Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
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
It's been a year and I still can't shut up about this trip!
You'll meet great people in amazing places.
For those who want an ADVENTURE, this is it!
I arrived two days early; I stayed at the Royal National Hotel where your tour will start and finish. Personally, what you pay is what you get there, the staff wasn’t really friendly and the restaurant wasn’t that great. Oh and the WIFI was hopeless, I didn’t use the phone sim that Contiki sends you in your pack I ended up buying a EE sim for 25 pound and lasted me the whole trip, although it didn’t work in Ireland so I bought another cheap one at Vodafone for a couple pound till I was back in London and used the EE again. I ended up eating dinner at the pub next to the Royal National and lunches I found cafes along my adventure. I met my roommate there, she was doing another Contiki. I went for a wonder to Covent Garden the next day to keep me going after jetlag and it’s the cutest suburb! If you get a chance before or after your tour go to Gordon’s Wine bar – we got there just as it was closing but the wine is good and it’s a cute little set up.
London- Get to London at LEAST one or two days before the tour begins. There is so much to see, all the touristy attractions, museums, pubs, coffee shops, shopping etc. When I go back I will spend at least 2 days before and after the trip to see more of London and the surrounding areas. The day before your tour starts everyone met up at the Contiki basement which is right around the corner from the Royal National, after we met our tour Manager (Rhett) and Driver (Joey) everyone ended up at the London Pub and mingled and broke the ice before our early start to the next morning.
First day of the trip is a driving tour of London so you won’t get to do anything but take pretty picture of London. To start off the trip we had to do a “Speed dating” on the on the bus to get to know everyone. Who ever sat in the aisle seat had 3 mins then move to the next seat, was a great way to meet everyone on the bus that didn’t come to the pub the night before.
Liverpool- What an awesome city! The lady that talks about the city is amazing and easy to understand. The waterfront is beautiful and yes there is Beatles stuff everywhere. A group of us went for a wonder to the shops to buy some alcohol and just have a wonder to the Cathedral (So many on this tour) it also bucketed down raining and none of us had an umbrella so we had fun running back to the hotel.
Carlisle- Is this tiny city, that basically consists of the one main street. Everyone ended up drinking at the Cocktail bar and myself and a few from the tour had a game of Beer Pong with the locals. England 1 Australia 2 !! across the street and if you felt like it, you walked up the road and find more pubs or dancing. We also had our mock HEN’S & BUCK’S night here. So much fun.
Gretna Green- Get ready for one of your to get married !! and a group photo for the memory of this incredibly awkward event. When you get back home tho you may end up with another groups photo, if you email Gretna Green tho they are really good and will send you another copy.
Oban- The hotel is right on the water, beautiful scenery. We again went tour walk about dinner and ended up at Ceildah House and Skipinnish were playing. AWESOME band with bagpipe players and they played old school and some of their own songs. Amazing night of dancing and lots of laughter. Oh and the fish bowls. Make sure you have panadol for the next day haha
York- Was lovely but we didn’t get to do the Ghost Tour but we got our monies given back to us.
Lake District- Do the high ropes activity! It was windy as the day we did it and I was scared beyond belief so I skipped half of it but did the zip line after. So much fun!. The Windermere cruise was alright, I would have skipped it if we could have.
Hadrian’s Wall- A must see! Beautiful scenery and a fantastic place to show the beauty of Scotland.
Edinburgh- More travellers will join you here and may or may not finish in London with use. This was the highlight of my trip. Edinburgh is beautiful!! We spent 2 nights there. Luckily we went during the festival time. The Fringe festival is EXTREMLY crowded (not my scene), Contiki also had pre booked tickets for the MILITARY TATTOO, OMG if you get the chance do it, was amazing to see it live. Weather held off good and rained after when we were leaving so I recommend taking a poncho or umbrella. The next day I spent it at the Castle, shopping, and again just pub hopping haha Sainsbury’s is across the road so I topped up on supplies as we were off to the Lochness the next day.
Try the Haggis or share with someone like I did and DO the Traditional Scottish dinner. Good food and our Tour Manager organised a bagpipe player to come and perform for us after. It was amazing!
Scottish Highlands/Lochness- This is the only place that the whole group is has to stay in the hotel and it was a really cute place! I think it was my favourite hotel on the trip. There is nothing around to do so most of us spent it in the bar after dinner and had a few drinks. Also do the Lochness challenge!! So much fun and bloody cold! Take a bottle of whiskey to warm you up beforehand.
Glasgow- This is where the travellers who only did up to Scotland leave (Sad Face) LOTS of goodbye drinks and Ping pong at the bar which turned out to be a bit of a pub crawl. (stay away from Sleazy's nigh club) title says it all.
Dublin- You will spend your first night here then your last before the long drive back to London on your last day (again sad face). Also the hotel you stay at the Elevator is really dodgy so take the stairs! Dublin you’ll pick up the rest of the gang who are only doing Ireland. Be nice to them! They wont be the same gang that started with you but they are still family on this trip.Dublin there's basically one street for drinking and night life, the locals told us though to head a little outside of where the main drinking areas are as its cheaper to drink. We weren’t happy to pay 9 euro for a drink, so go hopping around and listen to all the live music and dance.
Do the Guinness Storehouse (if your into getting a free Guinness at the end, and see how it is supposed to taste. I became a fan of the Ruby colored beer. you'll also get a Group photo and a certificate to say you are competent in pouring a pint of Guinness.
Jamesons Distillery - Amazing! try the cocktails.
Belfast – was interesting I’d love to go back and see more, I didn’t go to the Titanic tour so a few of us got dropped into town and we went to the markets instead. Was great!
Giants Causeway- A must see!. Great scenery and a place to take photos of the beauty of Ireland.
(London)Derry- This place will blow your mind. I don’t want to spoil the history here, make sure you do the walking tour.I've forgotten his name but the walking tour guy is lovely. Pack a poncho also as it was bucketing when we did our walking tour.
Galway/Aron Islands- Again AMAZING views. Rent the bike! Other options are using the bus (you won’t see much that way) and a horse and carriage or simply walk (it will be a very looong walk).
Cork- Cliffs of Moher is beautiful and it was a clear day and time to kiss the Blarney stone too (Yes it’s safe to kiss)
Kilkenny- Another highlight to the trip, DO the bike tour and say G’day to Jason! He is great
The last night before the tour finishes there will be your last 3 course meal with everyone at a Traditional Irish dinner and Irish Dancing, DO it! I'm a big fan of traditional stuff so I highly enjoyed it.
The hotels you stay at are pretty good. Get used to the Bacon, Eggs, baked beans and haggis every morning. there's also toast, muesli fruit etc but it's the same every morning.
All in total the GB + Ireland is amazing! Everything I imagined it to be!
Where do I begin?? I decided that I wanted to go overseas after coming out of a relationship because I decided to see the world how I wanted to see it. I went into my trusty flight centre for an enquiry and came out with my trip fully organised HAHA!
I was incredibly sick on the way to my trip with tonsilitis and then sick again with whooping cough at the end, BUT Besides being sick I had the most amazing time :D
If you want to see all of these fabulous places but not be away from work or home too long then I definately recommend this tour!
Gonna keep it short.. Some of the most Beautiful cities in the world.. Great informative tour with loads of fun stuff and laughter.. New friends for life.. Another bucket list ticked off ;) Prague & Budapest just Amazing !!!
Went for Machu Picchu and fell in love with this country along the way. Amazing guide (Jonathan) that was the perfect mix of culture and fun. Would definitely recommend staying the extra few days for the Amazon part. We didn't and were super bummed. Even if you don't do the inca trail (we didn't the permits were sold out by the time we booked ) this trip is still worth it. Go!
Happy Fourth of July!!! if there was ever a time to see philly and Washington its Independence Day weekend.
Last July (2014) I was lucky enough to be state side for independence day and in philly aswell which made it that much better. This trip really has something for everybody! the perfect mix of history, laidback lifestyle and ofcourse partying!!!
Highlights include cruising down Niagara Falls imaging yourself as Jim Carey on the Maid of the Mist aswell as letting your karaoke juices flow that night, in the theme park city that is Niagara.
If you are planning to do this trip underage, you are actually in luck as over the border in Canada the drinking age is actually 19 so this gives you the chance to party with your group.
Washington is absolutely amazing, downtown old dc is beautiful. Toronto is also beuatiful, be sure to use your free 2nd day wisely as the night before this is when you head out on your pub crawl!
The trip was great, met amazing, friendly people!! Italy was fabulous but I would recommend getting there's few days before if you want to explore the city on your own. First day is a waste because you're getting settled and the hotels throughout the trip is outside the city so it's difficult exploring on your own. And the second day you're doing touristy things so you don't experience the vibe of the city. The ME optional meals are HORRIBLE! We figured that the guide was getting some sort of kick back from the restaurants because of some of the comments that were made throughout the trip, not to mention that guide discouraged members from going to dinner meals on their own. Also, the bus ride to Barcelona from Avignon was 7 1/2 hours and 10 hours from Barcelona to Madrid.
Positives: lots of cool places, great group, lots of free time to explore Florence, nice, Barcelona and Madrid.
Cons: hotel wasn't in the city so difficult to get around, discouraged to go outside of group for dinner, long bus rides (lose 2 days)
This was by far my favorite trip out of all the destinations i have been, the people you meet are spectacular, the sights you see are breathtaking, and all the activities there is constantly something new and challenging to do. I met so many people that I have later visited and are good friends for sure. The planning of it was superb as well, very hassle free and you get a taste of everything that the country has to offer, from waterfall rappelling, to snorkeling and kayaking up close and personal with animals that cannot be seen many other places in the world. Overall it was a tremendous experience and I would recommend it for anyone going to south america.
It was my first solo and first Contiki trip, and I was a bit scared of what to expect. Let me just say that It has been one of the best trips I've ever had!! Friendly tour manager Gustavo was great. Always felt safe and best of all felt like a local and not like a tourist. Loved the resort we stayed in Tortuguero in the middle of the rainforest. My favorite optional activity was the turtle laying eggs, which I recommend to do. I would recommend this trip to everyone!
Overall I had an amazing trip! Even though I was travelling alone, I never felt like I was because I met some fantastic people. We had an awesome driver and an exceptional tour manager, who together made every day memorable. I took part in all of the optionals, and felt that it was always money well spent. The only downside to this trip was that when I booked I was not informed that I was part of a larger tour. Because many of the people were continuing on after I left, it felt unfinished. There was no final dinner or real a opportunity to say goodbye to everyone. This should have been explained somehow prior to booking, as it may have impacted my decision to take this particular tour.
I went on this trip with a friend and by day 16, I had another 50 friends for life. We shared such an amazing journey together, one which I didn't want to end and mostly important one I will never forget!
I loved every city, especially Paris and Rome. Amsterdam was crazy and if you get time definitely check out the Anne Frank Museum (The lines are worth it). The one city I liked least was the Rhine Valley. But hey I got to see some stuff there that I probably wouldn't get to see or experience anywhere else so I can't complain too much! The hotels we stayed in were all quite nice and pretty much all had WiFi (bar one), to allow us to contact family and friends from home.
Can I just pre warn you now, the food in Europe is AMAZING! Particularly in Italy !! The amount of pasta and pizza I consumed whilst being there, oh my god! Its a wonder I didn't come back 20 kilos heavier!!! The alcohol is free poured so you WILL get drunk, but trust me when I say that speaking from our personal experience, if you have a 7 hour bus ride the next day, do not and I repeat DO NOT drink too excessively the night before. Because when your stuck on a bus with 52 people, no windows and you can't vomit in the toilet, those service station toilet bowls are your only friend! Our group learnt the hard way after our 2nd night in Amsterdam!
Being slightly un-organised I didn't know there were optional activities that you had to pay for to attend or participate. None were mandatory, and I participated in pretty much all of them, but I just wish I had paid attention and saved away some more money just for those activities. I particularly enjoyed the white water rafting the most. Also when your in Paris, make sure you go see the Eiffel Tower at night. There are not enough words that I could use to describe how magnificent and beautiful that sight is! One I will never forget that's for sure!
If you're as lucky as us to get such an amazing crew like ours, you're seriously set for a such a good trip! Our extremely handsome and one hell of a parker, bus driver Gustavo and the ever so bubbly and kind Emma made our trip that much better!
If you've got bored after the first paragraph and have skipped right to the end JUST REMEMBER THESE 3 THINGS
1. Take lots and lots of photos and videos
2. Let loose (but not too loose) and be sure to try things you wouldn't do at home
3. and most importantly HAVE FUN
The European Whirl was one of the most amazing and life changing experiences of my life. In just 18 days, I made life long friends and so many unforgettable memories that will stay with me forever.
The tour started in London and took us to Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Munich, Austrian Tyrol, Venice, Rome, Vatican City, Florence, Switzerland (including Swiss Alps) and Paris. It was the perfect mix of activities which ranged from cultural and historical activities such as clog making in the Netherlands and bunker tours in Prague to adrenaline pumping activities like white water rafting and paragliding over Austria where the Sound of Music was set. We were able to explore cities by day and enjoy the night life whilst getting to know the rest of the group. All the places we visited were amazing but it was the people we were with that really made the experience.
Our tour manager Ed was very knowledgable and one of the best guides ever. When we arrived at each city, he gave us such a comprehensive and interesting introduction that left us all so comfortable to explore the city on our own. Quite a few of us enjoyed his walking tours more than the ones provided by the local guides! He was very organised and professional but also approachable and fun, and became more like a friend as the trip progressed.
Our tour driver Bento was amazing! He navigated through the cities with such ease and seemed to know each place like the back of his hand. Even driving the coach through the tight streets of Amsterdam and the busy and crazy traffic in Paris was never an issue for Bento. He was so friendly and approachable and always gave us the best tips for each city. Throughout the trip, he not only amazed us with his awesome driving skills and excellent taste in music, but also became a great friend.
Ed and Bento were a dream team. Even though we had 46 people on our tour, they still managed to take the time to get to know each and every one of us. They had a great dynamic, worked so well together and made sure that the tour ran flawlessly.
In my previous travel, I had never really stayed in hostels so I was a little unsure at first, but after experiencing this trip, I wouldn't have done it any other way. The hostels we stayed at had such great facilities and were a great way to get to know others on your trip, especially for solo travellers.
If you are thinking about travelling to Europe, I would highly recommend this tour - it is action packed and high energy and gives you a great introduction to Europe. Make sure you do all the Me Time Optionals - definitely worth every cent! 18 days flies by so quickly so make sure you make the most of it! #noregrets
This is the best way to see some places of Europe!! This trip takes you to some amazing places and on many different activities. Make sure you do all the Optionals, they are well and truly worth the money. Our trip Manager (Aaron) was also the best person, he gave us so much extra information & showed us some great places to go.
You meet so many amazingly different people from all over the world & will have lifelong friends and memories!!!
Euro Highlights 2015 #noregrets