Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
This tour was an excellent experience. Our trip manager and driver, Nick and Nick, were incredible! They were friendly and so genuinely keen to help everyone get the most out of the trip. During the tour you see so many stunning cities - Lisbon and Seville being my personal favourites. It was also great getting such a broad taste of Morocco in such a short space of time. We had an amazing tour of the Fez medina which is something you could never do on your own as it is such an intricate labyrinth any tourist would be irretrievably lost in minutes. Nick was really helpful in explaining how to haggle - I went from being a complete novice to getting some really good prices!
The only real negative was when we were taken to the ‘pharmacy’ in Marrakech. This was a place that sold spices, oils, lipsticks, herbal remedies etc. We were in there for over an hour and a half as we sat listening to a woman go through each product and pass them around. It was like being at a tupperware party you never agreed to going to. The prices of the items were extortionate. For example, saffron was 10 times as expensive in the pharmacy as it was in the main market we went to straight after. Many people spent over 100 euro on what appeared to me to be pressurised impulse buys. I’m not sure why contiki put this trip in the tour, but I think it’s important people who are planning on going on this otherwise excellent trip to be prepared for this.
Overall, I would recommend this tour as it gave me such a wide range of new experiences and excellent food. I met some amazing people who really made the trip what it was.
European Impressions was full on but incredibly good. We saw some amazing places, and did things that I never would have done if I didn't go on this tour. Highlights included the cabaret show in Paris, tobogganing on Mt Titlis and a full day of cocktails and sand in Nice. If you're concerned about going on your own - don't! I was, but ended up making so many friends and never felt lonely. The hotels were great quality, WiFi was always available and the long drive days weren't as bad as I thought. The food was both good and bad but you just have to go with it, it's always going to be like that! Our tour guide, Rhi was so knowledgable and kind to us, we were lucky to have her. Fun for dayyyyyyz!
If I could use one word to describe this tour, and Contiki as a whole, it would be "misleading." I was aware that the majority of the trip would be "free time" that only included occasional tour group activities -- which is exactly what I wanted. However, when I first came upon this tour package a lot of the information about trip inclusions was extremely misleading. The info would use words like "See Buckingham Palace, Visit the Louvre, etc". This lead me to believe that entrance to the sites would be included in the overall price I paid for the trip, whether or not they were schedule group outings or things I could do on my own. This was not the case. This misleading information, along with the carelessly organized and execution of the itinerary, left me with a lot of wasted time in the countries I visited. I called months before the trip to confirm that a detailed itinerary would be sent to me before departure. Because if you really think about it you’re shelling out $2,000 for a trip that you have no clue what’s actually included in the price – that’s a lot to ask of any person. But I was promised I was promised by Contiki that this itinerary would include a detailed breakdown of what was included each day and would come in the mail 2 weeks before the trip. This was also untrue. When I received my itinerary in the mail it was just a paper document of everything I had already read online which was a vague outline of the trip.
When I arrived in London I got there 8 hours before the tour actually started and could have spent all that time actually doing tours of the sites. However, I waited because I was under the impression Contiki would be providing me entrance to many of the sites. Since I was grossly mislead on this factor, I wasted an entire day in London. When I finally did get my itinerary on site in London at the tour meeting, it was not the organized and well thought out schedule I was hoping for. Instead, it was a poorly handwritten piece of paper that everyone had to pass around and take pictures on their phone because the tour guide didn’t make copies for everyone. It was during this initial tour meeting that I was also shocked to learn that our travel from London to Paris was going to take 12 HOURS. We were to meet at the bus at 6am and wouldn’t arrive in Paris until 7pm. When I had called Contiki to inquire months previous to the trip, I had also questioned the travel in between countries. I get extremely motion sick so this was a huge concern of mine. I was told that the travel between countries would never exceed 4-5 hours, which I felt was doable. This was now the second time in a day that I realized Contiki made a lot of promises they didn’t intend to keep. I immediately booked a Eurostar train from London to Paris that cost me $300 USD so that I wouldn’t A. have to endure a torturous bus ride and B. waste an entire day on a bus when I could use that time exploring. Again, another example of how a lot of time went to waste with this tour.
The activities that were included in London were a joke. They said we would take a bus tour on our first night there. Little did we know that a bus tour meant at 9pm at night, in the dark, when you can’t see anything they’re telling you about. Also, this wasn’t a professional bus tour. It was led by the Contiki tour guide who, upon entering the bus, asked the driver if he was familiar with her tour route – he wasn’t. I felt very cheated. Not to mention that if I had only known a head of time that virtually NOTHING was planned, I would have spent a lot more time creating my own itinerary. Since I was misled to believe that Contiki had a lot of inclusions, I was not given the chance to fully utilize my already limited time in each country. Also, the hotel in London didn’t have AC or enough fans to accommodate each guest so it was almost unbearable to sleep at night.
Unlike London, the Paris portion had a lot of activities planned whether they were included or at an extra cost (which most did). This left NO time to plan anything you wanted to do on your own. Where in London we had way too much unplanned time (due to Contiki’s inability to properly communicate a schedule a head of time). So many of my tour mates, and myself, were left very annoyed. Also, we didn’t receive this itinerary until we arrived in Paris. Again, it was handwritten and thrown together last minute by the tour guide. I know this because I asked her while I was in London for the Paris itinerary since I was travelling spate from the group and she couldn’t give it to me because she hadn’t planned it yet. The two highlights of this tour were the Moulin Rouge and the “farewell” dinner in Montmartre. However, please note that collectively these two activities were close to an additional $300 USD. We had one young girl in the trip, she was 18, who could not afford to attend these two main events because she thought they were already included in the price she paid and was not prepared with enough money to join in the fun. I thought that was so sad that she had to stay in her hotel because Contiki lied.
We were also told that if you went to the “Contiki basement” you could purchase cheaper tickets than you would at the actual tourist spot. Also not true. The ticket prices were the same and you had to navigate to the location of the Contiki basement which was very difficult to find.
The one defense I could give this tour is that once I added up the cost of hotel rooms, travel, and the few activities that actually were included the tour did pay for itself. That still didn’t leave me feeling any better that I could have more effectively used my time if Contiki had just been upfront and honest.
Overall, my advice to anyone considering a Contiki tour would be to only rely on them for booking your hotel rooms. That’s pretty much the only part of the tour they followed through on. But after this experience I will personally never give Contiki another dollar of my money.
Everything about this tour exceeded my expectations a million times over.
On top of obviously seeing some amazing sights, choosing European Adventurer is probably the best way to experience Europe in it's entirety and truly enjoy being on a 37 day tour. There was not one moment on this trip where I wish I had chosen a shorter tour, only once when it came to the end and I had to say goodbye to the group of people I now call my family.
37 days is a long time, and you get great value for the time and money you spend on this tour! With the European Adventurer you get to see a lot of places and enjoy them for a good amount of time before traveling to the next stop, too short a tour will lead to not seeing everything you want and too long a tour will lead to running out of things to do. Each day you are given a good balance between included and free time, which is also a perk!
When it comes to money, the safest option is saving as much as you can. You spend according to budget, but having more money can never hurt. I would encourage around $7000 NZD for comfort, and it's definitely worth it knowing you can truly enjoy every perk of the 37 day tour. There was a couple girls on my tour who survived just fine on €30 a day ($60NZD) and travel days definitely shift your budget.
Food and accommodation was also good. Having the luxury of included breakfast every morning was always handy and included dinners were also fine. Neither were too much of a problem, because at the end of the day you're in Europe!
An old contiki legend is that you get absolutely hammered every night and there's no escape from it. As someone who does not drink much at all, this was not appealing. But, it's not like that all! The perk of a 37 day tour is being able to pick and choose your nights, although it is encouraged to go out, it doesn't make or break your contiki trip. I was able to enjoy every night out, sober or pissed, because of the amazing people I got to share them with!
I'd recommend getting a SIM card for data as wifi is scarce and quite slow. I got one and it definitely came in handy and was well worth it, especially on travel days when there wasn't much to do. TAKE A POWER BOARD! most places only have one outlet and there will always be multiple people who need to recharge. LADIES, taking a hair straightener is not necessary as there is bound to be 15 other girls who also brought theirs. EU/UK travel adapters as well! I did my tour at the end of Summer and didn't pack so well for the second half of my tour that got a bit colder. Be prepared for any weather, though mostly warm, I did resort to buying warmer clothes on tour.
Overall, choosing to do the European Adventurer was a life changing experience. I loved absolutely every moment of it and would do it again in a heartbeat. My tour mates are people I now call family, and I now have lifelong friends and memories. Along with them was my amazing tour manager and bus driver, they honestly made all the difference and I loved sharing this experience with them as much as my tour mates! They were truly there to enhance every experience and definitely provided the best service for us all, and are also friends I intend to stay in touch with!
This tour was the best decision of my life and worth every day of saving, I couldn't think of a better way to experience Europe!
I have done multiple trips to Europe but this was by far the most amazing of them all!! The people absolutely make the trip so much more memorable! This trip is as fast paced as it gets so be warned, you wake up every morning, pack your suitcase and are in a new country by the afternoon. I absolutely loved how much we got to see in do in such a short amount of time and the tour manager was INCREDIBLE at making sure we kept on schedule. If you ever get the chance to travel with KIM and SANDRO you are in for an unforgettable experience!! The group is a perfect mix of personalities and you are bound to come back with 45 new friends from all over the world! The cities are all different and awesome in their own way! Some of my favorites were the night in Amsterdam and the bike tour in Munich! the quick stop in Innsbruck turned out to be one of my favorite scenery locations of the trip and our awesome bus driver Sandro went out of his way to take us to a breathtaking photo stop in the middle of Austria. They really do make the experience so much more memorable and I will definitely be back for another Contiki experience in the future!
I just want to quickly give a shout out to #ContikiLasse for making this easily one of the best trips of my life.
This trip was absolutely amazing, it was a decent pace with an average of 3 days in each city. This gave you enough time to actually say you've "seen" the city. The excursions were also fantastic, highly suggesting the bike tour in Berlin, easily one of the best nights of the trip. On the bikes we sampled fantastic food, to actually ending up at a local Ping Pong club where we played a drinking game with the locals! This trip had everything down pat, the stopover in Dresden was a favourite part and we were only there for 4hrs! Next was Prague which essentially is a city where you walk around with your mouth open the entire time because of how beautiful it is, the architecture is something else. This followed by my favourite city of the trip Vienna, I highly suggest renting a city bike on your free day and taking in the amazing bike paths the city has to offer. You can see all the major sights in the day and it only cost me $3.00 CAD to rent the bike. Lastly was Budapest, the biggest surprise of the trip. I came into the city with the lowest expectations and holly sh!t was I wrong. The city was beautiful, the food was great and the history was amazing.
All in all I would highly highly highly recommend this trip, and make sure you don't skip out early and not go to Budapest! It is so worth the extra money! This trip was the right pace, we saw all the right sights and loved every minute of it. This needs to be on your To-Do list
This tour was simply incredible! I highly recommend it. It has a great mix of everything - sightseeing, history, exploring, partying, great food and wine, stunning scenery, art, relaxing etc etc. The locations are amazing. Every single stop is different and has something you can't miss! Our guide, Maite and driver, Alessandro were absolutely amazing. So kind, so fun and complete masters at what they do! Couldn't have asked for better. Fellow travellers made the trip awesome too. You'll make friends really quickly and lots of us are keeping in touch! I did all the ME Time Optionals and it was completely worth it. Highlights (hard to list only a few) include The Valley of the Fallen, La Sagrada Familia, Flamenco dinner and show, the beach in Nice, night out in Monaco, Ponte Vecchio, Tuscan dinner, the Colosseum and lots more you can do as a group or in your free time. You will be very well fed on this tour! The meals were generous and delicious and included good helpings of wine or sangria. I also enjoyed a lot of gelato along the way since it was hot! The drives are very scenic, the coach comfy and the tour is an ideal length (you will be exhausted by the end but you can take advantage of everything fully!). The accommodation is pretty nice too generally. My friend and I did this is the middle of a 7 week trip through Europe and it was a great choice! We saw incredible things that were unique and each place had a different atmosphere and loads to offer. It was an unmissable, unforgettable experience made all the better for having things organised for you, being good value for money and getting to share the experience with a group and make lots of new friends.
This was my first contiki trip but not my first time traveling alone to Europe. I booked this trip based on the fact that I didn't have to drive myself anywhere, book tickets, and figure out what I needed to see. Safe to say that when it was time for me to go home I didn't want to leave!
I had an awesome tour manager Faye and driver Walter. Probably the most hilarious duo ever. I liked the fact that Faye wasn't a tour guide but a manager and that she knew where to go based on her personal experience with the areas we traveled to like what to eat, where to eat, what to see, etc.
I did all the available Me time options, which were fantastic but also bring money/be prepared for some extra things that aren't listed but are a must see like going in to cliffords tower, Eilean Donon castle, sterling castle (just a few that I could remember). All of the Me times were worth it though, great way to get to know the people on your trip better. The way I saw it was hey, how many times in my life will I do this!
The hotels were great, my only suggestion would be to make sure you get a room with someone who is similar to yourself or switch to achieve that or pay the extra money for a single room. I paid for a shared room hoping that I would make a friend right off the get go. My roommate changed on the second night and stayed the same for the rest of the trip. It was not ideal as we were polar opposites and switching was not an option. In the end I tried to spend as little time in the room as I could, which most people do anyway.
Another suggestion would be if you want to see or get more out of the London part of the trip show up a few days early. The time in London is short and all done in the coach as a drive by.
Make sure to save some money to tip your guides and drivers, they will go above and beyond to make sure you have an unforgettable experience.
I would 100% recommend doing a contiki trip, I was home less than 24 hrs and already looking at other trips I could do for next year!
Where do I even start. This was my first time doing a contiki and travelling by myself and I have to say I don't know how I am going to top this in my next trip.
Lets start with the boat. The rooms are quite small but I think they were big enough as you barely spend any time in there anyway. You do have to share the double bed but its quite spacious and you end up normally sleeping outside in the tanning beds. I only slept two nights in my actual beds because the tanning ones ended up being wet by the end of the week. They provide you with two towels in your room and then they have extra towels outside. They also have snorkelling gear and noodles, etc.
The food was AMAZING. I cannot emphasise this enough. Before going on my trip I read a few other reviews talking about how good it was, but I just thought they were exaggerating. They were not. The lovely cook is called Mehmet, and doesn't speak any english. He cooked us many healthy, traditional meals.
The drinks are not included. Water I found was cheaper at Bodrum. My roommate bought a 5 litre water bottle the first night and we both drank from that the whole weekend. However, the alcoholic drinks are much cheaper on board than in the clubs, especially because they are so generous with it. Those vodka and orange juice were strong. It works on a tap system so at the end of your trip you pay your tap, and you can pay in lira or in euros.
The crew was so much fun. Captain Jj and helper Mehmet (yes there are two Mehmets) joined in in all the fun and came and danced with us every time we went out. They truly were the life of the party and one of the reasons why everything was so much fun.
The places you stop at are truly beautiful. The water is crystalline and very salty so you float very easily. You normally go to about two or three different places each day. I recommend that when you dock you go on walks and explore. Most of the most beautiful sights I saw were on these walks.
I did all the extra excursions and I think all of them are worth it. The mud baths were so much fun, and the guide was really knowledgeable. We managed to see turtles as well. You have to go to the night out in Marmaris, it was by far the most fun night. The visit to the old town was the only one that slightly disappointed me, I was expecting to see more, but it was still quite interesting. You also get the opportunity to buy handmade rugs, that compared to the Bodrum price are much cheaper. Lastly, the Turkish baths were an experience. All I can say is loads of soap, water and very hairy Turkish men.
Lastly, the highlight of the week were the other travellers. I don't know if I was just really lucky but what made the experience even better was them. We had people from Canada, Australia, LA, New York, England, India, South Africa and Belgium. Because you spend so much time with everyone you get to know each person really well and by the end of the week we were almost reduced to tears every time someone left. You really do make and International family.
Its very hard to convey had much fun this trip was through words. It is a trip I will remember for the rest of my life. If you are considering it I really recommend you do it, you will not regret it.
Other tips and comments
If you are coming from the airport take the shuttle, its only 10 lira and very comfortable.
If you are going to exchange money, do it in post offices, the exchange rate is much better.
Turkey is very cheap. The first night I went out for dinner and it ended up being about 2 english pounds.
Well it was about 12-15 of us split up into two boats that sailed together like a little fleet of awesomeness. Though they were not HUGE boats, they were a nice size and made the whole experience more personal and special. As we sailed, we could sit in the back with our feet in the sea if we wanted or we could tan on the front of the boat. The skippers were awesome and very helpful. The airline even lost my luggage and somehow the skipper worked it out with a hotel in athens who was working it out with the airline and i was able to get my luggage by day two, phew! The food was amazing and very authentic and of course not much in this world can beat the views we had while sailing as well as on the islands. We stopped quite a bit in very pretty areas to swim and have our meals before we would dock at the island of the day. We would all then explore the quaint little towns and every night, everyone from the two boats would hang out and it felt like a little contiki family. Though the islands weren't the typical tourist destination, they were smaller so everything felt more authentic and natural from the food, to the locals, etc. I definitely had some very interesting experiences on this trip with very interesting and fun people and I will always treasure these memories with a big smile on my face!
I really did have a great time! I got to see some amazing things, visit some amazing places and meet amazing new friends. The 4 day Spotlight on Greece tour was very fast paced, which was fine, otherwise we wouldn't have been able to see everything we saw. The highlight for me was going to Olympia and running on the ancient Olympic track! Because I am a runner, it gave me chills of excitement just being there!
The 7 day Island hopping tour was also a lot of fun, however I would chance a couple of things. What the site does not tell you when you sign up is that you are on a cruise ship where the average age of the passengers is about 60. So we were the only group on people our age on the ship. There was 28 of us, so we made the best of it, but clearly the ship caters to the majority, and that was certainly not us. We were those annoying "kids" bugging the old fogies at the pool etc. While we did get to see a lot of the islands, we didn't get to spend much time on them. Each island had an optional ME Time, which if you didn't do you were just left to figure things out on your own for a few hours and then hop back on the ship to go to the next island. There was not one night where we got to stay out late and party on the islands. Our last night in Mykonos we got to stay out until 11:15pm, before going back to the ship.
There was a disco on board, but the music was pretty lame. You have the option to get an unlimited drinks package, so if you have like 5-8 drinks (they were pretty weak drinks), then you can dance all night to music from the 90s and early 00s. If i were to do it over, I would in a heartbeat! Just maybe not on a cruise ship. But regardless of the lack of hard core partying, this was a great adventure!!
I just got back from this trip and it was so awesome. 2 countries and lots of states - this trip is a great way to cross a lot of things off a must-see list for America/Canada.
The tour went to lots of historic sites and was really educational about America. It was also a really fun tour - we had a smaller group, but our trip manager James and coach driver Frank were just awesome. The included dinners were all amazing and the optionals were really good as well. The dinner at Niagra Falls, Second City show in Toronto and Jet Boating in Montreal are all must-do optionals on this tour in my opinion. The tour was organised really well, with lots of included activities and enough free time as well. I loved this trip and loved all of the places we visited. I highly recommend this trip!!
Best of USA was a great trip and a great way to see some of America's most popular cities and sights. Because you fly from city to city on this trip, you have a lot more time in each city to really see a lot. The inclusions were good as well as the optionals. I definitely recommend this trip.
Ohio gozaimasu, A truly unforgettable trip it was everything I wanted to do in Japan and more. I heard about this tour last year and patiently waited for it to start, worth the wait.
Accom. was excellent from city hotels to a hotel in the mountains on tatami matts to a monk temple. Food was different but delicious to try. The tour manager and guide couldn't have been any better, helpful or knowledgeable they made the trip that much more memorable. The group was amazing and we all got along. Best moment would be hrmm the entire trip :D
This was a sight seeing tour to make your eyes water and fulfill your desires of seeing this vast country an overload of the senses. I would insanely recommend this tour for any individual who has a passion either for travel, nature, historical content or anything Japanese related. Sayonara.
I have just returned from my 5 day outback tour, It was more than i expected!. The 23 people on my tour were all amazing, we were all so different but got along so well. The tour guide mark was great, he kept us busy during long drives with dvds and games. Camping under the magical stars in an ozzi swag was a highlight for me, seeing some wildlife such as wild dingos, snakes and birds was pretty cool. Kings canyon was beautiful, and of course Uluru for sunset and sunrise was amazing, more beautiful than i expected. Im vegetarian and they catered perfectly for me, Although all of the others enjoyed trying kangaroo tail and all sorts of other weird stuff haha. Accommodation was basic and clean. I found the trip a perfect mix of everything eg- culture, outback experience and a couple of nights drinking- Optional. Some of the people did a hot air balloon ride and said it was amazing, i had a quad bike experience and loved it. This trip is amazing, and id recommend it to anyone who wants to see the true outback or just enjoy some incredible views with a group of people.
Amazing would recommend this tour to anyone, a lot of free time to chill out and enjoy what Thailand has to offer.
I don't think that there are any words to summarize exactly what I experienced. Was it pure bliss from the amazing sights I was experiencing? Was it the amazing European food? Was it the Contiki Cough we all caught? I will never know. But what I do know, is that I would do it all over again without any hesitation, sickness and all. Even though our Gypsy curse tried to rain on our parade, we wouldn't let any flat tire or sickness bring us down! Jake and Rasto were such an amazing pair, and their amazing attitudes really made us all bond as a family. My Contiki family. You will make memories to last a lifetime, and some of those memories you might not remember at all, thanks to free wine of course, but no memories of the night, are just as valuable as the vibrant ones. I just can't express to you how much you NEED to go on this trip. You hit all the highlights, and even some places in between that you might not have heard of, and those end up being your favorite... I'm looking at you LUCERNE. Anywho, don't hesitate. Just go for it. Live your adventure, and let Contiki help guide the way.
I always had people tell me to "go on a Contiki tour, go on a Contiki tour!!" My word of advice after completing this tour: GO ON A CONTIKI TOUR!! We spent an overall 3.5 weeks in Europe, though only 12 days on the tour itself, but the Contiki tour had enough memories for a lifetime. Here's my brief description of our European Discovery (let's test my memory after going on the trip almost two years ago):
Day 1 - We start in London leaving off from The Royal National Hotel. I highly recommend staying here beforehand. It isn't a fancy hotel, but it does the job and it's very easy and convenient to stay here as this is where the tour leaves from. We met up the previous day with some people we spoke with on the Contiki Meet Up page doing the same tour as us to get to know each other and we became a family by the end of the trip (however, you do have a small gathering the night before anyway with your tour manager). Firstly, you head off to cross the ports and cross the English Channel, this isn't a long ship ride and there's plenty of food for breakfast. The ship docks in France and you drive through Belgium to get to AMSTERDAM. We went on a canal cruise (beer on tap say what?!) and walked through the red light district. We also had the opportunity to go to a sex show, which I recommend, it was definitely a good insight into how different the culture is. We went to a coffee shop and a nightclub, and FEBO! You MUST go to FEBO, it is the best fast food ever.
Day 2 - We visited Anne Frank house and did a tour of the Heineken Brewery. Amsterdam is beautiful. Take the time to get up early and explore, its amazing. The we get on the bus to go to St. Goar in Germany, a beautiful town in the Rhine Valley. We had a wine tasting in a cave which I recommend, we also walked up to a castle overlooking the river. It's a beautiful sight, you can't miss it.
Day 3 - Off to Munich! We were lucky to stop at Dachau Concentration Camp, very eerie but a very eye opening experience. Then we got into Munich and went to the Hoffbraus for good beer, pretzels, dancing, and an overall awesome time (see picture above).
Day 4 - We had a walking tour of Munich which was great. It was a good opportunity to see Munich as you are guided by a local. It started snowing as we left Munich, I was devastated! Then back onto the bus to go to INNSBRUCK - my favourite place in the world. Innsbruck is beautiful. You have the opportunity to go up onto the mountain and see one of the most incredible views ever. I fell in love with this town and will definitely go back. Dinner is a traditional Austrian dinner, we were lucky enough to have a show put on for us with authentic Austrian dance, music and costumes.
Day 5 - Onto Venice! You take a ferry into the heart of Venice but this is a very short trip. We went on a Gondola Ride and that was amazing. Venice seems to have a bad rep but I loved it. One tip for Italy: Do not have food or coffee on the main strip/square. It's very expensive so just have a wander through the alleys before sitting down, you can also barter with the waiters (for example, we got a free shot of limoncello with our dinner).
Day 6 - Next stop: Rome. The weather was quite bad (understatement) when we went to Rome but the first night was our only good night of weather. We saw the colosseum by night and had a lovely dinner. Today was also Australia Day so we spent the night drinking in a pub around the corner from our hotel.
Day 7 - We went to the Vatican for a tour and then had an Imperial tour of Rome (Roman Forums and Colosseum). This day was bucketing down rain so a few of us ended up leaving and sat in a cafe drinking hot chocolate hoping we wouldn't get sick. Tip: There are a lot of gypsies but just ignore them, pay them no attention and just keep walking.
Day 8 - FIORENZA! Florence was one of my favourite stops. It is such an old town with amazing scenery which made for a beautiful group photo overlooking the town. This day was mainly spent exploring the town. The optional extra was going to the largest nightclub in Florence, it was so much fun (and I'm not a person who likes clubbing).
Day 9 - Back on the bus to Lucerne, a beautifully gorgeous town. It is an incredible sight. Mainly we just walked around the town with our tour manager. Your hotel is an old jail. It was quite interesting - I didn't like the bunkbeds though. There isn't too much to do at night but there is a bowling alley/bar a couple blocks down from the hotel and we mainly sat there drinking beer and playing pool. It was a good night to relax.
Day 10 - This was our longest bus trip, Lucerne to Paris. But when you get into Paris.... wow. It is amazing, one of my top three spots. The Contiki bus took us around the main attractions by night and this is when a few of us went up the Eiffel Tower. It was such a stunning view at night, and the tower sparkles on the hour so that was an experience being up there while it sparkled. I recommend going up at night but day would be just as nice.
Day 11 - This was the biggest day of the tour. We got up early (just a group of 5 of us) and went straight to the Catacombs (an eerie but incredible experience), Notre Dame, the Louvre (which I found quite boring but you have to go) Padlock Bridge and the Arch de Triomphe. That night was saw the Moulin Rouge and we had so much fun, I highly recommend spending the money to go, it is SO worth it.
Day 12 - This was the day our Contiki came to the end. Some people got dropped off at the airport or stayed in Paris, while others went back to London (specifically to the Royal National). My European Discovery was incredible. I highly highly HIGHLY recommend this tour, especially for someone who hasn't travelled before.
As an Australian doing this trip I highly recommend this to all fellow Aussies as well as foreigners. This trip was incredible, there was never a free moment, we were constantly going somewhere and seeing something amazing. Our country may not be have castles and structures that are centuries old but we have incredible cultural heritage as well as some very old amazing sandstone structures that almost seem impossible to exist. These are our pyramids and stonehenge. They may not be man made but thinking about most of the place we visited, (Uluru, Katherine Gorge, Kakadu National Park etc) the fact that nature created those, and that they are so old that there are no fossils to be found, blows my mind.
I met some amazing people on this trip, made some great friends. We had a small group, only 16 and it made it really easy to get to know everyone and we became quite a close knit group. Many thanks to our informative Trip Manager (Mark) and amazing driver (Benny) who taught me many things I didn't know about my own country but also for the vague and confused looks they caused on the foreigners when they said something truly Aussie!
The Northern Territory feels like a whole other planet, it's so different and beautiful that doing this trip will really open your eyes to the wonders our planet holds.
I 100% recommend everyone does this trip, especially if you are interested in seeing some huge crocs (eating some too) in the wild as well as some massive rocks in the desert!
P.S. i suggest (If you have the funds) to do every single ME TIME Optional apart from the Harley Davidson Ride around Uluru (you walk around it and drive around it on the bus) and also the Crocosaurus Cage. Now it might just be me but when I saw people doing it, I got a better view from underneath. The crocs aren't interested, they are so docile from being in captivity it was sort of boring. Save the excitement for when you see them in the wild. Also if you can, do the longer helicopter flight over Uluru because you also get to go over Kata Tjuta which is just as beautiful.
if you're thinking of booking the Turkish Sailing, DO, #NOREGRETS.
TURKEY IS BEAUTIFUL.
This was mine and a girlfriends first Contiki, we didn't know what to expect but the trip was amazing - so much better than we could have ever imagined!
The crew are lovely; there's the Captain, chef and first mate, Mehmet! They're all really nice and willing to help you with whatever, whenever! They all got involved, joining us on our night out in Marmaris, the Captain even got the beer-bong out on Pirate Night (Thursday). They're very laid back and let you do what you want (I was aloud to drive the speedboat!) - but make sure you get them involved because they truly are lovely people!
The food is great; its all healthy and consists of a lot of rice, pasta, meat, fish & veggies. There's cornflakes for breakfast alongside eggs, sausages and bread with jams etc. The bar is on tab which you will pay the Friday night before you leave for your last night out. Mine was around 80euros for the week, and I did have a fair few bottles of wine! They also let me pay for my tab in pounds.
FYI, there is Wifi on the boat, speak with the Captain and he'll give you the password - 15euros for the week! (which will be added to your tab) But do note that because of the remote location the boats docked at night the Wifi wasn't always working!
The boat was bigger than expected, and did have electricity for phone chargers etc. (however the generators are only on for a few hours in the evening, although the Captain will tell you when). The rooms are tiny and all have a private 'bathroom' with a toilet, shower and sink. We slept on the deck every night, because the rooms were so hot and was gladly woken by the breakfast bell every morning! The stars were absolutely beautiful, and luckily due to the diverse group of people - I learnt a tonne; about sailing, stars, navigations etc.!
The boat has lots of flippers, snorkels, spaghetti floaties and even a kayak which is available for everyone to use.
I'd recommend that everyone does all the excursions available; there was only 5/32 who wanted to do the Village Tour, and personally this was one of my favourite. We were picked up by a local from the Village (Etrim Village) who took us to the local mosque and told us the background of the village and about the Turkish culture. We had tea at the local teahouse, homemade wine and then traditional Turkish pancakes made by his mother, which was delicious! Here we got an opportunity to find out about how Turkish carpets are made and could purchase some at the village shop. It was a very informative trip which I would have been gutted if I missed!
FYI, on the first day a lady will come to the boat who will give everyone an overview of the trip, this is when you book and pay for your excursions.
Packing; there isn't much room for your bags in the room, so go light! We lived in bikinis during the day, and sometimes even still had them on after dinner! We went 'outout' three times; our first night in Bodrum at the Whitehouse, then a wicked night in Marmaris and again back to the Whitehouse on the last Friday.
One thing I will note is to bring good walking shoes/trainers; we went on a hike which was a HIKE, the hill was really steep and rocky and couldn't be done without trainers. It was a mission but take some bevvys with you to watch the sun set when you get up there!
Plus, you get to do watersports (jetskis, flying fish, banana boats, ringos at additional cost) on the Friday before you head back into Bodrum!
We were always totally oblivious of the time at all times, but that's what we wanted!
Honestly couldn't have asked for a better trip and would defiantly recommend this to everyone!
We were really lucky to have had two boats going together, we had the opportunity to meet some great people! Worth every penny spent :)