Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
I read the reviews after we booked and I was so nervous that my husband and I had made a mistake. I couldn't have been more wrong. Our tour group was awesome! We had a full mix of ages an there were 5 couples on our trip as well. Our tour guide, Vinny, was amazing too. He was the perfect mix of fun and in charge. Our bus driver, Alessandro, did amazing, if you would see some of the streets he had navigated you'd be impressed! The tour was great. It gave you the opportunity to see a lot of things in a short amount of time. They offer, at an additional cost, a walk tour of the cities and it's great and totally worth the cost. It lets you get your bearings in a city before navigating it by yourself. The hotels weren't as bad as others were saying, it's Europe, they are going to be tiny (my husband is 6"2" and struggled in every bathroom - he was too tall for the shower head) and for the cost you pay, you can't beat it. The hotels are not located downtown of any city, but there is still areas near the hotel to explore. I would highly recommend this tour!
My husband and I had been talking about visiting Ireland since we first started dating. We were looking for a tour that truly gave us an Irish experience. We did not have to worry about driving or locating accommodations each night and were very fortunate to have a great group to enjoy the experience with. This tour includes the Cliffs of Moher, the Giants Causeway, Blarney Castle, the Rock of Cashel, the Jameson Distillery, the Guinness Factory and many other sites. All of the breakfasts and about half of the dinners are included but be warned that the meal options can be limited. The food was great overall though and vegetarian options are available. This tour is not great if you are looking for an in depth experience as you will spend a lot of time on the bus and typically only spend one night in each town. We found that you spend a lot of time hanging out with your tour group and often missed out on the one on one experience with the locals. However if you only have 1 1/2 to 2 weeks to spend in Ireland and want to see a little bit of everything with a fun group then this is the tour for you. Our tour guide, Cam, described this trip as a buffet where you get to sample and figure out what you would really like to do when you visit Ireland again. Take it as you will but be prepared to drink often and a lot! It is very common to enjoy a beer or two with lunch and dinner before heading out to the bar each night. The tour group includes 18 to 35 year olds so there is always someone to head to the pub with or someone to hangout with in the hotel lobby to watch a movie. Free wifi was available in each hotel that we stayed at so no need to worry about that. My husband and I stayed in a room together but note that if you are traveling solo you will be assigned a room with another individual of the same sex to hopefully get along with. Make sure to say yes to the optional activities. Your tour guide will pass around the list on the first day and all of the activities were a lot of fun and worth the money. Also make sure to take lots of cold medicine with you and get a flu shot before you travel. We met our group in Ireland and most people had just gotten over the flu which we picked up towards the end of the tour. Not how you want to spend your first European experience that's for sure. We had such a great time that we quickly booked our next Contiki tour after we got home to the states.
This was my first time travelling so it was very daunting at first but the tour I picked was amazing!! Our tour manager and bus driver were beyond fantastic and went out of their way to make this experience both easy and a 'once in a life time trip' (you'll hear this a lot with Contiki) but it honestly is. The included activities are amazing and some even breath-taking. The accommodation is great, and there was even wifi (which believe me, you crave). I opted to do most of the optional activities which I am glad I did, I tried some things that in my normal life I probably wouldn't have, I ate some weird food (frog legs, snails, beef cheek, just to name a few). But, most of all- I met some of the most kind and amazing people that I have ever met in my entire life. At the beginning of the trip they will tell you 'you'll have 50 new friends by the end of this trip' and you look around and think 'maybe 20 if that' but in all seriousness by the end of your trip you really will have 50 brand new and life long friends, even the people you looked at on the first day and thought 'no way in hell'. I am so glad I went with Contiki for my first trip and I am already researching and planning my second and third. Even if you aren't a party animal but someone who wants to breathe in the sights and relive the history, Contiki is still a place you can do that. I will remember my trip and the people for the rest of my life. I sincerely hope you get the chance to say that about your trip one day soon.
Took the Italian Espresso tour and it was awesome. Our tour guide and bus driver were out of this world. Vinnie the tour guide would give us a quick walking tour around each city and then set us free to explore and have a wonderful time. I'd recommend doing the optional tours as since the local guides could answer any and all questions and spoke great english. The only down side is each city has so much to offer its hard to do it all in just a couple days in each city. But the tour gave me a good idea of where I'd like to go back and explore some more.
Also when people complain about the hotels being small its not Contiki its Europe. Hotel rooms are small especially in crowded cities.
Easily the best way to see Thailand is with Richie. A local himself, shows you all the tips and tricks to getting to see what you're after, without paying hideous tourist prices. Not only your guide but great mate, Richie is the bomb! Koh samui is just stunning, the waterfall trip and the elephant rides are a must do. We also hired a scooter and drove down to the tiger zoos which were slightly expensive but were amazing to be able to touch the tiger. One of the must do things that wasn't in the trip was seeing the Buddhist temples, we hired a taxi driver for about $30 all day, who took us around to all the different temples and gave us lunch too.
Get your liver prepared for this trip, the buckets are a killer!
This journey was my first experience with Contiki, and boy was I glad with the results! Whilst 13 countries in 23 days does sound like a daunting task at first, it is actually just enough time to go to a large portion of all the major sights in the cities visited.
There is one or two things that I will bring up as these always seemed to stump at least one or two (myself included on one point) people on our tour. First of all, it is a budget tour. You will not be staying at the Ritz every night. That said, the hotels and hostels that you stay in are rather nice for what they are. Do not use the Wi-Fi at the hotel in Venice though. It costs about five Euros and only works in the lobby.
Secondly, do all the me-time options of the budget permits. This is the one that caught me a little off guard when on tour, as doing every single one worked out to be about twenty euros per day, much cheaper than what I had thought. There may be one or two things that you may think wouldn't interest you, but trust me, every optional on that list is an absolute blast! As the motto goes, you leave all events with #NoRegrets.
Personally, I loved Kraków the most. It's an absolutely beautiful city filled with a rich history and friendly people. As long as you can speak basic Polish (they teach this to you on the bus), then they will speak English back to you. As will most Europeans. While you're there, try the beer with fruit juice. It's an odd combination, but it does work and most importantly it's a local custom.
Happy trails, fellow Contiki goers!
This was the best 16 days of my life.
The entire experience from seeing the canals in Amsterdam, the unbelievable views in Switzerland and the Eiffel Tower in Paris is unforgettable and was worth every single cent. My tour manager Steph and bus driver Attila were incredible, wonderful people. The made the experience that much more amazing.
The tour is full on, fast paced and exhausting but I wouldn't change a minute of it. The people you travel with become like your family, it feels like you've known them for years, not just 16 days. Do every single inclusion if you are able because they are great value for money and help you to really get to see the culture of the places you visit.
Don't wait, book it now I promise you won't regret it!
This was my first Contiki experience, and there were definitely #noregrets there! I chose this trip because I wanted to see San Diego, the Grand Canyon, San Francisco and Las Vegas (again!)
Highlights of my trip included:
- San Diego - AMAZING city, one of my faves in the US. Chargers Nation!
- our one night stop in Scottsdale, Arizona was by far my favourite party spot on tour (dear Contiki, please make this a longer stop. it has awesome nightlife!)
- Sedona, Arizona - day stop to red rock country. do the jeep tour add-on. you won't regret it!
- Grand Canyon - pictures don't do this place justice!
- Las Vegas - craziest place. I don't remember much of the first night here, but our awesome tour manager got us free entry to one of the biggest clubs (XS) where Diplo was playing when we were there.
- Yosemite National Park - absolutely stunning place. Toughest hike up the falls ever though, but so worth it!
- San Francisco - the cruise around the Bay was my favourite part about San Fran, and the most amazing way to end such an epic tour!
Made some awesome friendships with my tour mates, as well as friendships with my tour manager and driver (Jon - best contiki tour manager ever!!)
BOOK THIS TOUR NOW!!!! #NOREGRETSYET
I absolutely love this trip! The scenery was spectacular! The tour guide was great! And the new family I made was even better!. It's amazing how close you get to people in such a short amount of time!
I did most of the me time optional a including the cage of death!! It was a absolute ball!!
I enjoyed the quad bikes as well! And all the scenic flights! This trip really is a must especially if you want to see Australia in it's most beautiful!!
I'd recommend contiki and this your definitely your money's worth!!
The food can be a bit on the rough side occasionally but it's all part of the experience! We ate at a steak house! And tried emu, camel,kangaroo & croc! It was definitely a experience haha.
A must see and swim is Florence falls it was absolutely STUNNING!
I don't understand why this trip is so poorly rated! I recently returned from two exciting and action-packed weeks that I would recommend to anyone. Here's what you need to know:
Bring lots of local currency! Money is not always easy to get out of ATM's (especially in Buenos Aires as we found), so be sure to bring enough cash with you to South America. It's usually not recommended to carry tons of cash on you, but all of the hotels we stayed in had safes in the rooms and there were no issues with these. ATM's in South America limit the amount of cash you can draw in a transaction, in some cases as low as about $100 USD (in local currency). This means that to take out any reasonable amount of money you're forced to do multiple transactions and get dinged on transaction and ATM fees.
Bring enough USD to pay for all of the Me-Time Optional activities. I wish that Contiki had told us that we could pay for the Me-Time Optional activities in USD. Contiki accepts either USD or local currencies, for this tour that's the Argentine Peso and the Brazilian Real. However given how unstable South American economies are, Contiki hedges their bets and you get a really shitty exchange rate. If you pay in local currencies, you will end up paying more for the same thing than you would have had you used USD. For example, a $100 USD activity will cost you 1200 Pesos, even if the bank exchange rate for $100 USD is only 800 Pesos. Bring lots of USD!
People on my tour that had their cards stolen or disabled by their banks had a hell of a time getting replacement cards sent to them. Vacation is a lot more fun when you have enough money to do things, so tell your banks where you’re going and take care of your cards while you’re away!
-Me-Time Optional activities
In general I find that the optional activities are fun and good value, and that is definitely the case on this tour.
The Polo day in Argentina was the most underrated activity, and it turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip. It's a little pricey at about $180 USD, but that's a whole day activity including transportation outside of the city, unlimited delicious red wine and beer, unlimited empanadas, unlimited steak, viewing a polo match and of course, playing a polo match. That’s right, you spend an hour on horseback playing polo. Bring a dirty pair of jeans for the riding, and a bathing suit for the pool afterwards. Definitely a must-do!
The Argentine Experience in Buenos Aires was also a must-do. A fun night where the staff explains some of the nuances of the culture, while drinking unlimited wine and eating some of the most delicious steak I've ever had. Definitely don't miss this one.
The helicopter ride over Iguazu falls was incredible, though a little pricey. The 10 minute ride will run you about $120 USD, but on a clear day the views are worth it and the once in a lifetime experience speaks for itself.
The speedboat ride to Iguazu falls is a must-do. You get to see all sides of the falls (especially if you do the helicopter ride), and the view from the water is not to be missed. This option is quite pricey as well, but it’s about 30 minutes of excitement, including a couple moments where the boat is driven right into the falling water.
Depending on scheduling, an extra optional activity might be to go see a soccer game in Rio – do not pass this up!
Hang gliding in Rio was the highlight of my trip, and definitely worth the cost. The views are incredible, the guides are friendly and it was definitely something I will never forget. It should be noted that hang gliding is not covered by most insurance plans, so look into that before leaving.
The cable car ride up Sugarloaf Mountain is a staple for Rio, and should not be missed. Of course, the views are spectacular and the value isn’t bad considering transportation is included.
The Brazilian dinner in Rio is worthwhile for anyone who is not a vegetarian, and even our lone vegetarian came along to see what it was all about.
Argentina and Brazil are not unsafe countries, but there are some things that should be obvious that weren’t for some people. Things like carrying phones when going out at night, getting into cabs alone at night while drunk, and even carrying a wallet in your back pocket will get you into trouble. Nobody on my tour had any issues with getting mugged and I never felt outright unsafe, but like anywhere else be aware of where you are and who is around you.
If you haven’t done a Contiki tour before, you should know that if one person gets sick, there’s a good chance it’s going to spread. This tour is action packed with very little down time, so don’t expect to be well-rested – your body is going to take a beating. It’s prudent to visit a travel clinic to know what shots you need, but on top of that there’s a few things to bring that will make life a lot easier for you. Don’t leave home without: multivitamins, cold and flu medicine, nausea medicine and diarrhea medicine. You’re going to need all of them.
So this Contiki was a spur of the moment choice to finish off my time in Europe. I had been traveling on my own, but I loved the ease of doing it with Contiki!
My guide (Christina) was amazing and so funny. She went out of the way to show us some awesome stuff and ensure we had a fantastico trip. The driver Pino was a riot! "Contiki go DANCING!" They really made the trip.
The accommodation was really good value, especially in the Mediterranean where everything can be so expensive! There was only one bad hotel in Barcelona, but I think we were told that they wouldn't be going back there.
The food, oh the food. Thank goodness for the sightseeing walks otherwise I would have been rolling off the bus by the end. Everything was soooooo good and the servings were generous at all the included and optional meals. The dinner the first night and last nights plus the night in Florence was just mind-blowing.
The transport was really good. The bus was always clean and Christina's iPod provided a great soundtrack for the journey. Shame there was no onboard wifi, but I wouldn't have traded Pino for anything, so it was worth not having it!
The other people on the tour were great. There was a good mix of people that wanted to go out and those who didn't, so no matter how you wanted to spend your night others were keen for whatever.
I loved the South of France. All the beauty of that area was overwhelming. The weather was absolutely perfect for the entire tour.
I decided to do this trip while on study abroad and it was the best decision. I probably wouldn't have done it if I wasn't already in Europe, but that is okay. I had a great time and a really moving experience. Being with Contiki allowed me to see the area and get information from a great local guide. I still keep in touch with some of the people from this trip, even though it is short it was a very deep and moving experience. Do it, not for bucket lists or anyone else, do it for you because it will change and shape your thinking about everything you have been taught. There is nothing like being there!
Prepare for some random thoughts jumbled into one review. I would absolutely pick Rome-Madrid over Madrid-Rome, there are some very long bus rides between France and Spain and near the end of the trip you are pretty tired anyway so it's a good time to relax. Also everyone jokes about Contiki cough but it's a real thing stock up on COLD MEDICINE because almost everyone ends up buying it anyway. Didn't do the opera dinner, didn't feel like I missed out. Did do the Monaco dinner and it was delicious, but don't feel pressured to do it/not do it (others did find affordable food). I wouldn't consider it overpriced as one comment below said. Ladies the cobblestones in Rome will break your ankles in heels, I'm not sure how some of the girls on my trip managed that. I also skipped "the David" to have some more free time and didn't feel like I missed out, you end up seeing the fake David anyway. Sparkling fountain in Florence is really cool (near fake David). Go to the Modern Art museum in France, it's really weird and also go to the beach
Another unforgettable tour ;) All I can say is Contiki is a must if you wanna see the world and meet awesome people !!*
We kept a journal, and we had all our friends write in daily. Sometimes I go back to read it and, then I am like "really, we did that"
I went with my cousin, and we had the trip of a life time. We met a group of all randoms, one couple, two solo men, and then us, and our roomie. We are ALL still in contact, and one as even come to see us from a 22 hour plan ride away. I took this trip last winter, and I can't say enough about the friends it has given us! we love them all! It was winter, and cold! plan on that! plan on extra money. Plan on granola bars b/c your breakfast is going to SUCK. Plan on good rooms, plan on crappy rooms. Plan on being on a bus for long hours, and plan on some rain. but, most important plan on a trip of a lifetime. I thought about giving a day by day play, but it's what you make of it! We did and tried everything. We also kept a journal and had all our friends write in it! that was the best. drunk thoughts, crazy thoughts! Just go have fun! Know that some things are going to suck, just go with it!
Seen some great historical sites rich with history in Athens, Olympia and Delphi on this trip. Had a awesome social group on this trip but the only trouble was only half our group continued to the 3 day island hopper cruise.
The 3 day cruise was fantastic drinking by the roof top deck pool everyday til we landed at our next destination, then off to explore the island for about 4 hours at a time before we had to be back on the ship. Santorini was amazing I would do it again and the Donkey ride up the hill was fun but probably wouldn't do that again.
The cruise ship was great to party with our group every night at different bars on the ship and had a awesome Toga party night as well.
Seen so many amazing sites and scenery of this trip, but also meet some amazing people on our tour..
The adventure side of this trip was fantastic, White Water Rafting, Bobsledding, Mountain Bike Riding and best of all Paragliding in Hopfgarten.
Lauterbrunnen was by far my favourite place on this tour.
If your a first timer to Europe I highly recommend this trip but the only trouble is you will want to go on holidays again as soon as you get home.
I hoped to have reviewed the trip sooner. It was very properly planned and very well executed. The time of the year I went in was September which was pleasantly warm and bearably cool in most places. I was slightly intimidated of doing a Europe trip but going on this 9 day tour really eased me into it and I realized that the cultural and language barriers are not intimidating at all and are very enjoyable on the contrary.
The trip was a quick one and we had limited time in each place but that made me do so much in a day, especially in Paris which was the last stop. I never thought I could walk so much in a day and see so much! The people I met were very diverse and great fun to hang with. I was travelling alone and was in groups, pairs and by myself as and when I liked which was super. It is great what a trip like this can offer lone travellers.
Our tour manager Evan was very knowledgeable and helpful. It was worthwhile to get a historical, contextual and cultural introduction to all the places we visited. The maps he explained to us and his suggestions for the places made it even easier.
The trip overall was like a taster session of Europe, very well delivered in 9 days. I am definitely clearer about what I want from my next Europe trip. I miss it so much and hope to do Contiki again someday for another continent or who knows another region of Europe! Highly recommended for lone travellers and groups/couples alike! :D
Such a great trip, as it was my first contiki trip ever it did not disappoint in the least and resulted in me booking another trip shortly after returning home. I had reservations for it being such a short package and feared I wouldn't get to experience enough or see all the things I wanted to. But I was very happy with it and didn't feel shorted in the least. Of course there were places I would have liked to stay longer I still wouldn't have changed a thing either. The guide and driver were awesome and helped me find some of the best off the beaten path places and we're very knowledgeable for all the areas we visited. As for the group I couldn't have asked for a better bunch of people who I'm sure have become long time friends because of it. A few of my personal highlights had to be Edinburgh in general I loved, and I had the great pleasure of spending my birthday swimming in lochness and tasting a 107 year old Scotch! As the title says I'd recommend this to everyone who wants to see these places.
Check out more about my trip and tips at www.sageoftheworld.com
I initially chose to go to South East Asia because I wanted to travel to a tropical location for my winter holiday. Other then wanting to catch some rays, I had no other aspirations. But I now have a new love and appreciation for asian culture and solo travel.
This trip introduced me to a completely foreign culture, new (amazing) foods, friendly people, peaceful cultures, exotic adventures and stunning landscapes. This trip put me out of my comfort zone and completely emerged me in different ways of life. I can honestly say I have returned as a stronger, braver and more confident person. I recommend going on this adventure alone. You will meet many like-minded travelers and you will discover so much about yourself.
When I booked this trip I expected to stay in mostly hostels and cheap hotels...expectations were blown out the water. We stayed in mostly 4 and 5 star hotels. Every place was nicer then the last. But my favorite places we stayed we not the 5 star hotels. We stayed at two charming guest houses and on a beautiful junk boat in Ha Long Bay. Every place we stayed had free wifi, water bottles, safes and hot water!
I couldn't have asked for a better group of fellow travelers. I will forever be friends with many of the people I met. Especially my tour manger Lee (Hailey). I can safely say she made my trip. Lee is super cool, chill and fun. She showed us the best bars, hangouts and foodies in town. She was familiar with the locals and even spoke most of languages. I told her initially I planned on turning my brain off for most of my trip. So it was awesome having her plan most excursions and helping me have the time of my life.
The coolest thing about this trip is you're not stuck on a bus all day long like many other contiki trips. Don't get me wrong there are bus trips. The longest was 6 hours. To get through the different countries you will take an overnight train, boats, tuk tuks, buses, vans and jets. I loved our overnight train ride. It really gave everyone a chance to bond.
My favorite things I did on the trip were the Wat Phrathat in Chiang Mai, Thai cooking class in Chiang Rai, Elephant riding, "Kangaroo Sunset" bar and kayaking in Luang Prabang, causing a street dance party in Siem Reap, jumping off our boat in Nha Trang and sailing in Ha Long Bay.
I would recommend this trip to everyone. I always felt safe, culturally submerged and had a blast.
Tips I wish I had been given:
-Bring temple wear (Long pants, t-shirts)
-Pack your bag and then take out half. It's super easy to do laundry.
-Bring only one swim suit. There are water activities, but not consecutive ones. You only need one suit.
- You should not need more then $25 a day if you don't plan on doing much shopping.
- Invest good pair of flip flops. You have to remove your shoes a lot and they're easier to get on and off then sandals.
-Don't bring a huge suitcase. A back pack is better.
-You don't need to bring makeup. Most of the girls on the trip won't wear it. It will just sweat off.
-Bring your own bug spray.
-Bring or be prepared to pull out american dollars. You will need to pay for most excursions with USD. Also Cambodia widely prefers USD over Riel.
-If you're coming from the states you don't need an adaptor. All outlets take the US plug!
-Wifi is everywhere. Turn your phone on airplane mode and don't bother getting a plan. Just Skype and iMessage people using wifi.
-Pack playing cards!
-Pack your own portable charger!
Want to read more about my trip? Check out my blog: