Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
Had a great time, tour manager James is an absolute legend who ensures everyone has fun. Cultural value with learning about the war and Vietnamese colonial history mixed in with great food and fun outings. The heat can be oppressive and you nearly get killed multiple time crossing the street but it is a great place to visit! Nha Trang was my favourite, great beach town, spend the whole day at the beach if you can. Plenty of variety in the tour, every day is different. Optional snorkel cruise was great fun as was the optional kayaking where we saw monkeys and the overnight boat trip on the bay was great. Word of advice, make sure your room is as far away from the boats engine room as possible. My room was right next to the engine and they keep the engine running constantly and my whole room was shaking and the noise was brutal plus the diesel fumes. That was the only downside, the rest of the tour was amazing. Not to mention all the "Dong" jokes from their currency.
Very relaxed and very party focused. If you like swimming during the day and going out at night then this is the trip for you. Much less structured than any other Contiki I have done. Plenty of free time to relax/party. The optionals were excellent, definitely do both, great time. We have a terrific tour manager who made sure everyone had a good time and organising group activities outside what is in the itinerary, plus we had a really cool group of people. There is no cultural or historical value to the trip but if you want fun in the sun with like minded people then go for it. I went solo and had no issues. Contiki organise everythijng so it makes it easy. Also went to a Black Moon party in the jungle, heaps of fun and also the Wipeout obstacle course in Koh Phangan is a laugh.
This trip was nothing short of amazing I literally can't put it into words and met some great friends along the way. The reason you are reading this is because you wanna know stuff and i'll tell you the things you want to know!
Wifi - There is is wifi everywhere not even kidding. We all turned into wifi warriors trying to find a connection so don;t worry about trying to get a roaming sim. The Contiki buses do have wifi but it's crazy overpriced and you pay per 100MB. Nobody used it. All the sites you stay at have it, some you'll have to pay, others you'll have to walk to a certain sweet spot and others it's shitty slow.
Optionals - Most of the optionals are great. I only didone of the dinners (the last one) as you can find food ALOT cheaper elsewhere especially the French dinner. So get lost Paris and find something cheaper with your new buddies!
Bus time - You'll be spending alot of time on the bus, especially to and from Barcelona. It is not a bad thing! Either you can catch up on some well needed sleep, or look at the sights or listen to your tour manager talk about Napoleon!
The sites - All the places you stay are alright. You aren't in hotels but hey, it's not dirt. Keep an eye out in the Italian sites as during the warmer months there are bugs (Bug spray for Venice is ESSENTIAL. You will be eaten alive) so make sure you keep windows a bit closed! Most places have 4 or so to a room and the rooming list gets passed around so buddy up!
Contiki Cough - You will get it. No amount of preparation will stop it. Get some pseudo from the pharmacies, they are everywhere, and hope that it goes as soon as it comes on!
Criminals - Ok so in places like Barca, Paris and all of Italy there are some pretty shifty dudes. You don't need a secret undershirt bumbag or whatever (if you want though, go ahead) just keep your bags closed and back pockets empty. Ignore all the street sellers and petition signers and never EVER go home alone from a night out.
Pack Lightly - I cannot stress this enough. There are H&Ms everywhere so if you need more clothes, cheap and easy. I dumped many shirts and shorts while travelling. You don't need heaps of clothes!
ID - Continental Europe is pretty lax when it comes to ID in clubs and stuff so you wont need your passport except when you go to Monaco so don't worry. UK is a bit more strict but a drivers licence will do.
Sleeping bags - You can buy them at the Contiki basement in London but me and my friend got one from Argos on the cheap. You'll need them for most contiki sites as they just provide a bed and a pillow.
Towels - Bring a quick dry towel. Small, light and drys quickly especially when you have early starts. You can just dry them over the seats on the bus. I had a regular towel but they are not fun to transport or have wet in your bag all day :/
Alcohol - Since alcohol is flowing daily in Europe and it is Contiki alot of people will be drinking. Since I am not a big drinker I was a bit worried but everyone is cool. No pressure. Drink what you what when you want. Don't worry if you can't drink beer in Munich, have a pretzel instead :)
That's more or less the main points. You will have an absolute blast doing this tour. This was my first trip overseas and now I have friends for life! Seriously, just do this tour.
As a solo traveller having never used Contiki before, I did not know what to expect. However, based on this trip, I'd have no hesitation in travelling with Contiki again.
We had the best tour manager (Maité) and bus driver (Alessandro), who made sure everything on tour was great - even when dealing with difficult dietary requirements in the restaurants we visited (such as vegetarianism and allergies). As much as Italy was an amazing country by itself (the places, food and wine are beyond extraordinary - the highlight for me being the family-run restaurant we ate at in CinqueTerre suggested by Maité ), it was the Contiki staff that made this tour unforgettable. I've been home just 2 days and miss it already!
I would definitely recommend Contiki to anyone, especially this tour (fingers crossed you will get Maité - honestly the best tour manager I've ever had). Brilliant sights, food, wine and people!
I really can't put into words the amazing experience I had just went through on my first Contiki trip. Your tour company was highly recommended from a friend who had done one years back. I've been to Europe before, but never like this. It was a combination of the very diverse and global tour mates that I had traveled with, the culture and sites we were exposed to, our extremely knowledgable and fun Tour Manager, Jimmy Hosking, it was everything together. I couldn't exactly pinpoint one in particular best moment as there were so many to choose from. From walking about the different squares and historical sites, to the shopping at the Plaza's, to the bars and night clubs, to the fun dinners with our tour group. It was exactly like I stated in the Title, an unforgettable experience that I will take with me forever. As Jimmy stated on the last bus ride, this trip has inspired me to travel around the world more often and experience what other countries and cultures offer. Thank you Contiki, I will certainly see you again.
Todd Vander Veer
This trip was great! Our tour manager, Tasha, was a great asset and was able to give us insight into the Russian culture and tell us great places to go and explore on our free time.
Russia is truly a unique place and being there really helps understand the history, politics, and current affairs. Our local guides in both Saint Petersburg and Moscow were SO AMAZING and had a wealth of knowledge and insight into the country and culture.
This tour is a modular tour, so you will be joining the tour groups that started in Berlin, Helsinki, etc. We didn't know that until we got out welcome letter from Tasha, just an FYI! if you are at all interested in Russia I would most certainly recommend this trip to Russia. It would have been impossible to explore the country without Contiki's amazing local guides and fearless coach driver!
To say this tour was the best experience of my life is the biggest understatement of the year.
This tour was life changing.
Not only did I make amazing friends for life, I got to see the places I have dreamed about since I can remember. The Optionals were better than I expected, Me and my partner done everyone and didn't regret a thing. My favourite was the gondola ride and white water rafting but all were so worth the money. I highly recommend the Nouvelle Dinner and Cabaret Show (worth more than the money spent trust
We were lucky enough to have the best tour manager and bus driver, they make the world of difference on your tour and ours went beyond their job description! The coach was comfy and we always had lots of fun.
I would highly recommend this tour if you want to see the best of Europe and have a great time with others like yourself :)
This tour was absolutely incredible, people ask what my favourite part of it was, but it is impossible to narrow down just one part when the entire tour was amazing!!!
Craig our tour manager is a god and if you dont think so well then you're just wrong!!!
Do this trip and be sure to listen to your managers they know what they are talking about especially in regards to optionals :D
I think this trip was overall amazing however, I also thought for the price they did not include as much as I would have liked. For example, in paris I believe Contiki could have gotten everyone passes to the museums especially to Versailles. This is a great company if you want your housing and transportation taken care of for your time in Europe. However, I planned out each day what I wanted to see in each city. I like that Contiki give you time to explore each city without feeling like they planned your whole day out. Another aspect I would have liked to see is a better price for the tour of the Vatican City. Overall, if you are looking for a trip across Europe to visit many cities in a short mount of time this is definitely something to consider.
It is hard to describe how amazing an experience like this is.
I would highly recommend this trip not just for the sights, or the hotels, or the awesome places like Vegas or Niagra Falls. Don't get me wrong, all of this is incredibly awesome. But what makes a trip is the people you meet while enjoying the travelling at the same time.
You are constantly in a social environment whether it be at dinner, room 'gatherings', nightlife, on the bus for half a more of a day or just enjoying the local sights or getting lost going to the wrong restaurant or getting locked into an Ivy league university, you are being social, and even if your tired you don't care.
The sights that we did see and the attractions we joined in on include down town Boston, Harvard University, Old Quebec City, jet boating on the St Lawrence river in Montreal (highly highly times a million recommend), the CN Tower, Rock N Roll Hall of Fame Cleveland, a Chicago baseball game (personally organised by our awesome tour guide as we were lucky to be in Chicago when a game was on) visiting small local country bars in Madison and Sioux Falls, Mt Rushmore, Cody rodeo, Yellowstone National Park, Trail riding on horse and cookout dinner, Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City, Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas (crazy crazy!!) with VIP access to each night to the club organised by our insane club promotor) and every tourist attraction you could imagine plus shopping in Vegas before heading to LA plus so so so much more that I struggle to remember as a lot of the days roll into one.
And remember that yes, you will be hungover for some, (ok maybe more than some) of the days, but the great thing is, you can sleep on bus if you need to. Not when there are awesome sights to see along the way however. That and if you have an amazing tour manager like I did, they will keep you highly motivated along the whole way of the trip, even if they are also tired and hungover from taking the group to the best nightlife the night before, they never let it show. Basically your tour manager reminds you that you are on contiki and you can sleep later!!
The day song will also help you stay awake, usually played at very loud volume first thing in the morning!!! And yes, every single day, the same song. Our day song was The Walker by Fits and the Tantrums. It was so appropriate for our group as well. We learned to love on about a week, and it is also a great way to bring back memories after contiki when you randomly hear the day song and you find yourself smiling about what seemed another life time ago when you had the time of your life...
As the title says, this trip was absolutely amazing. Before I continue writing about the trip, I highly recommend you do the Grand Southern which continues on after the Southern Adventure. You begin to make these close friendships and you really don't want to leave once those 13 days are up, while majority of the others continue travelling.
Firstly the tours were a lot of fun. I ended up spending around $500 on my optional extras but it was so worth it. From rafting in the hail in Durango, to touring around one of the biggest NFL stadiums in Dallas, to seeing the Grand Canyon via a helicopter, to watching an amazing Circus De Soleil show in Vegas and if only we got to go Hot Air ballooning in Albuquerque but unfortunately it was too windy. There are loads of extras that everyone will enjoy. Even the included activities are fun like going down the Vegas strip in a Hummer or seeing Elvis place in Gracelands.
Our Tour guide Lee was awesome. Even though he was Australian he had a very good knowledge of every single place that we went. Kevin our bus driver was also full of energy and was a joy to travel with. As you have probably read from other peoples reviews, there are long bus rides. You are normally driving from 8am and not arriving at your next destination until 4, 5 sometimes 6pm. There are constant stops and sometimes we would stop in towns to check them out for an hour or two e.g. Santa Fe. The bus rides are known for sleeping as you are most likely going to be partying every night. My recommendation is to buy a pillow when you stop at Walmart! They also give you sheets of information for every single stop with ideas on where to go and what to see which was perfect. I would have loved for there to be more games played on the bus.. but hey majority of the time everyone was asleep from the big nights.
The accommodation on this tour was actually really good. Nearly all of the hotels had wifi and laundry facilities and if not, there was always wifi at a Starbucks or McDonalds close by. I don't think I heard any complaints about the accommodation actually. 90% of the restaurants that were included were great. If anyone from Contiki is reading this, get rid of the italian restaurant in Vegas. The food was horrible and we found some not nice things in our food.
If not all, you will definitely find some of your fellow Contiki travellers to be friends for life. Even though majority of the people on my tour were Australians, I still met a lot of people from around the world. Everyone was lovely.
I highly recommend this tour BUT I would even more recommend doing the full Grand Southern Adventure!!
My first Contiki and it was amazing! Would recommend this tour to everyone! Our tour guide Ish, was not only knowledgable but looked after us all so well. The days were full of adventures and then the nights were made to party. And party we did!! Our group was such a mix of personalities but that's what made it amazing! Being one of the oldest in the group made me realise that Contiki really is for everyone. You make it what you want it to be.
If you like adventure (zip lining, snorkelling), culture (ruins, arts), party (clubs, restaurants where you dance on tables)...then Yucatan is for you! You will not regret it.
But it's actually the people that make travelling the best. All you have to do is say Hola! and then it snowballs from there. Highly recommend Contiki no matter what age you are...just make sure you are ready to party!
Just got back from this trip our tour guides name was Joel and our driver was Levi they were both extremely knowledgeable and helpful for all aspects of this trip. I got to see so many things and make so many new friends and lifetime memories that I will absolutely never forget. This trip was cheap and you get the most bang for your buck the hotels aren't glamorous but if you're doing this trip right you shouldn't be spending that much time in your hotel room. YOU CAN SLEEP WHEN YOU'RE DEAD will forever be my motto and that's exactly the way this trip works. Wake up go to amazing places see amazing things enjoy great food and drinks with friends and dance the night away somewhere making the best memories of your life. Hands down would recommend this trip to anyone who truly wants a life changing experience!!!
I had never done a Contiki before and travelled alone. I live in the UK and I wanted to see places in Europe I had never seen before. I was the only "Pom" and made some truly amazing friends.
Everywhere we went our tour guide Yannick told us everything we wanted to know and I saw more than I ever thought I would! He was a gent and helped in anyway he could.
Our group didn't enjoy the extras so much but there was no hard sell to make you do it and you could pick and chose. I enjoyed the extra experiences and tours.
Value for money was great and it was lovely knowing accommodation was sorted. I did spend a lot of food but I had never eaten such amazing food and coming home to boring English food was a serious bump back to reality!
I really enjoyed the stop off in different little towns. It is a long time on the coach but these stops made it fly by and didn't seem as bad!
Contiki was brilliant and I am travelling to OZ in a few months time. First stop? Another Contiki tour!!!!!!! :D
This trip will be life changing & I know that I came back as a completely different person after the 21 days overseas!
I chose to do this trip on my own - I was told a lot of people generally do that, and there was no point during the trip where I regretted that decision.
You will make PLENTY of friends that I am still in touch with weeks after the trip has ended :)
- WIFI IS NOT ALWAYS FREE. WiFi became a thing of our group that was needed constantly, especially if you need to contact your bank or parents, please be aware that the WiFi is not ALWAYS free in the hostels you stay at. It is generally around 8euros for 6 hours in most places. The generator (BARCELONA) has WiFi in your room, but that is the only place throughout the whole trip where you will have that luxury. (There is WiFi in MOST restaurants you eat at)
- Beware of cover charges at restaurants once you get further into the trip and bread charges.
- Be aware of all types of scams, make sure you bring a small bag to carry your necessities in (Camera, Phone, Money) and make sure it can easily be secured and ALWAYS cover your pin when using an ATM
- Be aware you will need some spending money, around $1,000 - $3,000 depending on how much alcohol, food, cigarettes, etc. you are looking on spending.
- The Contiki bus will now be your new home for the next three weeks, so pack comfy light clothing for those long bus rides, food/snacks/water and movies on your phone or media player. The longest bus ride will be around 8 hours, and you will stop every 2 hours for services, toilet breaks.
- Stock up on your Vitamin C and other drugs, you WILL get sick on this trip. If you don't wish to bring any Vitamins on your trip, don't stress! there are hundreds of Pharmacys (Chemists) around Europe and they are incredibly cheap.
- Be aware of bed bugs! Bring bug spray, anything that will prevent any infection, etc. There will be a few nights in Corfu where the hotel does not allow you to bring a sleeping bag, there are wooly blankets in the cupboards in your room, I recommend DO NOT sleep with them, and make sure they thoroughly clean your white sheets on your bed before sleeping.
- You will spend a lot of your money on cabs, your tour manager will let you know how much it generally is to get a cab from A to B.
It is incredibly cheap when you take the ride with others from your tour, and MOST of the time, they will allow five people in the taxi with you after a big night out. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE YOUR HOTELS ADDRESS WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES FOR THIS.
- (TIP FOR GIRLS) Pack flats, flats, flats and Nikes or running shoes. Even on your nights out, there is a fair walk to the location and unless you are pro at walking in heals, I recommend flats, wedges, or boots.
Ellie our tour guide was incredibly knowledgeable and created day sheets of where we will be staying, what times you will have to get up in the morning, (Cookies and Dishies too... Be aware you MAY be chosen to do this through the duration of your trip) what times of the activities we will be doing, and maps before every city we went to so we were aware of where the main places to go were for shopping, museums, bars, clubs, etc.
Ellie would also let us know about any scams or pick pocketers we had to look out for in each city we went to, what they will do, and how to avoid such things. How much it generally costs to take a cab from city centrals to our campsites/hostels. As well as making us aware of when we can drink the tap water and when we couldn't.
The optionals are optionals for a reason, before the trip I read a lot of reviews about different things, what to do, what not to do, etc.
I pretty much did every optional except for the Cabaret, as that was the only one I read that was not worth the money, and I don't regret not going :)
They are all worth it, If I could do it again I would probably not do the guided tour (except Pompeii, Vatican and Colosseum) as they fall on the day after some of the groups biggest nights out. Nobody in our group opted to do the Car Hire as Gas in Europe (At the time) was around 2euro a litre.
And as EVERY single review I have seen has written, you HAVE to do the Captains Cruise (Georges Boat), It is the most relaxing and fun filled day you will have, with AMAZING views, AMAZING food, and George is lovely and hilarious.
Mostly, go into every location with an open mind, and just enjoy yourself.
This is a trip of a lifetime, and you will be planning your next trip as soon as you get home :)
As my first time traveling alone as well as my first Contiki trip, I was thoroughly impressed with how well the trip was organized and had a truly incredible experience. I always felt safe and comfortable while on the journey. The tour manager, Nick Papadatos was phenomenal. He was knowledgeable, fun, outgoing, personable and truly enhanced every part of the trip for me. Fortunately the group that I went with was a great group of people who all enjoyed going out at night, but also appreciated the historical significance of everything we did.
I signed up for every additional activity and regardless of what other reviews said the Classical Concert in Vienna and Parliament Tour in Budapest were absolutely worth it. If you have any sort of appreciation for classical music you will definitely enjoy the evening. As for the Parliament Tour, it wasn't the most exciting tour seeing as the tour guides are older but the building itself is exquisite and the architecture is magnificent.
If I had to choose one thing that I was disappointed with I would say that I would've liked to go into every cathedral and castle that we saw, but there simply was not enough time.
Here's a brief summary of each city:
Pros: Walking tour was good and full of historical facts; food was great.
Cons: Hotel was awful - no air conditioning and small rooms. Also, all of the museums were closed on Mondays so we did not get to go to any museums on Museum Island. Eye Spy Berlin tour - definitely not worth the money. Not as cool as they make it seem in the brochure.
Pros: Bike tour (which we did after it down poured and it was still one of my favorite memories from the trip), traditional Czech dinner (the food itself wasn't my favorite, but the evening itself was great!)
Cons: The Nuclear Bunker tour was great- but not as authentic as I would've liked it to be. It has been used for video games and things like that so there are XBOX stickers on the floor and took away from the historical significance of it - but I am still very happy that I did it.
Pros: ALL OF THE OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES - Schnapps tour was great! Classical concert was wonderful. Prater was fun and the Praterdome was easily the best nightclub I have ever been to.
Cons: The city itself wasn't impressive - if it weren't for the optional activities I could've done without this city
Pros: MOST BEAUTIFUL CITY I HAVE EVER SEEN. If you've heard a lot about the beauty of Prague - just wait till you get to Budapest. Dinner cruise was amazing and so picturesque. Sparty - if you don't know what it is - look it up. (Crazy but definitely worth while just to say you've done it!). Also, before you go check to see if they have any festivals when you are traveling - my group was lucky and I got to both the summer festival on Margaret Island which was stunningly beautiful AND I also experienced the Hungarian food festival which was fun and the locals are great. The Fisherman's Bastion was beautiful and made me fall in love with the city. Definitely do the Museum of Terror - it's a great precursor to visiting the Concentration Camps in Poland. Also, visit Margaret Island - it's a great little spot to hangout for an easygoing afternoon.
Cons: There are none.
Pros: Salt Mines Tour - Just do it. You won't regret it. Pierogi. Pierogi. Pierogi!!! Definitely try the traditional Polish drink at the bars - it's similar to Apple Pie and it's amazing.
Cons: Hotel breakfast wasn't as great as the previous cities but it was still good.
Pros: Good nightlife. Pierogi!!!!! The final night was wonderful and it was nice that it was included on the trip.
Cons: Not much to do in the city other than walk around and soak in the sites
*Auschwitz and Birkenau were truly sobering and completely numbing. I have been interested in the Holocaust and WWII for quite some time and have studied it, therefore visiting the camps is one of the main reasons I chose to do this specific trip. It's good that it falls towards the end of the trip because at that point you feel comfortable leaning on your Contiki family when the emotions set in.
Fun things about the trip:
The day song that your tour manager picks - after you get home, when you hear it on the radio you will always remember your Contiki travels and the amazing people you met while on the tour.
Nightlife - even if you're not a big drinker, there is something for everyone. Go out with the group to form some great memories that will last a lifetime.
Worst hotel - Berlin
Worst food - Prague
Worst optional - Eye Spy Berlin
Best food - Poland.
Best set of "Me Time" activities - Vienna & Budapest
Most historical - Berlin and Auschwitz/Birkenau
Most beautiful - Budapest & Prague
Best nightlife - Vienna & Budapest
Best hotel - Vienna
The Great Britain & Ireland trip was absolutely amazing! Our tour manager Becc was incredible and everyone else on the trip was great. This trip fully met my expectations and I don't regret anything!
Before going on this trip, I remember going through these reviews and trying to find helpful information, so I've decided to give as much as I would have liked to have read. Sorry if it's a bit long.
First off, it should be noted that this tour is a 5 part tour. There are a certain number of people starting off in London and doing the entire tour, while others do only the England and Scotland part. Some people only join in Scotland while others only join in Ireland. Whatever it is that people choose to do, you end up meeting lots of new people on this trip, which is awesome.
The night before the tour officially starts, most people meet up at the Contiki basement, get all the necessary information and then have a night out at the London pub, getting to know each other. It's a great way to just interact with everyone and feel comfortable in a foreign country. The following day, although the tour says you start in London and "see" some sights, it's literally just an early morning bus tour around London. You see everything, but you don't get out to take any pictures. A lot of people chose to arrive in London a few days early to visit and get over jet lag. I chose to add some days afterwards instead. I personally prefer my method because, after having traveled almost 3 weeks in the UK and Ireland with people, you feel a lot more comfortable and confident exploring London alone. Whatever you choose, definitely plan to have more than one day in London because it is nowhere near enough time to explore.
Although I wasn't super impressed by the Backstage Pass stuff on this tour, you definitely get the value for your money. The hotels were all amazing. Three star hotels in the UK and Ireland are perfectly respectable hotels. Almost every hotel had free wifi, though you occasionally had to leave your room to access it. The included city tours were also pretty good and our driver Chris managed to drive in a way that you would get lots of pictures from whatever side you were sitting on in the coach. I thought the food was awesome. Every morning, we got to eat an English Breakfast (eggs, hashbrowns, beans, fruits, cereal, etc.) and the included suppers usually included soup, vegetables, potatoes, some sort of meat and dessert. We often got three options for the entree, the meal and 2 dessert options.
The ME time optionals were awesome:
Ghost tour GB £5.00: It was okay. It's probably best to do it, though, since the hotel isn't in the city and the tour is after free time and the shops have all closed...
Windermere Cruise - GB £7.50: It was nice and relaxing. If you want, you can spend some time walking around Windermere instead.
Activities - GB £25.00: You can do archery, a high ropes course or rock climbing. DO NOT do rock-climbing, it's literally just in indoor wall. The high ropes course isn't the best I've been to, but it's a great bonding experience with the group and you can talk to some locals. You can also go visit the Stone Circle there after the high ropes course.
Gretna Green Group Photo - Large: GB£10.00 / Small GB £5.00: Don't bother getting it. It really isn't anything wow-worthy and, if you just want a group picture, someone will take some at some point during your trip.
Hadrian's Wall - GB £6.40: Absolutely amazing, especially on a beautiful day. The Roman ruins are cool and you get a great view of the countyside.
Scottish Evening - GB £33.50 (20-34 people) / GB £32.50 (35+ people): Definitely do this! Andy the bagpiper is a great musician and absolutely hilarious. It's also a great way to meet the new Scottish people and taste local food.
Palace of Holyroodhouse GB £11.30: Not a ME time activity. but definitely worth visiting!
Edinburgh Caste GB £16.00: Not a ME time activity but can be organized by the tour manager and worth a visit as well.
Loch Ness Jump: This wasn't actually part of the itinerary, but I definitely recommend doing it if your tour manager suggests it! It's free and a once in a lifetime experience.
Eiliean Donan Castle: Definitely visit this one! This is an actual old-school castle where people actually still live there.
National Wallace Monument GB £8.55: Really cool monument. The view of Stirling at the top is amazing as well!
Titanic Belfast GB £11.00: The best Titanic Museum you will ever see and the best museum on the entire tour.
Giant's Causeway - GB £6.50: Definitely do this!!!! Even if it's raining, it's impressive to see and just fun to explore. Don't be afraid to climb on random cliffs to get a better view.
Walking tour of Londonderry/Derry - Euro 5.00: Best walking tour of the entire trip. Definitely do this to truly understand the situation between the Replublic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Ronan, our guide, was a historian and thus very knowledgeable.
Aran Islands Visit - EUR 28.00: If you don't want to do any of the other activities, you must, at the very least, do this one. You get to spend an entire day on a small island. I rode a bike, some people took a horse carriage instead. Everyone had an awesome day since the weather was gorgeous. Definitely go up to the fort; the view is amazing and you can get awesome pictures.
Guided walking tour of Kilkenny - Euro 5.50: It was a nice tour, but it would have been awesome to actually have time to visit Kilkenny while the shops were still open, so it might be better to do that instead.
Guinness Storehouse Visit - Euro 14.50: Definitely interesting if you love Guinness. Going up to the Gravity room and learning how to pour the perfect pint is cool.
Kilmainham Gaol Euro 2.00: Not part of the ME time optionals, but definitely worth seeing!
Farewell Evening at The Merry Ploughboy Pub - Euro 47.00: Expensive, but really fun to hear some Irish music and see amazing Irish dancing. The food is amazing as well.
Overall, this trip was amazing! I was kind of nervous about sharing a room with a stranger, but my roommate was great and I never felt unsafe. I was also uncertain about the whole drinking aspect; I'd heard that Contiki was big on drinking and partying and I'm not much of a drinker or partier, but I never felt obligated to go out if I didn't want to. For those who love to drink and party, though, the tour manager arranged everything, suggested great places and I was told it was amazing. If you aren't a partier, I still recommend going out to a few pubs just to get the experience.
Make sure you bring lots of warm clothing. Bring lots of jeans and less shorts. Also, if you're a student (in the UK or elsewhere in the world), bring your student ID card; you can get a discount almost anywhere and they have serious discounts, not just a few pence.
Remember to have lots of fun on this trip! Make new friends but don't be afraid of exploring on your own as well!
With this being my first Contiki trip, I didn’t exactly know what to expect. This trip was better than I could have imagined and truly was an adventure of a lifetime. If you are thinking about taking this trip, DO IT. You absolutely won't regret it. The food was delicious, and the culture was even better! The trip was made in the details, the things that seem small and insignificant are truly the things I'll remember forever. Everything was smooth and effortless and just all around the perfect combination of history, sightseeing and pure fun! I attribute this to our tour manager and I can’t say enough good things about her. Areti Fronis took the time to truly make 51 strangers feel like a family. The trip wouldn’t have been the same without her guidance, quick wit, and all around knowledge of the history and country of Spain. I'm already planning my next Contiki and I can only hope the experience will be as positive and as unforgettable. BEST EXPERIENCE EVER!