Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
I have been on 3 different Contiki’s (2 European ones and LA to the Bay) and this last one was by far the best Contiki I have been on.
The locations were amazing, the hotels great, the additional activities amazing and the people world class.
Another reason why it was really awesome was thanks to having Matt as our awesome tour guide. I really appreciated the small gestures like having Cards Against Humanity for us to play, playing awesome location related movies on the bus before we got to the location e.g. The Hangover before Vegas, for making being late a fun thing rather than a serious thing with bus karaoke and dancing.
It was a super fun trip and I had a world class time!
I was apprehensive about booking Contiki - I've travelled with Intrepid and Topdeck and as I'm in my early 30's I was worried that I would be stuck with immature 20 year olds for 2 weeks. Luckily, I had a GREAT group of people and thoroughly enjoyed spending time with the group. Some of my favourite times were going out with the group for dinner and drinks/clubs.
Our tour manager Jesse was awesome - super friendly and knowledgeable. She is also multilingual, which was useful in Spain to have a Spanish speaker. Jess also came out with us and seemed to genuinely enjoy socialising with the group. Our driver Luis was quiet but friendly, and I was impressed with his driving skills. I normally get a little motion sickness but did not experience it at all this trip.
Spain was awesome. We had a great local guide in Seville, who was funny and engaging. Portugal was also great, Sintra and Cascais were beautiful, although I'd have loved more time here, as well as other places in Spain. As with any Contiki i'm sure, time is limited and you'll always want to spend more time in some places, but that's what you get when you want to experience several countries in 2 weeks.
Morocco was a good experience, however it was not a place we were advised to explore on our own, except for Marrakech. Tangier was particularly dangerous, but we only stayed one night prior to returning to Spain. My stand out experience in Morocco was the traditional hammam - not for the overly shy - but a really interesting experience that I am glad i did. Our tour manager also joined in, which made the experience a little less daunting!!
Overall, I wasnt overly impressed with the food, particularly with some of the optional dinners, however not all were bad. Breakfasts are basic, as with most places in Europe, so dont expect anything too fancy. Pastries and fruit are the norm. A fair few meals are also eaten at service stations, in Morocco, this wasnt great, but in Spain there was generally a variety of options so it wasnt too unpleasant!
I was pleasantly surprised by the standard of the hotels we stayed in. The majority were quite comfortable and nicer than i had expected. Most were 20-30 mins outside of the city, however for the cost of the tour you cant expect anything much closer. For group dinners/city activities, we were taken in by the coach, however taxi fares werent overly expensive when shared among a few people.
Overall i had a great time on this trip. As i had expected, Contiki is more geared towards partying than other companies I've travelled with...however I really enjoyed this aspect, which surprised me! I'd definitely recommend this tour, some great sights and experiences :)
What I loved about the trip:
- Very friendly and knowledgeable tour guide (Sarah). The presentations about each new country were interesting, and the maps of the cities we visited and ‘survival phrases’ were very useful. She also gave us good advice on restaurants and things to see/do during our free time.
- The optional extras. I signed up for most of them, and they were worth every penny! The guide on both of the Budapest tours was very funny, and the guide on the “Traditional Tastes of Venice” tour chatted to us all as we tried some very tasty Italian antipasti. All of the guides were very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. The pierogi evening was fun, and the gondola ride was a bucket list item!
- The inclusions. Key landmarks were pointed out to us, and the included meals were traditional. Sarah took us on short walking tours of the cities, and we also had plenty of time to look around Auschwitz-Birkenau and Banska Bystrica.
- The free time. I felt that there was enough time to explore in all of the cities (except Rome – see below).
What could have been better:
- Very little time spent in Rome. The trip description says “See the Colosseum” and “See St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City”, but neither place was included in the walking tour, and we did not get off the coach to have a closer look. I therefore only managed to get a quick glimpse, which was disappointing.
- The hostel in Ljubljana. The hostel was on the top few floors (floors 12 and upwards) of a VERY tall hotel building. The lifts were slow, and stopped on every single level. There was only one electrical socket in the room (for 4 people), the bathroom door did not close properly, and there was graffiti on the walls next to some of the bunk beds. The lights in the room were not working when we arrived, and one of the hinges on the window was broken. The Contiki website says that the hostels visited are “some of Europe’s top hostels”, but this one was poor, and one of my roommates said that she felt nervous staying there.
- The rooming situation. When my friend and I booked this trip, we requested a twin room in each of the hostels/hotels. A rooming list was passed round when we were on the coach on the way to the next destination, and the non-quad rooms were usually reserved for couples. We managed to get twin rooms in Krakow and Venice, and although we understood that twin rooms were not guaranteed, we felt that our request had been ignored for the most part.
A fantastic trip, and I’ve already started thinking about my next adventure! I would definitely recommend the Eastern Trail.
The contiki hotels felt more like hostels - the staff in those locations were rude because they only have contiki guests so they aren't worried of repercussions. We actually got worse service at other hotels because of the reputation of contiki - and I don't blame them. You're on holiday with people who don't know how to respect other people in the hotel and will be loud all hours of the morning. The included breakfasts are most often bad, and even when there is food to choose from you're up so early and have only 30 minutes to eat so it's an unpleasant experience. You eat most lunches at a servo/gas station. The included dinners are actually worse because as the TM would say "it's hard to feed 35+ people great food" - which it's not. The money you think you save going to Contiki you end up paying in food and taxi cabs to the hotel because they are always so far out of city center; and at least when you're on your own you don't have to deal with high school like drama from other tour members. The transport ends up being much longer than you would expect when mapping it out yourself because we have to stop every 2.5 hours for 45 minutes for the drivers hours. Basically every other day you are on the coach for 8-9 hours, so you're too exhausted after dinner to try to explore the city that's a 30 minute drive away. Everyone on the bus got sick, and a week later I'm still recovering even though I tried to sleep as much as I could because your body is not meant to eat such awful food and travel so much in 30 days.
If you only have a short amount of time and want to see 4 of the biggest and best cities in America you have to do this tour. There are so many tickets and activities included in the price, and heaps of amazing optionals to make your experience even better. We had plenty of free time to explore in each place and I've made some friends for life. Check out my blog for a full write up here: http://logoffsignout.blogspot.com.au/p/best-of-usa.html
This is an amazing jam-packed mini-trip. Canada is so, so cold but incredibly beautiful and Whistler had some of the best Ski Slopes and powder snow I've ever experienced. I've wrote a blog about it here: http://logoffsignout.blogspot.com.au/p/canada.html
My first trip to Europe (6/3-6/15/16) was disappointing. They kept a distance from us. For example, eating at a separate table and not hanging out with us outside their required tours. I felt the chill more from the tour leader. The people who rated this trip must have low expectations or think they got a great deal. Contiki trips are a bit like a scam. Go with Intrepid or Peregrine if you care about quality. They are a bit more expensive but you will have an awesome time. They care about eco-tourism. Funny how Contiki brands themselves with #noregrets but I have all these regrets.
Sightseeing felt like window shopping since there wasn't enough time to go to museums or to take in the sight. There was very little free time so shopping for anything besides magnets and keychains was difficult. The Me optional activities weren't really optional since the tour leader got everyone to go. Otherwise, you would be alone and with not much to do as the tour leader didn't mention other options whether it be for sightseeing or meals. The base price seems low but with the optional activities, you are paying 581 euros more. It was not enjoyable to have to pay that much on the third day of the trip. It was clever of them to ask for payment after you made friends and want to go together. The optional activities were not worth it. The food did not taste good and the shows were not interesting. Food in the US taste better but that is because they brought us to bad places. They also brought us to leather and perfume store. Save yourself money by making your own adventure and not supporting contracts with these inadequate businesses. Better yet, don't go with Contiki. I also felt manipulated when the tour leader asked us to fill out a survey. He gave a 10 minute spiel on how great this tour was and then gave us 10 minutes to fill out a survey that had long answer questions. We barely had enough time to reflect. They played the song, Young Folks, every morning so that when we hear it, we would think of Contiki. I did not like this manipulation. It was nice to hear playlists from different people.
The accommodations were below average because they were far from the cities (we had to take 15 minute taxis if we hung out late) and provided inadequate breakfasts (unappetizing stale white bread and cold cuts). I always looked forward to breakfast as being energizing, not a meal that I wanted to get over with. I’ve never went to hotels as bad as these and I usually go to three star ones. The rooms were not comfortable. They had small showers. Some people also got bed bugs. We should not be staying at such places. We were so excited when we got fruits at service stop. Half the day was spent on a bus and lunch was at service stops. This took away from eating local meals.
I was in a group of 36 travelers who were in their 20s. There was a party group who liked to go out and drink. They should consider the personalities and lifestyles of people when pairing them up to be roommates as I don't go out that late but my roommate was the biggest party animal so she came back late and I would wake up to open the door for her as the hotels were too cheap to provide another key. I also had to get her up in the morning. I didn't expect these responsibilities. The second to last accommodation was at a jail-converted hotel. We felt like we were staying at a jail. The mattresses were thin, the room felt eerie, and the bathroom did not fit in. People started getting sick after 6 days and it was hard to avoid them as we were on the bus for hours (5-8 hours a day). It was hard not to go crazy and to fall asleep. My body felt sore and my posture was bad. You lose so much sightseeing time on a bus.
The tour leader was very knowledgeable of the places we were in and the driver was very skilled with driving. However, the tour leader was a bit condescending and pretended not to understand when I asked, "where is the best place to eat?" which I found weird. the driver did not talk much but he always smiled and helped with our luggage.
This trip was more than I imagined! It's a perfect mix of learning important things, seeing amazing sights, and having a great time! I was worried at first being that I can be shy but everyone is so nice you meet friends instantly. It's a great mix of people who want to head back early and others who want to stay out. So which ever you prefer doing you can! In other reviews people talked about the motion sickness and while people did get sick it was not as bad as what I was expecting! I would recommend doing all the me time options. They were great and definitely worth it. If there is something you want to do that isn't on the me time list ask your tour manager where they reccomend doing it and they will tell you. My tour manager, James, was amazing! He kept everything so organized and gave us a lot of great reccomendations in each town. When it comes to packing I would recommend lighter workout shorts for the days and a couple nicer shorts for going out at night. We had a couple big going out nights so something a little nicer, but you're in south east Asia where you will start sweating when you walk outside so nothing too nice. You do need temple wear on a couple occasions. I made the mistake of packing linen pants thinking they would be light and airy. They were hot and took up space in my luggage. Buy elephant pants there. They are cheap and do rip easily so you might need a couple. There are night markets in about every other town you go to so feel free to save shopping towards the end. Overall it's an amazing trip. Do everything you can and you will love it! My only regret was just doing the two weeks and not doing the big indochina and continuing to Vietnam.
When I say that I had the time of my life on this tour, I mean it. From soaring high above the majestic Grand Canyon in a helicopter to hot air ballooning in Albuquerque and parasailing in Daytona Beach, Contiki's Grand Southern tour is truly extraordinary.
No day is the same on this tour. As opposed to going to all the 'touristy' areas, this organised vacation allows you to immerse yourself in the good ol' southern lifestyle. While most tours encourage you to simply 'look' at the sites, Contiki invites you to actually experience the cities like a true local. Every single city we visited (whether it be the ones we stayed in or the ones we passed) had a history of its own. Our tour manager (Rachel) truly encapsulated the spirit of these places and explained their histories in a simple and incredibly fascinating manner. Once the tour finished, I had so much knowledge and experience of the American lifestyle; something I wouldn't have acquired if I had travelled on my own or with a different company.
But, the travelling and knowledge aren't the only things I earned. It's also the longterm friendships. In all honesty, my fellow travellers are more than friends now; they're family. The relationships you build with each other is extraordinary and an experience in itself. All you have to do is be yourself and you're bound to meet so many new friends.
In terms of accommodation, each of our hotels were fantastic and super clean. The staff of each hotel were very welcoming and helpful, and made us feel at home.
If I had to give a recommendation to future travellers, I'd suggest you do all the optional excursions on offer. They're all picked for a reason, and are truly worth the extra cash. Some of them may not seem appealing to you, but these are often the ones that surprise you!
If you're looking for a trip around America which incorporates partying, history and new experiences, then Contiki's Grand Southern is what you're looking for! I would do it again in a heartbeat!
This trip was absolutely fantastic!!
Our guide, Rammel was great, as was our driver, Alex. It was my first time travelling by myself and doing a Contiki and I wasn't sure what to expect but by the end of it, we were all family. We had each others backs during the amazing and sometimes wild times. I'm sure all the others in my group would agree with me.
All the places were amazing, especially Bass Lake, Yosemite and Grand Canyon. Absolutely beautiful and lots of fun!
It's been a week since we all left each other and I'm really missing the group. I would highly recommend this trip!
If you're choosing between Contiki and another travel group, or thinking about traveling to Europe on your own, I have some words of advice for you. If you're pretty mature but still on the fence about traveling around Europe alone: wait a year, save up your money and go without a travel group. Contiki is great if you're immature for your age, don't actually care about the places you're visiting, and just want to get drunk. The trip will be much more rewarding if you actually go out and experience the different cultures.
I think I would have had a better experience with Contiki if my trip manager wasn't so selfish. He made this trip all about himself and his sexual desires. My experience was greatly affected by his behavior. I was disgusted and felt uncomfortable when he had sexual intercourse with a client, (someone on the trip) just 48 hours into our tour. From then on the inappropriate behavior continued. He brought a "one-night-stand" onto the coach one morning and saw no problem with how unprofessional that was. This is his job, but instead it was more like a vacation for himself. When he would give brief history lessons before we entered certain countries, he would try to make jokes to keep the topic interesting. This would have been great if he wasn't using rape as a punch line. He had no problem objectifying women, talking about "tits" and coming up with jokes about rape. He was disrespectful to the Catholic church when he referred to saints as little b*tches. He claims respect is the most important thing to him, yet he played music from his phone and mocked the employees telling visitors to be silent while we were inside the Sistine Chapel. I am appalled that Contiki would hire such a self-absorbed and disrespectful trip manager, who's job is to make other people enjoy their vacation. My list of complaints goes on, but bottom line he was unprofessional and I would not recommend traveling with Contiki. I felt uncomfortable around him and dreaded waking up each morning to continue my trip.
Mediterranean Quest was everything I had hoped it'd be and more. I was able to see so many places, feel comfortable traveling, and meet so many wonderful people. I had such an amazing experience for my first Contiki tour and I've already signed up for my next two!
There is no doubt in my mind that doing this trip was one of the best decisions I've ever made! There's no lie when they say this trip is high energy! But don't let that change your mind when booking.
Our group had 53 people and each and every single one of us became a family. Our trip manager Kyle was helpful, friendly and downright amazing! Our driver Joao was punctual and a genuinely awesome guy. On the first day they told us we would become close but I never expected to become as close as we all did. I've definitely made friends for life from all around the world. I travelled with a friend, but many people were solo and seeing how friendly people were I would consider travelling solo in the future!
The trip itself is jam packed. Stopping in 7 countries over 10 days you would expect it to be. However, it's not so exhausting that you become miserable. There is the option of having some earlier nights but that comes at the cost of missing out on great memories! The sights, activities and people make you forget about the early mornings and make you focus on the amazing memories you make instead. You also will have plenty of time to sleep on the bus! There are many amazing MeTime optionals to pick from and you definitely get what you pay for on each of them.
Accommodation was completely up to my expectations. For the price you pay you get what you would expect. Most of the rooms are hostel style with bunk beds, and only one of the rooms we stayed in had a common bathroom/shower, the rest being private. All of the rooms were clean and the beds fairly comfortable. (you're so tired that you only care that you actually have a bed!)
Although the pace is high energy you do get a great amount of time in each city. There was enough time to purchase souvenirs and take in the culture. A few highlights for me would be the paragliding, Jungfrau Mountain visit, Lauterbrunnen and the Rhine Valley! If there is any doubt in your mind to do this trip, just book it! It was an unforgettable experience!
A few helpful tips:
-in some places you will need to take public transport back to the hotel ex) taxi, metro or bus
-make sure to bring a towel as some bathrooms do not have any
-the MeTime optionals are not included in the trip cost and you pay for them on the trip
-bring something red for the Swissco Disco party night in Switzerland
-bring something white or bright for the Tight White n Bright party night in Austria
-have change for some toilets at rest stops
-the bus does not have free wifi, you can pay however
I booked this tour after the 45 day ultimate European and it was nothing short of amazing. Being on the ship with contiki you don't have to worry about a thing. Thanks to our amazing tour guide Izzy, she honestly made the trip. From organising us all in one place to ensuring we spent our time on the islands doing the best things there are to do, to the historical information about the various stops. The food and accomodation on the ship is amazing! And drinks onboard are avaliable in a great value package. I would highly suggest this tour if you are wanting to see a lot in alittle time, because you are seeing ALOT of islands in the short few days time is limited. For me this was great as I had just been on a tour that has stayed in Greece for a week so stopping here and there and seeing the vast comparisons between the islands I had not visited was incredible. If you are looking for a tour with more time on the islands I would highly recommend the contiki Greek island hopping tour. Either way grab you swimmers/togs/bathers and book the tour you won't regret it, oh and be nice to your contiki team they literally do everything for you on tour X
I would highly recommend the European highlights trip, for me 14 days was perfect considering high energy everything was. It is really a highlights trip where you see the cities quickly and then back on the bus. The extras were great for bonding with the wonderful group we had, although if I did it again I would consider spending time just wandering around places like Rome, which can be very touristy. I loved the optional dinners and bike rides. The accommodation is hostel- like and some places have shared uni-sex toilets and showers. Most places were clean. The contiki camps were the best and the most fun as well. Lindsey our tour guide was great and kept everyone together and on time, she was knowledgeable and got the group bonding well. The bus was cleaned daily by Bruno our bus driver and we got everywhere safely. Our group was amazing and we all made friends from all over the world. I would recommend this experience to everyone.
This trip was honestly the best thing I've ever experienced! Our Contiki Trip Manager Rachel, and bus driver Marquise, were awesome!! They are so knowledgable and went absolutely above and beyond. What this trip covers is amazing, you see such a variety of places. I would recommend starting in New York and ending in LA as leaving Las Vegas until the end was very exciting. I would do it all over again if I had the chance
I can't describe how amazing this trip is. Saw many beautiful sites and did many amazing things. Alex was an amazing tour manager, so knowledgable, helpful and friendly and always looks out for you. Richard was an amazing driver, had to navigate through super tight situations and was really friendly too! Unfortunately our helicopter trip was cancelled due to the weather but Alex is working on his powers to change the weather so hopefully he will perfect it soon! For a first Contiki and solo trip I would definitely recommend starting with this
So this was my second Contiki and I can not compare the two. This Contiki has a lot of different parts unlike my last Contiki (European Highlights). This we had people coming in Scotland and leaving in Glasgow but gaining people, we also gained people in Dublin. Some of us did London to London and think we got really close but we also enjoyed the new people each time.
So if you want to see London please get to London a couple days before your tour. Because on the 2nd day (technically) you leave London but they do take you on a driving tour.
Liverpool-Awesome! If you or a family member loves the Beatles this is the place! Very cool city! We walked to the Cavern Club where famous musicians have played like the Beatles and Adele and so many more. The Beatles drums and guitars are in a glass case in the lower level-very cool!
York-very cool place! We got to walk around town. A lot of shops and music performers and tours you can do. We did the Ghost tour which was really cool-only thing bad I can say was it rained the entire time. But the guide was super cool.
Lake District-Lake Windermere was very pretty! We got to hold and touch rescue owls and take a boat tour of the Lake. We had awesome weather! We were then off to high ropes, climbing walls, and archery (extras). The only bad thing I can say was the male instructor was not in a good mood and it showed..we happen to run into road closure and traffic and were running late. Next day was off to Hadrian’s Wall and it was pretty cool. We got to the Scotland and England Board and you get to stop. Really cool. Oh and two people get married and Gretna Green but for not for real but it's really cool. We picked the couple that was on the trip.
Edinburgh- you get two days here! 2nd day you have the option to do the Castle tour but it's a free day. Some people walked up Arthur's Seat-just google it. That night a group of us went on a ghost tour really cool. Do know you will be walking a lot here! The first night you have your Scottish experience-totally worth it! Awesome Bagpipe player!
Scottish Highlands-very beautiful! Look for Nessie!!! might even get to take a swim in the Loch Ness :)
Glasglow-This is the night where some people leave us. We say goodbye and leave the next day for Dublin.
Dublin-We meet new people for this part of the tour. We did free time and then had dinner with all the new people. Not too much time but you’ll be back to Dublin.
Cork-Kilkenny first for an optional bike tour-Must do!! Very cool and beautiful town. I wish we had a full day here. Also the Jameson’s Distiller Tour (optional) but very cool tour and you get a drink at the end!
Galway-On the way-Blarney Stone and Castle-must do! Cliffs of Moher was very cool! We got awesome weather! Beautiful! Aran Islands (optional) very beautiful place and you can see it all on a bike. We got excellent weather.
Derry or Londonderry-A lot of history here. Walking tour with an excellent tour guide. I got a lot from this city because my family originates from there. Peace Bridge is really cool.
Belfast- On the way-Giants Causeway-very cool! When you get to Belfast you get an awesome guide and Firo (Coach Driver) drives us around to see gates and talks about the instability there. Very interesting.
Dublin- We’re Back! But also this means the tour has come to an end. We do the Guinness Tour (optional) and its totally worth it! It’s a free day. Farewell dinner and its worth it as well. It’s a good night and everyone has one last night with each other. Some people decide to stay in Dublin and some of us went back with Firo and Emily (Tour Manager) to London.
Of course I left some things out but if any of this sounds interesting please look into it! So the few that road back to London, we had to take a ferry to Wales. We got to stop at the town with the longest name Llanfairpwllgwyngyll. Then it’s back to London and some us went to the pub and said our goodbyes. We got in about 7-8pm so you should book an extra night.
I will say I had a great Tour Manager Emily that would help you in any way she could. She would take us places you wouldn’t know if you were on your own. She was awesome! Firo was an awesome driver and got to hangout a night with him. I slept great knowing he was at the wheel. #noregrets
I have done Contiki before and absolutely loved it and had absolutely no complains regarding the itinerary or tour guide he was fun, full of knowledge, made us feel welcomed, showed us the best spots possible and took care of us, made sure we had everything we needed, went out with us and made sure everyone was safe and having fun. However, this trip was the complete opposite. I did enjoy most places we went and most activities we did. The me time were extremely fun and the reason why I chose Costa Rica in the first place. I chose it to escape work and home to make great friendships and have a fun time without having to worry about planning. This is the reason why I chose a group vacation. Our tour guide never answered any questions we had about anything he talked around them and seemed annoyed at everyone. The second our activities were over with he was nowhere to be found. You could not reach him in his room or through phone. One morning due to the lack of sleep and early check out I forgot a drawer full of clothes wishing the buddies I realized what had happened and told him to please make sure to contact the hotel and get my belongings to me ASAP and that I was willing to pay for shipping cost. It took him 2 days to even contact the hotel after me asking over and over again for it he finally said that the hotel had them stored and that everything is okay. He never asked for my creditcard or any payment so after a day or two I asked about them again and he said that I needed to conatct the hotel to give them my Creditcard info. I am in a country with no phone so I messaged someone back at home to do it for me. I'm on day 3 of calling the hotel and then telling me they never found anything until now he hasn't responded to my phone calls. Not only did he make us feel uncomfortable whenever he was around he also hasn't done his job as a tour guide. I pay extra for contiki in case things like this happens. I would not recommend this trip to anyone. And I am very disappointed for contiki for even considering he fit to do this job. Due to this experience I am hesitate of ever taking a contiki again.
This trip was amazing ! We had a nice group of about 34, and we all became a big family ! The percentage of girls was quite a bit higher than boys, but everyone got along so was good ! We all got to know each other especially on the coach and the group dinners. From my experience I would definitely try mixing and hanging out with a different group to get to know the people more.
I would definitely recommend doing all the optionals, they definitely make your trip more interesting and are really worth it. Some of the walking tours did seem to put a few people to sleep, but you would pick up the odd fun fact.
I think the time spent in each place is perfect, I would only recommended more time in Spain, so make the most of it there!
Nice and Corfu would definitely be stand out places for me, and seeing the Eiffel Tower at night was amazing.
Accommodation was good, the cabins at the campsites were surprisingly modern and the contiki chateau was really good.
Our contiki crew were the best you could ask for, their knowledge and skills were beyond incredible. They definitely play a big part on your experience, and they definitely do their best to ensure you have the best time. #contikipenguin #contikijoaog