Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
This trip is a must! Saw so many things, met so many great people, learned so much about New Zealand. I'll be doing the south island next!
This was a full on, jam packed tour of the European highlights! What a sensational package of the top places. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to see most of the capital cities in Europe with a few random stops thrown in along the way. This was exciting and adventurous but you could also have some down time if you wanted. This tour saw 3 lots of people come and go while I stayed for the whole trip. It's hard to loose people mid tour but it's always nice to get fresh faces. If doing a long tour like this, I would recommend being part of the entire tour as it was hard for the "newbies" to integrate once we had passed the 2 weeks mark.
This tour was nice in the sense that it covers numerous destinations in a very short time and is ideal for someone who wants to follow a quantity rather than quality approach when seeing Europe. The tour manager was a friendly person and contributed towards a great atmosphere on the tour. Most cities are seen at night as most of the day light is spent in the bus (6-8 hours) at a time. The hotels are not great at all and I picked up bed bugs on my first or second night (difficult to pin point). I had no means to take my clothes to the Laundromat as the hotels did not have this facility and we were not at one place/city long enough to give in the "affected" laundry given the general turnaround time of the laundry services (24 or more hours). The tour manager was not very sympathetic to my situation and did not do anything to go out of his way to help me get the bed bugs out of my clothes - I had to make a decision to not wear any of my clothes for the rest of the tour and I was forced to spent quite a bit of money to get new clothes for the remainder of the tour, as I did not want to take the risk of getting more bites as it burns and itches and is generally gross. I am not sure I would recommend Contiki to friends as the hotels are just not good enough due to it being unhygienic. However if you are not too concerned about hygiene and cleanliness and are lucky enough not to get bed bugs, I would suggest you try this tour as it is a very affordable way of travelling through Europe and a chance to meet new friends. It is a shame that my experience was ruined by something so small as a bed bug and that Contiki did not do much to help me. On the other hand, if you read the reviews of most of the hotels on either TripAdvisor or Booking.com you will notice that there are many complaints about bed bugs at the various hotels Contiki uses and the cleanliness is normally rather 5 or 6 out of 10 - so it should have been expected that someone would get bitten - unfortunately that was me.
I signed up for this trip having never travelled on my own before. I thought about it for a long time, researched the options, and I picked Contiki Grand Southern - best decision I've made in a hell of a long time!
The itinerary for this trip is mind blowing, we experienced such a variety of cultures, food, nightlife & landscape, I'd never have believed you could fit all of that into 26 days. From lively New York to laid back Savannah; historical DC to snowy Durango; scenic Monument Valley to grownup Disneyland Las Vegas - this trip has it all.
At no point during the 4 weeks was I bored (which is pretty impressive considering the amount of miles covered on this adventure!) There's always someone to chat to, play cards with, watch movies or listen to music with, or just generally get to know. And that's what makes the trip over and above all the other great things that happened - the ContikiFam! Within a few days we were a family (cheesy I know, but I stand by it), and we did everything together - Sightseeing, eating, drinking, sharing rooms, exploring, partying, chilling, shopping and trying new stuff.
The Contiki staff on our trip contributed hugely too. Daz (our driver) got us everywhere safe and on time, and was a good guy for a chat too. Bushy (our Tour Manager) took the trip to another level. She was always full of energy & recommendations for where to eat, drink or explore; she helped us set up extra activities on top of the Contiki Optionals, and she partied and hung out with us most of the time. Honestly the coolest person I've met in a long time.
As far as activities go, for the first time on this trip I: Drove a snowmobile, fired a machine gun, toured Miami by speedboat, flew in a helicopter over the Grand Canyon & a hot air balloon over Albuquerque, got kicked out of a Vegas nightclub for being super wasted, visited Universal Studios, drank a Hand Grenade in New Orleans, watched 2 NBA games, an NHL game & an NFL game, and experienced the best Creole food New Orleans had to offer. And more, much, much more!
The "helpful hints" for writing this review is asking if I would recommend this trip - HELL YES! If you're on the fence or undecided, take the chance. You'll have #NoRegrets, trust me.
Trying to choose a Croatia sail in the middle of summer is difficult with a large amount of providers on offer. My friends and I chose the island hopper south simply because it was the itinerary we wanted with a sailing date that suited our schedule.
The boat was pretty cool and the crew were all extremely friendly and helpful. The meals on board were always delicious too!
My friend and I shared a room above deck and by room I mean literally, it was just enough space for bunk beds. We had our own bathroom but this was simply a shower nozzle over the toilet - again a tight squeeze but when you're spending literally all of your time in the sun, in the ocean or exploring the islands you're really not spending much time in your 'room.' I only mention this as I feel other companies perhaps offer a little more in the way of this for a similar/better price.
The island choices on this itinerary were great though with Hvar and Korcula being top picks. Spending extra time in Dubrovnik is a good idea too since this is a wonderful city and the kayaking optional is challenging, but a lot of fun.
I've done a few Contiki tours and have never had much to complain about on any of them but the main problem I had with this tour is the amount of tipping required at the end. Having this included in the price to begin with would simply be so much easier. Our tour leader really didn't do much compared to that required of a tour leader on a regular tour and I felt having to tip her the same was a bit pointless. The final dinner she took us to was also ridiculously expensive with the only other patrons being another Contiki sail - a clear indication that this restaurant was a sad choice and disappointing way to end the week.
Overall, my friends and I had a great time despite the weather unfortunately being less than ideal for June with many days being overcast. The tour is still an easy way to sail the coast of Croatia and the itinerary was the real highlight of this trip for me.
It's safe to say that as my first Contiki tour this definitely didn't fit into the stereotypical mould often associated with the company. While there was certainly partying, the variety of ages and personalities meant choosing when you wanted to participate and most nights were more of a chilling out with a beer variety rather than clubbing.
I really enjoyed this itinerary and felt like in 12 days we covered a great variety of the country's landscape from the impossible to cross streets of Ho Chi Minh to the breathtaking overnight cruise in Halong Bay (really wish this was two nights!)
I was pleasantly surprised by Nha Trang and its beautiful beaches and the Sailing Club dinner here was fantastic. The optional day trip out on a boat was enjoyed by everyone and the mud baths nearby were great fun also!
Hanoi is also a cool city, as is Hue (especially the drive here which had wonderful greenery to be seen on the way in). Taking a trip down and spending the night in a home stay on the Mekong Delta was a definite highlight too.
The local guides provided great insight into the many hardships faced by the Vietnamese only decades ago. The cu chi tunnels provide a real face to the war especially.
Internal flights all ran to time, bus was always clean and the accommodation and food were good too. Phoebe, our tour leader, was helpful and organised and overall this tour provided an easy and enjoyable way to discover the highlights of Vietnam!
I chose this tour for its itinerary and concentration on Norway, which was definitely the highlight for me. The natural beauty of the country is phenomenal and having a hostel right on the edge of a fjord was amazing! Copenhagen was a fantastic stop and the overnight cruise from Stockholm to Helsinki is good fun too.
The guides in Russia are real characters and super informative. Having them to navigate the bustling cities of St. Petersburg and Moscow was great and the metro tour is extremely cool.
I've never done a Contiki this long in duration before and the amount of people who jump on and off at different points means that the number of passengers hovers around 50 at any time. As I took this tour with a friend that didn't bother me really, but I feel because of this the tour size makes it harder to get to know everyone compared to others I've experienced in the past.
I had no complaints about the accommodation and the food was decent too (although expect the choices in Russia to be unsurprisingly limited, especially due to language barriers).
Our tour leader Mike had to be the most organised and helpful tour guides I've had on any Contiki thus far, he even had hand out suggestions for each city!
This tour was a great way to cover a lot of ground in a short time at an understandably fast pace. I would definitely return to some areas on my own (especially Stockholm, since a day in not nearly enough) in future.
The scenery and many cultural experiences you'll get to see on this tour will certainly not disappoint!
This was a great introduction to the islands of Greece from the beauty in Santorini to the partying and beaches of Mykonos and Ios.
I went during May on one of the first tours of the season and while it wasn't super hot yet the weather was pleasant the entire time. This month of the year meant a quieter time for Mykonos' Paradise Beach and on Ios we didn't have to battle any crowds either.
I was lucky enough to have a fantastic bunch of people and there was only about 25 of us with everyone getting along so well from day one we really didn't mind the lack of other tourists at all!
The Scandinavian Club opened for the summer while we were in Mykonos and was already crowded on its first night so I can't imagine how busy it must be during Jun-Jul! Another bonus of going in shoulder season though was getting hotel upgrades - my room mate and I even got sea views and a patio. All the accommodation on this tour was in fact, really good.
Ed was a great tour leader who is both informative and entertaining. Starting with the country's historic past in Athens, this tour is a wonderful way to enjoy the laid back lifestyle, food and culture of the Greeks.
This was my first Contiki and it absolutely changed my life. My tour mates were some of the coolest people around. I didn't know if I just got lucky, but every tour since I've had great travel friends. Our tour guide was nice, but complained a little bit about the behind scenes at Contiki at one point - a little put off by that, but all in all she was cool. Sooooo much awesomeness at every turn. Highly highly recco. Note: This tour has a super fast past, but well worth it. Always do the add-ons. Note: You do have quite a bit of bus time on this one... I highly recco starting in Madrid and finishing in Rome.
This was the first tour I've been on with less than 10 people. Normally my tours have 40 people... so when I got my BFF to join me on a Contiki it was quite a sad scene to show up and only 6 people were there. I didn't realize how little time we'd have in Santorini and Mykonos. The time we did have was amazing... but I wish I had picked a different tour. Basically, I wish I had picked a tour that actually spent less time on a cruise boat and more time docked in Greece. My bad for not reading the itinerary closer I supposed, but I expected more than 3 hours in Santorini. :( It didn't help that our tour guide was a jerk too - my BFF and I didn't want to do dinner with our 4 travel companions after awhile and he gave us major attitude about it. Our "cruise ship" was full of old people and the food on the boat was pretty terrible. Cruise staff was great, but overall I wasn't a huge fan of the experience. Nonetheless, what we did see was cool.
For real. Do this tour. My tour guide won tour guide of the year, so I am sure I had an exceptional experience due to that... but holy hell, one of my most favorite experiences to date. My only regret is that I didn't do the full NZ tour (you will join up with this tour with another group that has already been traveling in the north). So while our group definitely bonded as a whole, there were definitely two groups b/c all those just doing the south had formed a little bond before we got picked up by the northerners. Nonetheless, this trip is phenom. LOVED Queenstown and that we got to spend 4 full days there. Do every adventure thing you can in every city you can. You won't get those opps every day!
I looooooved Ireland! The pace is FAST, but well worth it. You see SO much. I'd say my only disappointment was that we didn't get more time in Galway, but all in all really great trip. I think the live music in every location is so magical. Love irish tunes so much more after this experience. Note: This is part of a larger tour, so you hop on with another tour at the last leg. I never seem to know that when I am booking. Tip: Take advantage of renting bikes on the Aran Islands. One of my favorite days of the trip for sure.
This was a wonderful trip, but I wish I had known it was part of several other trips. My tour group continued on to Morocco and I wish I could have joined! Prague will take your breath away for suuuuure. Berlin was a city wasn't on my bucket list, but I fell in love with it after two days. Definitely do the bike dinner crawl add-on. One of my favorite parts of the trip. All around it was AMAZING! Tip: Skip the bunker tour in Prague - absolute waste of time.
This was my third Contiki and probably my least favorite trip. But that's not Contiki's fault. I joined a tour group that had already bonded and weren't really receptive to us newbies. Also a bunch of people had money stolen on the first day. Which certainly put a damper on the trip. Additionally I don't think six days is enough to see a country. If I could do it again I would save a little more money and do the Mexico Grande.
The main portion of this trip is spent in Cancun, which is a highly Americanized tourist area. It didn't feel like I was in Mexico. It was like being in Las Vegas or Atlantic City. I didn't like that. But the beaches are fantastic. The Contiki hotel is right on the beach and has a pool which is fabulous. I also loved Mexico City, Merida and Playa Del Carmen. They felt less touristy.
I really enjoyed all of the cultural excursions like visiting the pyramids of Teotihuacan, Chicen Itza and Tulum. I also enjoyed the boat tour of the floating markets in Mexico city, the horse carriage ride in Merida and the Mayan Jungle Excursion in Cancun.
The hotels were all very nice. Each had queen size beds, showers, wifi and free breakfasts. My favorite hotel was the Holiday Inn Arenas in Cancun. The pool and beach were fantastic!
The night life in Cancun was insane. If you like to party this is the place to be. You can drink from sunrise to sunrise if you want to. Contiki does it's best to encourage this with free tequila shots almost everywhere. However you must remember to budget for these outings. In Cancun most bars don't have just a entry fee and cash bar. You have to pay a one time fee for open bar. We went to Mandala ($65USD), CocoBongo ($80USD) and a New Year's Beach Party ($54USD). These places were wild and must sees.
The Contiki included meals were for the most part sub-par. They mostly include buffets. The meal in Merida was the best by far. We were able to sample a ton of local dishes like Lime Soup, Mole and more.
Our tour manager Abe was great. He did his best to handle the crappy stolen money situation early on, as well as helping people who got sick. He also worked his magic and got us some great discounts on club entry. Plus he was knowledgable and friendly.
If you want a really in depth cultural experience I would not recommend this tour. If you want a high energy glimpse at Mexico mixed with a ton of partying and sun bathing then The Yucatan Highlights tour is for you.
If you want a really in depth cultural experience I would not recommend this tour. If you want a high energy glimpse at Mexico mixed with a ton of partying and sun bathing then The Yucatan Highlights tour is for you.
So at first trying to decided on what tour to do, But 33 days wasn't long enough, i could of stayed there for another 33 more days, but im so happy to choose this one as you got to see a lot and do a lot, wouldn't change it in a heart beat!!!
Lifelong travel buddies that i can go and see after the tour and you make so many memories with them. You spend all day and night with these people and it doesn't take long to become a family!!!!! the worst part about becoming family is that you will defiantly cry when you leave them!!!!! There's so much that happens so try and write it down in a book when your on the bus and take as many photos of where you are and who you are with! of course your Contiki family!!! seeing the photos now i wish i was with them!!!
Accommodation: Well its great, your things are safe and your only there for a few hours as you out in the town during the day and nightclubs at night :D, comfy beds!!!
ME Times and MY Times - They are great and I recommend doing all the Me Times!!! They are worth the money and worth the time :).
- Frogs Legs and Snails in Paris, (Amazing)
- Try to go out every night in a different Country
- When you go to Capri Get a private boat around the island and also experience Blue Grotto, Amazing!
- In Amsterdam Well we all know whats there, Try it, you don't know when you will be back :D (if you know what i mean :) )
- Try every traditional Food and drinks in each Country,
- Also get the drink package on the boat around Greek Island's!!! Worth the money, Woooo :D
- Try do everything, Get up early and GO!
Tips: so Laundry, a lot of places didn't have Laundry places. when you did take that chance and pay for someone to do it! but what i did i took laundry powder and string, the string i tied it from one side of the room to the other as i could hang my washing up to dry during the day and be dry at night :).
- Add up the Me time options of how much its going to be, so you will have that money to give to your guided tour person :) so your not panicking that your not going to have the money,
I could keep writing for ages but this a little bit to write! As i said i wouldn't change anything, Loved every Moment of it, I wish i could do it again!
Had amazing time with Steve and Nuno, they were our guided tour and bus driver, So glad i had the experience with them, They made the tour Fantastic, thank you :)
I went on this trip with my sisters hoping to have an authentic Italian experience. I suppose we got what we paid for...We were very disappointed with our experience. The hotel in Florence was horrible. Our showers flooded and bathroom NEVER had toilet paper. My sheets were covered in black hair! (My hair is blonde) I was afraid to go to the bathroom anywhere during the whole trip. Bathrooms were missing toilet seats and rarely had toilet paper! WHY??? We were constantly on edge for the fear of being robbed or harassed by street vendors. I was hit by a beggar because I wouldn't give her money as was another of our group members. It was hard to enjoy the beauty of the country when I was so worried about my safety and having my belongings stolen. We were even told to keep our valuables secured in our luggage at the hotels while we were sleeping. Also, everything smells like cigarettes!!! I know smoking is more common in Europe than the states, but the stink of smoke was overwhelming and nauseating.
Our tour guide was very nice and the coach was clean and pleasant. The optional dinners were nice and probably the most authentic food we had. The sights and museums were amazing. I really enjoyed the history and was hoping to have learned more about the country and its culture. I have heard so many great things about Italy, but it turned out to be a lot of hype. Overall, we enjoyed the sights, but that was about it. I do not plan on returning to Italy in the future and I will be hard-pressed to recommend it to anyone.
Buyer beware, you get what you pay for.
This tour was amazing - but I can't do it justice in such limited words. Follow along with every minute of the tour as I write up my travel journal and get a behind-the-scenes look at all of the amazing things that await you if you choose this trip: http://www.philsach.com/#!europe-2015/c1gla
A really great trip for a first visit to Europe and to see everywhere. Generally one day exploring the city, and one day travelling on the bus, but then bus trips were pretty good. Stop regularly, and see lots out the window! Was also good to have some downtime after walking a lot in the cities! Plenty of time to have for yourself, or to hang with others, its your choice! Most optional activities are pretty good, just weigh up what you want to do! Was very happy with accommodation, just make sure your charger is one of those thinner European ones! Kim was an awesome tour guide, so if you are lucky enough to get her she'll give you the best recommendations. Definitely the best money I have ever spent, and the best thing I have ever done. Will remember this trip forever.
This trip was an amazing time, got to experience a little bit of everything that Australia has to offer. The traveling days weren't that long and were broken up very well. Experienced everything from the aboriginals, rainforests, an outback cattle ranch, surfing, off roading on a beach, beautiful beaches, great night clubs, city life, you name it! It helps if you have a good group or not for these trips as well, the people you are with will make or break the trip. Would definitely recommend if anyone is on the fence about it!