Reviews

Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.

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  • Ben Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 1 Country

What can I say, this tour was my first contiki tour. it was the best 2 weeks of my life. ALL the hotel's were nice and the weather was amazing, my tour guide Steph was amazing she had a great amount of knowledge,she took us to some amazing place's and was very entertaining. The highlight of my trip was definitely the helicopter ride over the grand canyon, it's alot of money but
It's a must do for anyone who visit's Vegas. I was very unlucky as most of the people in my tour were very immature girls who were very mean to me and tried to ruin my trip, but apart from that my tour was amazing. My favourite place was New York, their was so much to do there anyone doing this tour I would strongly suggest doing the central park bike tour and the food tour. I can't recommend the best of USA tour highly enough and am going back next year to do the grand southern contiki tour if you have any questions just send me a message and I'll be more than happy to answer them

My Contiki was: Amazing , Best time of my life

Wild Western

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ #No Regrets!!!
  • AMc87 Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 1 Country

By far one of the best experiences of my life!! I certainly tested myself by throwing myself out of my comfort zone and travelling on my own. So much so I am now booked onto one of the Australian tour for October.. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone. It was so well organised and every little detail was thought about. Every place we visited had something completely different to offer and the accommodation was great too! I won't spoil it all for you by telling you the things you will get up to but honestly if you are in two minds about this trip, I recommend you just do it!!!! In the words of Contiki #no regrets!

My Contiki was: Incredible , Breathtaking, Memorable

  • Loren Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 10 Countries

This trip is full on but such an awesome experience! You see so much and do things you would have never imagined in the 20 days. The sight seeing, the partying, the new friends you make, it is all worth it. I had one of the best times ever travelling around Europe for my first time with 49 amazing people!! You really do become one big family, and make friendships that will last a life time.

The accommodation and food well exceeded my expectations. Staying in little cabins at the contiki villages, makes it so much fun, as you're not all spread around a hotel on different floors. They aren't always that fancy, but it's part of the experience. All these sites have bars onsite, which is nice and easy for partying. The contiki team throw costume parties for you onsite, and they are awesome. You get feed pretty well on this trip, with 3 course meals most nights, and sometimes free wine with your meal, who can say no to that?

The optionals are a must do! Most people do them all, and it's a great way to bond with your new friends. In the end it's all about the people you share these memories with. Our tour manager (Courtney) said at the beginning of the tour "you saved to travel, you are not travelling to save" - so spend up and do everything you can and literally have no regrets!!

The bus rides aren't as bad as people make them out to be. You spend most of the morning catching up on sleep and you don't really get sick of the bus, it's actually quite fun, good time to have some down time and chat with all your new friends.

Recommendations would be to take some church clothes for places like Vatican City, you need to be covered up to walk around there. Also some nice outfits for Monte Carlo and a few of the other nights out. It can be a pain trying to find outfits on your free days in places like Paris when all you want to do is see the Eiffel tower etc.

You create the best memories ever with amazing people and Contiki treats you very well - such an awesome team of people! Missing all my contiki family so much!

Would do it all over again!!

My Contiki was: THE BEST, Unforgettable, TAKE ME BACK

  • Loren Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 10 Countries

This trip is full on but such an awesome experience! You see so much and do things you would have never imagined in the 20 days. The sight seeing, the partying, the new friends you make, it is all worth it. I had one of the best times ever travelling around Europe for my first time with 49 amazing people!! You really do become one big family, and make friendships that will last a life time.

The accommodation and food well exceeded my expectations. Staying in little cabins at the contiki villages, makes it so much fun, as you're not all spread around a hotel on different floors. They aren't always that fancy, but it's part of the experience. All these sites have bars onsite, which is nice and easy for partying. The contiki team throw costume parties for you onsite, and they are awesome. You get feed pretty well on this trip, with 3 course meals most nights, and sometimes free wine with your meal, who can say no to that?

The optionals are a must do! Most people do them all, and it's a great way to bond with your new friends. In the end it's all about the people you share these memories with. Our tour manager (Courtney) said at the beginning of the tour "you saved to travel, you are not travelling to save" - so spend up and do everything you can and literally have no regrets!!

The bus rides aren't as bad as people make them out to be. You spend most of the morning catching up on sleep and you don't really get sick of the bus, it's actually quite fun, good time to have some down time and chat with all your new friends.

Recommendations would be to take some church clothes for places like Vatican City, you need to be covered up to walk around there. Also some nice outfits for Monte Carlo and a few of the other nights out. It can be a pain trying to find outfits on your free days in places like Paris when all you want to do is see the Eiffel tower etc.

You create the best memories ever with amazing people and Contiki treats you very well - such an awesome team of people! Missing all my contiki family so much!

Would do it all over again!!

My Contiki was: THE BEST, Unforgettable, TAKE ME BACK

  • Liora Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 12 Countries

Honestly don't even know how to describe how insanely amazing this trip was. It's intense, but the Corfu break is a godsend and the bus becomes your home and is so good for chilling, recovering and sleeping. Our tour manager also made sure we were always entertained with games and videos so the bus days were just as good as the touring days. Our tour manager and tour driver Az and Jimmy were so so incredible. They are so knowledgable and make everything seem so seamless, while still being two of the most fun, energetic and friendly people I've ever met. They both came out and partied with us plenty and somehow managed to be back at "work" the next day while the rest of us where basically dying on the bus.

Accommodation is budget, but you do nothing but sleep in there (if that) and really it's pretty good for what you pay for. Personally, I think it creates a much better environment than in hotels as well because everyone hangs out in common areas rather than in their rooms, and you get to change around and share with a different 2-3 people every night.

There is a lot of partying, but whether you're into that or not it's all cool, there will always be people to hang out with. It's also not usually clubbing and stuff, but theme parties, karaoke bars, or just making your own fun with your Contiki family. and And yes, I didn't believe it at first but your tour mates really do become your family. You will get closer to them than people you've known for years and share such amazing experiences with them.

The tour is fast paced. You are never anywhere (except Corfu) for more than two days. You will not get to see and do everything but you will definitely know where you want to go back to! Contrasts takes you to such a great range of places and you do get a really good glimpse in such a short time with the first day usually being guided or planned and the second day being a free day.

The optional activities, while some were better than others, are the best part of the trip so try to do them all, and if you can't afford it, figure out a way to afford it! I personally feel that you'd miss out on a lot and the tour would feel quite empty without them. We were able to pay for them all and then cancel any time if we changed our minds (provided we gave some notice if bookings needed to be made).

I think 29 days was the perfect amount of time. I would definitely not have been ready to leave a week earlier, but my body was pretty much shutting down by the end from alcohol, bad food, lack of sleep and the cough (yep, the Contiki Cough is real and there's nothing you can do about it, you just keep going.)

I could go on forever, but honestly - just do this trip. You won't regret it.

My Contiki was: Incredible, Crazy, Unforgettable

  • Liora Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 12 Countries

Honestly don't even know how to describe how insanely amazing this trip was. It's intense, but the Corfu break is a godsend and the bus becomes your home and is so good for chilling, recovering and sleeping. Our tour manager also made sure we were always entertained with games and videos so the bus days were just as good as the touring days. Our tour manager and tour driver Az and Jimmy were so so incredible. They are so knowledgable and make everything seem so seamless, while still being two of the most fun, energetic and friendly people I've ever met. They both came out and partied with us plenty and somehow managed to be back at "work" the next day while the rest of us where basically dying on the bus.

Accommodation is budget, but you do nothing but sleep in there (if that) and really it's pretty good for what you pay for. Personally, I think it creates a much better environment than in hotels as well because everyone hangs out in common areas rather than in their rooms, and you get to change around and share with a different 2-3 people every night.

There is a lot of partying, but whether you're into that or not it's all cool, there will always be people to hang out with. It's also not usually clubbing and stuff, but theme parties, karaoke bars, or just making your own fun with your Contiki family. and And yes, I didn't believe it at first but your tour mates really do become your family. You will get closer to them than people you've known for years and share such amazing experiences with them.

The tour is fast paced. You are never anywhere (except Corfu) for more than two days. You will not get to see and do everything but you will definitely know where you want to go back to! Contrasts takes you to such a great range of places and you do get a really good glimpse in such a short time with the first day usually being guided or planned and the second day being a free day.

The optional activities, while some were better than others, are the best part of the trip so try to do them all, and if you can't afford it, figure out a way to afford it! I personally feel that you'd miss out on a lot and the tour would feel quite empty without them. We were able to pay for them all and then cancel any time if we changed our minds (provided we gave some notice if bookings needed to be made).

I think 29 days was the perfect amount of time. I would definitely not have been ready to leave a week earlier, but my body was pretty much shutting down by the end from alcohol, bad food, lack of sleep and the cough (yep, the Contiki Cough is real and there's nothing you can do about it, you just keep going.)

I could go on forever, but honestly - just do this trip. You won't regret it.

My Contiki was: Incredible, Crazy, Unforgettable

  • rachyroooo Level 2 Traveler
  • 2 Contikis
  • 2 Countries

This was a great way to see a lot of Australia in a very short space of time. Yes, it was very rushed - and a lot of people complained about that - but we covered a LOT of ground in two weeks so it obviously was never going to be at a leisurely pace. If I had travelled Australia on my own, I would've just gone to the big cities and missed out on a lot of the really cool places I got to visit while on Contiki simply because I never knew they existed - particularly the Whitsundays and Fraser Island, which are both BEAUTIFUL! The night on the farm was also one of my favourites, and I really wasn't looking forward to that. It was a shame that there weren't many optional activities on this tour (compared to another Contiki that I have done), and the ones that were available were very pricey but I suppose that was because most of the places we went to were relaxing beachy places and not places where there is tons to do! But we still had a great time. The included meals were all really good, and great accommodation everywhere (except for Coffs Harbour but that was just a surf camp so couldn't really expect anything fancy). I've rated it four stars instead of five simply because the group was a bit cliquey and therefore I didn't enjoy it as much as my previous Contiki as people didn't integrate that well, but that's just something you can't predict or control. All in all it was a great way to see the East Coast and although it was rushed, I now know which places I want to go back to! I would recommend it for people who just want to take it easy and not have to worry too much about where they're going or staying, but lots of people got annoyed with how controlled it was and wanted to feel more like travellers so wouldn't recommend for those who are a bit more spontaneous and would rather build their trip as they go.

My Contiki was: beautiful , busy, exhausting

  • MsK Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 5 Countries

I went on this trip with a friend of mine in June 2015 and it was such an amazing experience! I don't even know where to begin. Its a jam packed trip with early mornings and late nights, but the lack of sleep was totally worth it all. I did all the ME-time optionals and don't regret it one bit! Must say our tour guide Maite was soo awesome and made this experience unforgettable. Some of my highlights included parasailing in Nice, walking the streets of France, sunbathing in Cinque Terre, gelatos in italy, soccer game in Madrid, Segrada Familia in Barcelona, and the Colosseum in Rome. Would def. recommend this tour to anyone who likes a good mix of touring and relaxing :)

My Contiki was: Beautiful, Surreal, Unforgettable

  • MsK Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 5 Countries

I went on this trip with a friend of mine in June 2015 and it was such an amazing experience! I don't even know where to begin. Its a jam packed trip with early mornings and late nights, but the lack of sleep was totally worth it all. I did all the ME-time optionals and don't regret it one bit! Must say our tour guide Maite was soo awesome and made this experience unforgettable. Some of my highlights included parasailing in Nice, walking the streets of France, sunbathing in Cinque Terre, gelatos in italy, soccer game in Madrid, Segrada Familia in Barcelona, and the Colosseum in Rome. Would def. recommend this tour to anyone who likes a good mix of touring and relaxing :)

My Contiki was: Beautiful, Surreal, Unforgettable

I would recommend this trip to anyone. In fact, i would recommend contiki to anyone! this was my second trip with them and it was amazing!!! I met the most fantastic people and had the time of my life. Our tour guide Hayley G was so sweet and amazing! Seriously, i have such a girl crush on her, she is an incredible human being! I was choosing between the 13 day trip and 9 day trip, and felt that there was nothing left out of the nine day trip at all. i saw and did everything i wanted to with no time wasted. my first contiki was more cultural (which i loved!), but this one is definitely more of a beach/party trip. So if you are not into that, then you probably will be disappointed. However, thats what the greek isles are about so you should have a party hard and beach attitude when you go. Contiki was amazing and accommodations were great for their prices (especially the one in Santorini!!). The only hard part was the ferry ride from ios to athens at the end cause it was a super small ferry and really long and rough (thats what she said?). anyway, we definitely had some seasick problems on that one. The only recommendation i would have for contiki would be to put us on a bigger ferry at the end. that small inconvenience was totally worth the trip tho! i absolutely loved it!!!

My Contiki was: party, friends, beach

I would recommend this trip to anyone. In fact, i would recommend contiki to anyone! this was my second trip with them and it was amazing!!! I met the most fantastic people and had the time of my life. Our tour guide Hayley G was so sweet and amazing! Seriously, i have such a girl crush on her, she is an incredible human being! I was choosing between the 13 day trip and 9 day trip, and felt that there was nothing left out of the nine day trip at all. i saw and did everything i wanted to with no time wasted. my first contiki was more cultural (which i loved!), but this one is definitely more of a beach/party trip. So if you are not into that, then you probably will be disappointed. However, thats what the greek isles are about so you should have a party hard and beach attitude when you go. Contiki was amazing and accommodations were great for their prices (especially the one in Santorini!!). The only hard part was the ferry ride from ios to athens at the end cause it was a super small ferry and really long and rough (thats what she said?). anyway, we definitely had some seasick problems on that one. The only recommendation i would have for contiki would be to put us on a bigger ferry at the end. that small inconvenience was totally worth the trip tho! i absolutely loved it!!!

My Contiki was: party, friends, beach

  • Benjamin Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 8 Countries

Just got back from the tour of Europe .
They weren't kidding when they said fast paced we averaged 3 hours sleep a night, it was full on non stop sights sounds and amazing nights out .

Our tour manager Jay was an absolute riot he made the trip from day one and our driver Erno was a complete legend they both joined us on nights out and did everything they possibly could to make everyone happy.

If you are thinking of doing this trip and your not sure , do it !, its incredible and these are the best people in the world to do it with , now i have 51 new friends and memories that will stay with me forever .

From the white water rafting in Austria to cycling through munchen after a few steins, rampaging through the streets of Amsterdam or partying until the sun came up in Paris and Switzerland.

This tour is insane one of the best trips ive ever been on
and ill be booking the next one very soon with the Contiki crew

My Contiki was: fantastic, insane, unbelieveable

  • Benjamin Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 8 Countries

Just got back from the tour of Europe .
They weren't kidding when they said fast paced we averaged 3 hours sleep a night, it was full on non stop sights sounds and amazing nights out .

Our tour manager Jay was an absolute riot he made the trip from day one and our driver Erno was a complete legend they both joined us on nights out and did everything they possibly could to make everyone happy.

If you are thinking of doing this trip and your not sure , do it !, its incredible and these are the best people in the world to do it with , now i have 51 new friends and memories that will stay with me forever .

From the white water rafting in Austria to cycling through munchen after a few steins, rampaging through the streets of Amsterdam or partying until the sun came up in Paris and Switzerland.

This tour is insane one of the best trips ive ever been on
and ill be booking the next one very soon with the Contiki crew

My Contiki was: fantastic, insane, unbelieveable

  • Chloe Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 1 Country

This was my first Contiki, I had done TopDecks before and traveled extensively, but hadn't got around to doing a Contiki. Must admit I was a little put off by the reputation but that all flew out the window when I arrived in Hopfgarten.

All the staff were super friendly and helpful, and the lovely Liam carried my very huge and heavy bag up all the steps to my room. The rooms were really good...mine had an ensuite (I know some weren't as lucky) and the balcony had a beautiful view. 4 bunk beds and a very functional layout. The hut itself is great - wonderful position just a short walk into town, great common area and of course the bar is great! Luke and Liam make sure every night is an absolute blast. The food was unreal - incredibly yummy and big portions.

There are multiple buses to and from the mountain each day so you can be super flexible with your schedule and the boys will even drive you in a little later if you're hung over. Everything is organised through Contiki so professionally so you arrive, get skis, passes, gear - whatever you need - without even having to think!

Overall, this was a wonderful way to ski in Austria and I would absolutely recommend it!

My Contiki was: effortless, super fun, beautiful scenery

  • Chloe Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 1 Country

This was my first Contiki, I had done TopDecks before and traveled extensively, but hadn't got around to doing a Contiki. Must admit I was a little put off by the reputation but that all flew out the window when I arrived in Hopfgarten.

All the staff were super friendly and helpful, and the lovely Liam carried my very huge and heavy bag up all the steps to my room. The rooms were really good...mine had an ensuite (I know some weren't as lucky) and the balcony had a beautiful view. 4 bunk beds and a very functional layout. The hut itself is great - wonderful position just a short walk into town, great common area and of course the bar is great! Luke and Liam make sure every night is an absolute blast. The food was unreal - incredibly yummy and big portions.

There are multiple buses to and from the mountain each day so you can be super flexible with your schedule and the boys will even drive you in a little later if you're hung over. Everything is organised through Contiki so professionally so you arrive, get skis, passes, gear - whatever you need - without even having to think!

Overall, this was a wonderful way to ski in Austria and I would absolutely recommend it!

My Contiki was: effortless, super fun, beautiful scenery

European Escapade

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ DO. THIS. TOUR.
  • Ellia Level 4 Traveler
  • 4 Contikis
  • 14 Countries

Travelling to Europe for the first time I knew that I was going to be in for an incredible trip but I had no idea just how good it was going to be.
I did back to back tours (the first one being The Eastern Road) and had a two day rest in between in London. Honestly if you're going to do back to back and you don't want to start your tour with the dreaded "contiki cough" already buzzing through your system then I would advise at least a 5 day gap. I wasn't very popular for spreading the cough around as normally it takes at least a week to contract and I had spread it around within the first couple days! Not that it stopped us from still having the best time.
I had a small group of 35 and in my opinion it was a much better group number then a full bus of 55, I only say this because a) you tend to form a closer whole group bond and b) most importantly you can almost always guarantee yourself two chairs on the bus to yourself to stretch out and snooze on those woeful hungover mornings.

I travelled alone for this one and was slightly worried that I'd be the only one, turns out nearly half of my tour group were solo travellers but it really didn't matter by the end of it. You make friends with everyone in your group and I was lucky enough to make a very special group of friends who I have been able to catch up with a lot since tour ended even though we all live in separate parts of Australia.

The hostels and special contiki stop-overs we stayed in were a little hit and miss. Most of them were fine (I mean really all you need is somewhere to sleep and store all of your baggage) but we did have a few bed bug issues in the cabins in Rome, I took a sleeping bag and a small silk sleeping sack that has a section you could slip your pillow into that I bought on eBay for $7.00 and never got the nasty bite so I recommend both! Alternatively you could take a sleeping bag and a fitted sheet.
The Château in the Beaujolais wine region was incredible, it had a pool, a beautiful view from all the rooms and it's very own dungeon night club. It hosted a great dress up party too which you MUST get into! Same goes for the Contiki’s Austrian Gasthof in Hopfgarten! It was my favourite stay on tour. It was where I rode a bike for the first time since I was 9 and it had some great activities like trout fishing and an awesome water park that needs to be seen to be believed. It too had a crazy themed party night which was loads of fun.

I'm going to have to say the food was a slight let down for most of the stays that offered dinner (except in the Swiss Alps, I mean, who doesn't like cheese fondue?!) Regardless I would recommend doing all the different extra dinner nights though as generally most the group will do it and they were always a lot of fun.
Also, Italian food in Italy, not that great... Italian food in Austria though... MAGNIFICO! Obviously this is because most of us are very used to westernised Italian food so it was a shock to find out was true Italian food really was. If you're looking for an authentic Italian restaurant make sure you check the menu for carbonara. We were told by a tour guide that the restaurants that served carbonara were not authentic as apparently carbonara was a western invention.

What to pack!? I took a large suitcase as I was travelling for 7 weeks and I can be a bit heavy handed on the packing side of things. I used every piece of clothing in my suitcase though so I have no regrets. I went on this tour in July/August so it was mostly hot with a few cool nights. I got away with one jacket, a jumper, a hoodie that I bought through contiki and a spray jacket (for those days that it just bucketed down with rain). I also wore winter pyjamas but swapped to a t-shirt with the long pants most nights.
Shoes wise I had two pairs of sandals, thongs, runners, converse and knee high flat leather boots. I probably could have done without the leather boots however they were a blessing from the heavens when we went and explored the snowy alps of Switzerland. I also could have gone without a pair of sandals, maybe even both as I pretty much wore thongs everywhere. ATTENTION LADIES! DO NOT BRING HEELS. IT IS A WASTE OF SPACE IN YOUR LUGGAGE. There was not one night where we needed heels, even at the Mozart & Strauss concert and the Monte Carlo we wore dressy flats and they were fine. Also don't believe the bullshit they spin about having to be super dressed up for the Monte Carlo to be given access, the boys went into full stress mode about not having dress shirts or pants and we spent most of our free time in Nice looking in department stores which was definitely not what we'd had in mind. We got to the casino and there were patrons there in hoodies and grandpa socks and sandals which then annoyed the hell out of everyone who has stressed about what they were going to wear.
Pack swimmers and two microfibre towels - mine were a God sent. They dried me off really quick and they dried themselves off even quicker, and they are much lighter than a normal towel and pack better.
As for toiletries and other misc items like jewellery and makeup, take what you need. During bus rides it's required that the tour bus driver stops for a break every 2 hours and we generally stopped at servos so if you run out of shampoo or toothpaste you could easily get more.

I don't really want to tell you what ME time activities you should and shouldn't do as everyone experiences things differently. My travel buddies and I didn't always share the same opinion on the extras so honestly do what you want to do! One activity that isn't a ME time but it is offered is the extremely sobering stop at the Mathausen concentration camp memorial. It is an absolute MUST DO. I also visited Auschwitz & Birkenau concentration camp memorials and both visits had me in indescribable shock and tears. I know that doesn't sound all that pleasant but you gain so much perspective and as someone who had a particular interest in this war I felt like I owed it to myself and the people who's lives were lost or destroyed during this awful and dark time to see what they went through and pay my respects. There is nothing more I can say that will prepare you for walking on this ground but you have got to do it. It was the most life changing experience for me.

I feel really grateful that I was able to do this trip and I am lucky to have been put with an incredible group. My tour guide was alright, I formed a better relationship with our bus driver who was an absolute legend.
I honestly couldn't have asked for a better 25 days. I almost think it has spoilt any other tour for me because it was just that good!

Hope this has been helpful!

My Contiki was: Eye-opening, Hilariously fun, Spectacular

European Escapade

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ DO. THIS. TOUR.
  • Ellia Level 4 Traveler
  • 4 Contikis
  • 14 Countries

Travelling to Europe for the first time I knew that I was going to be in for an incredible trip but I had no idea just how good it was going to be.
I did back to back tours (the first one being The Eastern Road) and had a two day rest in between in London. Honestly if you're going to do back to back and you don't want to start your tour with the dreaded "contiki cough" already buzzing through your system then I would advise at least a 5 day gap. I wasn't very popular for spreading the cough around as normally it takes at least a week to contract and I had spread it around within the first couple days! Not that it stopped us from still having the best time.
I had a small group of 35 and in my opinion it was a much better group number then a full bus of 55, I only say this because a) you tend to form a closer whole group bond and b) most importantly you can almost always guarantee yourself two chairs on the bus to yourself to stretch out and snooze on those woeful hungover mornings.

I travelled alone for this one and was slightly worried that I'd be the only one, turns out nearly half of my tour group were solo travellers but it really didn't matter by the end of it. You make friends with everyone in your group and I was lucky enough to make a very special group of friends who I have been able to catch up with a lot since tour ended even though we all live in separate parts of Australia.

The hostels and special contiki stop-overs we stayed in were a little hit and miss. Most of them were fine (I mean really all you need is somewhere to sleep and store all of your baggage) but we did have a few bed bug issues in the cabins in Rome, I took a sleeping bag and a small silk sleeping sack that has a section you could slip your pillow into that I bought on eBay for $7.00 and never got the nasty bite so I recommend both! Alternatively you could take a sleeping bag and a fitted sheet.
The Château in the Beaujolais wine region was incredible, it had a pool, a beautiful view from all the rooms and it's very own dungeon night club. It hosted a great dress up party too which you MUST get into! Same goes for the Contiki’s Austrian Gasthof in Hopfgarten! It was my favourite stay on tour. It was where I rode a bike for the first time since I was 9 and it had some great activities like trout fishing and an awesome water park that needs to be seen to be believed. It too had a crazy themed party night which was loads of fun.

I'm going to have to say the food was a slight let down for most of the stays that offered dinner (except in the Swiss Alps, I mean, who doesn't like cheese fondue?!) Regardless I would recommend doing all the different extra dinner nights though as generally most the group will do it and they were always a lot of fun.
Also, Italian food in Italy, not that great... Italian food in Austria though... MAGNIFICO! Obviously this is because most of us are very used to westernised Italian food so it was a shock to find out was true Italian food really was. If you're looking for an authentic Italian restaurant make sure you check the menu for carbonara. We were told by a tour guide that the restaurants that served carbonara were not authentic as apparently carbonara was a western invention.

What to pack!? I took a large suitcase as I was travelling for 7 weeks and I can be a bit heavy handed on the packing side of things. I used every piece of clothing in my suitcase though so I have no regrets. I went on this tour in July/August so it was mostly hot with a few cool nights. I got away with one jacket, a jumper, a hoodie that I bought through contiki and a spray jacket (for those days that it just bucketed down with rain). I also wore winter pyjamas but swapped to a t-shirt with the long pants most nights.
Shoes wise I had two pairs of sandals, thongs, runners, converse and knee high flat leather boots. I probably could have done without the leather boots however they were a blessing from the heavens when we went and explored the snowy alps of Switzerland. I also could have gone without a pair of sandals, maybe even both as I pretty much wore thongs everywhere. ATTENTION LADIES! DO NOT BRING HEELS. IT IS A WASTE OF SPACE IN YOUR LUGGAGE. There was not one night where we needed heels, even at the Mozart & Strauss concert and the Monte Carlo we wore dressy flats and they were fine. Also don't believe the bullshit they spin about having to be super dressed up for the Monte Carlo to be given access, the boys went into full stress mode about not having dress shirts or pants and we spent most of our free time in Nice looking in department stores which was definitely not what we'd had in mind. We got to the casino and there were patrons there in hoodies and grandpa socks and sandals which then annoyed the hell out of everyone who has stressed about what they were going to wear.
Pack swimmers and two microfibre towels - mine were a God sent. They dried me off really quick and they dried themselves off even quicker, and they are much lighter than a normal towel and pack better.
As for toiletries and other misc items like jewellery and makeup, take what you need. During bus rides it's required that the tour bus driver stops for a break every 2 hours and we generally stopped at servos so if you run out of shampoo or toothpaste you could easily get more.

I don't really want to tell you what ME time activities you should and shouldn't do as everyone experiences things differently. My travel buddies and I didn't always share the same opinion on the extras so honestly do what you want to do! One activity that isn't a ME time but it is offered is the extremely sobering stop at the Mathausen concentration camp memorial. It is an absolute MUST DO. I also visited Auschwitz & Birkenau concentration camp memorials and both visits had me in indescribable shock and tears. I know that doesn't sound all that pleasant but you gain so much perspective and as someone who had a particular interest in this war I felt like I owed it to myself and the people who's lives were lost or destroyed during this awful and dark time to see what they went through and pay my respects. There is nothing more I can say that will prepare you for walking on this ground but you have got to do it. It was the most life changing experience for me.

I feel really grateful that I was able to do this trip and I am lucky to have been put with an incredible group. My tour guide was alright, I formed a better relationship with our bus driver who was an absolute legend.
I honestly couldn't have asked for a better 25 days. I almost think it has spoilt any other tour for me because it was just that good!

Hope this has been helpful!

My Contiki was: Eye-opening, Hilariously fun, Spectacular

Splendour in the Grass will forever be the best music festival on my list; the festival itself is so diverse and there is always something to do, if not, then you would be perfectly fine with hanging out at the chill out section back at camp.
All of the tents are set up or you and you don't have to put them down which is absolutely amazing! But not only that but the tents themselves are quite spacious.
The chill out tent was fully decked out with these amazing comfy chairs and ELECTRICITY! You could charge your phone or your iPod safely in the tent for free; you didn't have to pay to charge your phone like other festival goers.
The team was amazing, they were always up for a chat and were pretty excited about the festival themselves. Even though everyone was annoyed by the knee deep mud they were always the ones to get people excited about certain events going on. They made sure everyone had a map and event timetables. They even organised for every to meet up and watch Peking Duk on one of the nights.
Breakfast was a painful procedure every morning if you didn't get up early but the crew tried to help by providing the breakfast van with another toastie machine.
Contiki also supplied as with hats, sunglasses and some red bulls for the weekend it was unexpected! I absolutely recommend camping with Contiki at Splendour in The Grass, i know ill be going back next year; its super easy!

The Big Chill

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Camping Extravaganza

Camping was by far the best way to travel Europe! Not only did we get to see all of the breathe taking sites that it had to offer, but we all returned to a relaxed atmosphere back at the campsite. 46 days was a lot to take in and at times you dreamt of home, but soon enough you were ready to venture onto the next activity on the itinerary.
Danielle Shellvin was our tour manager and she was phenomenal at it! Not only would she give us all great insights into each of the cities that we ventured into but she also made sure everyone was having a good time; regardless of what time she went to bed the night before she was up and ready the next morning with a positive attitude, i have no idea how she does it. At times there were hiccups like borders taking too long or traffic taking up a lot of time and nonetheless she made sure that we still completed all of the activities and didn't miss a single site...she even added in a few!
Conor O'Doherty was an amazing driver! Even though the drivers don't normally get to know people on the tour because they're always driving and then they need their rest he got to know everyones name within the first week of the tour! Conor whisked through roads and we were generally early to every destination; how he managed to drive through some roads I have no idea!
Kayla Fleming was by far an amazing cook! Even though we were camping, what that women could create beneath a tent was to die for; even though the wind at some campsites nearly blew over her tent she still managed to serve us all our meals. The food was one of my favourite things on the tour.
This was a truly spectacular trip, one that i will never forget! Every optional that I went to, I was not disappointed. Each free day you were given so many things that you could want to see; the insight into each city gave us such a variety whether it was for the museum buffs, beach goers, foodies or just your stereotypical tourist.
I will never forget this tour or the amazing team that was behind it!

My Contiki was: phenomenal, amazing, eye opening

The Big Chill

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Camping Extravaganza

Camping was by far the best way to travel Europe! Not only did we get to see all of the breathe taking sites that it had to offer, but we all returned to a relaxed atmosphere back at the campsite. 46 days was a lot to take in and at times you dreamt of home, but soon enough you were ready to venture onto the next activity on the itinerary.
Danielle Shellvin was our tour manager and she was phenomenal at it! Not only would she give us all great insights into each of the cities that we ventured into but she also made sure everyone was having a good time; regardless of what time she went to bed the night before she was up and ready the next morning with a positive attitude, i have no idea how she does it. At times there were hiccups like borders taking too long or traffic taking up a lot of time and nonetheless she made sure that we still completed all of the activities and didn't miss a single site...she even added in a few!
Conor O'Doherty was an amazing driver! Even though the drivers don't normally get to know people on the tour because they're always driving and then they need their rest he got to know everyones name within the first week of the tour! Conor whisked through roads and we were generally early to every destination; how he managed to drive through some roads I have no idea!
Kayla Fleming was by far an amazing cook! Even though we were camping, what that women could create beneath a tent was to die for; even though the wind at some campsites nearly blew over her tent she still managed to serve us all our meals. The food was one of my favourite things on the tour.
This was a truly spectacular trip, one that i will never forget! Every optional that I went to, I was not disappointed. Each free day you were given so many things that you could want to see; the insight into each city gave us such a variety whether it was for the museum buffs, beach goers, foodies or just your stereotypical tourist.
I will never forget this tour or the amazing team that was behind it!

My Contiki was: phenomenal, amazing, eye opening

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