided bottomless wine! The best meal was our final in Rome. The singing waiters were amazing!
I don't recommend doing the Contiki arranged gondola ride. I didn't enjoy being in the gondola with 5 other people. I felt like we were going to tip over and only two people got good seats. The rest of us had to hunch over on little stools. Arrange it on your own! I personally am not interested in in-depth lectures on history so I would not do the walking-tours if I went again. There was more "talking" and less walking. Get a guide pamphlet and explore on your own. I felt like these tours took away from our free time.
I was amazed by the size of the suitcases some people brought for our 12 day trip! Travel tip: Pack and then take out half! You don’t need so much stuff! Everyone complimented me daily on my outfits and I had the smallest suitcase of all the girls! Bring only some key items and mix and match. Because it’s winter you don’t need to worry about getting sweaty or smelly so it’s even easier to pack light! Besides you’re in Italy! If you need more clothes you can buy them there!
My favorite things from the trip?
- Boat ride on Lake Garda
- Montebuoni' Tuscan Dinner
- Electronic Space Disco
- Getting lost in Venice
- New Years in Sorrento
- Chilling with to much wine in the Cinque Terre
*Our hotels were all very nice. Some were pretty far from the city center, but all easily accessible by cab or metro. I booked a triple share and won the lottery by ending up with a single. So that was nice.
*Our guide Enzo was great. He provided a wealth of knowledge about the history and lifestyle of Italy. He was also very passionate about the welfare, growth and our impressions of his home country. I’ll never forget his daily greetings (insert italian accent) “Contiki…..!!!” His pal and our driver Fabio was quiet but also entertaining. He didn’t speak english but he interacted with us using hand signals and facial expressions. He reminded me of Mr.Bean.
I certainly recommend this trip to anyone looking for a more in-depth and cultural experience. It’s great to spend a 12 days in one country. I feel like we really saw the best of Italy and I know I could go back someday and traverse it on my own! Go on this trip. You won’t regret it!
“The richest people in the world are those who have seen it.”
Read more about this trip and others at:
A week ago i arrived back in Australia from literally the best 5 weeks of my life. 23 days out of those 5 weeks was spent on contiki and I am so happy I did it. Those 23 days will never be forgotten. I did things i never thought i would and saw things I only ever thought I would see in postcards or on the internet, like the Berlin Wall and the Swiz Alps. I had the best tour manager, the best tour bus driver and the best tour group! 100% no regrets and will 100% be doing another contiki tour in the near future. I have told all my friends and we will all be doing on. Would not change a thing and i have memories that will stay with me forever.
If you are looking through reviews for this Contiki tour, look no further. If you are on the fence about this tour, book it immediately.
I was you. To pay for this Contiki I had to make the decision to take out a loan, and being in debt isn't always good. So I was the very definition of on the fence. I wasn't in a good place and I felt that this trip would help. Boy was I glad I hit that 'Accept' button on the loan agreement and put a down payment on the tour.
This trip was worth every dollar. It takes you out of your comfort zone time and time again (believe me, this is life changing). It takes you to the most beautiful places in the world, with people that you will never forget.
It will be challenging. It will be out of your comfort zone. But most importantly, it will be one of the best experiences of your life.
This was my first Contiki trip and I had no idea what to expect. Traveling as a solo woman, I was a little nervous about who I'd meet or what I would do. I ended up having a total blast and would definitely recommend this trip to folks who've already seen the ~popular~ cities in Europe.
I didn't think I'd partake in the extra activities, but I ended up having #noregrets and did every extra! It wasn't too expensive, and the only thing I wouldn't do again was the light show in Prague. It was a little too weird for my taste.
Our tour guide Mike was fantastic - he had SO MUCH knowledge I couldn't believe it, he was very chill even when our group got a little out of hand, and he was a constant resource for things to do (and not do). Our driver Frank was great too!
It's hard to choose which city was my favorite, so I'll point out my favorite activities instead.
Berlin: The bike tour was BY FAR the coolest thing we did as a group throughout the whole tour. It was a food/drink bike tour and it took us off the tourist side of Berlin and into the cool, artistic part that everyone talks about. We ate amazing food and learned so much about the city.
Prague: I loved the Communist bunker tour and the bike tour. The bunker tour was such a uniquely Prague experience; I don't know where else you can find a working bunker that's also available to tourists! And the bike tour was fun too - we saw the Frank Gehry building, took a ton of pictures and survived a massive hangover from clubbing the night before.
Vienna: Mozart/Strauss concert. After days of travel, you may not want to dress up and go to a classical music concert, but it's worth it! The food was delicious, and who else can say they listened to classical music IN A CASTLE!? Yeah, I think that's all I need to say about that.
Budapest: We didn't have too many organized activities here, but I enjoyed walking around the city the most. The Doheny Synagogue is breathtaking and the baths were an excellent way to end the trip.
Vegetarians beware: This trip is not for you. I'm luckily not a vegetarian, but we had about 10 people who were vegan/vegetarian and the locals didn't understand why someone wouldn't eat goulash (and quite frankly, I'm the same way). The veggie option was a lot of cheese and fruit.
I blogged about my trip with a few more details in case you're interested: http://theadventuresofsheldon.wordpress.com/2014/08/14/what-i-learned-from-yolosolotrip2014/
I just got home yesterday from my trip to the USA and I completed the Eastern Discovery and it was the most amazing experience of my life and I loved every second of it!
I spent Christmas and New Years away from home but I had the best group of people to spend it with.
Everyone in our group hit it off straight away and bonded quickly.
Our tour guide was incredible he went above and beyond to make sure we had a great time. He not only told us amazing history about all the places we visited but also told us great places to eat, organised basketball, football and music festival tickets, and was always keen to get to know everyone and helped everybody out no matter the problem.
Optionals were great.. good selection of activities to do..
but highlights for me were the nights we spent together as a contiki family from nights out drinking, family dinners, Christmas day in Cocoa beach wearing christmas sweaters and exchanging 'Bad Santa' presents and New years On Bourbon Street New Orleans bringing in the New Year together.
If you are thinking of booking this trip DO IT but do the whole trip. I didn't realise this tour was apart of Grand Southern and we had to say goodbye to our new friends after 14 days and they continued on. It was so sad to see them go and I wanted to stay on so bad!
I only just arrived home yesterday and I'm already looking at booking my next contiki! It was amazing!
This Contiki is amazing, you snow board/Ski all day every day come back to the Contiki hotel have dinner and then everyone gets drunk together at the Contiki bar. The Contiki staff are amazing and so friendly. The bus trip from London to Austria is 20 hours so if you can't sit on a bus for 20 hours i suggest you catch a plane over to austria. I recommend to get the food board option the Chef Jamie is amazing like 3 course meal every night and these meals are like 5 star meals i was shocked! I highly recommend this tour its amazing!
I was actually pretty disappointed with this NYE Amsterdam tour for a few reasons. Several of these reasons are due to the lack of information Contiki provided before the tour.
First off, on the day that we traveled from London to Amsterdam, Contiki did not explain the travel time would be 12 hours. We took a bus, a ferry, then a bus again. I really wish this would have been explained better on the itinerary online, as I likely would have not booked knowing an entire day was travel time. The itinerary also highlights that during that, we would see the "White Cliffs of Dover." We definitely did not get out of the bus to see these closer or even had the chance to take a quick photo before the ferry ride.
When we finally arrived in Amsterdam, our "hotel," which was supposed to be "Superior Level," we found it to be musty, moldy, and about a 15 - 20 minute drive from the downtown area. Again, had this been highlighted on the site itinerary, I would not have booked. We actually did not even receive the hotel name until about 2 weeks prior to the trip, and we could not cancel at that point. I looked up prices to very nice, 3 or 4 star hotels downtown, and they were similar in price that what Contiki was charging us for hotel +transportation. This required travelers to take a cab or public transportation back to the hotel (which wasn't in the safest area). It was definitely not walking distance.
I also traveled with a friend, my sister and her husband. My friend and I were on the same bus, but my sister and her husband were on a separate bus. While we should have clarified when we booked we wanted to be together, there were NO activities with other bus groups. We could not do the Optionals or even jump on each other's buses to head downtown. They were very strict about not allowing us to be with the other buses. Again, this was very unclear on the site.
The Optionals, too, were very expensive. The "canal cruise with pizza and drinks" was around 35 euro, and we purchased our tickets directly with a company (again, because my friend, sister, and brother-in-law could not be on the same canal cruise due to separate buses) at half this price.
Finally, I'm a little upset that Contiki only represents strong, positive reviews on the site. After my trip, I found several message boards with other unsatisfied Contiki travelers. Contiki does not fully represent how ALL travelers review their trips; they only choose the "good reviews." It's a bad representation of the true experience.
Overall, Contiki is charging a lot for a little. The travel time was a waste of a whole day (when could have flown for cheaper and faster), the "hotel" was far from the city centre and not "superior," the Optionals were over-priced. Contiki should accurately represent ALL consumer reviews, and not skew the reviews to all be positive. I would not recommend a Contiki tour to someone who wants to spend a little more money (or actually even about the same) to get there faster and see more of the cities. Please do a better job of showing all reviews and providing more detailed itineraries, so travelers know ahead of time what they can expect in terms of travel time, hotel locations, and lack of other bus integration.
Trip of a life time