Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
Best. Vacation. Ever
If your thinking about doing this trip i've got only one thing to say, BOOK IT! Honestly you will not regret it! I enjoyed it that much i've since booked to more contiki's.
First things first - we had incredible tour manager (Clare) and bus driver (Jo) who made our trip what it was. They went above and beyond what was required by their job and because of them we understood and saw things that we never would have on our own. Above all I had an incredible holiday and we saw so many places. It was a great experience that I'll never forget.
However, there were some areas of the overall Contiki experience that I would have liked to know about before going on the tour so I felt it was important to share them here.
( 1 ) You don't really get the local experience. In fact, you really only ever spend time with your contiki group and then other contiki groups at American bars/clubs. So if you are looking for a more cultural atmosphere and want to meet some locals then I strongly suggest you skip some of the optionals and explore the town on your own.
( 2 ) There is A LOT of 'me' time. So research places you want to go in each country. Buy tickets if you can so you can skip the long lines. Also research public transport in each countries. FYI taxis are harder to get than you think when it's peak tourist season.
( 3 ) Food is good not great. While the onsite contiki meals were quite good, it wasn't always reflective of true local cuisine which is a major disappointment for a food like me. Still good food though. As for the Optional meals aka Tuscan meal and Athenian meals were some of the worst meals I had.
( 4 ) Your accommodation is exactly what you paid for. Ours was a concept tour and therefore our accommodation at different times ranged from really small, dirty and really far from the centre of town. The worst was definitely Rome where the accommodation was all three at the same time. Somewhere in our accommodation in Italy our Contiki group caught bed bugs (ps they stick with you for the rest of the trip!). Other small gripes was not having blinds at one stage and also having to run around for extra toilet paper (twice!). However, I think the accommodation was generally okay as long as you remind yourself that this is what you paid for.
( 5 ) It's never as good as it sounds in the Contiki brochure. Some examples include the "wine tasting" which was just our contiki group huddled in a cellar and given one glass of wine; the "Tuscan dinner" which served some of the worst ravioli I've ever had in a stuffy restaurant in Florence; and the Paris night tour which is during light hours because it doesn't get dark in Paris until 10pm. Of course, it wasn't that any of these experiences were bad it was only that they were never what they were promised to be which takes away a bit of the magic of seeing things for the first time. So to anyone taking this tour or doing Contiki for the first time - it is an incredible and memorable experience ... just don't always expect what you see in travel brochures.
Before starting this tour I was a bit worried/nervous as I was travelling solo for the first time. I definitely worried for nothing! I had a fantastic roommate and made some great friends for life. I never felt alone.
The tour itself was absolutely stunning. Every single day was an amazing experience, it was busy, but definitely worth it. Not a single destination disappointed. It truly exceeded my expectations. We sight-saw the heck out of Europe!
Dani (tour manager) and Levi (tour driver) were a fantastic tour team! They really made the experience even more special. Definitely went above and beyond for our group, and we will all be grateful forever!
Fantastic experience. I would recommend this trip/tour wholeheartedly!
Scandi is so different to the rest of Europe, absolutely breathtaking! It was some of the best 12 days of my life! Contiki tour itself was fantastic, well organized and I had the pleasure of the best tour manager in the world! Met long life friends! The only regret I have is not going onto Russia after Helsinki! The tour continued to Russia is a must do!!! Loved every moment.
if your not Australian don't join contiki a bunch of racist Australians that never seen the outside world, the tour manager did nothing to sort out the issues . I was bullied as I tried to make friends but not only I got called names I was violently harassed, had alcohol thrown at me and was pushed out the door followed by a punch from the fellow Australians,
the bus driver was the only person that I could of consider a nice person, and was quiet talkative, a few couples of met on the tour were nice as well, the tours were great and were set out in order. I felt that there was no introduction done at the start, the tour manager was not professional in this field he didn't introduce people to other people, I found the tour manager quiet selfish and only cared about himself and didn't answer much questions, without no answers from the tour manager I cut my contiki trip short and left after 6days,
My husband and I loved this trip, it really was the trip of a lifetime! We did all the extras on the list, saw and did so many amazing things. Made friendships with great people to last a lifetime. I would do this trip again in a heartbeat. Our tour manager Alex is the best in the business and our driver Kevin knows how to move a bus! This trip is the best way to see all the best bits of Europe in one visit.
This trip was absolutely amazing! Every moment took my breath away, the scenery was spectacular and the people wonderful. The places we stayed were great and the optionals literally ticked off half my bucket list! The tour manager Jen was fantastic and the bus driver Darren was great too. I highly recommend this trip!
This tour was amazing! A "tasting plate of Europe" indeed. Spectacular views from the Eiffel Tower, chugging out of buckets in Dubrovnik, hesitantly tasting frogs legs and snails, enduring the heat wave in Austria, drinking all you can drink on the Greek Island tour.... and um, interesting sights in Amsterdam. You definitely get it all on this trip. Our tour manager Steve Ellison made a great tour a spectacular tour. That man is a walking encyclopedia. No matter what you are touring Europe for, food, partying, shopping, visiting the sights.. whatever, he will make sure you get to "squeeze the juice" out of your experience. Get very excited if you are lucky enough to bag him as your tour manager. The tour was very fast paced so swollen feet (as I unfortunately experienced) is a real possibility, but you get to see and experience so much it's almost impossible to keep track! Will do this tour again in a heart beat. Well worth every cent!
WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW
Basically the best thing I have EVER done! what a fantastic trip! Dani and Levi helped me to sight see everything in Europe in a huge 12 days! we did everything plus extras that they threw in! I made some amazing friends and just had an all round fantastic trip. If your looking to see everything in a good amount of time choose this tour! Everywhere we stayed was lovely, always great value for what we paid. I ate my way through Italy! I also went solo, so people don't be scared! I have literally made some friends for life and they are even flying to my home town for my 21st next year. seriously best money ever spent - we and a blast everywhere and made some memorable moments.
This was my first Contiki by myself (from being on two prior to this one with a friend of mine) and I was super nervous to meet people and be on my own since I'm only 19, but I had the time of my life in a beautiful country that I have dreamed off going to my whole life. First things first I wanna give a huge thank you to my Tour Manager Ms. Courtney Dailey! The best tour manager I've ever had who made me so feel so comfortable and not home sick at all. She always gave great recommendations on what to do in each place we were at and great local food to try in the area! She always made sure that each one of us enjoyed the trip as much as we could possibly do! So Courtney is you read this! Thank you so much for allowing me to have the time of my life and hope to see you again! Greek Island Hopping gives a mix of both - the history and the party! I had so much fun in Greece with seeing all the history and enjoying the awesome night life. Honestly I would suggest this Contiki for anyone cause it allows you to see all that you need to see in Greece! No Regrets!
It was the best scenery I've ever seen in a while and actually enjoyed it. Even had fun having a tour around the Speights brewery and doing the shot over jet. The accommodation is pretty good and the people on the trip were very good and I would recommend this trip!!
I cannot say enough good things about this itinerary. From the bright lights of Las Vegas to the relaxing Bass Lake - there's no better way to experience America's Wild West!
My best friend and I booked this trip and I couldn't have been happier!
The trip is fast paced, many late nights and early mornings, but after a few days you get into the swing of things. While we had 53 people on our tour, nearly everyone was friendly and easy to get along with and I definitely made some friends for life. The downside with travelling with a big group is you will get sick, and everyone did. (Make sure to bring medicine!)
I didn't expect to do all the optional MeTimes but in the end it was definitely worth it. The only ones I opted out of were the Mountain Bike tour in Austria and visiting the top of Jungfrau mountain in Switzerland (and I'm OK with that!) Our tour manager was so organized and made the trip a total breeze. She also knew tons of history about each place we visited and could point out lesser-known attractions we could do.
The best thing with a budget tour like this is to have no expectations. That way, you aren't disappointed if the included food isn't that great, or if the accommodations aren't what you thought. Overall, I thought everything was great for the price - You get to see countless cities and countries in such a short time and hopefully have the time of your life!
I definitely had my doubts after reading negative reviews about contiki online but I literally have no idea what any of them were talking about because I had an amazing time! saw soooo many different places in just 26 days and our tour guide lee was full of info about each place and really helped organise everything for us so we barely had to worry about anything. I worried about having to get blind drunk every night and constantly party as contiki has this reputation but there really wasn't any pressure, I went out most nights but was never made to feel boring or anything if I felt like staying in! and I know some people barely went out or didn't drink and no one was a dick about it which was really nice. there were 54 of us but everyone just got on, I could randomly find anyone from our group in a club or out and about sightseeing and we would be able to chat and stuff which was really nice. I've definitely made friends for life! about 95% of the people were either Aussie or kiwi! there was only 4 of us English and 3 South Africans as well but everyone was really nice and I've made friends for life, just a shame they live so bloody far away! this will definitely not be my last contiki. I can't fault anything; the tour manager, fellow contikians, hotels, food, nights out and optional extras were all incredible. I'll never forget this experience as it was amazing!
It was a good trip all round. A lot of time on the bus as it is a very fast paced tour. Early morning starts and all day on the bus and arriving late at night in the next country. Would reccommend paying the extra and doing a longer tour. Definately need two or more nights in each country. The tour is great for people travelling by themselves on a budget as you share rooms with others and interact a bit more. As a couple, it would have been nicer to have a bit more privacy and a double bed. 9/10 it was bunks or single beds pushed together. So I would probably go for a time out tour next where it is all hotels. Not sure if it was the time of year or just the type of tour but a lot of people seemed to have just left school in the group which is also why I would go for a time out tour next time as it may be more of a suitable age group. We were so lucky to have an awesome contiki team though. Have read a few reviews that have had rude tour managers but ours was amazing. Super friendly and always interacting with the group. Our driver was equally as good too. We did this tour as we moved to europe and wanted to see a bit of everything so we could go back to these countries in our own time while we are living here. So if you are doing something similar then this is a pretty good way to get a taste of Europe while on a budget. Even though I had slightly higher expectations I would still do another Contiki as it is a great way to see all the best things in each place without having to go through the trouble of organising it all yourself.
I could not say a bad thing about this trip! I was hesitant travelling alone I must admit, but I met some amazing people and made a very close friend on the trip who I still catch up with now, even though she lives on the other side of the country!
The first night we met everyone was great. Everyone is so friendly,mostly lone travellers too so you're all in the same boat. Vietnam was definitely a more cultural tour in my opinion and never would I have thought I would go there but my spontaneous booking there is something I will never forget.
My favourite places were Hanoi, Hoi An, Nha Trang and Halong Bay. If you go on this trip, you must go to The Sailing Club for dinner in Nha Trang. I ate some of the most amazing food there !
What I thought was good about the trip was that we spent very little time in buses and transport, had a few quick flights and got around very easily. Our guides were hilarious and informative, and our tour guide Adam was the best!
Parasailing and mud baths is a must. Do not skip out on the optionals its a chance to bond with everyone and its so worth it. Highly recommend this trip, all I wish was that I did the full Indochina!
Hope you enjoy as much as I did!!
Everything about this was great for the first time traveler which we were, everything was organised and well run for the whole trip! However the major downfall from our experience was the tour guide, she was rude on numerous occasions to the group members, bragged about the free things she was receiving from the restaurants she was taking us to and did not attempt to integrate into the group. Over all we had a lovely group of people however the tour guide ruined our trip, not just for my partner and myself but a lot of people on the trip felt the same. There needs to be a few extra days added to this experience as well in order for it not to feel as rushed i.e. maybe an extra day in Hue and Hoi An.
In regards to tour guides there needs to be some sort of system in place so that it is disclosed to the people on the tour that they are taking us to up market places and restaurants and that they are receiving commission from taking us there. I would have been much happier if we had of eaten more traditional food and if the tour guide was more knowledgable about where to go for cheap traditional food instead of only taking us to western places.
The times where we have free time it would be great if there were a list of suggestions made about where to go or what to do so we don't miss out on anything because again the tour guide had a severe lack of knowledge in regards to that.
The worst experience of the whole trip was our last night out when we all went to a night club and the tour guide told all of us that she was getting free drinks for staying there. The group decided to leave after a couple of hours to explore another place recommended by trip advisor. When we told the tour guide our intentions she blatantly lied and said that we shouldn't go there because all they had was Vietnamese music! We proceeded to leave and go to another club which was packed full of what seemed to be every backpacker in the city, and they were most certainly not playing Vietnamese music.
This experience just reiterates numerous of occasions where something similar happened through out the trip and it made me feel like I was just money to the tour guide, she didn't genuinely care that we were having a good time or not.
Just a real shame because due to this experience I would never go on another Contiki and since being back have told people my opinion which has swayed them from booking one just due to one bad experience.
This was a fantastic tour. Absolutely loved it. While the accommodation was sometimes quite average, it's an absolute minor considering where you are in the world! You get to see some of the best sights in Europe, eat some of the best food and make wonderful new friends. For a first time traveller like myself this was perfect, all planned out and the only thing you have to worry about is not having time to see EVERYTHING. We had a great tour manager, who was very helpful and had a lot of historical knowledge, and a great bus driver who always go us to our location early. 10/10
This was my first Contiki tour and first trip to Europe and it was not a disappointment! It really is a great way to see so much of Europe in a little amount of time. Our tour manager was Lee and our driver was Christian and they are the best! Lee is very knowledgeable and will help ensure you're getting the most out of your experience. Christian is hands down the best bus driver and probably the happiest person I have ever met.
Don't let travelling by yourself hold you back from going - I went by myself and met some great people on the trip. Everyone was really friendly and it's not that hard to find someone who has similar travel interests as you.
I did all of the optionals except the rafting and had a great time - the river was pretty tame for the rafting so it was more just casually paddling down, but the people who did it enjoyed it and those of us who didn't enjoyed the time to just hang-out and relax around the small town. The only optional I did that I wasn't a fan of was the Venetian walking tour - our guide was this adorable, feisty older woman but we didn't really see anything that spectacular on our tour - I would recommend skipping it and using that time to explore on your own or shop since you don't get that much time. The Venetian restaurant was the best! The food was delicious and everyone had a great time chatting and drinking.
Seriously be CAREFUL in Rome!! The girls I travelled with and myself kept our hands on our purses on the metro and one of them still almost got pick-pocketed. Keep your purses in front of you with your hands on it at all times and if you're taking a backpack put locks on the zippers. We met some really friendly people on the metro that looked out for us and were very nice, but still keep a close eye on your stuff.
The accommodations weren't bad - they were clean and served their purpose. You're only there to sleep and eat breakfast. When leaving in the morning try and go down before you're supposed to meet - some of the hotels have either really slow elevators or only have 1. Also make sure to keep your hotel list on you; our cab driver in Munich had no idea what hotel we were talking about until we showed him the address.
The main thing to keep in mind is you get out of this trip what you put into it and to keep an open mind about what you're doing the culture you're in.