Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
I've done quite a bit of travelling over the last few years, and the Canadian Rockies is undoubtedly the most beautiful place I've ever been. Pictures cannot do it justice, you have to go and see it for yourself!
Highlights for me:
- White water rafting in Jasper - Never been rafting before and it was incredible fun. After you power your way through the rapids, you float peacefully downstream to the finish line with the best backdrop you could ever ask for. I even went for a swim down the glacial river next to the raft, where the water had just come off the mountains not even 24 hours earlier which was quite the experience!
- Helicopter flight in Banff - The best views in all the Rockies, views you can't see on foot. You get right up close to the mountains, which was incredible.
- Maligne Lake Cruise - The cruise out to Spirit Island is a must. Picture perfect scenery out on the water the whole way.
- Peak 2 Peak Gondola up to Blackcomb Mountain - SNOW!!!
- Capilano Suspension Bridge - A long, swaying bridge high above the forest was too cool not to check out.
- Vancouver Dinner Cruise - A spectacular sunset cruise on the harbour where everyone gets dressed up on the final night. Full of great food, drinking and dancing, you won't want to miss it.
- Athabasca Glacier - SNOWBALL FIGHT!!!
- And Lake Louise, of course!
A few tips:
- Stay awake on the bus or you'll miss all the bear sightings!
- Vancouver is an awesome city, make sure you spend some extra time there either before or after the tour.
Alex is the trip manager and is an absolute legend! You're in good hands with him running the show.
Lastly, if you have any questions, feel free to hit me up here, on instagram or on facebook. I'll be happy to answer any questions you've got about anything! If you want to check out some photos of my trip, I have many up on my instagram (@jonty_cabral).
If you are wanting to do a short Europe trip, i would recommend this one because you get to see most of the sights in Western Europe and you can add on a cruise option too! My favourite places included Paris, Hofgarten and the greek islands. One of the most unexpectedly fun parts of the trip was the 10 hour ferry trip from Bari, Italy to Igoumenitsa, Greece. We pretty much played cards (and some drinking games) which was great for bonding! If i could do it all again, i would, and there isn't much i would change.
Italy is stunning and this tour is a fantastic way to see a snapshot of the regions. Mixing ancient wonders and lazy beach-side days, this tour was a good mix of fast and relaxed days. Our tour guide Maite was fantastic, she was passionate about her country, always willing to go 110% for us and you could tell she loved sharing her Italy with us. If it wasn't for her, I would not have had as good of a time.
Some of the inclusions were not great (i.e the walking tour in Florence) and the wine tasting in Tuscany. The optional extra's were good, the paid dinners were fantastic!
Really recommend this tour for those who want to explore one country that has a unique and welcoming culture. Hopefully you will get Maite and have a fantastic time.
This trip was not what I was hoping for. Croatia is very pretty however very smelly due to them dumping their own sewage in the ports. Unfortunately the boat I was on had bed bugs and it room had a big best which meant we got so many bites. The staff on the boat were really friendly and tried to help in every way they could.
The boat was a bit older than most of the others so they could have done an update on it.
It was a very laid back tour with our tour manager not caring what we did all day. We could do as much as we liked or as little as we wanted.
Overall, I wish contiki had have handled the bed bug situation much better. They were not very willing to help and if it wasn't for the boat staff, I would have definitely left early.
Nice pace to see all the main attractions. Met a great group of people and got to see the main attractions in Europe. Accomodation could have been a bit better for he amount you pay but it wasn't too bad. The food was ok, possibly could have been a bit of a better range. The pace was really good allowin us to have Atleast 2 nights in each place, sometimes having 3. The best part of it would definitely be the end in Corfu! Georges boat is definitely the best optional and I would highly recommend it to everyone!!
This was such an amazing trip! The cruise was so lovely and the drinks package was even better. Worked out about $120 AUD for unlimited drinks for the whole duration of the cruise. The food was great and the activities were fun! Santorini was really nice and The accomodation was in a pretty good location allowing us to walk everywhere. Our tour guide Steve was really great and took us everywhere and was very willing to help. Met some amazing people on this tour and absolutely loved it!! This is more of a slow paced tour which was nice but I would definitely recommend this tour to anyone wanting to see the Greek islands! I would even do it again!!!
I had a great trip and met some truly wonderful people, our trip manager Karina was fantastic, she did such a great job of motivating the group and keeping us all entertained, she was very knowledgeable on all the places that we visited. Our driver Artur did a great job as well, taking us to all these great places and loading and unloading our bags from the bus, he even came out with us in Prague on his night off!
This trip is an excellent way to see Europe if you don't have enough time to do one of the longer trips, however if I there is one regret it is that I didn't do a longer trip!
The highlights for me were Berlin and Vienna, both of these places have some wonderful architecture and history to learn about. I took an extra day in Vienna as you don't quite get to see enough with the included itinerary with Contiki, however Karina was kind enough to let us tag along for the day once our trip had ended. The accommodation was fine, however the hotel we stayed at in Amsterdam wasn't the best - tiny rooms and the showers didn't work properly in our room, it was OK if you didn't mind getting your skin scalded! But the trip wasn't about the accommodation, as Karina told us you don't go home and tell your friends about the great hotel you stayed at you tell them about all the fun experiences you had! :)
The included breakfasts and dinners were OK, basic but sufficient enough. We had a good selection of ME time optionals, if I would recommend just one it would be the dinner at Volendam - it was superb! I would have probably done without the river cruise in Prague, it was OK but we didn't learn too much about the city which I'd hoped for, the bike ride was a better opportunity for that.
If you are considering this trip some things to bear in mind would be there are a couple of long travel days, the longest being 8hrs from Amsterdam to Berlin - so remember that if you decide to have a heavy night in the Dam, which many of our group did! ;)
Another thing would be that I didn't know that we had free time on the trip, which is much my own fault for not realising. Have an idea of what things you would like to see in each place you visit so you can squeeze as much out of the trip as you can. Another thing to be aware of is that this tour is a "module" to the longer European Trail. It doesn't really make any difference, but it does make you jealous when you have to go home and the rest of the group are staying on to see some more great places!
Contiki doesnt cease to amaze me! Trip was awesome, mainly because of the sights and the tour guide who was an expert in egyptian history. Words cannot describe it. Just wish that we spent few more days at Hurghada enjoying the beach... Many people told be that I was crazy to go to Egypt, but, seriously, there is nothing to be afraid of. It is really sad to see such amazing sights without tourists... So just pack your bags and go, it is an unforgettable experience!
I dreamed about this trip for years before I finally did it and it was worth every penny. From the incredible memories that I made to the life long friendships that I formed, Contiki managed to make this an experience of a lifetime.
Not only will you get to cross off so many bucket list items: climbing to the top of the Eiffel Tower, gambling at the Monte Carlo Casino, walking through the Colosseum, throwing a coin in the Trevi Fountain, getting to sail around Corfu with George's Boat, riding a camel with the Great Pyramids in the background, wandering through the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, enjoying the night life in Budapest, and climbing to the top of Jungfrau Mountain in the Swiss Alps, but the amazing places and things you will see and do that you never expected make every moment worthwhile. Don't ever spend a night in or a free day at the hotel - go out and do whatever it is that your tour manager suggests, he or she will not let you down! And always do the optionals - the dinners are fabulous, the local guides are fun, and many of these things made our group the family that we are now.
They are not joking when they say this trip is high energy, you learn to catch up on Zz's on the coach and living out a suitcase becomes a natural thing. But going home completely broke and tired because you had that pizza in Florence, had to buy that cheese in Edam, or really needed those new shoes in Greece makes it worth the credit card bill when you get home. All of your friends and family will be so jealous of your worldly travels and you'll have some of the best photos for your walls.
Don't let the media or news turn your nose up to some of the more exotic Eastern countries either, they were some of my favourite locations and Contiki always made me feel safe no matter what was going on in the world. The hotels aren't always awesome, but you learn to care less because you spend so little time there except to sleep, the accommodations don't matter. And the location of most of the accommodations make up for it anyways - 5 minute walk from the Blue Mosque or a 10 minute metro ride into downtown really helps you make the most of your trip.
My tour manager and coach driver were an absolute blast - they were an incredible team and I can only hope they get to work together more in the future!
This was my second Contiki and it was just a much fun as my first. The optionals were all good fun and there was plenty of free time to go out and explore. Highly recommend the bobsled in Norway - it was such an adrenaline rush and not something you would do everyday.
Met a really great group of people and our trip manager and driver were always there to make sure we had an enjoyable time.
I was a solo traveller and most people in this group were too but by the end of the week I had made friends from all around the world. Finished the week with #noregrets
This trip was one of the best experiences of my life!
Everything that happened on this tour exceeded my expectations! Contiki was amazing and took very good care of all of us on this tour.
The accomodation: this tour includes accomodation in the Special Stopovers and Cabins' section of Contiki and although these places were not 5 star hotels, they were comfortable and exactly what you needed for your stay. Remember you will hardly be in the rooms. I did not experience any bed bugs and Contiki really took care of me and my belongings at the stopovers.
The food: The Contiki provided food was surprisingly good! At the Contiki Special Stopover's you got a nice full breakfast and dinner's were really fantastic and relevant to whichever country you were in. Hotel and hostels provided a continental breakfast which was satisfying.
The bus: Comfortable seats and always fun when the music was being played loudly. Great way to catch up on some sleep.
MeTime Options: Such a fantastic way of seeing parts of Europe in a really unique and special way. Highly recommend Paragliding in Austria, Gondola in Venice, Space Disco in Florence, Jungfrau Mountain Visit in the Swiss Alps and the Canal Cruise in Amsterdam.
Contiki cough: Yep, it's a real thing. What I and about 95% of the bus had was pretty much bronchitis. Once one person gets it, the whole group gets it. It never prevented me from doing any of the activities but I recommend to bring bronchitis-specific antibiotics, electrolytes, cold and flu tablets, and just general pain killers.
Also bring tablets for gastro - we had that going around too.
I cannot thank my amazing Tour Manager Mackenzie and Tour Driver Artur enough. Both were so professional and dedicated to their jobs. They both made me feel so safe and provided me with hours of entertainment. Mackenzie really knew her facts about the countries and Artur has some serious skill driving and parking that massive bus.
If you're looking at seeing Europe in a fast paced and fun way - this is the tour for you!
New York is an absolute crazy awesome place and I wish I could have spent more time there for sure! But luckily on the New York Uncovered tour you get to see a whole bunch of awesome things with lots of included activities, heaps of optionals and plenty of free time.
I had just finished the Grand Southern tour so this was perfect timing to start some NY exploring. We were taken on a city tour and were shown around some cool spots and were taken up the Empire State Building at night which was amazing to see the city from up high glowing down below in the dark - especially Times Square! We also went out to see the Statue of Liberty and learn how she was built which was really interesting.
I did most of the optionals and they were all great. The helicopter ride is pricey but it was an amazing way to see the city and the surrounding areas. The food cart tour is really cool as you get to experience lots of other cultures cuisines (so not just typical hotdogs and pretzels) and going up the One World Trade Centre Tour had the best views of the city by far. It also was amazing to see the city come back and rebuild itself with this amazing building and beautiful memorial down below. The TV and Movie tour was also good and our guide was great, but if you're not really into that stuff then your Contiki guide will point out enough on the city tour to get you by.
There is heaps of free time to explore as well. I was lucky enough to be able to see my favourite band Blink-182 play on our free night which was so amazing. So look out for gigs or sports events around the time you go as it definitely adds to the fun. I also spent the day roaming around parts of the city either walking or using the subway (which was quite daunting at first but gets much easier as you go - and Google Maps will tell you where to walk and which train to get on so you'll be fine!) I had lunch at an Italian market area called Eataly in Chelsea which would have been one of the best meals I had in my time in America. I also checked out the HBO and NBC stores (unfortunately I was there when the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon wasnt filming but that would have been cool to see). Another place that lots of people recommended when we were there was the Highline. It's an historic freight railway line up above and in between the buildings that has been converted into a walkway and park. I thought I wouldnt have time to go but the amount of people that told me about it meant it must of been cool so I'm really glad I took the time to take a look around and walk on part of the area.
And also - definitely DEFINITELY see a Broadway show. I know it's obvious but I almost didn't think I'd have time, but just drop something and make it work because I'm so glad I did! I saw Aladdin and it was spectacular and brought tears to my eyes (bias cause fave Disney movie) but heard lots of other people have great times at other Broadway shows. There are booths and apps and websites that will let you know what's running and will also give you discounts etc.
Our guide Dan was also super great, he's from the area and would tell us heaps of stories and info/history about the city and would join us on quite a lot of the included or optional activities too.
I would definitely loved to have spent more time there as there is so much to see in New York City, but on the NY Uncovered tour you see heaps so it's definitely a good way to start or end a trip after doing something like the Grand Southern.
This was my first holiday to Europe and my first Contiki tour. This was the best 13 days of my life! Nothing compares to the beautiful crystal clear waters in Greece! The highlight of the trip was definitely Mykonos! We stayed on Paradise Beach one of the most well known beaches in Mykonos. the party life on the beach picks up at about 4pm and and does not stop until 6am. We could hear the music pumping from our room all day and all night long! There is no place like it! Aside from the party lifestyle there is so much to see and do in Mykonos. The Mykonos town is simply breathtaking, so beautiful! All of our accommodation was great everywhere we stayed for location, except for Santorini as we were too far away from the main town and it impacted our time spent there. I found that the included dinners on the tour were never as good as places you could find on your own. We asked locals for recommendations, you can't go wrong! I'd definitely recommend hiring a quad bike at some point in your trip when you have some free time, I hired one in Ios and spent the whole day on it exploring the island this was probably the best day on the tour! I did most of the extra activities and I highly recommend doing most of them so you can bond with the group and make the most of the tour. This tour was the perfect amount of time. At first I thought 13 days was too long to be on a contiki tour, however we spent at least 3 days in each place and it was perfect! We had at least one whole free day in each place which was fantastic to kick back and take everything in! Make sure you get yourself a Gyros or 10 in Greece nothing like it back at home oh and... beware of the Contiki Cough, it is definitely not a myth! You will not regret doing this tour it will be the best contiki tour you have ever done I promise you!
European horizon was a high energy trip, so we were constantly on the go. Got to see some amazing beautiful sights. I wish we had spent more time in Venice however, because you're there for maybe half a day. But otherwise, had an amazing trip, had an amazing group of Australians, Canadians, Americans, Mexicans and more! Everyone was friendly and fun. I went solo and made so many great friends and we still keep in touch! You get to know them inside out in the short time you spend together.
We had a very helpful and cheery tour manager and coach driver.. They really made the trip memorable. It was obvious they loved their jobs.
Accommodations were reasonable given what you are paying for them. If you're looking for a five star hotel type vacation, this is probably not the trip for you. Though I didn't encounter bed bugs, the beds were small and the rooms were really just to fall asleep in after a long day. But, if you're planning on spending most of the day outside anyway, it won't really matter!
This was a high energy trip - it's really just always on the go!
It is a good way to see specific places in a short amount of time, and also get a feel for where you want to explore further next time. For me, it was a great introduction to Europe, especially since it was my first time travelling alone it made it much easier. The Me time options on this trip were amazing! I wasn't brave enough to try paragliding but everyone who did loved it.
Be prepared to only catch up on sleep on the bus. And the contiki cough... Is real! Try to squeeze in enough vitamin C and rest between all the partying.
I was really nervous before booking and even before getting to the contiki meetup. It was my first trip far alone, but after doing it, I recommend it to anyone who is on the fence. DO IT! You'll have the time of your life.
How do you sum up 25 of the fullest, happiest, drunkest, most beautiful days of your life? Would 100% recommend staying on the entire tour, as loosing half the group in Rome just about broke my heart and the newbies found it more difficult to jel with the group. I don't think i realised how much bus travel there would be but WORTH IT. San Sebastian is bloody awesome, Florence i had the best pasta of my whole damn existence, Berlin taught me so much and Nice has water so icy blue it didn't even look real. Optional extras were a little pricy but you have to do them. Food for vegos was awesome in places like Italy, however Spain i was hungry haha. A year on and people i met on this tour from 30kms away, interstate and even over seas made it to my 21st, and we all still talk regularly. You will almost definitely make friends for life on contiki. Time to rap this up before i get teary. Shout outs to Pedro for being the best driver ever, and Cam for being beautifully kiwi. Sweet team.
For those thinking of doing the European Escapade I highly recommend it, especially if it is your first time in Europe! I just finished it recently and it was 25 unbelievable days! The length was definitely perfect because it’s not too long and it’s not too short, giving you ample time to explore Europe. So I could rave on and on about how good it is but I want to also tell you the negative things to make sure that you are prepared for EVERYTHING.
For starters, ensure that you bring a lot of medication like panadol/nurofen, cold/flu tablets, cough medicine, throat lozenges and nasal sprays. You are 100% guaranteed to get what is known as the contiki cough and that includes a constant and annoying cough that you’ll have for at least 2 weeks, congestion/runny noses and sore throats etc.
Next thing, bed bugs. I would definitely recommend getting a “silk sak”. It can be bought on eBay and is just a light sleeping sack made of silk. Sleeping in that with the blankets over the top of it is one way of preventing yourself from getting bed bug bites (if you do happen to encounter them yourself) and purchase some bed bug spray as well. This came in handy, especially in Rome, Switzerland and Austrian Tyrol where a few of us encountered some nasty bed bugs, resulting is us having to wash everything in our suit case and walk around covered in bites. I cannot stress enough how careful you should be when going to new accommodation and make sure you check the beds, even under the mattress!!
Keep a water bottle on you everywhere you go so you make sure that you’re not buying water all the time as well as a few snacks here and there because the food is very expensive, I spent more money on food than anything else.
DON’T FEEL PRESSURED TO DO EVERY ME TIME OPTIONAL. The guides will tell you that you’ll feel left out if you don’t do everything but that is definitely not the case. There will always be someone else who isn’t doing a particular thing so you can hang out with them and do your own thing. I really enjoyed all of the optional dinners but if you don’t want to do them all PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do the Tuscan dinner. It will be the best dinner of your trip with an abundance of amazing Italian food! I didn’t really enjoy the walking tour in the Vatican but it does include entry tickets through the Basilica and you do get to see some of Michelangelo’s greatest works. Paragliding and white water rafting are so much fun! BRING SHOWER SHOES!!!! You will be thanking me when you get to a place that has communal showers and you are standing in someones shower water puddles and soap. It will also prevent tinea which is a massive plus! One last thing, make sure you have a decent amount of money because things are very expensive in Europe!! You may think it’s just people over exaggerating but trust me, some things are definitely over priced so thin before you buy! Anyway, I hope this hasn’t stopped you from wanting to do it because you will have an amazing time and make amazing friends along the way, some that will definitely be there for a life time! So safe travels and have a great time!
Contiki is a good option if you are wanting to see a lot of places in a short amount of time. You will meet some great people and make some memories you will always remember.
On the European Discovery tour we got to hit the main things in each country. I recommend doing only a couple of the optional tours they give you as you still want time to explore for yourself. The Switzerland ride up to the Alps is great and the dinners that are optional do them! The food is amazing and well worth the price.
Our tour guide was AMAZING loved her!!!! Anna did an awesome job!!
Some Things to be aware of if you are going to book....
1. BED BUGS!!!!
In Germany we went to a hotel that had bed bugs in it. They were crawling on the walls, ceiling and all over the sheets. We were told before hand to only bring in a small bag not out luggage (perhaps because there were BED BUGS but I cannot say for sure). The next morning a bunch of people awoke with bites and bugs in their bags
In Switzerland we went to a jail hotel. It literally was a jail that was changed into a hotel. In my opinion in was more jail than hotel. Within the room there were strange red bugs that were crawling over the sheets.
Try to Google the reviews of the hotels before booking if possible.
2. People Trying to sell you goods (something to be aware of as it occurs frequently in Europe)
In Florence we went on a "leather tour" it actually just a leather store where we could buy stuff.
In Paris we went to a perfume store where the ladies went over how to make perfume then we existed via the gift shop. This would have been fine except we only had one day in Paris and this "tour" took up 2 hours of our day
"Exit via the Giftshop"
3. Hours on a Bus
If you are going to do a Contiki tour be aware that most of your day is going to be spent on the bus. On average we drove about 6-7 hours each day then arrived at the town to explore for a couple of hours. So make sure you plan what you want to do accordingly see the sights you want to see first then move on.
The tourwas certainly not what I expected. Usually solo travellers book tours because everything is organised and you have a tour guide that will ensure things run smoothly and according to plan. Unfortunately, in Contiki’s instance, the tour guide for my tour in Mexico, Belize & Guatemala was the downfall of my entire holiday. I went away for a total of 7 weeks, and this Contiki tour was my longest, and worst part of my holiday. I met a few great people along the way and visited a few great sites, but the disorganisation, the rude tour guide, the accommodation and the recommended optionals are absolutely not value for money. Spending almost $6,000AUD in Central America for 18 days, I was expecting some luxurious holiday at the best of the best, but checking into rooms with scorpions and mostly mosquito-ridden and broken air conditioning is far from unpleasant. One of our rooms separated our bathroom and bedroom by a sheer curtain, and when you're sharing with a new roommate, you don't exactly want to see them in the toilet. Our tour guide was unapproachable and disinterested for most of the trip and it was definitely disappointing. Would I recommend this tour to my friends and family? Absolutely not. In fact after my other 2 tours in Cuba & Colombia with G Adventures were so unbelievably brilliant, I’m tempted to write the first complaint letter of my life to Contiki. Save your money, do a different tour.
Our Canadian trip was absolutely amazing.
You could never imagine just how much you could possibly see in the 13 days on the tour - this trip is a must-do and a trip of a lifetime. I've seen parts of Canada before but never like I did on this tour.
We had the best group of people and a fantastic Tour Guide (Alex) and Driver (Richard), they went over and above to take/show us places and experiences that aren't necessarily included in the brochure.
I could not recommend the experience high enough.
OMG I loved. I mean loved my first Contiki trip and SE Asia. I did the Asian Adventure with Contiki in June/July 2016 and loved it from start to finish. I was a bit nervous as this was my first solo trip to Southeast Asia, and being over 30. But I needed not worry. This is the best way to travel without worry about anything. All I had to do was turn up at specific times everything was taken care of. I'd booked a transfer from the airport to the starting hotel through Contiki and this was hassle free as I did have to worry about looking for taxi upon arrival in Bangkok. I was happy to see a sign with my name on it with the Contiki logo once I exited outside. The starting hotel was amazing. Even though I had arrived at 10am there was no problem with checking in early, my room was ready and waiting. The staff at the hotel was very friendly and helpful. The next 2 weeks travelling through Asia with Contiki was the best experience I could ever hope to have, even getting soaked in a thunderstorm was an amazing experience in itself. I can't find fault with any of the hotels or transportation that was used throughout this trip. Our tour leader Jazz was amazing. She was full of helpful information and knew nearly everything and if she didn't she'd get back to you. I met someone amazing people on my trip and can't wait to do it again. My advice if you're thinking of doing this trip do it. It's worth all the money. And do all the extras that are offered. I went on this trip alone but came back with 13 new friends from all over the world.
P.S don't pack too much. You can get all or everything in Asia.