Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
As an Australian doing this trip I highly recommend this to all fellow Aussies as well as foreigners. This trip was incredible, there was never a free moment, we were constantly going somewhere and seeing something amazing. Our country may not be have castles and structures that are centuries old but we have incredible cultural heritage as well as some very old amazing sandstone structures that almost seem impossible to exist. These are our pyramids and stonehenge. They may not be man made but thinking about most of the place we visited, (Uluru, Katherine Gorge, Kakadu National Park etc) the fact that nature created those, and that they are so old that there are no fossils to be found, blows my mind.
I met some amazing people on this trip, made some great friends. We had a small group, only 16 and it made it really easy to get to know everyone and we became quite a close knit group. Many thanks to our informative Trip Manager (Mark) and amazing driver (Benny) who taught me many things I didn't know about my own country but also for the vague and confused looks they caused on the foreigners when they said something truly Aussie!
The Northern Territory feels like a whole other planet, it's so different and beautiful that doing this trip will really open your eyes to the wonders our planet holds.
I 100% recommend everyone does this trip, especially if you are interested in seeing some huge crocs (eating some too) in the wild as well as some massive rocks in the desert!
P.S. i suggest (If you have the funds) to do every single ME TIME Optional apart from the Harley Davidson Ride around Uluru (you walk around it and drive around it on the bus) and also the Crocosaurus Cage. Now it might just be me but when I saw people doing it, I got a better view from underneath. The crocs aren't interested, they are so docile from being in captivity it was sort of boring. Save the excitement for when you see them in the wild. Also if you can, do the longer helicopter flight over Uluru because you also get to go over Kata Tjuta which is just as beautiful.
if you're thinking of booking the Turkish Sailing, DO, #NOREGRETS.
TURKEY IS BEAUTIFUL.
This was mine and a girlfriends first Contiki, we didn't know what to expect but the trip was amazing - so much better than we could have ever imagined!
The crew are lovely; there's the Captain, chef and first mate, Mehmet! They're all really nice and willing to help you with whatever, whenever! They all got involved, joining us on our night out in Marmaris, the Captain even got the beer-bong out on Pirate Night (Thursday). They're very laid back and let you do what you want (I was aloud to drive the speedboat!) - but make sure you get them involved because they truly are lovely people!
The food is great; its all healthy and consists of a lot of rice, pasta, meat, fish & veggies. There's cornflakes for breakfast alongside eggs, sausages and bread with jams etc. The bar is on tab which you will pay the Friday night before you leave for your last night out. Mine was around 80euros for the week, and I did have a fair few bottles of wine! They also let me pay for my tab in pounds.
FYI, there is Wifi on the boat, speak with the Captain and he'll give you the password - 15euros for the week! (which will be added to your tab) But do note that because of the remote location the boats docked at night the Wifi wasn't always working!
The boat was bigger than expected, and did have electricity for phone chargers etc. (however the generators are only on for a few hours in the evening, although the Captain will tell you when). The rooms are tiny and all have a private 'bathroom' with a toilet, shower and sink. We slept on the deck every night, because the rooms were so hot and was gladly woken by the breakfast bell every morning! The stars were absolutely beautiful, and luckily due to the diverse group of people - I learnt a tonne; about sailing, stars, navigations etc.!
The boat has lots of flippers, snorkels, spaghetti floaties and even a kayak which is available for everyone to use.
I'd recommend that everyone does all the excursions available; there was only 5/32 who wanted to do the Village Tour, and personally this was one of my favourite. We were picked up by a local from the Village (Etrim Village) who took us to the local mosque and told us the background of the village and about the Turkish culture. We had tea at the local teahouse, homemade wine and then traditional Turkish pancakes made by his mother, which was delicious! Here we got an opportunity to find out about how Turkish carpets are made and could purchase some at the village shop. It was a very informative trip which I would have been gutted if I missed!
FYI, on the first day a lady will come to the boat who will give everyone an overview of the trip, this is when you book and pay for your excursions.
Packing; there isn't much room for your bags in the room, so go light! We lived in bikinis during the day, and sometimes even still had them on after dinner! We went 'outout' three times; our first night in Bodrum at the Whitehouse, then a wicked night in Marmaris and again back to the Whitehouse on the last Friday.
One thing I will note is to bring good walking shoes/trainers; we went on a hike which was a HIKE, the hill was really steep and rocky and couldn't be done without trainers. It was a mission but take some bevvys with you to watch the sun set when you get up there!
Plus, you get to do watersports (jetskis, flying fish, banana boats, ringos at additional cost) on the Friday before you head back into Bodrum!
We were always totally oblivious of the time at all times, but that's what we wanted!
Honestly couldn't have asked for a better trip and would defiantly recommend this to everyone!
We were really lucky to have had two boats going together, we had the opportunity to meet some great people! Worth every penny spent :)
This trip was definitely a must do and a must see! I loved every minute of it and thought it was well organised. Matt (tour guide) and Nicholas (driver) were amazing and kept it fun and interesting.
The group got along quite well on a whole and I've made plenty of friends from my tour. I would recommend packing some overnight bags for certain hotels that do not have elevators if you are planning on taking a suitcase.
The optional tours were fantastic and I enjoyed having my time allocated to spend some time exploring the destination at my own leisure.
My favourite city was actually Munich which really surprised me. I'm now planning another trip back to Germany and this trip as inspired to go back, see more and experience more.
One of my favourite tours ever taken. It's absolutely stunning nature, easy paced traveling enough me time. Not hectic, Canada itself is a very clean, relaxed and save country. There's fresh air, stunning wildlife and a loooot of pretty. (#ContikiAlex) It's not a party tour, of course some people party, but it's not much about partying. Canada in the summer - a must see. I will definitly come back. There's still much more to do in Vancouver than I did. ;-) And the tourmanager Alex is very knowledgable and funny. Oh Canada, I love you. :*
The trip is great and pretty well balanced between sight-seeing and parting but what they dont tell you in the information sheet is how quickly the Greek islands' nightlife dies as soon as September starts. So if you want a more party packed holiday then make sure your entire trip is before the end of August. However if you want a more relaxed and chilled holiday with slight partying then go early September - the weather is still great, the beaches are less crowded and it is more chilled.
Santorini (the 2nd island of this trip) is absolutely amazing so seeing it will make the trip worth it at almost any time.
This was such a good tour. You see so much of the south west. I did it in Winter and loved it but I imagine summer would be even better! The snowboarding/ skiing and snowmobiling is a must do extra. But there's so much stuff to do and heaps of free time if you don't do all the extras. The group was awesome and the tour managers were the best! 14 days went way too fast I wouldn't pick anything shorter than this! In fact I'd recommend even picking a longer tour, because Contiki in the USA is such good value! We did a 2 week road trip (staying in hostels mainly) on our own after and it cost more the the tour. The accommodation on this tour is all hotels and they were all quite nice (standard twin share double bed). Las Vegas and San Diego were my favorites. But every place is awesome! Great tour on a budget! Would highly recommend!
2014 wasn't a walk in the park. I needed a change, a new experience, a new adventure, a new me. Enter, Contiki!
June 1st 2015, I joined my Contiki Group in Paris. I had never travelled alone before and I had no idea what to expect. One reason that I chose Contiki to host my Europe Trip was the ease of everything. They took me to the places I wanted to go, they fed me, they found the best places to chill, eat, sleep and relax.
European Highlights is a fast paced and extremely amazing tour. I literally got to tick off almost everything from my 'Bucket List'. From selfies by the Eiffel tower, wandering the streets of Florence before a Tuscan Meal and enjoying the nightlife in Amsterdam, everything exceeded my expectations.
If this is your first time to Europe, this is the tour for you. You'll immerse yourself in the history and culture of every country you visit and never want to leave.
You meet the best people, your Tour Manager will take care of your every need and you'll get to stay in places you never imagined you could stay in. You'll make life long friends, you'll probably have more fun than you have ever had and you'll come back completely satisfied with your choice.
You definitely will not regret this tour. #noregrets
Highly recommend,,,don't skip any of the optionals,,,gonna love,,,best of luck ;)
In short, I loved this trip. I went in thinking London and Ireland were going to be my favorite places, and at the end, in beauty and scenery and fun, Scotland took the cake. There are not enough words to explain the beauty of that country. I wish i could move to England, I have never felt more at home. When I arrived back home, nothing felt right anymore. What also made the experience amazing was my wonderful roommate and the exceptional tour manager (Mike) and driver (Matt). Mike is very knowledgeable and if he doesn’t know the answer he will find out for you, a very accommodating sweet guy. Matt kept us alive! Always a smooth comfortable ride. Talk to him, he is very nice, funny and entertaining and will also give you lots of information. They added so much to the trip experience.
The Ibis hotels are great. Nothing fancy but it is clean and everything is tiny and it has a nice vibe to it.
Try the haggis, it really isn’t bad, just don’t listen to what it is made of.
Breakfast is always served buffet style (mostly) and you will encounter basically the same every time. Bacon, eggs, breads, sausage, haggis, fruit, cereals, beans. It’s really a wide selection.
The bus was ALWAYS spotless. Poor Matt cleaning up after us. But it always smelled amazing and the windows were cleaned very often. Thanks Matt! If you get car sick, then aim for the front of the bus (first seat is best. Best views and more space.) but beware after this gets out, it will become a fight to the death to get it. Another great seat is the one right in front of the charging station. You can charge your phone while using it. Oh the bus has wifi, but you have to pay for it. Womp Womp. The bus also has a bathroom, don’t use it. Nobody wants to smell pee the whole time on the trip.
The trip was a full house. 51 travelers! Mostly from Canada and Austrialia. Then there were a mix of other countries. The age group was from the very young (18) to the older crowd mid 30’s. Mosty in the early to mid 20’s.
Details in no particular order (sorry its all jumbled together in my mind at this point):
London- Get to London at LEAST one day before the tour begins. There is so much to see, all the touristy attractions, museums, pubs, coffee shops, shopping etc. When I go back I will spend at least 2 days before and after the trip to see more of London and the surrounding areas. I arrived one day early, met with my roommate and we wondered aimlessly and ended up having an amazing time away from all the craziness of central London (Primrose and Camden). The first day of the trip there is a driving tour of London so you won’t get to do anything but take pretty picture of London.
Liverpool- What an amazing city. The lady that talks about the city is amazing and easy to understand. The waterfront is beautiful and yes there is Beatles stuff everywhere. At nighttime I again left all of the main areas and wondered around to random pubs with my roommate. Yes they look at you strangely but eventually they warmed up to us. The Philharmonic is a must see, it is beautiful to sit there and have a pint or two. Also there is a pub one block over from the hotel, its relaxed and this is where I had my first real ale (I never knew that existed, your beer life will change after this).
Carlisle- Is this tiny city, that basically consists of the one main street. Everyone ended up drinking at the Wetherspoons (our first of many) across the street and if you felt like it, you walked up the road and find more pubs or dancing. It was great because the hotel is right in the heart of town, so drink up, you can just walk back to the hotel.
Oban- The hotel is right on the water, beautiful scenery. We again went to a Wetherspoons, and there was the Scottish dancing night! One of my favorites. A great way to dance with that cute boy on your tour bus or just have a laugh with the friend you have already made. Don’t be shy, just dance!
Gretna Green- Get ready for one of your to get married, and a group photo for the memory of this incredibly awkward event between two strangers.
York- Was one of my favorite stops. Cute little city, lots of pubs, lots of people. The ghost tour thing was alright, not my favorite, I would have preferred to keep walking around on my own.
Lake District- Do the high ropes activity. I was scared beyond belief, but when I was done I felt amazing that I completed it. The Windermere cruise was alright, I would have skipped it.
Edinburgh- We spent 2 nights there. Luckily we went during the festival time. The Fringe festival is a collection of merchants selling random stuff, be warned it is EXTREMLY crowded (not my scene), I also went to see the Military Tattoo. It rained beyond belief, but it was worth it. The next day I spent it at the Castle, shopping, and again just pub hopping (Rose St I think it was called).
Scottish Highlands/Lochness- This is the only place that the whole group is has to stay in the hotel. There is nothing around to do. So it ended up being a really fun night (there is a bar in the hotel) getting to know everyone. Also do the Lochness dip in the water. It is freezing cold and the rocks are slippery and slimy but hey it was a fun time!
Glasgow- This is where the travelers who only did up to Scotland leave. . Goodbye drinks, fun times. Another Wetherspoons.
Dublin- You really only need one night there, but you will spend two. Pick up the travelers who are only doing Ireland. Be nice, they haven’t been traveling with the same group for a number of days now. Basically one street for drinking, so go hopping around and listen to all the live music and dance. Do the Guinness Storehouse thing (if your into getting a free Guinness at the end, and how it is supposed to taste). Group photo time! This is also the last city for the only Ireland travelers. The Merry Ploughboy thing is nice, not sure what else you would do if you skipped this. So just do it.
Hadrians Wall- A must see! Beautiful scenery and a fantastic place to show the beauty of Scotland.
Giants Causeway- A must see. Great scenery and a place to take photos of the beauty of Ireland.
(London)Derry- This place will blow your mind. I don’t want to spoil all the history of this place, but it was a shock for me. The walking tour guy is lovely. The hotel is one of the fancier hotel you will stay at.
Galway/Aron Islands- Rent the bike! Other options are using the bus (you wont see much that way) and a horse and carriage (stinky) or simply walk (it will be a very very long walk).
Cork- Cliffs of Mohr is beautiful and time to kiss the Blarney stone.
Kilkenny- Leaves a lot to be desired. The hotel is attached to seedy looking bar, its very old and kinda smells. Not my favorite. Skip the bike tour that is offered!
Had an absolutely amazing time on this tour! Saw all the major tourist sites - the Pyramids, the Sphinx, Abu Simbel, Luxor and Karnak - and some of the lesser known sites - Kom Ombo, the Unfinished Obelisk - but the highlight has to be the Valley of the Kings! Just absolutely inspiring!
The Red Sea was just spectacular - it would have been fantastic to spend more time there.
The guide we had - Sherif - was just so knowledgeable and made the whole trip just so wonderful. Literally the only things that could have made this trip even better would be to make it longer so we can spend more time at the red sea and maybe even visit Alexandria!
The hotel in Cairo is nice - but it would have been nicer to be in an area that is maybe slightly more touristy.
Both the best tour and tour managers Contiki have to offer. Abe's is a legend and this tour is legendary.
This was my first Contiki tour. I had never heard of the company until my travel agent had suggested it to me. I was a little nervous at first because I am not the biggest partier and I am kind of a nerd for culture, history, and anything Tolkien. I decided to take the plunge and book my New Zealand adventure with Contiki. IT WAS THE BEST DECISION I COULD HAVE MADE! New Zealand is the most beautiful place I have ever had the pleasure of touring and it was made even better by travelling with other like minded adventure seekers in my own age bracket who also came to New Zealand to bungy jump and sky dive for the first time; to dance like a Hobbit at the site of Bilbo's 111th bday party in Hobbiton; to learn more about the Maori culture; and to live it up in the Minus 5 Ice Bar in Queenstown just like me. I could not have imagined comfortably doing all of this with a group of older adults in their 50's or 60's.
My tour manager, Soap, was extremely knowledgeable about everything New Zealand and I feel that by the time we reached our destination for the day everyone on the bus was more than prepared to explore the wonders New Zealand had to offer because of all the history and tips that he gave to us before we got there. He also organized everything flawlessly and the only thing I ever had to think about was making sure I was back to the bus on time.
Personal trip highlights in a nutshell... Milford Sound, Bungy jumping, sky diving, and horseback riding in Queenstown, traditional Hangi and Haka dance in Rotoura, OGO Balls, Hobbition/Weta Workshop, Mt. Doom, helicopter ride over Franz Joseph and Fox glaciers, riding through the southern Alps, Ice Bar, kayaking in the Bay of Islands, and Waitangi Treaty grounds (lots of highlights!)
Do the Big Tiki as opposed to the other New Zealand options if you have the time and money. This tour showcases everything New Zealand has to offer and is a combination of all the other Kiwi tours combined. This means that travelers on the tour are always coming and going. The friendships formed on Contiki are strong and seeing people leave mid tour because they didn't sign up for the whole thing is hard.
Do as many of the Me Time optionals as you can... most of them are once I'm a lifetime opportunities: Hobbiton, helicopter over glaciers, Bungy jumping off the original bridge where the sport started, OGO ball ride, and cruising the stunning oasis that is the Milford Sound. If you think you want to try something but are hesitant throw your caution out the window... I mean when are you ever going to get this chance again.
Enjoy your adventure :)
Best trip of my life. Exceeded all expectations!
I am so glad that I did this trip. I was a bit nervous about going to Russia with all that you hear on the news, but this trip was great.
I always felt safe. Our tour guide was Danny who was wonderful. He really did a great job in recommending what to do you in your free time.
I did all the optional excursions. They were all great. If you are on an extremely tight budget then the one you absolutely can NOT miss is the Kremlin Armory. That place houses all the treasures of Imperial Russia....and our local guide explained each and every one....including one royal dress that was made entirely out of silver.
If I had to not do one....it would be the circus...it is on your last night in Russia and you could probably spend your time picking up last minute souvenirs instead.
This trip was part of a 22 day Scandanavia Trip, so some people were already friends for a long time, but I blended in with them quite well.
The local tour guides Anna and Galina were out of this world. They knew so much history! I absolutely loved it.
Have a great time!
I had the most amazing time on Contiki! This was my first solo trip in Europe and it couldn't have been better! :D Every single experience in every city we had the chance to do was so awesome; from white water rafting in Austria to Amsterdam and the bike tour/hofbrauhaus in Munchen. Make sure you do every me time option, I did and I am so glad. It's a very fast paced tour, and you barely get sleep, but who doesn't like partying till the early hours of the morning every night?! You will definitely have memories for life. On the last night of the tour in Paris, the taxi driver took a group of us to the wrong hotel, so we were walking around the streets at 3am. At the time I was annoyed, but looking on it now, that's something I'll remember. You become close to your tour group and they become your family. We had the best tour team - I'm talking about you Scotty and Gaz! I can't recommend this tour enough, and I can't wait to go on my next Contiki!
Everything about this tour was incredible! 14 days of Spanish history, food and culture are truly captured along the way. This was my first contiki and was very unsure what I could expect. Our tour manager Zach, was a big highlight for our group. His keen sense of spanish history and passion for what he did made all of us so excited to tour through each city with him. Our whole crew became life long friends that took advantage of every moment from the stress of Bilbao to the partying in Ibiza!
Do not think twice.... just book it!
Get ready for an insane adventure! This trip exceeded all of my expectations and I certainly won’t be forgetting the experiences we had as a group any time soon.
It's HOT. Proper hot. You will sweat and at times will be uncomfortably hot. Nothing you can do, just ride it out, drink lots of water and enjoy those cool showers when you can.
Consider packing light. There are an abundance of markets where you can buy cheap shirts, tops and ‘elephant pants’ that will cover you for temple dress.
90% of the time we wore thongs (flip flops) or sandals. Good idea to have a light weight comfortable pair of walking shoes too though.
Rain coats are a waste – they will make you sweat. Take a good quality umbrella instead. An emergency poncho is also worth it though I never used mine.
Any type of suitcase is fine but be prepared to carry it up stairs in some hotels that are minus an elevator.
All Visas (Laos & Cambodia) are available on arrival for most nationalities, if you get yours beforehand you will still wait for the others in the group. Might not be worth worrying about it at home. All you need are passport photos and two blank pages in your passport for each country.
Tap water shouldn’t be drunk so plan on buying heaps of bottled water; drink bottles are not needed.
Take lots of sunscreen, good quality bug spray and a wide brimmed hat. Lots of people got savaged by mozzies.
Malaria is described as not being present in all three countries – Meds shouldn’t be needed but it’s up to you if you’d rather be safe.
Don’t fear the cheap street food. It’s generally very good, but check with the tour manager for tips.
Do all of the optional extras – cheap and all are good fun. The Thai cooking class is particularly enjoyable!
The whole group share a car on the overnight train to Chiang Mai in a bunk bed style arrangement. Air conditioned and much more comfortable than it sounds.
The bus trips in Laos are windy and bumpy at times – if you get motion sick easily, sit at the front and take it easy the night before.
Spectacular View Restaurant is exactly that. Have the camera ready!
The first realistic opportunity to do washing is in Luang Prabang (7 days in). The next is in Siem Reap just before the end. Usually about US$1-2 per kilo.
Angkor Wat on a busy day can be ruined by big crowds. Be prepared. Look for the monk near the main entrance – good photo op.
Do not miss the afternoon trip to the other Siem Reap temples – they are better than Angkor Wat.
If you get time in Siem Reap after the trip – go to the circus. It is incredible (brochure at hotel reception).
Honestly though, the best piece of advice is to simply approach the trip with an open mind. First time contiki travellers, fear not, this was my fourth trip, my fourth exceptionally talented tour manager and my fourth insanely colourful and friendly group of travel buddies. You WILL have a good time, never doubt that. It’s quite a journey, take each experience as it comes and jump at every opportunity to see every inch of three amazing countries. You can sleep when you get home! Enjoy!
This trip was simply amazing. But be warned, this is not for the people after a "relaxing holiday", this trip is "Traveling" , is extremely fast paced and you're always on the go. You get too a place, have an awesome night out, have a look around and your back on the go. expect very late nights and early mornings. You will get very accustomed to the bus and sleeping on the bus is something everyone does. But the best part about the long bus trips is talking to all the different people and you get to know everyone really well. Yes you could do this trip by yourself and yes it could probably be cheaper, but this is SO worth it. The people we went with truly made this trip. It was worth the money just for the people. They truly made the WHOLE trip worth it. It is a bucket list trip. You see and do a whole lot in a short 2 weeks but the friends and memories are worth it in itself. It isn't perfect, some people want to spend more time in places but it was just the most amazing experience of my life. The last day was the hardest, even though it was only 2 weeks, I made some of the best memories of my life and made them with some of the best people i've met in my life from all over the globe. Jade our manager and Dave our driver we found at the end it was their first trip, and it was great to share that with them. If you're thinking about it, just book it. Dont think. You won't EVER regret it.
Hint: Do all the optional activities. Cost another approx $600AUD depending on the conversion rate but most people do them all and it s so worth it to get the best out of the trip. #NoRegrets.
1 tip is come home broke. Memories are worth more than money.