Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
My review of Contiki European whirl starting 17th July 2016
Overall I'm giving this 2.5 stars because....
- meet awesome and amazing likeminded people which will become friends for life
- an organised trip for you to see some amazing sights in Europe- you don't have to do a lot in terms of organising
- a coach which is air conditioned and comfortable to drive you around but a con is that you will have days which are "public transport days" where you need to catch public transport and if you go out at night you will need to catch a taxi home most of the nights so be careful to agree on a set price
- your mind will be opened to different cultures and ways of life
- most accommodation is not great and really budget - no fans in Italy where the weather is 30+ degrees and this was bad when everyone got sick in Venice and when people get heatstroke
- most included meals are crap and you would be better off not eating them as people got food poisoning/stomach bugs after eating an included dinner in Venice ... Don't know if this had anything to do with it though but I couldn't believe how bad the included meal was in the hostel in Germany... Two sausages that were almost inedible,
Cold chips and slimy lettuce. Their response to carrying to the vegetarians on my table was to take away the sausages and bring the plate back...
- everything costs a lot like a tiny bottle of water can be €3 or $5 ish Australian dollars but that's Europe
- all the "me time optionals" aren't really optional - they are something you sort of opt out of and I did most of them which ended up being an extra $730 aud- if you don't do them then you will need to hang around and do your own thing which will also cost you as you need to organise alternate transport
Overall after having paid more than $4000 to contiki for an 18 day tour I feel a bit ripped off for what we got
- the tour manager was quite firm with things eg she left on the dot of say 4pm when people would get there maybe a couple of minutes after
-She didn't really care when people got sick
- when I told her I was sick her response was basically "that sucks, get on the boat and go to Venice or stay here"
- for example a few of us were sick in Venice and were then stuck at a campsite for the whole day in the heat with nothing to do and no fan or cooling etc etc and no alternate sort of plan, ended up sleeping all day because it was too hot to do anything else (what a waste) and missed my gondola ride and actually seeing Venice
-drinking culture was very big on this trip, if you don't go out every night and drink people will ask you why and pressure you but that's Aussies in general haha
- you aren't allowed to poo or spew in the coach toilet (which is ridiculous when many people on our tour had gastro/food poisoning?!) and someone had to hold a bag of vomit for 3 hours before the coach stopped at services
- there's one particular campsite which is extremely dirty and everyone got sick there, and you have to pay €5 for wifi which doesn't actually connect properly (takes half an hour to connect and only "works" in reception and bar) it also is very very slow and drops in and out
- some days were planned really badly and we ended up waking up early and being rushed to the Vatican and then had to wait about 4 hours for the colosseum
All the me times I did were okay, but I felt like some of them were overpriced for what they were.
Overall I feel a bit ripped off- I met some great people and had a good time which was fantastic but I wonder exactly what I paid the 3.3 grand to contiki for, plus the $730... (that doesn't include flights and money for incidentals and meals as most meals aren't included)
So I wouldn't say that I have #noregrets...
There is no way that I can condense all of the memories and experiences that I have had during the past 18 days on the European Whirl, there are just far too many of them! From day one you are immersed in different experiences, whether that be meeting new people or exploring a new city, and I would stress that you make the most of every single second. Yes the trip is insanely fast paced, yes you will not get to spend a lot of time at each of the destinations, but if you go with an open mind and embrace every moment of the adventure, you will have the time of your life.
I decided on this trip with the intention of meeting new people, seeing the highlights of Europe and pushing myself out of my comfort zone, but I did not anticipate just how much I would enjoy myself. Every conversation I have with somebody back home sparks a memory and I genuinely cannot believe how much I have done and seen in such a short space of time. As a non-drinker I was concerned about how I would fit into the group, but everybody on my tour were absolutely amazing and made me feel so included regardless of my lifestyle choice. Plus, I had more significant traits that could have secluded me from the rest as I was the only British traveller! I now have 52 friends from Australia, who I now hope to visit as a continue to plan my travels next year.
Adam and Max were absolutely fantastic and made the entire experience a pleasure! Not once did I feel unsafe, unorganised or unappreciated; they are both an asset to Contiki and I hope they are praised highly for their incredible efforts.
If I could give one piece of advice for anybody that has booked this trip, I would definitely say to make the most of every opportunity that you are given. Yes there are some optional extras that I did where I question if I should have done them, but they all enhance your experience and give you an opportunity to speak to other people in your group.
Take photos of everything and upload them to Instagram whenever you have the opportunity! Then at the end of the trip just have a scroll through your profile- that will prove to you just how rewarding, exciting and eye-opening your time on this tour has been.
Peru is magic!
I want to eat everything in Argentina!
Brazil is party central!
Such an amazing trip. Good for first time travellers to have a taste of Europe, most places you only have a day to explore so not suitable for someone who would like to relax in the same destination. Highly recommend for alone travellers - you will make lifelong friends and best way to do as much as possible within the short amount of time - very high energy!
Going into this, I wasn't sure what to expect. This was my first Contiki and my first trip to Europe so while excited, I was a bit nervous and unsure of what I had gotten myself into. By the end of it though, I was craving for more, and was sad to see the end.
First off, our Tour Manager Jess was the bomb. Her knowledge and fun, friendly nature made the trip so much easier!! Our coach drive Chico was amazing as well, negotiating the tight streets of cities like Paris and Florence sooo well. There was no doubt about what to expect and what we were doing, and it was nice seeing bright happy faces after our nights out. #jessandchicoforever :)
Additionally, your tour mates really make or break the trip. I went with a small group of friends, but by the end everyone was friends and there were more than a few tears when the final day came! You experience everything together and this trip is really ideal for both solo travelers and groups, as it is long enough to allow you to get to know other people on the trip, but not too long in that you feel like you’re throwing yourself in the deep end.
Now for the travelling itself. The best thing about European Escapade is that it whets your appetite for places, and makes you immediately want to plan your next trip. You spend a small amount of time in each place (France for six days, Spain for two, Italy for six etc) and you see enough of each place to feel like you've experienced it, but not enough to make you think that you've done it well. We spent two days in Barcelona, I could easily spend a week there, and that's only one small corner of Spain! Am already planning a tour of Germany for next year.
There is no way to describe the overwhelming feeling of seeing the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum, the Sistine Chapel, the Leaning Tower of Pisa for the first time. With this trip, you get to experience it all, and the guided tour optionals are definitely must-do's as the guides are both informative and entertaining. Optionals are generally paid for right at the beginning so it's good to try and pay for as much as you can first up because all of them are awesome opportunities (even though I didn't do all of them).
The accommodation did vary. The hostel in Barcelona was mint and the Contiki campsites were surprisingly very good. The best thing about the Contiki sites are the onsite 'facilities' e.g. bars and party spaces. The team know how to throw a good party and you feel safe knowing you only have to walk 100m to your room! Some accommodation options were different, (not wrong, just different), but for what you paid, it's a good deal.
European breakfast is generally small, and we were told to expect this, but it's always enough to get you going in the morning. There is generally cereal, croissants, ham and cheese, eggs and a decent selection of juices, as well as hot drinks, so eat big at breakfast so that you're not thinking about lunch from the get go. The dinners were good, the Tuscan feast is a crazy amount of food.
Now for what I wished I knew before I came. First of all, Europe is EXPENSIVE! Coming from New Zealand, I was not prepared for exactly how expensive everyday items were going to be. When it is a coach day, one or two meals are generally had at ‘services’ which are service stations that double as restaurants. These aren’t always the cheapest, and I found were always more expensive than what we would expect to pay in Australia or New Zealand. Also, non-alcoholic drinks were pretty pricey as well. On top of this, be prepared to pay for taxis! A lot of the places we stay are outside of the central city area so you need to have some money set aside for these kinds of things. If you can master the Metro systems in the big cities, you will save some, but some cities you will rely on taxies more than others. If you can budget well, you will be sweet, but it is hard to budget well when there is so much to do!!
The second thing is that Contiki cough is a real thing – almost everyone on our trip got it so you should take a good deal of antibiotics and/or paracetamol with you. I took three sheets of the stuff and still ended up worse than how I came so you should take a good supply. There will be a lot of nights out and parties and the like so it is harder to recover from a cough once you get it, hence the need for medicine and the like.
All up, this was truly the trip of a lifetime. I would recommend this to anyone and everyone on this side of the world, to allow you to not just see Europe, but to see it with a great group of like-minded people who want to see the world and have fun at the same time. And if you get Jess and Chico as TM and driver, you will be mega lucky!
In regards to trips, I'd have to say that this trip has the BEST itinerary of them all..
For me, our tour Manager Djbeccyb and Driver Mitchy Moo made this a trip of a lifetime.
As a solo traveller I couldn't have asked for a better group. From day one, it was like one big family thanks to how well the tour was run inside and outside of our Coach.
If you want to see Europe, make new friends for life and get away for a month you will never forget, this trips just for you!
What to expect..
A holiday where the thinking and planning is all looked after, all you need to do is show up and enjoy!
Historic sites, monuments, chapels, churches and ruins for those who want a taste of Europe's rich history.. AMAZING!
A mini Greek holiday at the half way point involving water sports, crystal clear water, beautiful greek beaches, Gyros' that taste like heaven and a chance to drive around Corfu with your new friends..
Experience the beauty of Austria and Switzerlands alps via paragliding, tobogganing in the snow or simply by climbing to the top of Mt Titlis..
Get amongst the activities including; Parasailing, Boating, White water rafting, Rowing, Paragliding, Bungee Jumping, Roller Blading, Cycling.. such an activity packed holiday for those who can't sit still..
On our trip we managed to knock off 14 countries with a cheeky stop over in San Marino, so I feel like we got spoilt.
I would highly recommend this trip to anyone who wants to have an incredible 28 days!!
Thanks again to my group and of coarse Bec & Mitch, Legends! (having a think to see which one I do next!)
This was my first Contiki and I enjoyed it so much I booked another trip within a few weeks.
Our trip leader and driver were fantastic and did everything they could to bring the group together and help everyone make the most out of every city we visited. The hostels were pretty good and the one hotel we stayed in was actually the worst but you dont spend much time in them, as long as there is a clean place to sleep and shower.
The trip was well organised and I left each city feeling as if I had ticked off the main attractions...#noregrets
Definitely recommend doing all of the optionals to get the most out of it.
Travelled solo and most of our group did too so made lots of new friends :)
This was my first contiki and first solo trip. And it was just truly awesome. The tour crew Braden and Frank made the trip so fun aswell as all my new friends on the tour. I really enjoyed visiting lots of different places and Toronto and Pittsburg were my favourites. So will definitely be going back to those places to do some more exploring!! It's so hard to pick the best moments as I enjoyed all of it. If your undecided whether you want to do this. I would definitely say do it!! As life is for living!!!!! :)
Great tour! Definitely made my holiday much easier, as the tour guide knew all about the culture and language, especially as this was my first time in a non English speaking country! Vietnam is a beautiful country with lots of history, culture and beauty, and this tour explored both.
This was a really fun trip that's is definitely worth doing through Contiki. This trip would have been a nightmare to have planned on my own and I wouldn't have been able to plan most of the things we got to do, like mud fishing in the Mekong Delta. The optionals were great (although I wouldn't do the cave tubing again- the guide was on a lot of drugs and we didn't have helmets or life jackets like everyone else doing it had- just an overall unsafe optional but could be great with a different guide and group leading us).
The accommodations were decent... Some definitely nicer than others but no complaints here. Lots of opportunities to do laundry for cheap- just don't expect your clothes to come back dry... Or at all.
It was hard to say goodbye to the Asian adventure group and then have to meet a whole new group for Vietnam. By the time Vietnam came around we were pretty exhausted and really not interested in small talk so I don't feel I made the friendships that I did for the first part of the tour. The group from Asian adventure was much more diverse in age and nationalities where The group that joined us for Vietnam were just very young Australians.
Our tour manager Toni was amazing! She provided lots of fun and had great information about the countries we visited.
The buses in Asia aren't nearly as nice as the transportation in Europe but taking flights was really nice so it was less travel time.
Great experience and definitely worth doing!
I cannot recommend this tour enough. This tour and these countries will stay with me for the rest of my life.
Copenhagen and Stockholm are two of the most beautiful cities I have been to. Wandering along their canals had me planning to move! The scenery while driving through the Norwegian fjord-lands took my breath away. No words are able to convey the beauty of these days and are something everyone should see during their life.
Experiencing sunlight at midnight in Voss and Hellesylt is something I will never forget. We also saw snow! As an Australian, seeing snow in Norway in the middle of summer was a highlight of the trip. My favourite MEtime optional was the bobsled - definitely do this! It was fast and thrilling and I wish I could've gone again.
All accommodation was comfortable and clean. Some hostels in Norway were very basic but they were comfortable enough to sleep, and we didn't spend much time in them anyway. The food included was also simple and basic but it was enjoyable and filled a hole.
I traveled solo and worried I wouldn't make friends or fit in but I realised I had nothing to worry about. By the end of the tour I counted everyone as some of my closest friends.
My one tip I have would be to consider ending the tour in Helsinki. I would have loved to spent a few more days travelling on the tour and wish I had ended in Finland.
P.S. Buy 'smash' in Norway - it's the most amazing chocolate you will ever eat!
11 days on this trip and I've met the best mates and had the best summer ever! One of the highlights of this trip has got to be the variety of accommodations. From hotels, to hostels to even a campsite. The campsite was my favourite, just laying in the swag and staring up and seeing the number of stars, absolutely breathtaking. The places we visited was like nothing I've ever seen. From huge red rocks to cascading waterfalls, the northern territory is a sight to behold. If you're looking to make your holiday a memorable one, this one without a doubt should be in your list for consideration!
This tour was such a great experience. I went over with a friend and as our first real trip overseas and we were not sure what to expect and a bit nervous about how it would all work. It ended up being so easy and probably our best decision when it came to travelling as everything was sorted out for us. The group we had were lovely and we ended up being like a family. I am still in contact with many of them and have since travelled to see some of them. The tour manager (Nihar) was great! He made sure the trip was unforgettable and went out of his way to plan extra stuff for us to see. On bus days he would try make it so we could stop in little towns instead of just the regular service station stops. He made sure to come down the bus and talk with everyone to see how we were going, if we had any questions or requests. As well as our amazing tour manager we also had the best tour driver (Stathis), he made the drives so easy and made everyone feel safe on the crazy European roads, making the bus fit into some places a bus probably normally wouldn't go. He always made sure to join us on nights out when he had a chance when the driving restrictions allowed.
The tour covered so much for the short time, it was jammed packed but didn't feel like it was to much which was great. It had some great optional activities, I would definitely recommend majority of the dinners as it becomes great nights out with the group and one that I will never forget is the Moulin Rouge. The timing for our tour was great as we ended up being in Rome for Christmas so our tour manager organised for us to go to the midnight mass at the Vatican and New Years we got to celebrate in Berlin and went to the street party at Brandenburgent Gateway.
This trip was amazing and so worth it! I looked into doing it solo but hostel prices and transportation is difficult to find and at a decent price during this time. This trip had everything sorted out for me which allowed me to really enjoy it and not worry about catching a train/bus. You should definitely do the optional trip to Dachau if you have never been to a concentration camp but the optional bike tour was not worth it. Do a free walking tour if you really want to see Munich. Overall, a great trip and I would do it again in a heartbeat! Just make sure you are in a tent before 6PM! PROST!
The Asian Adventure was without a doubt some of the most amazing two weeks of my life. Flying into Bangkok I was so nervous yet excited to meet my fellow travelers. When meeting them everyone was a little quite, and by the end of the trip we were treating each other like family. Just like our trip manager said we would.
Every single part of this trip is so carefully thought out and planned to a t just to ensure that we have the best experience possible and that's exactly what it was. Traveling to SE Asia was the best decision I ever made, it opened my eyes to things I had no idea happened in the world, to natural wonders you wouldn't believe actually exist and to a sense of connection with people around the world who are so so so extremely different than us yet exactly the same.
Thailand, Laos and Cambodia are now some of my favorite places. Because of the $3 massages? Incredible food? Heart racing adventures? Or beautiful scenery? Of course because of all of those things. But most importantly because of the like minded, beautiful people I was lucky enough to meet and experience it with along the way.
Once you see the world on this trip, you return home craving to be back in a place like this. Everyone is happy, everyone is peaceful and everyone is so generous. Everyday I think about my experience here and long to be back. Because of this trip I will go on to explore more culturally diverse places just like it and I will go on to see each day differently because this trip opened my eyes and changed my life as to what really makes someone happy and what really matters.
Seeing Asia by myself would have been great, however the one thing I tell people about contiki now before anything else is how amazing it is to have a trip manager. My group and I lucked out by having the most warm hearted, fun spirited, generous, and hard working trip manager possible. Chamani Weerasekara became more than a manager she became a friend. She was up early morning taking care of us, and planning everything for us. She planned extra me time and special dinners, she planned fun games and parties and I speak for everyone else when I say that she is the reason this trip was so outstanding. She went above and beyond her job description for us. You could see the light in her eyes when she would see such amazing places and see her light up when she felt accomplished knowing we were all so happy. She was one of the kindest people I have ever met and truly has such a good soul. She cares deeply for each of her little ducks on this trip and it shows.
Honestly, I did not worry or stress one time on this trip all because of her. She made my trip memorable and there is nothing in the world I could do or say to thank her enough for that. This will not be my last contiki because of her.
Book this trip, you will not regret it. You will look back on this trip for the rest of your life and you will crave more.
I just finished the European Explorer and I'm not sure I could do another contiki! We had the best group of people, TM and bus driver imaginable! Alex our TM was intelligent in every place we toured and gave us incredible background to everything. Marco our bus driver would always stop and chat and joke around and our group was fantastic!! Going through post contiki depression! We got to do some awesome optionals throughout the whole trip. We had 45 people on our tour and 3 weren't Aussies so don't be surprised if you get a group of Aussies! All but one hotel were great, sometimes they were a little out of the city but it is to be expected! Best experience ever and would recommend contiki to anyone wanting to get a taste of travel in a short amount of time. Thanks contiki, I'll be back soon!!
The trip was amazing. Had a great tour guide and bus driver. Funny amazing people with lots of stories. Nice was my favourite. We went to the bar and listened to music being played all night, dancing on the tables til past midnight with waitor service. The mona lisa was a surprise it is so small. Prague had a zoo staying near the hotel so we went and patted the zebras. They have a coyote bar there. :) Tried chocolate beer and absinthe ice cream. Bought a swiss watch and accidentally put it through the wash a few times since then it still goes lol White water rafting was so fun for my first time. Paragliding was scary but totally worth it. The accommodation was fantastic. I went by myself and had a great time.
I have just finished my first contiki tour and I am beyond happy! It was such an incredible experience and is a good one to do for you first trip! Being my first solo trip and first time overseas, I was obviously a bit unsure on a lot of things! However, my INCREDIBLE trip manager Chamani made everything go so smoothly and to put it simply, made this trip, one I am never, ever going to forget! Could not thank Chamani enough and will definitely be going on more trips in the future! Chamani you absolute legend! Xxxxx
Contiki really does know how to do Europe!! This was a fantastic trip and really brought out the best bits to see and do in Western Europe. You spend just enough time in each place to see the big ticket items and feel the culture without feeling like you're missing out on something else.
The optionals are well worth it (except maybe the trip up Jungfrau which is really expensive but if you haven't seen snow before its an absolute must). The wine tasting in Rhine Valley is a must, even if you don't like wine, the local guides, the Montag family are fantastic, you will enjoy their antics! Also, make sure you have 32 Euros stashed away for the special "not advertised" MeTime optional in Amsterdam, it's good for a laugh and a good way to start your night there.
Our trip manager, Mackenzie and our driver, Artur did an absolutely smashing job on the trip. Mackenzie was knowledgable about all of cities and sites we saw and made sure everyone was having a great time. Artur made a bang up job of ensuring everyone got around safely (even with the crazy Italian traffic) and had a laugh and a drink with anyone who was keen (obviously after we got off the bus of course).
The only negative I really had was with the accomodation. Some of the locations, particularly all the places in Italy and the hotel in Amsterdam were very very hot and had no air conditioning and very little ventilation to get rid of the hot air so it makes sleeping somewhat uncomfortable. Additionally, those nights you are in hotels (e.g. Ibis Budgets, Hotel F1s, etc.) don't expect a lot out of breakfast, if it's edible, you will be lucky to get a croissant and a cup of orange juice. But these are little things and don't detract from your experience at all.
Summing up, if you are thinking about doing Europe, you should absolutely do this trip, you will have absolutely #noregrets
Just finished European Whirl and it was the most amazing experience of my life, the amount you achieve in 18 days is incredible. Dylan Tour Manager & Tiago driver are Unbelievable at what they do! I will be back and Contiki is a must do at least once in your life......
Nothing negative to say at all, embrace everything the Trip and Europe has to offer and you will have a ball! #noregrets.