Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
If you are thinking of doing this trip, I highly recommend it. From visiting the various temples, riding elephants, watching the sunrise over Angkor Wat and relaxing on a boat on the Mekong River and Halong Bay, there is something to experience for everyone. This tour is a good mixture of culture, adventure and partying.
Nikki was an awesome tour manager and she always made sure everyone was having fun. Her ideas for the theme parties were fantastic and the gender bender party helped everyone to bond when we first met in Thailand.
The accommodation and food was great and I highly recommend doing all the optionals especially the elephant ride and the cruise around the islands off Nha Trang.
I went on this trip by myself but I've made friends for life so don't be afraid to start do this tour by yourself. If you like shopping, the night markets are fantastic especially in Thailand. At home, I'm not a shopper but I loved the night markets and found some fantastic skirts, elephant pants and tops and they were all cheap.
My tips for this trip:
Definitely wear sunscreen and always remember to reapply. It's not fun getting burnt.
Insect Repellent was great. I didn't take Malaria tablets (it's a personal decision if you do or don't) but I think I only got bitten by one or two mosquitoes because I was constantly re-applying the insect repellent.
Be prepared to finish the trip a lot fitter than you started. There are a lot of steps to climb and squat toilets to use (don't be scared to use them)
Try all the local foods including the street food. You will be amazed at how great it is. Fast food restaurants aren't common (non-existent in Laos) and Burger King was my least favourite meal for the whole trip.
Don't forget to bring temple wear (long pants and shirts with sleeves) although elephant/happy/fisherman pants are cheap to buy when you are there. You do need them though for the first day of the tour when you visit the Grand Palace in Bangkok
WiFi is everywhere making it easy to facetime/Skype family and friends back home.
Get out of your comfort zone and remember to experience everything including eating bugs from the street vendors.
I have no regrets from this trip and I'm sure you won't either if you choose to do it.
Loved the trip and my awesome tour manager Nihar! We shared so many adventures and even though we got a bit sick from air conditioning (because it was awesomely hot), we still had an amazing time! My only regret is that I didn't do the additional Greek Island tour! So envious of those who went on to do that while I was flying home! Greece was definitely my highlight!
I did the European Escapade from the 25th June-19th July 2015. This was my first ever contiki tour and it was absolutely amazing!
It was an awesome trip! there was about 53 people on our tour and 50 of them were Australian, we had one Korean, one American and one Canadian.
I had Stacey as our tour manager and Rado as our bus driver.
Stacey was an amazing tour guide, friendly, bubbly, knowledgeable and a good laugh. Rado was an excellent bus driver and got us to most places on time!
I travelled with my best friend and we stayed 2 nights in London before our tour started, we stayed at The Royal National Hotel, the hotel is nothing special but it's where everyone meets up and it was cheap. If you want to see a lot of london, i recommend going a week before because there is just so much to see!
Take lots of money for Europe, because it is very expensive!!! Mainly for souvenirs, food and drink.
Also you need Franks for Switzerland.
Definitely bring cold and flu tablets because you will get the contiki cough! its not very nice but it didn't ruin my european experience.
A lot of time is spent on the coach, but you get plenty of service stops and most people just catch up on sleep.
Make sure to write a journal, because it is very hard to remember what do you did at each place.
Places we went to:
Paris: Paris was amazing! Esargot and Champagne, Bus tour through Paris, climbed the Eiffel Tower, saw the flashing lights, amazing views from the top. Paris didn't feel very safe but we all stayed as a group and looked out for each other. We didn't get to go in the Louvre as the line was too long which was disappointing, climbed the Arc de Triomphe, went inside the Notre Dame Cathedral. Parisian dinner was nice but loads of steps to get to it, i don't recommend wearing heels! The Cabaret show was different, we saw the Nouvelle show, clubbing in Paris is so much fun.
Beaujolais Wine Region: Here we stayed at Contiki's French Chateau which was really nice. Amazing views of the vineyards, group picnic in the hills, wine tasting, swimming pool, volleyball, 'P' party, cheap drinks. Very relaxing, beautiful Place!
Barcelona: The hotel in Barcelona was good, it had aircon and was close to everything. We drank Sangria at a pub called Black Sheep and did loads of shopping! On our free day me and my friend lost the group and got so LOST!! Don't ask anyone for directions because they send you the wrong way. It was a good way to see Barcelona. Nightlife was good, we went to a beach bar and hit a club afterwards, they do amazing cocktails there!
French Riviera/Nice: One of my favourite places on this tour! Gorgeous beaches, no sand, all pebbles! beware of that when its very hot. We went up to the lookout and there were incredible views!! The contiki campsite we stayed at wasn't that good, the cabins were very hot! We visited the Monte Carlo Casino which was gorgeous, but only had 45 mins in there which was a bit disappointing. There was a theme park nearby which we went to and the beach was only about a 15 min walk away.
Florence: On the way we stopped off at the Leaning tower of Pisa where we got photos. We went on a walking tour and saw the Fake David Statue and went inside the museum. Ate gelato, saw lots of gypsies (be warned, they try to kiss your hand so you give them money). Karaoke night was fun, drank lots of cocktails. The Space Electronic disco was cool but you get drinks cards, they only let you get a few drinks and then have to keep paying them off which was a bit annoying.
Rome: Walked through the Vatican City, The Sistine Chapel was incredible but very crowded with people. Saw the Colosseum, tour guide wasn't very good, could barley hear her but still very good to see. We tossed coins in the Trevi fountain but was still under construction which was disappointing. The whole group got lost on the train ride back, but was an adventure. Camp site was nice, there was a pool and a games room but be prepared for mosquitos! We had a i love Roma party here, where we all signed each others shirts which was good.
Venice: Venice was so nice, the best parts being the gondola rides and the guided tour, we got the best tour guide so funny! Saw St Mark's Square. At the campsite we had a masquerade party but most people couldn't make it as they were sick with gastro!
Vienna: Here we went to a leather demonstration where most of the girls bought puzzle rings (be warned if they come undone, they are very hard to put back!) Ate gelato, there isn't that much to do in Vienna for the free day so some people went back to camp. Prater park was cool and had schnitzel for dinner which was nice. Mozart and Strauss was good to see, plus we got to go backstage and drink free champagne, bonus!
Munich: Stopped off at the Mauthausen Concentration Camp which was sad to see. Mike's Bikes tour, we got absolutely drenched but was so fun! Funny tour guides, went through some english gardens and went to the second biggest beer hall in the world, where you could drink beer and buy a stein which were very cheap!!
Austrian Tyrol: This place was soo nice, amazing scenery. Mountain bike riding was really fun and tiring. We got to keep our bikes for the whole day which was awesome! Paragliding was the best! i was so scared but i think nearly everyone did it. Bobsledding really hurts, i didn't like it at all, it was my least favourite thing. White water rafting was really fun too, definitely do that.
Swiss Alps: Jungfraujoch mountain was incredible, it was a 2 hour train drive to the top but was so cool. It was so hot at the top, i definitely recommend wearing sunscreen because there was a few of us that got very burnt! At the top there is heaps to do, but its very expensive. Drinks from the bar at our hostel were so expensive, most people went to the local shop and bought drinks from there.
Rhine Valley: We stopped over in Heidelberg, which was a nice little town to buy souvenirs or get your passport stamped. Saw the biggest cuckoo clock in the world, watched how beer steins are crafted. Later on we did wine tasting, which was good if you like white wine.
Amsterdam: The bike ride in Edam was fun, we saw how clogs are made and did cheese tasting. There is heaps of bikes everywhere here! Saw the Red light district which wasn't as good as what people make it out to be. We went to a sex show but i didn't enjoy it, it was too intense plus i was sat in the front row! The canal pedal boats were fun and got to go in the Van Gough Museum, which took up a lot of time. Unfortunately we didn't make it to Anne Frank's house or the Bolls museum. We took photos in front of the IAmsterdam sign which is a must do! The canal cruise was awesome, free drinks and a good way to end the trip. The Sea Palace dinner, I'm not too sure about as i didn't make it past entree. Tip: don't drink too much wine before dinner. Loads of cafes if you're into that sort of thing, over there it is legal to smoke weed in a cafe.
Overall this trip was a massive eye opener and i enjoyed it so much and met some amazing people, who at first are just strangers and by the end you become one big family. I would highly recommend going on this tour, you see a lot of Europe in just 25 days!!!
This was my very first Contiki trip- I'm very happy for choosing to dip my feet in the water it this as my first while being a solo traveller. I was very excited to see we had 42 people in our group! I made quite a few friends :)
Katrina was my tour manager and she was very knowledgeable in everything we did sharing fun facts and historic information. Tyson was our driver in the coach and he was very real and friendly! My favourite part of the trip was the "Me time" Moulin Rouge option. I took so many outstanding photos but how can you not with the scenery and architecture that was around us! We ran into an issue where the ferries were on strike and sadly we didn't get to Paris as quickly as we hoped but Katrina handled it and got us on a ferry the same day. I would definitely recommend this memorable trip to anyone who wants to learn about London, Paris and its fantastic monuments. Well worth the money! No regrets
I went solo on this tour and can honestly say it was the best week of my life with the coolest people. There was a fair amount of time spent on the bus between destinations but it was never monotonous. Kiran our guide was so much fun and everyone in the group got along really well. Can't wait to book my next trip.
The Kiwiana Panorama trip was awesome and worth every penny. The optional excursion prices can seem abit daunting but some are experiences of a lifetime. Skydiving over Queenstown at 15,000 ft was beautiful and such a rush, extreme cliffhanger swing in Taupo was another great feeling. I'v enever laughed so much doing Funyaks along the Dart river and the endless banter and partying you have with your new friends cannot be beaten!
Everyone should visit Egypt at least once in their lifetime! Despite what's on the news on TV, Contiki really went out of their way to make us feel safe. We had a security guard at some sites, and security with us when crossing the Sahara dessert on our way to Abu Simbel! our own entourage, how cool is that!? :) Over all, the trip was amazing, we had a very small group (13 of us), and Sherif, our amazing tour guide! He really made us feel taken care of and safe. Our accommodations were for the most part very good, but this is the reason why I can't give this trip 5 stars. The hotel in Cairo where you stay the first and last night, is just not a good place . By no means am I bashing it, because I know that this is budget traveling, but the place had bed bugs! Two of the rooms had bed bugs, and two of us woke up with our bodies covered in bites :( I talked to the tour guide manager and on the last night they moved me to a different room, but I feel that they should have booked a different hotel for us altogether. I strongly feel that Contiki should look for a different accommodation while in Cairo, so that there aren't any more incidents with bedbugs. The cruise accommodation was amazing, and the one in Hurgada with a beautiful view!! Overall, I have NO REGRETS having gone on this trip, which was my first with contiki, and I am already thinking about where to go next! :)
I didn't think within the timespan we had in each city we would have enough time to experience a lot, but with our tour manager Treasa and our bus driver Majick they had managed to let us see the sights as much as possible. I did most of the metime options and I recommend to do every single one of them because everyone does them anyway and it's a good time to interact with everyone and experience everything all at the same time. The accommodation wasn't very fancy but it seems like a small con out of the whole trip. Just keep in mind to bring a power board or some type of adapter with a lot of USB ports because there aren't very much power outlets. I met so many people on my trip that were around the same area I lived in and it was amazing how sad it was to leave everyone even though we knew each other for only 14 days. But i've managed to keep in touch with a lot of people i've met on tour even though they're from another state or country. They weren't kidding when they said you first travel with strangers and leave as a family.
What can I say, what an amazing 9 days. It helps when you have an amazing contiki team to guide and drive you all over Europe Jay and Eric were absolute legends. The group I had was absolutely amazing and a great variety, Aussies, Americans, Canadians, South Africans and even a guy from the UK. We all hit it off from day one but it also helps when your tour guide makes you all comfortable from the start. We honestly had an amazing guide and I hope everyone gets to have him as there guide as he is very knowledgable and is so easy going and laid back and is ready for a good time any time and any place. Accomodation was great, me time optionals were great and the food we got was also great. This tour has some amazing inclusions, mikes bikes tour in Munich is a must it's included in the contiki and not as an optional, it was my favourite activity the guides are brilliant and they take you to a beer garden for a stein and then let you back on the bikes to cycle around some more. Top blokes and Such a laugh. Paris was amazing we were there for there national day known as Bastille day so to be there on that day was pretty surreal. I would 100% recommend this tour to anyone, I had the time of my life! #noregrets #contikijay #legends #europeanmagic2k15
My boyfriend and I just got back from our Contiki trip to Berlin, Prague, and Vienna. We had an amazing time! Our trip manager, Nick, was super knowledgeable and fun. He always had great suggestions for places to eat or bars/clubs to check out. He suggested a rooftop bar in Prague that had amazing views of the city and was one of the highlights of our trip. Before going on the trip I didn't know what to expect from the ME Time Optionals but I definitely suggest doing all of them. Some of our favorites were the Berlin bike tour (amazing food and an awesome guide), the nuclear bunker tour in Prague, and the Strauss/Mozart concert in Vienna. Almost everyone went on each Optional and it was the perfect opportunity to bond with other people on the trip. My only regret was not being able to travel all the way to Budapest (since the full trip is Berlin to Budapest). We were sad to leave the tour and our new found friends in Vienna. I absolutely recommend this trip if you are interested in these cities and I hope you're lucky enough to get Nick as your trip manager!
Wow, just wow. What an amazing experience this trip was.
Everything we did was just extraordinary, from being blessed by monks, riding elephants, traveling through Halong Bay on a private boat, everything just made you say "I can't believe I am actually doing this!"
The Accommodation, The food, the activities and even our awesome tour manager Az was perfect, I would do it all again in a heart beat!
Wear suncream, trust me, I got second degree burns and had to go to a dodgy Cambodian hospital, wear your suncream.
Don't bother with Maleria tablets, you don't need them.
Try all the street food, just eat everything.
There are a lot of steps, be prepared.
I would honestly recommend this trip to anyone and everyone, it was spectacular.
You will make friends for life.
Thank you so much Contiki!
The Spanish Spree was by far the greatest holiday I have been on!
It was so jam packed with everything - bit of party (as in a lot), relaxing (on beaches when you aren't getting lost in a magical new city) and history (when you remember to listen or don't get lost because your distracted by something)!
I went solo & booked a triple and came back with so many new friends!
The accommodation is pretty good, all the breakfasts are satisfying and the things you see you will remember for life... unless you get to schwasted at Ibiza and forget everything.
- Add a booking NOW.
- Be prepared to cry your little eyes out on the last day when you have to leave everyone.
I AM IN LOVE WITH CROATIA AFTER DOING THIS TOUR... seriously, drop everything right now & book a Contiki Croatia cruise. Only thing preventing it from being 5 stars is that the rooms are very hot at night & sleeping is uncomfortable... hopefully Contiki looks into working on this. I really can't put into words how great this tour is. You'll see some amazing places that you didn't even know existed... you'll connect with amazing people... you'll get a tan... just go!!! Go to Croatia!!!
This is a really fun way to see some of Europe's must-visit cities. I had a great Tour Manager and Driver and that just made it better! The tour is a solid four stars - just be aware that the Amsterdam, Paris, and Barcelona hotels are about a 30-40 minute commute to the city centers, and the Lucerne hotel is in a good location but the rooms are very small and there is no elevator so you'll be carrying your luggage up and down stairs. Also, the drive days are long and there aren't a lot of exciting stops on the way from city to city. These can be deal-breakers for some people but it didn't really affect me - after all, who goes to Europe to hang out in a hotel??? And the long bus rides are good times to nap and connect with your fellow travelers. Definitely do all of the "me time optionals" that interest you & interact as much as you can with your fellow travelers - some people in my group came with friends from home & stuck to themselves for much of the beginning of the trip, and it wasn't until we only had a few nights left together that they opened up. So, definitely be open to making new friends! Overall I would definitely recommend this tour!
When I took this tour I had never travelled alone before and had never been to Europe. While on this tour I saw some of the worlds most amazing sights spanning from the Eiffel Tower in Paris all the way to the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. This really was a trip of a lifetime and I will never forget the people and places I met on this adventure. The night life is amazing. I think I went out almost every night and partied my @## off. Get ready to drink because you will never slow down. If you are debating on if the trip is worth your time or money, just book it already. Thats what I did and this trip has been the best decision I have ever made.
One of the best times I've had in my life.
This trip was very first experience in Europe and I was so sad when the tour ended...
I made so many friends, saw many places and experienced things I'd never forget.
I'm saving up for the next trip back !
Before starting my tour I was worried about the fast-paced nature of a Contiki tour, this all changed after about the third day. Yes, the tours are extremely busy, and fast-paced, and exhausting, but I can honestly say I got to see mostly everything I wanted to in each stop. My Tour Manager Ellie was incredible, and made sure we got the most out of each city. Everything is arranged for you, so you can basically shut off and just enjoy the experience. Even when minor issues came up they were dealt with quickly and didn't interrupt the trip much. As a first time solo traveller, I was a bit nervous about the trip, but Contiki was the way to go for sure. I met so many amazing people, and got to enjoy hassle-free travel.
This tour in particular was great because we visited so many historical sites, and I learned a ton about the history of the countries visited. The amount of time spent in Italy was great, amazing beaches, historical cities, and delicious food. Overall I would recommend the Quest to London to anyone. The only thing to note is that this tour is part of the larger European Quest (which I didn't realize when I booked it); if I could do it over again I would do the whole tour as it was a bit of an adjustment joining on a tour that had already been together for a week.
I only did the Tuscan Dinner in Florence as far as optional dinners go and it was amazing! I heard that the other dinner optionals weren't very impressive, but if you are able to, I would do all the optionals. The majority of the group does go and the group activities are a lot of fun, more fun than being on your own for the evening. My favourite optional of the whole trip was definitely the boat ride around the Isle of Capri, they stop off for a couple chances to do some swimming, so amazing!
I did this trip mid-June 2015 and thought it was pretty amazing. We had a couple of snafus during the trip that made it less fun, such as border control at the port France going on strike and thus not allowing us to cross over from England. That delayed our trip six hours and we missed out on the canal cruise in Amsterdam. However, our tour manager Dani was great and we ended up going (illegally) to Dover Castle and the town of Canterbury. We also missed out on going to the Vatican museum because of a religious holiday, but instead we actually saw and were blessed by the Pope. Another aspect of the trip that I didn't love was the "selling" part of it. Every country, it seemed, is known for something and we were taken to shops to see demonstrations and, of course if you want, to purchase something. Leather, watches, rings, perfume, etc.; this got expensive real quick so be aware.
Some specific highlights of and tips for the trip:
Amsterdam: if going to see Anne Frank's house, leave early (i.e., before the group does) or you won't have time. But the city is marvelous on its own to explore.
Rhine Valley: wine tasting was good though only of white wines as this is common for the region; hotel bar is cute and offers good prices for drinks. Use this time to meet more people on your tour, really any bar time is good time to meet peeps. Pack an overnight bag for this hotel; there is no lift/elevator!
Munich: by far the best time of my trip. Really this place should be giving two days for the tour; I have to go back. The bike tour was amazing (go with Tony if you can). Drink lots of water because the beer halls and beers are tremendous. Best hotel of all the hotels we stayed in.
Austria: white water rafting was awesome. Listen to your guide and you'll be fine. I skipped Swarovski world (another selling aspect) but even if you don't go through the museum you still get a ticket to enter the gift shop (of course).
Venice: the gondola ride and walking tour were great but the dinner was just ok. The wine was watered down and the food, sadly, not the best. But doing the dinner provides more bonding time with your group.
Rome: it was nice that the coach gives a mini tour of the city so to eliminate some walking and Dani also gave us a walking tour of the city. Basically, we "sight-saw the shit" out of Rome all in one day. The next day was a free day to go back to places you want to spend more time. The Colosseum tour was great but you can barely hear the guide; still pretty neat to go through. Make sure to eat dinner while out that second night because dinner at the hotel is not good.
Florence: do the dinner optional here! It was the best dinner in all of Italy and the two bottles of wine before the disco puts everyone in partying mood. The disco is two floors - karaoke/bar at bottom and dance hall at top.
Lucerne: gorgeous city. I did both optional activities and wasn't that impressed with either. Mt. Stanserhorn does provide great views and photos but it takes forever to get up and back. The cruise was too short and the guide didn't say much about what we were looking at. Again, more time to bond with group is the plus for these activities. (Side note - the charms for the bracelet presented in the Florence leather/jewelry store are much cheaper at one of the four "selling" shops here.)
Paris: skip the perfumery and go sight-see the shit out of the city; you can buy perform anywhere. If you've never been to Paris before give yourself the extra hour, maybe more if you leave before the group; take the metro, it's easy. The Nouvelle show was an experience and also the last big outing for the tour. Unlimited wine at the show makes for an amazing last night out with the group.
This trip was my first ever group tour trip and I really loved it. I had such a great time and I would definitely recommend it for anyone who is a solo traveller and/or has never been to the snow or skiing/snow boarding before. Just make sure to pack lots of warm clothes - or if you want to pack lightly - pack good quality thermals!
I had never been to the snow before and I made the mistake of just getting cheaper thermals and they were not warm enough. (for example I had to wear 3 pairs of pants thermals (underworks brand level 1 warmth) and 3 thermal singlets plus 3 t-shirts under my ski pants and ski jacket to keep warm).
So easy - everything is organised for you!
I would highly recommend this tour. It was the best 3 weeks of my life! We had amazing food and got to see much more than I expected so a big thank you to Kayla and Mark for all they did for us on this tour.
Being in a campsite environment forces interaction, which I'm very grateful for. You get to know everyone on a much more personal level and get to make friends for life!
I didn't participate in much of the "me time" options as I like doing my own thing and had more time to explore. If you'd like to see more of one city and not pay so much for the me time options, then there really is loads more to see. Our tour guide, Eilidh, was more than happy to point out the best spots to hang around or look for certain things (when I wanted to go see Jim Morrison's grave, she gave exact location and the best way to get there).
Just please take note of the contiki tip recommendations. Contiki recommends that you tip 2 euro per person per day (for the tour guide, cook and driver - which adds up to 6 euro per day). If I had know to budget for it earlier, it would've been nice but they didn't mention it to us at all in the beginning of the tour.
But as a whole, it was really amazing. The long roads tend to get to you but there were always games that kept us busy so it doesn't get to us too much. Oh, and stay hydrated! Beer is cheaper than water so brace yourself for that!