Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
If you want memories and friends that will last a lifetime, this trip is definitely for you. I cannot speak highly enough of it. There's really not much of the USA you don't see, all the inclusions are amazing and the optionals are all worth it. 100% do the helicopter rides, hot air ballooning and jet boating. The food is incredible and the people are ridiculously friendly. And if you're lucky enough, you might even have Rachel as your TM.
This tour is a great option for a number of reasons.
1. Great length of time
The trip itself is only 16 days. This is a great period of time to spend on Contiki - you can make friends, see so many things and not get "over it" - sometimes Contiki can be really full on and overwhelming, not to mention exhausting.
2. Great destinations
The places you visit are all really interesting and have heaps to offer, whether you want to go out and drink with your Contiki friends, or see the city sites. The opportunities to do things built into your tour are great, and the ME time optionals are mostly really good too.
3. Great Contiki crew
Both the tour managers and drivers have been professional, personable and trustworthy on both tours I've done. I can't complain about Contiki staff - they do a great job in trying conditions. Contiki busses are comfortable, and if you're lucky enough to get the selfie bus, you can't miss it!
4. Great companions
The people who do Contiki have varied personalities, which is great because everyone is welcomed and is accepted. You don't find yourself left out or abandoned, because your mates are watching out for you. Whether you're a party animal or a bit more reserved and introverted, you will be fine. You will enjoy yourself!
Re feedback for the tour itself, I have a couple of things to mention:
Venice accommodation is awful. Please find somewhere else. If it means a price rise, do it anyway. I would rather have paid more than have stayed there... and that's putting it politely! I am happy to discuss this further with Contiki if necessary.
The included dinners - mostly average to bad. The standout was the meal provided in Krakow. Please consider sourcing other meal options for included dinners OR remove most of them. I honestly would rather have not paid for them and found my own food. The group doesn't need them to bond either, if that is a concern. You spend enough time with people doing other activities that the dinners are not necessary if the quality of the meals is going to remain the same. I know other people on the tour felt this way after discussions about this.
Some of the ME time optionals should be assessed at the time of attending - the reason I say this is because I don't think the form provided just before the conclusion of the tour is given at an ideal time to supply genuine feedback.
My biggest gripe with this tour, and should be noted by people booking this, is that it says the tour finishes at midday on the last day. On my particular tour, the colosseum tour was booked for 1:30pm the day of the finish. Because I didn't stay for another night in Rome, I completely missed out on the colosseum tour. This is not acceptable, and IMO is falsely advertised. If the tour itinerary advertises the colosseum as included in the time frame of the tour, the tour should deliver that, end of story. Despite the fact that I didn't miss out financially, I missed out on an opportunity, which is really disappointing. Please amend this. To anyone booking - if you want to see Rome, you need to stay at least 1-2 days extra.
I've posted this feedback publicly both for the benefit of people looking at this tour, and for Contiki to review.
This tour was the most amazing experience of my life!
The people, places, hotels, food, sights, tours and the optionals were all way more than i ever expected!! My tour leader was Hannah and bus driver was Attilla and they both went out of their way to make it an amazing experience for us. Make sure you do ALL of the optionals otherwise you miss out! Take in and experience every single city, culture and sight that you see. Every city has something different to offer and they are all amazing. Be prepared for your liver to be destroyed, contiki love to provide free shots and theres always a bottle of wine going around. I went alone and I made friends within the first hour of meeting everyone, most of those I will be close to for the rest of our lives. I still talk to them everyday. I cant recommend doing a contiki tour enough. It absolutely changed my life!!!!
You will have the absolute time of your life on this trip. It's the perfect amount of time, if you're trying to see a lot in not a lot of time. HOWEVER, there's a few things I wish I knew before I chose this trip:
1) If you are traveling later than July, you will encounter bed bugs. I traveled for the month of August and had three separate bed bug infestations - all at the "special" contiki stopovers, not any of the hotels. The management will not do anything about it unless you throw a fit, which I did both the second and third time, at which point you receive tokens for laundry and they "steam" your room. I got into the habit of checking my bed before every night I went to sleep, but there isn't much you can do to prevent them.. The bits are gross and itchy and it's beyond frustrating how little contiki does to mitigate such a disgusting problem.
2) You WILL get sick, like VERY sick. Bring enough cold medicine to last the entire trip, every single kind you can think of.
3) You WILL get lice. It's not as common as the bed bugs, but still very prevalent, and absolutely impossible to handle while traveling. Most people don't realize until they have already gotten home from the trip, but enough people in my same travel group got it as well to know that it was contiki (I ONLY traveled contiki, not a single accommodation was outside of them, so I can 100% know that where I got it).
*In the end, if you're with a good group of people these things aren't going to ruin your trip, but my trip would had been a lot less STRESSFUL (I mean come on I was trying to enjoy my holiday) had I known these precautions going into it.
This trip truly an ultimate experience. I crossed of so many bucket list items, like the Eiffel Tower and the Colosseum. I even saw some things I didn't realise were on my bucket list! Pretty much every included tour was great and the extra's were definitely worth the costs. The Egyptian guide was amazing. This is definitely a great way to see Europe and make some friends along the way.
Firstly a huge shout out to Maggie and Fabio both of whom made the trip awesome!
I knew I always wanted to see a lot of Italy and a friend recommended Contiki to me and after seeing the schedule for this trip I couldn't say no.
Getting across Rome via public transport was an experience to say the least. It is pretty simple to find the Hotel Fleming, it's just getting used to the way the Italians do thing straight from the off thats a little daunting. However the hotel was really nice and PS I had a great room mate! Yo Anthony!!! The pizza for dinner that evening was the first of a great number of excellent pizzas I would taste along the week.
Be prepared, the day in Rome is tiring if you want to see as much as you can but on every corner you will see something fascinating that takes your interest. Not to mention a few but The Vatican, the Sistine chapel, the Colosseum, the Pantheon. My advice is just to go and get lost, but with a map of course. :)
Florence, the city of art is defiantly that and is place you have to visit. The top of the Duomo is a great place for views and photos of the city. Michelangelo's David is a must see but make sure you book ahead as the line we waited in was only 30 minutes, however we was advised that it can be for hours.
Pisa and Verona were good but the final stop in Venice was breathtaking. Again there is so much to see here that the guided tour really did help. The glass blowing demo was an experience all on its own and made me want to buy loads of it. However my bank balance doesn't stretch that far!
All in all the trip was one of the best I have ever been on. I met some great people that I am sure I will be in contact with for a very long time. A good piece of advice for this trip to expect what you image Italy will be like and be open minded to meet new people. But Maggie was great and couldn't do enough for the group, she really did make the trip!!!!!!
I simply cannot describe the impact this trip had on my life. I did the Western Highlights trip over a year ago (yes I know I'm late with my review), but with good reason.
I remember being highly nervous for this trip, as it was my first time travelling, and I wasn't sure what to expect. Well the memories were made from day one. The places we saw, the friends we made, the memories we will all eternally share, and the lifelong friendships that were formed is something that the Western Highlights trip helped create. The highlight of my trip was visiting the Grand Canyon...I knew the Grand Canyon was amazingly beautiful, but no picture can ever do it justice. It is something you have to see up close and personal. Such a phenomenal place that is definitely on my list of places I want to go back to.
Contiki had such an impact on my life, that I decided to pack up my life, and move from SA to the UK, with dreams of endless travel. I've just finished a two week trip in Italy, and it's all thanks to Contiki. Busy planning the next one.
I could go on and on and on about this trip because it really was the most incredible time in my life. But, honestly for anyone who is even mildly considering doing this tour - do it! I cannot give you my experiences but I can promise you it will be absolutely incredible.
I went on my own and made lifelong friends that I'm already planning another trip with.
From the moment you start this tour it's high intensity, lots of drinking, lots to take in and super fast paced - and that never stops. The entire time is crazy busy, crazy partying and crazy fun. Some of the destinations where you think you'll have a quiet night and just wash your hair are the nights that you end up naked in the ocean at 3am. I'm not by any means a big partier, but this trip brings the best out in you and I cannot emphasise that enough.
My favourite places were Vegas and Miami - just for the atmosphere and weather, but absolutely everywhere was a new and exciting experience. I did the majority of the optionals and for the most part they were really awesome. And the accommodation is amazing (the Grand Canyon being the exception)!
If you're lucky enough to get Harold (sexy Chocolate) as your driver and Serena as your Tour Manager, you'll have an absolutely amazing and hilarious time.
For anyone who is like me and is reading reviews to work out whether or not you want to do the tour, DO IT. You will have #noregrets :)
Over all, this was one of the best things I could of ever done. I went solo so I was extremely nervous, but by the 2nd day everyone had loosened up and intermingled and by then you already felt like a group.
With the OPTIONALS I did majority of them, I don't have any that stand out that say "do not do". some of the walking tours where a little boring but that just depends on the type of person you are, if you can keep your attention long enough. be prepared for the white water rafting, it was freezing! my toes went purple, so bring very warm clothes to change into after! apart from that, do everything you can afford.
ACCOMODATION: I didn't really have a problem with any of the accommodation. it depends on how picky you are with things. in Austria I unfortunately did pick up bed bugs but all my washing was paid for to get rid of them, and another guy got them in Rome. the cabins were really cute, majority didn't have air cons which was maybe the only down fall. in Florence I was a little annoyed at the fact there was only 2 washers and 2 dryers on offer to share, and which you needed to pay for (along with wifi that only worked in certain areas).
FOOD: the provided breakfast every day filled me up until lunch. At contiki run sights the breakfast was really good (eggs, bacon, toast, fruits ect) but at the hotels/cabins sometimes it was just toast, fruits yogurts and cereals which were still pretty good. lunch was provided on a couple days; other then that you needed to provide your own, but it was very easy to get where ever you went.
Some days you do spend quite a while on the busses, but you have service stops every 2.5hrs in a village to wander for an hour and get food. also on the bus is music and our guide played games ect. if you wanted to sleep then the chairs reclined and it was easy to doze off, especially after a big night before!
usually every 2nd night was a party night, even if it wasn't a party night; something chilled would become more. If you didn't want to go out that night/drink ect then there was no hassle at all, some nights I stayed in and I didn't get any crap for it.
my tour guide (Rachel) was better then I ever expected. she went out of her way to help me, one night she lent me her ipad so I could stay in and watch movies as I wasn't feeling very well. she was professional but knew how to connect with each person on tour individually and she pretty much notched the tour up that bit extra!
as for anna, the driver, the tight corners and passage ways she could squeeze through was crazy! even though she was at the front of the bus, she always bust a move and came out when she could!
the people I met on tour I will never forget, the last day together was very hard knowing you may never see them again.
all in all, this is a must do. ill def be doing contiki again!
#opaaaa #babybird #shoey #savethequeen #kyleeeeee #shotsshotsshots
This was one of the best vacations I've ever been on. I've previously read some not-so-good reviews about Contiki (e.g. tours centering entirely around drinking and partying), but this trip definitely exceeded my expectations. It was a perfect mix of nature, culture and nightlife. I don't like getting wasted every night, though I do enjoy the occasional bar night here and there, and I still fit in with the group perfectly.
Best things on this trip: everything was great, and Vietnam is very different from Western Countries. In particular, I enjoyed Nha Trang beach and the boat cruise, the My Son temples, driving through the Pass through the Ocean Clouds, as well as walking around crazy crowded Hanoi and getting 25-cent beer among the locals. Of course, my favorite place was Halong Bay. This place is amazing and I got to kayak and see monkeys, swim on the beach as well as go to a big cave.
Another great thing about Vietnam: the food. Prior to going, my coworkers told me the food is amazing, and they were proven right. My favorite place was Bale Well in Hoi An. Our trip manager Courtney took us there, and it's about $6 for all you can eat spring rolls, chicken and pork skewers and banh xeo (Vietnamese pancakes). Also we went to a place in Saigon that served beef that you cooked yourself on a roof tile and in Hanoi we went to Koto, a restaurant that employs street children and teaches them about the restaurant industry. If you go on this trip, do not order western food unless it's at a really nice place, as most likely you'll be disappointed and the local food is so much better. There were several of us on the trip who don't eat seafood, as well as a vegetarian, and Contiki was able to provide us with very good meals that fit these preferences.
Our trip manager Courtney was great and very knowledgeable about Vietnam. She was always able to suggest places to eat, drink and visit. Also our whole group was great, and I feel like everyone got along really well. Contiki is a nice way to travel by yourself but never be alone, and I'm thinking of going on another Contiki trip next year.
At first, I was apprehensive about travelling solo but as the title of my review suggests, I had no reason to be.
The days are jam-packed with things to do. It's not a trip for the faint-hearted or someone that likes early nights. The coach is for sleeping because you'll realise that you need to make the most of every second you have with the people that start off as acquaintances who turn into friends and eventually your international family. We had travelers from 8 different countries across the globe. Just think that these friends now mean only having to pay for flights when you go abroad in the future or you get to host someone and show them all the best bits of your country.
I made some of the best friends of my entire life and I know our friendship will endure because we bonded over some of the most important things in life: food and wine.I say that because you have to be open-minded when it comes to trying new things. There's no point in going on a trip that encompasses so many different countries and cultures without being willing to venture out of the box and try a bit of everything. From escargot in France to pizza a million times better than you've ever tasted before in Italy to pretzels and currywurst in Munich and finally in Amsterdam... Waffles of course! And the wine... Don't get me started on the wine.
There are so many amazing things to be seen in Europe and Contiki is the gateway to discovery: finding new places that you adore and falling in love all over again with places you've already been, as was the case with me and Paris. One of the most important things for me was that Nice took my breath away and it made me realise where I wanted to go to university in England because they offer a year abroad studying in Nice. So it's not only fun but can also be incredibly eye-opening.
What I will say is be prepared for people to mock every stereotype about your country. Being English, I was a minority on our tour, in fact, I was the only European other than our bus driver, Barry, but don't let that stop you if you're a Brit. I was bombarded with people asking about tea, crumpets, the fact that we lost a revolution and pretty much every other preconception you could possibly imagine.
My trip wouldn't have been complete without the wonderful Contiki Team of #ContikiTony and #ContikiBarry, or Baz as he was lovingly known. Tony partied as hard as all of us and you can tell it's not just a job for him, it's a vocation and he loves bringing so much joy and excitement to so many people. It was the same with Barry. When he wasn't driving us from country to country the following day, he enjoyed a cheeky bevvy or two and made everyone feel so welcome, not just 'another number' but a friend.
Overall, I had the best experience I could have wished for and so so much more. It changed my life in so many ways. Contiki helped me to make the most of the time that we have, it gave me the chance to make friends from all over the world, it built my confidence and my alcohol tolerance. What more could you want?
It'll give you so many stories to tell your kids about. So my advice... Take the leap and live while you're young. Make the most of this life.
Best experience of my life! First time doing contiki and it was amazing! Got to see so much of Spain which has always been on my bucketlist. It's amazing to see the different parts of Spain coz you never really know the story until you go there. Chloe M our trip manager she is the best ever! So good at her job, so much energy & always went that extra mile for our group! The people I met were amazing & I've made some life long friends now. Accommodation everywhere was great! So clean! Our included meals were fantastic too! Definitely all worth it! Only thing I wish is that an extra day was spent in Barcelona! There's so much to see there in so little time!
Could not have asked for a better group / tour leader / week at Oktoberfest! Would highly recommend booking for anyone even considering it for next year.
I have wanted to go to Egypt my whole life, I have always been fascinated by Egyptian mythology and Ancient Egypt. This was the best thing I have ever done and visiting this culturally and historical country has been on the top of my bucket list for a long time. Everyday me, along with everyone else on the tour were just astonished by our sights everyday that it was just so surreal. I highly recommend this trip.
The tour guide Sherif is absolutely amazing, very kind, funny, knowledgeable and a genuine great person to be around. He made everyone feel so comfortable everyday. His little "history lessons" were very interesting and great to listen to. Sherif always told us what to wear for the next day (this was especially helpful for girls as he told us what days we could wear shorts and singlets and what days we had to cover up, I got to wear shorts and singlets on 3 days), what to bring, took us to the best places to get photos and even hung out with us and had some drinks. Everyone I met on this tour was awesome, a great bunch of people to spend this trip with. We all had a blast and look forward to seeing each other on another contiki trip.
highs: the sights are absolutely amazing!! All the temples are just jaw dropping and each day is just so jam packed and full of things to do; I recommend doing next to all of the extras. The cruise ship is awesome, the highlight of the trip, sunbaking on the top while cruising down the Nile and seeing Abu Simbel (it's massive)!!!
VISA: as soon as you get to Cairo Airport, before you walk into immigration (which is around the corner) walk straight ahead to the booths, there will be someone there who will give you a visa no questions asked for $25US. Easy.
TRANSFERS: Make sure you let contiki know of your flights times so that you can take advantage of the free airport transfers to the hotel.
OTHER: Dettol hand sanitation + wipes, toilet paper (there will be none anywhere and if there is you have to pay for it), hydrolytes, buscapan or any other stomach pain tablets for when you get an upset stomach from the food, this happened to most the people on my trip.
MONEY: Make sure you carry SMALL denomination of money. You will need both Egyptian pound (EGP) and US dollars. I got $500US before I left to take with me and had a travel card with $500US on it. Then at the Cairo museum I converted $100US to EGP which got me around $700EGP. My extras I paid by card and my drinks bill from the cruise. This covered me the entire trip.
Victoria Hotel: it is honestly the worse hotel I have ever stayed in. I was warned (from other contiki reviews about bed bugs) so I wore bedsocks, didn't work though, I woke up the next day with 4 bites on my feet. The Victoria hotel has no hot running water, my sheets were dirty and the air con in our room didn't work so we had to get a room change. So I definitely recommend sleeping on top of the bed and having a blanket with you to avoid this, and have the water running for about 5mins before you get into the shower so that it will be "luke warm". On day 1 make sure you eat plenty of breakfast as you won't get food for a couple of hours. Definitely stock up when you get to the service station later on in the day. Make sure you stock up on bottles of water (that is sealed by plastic) as you can not drink any water here that is not bottled for safety reasons - even to brush your teeth. The breakfast offered by the Victoria is truly dreadful; there was mouldy pastries (like actually green in the inside), off meats/cheeses - not a good experience. Apparently this hotel is chosen for it's location only.
Extras: The sound and light show was pretty bad, very boring and not worth seeing at all. You see this temple during the day anyway, so not worth paying extra money to see it at night.
This trip was such a incredible experience! You get to see and experience so much within a very small timeframe. 4 days (well technically 3) I got to go and visit some incredible historical sights that have been on my bucket list for years.
Athens was amazing one of favourite places from my entire trip (5 weeks) the Acropolis and the Parthenon are spectacular and incredible and the views from the Acropolis are breathtaking you get a 360 view of Athens. I highly recommend if you have time in Athens before or after this tour to visit the Acropolis museum a lot of the artefacts are in the museum and there is a really interesting movie about the Acropolis.
The Contiki extra dinner for 43 euro in my opinion was not worth it. The entertainment was great i loved the greek dancers and the singer was amazing but the food was at best average and defiantly not worth what we paid, however the greek dancing and joining in is defiantly something you should try.
Olympia was defiantly my favourite part of this tour and it was the part I was most excited about. The Olympia museum was incredible i loved seeing all the statues and artefacts. The Original Olympic Stadium was incredible to see. Even though most of it is just rubble and ruins you still get a image and idea of how it would have looked thousands of years ago. The Stadium itself is just a dirt track but it was fun to race on with the group and take some photos.
Delphi was okay I wasn't really interested in the beehive tomb we went to as it literally a empty tomb. The hotel was stayed at was incredible the views from our room were stunning. This was the first time the group all went out together at the only club in town. As this was the last night we all went hard and had a lot of fun.
Every hotel we stayed at was amazing very clean and comfortable and all had pools which was a bonus.
But what made this tour amazing was the people I meet. Even though we had only spent 4 days together we all became very close and i have defiantly made some lifelong friends.
Also shoutout to Contiki Tom or as i called him Tomas! Best Contiki tour manager i have ever had super funny and know a lot about greek history and mythology. He was always up for a chat and a laugh.
If you don't have much time in Greece but want to do and see a lot this is defiantly this trip for you.
This trip has been the most amazing experience to date, it's hard to put it in to words but I will give it a go......the people on this trip made the experience one I will never forget and I can say without a doubt they are not only friends, but family, a life time of laughs, memories and silly hashtags. Our tour manager Jon Ramel always went out of his way to help and answer our million and one questions, show us good places to eat, sites to see and inspired me with his incredible knowledge of American history, an absolute legend in every way, Thankyou ramel. This trip is fantastic value for money, some of the best hotels I have stayed in, great bus drivers, surprises, sights, nightlife, and incredible included and non included meals, a trip I highly recommended to anyone wanting to visit the United States of America.
I would do this trip again in a heartbeat! Such an amazing way to see and do so much in a month! Don't plan on sleeping - you get used to it! You also get used to the large alcohol consumption everyday/night... Long live the American free pour!
The huge cities are amazing but so are all the little ones in between, the trip is so well planned out! Do all the optionals if you can! Especially the helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon!
We had the BEST tour guide Maloney, I love you doll! And our bus driver Big E was such a honey!
You truly make the best memories and friends for life! If you are thinking about booking this trip just do it! #noregrets #maloneycontiki
The only way to start this review is to say this trip was the best experience of my life so far and you need to do yourself a favour a book this tour!!
Honestly you spend 8 days sailing around the Aegean Sea drinking, eating, tanning, sleeping and swimming. You get to just switch off and relax, no phones, no WiFi (although you can buy it onboard but why would you?) and no distractions. You never know what time of the day it is until the bell rings for meals.
First the boat is incredible and i love that you are on a traditional Turkish Gulet. You share a room and bathroom with one other person, the rooms are small and you do share a double bed but everyone used the beds to put their luggage and stuff on and everyone usually sleeps up on deck on the tanning beds which is a amazing experience to sleep and under the stars. Although a few nights i slept inside due to it being quite cold and i got sick on the boat (Contiki Cough).
The food on this trip is INCREDIBLE thanks to the lovely Mehmet. You get 3 meals a day and afternoon tea which is biscuits/cakes and tea or coffee. The food was my favourite part of the tour, its all fresh and incredible healthy but tastes delicious. Drinks you put on a tab that you pay for at the end of the trip. In my opinion the drinks were quite cheap but cheaper in stores on land. It was 50c for a bottle of water and a beer was 3 euro. I ended up only spending 55 euro.
The places we went to were incredibly beautiful and the water was always crystal clear and turquoise blue although very salty. Defiantly go on land when we dock as we saw some amazing ruins and the walk up the hill to watch the sunset was spectacular although the hill to get up and down is bloody hard and everyone ended up with scratches and bruises.
I defiantly recommend doing all the extras as i regret not doing them all. I regret not doing the mud baths as everyone who did it on my tour said it was really fun and they saw some turtles. Defiantly do Marmaris as its a really fun night out although i felt horrible the next day. Hungover on a moving boat is not the best idea. The turkish baths was probably my favourite such a awesome experience, defiantly pay extra for a massage.
The crew were another favourite part of the tour Captain JJ and the two Mehmets were so much fun and always eager to join in and go out with us at night even though they do this tour every week for 26 weeks straight! They didn't speak much english but were always up for a conversation and to play card games and drink with us.
The people i meet on this trip were amazing and you really get to know each other as you spend so much time together. The others in my group were from England, Germany, Canada, Australia, NZ and USA.
Altogether this tour has been a highlight of my travels this year and i would defiantly do it again.
Wow! What can I say? Or where do I start?
First of all this was the best 29 contiki trip ive ever done! Hands down the most amazing expirence ever and I would recomand it too everyone, I had such an awesome group of people to travel with which now are great mates! And what also helped that was our amazing tour manager Greg Colgin, he always made sure we were having a blast and was very informative with everything. I've learnt so much just from him! Also our wonderful driver mark, them both were amazing and was good that they socialised with everyone and always made sure we were ok! Hands down best trip ever. Don't even need to second guess it
What can I say except that this was the absolute best time of my life. Jeenah was my favorite tour guide to date and it really set the bar for every other contiki. It's a super laid back trip with different bars every night and some of the most beautiful scenes I've ever seen. I think because the trip was more my pace I had much more in common with the people that went on it than on other trips. It's been over a year and I'm still friends with my guide and 5 others from the tour. Everyone should do this trip. I guess I found words after all...