Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
It's actually incredibly hard to actually put into words my true feelings towards my Simply Italy trip that I've just come back from. Especially as right now, I'm back home in the UK and having some holiday blues. But let me take it to the beginning.
It's fair to say that most people going on this tour must have been a little nervous beforehand. And I certainly fit the bill for this. The apprehension that you might not really get on with your room-mates / fellow tour members was certainly one that was strong in mind.
Our tour manager, Erica, gave an introduction - and her bubbly, energetic personality just got absorbed by the room. Before long, we started to meet our fellow travellers and within a few minutes, I knew that this trip was going to be perfect. And it was.
My roommate was probably the craziest/out going guy on the tour - which is far from my personality. But I wouldn't have changed him for the world. We clicked within a few seconds of our introduction - and I feel privileged to have spent 12 days with him.
The way that our tour worked was that within a few days, natural friendship groups formed around the travellers - which was great. As exploring each city/place as a big group of 40+ was always going to be a no go. So in your friendship groups, you generally go off together and see the things that you all want to see. But at the same time, there are enough group activities going on (and on the coach) to really get to know everyone else at the same time.
There's not one person out of the 40+ members of our tour group that I didn't like. I felt there was a lot of like-minded people to me there and it was great to have spoken to every single one of them throughout the 12 days.
It’s hard for me to give you a flavour as to my favourite day – because I feel like it would be unfair on all of the other days! Florence was probably my favourite place to visit, peaceful and completely beautiful. But having said that, every single place we visited had something different to offer and gave another unique perspective on the fabulous country which I now know Italy to be. I feel content that I’ve seen the major highlights of Italy and really got a great flavour for the culture – thanks to the trips and from our Italian tour manager Erica (who gave us helpful advice; speaking Italian, gestures, recommendations of places to see in our free time).
I purchased all of the optionals on the tour. And generally, a large portion of the group did as well. My only initial concern with the optionals was for the prices of the meals. But in hindsight – the places we went were excellent, the food great (although a set menu) and usually unlimited wine. I’m honestly glad I paid for all of these as it was another great way to spend some time with my new ‘Contiki family’.
Without a shadow of doubt, I would urge anyone who is even remotely interested in seeing Italy to book the Simply Italy tour with Contiki. The Contiki motto is 'No Regrets' and I can promise you, there will be no regrets if you are lucky enough to get to go on this tour.
As for me, I'm already looking at future Contiki tours and how I can fit that into seeing my new found friends from around the world!
I loved having Erica as my tour guide. She went above and beyond with her efforts to make sure everyone was comfortable and having the time of their lives. Her happiness and enthusiasm was contagious and made the trip unforgettable. She is the reason I am so many others on the Italy tour had the best trip of our lives.
This was the best holiday ever! Met so many lovely people on this trip and had great tour manager and driver who helped out with au problems.
There was lots of free time for things we wanted to do by ourselves. Do the extras on this trip they are definitely worth it and get the group photo!!! We had so much fun on this trip with lots of things to do! The hotels were all beautiful.
Travelling to rome without a tour manager was I little daunting but our group all stuck together and we got there fine! Our local guide in Rome did barlely anything and couldn't even recommend a good restaurant but the reception at our hotel was very helpful with anything that we needed.
Overall amazing tour and would definitely recommend to anyone!!!
We spent the first 2 days learning skills at pro dive it was a mixture of theory and practical. Some of the skills we learned were assembling our tanks,filling our masks with water and emptying them while underwater in the pool, losing and recovering our regulators. On day 3 we were taken to the pro dive retail shop where we could store any extra luggage then we were taken on the bus to the wharf. Our boat was called scuba pro and it was our home for the next 3 days.
On day 1 we went diving twice and it was amazing, the water was a bit rough but once we were under the water it was spectacular. After the second dive on day 2 we were certified open water divers and we are now able to dive to 18 meters. On our third dive we went diving by ourselves in buddy teams without instructors, it was such a different experience. The fourth dive was an optional night dive i was too sick to do it but everybody loved it. On day 3 you did another 3 dives unless you had an early flight then you couldn't because you can only fly after 24 hours of not diving. I went snorkeling 2 times and i saw so many amazing fish and coral it was so beautiful. We had an amazing cook who was so nice she even prepared separate food for me because i have coeliacs, it was nice because it made me feel like i was normal again. The staff and instructors were all so nice even when you struggled with something for example i had major issues with the stairs to get back on the boat they were so patient and they saved me numerous times. The staff did such a great job at keeping the boat clean, it was such a great environment to live in. I was lucky enough to be with the people i was and i would not change a single thing about my trip except for i wish it was longer. It was so sad to say goodbye to the new friends i had just made including the staff, to me we weren't students and instructors, we were family.
This tour was an experience of a life time! We had an amazing group with an awesome tour manager and driver. We got taken to all the cool places in all the cities we went to and then got set free on our own to explore. I really enjoyed Munich but wish we had more time there. Austria was awesome with the adrenalin activities. Over all it was a great time and I have met some friends for life I I would recommend it for anyone looking to see a fair bit in a short time! And partiers are always welcome!!
This was a great tour overall. Awesome tour manager. Great locations, different from anything you see around here. Really mixed aged groups which is great. I went as a single traveller and made so many life long friends. Accommodation was really nice, Mostly hotels. transport was good, did not spend too much time on planes or buses. Definitely do it all over again.
Everything from start to finish with Contiki impressed me. I had a bit of confusion with pricing and deals when booking and it was handled so well and efficiently.
The tour was everything I had imagined it to be. My tour manager and driver were amazing and were so knowledgeable and passionate about everywhere we went! I was lucky to have incredible weather for the whole 16 days so it felt as if was living in a postcard. The included meals were great, all breakfasts included made it easy and convenient. The accommodation was okay for the most part but expect to pay a small fortune for wifi at a lot of the hotels/hostels. The coach was super comfy and beautiful. Would recommend a pillow and a blanket!
The only elements of the trip that disappointed me were time schedules. I know this is to be expected on such a short tour that spans the whole East Coast. Some places listed on the itinerary that you "see" you don't even get off the coach for.. you just drive by, which I found frustrating. There were lots of times when we wouldn't arrive to a place until it was dark then we'd leave early the next morning. Which left me feeling like I never even experienced the place at all.
Another thing.. Australia is so expensive! The me time optionals were very pricey, since I was on a student budget I couldn't afford to shell out another couple grand on things that weren't included. So a lot of time I was left to my own devices while others went out and did other activities. My advice... Plan to spend an extra grand AT LEAST on extra activities.
Overall, I would recommend this tour! Everything about it was fabulous and the only complaints I have are in the hands of the time frame not our fabulous Contiki team.
This was the best trip I have ever gone on. I went solo but came back with heaps of new friends. If I did the trip on my own I probably would not have booked the hotels we stayed in but they were not that bad. There is a good amount of time that was spent on the bus but I did not think it was a bad as people say. This is a great starter trip hitting the highlights and finding where you like and where you don't. If I had a choice to do it again I was say DEFINITELY!
Having been to Hogmanay before, I knew what to expect but had such a fantastic time the second time around too.
My travel buddy and I were in the spirit of the festival and meeting people and enjoying the atmosphere, trying to collect random bits and pieces for her costume for Loony Dook the next day.
The hostel was one of the best I have been in. Granted it was a hike to the city and it was all uphill, it made getting home at the end of the night easier.
We had a fantastic tour manager Evana and Andy our driver was great too. So much knowledge and experience.
The visit to Stirling Castle was great - the walking tour made the history come alive, Edinburgh itself is an architectural wonderland, where old meets new and there are hidden stories around every corner, such as Mary King's Close. A must see for all history fanatics.
The Scottish Evening was pretty good. I think some people didn't realise what they were ordering and were a bit taken back when they got their chicken and it had haggis in it but the entertainment was funny and the location was lovely.
Whilst not personally participating in Loony Dook, I did go to watch and take pictures. It was hard to see things but I guess the town isn't really built to accommodate that many people trying to swim in the freezing water with thousands of spectators on one tiny beach trying to watch the crazy one's swim. It was a fun atmosphere and I am glad I went.
All in all, this was a nice finish to our European holiday and you haven't really done New Years until you have been to a street party with 100,000 other people trying to get the best location to watch fireworks, sing auld lang syne and try to get an alcoholic beverage from a street vendor.
Should be on the to do list for any traveller :)
This tour was among the best trips of my life. I was a little nervous at first about the age bracket given I'm 32. Even though the majority of the group was under 30 age was not a factor because everyone bonded regardless. There was a good combination or both singles and couples, although I wouldn't have minded if there were more singles. The variety of places we visited was truly the most exciting thing about the tour. If you are interested in seeing lots of Italy this is definitely the best one to do. I am basically obsessed with the Italian culture and couldn't get enough. Our tour manager Christina was outstanding. She brought us to see so many great things including a super hot nightclub in Milan where I met the most gorgeous guy I have ever seen. Another of my favorites was Sirmione on lake Garda at the foot of the Dolomites. So incredibly spectacular. If you are on the fence about booking this trip, my best advice to you is do it a soon as possible. You will not regret it.
BEST TIME OF MY ABSOLUTE LIFE!
still friends with so many people on my contiki, the tour guide and bus driver were amazing, great food, great accomodation, you get to see the best countries in the world- it doesnt matter that it is winter time, you get so drunk that you don't even feel the cold haha... it is seriously so much fun and i recommend it to anyone!!! :)
I absolutely loved this tour, mixing history, culture and parties perfectly. It provided just the right balance and there was never a dull moment. Our tour guide Andy was fantastic and so was our bus driver Ed. They really went out of their way to make it a tour we would never forget including organising other stuff for us to do including seeing the Pittsburgh Pirates play and Cirque du Soleil tickets. The optionals were fantastic especially the jet boating in Montreal.
The hotels we stayed in were beyond what I imagined and were quite fancy. I'd definitely recommend this tour to anyone wanting to do the North-East of the US and Canada. You don't get to see much of NYC on your first day so if you want to see it you should definitely book a few extra days there at the beginning or end of your tour.
Hi I did this tour in April 2013. It was a great experience! I travelled solo from Canada this was my first contiki tour and first real trip to Europe on my own. Everything went well! I managed to get my self around Athens on my own as I flew in a day early to do some sight seeing on my own. I met up with the 13 other travellers from the contiki group the following evening for dinner. Majority were all solo so I was not ever left alone. I opted for a single room and it worked great. We all met up for dinners in the evening and were together during the day on excursions or just hanging out. Our group was great we all got along well! Tour manger rocked and had everything planned out! The boat we were on was OK..food OK also. I have cruised before so I would not say this cruise line was top notch but I went to see Greece and meet new ppl and that part was great so It did not totally matter about the boat. Excursions were nice. It would have been nice to stay in santorini a bit longer. I did not purchase the alcohol package on the boat and every port we stopped in I just purchased my own beer and brought it on and had no issues. This was way cheaper than the 100 euro drink pack! I would recommend this tour nice way to visit Greece.
This was a fantastic tour, in the instance where we were able to see the 'highlights' of Europe (exactly as per the title). This was good for us, as we were time limited and wanted to cram as much in as possible.
However, there were a few downsides.
Firstly, the accommodation was often out of the way from the towns (so you had to stick to the group schedule unless you were willing to take a boat on your own back to some camp site 30 mins away from Venice). Some of the accommodation was infested by mosquitos - mainly the campsites.
Secondly, we were expected to do a session of 'chores' where we had to help serve or clean up after a meal. This was really inconsistent as, while I was never allocated a shift, other people were allocated two (in the 2-week period). Slightly poor form, considering we'd paid to go on holiday. Food was a reminder of boarding school, and being in the middle of no-where meant we didn't have a choice.
Thirdly, our tour guide made the tour seem like a school trip. Not fun when we are bullied into doing things we don't want to do, under the guise of 'fun'. This was a minor complaint, and it was amusing seeing the tour guide explain that we should give her positive feedback otherwise the company asks her questions. Our tour guide also discouraged us from visiting nearby Cannes when we were in Nice, stating we wouldn't have time. (We did though!).
Forth, we really underestimated the distance between some of the locations, and spent a LOT of time on a bus. Had we known this, we may have thought twice about coming on this trip.
Overall, some great memories and met some lovely people! Seeing Paris/the Eiffel Tower and heading to Oktoberfest were my highlights. Would probably think twice about doing this type of tour again though.
I had an amazing time on this trip. Our group was amazing, our tour manager was amazing, our driver was amazing, Europe is amazing! My only complaint is that in the winter you get less daylight and since you're trying to see so many countries in such a short time, you spend most day hours on the bus and have to explore the cities by night. Some cities are meant to be explored by night (Amsterdam, Paris etc) but some are not (like Munich). Having said that, it is cheaper and the lines to attractions are shorter and it is a special season to visit. Each city has Christmas markets and is decorated in lights. Its worth experiencing.
Berlin to Budapest is an amazing trip. The pace gives you enough time to see everything in Berlin and Prague. There is a little less time in Vienna and Budapest, but you also get to see about as much as possible in just a couple of days. I opted for all the optionals and really enjoyed them. We got to try local food at each stop and it was all really good, the restaurants we visited each seemed to be great picks at giving us a bit of music and food true to the location. Bike riding through Prague was definately a trip highlight. The walking tour in Prague and Berlin were also amazing. This tour doesn't have too many long coach rides, but any time spent on the coach was definatley fun and memorable thanks to our amazing tour manager Lucian and road crew Levi. Levi kept the coach clean and smooth sailing and always greeted us with a wonderful smile and some great stories. Lucian created amazing memories with our day song and his contagious energy. He truly went above and beyond to make sure that each of us on the trip were having the time of our lives. Everyone on tour seemed to be having a great time and all got along really well. Almost everyone went to the baths in Budapest which was a great end to a wonderful time spend abroad. I definately recomend this trip. #noregrets
I had the Tuscan optional meal in Florence last night. Someone found a maggot in the main dish and a fly on the dessert. It was disgusting and disappointing to say the least in how it was handled. Don't opt in for the optional meals, it's expensive and you don't get the quality meal you're told to expect. We were told 4 pastas, we got 3, the chicken had maggots and the dessert had flies. It also cost over 30 euro.... And no effort was made to resolve the situation.
Contiki has done a great job of where we stayed (hotels) the tour guide is passionate about their jobs! and what to see and do! It was such an amazing time, it allowed me to re-discover who I am and what I want to do! After re-discovering myself, it made me realized I want to travel again and never stop traveling! You meet amazing people! You have your time of your life and you will never forget it! I loved my tour!
I got to meet great friends, and taste amazing food. This was an incredible experience. Rome was such a huge city, we spent two days there at the coliseum and Vatican City. Our tour manager, Enzo, was so funny!! He was very informative and had good suggestions for extra places to eat and shop.
The Vineyard was really nice, settled in the Tuscan hills. Florence was beautiful, the hotel was walking distance from the main streets. We got to see Pisa, the leaning tower, and the charming Verona, in the rain! I wish we had more days in Venice, it was lovely with its canals. Italy is such a nice country, I want to go back soon! Thank you Enzo for a memorable trip!
The European Horizon was a really fun road trip around Europe. It gave you a great taste of each country and allowed you to do the 'Best Of' in each place. It is a fast paced, action packed adventure! So much fun and lots of laughs!