Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
changed my life! road elephants through jungles
ate delicious food at every stop. many funny stories to take home
never boring, time to relax! amazing accommodation
tour guide was superb, the best part was the lifetime friends I've made!!
This tour is fantastic if you have a short amount of time to see the highlights of europe! There were 53 of us on the first tour of the season, mostly aussies! Matt was group leader and Ana was our bus driver, both GREAT at what they do! Obviously 24 days isnt alot of time to take in 12 different countries and there were more than a few early mornings & travel days. That being said when we did arrive at a new destination we sure as hell made the most of our time. Mostly everyone joined in the optional extras which were around $600 on top of the tour. Thanks again to Matt, Ana & everyone who made my trip unforgettable. You will not regret this tour!
If you're trying to decide between this trip and a shorter trip choose this one!! After going on this trip and talking to other people who did a similar but shorter trip I was so happy I picked the European Experience! On the shorter trips most of your time is spent travelling but on this trip you get free days in the amazing cities and countries you visit. This trip was the trip of a lifetime!!!
During this trip we got to see the best of Costa Rica. You really see and do a lot in the 12 days. The accomodation was better than expected with some nice hotels. Our group was a blast!
This trip was absolutely incredible. I had so much fun, and only wish I could have stayed longer!!! I myself chose to travel with two other friends which was great, but it's definitely not necessary. I made a ton of new friends on this trip, and would even go alone next time if I had no one to go with. Contiki made this trip the great experience it was, and without them I don't think that would have been possible.
They do a really great job making sure everyone is happy and this trip had a little something for everyone. Travelling with Contiki was a great way to get around, the tour guides know a ton of spots for great eats, they know secrets on skipping some of the queue's at some of the attractions you may choose to visit, and also know all the hot clubs to party at ! They take you to most of the main attractions for each city, and our tour guide Laura (who was AMAZING) by the way gave us metro maps, and maps of the city with basically all the tourist attractions marked on it. From my experience I found The Contiki staff to be very knowledgeable, and if there was a question they didn't have the answer to they would get it for you no problem. I loved meeting all the different Contiki staff members at each Contiki Resort we stayed at they're a great bunch, who love to have fun! On this tour you stay at at least 5 "Contiki Resorts" - (Chateau in France, Venice, Florence, Rome, and Corfu), which usually had at least one or two other Contiki tours there at a time, along with some of the hotels you stay in, which is also great because you can meet even more people who you will most likely bump into later on on your tour as well. For the most part I found the rooms we stayed in to be average, this is a budget tour so I mean they aren't the fanciest of places but they were decent. We didn't spend a lot of time in our rooms, for the most part we were just there to sleep anyway so they did their job. The party nights the Contiki onsite crews plan were a blast! On our tour we had 4 Contiki planned parties and they were all tons of fun, so if you're on a budget and stay in on some nights, I would suggest to at least attend the parties they plan for you. These parties are on site where you're staying so there's no paying for taxis, the other Contiki groups staying at the resort also attend, and drinks for the most part are reasonably priced! You can also pre drink in your rooms which is another option to save money, it's quite easy to buy a bottle of wine or mickey of vodka in town during the day and just bring it back for later. My friends and I did this most nights, you can find HUGE bottles of wine (1.5 Litres) in Europe for 5 Euros, which for most people will last 2-3 nights.
For those planning on doing this tour I think it's a great investment for your time and money, this trip honestly opened my eyes to travel, and I can't wait to go on my next trip ... which may be with Contiki again. Although you could backpack through Europe, which I may do eventually, this was great way to learn about the Continent, and the particular countries we visited for the first time. I liked not having to worry about where I was going to go/stay next. Having everything already taken care of was a huge relief and just made it that much more enjoyable. A few tips for those going on this or any other European tours check the weather first ! That was one thing I didn't do London was a little chilly and so was Paris, but that was expected at the time we were visiting, so just making sure you have the appropriate clothing is a good idea. One more tip DO George's Boat if your tour offers it ! That was the most fun I've ever had. George is a cheeky old man, and it just makes all the more fun !!! As long as you love the water, and you like fun then it should be an amazing time ! I myself did most of the ME Time optionals, they were all pretty well done, the only ones I didn't do was the Cabaret Night in Paris, and the dinner in Florence. Those were just personal choices, based on reading some of the previous reviews on this tour. I suggest reading as many reviews as possible, just so you're aware of what different people thought of it, but overall I found it to be a lot of fun, and would recommend it to everyone! Also if you have the time and it's available to you, do the Greek Island hopping! Unfortunately I could not, I didn't know it was possible to pair a Contiki with a Contiki, had I have known before I left home I definitely would have done it. Trust me once you get to Greece you won't want to leave, and it's extremely hard saying goodbye, especially when you know some of your fellow tourists are going on to have fun without you. I also learned for next time, which I suggest to think about doing if you're planning on going to Europe on this tour or another to not book your flight home. I myself would have loved to fly back to some of the places we visited on the tour to go back and explore a bit, and also would've loved to extend my stay in Greece where the tour ended. So if it's available to you it's a good idea in case your plans change.
Overall it was an amazing trip, I would do another Contiki in a heart beat no questions asked. On this trip not only did I meet new people from all around the world (Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, USA and Canada) I made friends for life, and I can't wait to go visit them! I think using Contiki to travel is a great idea. and I know my trip would've been nearly as fun as it was without the Contiki family I was with! And one last tip take HEAPS of pictures, there's never a dull moment on these types of trips, and being able to show your friends all the pictures when you get home and telling the stories behind them is like reliving all the good time!
Was a really hectic, fast paced and awesome trip. Definitely a great tour for those wanting to see lots in a short period of time. Not much down time on this tour, it's all go go go. I was a first time traveler and found this tour no problems at all. Just be prepared to be tired and spend a bit of time on the bus. If you can handle that, you'll love it. Scenery on the drives is amazing anyway.
Had a really knowledgeable tour manager (Kristen) who was very well organized, and had a Guru of a driver - Johnny "No Problem". Crazy fella and really first class service. Couldn't have asked for better people to run the tour.
Everything was well organized and the accommodation and food was great. You always knew where to go and what to do.
Definitely recommend doing ALL of the optional extras.
The Good: All of your hostels and travel in between cities is arranged. At least a third of your meals are covered. You get to see some of the best cities in Europe and you have the flexibility to explore them your own way.
The Bad: The quality of the places we stayed at were very low, lower than I originally thought even for a 'budget' tour. Three people got bed bugs in one place and two others had their cameras stolen from their locked rooms at another. Also, the add on tours and those already included ranged from average quality to poor.
Bottom Line: If you want a cheap tour that has your transportation, hostels, and some meals and tours included, this might be for you, just realize this is a cheap tour for a reason.
If you are a very nervous solo traveler, than this might be the tour for you. Everything is already arranged and paid for.
with that said, if you're comfortable making the arrangements to see London yourself, I suggest you do that instead. The Hop-On Hop-Off Bus tour is a great, easy way to get an intro to the city, but you can easy book it yourself. The options for the West End musical were poor and I would have rather paid a little more, done it myself, and have gotten a better experience. Similarly, with the 'hotel' included in the tour, the Royal National. I am aware that hotels in London are expensive, but I would have never chosen Royal National for myself after staying there two nights.
Bottom line: I was a solo traveler and I wish I had arranged my London visit on my own terms.
Had the best time on this tour, I couldn't of asked for anything else! Its a very full on contiki and you are always doing something and always on the go. So if you are keen to fit in as much as you can in as little time as possible, then this is the tour for you!
My tour manager was absolutely amazing and totally went above and beyond then what we expected, she always made sure we had an amazing time. I met so many awesome people and we all had fun partying and exploring all the different countries together.
I did all the optionals, which I think made it so much fun. You are on the coach a bit when you are going from country to country (but trust me this isn't a bad thing, as you use this time to catch up on sleep and get some energy for the next country)
I travelled solo and instantly made sooo many friends, so weather you are going solo or with friends you will fit right in!
I highly recommend this tour to everyone, just be prepared for the craziest time of your life. Cant wait to do another contiki :D
Before this contiki I was a different person. This tour has opened my mind in sooo many ways for the better. Contiki is not a drunken group orgy. I understand that it can be like that, but my tour was not at all like that (and I'm glad in a way). We did have our fair share of partying, but we were also a very well balanced group (sightseeing wise and partying wise). I've met some of the greatest people of my life on this tour and the Contiki crew was literally the best I could ask for. Our driver, Stephen Hansford, went out of his way to drop me off at my hostel the last day and he could handle every fucked up route that came his way, our cook, Kim Smith, made sure we got the best and freshest produce around the area. She did a wonderful job. Our team manager, Chloe Mulcahy, was the sweetest girl and best tour manager I could ever asked for. She knew so much about everything (even things she didn't necessarily had to know) and I've learnt so much from her teachings. The sights were obviously amazing, but for me, it's the people that made the tour. You can't believe how attached you get to the people. It was one of the saddest days of my life to say goodbye, no jokes. Apparently our group was very "family" orientated compared to the other groups, but any tour that's longer than say 3 weeks will have that effect on the people.
The campsites were great. I would have loved to stay at some of the sites forever and ever. On a camping tour, you have to set up your own tents and help cleaning, but that didn't bother me at all. That took about 40 minutes to do and we would normally have the rest of the time to sight-see after a drive on the coach. The campsites are about 20-40 minutes away from the central parts of the cities, but the coach drives you in from like 08:00 to sometimes 22:00 at night. If you want to stay out later, you can catch a cab back for about 40-50 euros. If I wanted to stay out, I just got 4 other people to also stay out and we would just split the cab (about 10 euros or less, each). We also got more than enough free time to do our own things. A normal day would be as follows:
-Wake up around 07:00.
-Have breakfast (always something different and we could always gor for seconds).
-Get on the coach and drive to destination.
-Once we're in the city, we would normally do a driving tour. Our tour manager would explain things as we drive by.
-Get dropped off and get a walking tour with the tour manager.
-Get about 3-6 hours of free time to do our own thing.
-Head back to campsite.
-Get dinner if we didn't come back too late (prepared dinners were always great and we could also go for seconds)
-Either get fucked at the on-site bar or go to bed.
The optionals were all good. I found that you can get more food for the prices for SOME of the optional meals (like the Tuscan one), but the restaurants are all very traditional and I wouldn't have been able to find them by myself. I really loved all of the optionals and I regret not doing some of them (like the watersports in Corfu or the mountain climb in Switzerland). I totally recommend Contiki for anyone who wants to:
-meet new amazing people
-see the sights of the world
-look for an overview of places for future travels
-experience interesting and fun adventures. Seriously, some random shit happened on tour that I still laugh about.
-have sex with races from around the world (depends on group though).
Thank you so much Contiki for giving me the time of my life. The only reason I might not do another Contiki is because I don't think I could've asked for a better first one.
My second contiki did not disappoint. We had the best tour guide Petula. We saw and did so much. Probably wouldn't do the walking tours again but would do all the other activities again. Loved the perfumery in Paris! It was magic seeing all the places I'd seen so many times in photos. Best food was definitely through Italy. Highly recommended tour to anyone thinking about Europe.
This European experience contiki tour was the best time of my life. Saw the breathtaking beauty of Europe and am now apart of an amazing, multinational family of fellow contiki travellers. Loved it I want to do it all over again!!!!!!!
A terrific trip!!!! we saw the main historical sights such as the great wall, forbidden city (palace museum), summer palace and terracotta warriors. the tour was a great mix of historical and modern china. tour guide and local guides were amazing and knowledgeable, plenty of activities and extras with free time available. hotels were a mix all comfortable. transport between cities by plane with a fun overnight train mixed in and buses in between sites. highly recommended!
This tour was absolutely incredible. My mum did a similar tour with Intrepid a couple of years ago and always went on about how amazing it was over there, so I knew I had to go. I did this tour in January of 2013 with one of my friends who I met on my Europe Contiki tour. We had such an amazing time and the tour just made us even better and closer friends. The other travellers were all so amazing. One thing that is certain when you travel on a big tour like this, is that you will meet some really great, interesting and entertaining people. We made some friends who (as I said about my last tour) I know we will be friends for a lifetime.
A lot of people joined the Contiki meet up online for our tour, so we got to talk to a few other travellers before the tour actually started. My friend started up a Facebook group so that we could talk and get to know each other even more easily, which I found was really good. For the first couple of days that we were there before the tour started we were able to get in touch and meet up with some people early.
Our tour manager, Rory, was a little seedy to be honest. He never made a move on me (he wouldn't dare!) but I know that he did on a couple of the other girls, and they found it really uncomfortable... which obviously sucked. He did however give us a 'Rory's Tips' page in each of the more major destinations we went which I did find to be fairly helpful and all the local drivers and tour guides we got in each location were very knowledgeable and friendly.
South East Asia is so cheap, so it's really easy to find nicer accommodation at reasonably cheap prices. All the hotels we stayed at were in excellent locations, clean and comfortable (some were actually really fancy! - Chiang Rai for example).
It is winter over there during that time of year, so the weather was perfect! It only rained once the whole time we were there, that was one morning in Hoi An. Other than that it was blue skies and perfect temperature. Bangkok was pretty humid, but where I live it's like that all the time so I'm used to it. In the more Northern regions it was a little chilly, but all you needed was a cardigan or a light hoodie.
As the weather is so nice that time of year, all you really need to pack is shorts and t-shirts (and a cardigan). Oh, and a few casual dresses for night time. It's is so casual and chilled out over there, so don't take anything fancy because chances are you won't ever wear it. For shoes, thongs or sandals are fine. I lived in my Country Road jelly sandals.
I did all the optional extras. There aren't that many and they are all pretty cheap so I recommend that you do them all. The cooking class in Vietnam was so good. We all cooked up a storm and the marinated chicken we made was to die for! The Kuang Si Waterfalls was also another must. It was so beautiful there. The water is an incredible baby blue and the waterfalls cascade down one another. The water absolutely freezing. It's like that all year round, but it's so worth going in, you'll regret it if you don't. Honestly, you can't go all that way and not go in! There is a rope swing and a higher waterfall you can jump off into the main swimming area, but you can even choose any of the other more private ones to swim in. Also, the day trip out snorkelling in Nha Trang was another great optional extra.
In Vang Vieng we did a couple of extra activities that weren't apart of Contiki's optional extras. We got Rory to organise them for us. We had one of the funnest, funniest, action packed days every. In the morning we went for an 11km kayak (not as bad as it sounds - we are beginner level kayakers), which included a little caving (which was so scary… he made me go first into a pitch black cave with water up to my armpits and just said 'Go! Walk until you reach the shore!'... Excuses me, mate, I've seen Anacondas! I know what happens next). After that we had some spare time so we went and hired scooters and cruised around doing mainies (for anyone who isn't Australian - that basically means driving up and down the main street. We're so cool, I know!). We ended the day by going hot air ballooning, but I swear our balloon driver didn't know what he was doing because we crashed into 2 trees and then crash landed in a bunch of trees! That was one of my favourite days of the whole tour.
The food everywhere was amazing. I love Thai curry! I couldn't get enough of it. Although, I am a pretty fussy eater and I think I may have gotten the whole way through Laos without eating any of the local food. All the food and drink is extremely cheap. It really hurt when I got home and tried to order a cocktail only to remember it is $18, not $2 like over there. That truly broke my heart… and because it is so cheap I came back with pretty much all my spending money I went over with.
This tour was spectacular. The only thing that was slightly annoying about the tour is in a lot of the main sights you didn't get nearly enough time for photos. However, I still would 100% recommend this tour to anyone. It is so cheap and there is so much to see and explore. With all the sights, smells, and sounds you can't help but appreciate the culture. I have gained so many fond new memories and friends and I couldn't be more grateful. I'd say this tour is ideal for anyone looking to travel, you can do it on a budget or go all out, it's up to you! I will definitely be back to South East Asia, you can count on that.
Absolutely loved this tour !!!!!!!!
First time solo traveler and first time on Contiki and no regrets !!!!. Best decision i ever made.
I met so many fantastic people, so to anyone who is scared about travelling alone, DON'T BE !!!!, there is about 20 others worrying about the same thing!. And when you all meet, all your worries are put to rest.
It did help having an amazing tour manager Laura !!! :), she made sure that EVERYONE was having fun.
What i loved most was the free time, if you don't feel like partying one night, or you don't want to do a certain thing that is organised for the day... you don't have to!.
Don't miss out on the Greek island cruise extension, it is a must do !!!!!.
Eat all the Gyros and Tzatziki you can in Greece, cause i can assure you day one of being back home you will crave it !!!!! :)
And try as many gelato flavours as you can in Italy !!!! :)
DON'T THINK TWICE, BOOK THIS TOUR NOW !!!!!!!! :) :) :)
Just an awesome time with an awesome bunch of people.
Become a multi-national family!
Fantastic 12 days! Saw so much of Italy, learnt about the culture, ate some truly amazing food and met some great people from all over the world! Got to see the big cities like Rome, Milan, Venice and Florence but also the smaller places like Lake Garda and the Island of Capri. It was well organised and our tour manager (Erica!!) went out of her way to make sure we had the best time!!!
The trip was amazing – really the best time of my life. Our tour manager Blake made the stay fantastic. All dinners and transportation was arranged and organized on time. The surprise was awesome. We visited best clubs in Vegas and limo ride was amazing as well. If you have any questions about LA to the bay tour – happy to answer. Cheers.
This trip was truly amazing. Even though we passed through countries quite quickly, it was just enough to see the sights and kept everything interesting. When we were in Paris, I fell in love with the city. It is truly amazing and beautiful, so much so that when we went to the top of the Eiffel Tower with the group, two people got engaged and it was amazing!
I would definitely recommend this tour to anyone that is thinking of traveling around Europe!!! Five stars!