Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
ThIs trip was amazing! Traveling to Ireland was the first trip I've taken outside Canada. I'd been dreaming of going for years and when we had the chance my friend and I jumped at the opportunity... and Contiki doesn't disappoint!
My tour manager was Evan. I can't begin to say enough good things about him- he was hilarious (especially his Hollaback girl karaoke), knowledgable, entertaining, always has a smile on his face, and knows how to get us going. Our coach was masterfully navigated by Sammy who can drive a bus as if it was a compact car.
A Contiki tour is full of non-stop places to see- many included and a few additional add ons. We saw Dublin, Trinity College, Temple Bar, Belfast, Giants Causeway, Derry, Galway, Aran Islands, Blarney Castle, Jameson distillery, Guinness brewery, Cliffs of Moher, Cork, Kilkenny, traditional bands, cows, sheep...lots of pubs and it was ALL fantastic!
Last but not least- the people! I met so many new friends that are part of some of the best experiences of my life. I won't forget the Auzzies (and there obsession with how ridiculous Newfoundlands culture is), the Americans, and fellow Canadians (even though I'm a Newfie before I'm a canadian) who I shared this amazing adventure with! They all helped make the trip what it was!
I will definitely be taking another Contiki tour in the future!
My friend and I booked this tour during the week after Christmas and we had a blast. Our guide Giuseppe was knowledgeable and funny. We were able to experience Italy in a short amount of time. We went to the Colosseum, the Vatican, Tuscany, Pisa, San Gimignano, Verona and Venice. We spent New Years Eve in Florence! There are a lot of optional activities thrown in and it's best to pick what you want to do. Just don't be late when meeting the group! The bus was new and kept clean. Our fellow travelers were great and we made life long friends.
This contiki tour was an absolute blast. The Austrian mountains, Switzerland, Italy and Greece are a must-visit for any traveler, and this trip helped me hit a lot of different places with a bunch of cool people and in style and comfort.
I can not really add much to the already 5 star trip and reviews below. Simply Italy, simply do it! :-)
For my first time visiting Europe, this trip exceeded my expectations. It was a good introduction to both London and Paris and sites that the cities have to offer. The tour staff were very helpful and friendly. You will see things like the Tower of London, Stonehenge, The Roman Baths, the Eiffle Tower, the Louvre, and much more. There was also a good amount of "me time" to explore the cities with your new found friends, but the option to see the things you really want to see if you so choose. Transport was good and the accommodations were great and in good locations. It's hard to pick a favourite memory from this trip but it was meeting up with great people and enjoying London and Paris overall. This trip is perfect if you are a solo traveler and are looking to see the main attractions.
I've done a bit of travelling in my time but this tour has got to be the best one so far. Norway is so beautiful, I could look at my pictures all day. Russia: WOW. It's so different from any other country. The local guides there were friendly, funny and astonishingly knowledgeable. The three cities that we visited in Russia, to me, seemed very different from one another. The tour manager was amazing; Danny organised heaps of extra outings for the group and always made sure the special diet people were taken care of during meals. He was also heaps of fun along with the rest of the travellers on the tour. My favourite parts of the tour would probably be the Bobsledding in Lillehammer, the Boat Cruise to Helsinki and visiting Novgorod (because it's a beautiful little town on the river). I'll never forget what an amazing time I had on this tour and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to experience something new and different.
Beautiful fun filled cities. Incredible Rocky Mountains with so many adventurous activities. Highly recommend this trip.
A great way to experience Oktoberfest as a solo traveller. This trip allows you to meet a ton of people and experience the Oktoberfest traditions along with other activities like going to see Dachau, a castle, and a bike city tour. It's like making your own trip because you get to decide what you do everyday with no itinerary. The tour managers and drivers are always giving you tips about the culture, where to go, and what else you can do in the beautiful city of Munich.
This tour was truly the trip of a lifetime. I couldn't have asked for better people, tour managers or drivers to be apart of my experience. Their knowledge of every spot only heightened my experience, and they went above and beyond to make it a special experience for all of us. I highly recommend this as a solo traveller as there were lot's of other solo traveller's as well as small 2-3 person groups. Go on EVERY Me Time Optional, it only enhances your experience in each city and gets you closer with your group. Lot's of food and drinks, sites, and memories. This trip gives you a taste of each city's culture, food, and sites, hitting all the most important. Most definitely an experience that I will never regret and that I highly recommend to anyone.
The only thing I would change is the organization of entry to the top of the tower which I believe was out of Lucy's control. The coach was clean and comfie and the hotels and Paris and Amsterdarn were nice but the hotel in London had wifi issues and was outdated.
Paris had the best food and London had the worst. Definitely take a canal tour and check out Anne Frank's house as well as the Van G Museum.
Our driver, Christian, offered us wonderful suggestions for sight seeing in Paris on a "ME" day. The pace was fast but we maximized the most of our time. My now fiance proposed at the top of the Eiffel Tower and it will always be a magical trip.
Really good trip! Had a very very very good time! Steve our tour guide knew so much about the area and showed us all the must see things! Would suggest it to everyone!
Greece is absolutely amazing with it's wonderful mixture of history, nature, great seafood, and donkey rides!! Santorini was my favorite, with the iconic blue and white buildings and crystal clear waters. This picturesque island is unreal, really takes your breath away. Being with a great group of people is so important on a cruise, since you spend quite a bit of time on the boat. We had an awesome tour manager who was so much fun and so helpful. Toga party was epic!
Words cannot describe how amazing this tour is. Firstly, a HUGE THANK YOU to my tour manager (Chloe) and driver (Antonio). They put in 110% effort (plus more) and made every single one of us (there was not one empty seat on the bus) feel happy and enjoy every moment of this tour.
You have to actually do this tour to understand how fantastic it really is. The places you see, the places which are included and the optionals which are fantastic value and well worth it.
I'd honestly do this tour again and again, there's always so much to see and do. There needs to be more time in the day to include everything - Paris is impossible to see in just two days.
Accommodation was fine, if you go on Contiki expecting 5 star luxury - you're dreaming.
The food was amazing; every place you goto has something different so you're not stuck with the same food every day, there's a few walkabout meals - where you go find your own food - and they're always fun, even more fun when you get lost! It's all part of the experience!
Transport? Antonio's driving skills got us everywhere! If we wanted to go out and party, we had great advice given to us by Chloe on how to get back, best way to get back and any details (trams/trains/stops/etc).
Every moment was a best moment for me on this tour.. I'm from Australia and I spent 19 days with amazing people, met plenty of locals, and I was in Europe!!!
Every single person on our tour has made memories, all which are fun memories and we'll always remember this tour for many years to come. I encourage anybody who wants to experience the best of Europe to do this tour.
I loved this trip. I took it two years ago and it was my second contiki I had ever done. The first contiki I did was the big European Adventure five years ago. I would absolutely recommend this asia trip to all of you. I LOVEEEED it!!!!!
This regional tour was my second with Contiki, and it was an intense journey through a beautifully complex part of the world. This tour is great for anyone, especially people interested in WWII and Cold War history. In this review I'll capture some of the highlights and provide tips that we found helpful during the trip.
Expect adequate, but not excessive rooms at the hotels. Expect continental breakfasts that feature cold cuts, cheese, and some muffins/croissants, often supplemented with dodgy scrambled eggs and hot dogs masquerading as sausages. Expect free wi-fi at all of the hotels, which are usually outside of the city centers but close to public transit.
Expect 12 variations on a theme of meat & potatoes. Whether it's bratwurst in Berlin, goulash in Hungary, pierogi in Poland, or dumplings in Slovakia, you will eat very basic (but delicious!) foods these two weeks.
2 weeks traveling by coach is going to put a strain on your immune system, no matter how healthy you start out. Take your multivitamins, listen to your body when you need rest, and don't go big right off the bat. It's a marathon, not a sprint. Aspirin is remarkably difficult to find in this part of Europe, so pack accordingly.
If you don't already know, figure out how to read a metro/bus timetable. All of these cities have great public transit systems that will take you anywhere worth going until at least 11:30pm (24 hours in Budapest).
As of 2014, you'll use four different types of currency on this trip, so research and plan accordingly so you don't lose a bunch of money paying fees at the exchanges.
There will be no opportunities to do your laundry that you do not make yourself. The hotels will charge you an arm & a leg for their service, so I recommend Vienna as a midpoint to find yourself a laundromat.
THE TOUR GROUP
This was the second Conitki and with a group of about 50, there were a lot of people to get to know. Of course the natural sub-group divisions came into play before long, usually along the lines of age, interest, and relationship status. The best thing about these Contikis is that you will usually find like-minded travelers that you connect easily with. It won't be everyone, but you'll still leave with some gems to keep in touch with.
THE TOUR MANAGER
Included in the cost of your trip is the service of a tour manager. In my mind, they are there to help get you from A to B, and to help direct you to the scenes that interest you. Our tour manager, Danny Steenkamp, went above and beyond this by:
- Giving a (sometimes quite detailed!) introduction to the history of the place we were visiting
- Providing us with an array of options for every traveler type - the historian, the foodie, the partygoer, the alcoholic, the culture vulture, the shopper. At no point did we ever feel like there was enough time spent in any one place, but that's the point.
- Providing suggestions for cheap eats for those on a budget
- Giving us a 'cheat sheet' with tips on local food and drink, taxis and metro service, basic translations (greetings, please/thank you), popular sights to see and cost/hours, including some off-the-beaten path for those who didn't want to stick to the 'touristy stuff.'
- Above all, being a generally well-informed and respectable human being that you'd want to hang out with, even if you weren't paying for his guidance
The first night is a brief introduction to your tour manager, a drive around the city, and an included dinner featuring traditional German cuisine. This "group first date" was a great way to get introduced to some of your fellow travelers.
The second day in Berlin offers two optionals, both of which we did:
- Berlin Walking Tour. We loved this stroll that covered several landmarks, primarily because our local guide (Alex) did such a great job putting everything in context, prompting us to think about different ways to interpret the things we were seeing.
- Eye Spy Tour. Essentially a shortened walking tour that focuses on the Berlin Wall, and ends up at two different bars where the group can participate in a fun mystery-solving activity. This was a hit for us because the same guide from the morning did a similarly excellent job with this.
Our stopover on the way to Prague was Dresden, which was very picturesque.
The first evening in Prague features an included walking tour that takes you to the St. Vitus Cathedral, and the famous "Golden Lane" that features Franz Kafka's house. This is the first breathtaking view of a city that you'll see on this tour. Our guide Sara was wonderfully cheerful even when describing the darker moments of the Soviet occupation of then-Czechoslovakia. The Czech Republic is the least-religious country on the tour, but you'll be amazed to hear about some of the superstitions and odd traditions of these people! We did one of the two Prague optionals:
- Traditional Czech evening. This is a dinner that features local Czech cuisine accompanied by traditional Czech song and dance performed live. Very enjoyable, lots of food, and the wine & beer flows pretty freely this night.
Our stopover on the way to Vienna was Kutna Hora, which was my favorite stopover because of the Sedlec Ossuary (so many bones!!).
Vienna is the most upscale, classy-feeling stop that shows the least of the damage resulting from WWII, despite being bombed over 50 times and briefly occupied by the Soviets immediately after the war. A walking tour of the city is included the first morning in Vienna, which centered around the legacy of the powerful Habsburg family that held its seat of power here for over 600 years. We spent most of our free time in the museums, especially the Natural History Museum, which is massive! Also, our best meal of the trip (planned outside of the tour) was at a Hungarian restaurant called MINI. We did one optional:
- Schnaps Museum. This is a visit to one of Vienna's finest Schnaps-producing facilities, with an introduction to the Fischer family who has been distilling the local fruits into this very tasty beverage. This was one of the best bang-for-the-buck optionals as a tasting is included at the end (which includes absinthe with an alcohol content as high as 80%!).
Our stopover on the way to Budapest was Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia. More meat and dumplings!
The first order of business was a brief tour of the Buda side of the city (our local guide was Natasha), which took us up to Matthias Church and the Fisherman's Bastion, and then to the Citadel where the Liberty Statue marks the highest point of the city. This is the second time you'll encounter a breathtaking view of the city, which was my favorite on the tour. During our free time the next day we made a stop at the Terror House to get a glimpse of Hungary's dark history under the Communist regime, and while we didn't make it to the Turkish baths, that is our reason to come back. We did one optional:
- Budapest River Cruise. Easily the best optional on the entire trip - lots of good food, wine, and by this time you've likely connected with the travelers that you'll become close to, making for some great conversations.
Our stopover on the way to Krakow was Banská Bystrica, a picturesque little town that you really only need an hour or so to see.
The first stop in Krakow was dinner in the Jewish Quarter Krakow kicks off with another walking tour that took us to Wawel Castle, which is one of Poland's most culturally important sites -- as a former home to Polish kings and a symbol of Polish statehood. With our free time we attempted to visit the museum where Oskar Schindler's factory once was, but it was closed. We spent the day wandering around the city center looking for polish food to eat and cheap souvenirs to buy. Our final optionals:
- The Salt Mines tour. This is a great underground exploration of 700-year-old salt mines, an impressive part of Krakow's industry. It's a lot of walking, but you see these amazing caverns that were carved out without the help of explosives or industrial drilling equipment.
- Pierogi Dinner. Pierogi was my favorite version of potato dumplings on this tour, and so I really enjoyed this hearty meal. The "piergi making" is really optional, if you'd prefer to simply watch and eat.
The first "stopover" on the way to Warsaw is a longer visit at Auschwitz. There is nothing I can say that will prepare you for walking on this ground. Soak it in, feel the feels, and pay your respects to this troubling place.
Our second stopover between Krakow and Warsaw was Częstochowa, whose claim to fame is the Icon of the Black Madonna housed at the Jasna Góra Monastery.
We were introduced to Warsaw on the final full day of our trip via a walking tour with another local guide who took us to some of Warsaw's landmarks, including a Chopin statue, the memorial to the Jewish Ghetto, and the memorial to the Warsaw Uprising during WWII. In our free time we visited the Museum of the Polish underground movement, as well as the Chopin Museum - which is a must for anyone remotely familiar with his work. The final included dinner this night is a great way to finish off the tour.
ENDING THE TOUR
We took the coach back to Berlin from Warsaw. Note that this is basically a 9:00 to 5:00 drive. We'd likely depart out of Warsaw if we did it over again.
After getting back and getting right back into work, I miss everyone already. This was a fast pace, site seeing packed trip. I took an additional day in London and went site seeing, met some locals and they actually toured me around on their day off. We rented bikes for 2euro and biked around everywhere, I highly suggest this. I felt like I fit in even though I was biking on a tourist bike. I checked in and met the Contiki group, and me, my friend, and 2 new people went out and partied hard. Instantly we were good friends. Me and my friend missed the bus going to Amsterdam funny enough. So we took the train and after leaving 4 hours after the group, we got to the hotel in Amsterdam pretty much on time. The Canal cruise was a great way to break the ice, especially because I missed the games on the bus. After that was the sex show, I opted out and kinda regret it. But everyone said it was weird, and kinda awkward, but people always joked about it. After that was a night in Amsterdam to ourselves. The Tour manager said she’d take everyone to a bar called Baluchi’s, I would suggest going elsewhere. Nothing wrong with the place, just kinda touristy. Then the night was done and we had the morning/afternoon in Amsterdam then off to St Goar. This is a quaint little town, but you stop off there so the bus driver can get rest. I’d suggest the wine tasting, it’s kinda cool. I don’t drink wine at all and I found this wine sweet. So if you’re not a wine drinker, this is the wine for you. Then back to the hotel to have a few more drinks. Next up was Munich. Since we went during Oktoberfest we had a quick bike tour with “Mikes Bikes”. It was like 1 hour, besides the 3-4 hour bike tour they normally do. I found them somewhat funny, but I couldn’t handle them for 3 hours. Very high energy, and very crude. But they were informative. Next off was OKTOBERFEST! We got to the gates around 530, and had to be back at the bus for 9pm. That was enough time for sure. We went to one tent, stayed the whole time. I got up to 5 steins (5L of beer), and I think that was the max our group did. We got crazy lucky and had a group of 10-12 people in one area, you usually stick with 2-3 max. I had so much fun there, but that’s my personality. If you aren’t a drinker, there’s rollercoasters, shops, street performers and such. Next was Austria. I did white water rafting and boy was that some great water. I couldn’t stop drinking it to cure the hangover. The cold water once you jump in is a great cure too. Our guide (Magnus) was hilarious, and his life stories were cool. Back to the hotel after that, and then to the hotel bar for a few schnapps shots. You need to try a few because they are crazy good guys, crazy good. Then to a local bar where there was another Contiki group, this place was like a wine cellar. It was cool, packed, and quite German. They had a guy revving a chainsaw to get people’s attention to go to another room to watch them dance. I liked it, could have done without the diesel smell afterwards. Now off to Italy. For me though, I didn’t have fun in Italy. I got food poisoning (along with like 6 others) after the Venetian Dinner, which ruined the next few days for me obviously. I’d suggest not doing the Venice walking tour, very quick and not really worth the money. I’d also skip the dinner, you can find much better food elsewhere (Our Tour Guide said it was below par and she complained though). So 1st day in Rome I didn’t leave the hotel room, 2nd day in Rome we did see a lot, but again I was gun-shy when it came to food and drinks, so I didn’t have a fun time again. Florence was awesome, great views, great weather, and a good walking tour. I went up the Domo on my free time and I’d suggest that. The Tuscan dinner was alright, nothing out of this world. You aren’t on the hills actually, no view, just in a hall almost. Then Disco techa. If you’re confident on going partying on your own I’d suggest it, this place made money off Contiki, that’s it. No locals really go. Kinda fun, but Karaoke they do isn’t real Karaoke, so don’t expect to really sing. Then to Switzerland (Lucerne). DO BOTH EXCURSIONS! The cable car ride up was sick, once at the top of the hill; definitely go walking on the trails, very sick sights. Then the Lake Cruise. I almost didn’t do it, but very glad I did. It was nice and relaxing, and the first time I felt calm and relaxed all trip. The Swiss Alps in the background were breath taking. Definitely bring your camera here, I left mine at the hotel and regret it. If you want to buy a watch or knife, do it before the lake cruise if you have time, places close at 7pm and the store Contiki takes you too admittedly make their sales off Contiki. Try and go somewhere else, you’d get a better deal. Paris is next and it was cool. Eiffel tower at night is great, but wait till 10pm, 11pm, or 12am. It sparkles. I went back to the hotel that night with the bus because I was beat and need some sleep. Next day I skipped the bus tour and perfume shop to go into Paris with a small group. I liked that better, we got A LOT more time to go at our own speed, which was glacier at that time because we were all tired. Louvre (watch your wallets, mine was taken there), Notre Dame, Arc de Triumph, Love Lock Bridge, shopping strip, and something else were my sights, and it was very cool just to walk around. Do the cabaret show, it was so cool. We tipped our server and got free beer fed to us which was sick. But the food was good (not great) but the entertainment was great. The dancing, the magic, the juggling, the great promoted street performers were all around awesome. Then we went to a bar beside Moulin Rouge (O’sullivans) and from what I remember I had fun. I woke up at the wrong hotel and had to run back to my correct hotel to make the bus to the airport in time. But that was the best way to finish the trip.
If you are worried about making friends, don’t be. On my flight home we had 6 of us, and we all booked our seats together. I even moved from a great leg room seat to a normal one. If you are open to people, everyone will become friends with you. This is a great way to do a trip, just be prepared to have no sleep for 14 days.
Oktoberfest was one in a million if you haven't already been, you have to go to Oktoberfest. It is one of the best festivals I have ever been to. Loads of beer flowing, the most amazing pork knuckle and half a chicken its awesome. There are tons of rides and roller coasters and something to entertain everyone, was one massive adults playground. The hostel was brilliant. There was a long coach ride from London but after the amazing experience at the festival, the coach ride didn't really matter. Met some awesome people and made the trip even better. If you are considering doing it, you won't regret it :)
Contiki's Eastern Road was far above and beyond everything I expected! So many amazing cities: Berlin, Dresden, Prague, Kutna Hora, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, Banska Bystricia, Krakow, Auschwitz and Warsaw. It was the most magnificent setting to make some truly incredible friends with whom I experienced the greatest two weeks of my life. I went on the trip alone, and while there were several couples on the trip I found it easy to click with the group as a lone traveller. For me, the two highlights of the trip were the bike tour around Prague, and the dinner cruise in Budapest. Prague is the most gorgeous place I've ever been, and Budapest lit up at night from the Danube is the kind of view you get once or twice in a lifetime. I was also so lucky to have an awesome tour manager and driver who joked around with us and had tons of suggestions of extra things we could do in our free time. The bus rides always seemed to speed by, so it certainly didn't feel like most of the trip was spent travelling. The only downside to the trip was that I'm a vegetarian and the meat-heavy diet of Eastern Europe wasn't my friend; however, there was always some sort of vegetarian option available. The nightlife was always a plus on the trip too, with the Budapest sparty an occasion I'd absolutely recommend checking out if you have the chance. And the day in Auschwitz was not something to take on lightly, but it was absolutely necessary to see. I think it's rare that such a short trip with a group of strangers could stick with me as much as this has, and will. I made great friends I know I'll keep in touch with and have seen some of the most amazing (physically and historically) places in the world. I'd recommend this trip to anyone who loves history and wants an adventure!
My Contiki trip to Europe well exceeded my expectations! The people and the Contiki onsites made it so welcoming and enjoyable for me. Traveling solo I did feel a little uneasy, but by the end of day 1 that feeling was long gone!
Travelling with 40 people, you do create a bond that turns into great friendships! My only regret was not picking a longer tour ! :(
That being said, I've already put down a deposit for my next Contiki ! Bring on America!!]
I was so shocked to see the amount of people that were on this tour! This particular one met up halfway through the main tour, Berlin to Budapest but thankfully the rest of the group was so welcoming and was just as excited to meet other people.
Officially you get a full day in Vienna with this tour since you meet up with everyone the evening before at 6pm. Thankfully I arrived in the city early that morning so I was able to hang out and see some more sights rather than trying to fit it all in one day. Driving through to Bratislava was really cool and I wish we would've had a little more time there. Budapest was awesome all around but I would definitely recommend purchasing an extra night through Contiki to stay in the hotel because it is a big city and if you'd like to revisit certain spots or take a bike tour this is a great day to do it.
Overall, I had such a great time on this trip!! I met amazing people with amazing stories, mostly about their travels :) and I will be recommending this tour/company to friends and family. Our tour manager was great and was very helpful and knowledgeable about the cities we visited! Keep in mind that you'll have a lot of free time (more than I was expecting) so try to do some research in case there is something you would like to do that's not included.