Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
If you never been to Europe before this is the best introduction tour to everything you will want to experience. It gives you a taste of what Europe has to offer in a decent amount of time. Some say that a 10 day tour is too short, but it was the perfect amount of time for me as I couldn't take more than 2 weeks off from work. I would highly recommended this tour for first time travelers to this area who don't have their heart set on one specific country.
Accommodations, transport, food, optionals and the Contiki crew exceeded my expectations 150%! Taking a Contiki tour really eliminates of the stresses of travel, they take care of all the stuff you don't want to deal with while on vacation so you can focus on having FUN! Plus you are traveling with 50 other like-minded people who want to have the same experience you do, so its very easy to make friends fast, so don't worry if you are traveling solo like I did.
I just got back home and I am already planning where I want to go on my second Contiki. Trust me, if you book this tour or any other Contiki tour you will have "#noregrets". Also if you get Megs as your Tour Manager or OJ as your driver you are in for a real treat! I couldn't imagine doing this tour without these two! They were both AMAZING!!!
I went on this tour February 2015 and loved it! Do all the optionals they are all worth it! Go even if your underage you will still have the most amazing time ever! I did! I will definitely be going back sometime :)
You will instantly fall in love with Croatia! Beautiful country, awesome people and with Contiki you can never go wrong. Made great friends, the crew on the boat was absolutely fantastic and the tour guide was fabulous. I would recommend this to anybody, whether you are travelling alone or as a couple.
I had the best time of my entire life on this Contiki Tour - I HIGHLY recommend this trip. This was my first Contiki trip, and it will not be my last.
This tour provides the best of everything: lots of time with the tour guides, who will wake up early to provide amazing information on the cities and landmarks in the wildly ancient city of Athens and islands in Greece and still come out to party with you late into the night; amazing relaxation on the beautiful beaches on the islands and gorgeous pools at the hotel; incredible excursions and ME time optionals that you must absolutely choose to do (don't miss even one!); such an exciting nightlife; and friendships that will last a LIFETIME.
The tour guides MJ and Stacey were so much fun, and so kind. They really listened to all of us, considered our interests and feelings along the way, and tried to provide the best of the best in entertainment, food, and nightlife all along the way.
Best advice that I can give: fully enjoy the party scene (especially in the islands) at night, but DO NOT miss the excursions the next day simply because you are too tired or too hungover to wake up. Some of the best excursion days were the ones that occurred the morning after an extremely long night of partying. The volcano hike and donkey riding in Santorini, for example. Don't miss it!
Enjoy every second of the trip, enjoy the long lasting friendships that you make, take advantage of the free time by relaxing by the pool or shopping in the towns, eat all the local cuisine you can, take quick catnaps whenever you can in order to make the most of the pub crawls at night, while still waking up the next day to enjoy the excursions.
The only unfortunate thing was that there are a lot of additional costs for these optional excursions. Almost every special thing we did was "optional", but if you missed them, you'd really miss a lot of the bonding time and wonderful memories of the trip. Factor all of these costs in when deciding to book this trip. You should partake in all of them, but they are an additional cost that the tour guides will ask you for on the first couple of days of your trip. Be prepared to pay for them then.
There are a few ferry rides, and most of them aren't too long or rough, and that is really the only major transportation you will use on this trip. A great thing is that you will not spend most of your time on a bus, like a lot of other tours. We really only took a coach bus to get us to and from some restaurants, or to and from the ferry and the hotels. You will walk lots (probably no need for heels, ladies!) so you'll get to experience the culture and excitement of the cities and islands firsthand, every step of the way.
All in all, you won't sleep, you'll eat way too much, you'll party LOTS, and you will actually have the most amazing time of your life. Why haven't you booked yet?!
amazing people and places! food was alight but the deserts were spectacular! bring rain gear its always wet in U.K!
The trip blew away my expectations. It was my first time traveling alone and my first time out of the United states and it was absolutely amazing. I ended up doing my own thing more than doing the planned trips but I still felt part of the group when we did things together. I really got to make this my own trip with the safety and comfort of being with a group and an amazing tour manager. I definitely suggest adding time to the trip as it went by so quickly! All in all though I saw more in the 7 days then I had even hoped to. It was the best experience of my life. The hotels were very nice as well and the food was phenomenal.
Lots of sightseeing packed into this trip! Absolutely loved every minute of it, and I liked the fact that I did this trip during the winter "off season" months because the sights weren't jammed packed with long lines. The accommodation was better than I expected, very clean and safe locations. The food was also excellent, and you get plenty of me time mixed with the scheduled excursions. I would definitely recommend this trip to anyone. Loved seeing the Moulin Rouge (def go to the show) and the farewell dinner offered a beautiful view over the city of Paris (just be prepared to climb, it's at the top of the city). Also I went out one night by myself in London to a Latin nightclub and had a blast!!! Couldn't find anyone that wanted to go with me, and I'm glad I didn't let that stop me from going. Also the last night to party in Paris was so much fun, it's basically a bar where other contiki groups meet up. The bartenders there were so friendly and it was nice that they all spoke English as well :)
The Big Tiki was my first ever contiki, first time traveling (initially) alone and the first time I've visited New Zealand. I'm so glad I did it because it proved to entirely worth it and was so much fun. We got to see essentially all of NZ and see everything it has to offer; culture, adventure, astounding landscapes and seas, really good food and utterly friendly people no matter where you go. I don’t think anyone would regret ever going on this trip.
Firstly, if you’re a fellow Aussie and think you know anything about our little neighbor... you’re wrong. There is so much to NZ and it’s culture we don’t know and for me it was really amazing to see and learn about all its history and see the all the familiarities it does share with Australia but also all the small differences that make it its own place. Go visit NZ now!
I shared the same trip with Elise below and I utterly agree that Josh & Nick were the coolest guys to have guiding our tour. The bus always had awesome music playing, they always found great places to eat and they worked so hard to make sure we all had the best time and knew which optionals were really worth our time.
The trip is made up of urban and rural landscapes so it covers all bases for any kind of crowd. Chill or party hard in Auckland, Queenstown or Wellington. Adventure and do insane things everywhere else (Paihia, Rotoura, Lake Taupo, Frans Josef and Queentown again!). For any Tolkien fan Hobbiton will also prove to be so awesome. The more you watch friends do crazy things the more you want to as well. No matter where we all found ourselves, we were all constantly in awe of the landscapes. There is so much you can pack into doing when you visit this country.
I came home and literally just wanted to turn around and drag all my friends back to see more of New Zealand. So really just go and know if you do it via contiki, especially on this trip, that you will just have a blast.
This was my first Contiki and won't be my last, the trip was an amazing experience and I couldn't be happier I chose this trip. On the European trail I got to see amazing countries, meet great new friends and have a ton of fun! I found all of the accommodation really great and i'm fussy, i'm not saying it's 5 star and at a couple places the bathrooms were a bit small or the bunk beds a bit shaky but all clean and cosy, the hostels actually ended up being mostly better than the hotels. We had a great tour manager (thanks Ian!) who knew literally everything about the places we were going and could talk for hours about the cities histories, he also could find us a good meal and show us a good night out. There is a lot of partying but that is mostly up to you whether you want to join in or not and there are always some people who stay behind, go home early or party til the early hours of the morning. The coach ride turned out to not be so much a bore but lot's of fun hanging out with new friends or catching up on much needed sleep, the bus is surprisingly comfy and my recommendation is to nab the front seat! great views and it feels like you have more space without seats in front of you plus you become more in the know being right up front! Food was great and as everyone on my tour would say I was the fussiest eater, the hostel/hotel meals are standard but mostly really tasty and there is always plenty of food you won't go hungry, breakfast depends where you are some places were really good others not so much but if you don't mind a bowl of cereal or a ham and cheese bun you'll be fine anywhere! My favorite countries from this trip would be Prague, Budapest, Venice, Switzerland and Paris but all together honestly can say I loved each day and each country, we did some amazing stuff all the optional river cruises are great, going up the Swiss Alps was breathtaking, The gondola in Venice is a must! Seeing the Eiffel tower and Moulin Rouge in Paris and just everything made an awesome 23 days of travel! I recommend this trip to everyone!
Egypt is hands down the BEST trip I've taken yet! No words or pictures will do it justice, you have to go and feel for yourself. It's way more than just pyramids, it's stepping back in time, it's magic! A great tour manager makes all the difference on Contiki trips, and Egypt is lucky to have Sheriff. He's incredibly knowledgeable and funny, every site, every structure, every rock has a story and Sheriff will explain it to you in a way that you'll remember forever. Keep in mind that Egypt is a historical tour, not a party tour, although with the right group of people partying like an Egyptian is right up there. The hotel in Cairo is not the best, but the Nile cruise is amazing, and the Red Sea resorts are pretty good too.
Stunning country, awesome tour guide, lots to do, and I jumped 15,000ft from a plane. Action packed for sure shot over jet, skydiving, Lord of the rings tour. Accomdation was lovely.
Honestly this was the most amazing experience of my life!!! My friend and I come from Australia and were only 18 when we did this contiki tour and although there is +21 drinking age limit it was fairly easy to score drinks where ever we went - we were never ID'd.
Now I thought I would right a review on what to expect for this tour, what I would recommend and what I wouldn't.
Now I would first of all recommend rocking up to the night before get together, as it gives yourself the chance to meet the tour manager as well as the other people you will be travelling with for the next month. I would also HIGHLY RECOMMEND staying in the hotel where you will be meeting the next day. Although it can be pricey (especially if you are starting in New York) it is well worth it and you don't have to stress over catching a cab in time.
Also incase you didn't know, no matter where you start (whether it be New York or Los Angeles) you will not be given the opportunity to explore that city with Contiki!!! The moment you hop on that bus you set off to your next location (e.g. Washington D.C. or Las Vegas), so make sure you give your self at least a minimum of 4 days to explore the city your in (I recommend at least a week).
Also whether you start in New York or end there I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND doing the New York Uncovered contiki tour. It not only gives you accommodation at a cheap price, but it also takes you absolutely everywhere you want to go! They get you tickets for Nix games, Broadway tickets etc. Remember #noregrets
Now do not forget to bring your drivers license as a form of photo ID, as you don't want to be bring your passports with you to clubs etc. My tour started at the beginning of November and it was so cold it wasn't funny! Make sure you pack way more warmer clothes than shorts etc.
Now as to the ME Time optionals, here is what I recommend and what I don't etc.:
- Cirque du Soliel: even if you have seen this show in your own country, it is nothing like it is when you see it in Vegas! A must do!
- Grand Cayon Biking: It wasn't available when I went on this trip
-Grand Canyon Helicopter: ABSOLUTELY MUST DO NO EXCEPTIONS!!! Also I would recommend going on the longer more costly flight as you see more, plus it takes 5 minutes to fly to the Grand Canyon and then fly back.
- Group Photo: up to you, I didn't get one. Plus members on Contiki tag you in them on facebook, so there really isn't any need.
- Rafting: It wasn't available when I went on this trip
- Snowmobile: It wasn't available when I went on this trip
- Horseback riding: It wasn't available when I went on this trip
- Hot Air ballooning: It was too windy the morning we went to do it, but apparently its breath taking!!!
- Cowboy Stadium: you might be thinking it sounds crap, but it is absolutely cool and worth doing even if your not into sport (which I'm not). Well worth the money for the tour.
- Stockyard Championship Rodeo: was cheap and actually a good time, plus its one of those stereotype American things that you can say that you've gone and done.
- Sun Studios: I wasn't particularly fond of this mini museum (lasted for about 20mins), but I think it was worth it to go and see it, besides you probably will never be back again!!
-Rock & Soul Museum: I wouldn't recommend this as there are better things to do and see while in Memphis.
*When in Memphis make sure you go and see the Martin Luther King Jr. Museum (its not included in ontiki) it is worth it for the history alone.*
- School of Cooking: I didn't do this as I wanted to explore New Orleans in my own time, but I heard it was enjoyable, but just a reminder you don't get much of a chance to explore New Orleans (so consider your options).
- Airboat Swamp Tour: Do NOT do this if it is not alligator season!!!! We went out for two whole hours and saw absolutely nothing because it wasn't the season. I think the season is from June to September.
- Universal Studios: A MUST DO, NO EXCEPTIONS!!! This is the mecka of all theme parks, don't bother doing the one in L.A. if your doing this tour.
- Thriller Speed Boat Ride: Really enjoyable and a great way to see Miami and the rich suburb/islands. Tip: don't sit at the back if you don't want to get wet!
- Group Photo: not really worth it to be honest
- Newseum: by far the best museum in Washington D.C. So therefore a must do.
- New York City Pass: a must get if you a planning to stay in New York for a few days, it allows you to see absolutely everything you wan't to see. Don't get it however if you a planning on doing the New York Uncovered (they will provide you with a free one).
- Sex and the City Tour: didn't do it but wished I had, apparently it was amazing!!!
- Gossip Girl Tour: didn't do it but wished I had, apparently it was amazing!!!
- TV & Movie Tour: again didn't do it but wished I had, in this tour you see scenes from Friends, How I met your mother etc.
This tour was a awesome time. A big thankyou to the best tour guide and bus driver cindy and aiden. Our tour group was great. We picked up more people in Scotland and then Dublin.
The Optional was great. Some of the included dinners weren't the best. We went to the Millitery tattoo which was a once in a life time thing.
My favourite places were York and Edinburgh and the Aran islands.
This is a great tour to see most things in the uk and Ireland.
enjoy you will.
It's been a bit over 3 years since I have been on this tour, and it is truly a trip you will never forget.
From the moment you arrive in Ho Chi Minh City, right through to you say your goodbyes in Hanoi; the Vietnam Experience is full of highlights, excitement and unforgettable memories.
We had the privilege of starting our tour on New Years Eve, in Ho Chi Minh City. Talk about a party! The streets were filled with tourists and locals, all bringing in the New Year in style, with plenty of drinks, laughs and spray foam, as we spilled out into the streets for the countdown to midnight. This was the perfect opportunity to get to know my fellow travelers and guides.
Bargains can be found all around in Ho Chi Minh City. Try your luck at the Bến Thành markets, which is close to your accommodation. You can find all sorts of things there from Watches, Clothing, Food, Frogs, Turtles and even Snake Wine; A truly unique product you can’t miss, and one that you will have many chances to sample over the next 12 days.
From the hustle and bustle of the city, to the relaxed Mekong Delta, the home stay was truly an experience you will want to take in. I always look for an opportunity on my travels to really engulf myself in the culture of where I am. Contiki defiantly give you this opportunity, and the locals are extremely welcoming, friendly, and kind. We got to enjoy a great local performance as well as take on the challenge of fishing, using nothing but a bowl and our own two hands, a skill which only some in the group could master.
Traveling back to Ho Chi Minh City after an interesting night getting to know everyone better with a bit of Jungle Juice, we traveled to the Cu Chi Tunnel. These tunnels where used by guerrilla fighters during what the Vietnamese call the “American” War. Even if you are claustrophobic, try to muster the courage to down into the tunnels and work your way through. A truly unique experience and a sobering insight.
Next we visit Nha Trang, in what us Australians on the tour affectionately refer to as the Gold Coast of Vietnam. This is definitely one place you will want to take the ME options available on tour. Take the cruise offshore and enjoy some great swimming, snorkelling and lunch. There was heaps of unexpected surprises to be had on this cruise, and well worth the extra cash to experience.
Nha Trang is know for relaxation, and what better way to relax then with a trip to the Mud Baths. Not only an experience for the ladies, this is a great way to chill out and relax. At one stage we where treated to a fantastic hot spring soak with what can only be described as a giant tea bag!
A short flight to our next stop Hoi An, aka the fashion capital of Vietnam. Hoi An is famous for it tailors. Grab yourself a stylish suit, a swish dress, or anything else you can imagine. It’s a good idea before you travel to Vietnam, to take some photos of things you would like to have made, the tailors in Hoi An will make anything you can dream of.
At this stage in the tour we decided it would be a perfect opportunity to take on Vietnam’s famous traffic head on. After hiring mopeds (from the same place we got our laundry done) we headed for the coast and took in the amazing scenery along the way.
This is just a taste of the many experiences you will have on this tour. I've made life long friends on this trip, and we all still reminisce about this tour 3 years on. There is so much to see and do. Party on the beach in Nah Trang, Get styled and learn to cook amazing food in Hoi An, take in the natural beauty of Ha Long Bay, and enjoy the craziness that is Hanoi!
I'd highly recommend clicking the BOOK NOW button, if you have a sense of adventure, for a trip that you'll truly never forget!
If you're thinking about going on this trip, just do it. What an amazing experience. We were a group of 21- not too big, not too small, all on the trip for pretty well the same reasons- a mix of adventure, relaxation, and to make new friends.
Me-time optionals: Our group pretty much all opted in for the exact same Me-time-optionals, and I think most of us were pretty happy with everything. No one did the ATVing or horseback riding though, because of past reviews or because it was too much activity for the end of the trip, but ziplining and canyoneering were amazing, the optional dinners were fantastic, and the kayaking, snorkeling, and kayaking was good too.
The nature walks/tours were great- we saw a ton of wildlife and the weather was great for them. If you like nature, wilderness, and wildlife, you'll be pretty happy. We didn't have crazy luck with our wildlife tours, but that's the luck of the draw so I can't be angry. It was still great to be out there enoying the beautiful scenery.
Weather: The weather varies tremendously depending on where you are in the country- from hot and dry, to warm and humid, to cool/windy/dry, to crazy hot and humid lol... We had pretty well perfect weather, so I can't complain. Just bring a variety of clothes. I brought a lot of quick dry active shorts/shirts to keep myself as dry and cool as possible.
Food: If you're worried about culture shock regarding food, don't be... the food is amazing throughout the country- no complaints from me. Try food you've never had before because you won't likely be disappointed.
Budget: I brought $1000 USD with me and that just about covered me for everything including tips and the optional activities. I paid for a few things by VISA, but the 1000 seemed to pretty much cover it. There were lots of ATMs around, but they seemed to be finnicky for almost everyone at some point (particularly the Canadians due to our chip cards). Almost everything can be paid for by credit card though.
Safety: I felt safe at all times. The bus driver Felix was amazing, tolerant, and friendly. Some of the terrain is poor or very scary looking and challenging, but we got to each place safely and in good time. Our Tour Manager, Gio, was unreal- what a great guy. He had only our best interest in mind at all times, making sure we were safe, relaxed, comfortable, and having a good time. Both of them took the planning and worrying out of the equation and allowed us all to just have a good time.
Accommodations: I had no problem at all with any of the places we stayed. Clean, comfortable, safe, beautiful. They were all excellent, and while some of them had spotty WiFi, that is not a reason to complain- we shouldn't have been on our phones anyway haha.
Best moments: Hard to say, I loved everything- the scenery, the culture, the wildlife, and the activities. I had to write out what we did each day on my phone because there was so many great moments and I didn't want to forget them. The beautiful beach days at Manuel Antonio were a great way to end off a busy holiday though, so maybe that would be near the top of the list.
Would I change anything? Nah. It was an amazing trip.
-Nick Buchok, Kincardine, ON, Canada
Had a fantastic time on Contiki in NZ! This was my second tour and loved it. Wonderful tour guide with a wealth of knowledge, and bus driver was just as great! Saw everything that I wanted to in an adequate amount of time. ME time optionals can't be faulted either! Only disappointment was not long enough with them at times. Definitely recommend this trip to anyone going to NZ. :)
Where do i start? This trip was hands-down the best experience I've had in life so far.
I've met some great personalities whom I'm sure I'll be friends with for life, some mind-blowing cities in Europe and had the most interesting experiences I will never forget!
Our awesome tour manager Greg was very informative and humorous and our friendly driver Francisco 'Chico' was also a great laugh and an extremely skilled coach driver.
The sites we saw were breath-taking from the Eiffel Tower in Paris to the IAmsterdam sign in Amsterdam and all in between.
- pack layers, layers and more layers (I'm one to freeze even in Aussie winters ,but taking and wearing lots of layers helped a tonne!)
- it is likely you will catch the cold/flu, so pack enough vitamins, meds etc to get you started and there are chemists on every corner so stock up when needed.
- do all the optional extras and make the most of nights on the town with the group.
- be prepared to stay out late and wake up early
- take a book/ e reader, ipod, iPad, playing cards etc for bus days
- there was a mix of solo travellers, couples (we had 2 lovely married couples on our trip) and large friendship groups who all got a long and mingled with each other.
You won't regret going on this tour! #noregrets
I will start with a disclaimer. This is not your typical Contiki tour but man was it good! Being 5,000 meters above sea level, you get this light headed feeling, after taking 25 steps from the bus, you are short of breath. You look down and see a 4,000 meter deep canyon and as you look up, a pair of 2 meter long Condors fly right over your head. It was awesome!
This tour is deep in culture and heritage, action and adventure, and early early mornings. If you are looking to party all night and cure a hangover on a bus ride the next day, this is not the trip for you. If you want to hike the 10k Inca trail that zigs and zags across numerous mountains and ends in a stunning view of Machu Picchu, this is it. If you want a guide who spent 6 years studying their society and history in order to be able to be licensed to give tours, this is it. If you want to spend the night in the jungle surrounded by only the sounds of the birds, monkeys, and other animals, where power is only available 2 hours a day and there is no cellphone service, this is it.
This tour is full on. The altitude is higher than you have ever experienced (word of advice, make sure to get altitude sickness pills), and there are many early mornings to beat the heat and the other tourists. There are a few nights that are good nights to go out, but this is not a tour you want to or can even party hard throughout. If you want to party, stick to Asia or Europe. If you want an amazing time with non stop action, this is it. I would book this tour again in a heartbeat.
This trip was fantastic! It was my first Contiki tour and it was exactly what I was looking for - I wanted to do a short trip to get a feel for Contiki tours, see what they were like and see whether I would consider doing another one in the future. I travelled alone and that was definitely a great decision - I made so many new friends and I don't think I would have made as many friends if I travelled with someone else.
This trip definitely exceeded my expectations. Our tour manager (Vinnie) was absolutely amazing - can't speak highly enough of him...he knew everything there was to know about all of the places we visited, he was laid back, hilarious, fun and really made it his mission for us to have the best time ever. He even organised transfers from the hotel to the airport for everyone flying out from Venice at the conclusion of the trip. The accommodation was pretty good (much better than I expected!).
This tour allows you to see all of the main tourist attractions in each city. The included activities were great. Considering that we also had a lot of free time (almost 6 hours in each city that we visited), you also had the chance to do exactly what you wanted, including experiencing the not-so-touristy aspects. I definitely ticked all of the things I wanted to see off my list! I would absolutely recommend climbing the Bell Tower and Duomo in Florence...the views are a must see and you can really appreciate the view after climbing the 3000 steps (approx. in total). When I first found out that we had so much free time, I did wonder what I was going to do to fill it, but our tour manager was able to give us great advice about what to see/do and what was worth our time and money. As it turns out, we had the perfect amount of free time.
The included dinners were nice, and the optional dinners were fantastic (highly recommend). The optional pasta making class was a lot of fun so I would also recommend doing that. The included breakfasts were pretty good so a lot of people filled up on breakfast on the days that we were going to have a big dinner, and then you could just have gelato or something small for lunch.
As it was a short trip, I did all of the optional things and I think that was a good decision. The optional night at the club in Florence is definitely worthwhile! There's not a lot of driving on this trip which I thought was a definite plus, it didn't take all that long to get from city to city. Everyone on my tour was fantastic and we had so much fun together....the people definitely make the trip!
The only downside is that we didn't have enough time in Venice (there's so much to see and we only saw a small portion)....a lot of people spent a few more days in Venice after the end of the tour which I would recommend. Also, whilst we did go out and party a bit on this trip, if your sole purpose is to go out and party, this probably isn't the tour for you. We had lots of fun and had two nights out, but I think everyone on my tour was there to experience the Italian culture more than anything.
I will definitely go back to Italy and spend more time in each of the cities we visited. I will also definitely do another Contiki tour - I highly recommend them to anyone and everyone!
All in all - a great tour.....Be prepared to drink a lot of wine!