Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
Best trip of my life. Exceeded all expectations!
I am so glad that I did this trip. I was a bit nervous about going to Russia with all that you hear on the news, but this trip was great.
I always felt safe. Our tour guide was Danny who was wonderful. He really did a great job in recommending what to do you in your free time.
I did all the optional excursions. They were all great. If you are on an extremely tight budget then the one you absolutely can NOT miss is the Kremlin Armory. That place houses all the treasures of Imperial Russia....and our local guide explained each and every one....including one royal dress that was made entirely out of silver.
If I had to not do one....it would be the circus...it is on your last night in Russia and you could probably spend your time picking up last minute souvenirs instead.
This trip was part of a 22 day Scandanavia Trip, so some people were already friends for a long time, but I blended in with them quite well.
The local tour guides Anna and Galina were out of this world. They knew so much history! I absolutely loved it.
Have a great time!
I had the most amazing time on Contiki! This was my first solo trip in Europe and it couldn't have been better! :D Every single experience in every city we had the chance to do was so awesome; from white water rafting in Austria to Amsterdam and the bike tour/hofbrauhaus in Munchen. Make sure you do every me time option, I did and I am so glad. It's a very fast paced tour, and you barely get sleep, but who doesn't like partying till the early hours of the morning every night?! You will definitely have memories for life. On the last night of the tour in Paris, the taxi driver took a group of us to the wrong hotel, so we were walking around the streets at 3am. At the time I was annoyed, but looking on it now, that's something I'll remember. You become close to your tour group and they become your family. We had the best tour team - I'm talking about you Scotty and Gaz! I can't recommend this tour enough, and I can't wait to go on my next Contiki!
Everything about this tour was incredible! 14 days of Spanish history, food and culture are truly captured along the way. This was my first contiki and was very unsure what I could expect. Our tour manager Zach, was a big highlight for our group. His keen sense of spanish history and passion for what he did made all of us so excited to tour through each city with him. Our whole crew became life long friends that took advantage of every moment from the stress of Bilbao to the partying in Ibiza!
Do not think twice.... just book it!
Get ready for an insane adventure! This trip exceeded all of my expectations and I certainly won’t be forgetting the experiences we had as a group any time soon.
It's HOT. Proper hot. You will sweat and at times will be uncomfortably hot. Nothing you can do, just ride it out, drink lots of water and enjoy those cool showers when you can.
Consider packing light. There are an abundance of markets where you can buy cheap shirts, tops and ‘elephant pants’ that will cover you for temple dress.
90% of the time we wore thongs (flip flops) or sandals. Good idea to have a light weight comfortable pair of walking shoes too though.
Rain coats are a waste – they will make you sweat. Take a good quality umbrella instead. An emergency poncho is also worth it though I never used mine.
Any type of suitcase is fine but be prepared to carry it up stairs in some hotels that are minus an elevator.
All Visas (Laos & Cambodia) are available on arrival for most nationalities, if you get yours beforehand you will still wait for the others in the group. Might not be worth worrying about it at home. All you need are passport photos and two blank pages in your passport for each country.
Tap water shouldn’t be drunk so plan on buying heaps of bottled water; drink bottles are not needed.
Take lots of sunscreen, good quality bug spray and a wide brimmed hat. Lots of people got savaged by mozzies.
Malaria is described as not being present in all three countries – Meds shouldn’t be needed but it’s up to you if you’d rather be safe.
Don’t fear the cheap street food. It’s generally very good, but check with the tour manager for tips.
Do all of the optional extras – cheap and all are good fun. The Thai cooking class is particularly enjoyable!
The whole group share a car on the overnight train to Chiang Mai in a bunk bed style arrangement. Air conditioned and much more comfortable than it sounds.
The bus trips in Laos are windy and bumpy at times – if you get motion sick easily, sit at the front and take it easy the night before.
Spectacular View Restaurant is exactly that. Have the camera ready!
The first realistic opportunity to do washing is in Luang Prabang (7 days in). The next is in Siem Reap just before the end. Usually about US$1-2 per kilo.
Angkor Wat on a busy day can be ruined by big crowds. Be prepared. Look for the monk near the main entrance – good photo op.
Do not miss the afternoon trip to the other Siem Reap temples – they are better than Angkor Wat.
If you get time in Siem Reap after the trip – go to the circus. It is incredible (brochure at hotel reception).
Honestly though, the best piece of advice is to simply approach the trip with an open mind. First time contiki travellers, fear not, this was my fourth trip, my fourth exceptionally talented tour manager and my fourth insanely colourful and friendly group of travel buddies. You WILL have a good time, never doubt that. It’s quite a journey, take each experience as it comes and jump at every opportunity to see every inch of three amazing countries. You can sleep when you get home! Enjoy!
This trip was simply amazing. But be warned, this is not for the people after a "relaxing holiday", this trip is "Traveling" , is extremely fast paced and you're always on the go. You get too a place, have an awesome night out, have a look around and your back on the go. expect very late nights and early mornings. You will get very accustomed to the bus and sleeping on the bus is something everyone does. But the best part about the long bus trips is talking to all the different people and you get to know everyone really well. Yes you could do this trip by yourself and yes it could probably be cheaper, but this is SO worth it. The people we went with truly made this trip. It was worth the money just for the people. They truly made the WHOLE trip worth it. It is a bucket list trip. You see and do a whole lot in a short 2 weeks but the friends and memories are worth it in itself. It isn't perfect, some people want to spend more time in places but it was just the most amazing experience of my life. The last day was the hardest, even though it was only 2 weeks, I made some of the best memories of my life and made them with some of the best people i've met in my life from all over the globe. Jade our manager and Dave our driver we found at the end it was their first trip, and it was great to share that with them. If you're thinking about it, just book it. Dont think. You won't EVER regret it.
Hint: Do all the optional activities. Cost another approx $600AUD depending on the conversion rate but most people do them all and it s so worth it to get the best out of the trip. #NoRegrets.
1 tip is come home broke. Memories are worth more than money.
I was very nervous at first, but after a day, I need not be. By the time I really got involved with the friends I made to the day I left, I had the best time I could wish for. Some days were better than others, other activities were better than others, but the people you associate with, the laughs you have, the memories you share together, makes the trip so worthwhile. I would defiantly recommend Contiki as a company to travel with as you really all do become a family and see parts of the world in a really different way than I would have expected to do. You won't make friends with everyone, but the ones you do, your never really apart from them and you become friends for life!
I had the experience of a lifetime and would like to thank Brooke, our tour manager and Sandro, our bus driver, and all the friends I made, for such an awesome time!!!
Thanks so much!!
When I booked this trip I didn't think it was long enough and that I wouldn't see much. But I was wrong in 18 day we covered so much of Europe and the countries we went to. This was my first trip to Europe and on a contiki and I have to say I couldn't of done it better another way. The people you meet and the memories you make travelling day in day out with 50 people was amazing.
My trip would have be as inspiring and full of history if it wasn't for our trip manager Evana, I have never met someone with so much knowledge of every country, towns, names, business's, sports teams, artists..... Of the places we saw. She blew us all away with the information talks entering every country. Anyone wanting to do a contiki and wants to learn about the places you go as well as party then do one with Evana and Chris our bus driver, an amazing driver like wow and a funny bloke as well top guy.
I have only just returned but definitely want to do it again with the same group! Had a ball and have made many friends for life :D
This trip was absolutely amazing! This was my first time ever overseas and I loved every minute of it! The things you see the amazing people you meet!
This was my first Contiki and I went on it with 3 other friends. A year later we are still talking about the amazing memories we had made on this trip. From the Cliffs of Moher, the little streets of Galway, and my personal favorite- the Aran Islands and Inishmore each day is great. Not to mention the people of Ireland are wonderful and the Guinness speaks for itself.
This was my first Contiki and first group tour ever. I've been on many vacations all over the world, but I decided to try this tour because I enjoyed the "no planning" aspect of this package and letting someone else arrange everything from beginning to end.
Our tour manager was Giuseppe and what can I say, he made this tour very special for me and everyone else in the group. He went above and beyond the call of duty to make sure the whole group had a great time outside of "Contiki" time and as a result, our whole group of 50 people really had a chance to bond and get to know one another. As a result, everyone was very social and inclusive and we all had an incredible time.
I enjoyed the optional events as it gave me a chance to experience the local culture without having to research and figure out "what to do" in each city. Some of the hotels weren't that great, but towards the last half of the trip, the hotels were good. I feel like Contiki starts your trip off at the worst hotel and then gradually increases the quality so you can end on a high note.
I would recommend Contiki to everyone and would love the opportunity to do it all over again!
I went on Contiki with a friend of mine from work to see what all the fuss was about. We both lived in a regional town and were keen to have a holiday.
Let me tell you, it was literally everything I thought it would be times a hundred. Contiki was unreal. Everyday felt like a dream! The accommodation was good and even though some countries (particularly Prague and Venice) were extremely hot in the rooms, we overlooked it and didn't hang out there much anyway.
I found our tour manager knew a huge amount about the countries which made it much more interesting on the bus. She also was helpful with restaurants to go to and the best shopping areas. Ask the manager as many questions as you can! The food was good and I couldn't complain about any meals. The European Whirlwind trip was the best way to see Europe and gave you a taste of the culture there. Some countries I would have liked to see for more than 3 days but you can always go back yourself and explore later on. Although I got really sick with the Contiki cough and then bronchitis later on, I made the most of it. Everybody got sick and you just battle through it because you are in Europe of course! The best part about Contiki for me was meeting a bunch of random people who ended up sharing the same interests and humour as me. I would push people to get out there and introduce yourself to as many people as you can early on, especially if you are travelling solo. Don't stay in cliques and go and float between groups of people, that way you can say you made 50 friends! I would highly recommend going on this particular tour which is 18 days. Also, sign up to ALL the Me Time activities, they are brilliant and not that expensive. Say YES to everything and don't come back with regrets. Go for it!! :)
Traveled with my husband and in laws. I've done the Hotels only trips before with Contiki so I wasn't totally sure what to expect with the contiki stop overs and cabins. I can say that everything was adequate for the price. The cabins were fine for sleeping in and getting ready even if some of the showers were questionable. Some of the camp grounds were pretty rustic but all had a fun bar area with cheap drinks. All of the optional parties at the camp grounds and stop overs are so fun, just go with it and get into the spirit. There was no air conditioning at the cabins or stop over Chateau so the only thing I would recommend is to go during the months that are not as hot as August because it was super warm. Other than that everything was fine. The hotels and hostels were adequate as well and my guide always made sure to put me with my chosen bunk mates. Make sure you pack bed bug spray and regular bug spray for you body just to be safe. This can be an issue with any accomodation in Europe...especially budget ones. We sprayed all our mattresses and our cabins and didn't really have an issue. Do your research and be prepared! Sometimes things change so be flexible as well...this isn't a tour for rigid people who can't go with the flow. They do adhere to the weight limit for your bags so be aware of that. If you are looking for a relaxing trip this isn't the one for you. This trip is designed to give you a taste of each place so you won't be able to explore until your heart's content. You have to adhere to times of when to leave and such. We saw SO much in a short amount of time but be aware this comes with late nights and early mornings. You WILL have some long days on the coach but you'll likely spend them sleeping so I didn't have a problem with it. You will definitely have a lack of sleep on this trip but it is all worth it. All of the optionals were worth it in my opinion, especially the group dinners. If you want to skip one I'd say you can not do the bike ride or water bikes in Amsterdam but it was okay. Breakfasts are okay (typical European breakfasts) and I thought most the dinners were good. Our Tour Guide and Driver, Marine and Luce were absolutely awesome and really made the trip enjoyable for us all. Knowledgeable and fun, we couldn't have done it without them. I miss them actually! Overall, this was a great trip for what we saw for the price and we met a lot of new friends. I wish I was back on this trip now. If you can handle the fast pace and want to see alot, DO IT. Travel now while you can and make it happen.
The optionals were amazing! The view from zip lining was breathtaking and absolutely incredible! All the lakes we visited and saw were beautiful and stunning. The Pyramid lake and lake Patricia were surprises for us, and in all honestly, no picture could do those lakes justice. Jaw dropping! The Rockies too! Definitely plan on returning in the winter to hit those slopes, but those mountains, gorgeous! All the accommodations we good and comfortable. The crew, tour manager Alex and bus driver Steve, were wonderful! Super fun and full of passion for their jobs. I would recommend this trip to everyone and I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat! Definitely exceeded my expectations!!
I had an amazing time on my first Contiki tour. Craig (my tour manager) and Marcus (bus driver) were on top of everything every single day. From Day One, I felt comfortable and excited to see what each day would hold. From the history of Boston to Amish farm visits to wild jet boat rides, this trip has it all. And even though it was sad to leave everyone at the end, I know that friendships were made to last for a reason (with that reason being that you can't go through such epic adventures without amazing people by your side).
I could go on and on forever about how awesome this tour was, but I don't want to ramble. In case you're on the fence about this: I read countless online reviews of different tour companies, since it is a big investment, and I read mixed reviews about Contiki. I will tell you, my trip was incredible. My tour guide was on top of her game and knew a LOT about European history and what to do in certain situations, etiquette, etc. (I'm from the USA). The people I met were amazing, I'll never forget them. Here's another thing I'll clear up: I was 26 when I went on the tour, I was worried i'd be surrounded by a bunch of immature 18 year olds. There were people spanning the entire Contiki age range from 18 right up to 35. If you're not a huge partier, don't worry. You can literally make this trip into whatever you want...if you want to club every night, you can. If you want to relax after a day of touring, you can do that too. We had pretty serious partiers, and we also had serious Christians if that tells you anything about the "party" level. You can do whatever you want, there's something for everyone. If you're a snob, and want only the fanciest food and hotels, maybe you should look at a different company. I was happy with the food and accommodations, but we had a few people on our tour who scoffed at some things. Not my style though...who spends that much time in the hotel anyway? To sum up: I haven't been paid by Contiki or anything, and I'd say GO FOR IT! This trip/company is awesome. I'm currently on here planning my next trip.
I went on the road to Athens plus Greek island hopping as my first overseas adventure. I was extremely excited and scared as I had no idea what I was in for.
It was the most amazing experience so far!
I not only got to experience all the cultures and party hot spots, but I have made friends for life, and 2 years later I am still in close contact with many of my tour friends.
I did almost every extra and the only ones I wouldn't recommend doing is walking tours in the middle of summer. Although it is a great way to explore and get to know the area, you are also very limited and it does get a bit boring at times.
I would always recommend going on the pub crawls as they get you into some amazing locations and it's the best way to get to know your tour. And you are also allowed o venture off on your own but it's a great start to the night.
Also the Contiki cough is a true thing, so be prepared to get sick at some point.
But it's so totally worth it!!
What a huge 45 days with a great tour team and people. I've written a blog about my experience so if you're crawling the internet like i did before my travels, this pretty much covers off what you get up to on the Ultimate European. Feel free to ask me any questions... Enjoy!