Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
I did this as my first EVER adventure overseas solo. Now I must admit I was nervous at first, and that my parents worried about their 21 yo old daughter was going across America on her own.... BUT IT WAS THE BEST THING I EVER DID!
I was lucky enough to have Blake Franks as my tour manager and I couldnt fault the guy! There wasn't one night that he didnt go out of his way to find night life for us, and to be honest I dont think there was a night that he didnt join us!
You may be scared to be a loner BUT my group of 53 (full bus) was amazing! I made a whole new family (so much nudity and partying but in a good way) that I never felt homesick when I was away!
I did the tour in October, so it was getting to the cool side, but we were still able to do the Water rafting in Durango (It's not crazy rapids, but it is good fun! We even got to see beavers pretty close!) If you can line up the tour with the Albuquerque Balloon festival I would highly recommend it! We got to be part of the 400 balloons that went up during the morning and it was honestly the most amazing experiece of my life!
UNFORTUNATELY we were meant to do the Grand Canyon, but were there during the Government Shut-Down, so we didnt get to stay in the cabins... HOWEVER Contiki lined it up well and gave us another night in Vegas and the chance to do the helicopter tour that lands in the Grand Canyon on indian land and have lunch inside the Grand Canyon (not the usual offering). I am glad that we got this as seeing the size of me compared to the canyon really put it into perspective.
TIP: I wouldnt plan to diet on this tour... The Southern food is to die for! Try everything!!! Deep fried pickles are AMAZING!!!
I would do this tour again in a heart beat.... Infact I AM! I honestly struck gold with this tour, and I really thank my CONTIKI FAMILY, BLAKE FRANKS, and MARCUS MORMON (driver) for the best days of my life
This trip was everything I expected and more. It was a fun and safe way to travel alone without ever feeling unsafe. Our tour manager Becc went out of her way to make sure we saw everything possible in the time we had by making special stops and getting great photo opps. She had so much knowledge about every place we saw and I learned so much more than I ever thought I would on a trip like this. I met so many amazing people who wanted to see the same things as me and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Every hotel was more than I could ask for everything was clean and had so much space. It was beautiful scenery everywhere we went and the backstage pass included so many amazing things I will never forget seeing. I suggest this trip to anyone who wants to see these countries because it shows you so much in such little time. Our tour manager was one of the best people I've ever met and she did so much for all of us and made this the trip of a lifetime! #no regrets
This contiki was definitely worth every cent. You do so much and it pays for hotels, travel, some tour guides and museums, breakfast and dinner some/most days, and you do things you never normally would.
I never would've gone to Schonbrunn Palace and watched a classical concert in vienna, or gone to this awesome amusement park just outside Vienna. I never would have gotten a local tour guide across Budapest, especially with all people around my age, and I never would have gone inside the Hungarian Parliament building and saw the President.
And that wasn't really it. It was the people, the relationships you form with the travellers on the Contiki, including the tour operator and coach driver.
I'd reccomend it to anyone who wanted a quick, cheap getaway.
It's hard to capture into words the experiences I had on this trip. It was one of the greatest times of my life and I'll be forever appreciative to our TM Zsofi, our TD Marcin, and my entire tour group for it.
No matter where you came from, Europe was always going to be a different experience. Yes, reading reviews is helpful in choosing the right tour for you, and if you want to label this tour something, it's a taste-tester of all the major sites that mainstream tourists would want to visit (plus other hidden morsels along the way). But one of the best things you can do with these tours is to approach it with little to no preconceptions. Let it sweep you away, teach you things that you never would have thought possible, experience magic in each moment. For example, the food in Germany (Rhineland) wasn't what you might consider the greatest. But you know what? You're in Germany. You're sitting on a land of hundreds of years of significant history. Who cares if the food sucks in your estimation? It's just a matter of different tastes and they've obviously been eating it for longer than we've been alive. You then learn that that food's not to your taste and you don't pick it next time you go out to a restaurant. The next day you're visiting Hofbräuhaus in Munich and it can take you at a minimum of half an hour to find a table among the hundreds that eat there every night, with servers (men and women alike) carrying 8 x 1 litre steins in both hands weaving in and out between everyone, and proceeding to eat a pork knuckle the size of your head after you do find a table (slight exaggeration). A completely different experience.
It's pretty self-explanatory that a tour of 12 days and fitting 8-9 countries in isn't going to be a leisurely stroll in the park. The excitement came from cramming as much action into the days as you could, running in those last minutes to make sure you didn't miss the bus, reading a map for the first time and trying to pronounce the unpronounceable, the smiles of the locals at your funny accents, the puking on the bus after New Year's Eve in Germany (still makes me nauseous thinking about it), the wonder on a little Roman girl's face when she found out I was from Australia (priceless), deliberately getting lost on the canals in Venice. There's all these little moments at the places you visit that adds extra meaning to everything you experience. The optionals are exactly that, optional, so you don't have to feel obliged to do everything. Again, 8-9 countries in 12 days doesn't leave you with a lot of spare time but take on board the things that you do with the group and you're still getting a lot from each place. You can't expect it to be smiles and roses the whole time; you're on board a bus with numerous other people, some with rusty social skills. Take the good and the bad and turn it into one of the best things you ever chose to do.
This was my first time out of the US and I really enjoyed it. I had a bit of a hard time adjusting in the beginning but the contiki tour guides certainly helped me out. I came around and thoroughly loved the majority of the trip.
Czech Republic (Prague) was absolutely my favorite. Very lovely city with lots to see and everything was relatively cheap. Town Square was really cool to hang out at.
Germany (Berlin) was awesome, reminded me of NYC. Had lots to see, plenty of history.
Austria (Vienna) was very beautiful. I absolutely loved the Mozart concert at the Schonbrunn Palace, really surreal. The only bummer part was that for the tour dates I did, we were only in Vienna for two nights, having one full day and it was a Sunday so mostly everything was closed.
Hungary (Budapest) was really interesting and was a nice ending to the trip. I think my favorite place there was the Fisherman's Bastion.
Overall it was definitely life changing (being it was my first tour) and I already plan on visiting again!
Absolutely loved this tour. It was a great way to see and explore a lot of history and culture in a short period of time. I was travelling solo but by the end I was friends with everyone. So if you're unsure about doing it by yourself, just jump in the deep end and do it. You'll make friends and have a great time.
Although there was little time, we did a lot! Each day was full of something new and exciting. Every city we went to was amazing in it's own right and it's hard to pin point a favourite place because they were all good. Our tour manager and bus driver just made the trip even more special and fun. Having a history nerd as the tour manager was the icing on the cake.
All the accommodation was reasonable with some really fantastic places and some ok places. The location of the hotels was great except for the one in Boston. That felt a little far out compared to everywhere else we'd been.
Food, American food...it is different for those not used to it. Everywhere we went can be a little hit or miss when it comes to food but generally it's all pretty good. If you are a coffee lover, don't expect good coffee as it's Starbucks or nothing in most places.
One thing to be aware of is tipping. Budget a little extra when it comes to tipping otherwise it can catch you by surprise, especially to those where it's not normal to tip. Anyone in the service industry can be tipped and it's deemed offensive if you don't. Some tipping is included in the tour cost but when you're out on your own it's customary to tip in restaurants, bars etc.
If you expect a party tour, don't come on this one. Yes, we went out most nights and had a blast however it's not the focus of this tour. This tour is aimed more for those that want to do the sights and learn something along the way.
This tour gives you just a taste of each place enticing you to come back. I would definitely go back to all the places I visited so I could explore them more thoroughly. I have #noregrets
Coming to explore New Zealand was the best decision I made in 2013. Our tour guides made us feel so relaxed and comfortable as we got to meet everyone on the trip. A minute did not go by without feeling truly lucky to be there and having something awesome to look at.
I learnt so much about the culture and made new friends from other cultures at the same time.
Definitely worth visiting, ewe'd be sheepish if you missed out.
The tour starts off with four days in Athens, Dephi and Olympia which I felt was sufficient to see the land portion of Greece and the historical things you want to see. The hotels provide oh-my-god amazing views, especially in Delphi. The tour takes you to all the tiny mom and pop restaurants which is nice and you get a real taste of Greece. Nightlife is amazing and the tour manager was able to point us in the right direction each time.
The reason I put four stars instead of five was that I felt I didn't get enough time to see the islands. I could give up Patmos and Kusadasi for more time in Santorini and Mykonos. If you're looking at this tour may I suggest the longer cruise or the island hopper that leaves you more time in the islands, you WILL NOT regret it. If you can get the time off work DO IT!!! That is my only complaint which is not really Contiki but the cruise and tour itself.
This was my first over seas trip and it opened my eyes to traveling and it truly was a life changing experience.
The European experience is defiantly worth the money! I had the most amazing time with the best group of people. Made life long friends from all over the world along with great memories!
The contiki group on this tour were rad! All so happy and willing to help with anything!
Don't think twice about this tour just DO IT! #noregrets
Great value for money. Tour guide ish is amazing, so knowledgeable, fun, easy going!!!
Great food great hotels great parties!!!
Overall excellent tour would recommend to anyone!!
This contiki wasn't the best there are others that are so much better ie south east Asia or Mexico.
It was very pricey and you don't get a lot for what you paid.
It doesn't help that my tour guide I got the feeling didn't want to be there.
The food wasn't all that great and our tour guide kept taking us to the most pricey places, which is ok if your loaded but I was just your general mid twenties traveller.
I arrived in Rome two days prior to the tour starting and must say four days in Rome is far too long. If you are going early, I suggest seeing Venice or Florence if you can (only need about a day from what I hear). Also, stay at a hostel and not the recommended hotels as you won't meet as many people and they are a bit expensive. The tours were okay, though I felt rushed through most and it was hard to understand the "local guides" as the places were packed and they have thick accents. Our group was AMAZING. Mostly Canadian and American which I thought was hilarious. I was nervous about being 26 and the "old" person, but the average age ended up around there anyway. Even the couples on the tour were a blast (or what we called the party starters!" Enzo our tour manager was great. A mix of helpful information, scheduling and comedy. The optionals are all worth it. Definitely overpriced but a great bonding experience and almost our whole group did them all in the 10 days. The Corfu village was amazing and George's Boat great (though there is no more skinny dipping because of someones mom complaining...) It was super sad to leave our group after the 10 days and I truly feel like I have 30 new friends!
The cruise was too quick. I wish I could have stayed on Santorini forever! Our tour manager was alright. By that point we were over paying for the overpriced optionals but almost were made to feel guilty that we didn't do them. We decided to find our own way around and it was much much cheaper than the optional we were offered. Get the all inclusive drink package ...totally worth it. Even if you don't drink that much, think a beer or two at dinner and two after, pays for itself! And water and soft drinks are included.
The only thing I wish I brought is cold and flu or sinus meds. Almost everyone on our trip was sick, myself the worst! I had advil and such, but bring some stronger stuff and take vitamin c before you come and sanitize those hands lots! The contiki cough is real!
Overall, an amazing trip with so many memories. And I recommend this for those who are first time travellers or those who are just lazy and don't want to plan their own trip. I personally will travel solo next to save money and see more, but these are definitely worth it if you can afford to. Don't be nervous, its a blast and you will feel like you are an expert traveller when you are done!
Our group was made up of 13 passengers (accommdates up to 16) and 3 crew members. The ages ranged from 19-31 but everyone got along great and we quickly became a family.
The crew was great. Some review said that they have limited English. Yes English is not their first language but they are very socialble and it does not stop them from talking with you and joining in the activities on and off the boat.
Transfers with Contiki are not included and upon arrival I luckily met up with two other Contiki travelers and we shared a taxi to the pier. It is about a 40 min taxi ride and a flat rate of 110 Lira for the one way. There is also a bus that runs from the airport to the bus station, which is 14 Lira. The bus station is about 5 block from the ship. Most of us didn't know about the bus so didn't use it on the way there but used it for our transfer back to the airport.
Upon arrival it said to look for the Barbados booth. None of us found the booth however while wandering the pier we were met by a local who asked if we were from Contiki and led up to the boat. The boat has a contiki flag and the walkway a contiki sign so I recommend just looking for the Conitki signage.
I flew in the day the tour started and flew out the day the tour ended. If you have the time I would highly recommend extending your trip and spending an extra night in Bodrum. Most of our group did extend their stay in Bodrum and it was sad to be one of the only ones departing and leaving our family. Borum has a number or ruins and a castle to explore. I have also been told that jewelry shopping is best in Bodrum, better than Istanbul. Not the tourist market but actual stores. The tourist market is the same as in Istanbul. Don't know that the about the actual jewelry stores since I didn't have a chance to go shopping.
Meals on board the ship are DELCICIOUS!!! We never have left overs. Memet, the chef, is AMZAING! Always a variety of dishes to try.
Excursions - The Mudbath was the best part of the day excursion. After doing it, I don't know I would do it again. I would have rather spent the day enjoying the sun on the boat.
The Marmais night is a definate must. It was amazing. The club they took us to, The Arena, was fantastic. Just outside the club is a place that has amazing kebobs for cheap, a great snack before heading back to the boat. Everyone on our ship went on this excursion and loved it.
Packing - I completely overpacked! We pretty much lived in our swim suite so I really only needed a couple swim suites, a pair of shorts and a tank top or two, clothes for our two nights out and warm clothes for at night (as it does get cold) and in case of rain. Space is really limited so if you have a large suite case it makes getting around in your cabin quite difficult.
One thing that none of us packed is Aloe. I definately recommend packing some as if the weather is nice you will need sunscreen and aloe.
I can't say anything bad about this trip. It was so amazing. I would definately do it again. It was so relaxing. The perfect way to unwind after 10 days of traveling throughout Turkey.
What a month it was. European Escapade gives you a taste of everything Europe has to offer. If you're looking to get as much out of Western Europe as you can in a reasonable amount of time, this is the tour for you. My tour guide and driver team was amazing. Anything you needed to know or needed assistance with Clare was there and Rado our driver? Oh Rado... What a GEM! I miss them both so much. Contiki is amazing, they plan everything for you and the on-site teams were also insanely cool. Those were my favorite stops along the way... Contiki themed hostels/lodges/chateaus always had a cool atmosphere, wicked bar and usually a club of some sort. All you basically need to do is wake up on time and Contiki team does the rest for you I had a blast. I literally could not give you one single complaint or regret. It was the time of my life, just be prepared because they have theme parties at a few of the contiki stops, tight & bright, shock your mother, i heart roma.. Those are the best times so pack some funky items just in case!! ALSO bring vitamins and cold meds from home the contiki cough WILL get you! One last thing... The suggested budget is a little off if you're a big partier like myself because I don't they don't factor in drinking.. Factor in some wiggle room for the budget if you plan on drinking your face off which will probably happen because it's contiki! There's something for everyone on this tour and there were some people in my group who preferred to hang alone but honestly if you're looking for a party atmosphere this is it. I have never laughed and smiled so hard for so long in mt life 26 days of pure, uninterrupted HAPPINESS!!!
I loved this trip. I always knew I wanted to go to Asia. This trip was the best introduction into how amazing Asia can be. I'm definitly addicted and want to go back.
Our tour guide was Amazing. She went above and beyond every day. Always giving us ideas of what to do with our free time so that we did not miss anything.
Our tour mates were great - always cracking jokes and the puns. We still keep in touch and are hoping to travel together in the future. The age group was all over the place once group younger one group older. But we all got along. I think there were 30 of us.
Do all of the optionals - If you are like me then #YOLO - How often will you be going back to the same places in Asia? Asia's huge.
Also Asia is cheap - the hotels are amazing b/c they are cheaper then Europe, food is usually $10 or under for a meal. Getting around town is generally under $10. Anything you ever wanted to do - will be more affordable in Asia. Side note - Bring American dollars with you or use debt at ATMs for $.
This trip is jammed packed. If you want to only sleep and party - this is not your trip, sleeping is not part of the deal. Also make sure you sleep before this trip. You will want to go out every night to experience all these amazing cities.
If you want a play-by-play of what is on this trip read my blog: http://andreamcgrath.com/?cat=7
This trip will be one of the top 10 highlights of my life :)
This tour was a great way to see the highlights of Europe without blowing your budget. A great way to make new friends and see the world. Our tour manager Faye was fantastic, she was confident and knowledgable and was always looking out for our best interests. The bus was always clean and tidy and if we ever needed anything there was no hesitation to ask our manager or driver. If you haven't been to Europe before and you want to go on a short holiday; this is it. You stay at some amazing campsites and hotels, and meet some amazing contiki staff (who are all really great cooks) you are guaranteed to have an awesome time.
This trip was amazing! It's a whirlwind travelling from across Western Europe in 18 days, but you really do see all the big sites and you have enough time to explore each city on your own. Our tour manager and driver were fantastic, and an overall amazing experience. Just book it! You won't regret it
One of the best times in my life. I would highly recommend it!
My Tour Manager Elisa is the best person in the world. She never stopped working, she was amazing. I met the most incredible people on my Simply Italy trip. It has inspired me to do a yearlong trip. I plan to use contiki again to go to Australia and New Zealand.
Contiki was the best experience I've had on holidays ever. I will recommend it to everyone I know.
I want to live in Capri someday. The backstage passes, and me time optionals were perfect. A great amount of time to do everything you wanted.
I have very mixed feelings about this tour. I really loved the places we saw and am happy to have gone to California after wanting to for so long.
There were only 4 people who were on the "California Highlights" tour. We were added to two other tours who had started a week before us. This wasn't at all what I had been led to believe and it was sort of daunting stepping into a massive group who had already formed friendships within the first week. By the time we got there it was hard to really get to know other people because groups had been formed.
I didn't feel our tour guide made an effort to introduce us to the group and there would be times where I had to explain when I arrived into the group. Given I didn't know I was being added into a much larger group, I'd have appreciated having the situation explained. We were given the impression that we'd all start and stop together, so being thrown into another group wasn't what I had in mind and had I had that knowledge I likely would have signed up for a different tour.
We weren't given our "day plans" until about an hour, sometimes even 5 minutes, before we were to depart the bus at a place. Sometimes we'd only find out we were going to have free time 10 minutes before getting off the bus, which gave people no time to make alternative plans. I'm not sure why the day plans weren't done in advance, but it really made things more difficult than they needed to be.
I thought the tour guide was very nice, but I also thought that she had very limited knowledge of places. She didn't seem to read up on any place and gave us the type of tour that most people could probably give of a place they're from. I really thought I'd learn more about a place. I didn't realize how little we were told until the last day when our bus driver ended up using the microphone to give us a tour of LA. He had so many facts and stories. He really seemed to know what he was talking about. This made me realize how unprepared our tour guide seemed. She was a very nice person, but I really didn't feel like she was making an effort, which was annoying to me since I had been saving for this trip for a while.
Honestly I didn't hate this trip or even dislike it, but it was not what I thought I was paying all this money for. The two best things I did - Alcatraz and Warner Bros. Studio Tour - were the two things I went out of my way to plan and spent extra money getting to.
The rest of the trip seemed fine, but my honest opinion is to skip the California Highlights tour and make sure to ask if your tour is being added to another. That can make a very big difference in deciding.