Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
Where to begin... I don't even know how to put into words what I experienced on my tour! I booked this tour solo and it was the best decision I could have ever made. Hands down the most amazing month of my life. I strongly recommend to anyone who is thinking about doing this tour solo to 100% do it and to not be scared or anxious or worried.
Type of tour: Previously concept now 'high energy', that's exactly what it is. If you want to lie around the pool relaxing and having massages this is not the tour for you (however there is time for that in Corfu!). Be prepared for a jam packed tour seeing some of the most amazing places in the world. The contrasts itinerary is in my opinion one of the best to see Europe with. These tours also offer a mix of accommodation types. You get to stay at the special contiki stopovers and campsites and have party nights but you also get to stay in hostels with awesome bars and hotels in a few places! All the accom is clean and the food was always delicious. The onsite members do an awesome job at cooking amazing meals! Party nights are the best and are always some of the biggest nights on tour.
Length: 29 days is a perfect amount if you're wanting a tour that you get to see a lot with and bond with your group members but can't afford or don't have time for a longer tour. I could have stayed on that coach way longer and not gotten sick of it though! I was however extremely sick, as was everyone else and don't think I could have physically gone on for much longer due to the amount of alcohol being consumed and 3 hours sleep average most nights (this is of course your own choice!)
Optionals: I did all of the optionals except for the Mozart Concert and Bunker tour and I don't regret a single one! They were all amazing and definitely worthwhile. I recommend doing all dinner optionals as that is where your group bonding happens.
I can't comment on the Corfu sailing option but the resort was like heaven! After so long being on the go and running on minimal sleep, we got to relax by the pool at the amazing resort and float in lilos in the beach for 3 whole days! It was a much needed mini holiday within the trip. Don't be put off by the overnight ferry. It was actually the best night of sleep for the whole tour because our TM got us cabins and they were pitch black and soundproof! On the way back, we went to the nightclub on the ferry till 6am then slept until early arvo as we weren't arriving until 5 or 6 pm (we had a change in schedule to the normal one).
Some people don't know this until the start of the tour but it is customary to tip your TM and Driver 2 euro a day each. I am a huge believer in tipping them for their fantastic work and it's a way of saying thank you for looking after you and giving you an amazing experience for the past month. Some people didn't tip because they hadn't budgeted for it but I sacrificed other things to make sure I could tip them as I feel it is really important.
I can't finish this review without saying that I believe your fellow tour members and your attitude to the trip really do make a huge difference. I was lucky enough to have the most amazing group who clicked straight away and we all got on like a house on fire. We had a unique ratio of 30 guys to 13 girls which made for a very very rowdy trip. Our dynamic was so relaxed and chilled we were all so close within a few days!
I'd like to say a huge thank you to our amazing Tour Manager- Kellie Birkett who went out of her way to organise extra things and detours for us and had a very loud, crazy group to deal with. She knew so much about everywhere we went and was always happy to find out more for us or help us with extra activities. Our driver, Joao Silva was a legend!! Only his 2nd tour and he drove us up the windy hairpin bends to the top of Mt Vesuvius because we had extra time! He was so friendly and always enjoyed hanging out or doing optionals with us.
I have made the best friends from my tour. In under a year, 8 of us have already travelled to 5 Australian cities to see each other, we talk almost everyday on the phone and although it sounds cheesy and cliche, I 100% know we will be friends forever.
I'm devastated that I'll never get to experience Contiki in the same way again but i'm already planning another 3 tours for next year. Thanks for such an unforgettable, memorable experience!
The first night of the trip would have to be the highlight of the trip for me. Climbing all 669 stairs to the top of the Eiffel Tower at twilight watching the light change and taking amazing photos. Make sure that you make it to the bottom on the hour to watch the light show.
If you are planning on going to the Louvre make sure that you prebuy tickets and skip the line or you will wait in line for 1.5 hours as we did.
The Moulin Rouge was expensive but the show was great so much more that you expect. We sat that close to the stage that the feathers of some of the costumes would brush your face. It was definitely worth it.
Nice was a great time to relax and have time to yourself. The weather was amazing and the food was great. Make sure you treat yourself to a great lunch out with your new friends the seafood in Nice is amazing.
Monaco was amazing with all the fast cars and yachts. Dress to impress so you fit in and admire the views.
Florence has the best gelato in Italy in my opinion, make sure you try some.
Rome is super hot and there are plenty of pick pockets there make sure you watch your things. The Colosseum and Vatican's Sistine chapel are the highlights of Rome. Make sure that you do the optional cooking class. What could be better than telling your friends and family you learnt to make pasta in Italy!
Venice was great. The included gondola ride was beautiful.
Hopfgarten's Haus Lukas had the most amazing included meals and the white water rafting was great fun although even in summer it is super cold.
The Dachau concentration camp was so eerie and will open your eyes to things you never realised happened.
Even if you are not into beer make sure you go to the Hofbrauhaus in Munich and try pork knuckle and enjoy the atmosphere.
Even if you don't think that you will enjoy Mozart and Strauss concert in Vienna make sure you attend this one it is a great night and appealed to all that went. You will be surprised how many of the pieces you will know.
Prague is a beautiful place and with the exchange rate is a great place to do a bit of shopping. Don't expect the fairy-tale castles that you hear of though the castle was very underwhelming.
Amsterdam was a time to look at new and different things and beautiful to walk around with all the canals. Make sure you try a stroopwafel you will want to bring some home.
My best tips would be make sure you get into London a day early to get used to the time difference and recover from the flight. Make sure you pack great walking shoes. They will help with the vast amounts of walking you will do combined with all the cobblestones. A must is a rain jacket preferably with a hood. There is nothing worse than walking around all day in the rain unprepared.
Take the leap, be adventurous and enjoy the time of your life. The time is now! Don't wait around for someone else and don't fear being a solo traveller like I was you will make lots of new friends and will never be alone.
Vietnam is a genuinely beautiful and relatively untouched country that few people in the West (especially Australia) have truly seen. The good thing about this tour is that you get to see it from top to bottom. Central Vietnam (Nha Trang, Hue and Hoi-An) is one of the most beautiful regions of the world I have ever been.
Try ALL THE FOOD AND DRINK on the tour, the rat is good, the snake isn't the best and the snake and banana whisky will literally take your breath away. Get ready for a variety of delicious dishes that will be your staple diet for two weeks, and the spring rolls (wow)...the ones back at home will never be quite as good as they are in Vietnam.
The local people are generally friendly and helpful if you decide to go off the beaten track a bit. In the north they are ruder and less helpful but certainly not as harrassing or annoying as the locals in places like Bali. Be prepared to BARGAIN HARD, that means acting disinterested, walking away, and coming back 30 minutes later. The Vietnamese give no quarter but respect assertiveness.
Contiki get a 10% discount at the Yali (tailor-made) clothing outlet in Hoi-An so take full advantage of this and leave a little space in your luggage for a suit, shoes, dress or whatever you decide to get - there is alot of choice and the quality is top notch for a fraction of what you pay in the West. Both boat cruises off Nha Trang and Halong Bay are definitely worth it and are alot of fun. The Cu-Chi tunnels visited as part of the Vietnam Experience that aren't included in the Highlights tour are also great, make sure you physically get into the tunnels (they are tiny), open your mind to the Vietnamese perspective (while keeping in mind there is alot of blantant Communist propaganda) and shoot an AK-47, M16, Garand or M-60 at the end for good measure. In Hanoi, ask your tour manager to take you to the Water Puppets show, this is a weird and wacky cultural experience that is definitely worth the small entrance fee.
Being a slightly smaller contiki in terms of group size, your experience on this tour is impacted heavily by the quality of the group and tour manager, luckily both for me were good, especially the tour manager Alex Palma. Alex is very knowledgable and helpful, he also is good for a laugh to.
Make sure you book some time before and after your tour in Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi (respectively) at a backpackers, as the backpacking culture is awesome and the pub crawls are definitely worth checking out. Don't get stuck partying with the same people, go and join in with the hundreds of backpackers who are keen to party! Central Backpackers in Hanoi is great for this due to the free beer they serve during happy hour, and the large pub crawls with Hanoi Original Backpackers are legendary.
First of all there is no perfect amount of time for a contiki tour I come to realise. A lot of people told me not to do a long one as it tends to drag on. I can tell you now it solely depends on the people in your group and I/we could have done this trip for the rest of our lives! 18 days was so fast and everybody grew so close to each other in such a short space. It will be an experience I'll never forget. Also Jake our tour manager with his laid back but knowledgeable personality made quite the difference. They probably say it to everyone but I truly felt this was the best group his ever had, it certainly felt that way anyway to the point where the whole bus was crying saying goodbye to one another at the end. Tiago our bus driver also made this your great, his bus tunes and funny quirky personality just added to it all. The wake up song and the arrival song I really enjoyed, to the point where I've made it my ringtone just because I never want to forget this amazing experience. Pay for the extras, you won't be disappointed! Money shouldn't be an issue, live it up! That's what you're there for! Only thing I could recommend is bring a neck pillow. Came very much in handy! Will be booking another contiki in the near future! Thanks jake and tiago, thanks contiki and thanks all my new friends :)
It was my first time with Contiki and also my first time travelling solo. I had the time of my life!!
First of all, our tour manager, Margherita, was the best ever!! She made everything to make every moment unforgettable! She gave us a lot of information about history, italian culture, best places to eat, best drink, maps with all the tips we need it. Our trip wouldn't have been as amazing without her!!!
Our driver, Enzo, did a great job of driving safely despite the crazy traffic of Italy. He also did his best to communicate with us despite the language barrier. He was always ready to get in and even when it was not their obligation.
I made a lot of friends from Canada, USA, Australia, France, Puerto Rico. Although my English was not fluent, I could talk, laugh and have a lot of fun.
The itinerary couldn't be more perfect! We discovered differents Italies in each city we went to.
I'm really in love with Italy, their food, people, culture and everything!
Thank you Contiki, Megghy and Enzo!
This trip is a great preview of gorgeous cities along the Mediterranean! If you end up with our same Tour Manager and Bus Driver (Enzo & Tonino) you will be guaranteed a good laugh every single day on the coach! They were our coffee in the morning!
The only reason why I didn't give this trip 5 stars is because the meals felt rushed and the add on meals didn't seem to be great value. My boyfriend and I would explore and find our own dining towards the end and we stumbled across some local gems on our own. Although with saying that I highly recommend the Flamenco Night, the Monte Carlo night and the Fairwell dinner in Rome. The Flamenco show was awesome, the Monte Carlo night is your only chance to see Monaco and the fairwell dinner with an opera but it was a comedy opera and it was a great way to end the trip.
What makes the trip is the people you end up with and the fun factor that your tour manager brings and we lucked out. My boyfriend and I are more on the quiet side but the people on our trip all seemed like great people!
This was the best month of my entire life hands down! Our tour manager James McLachlan and bus driver Joao Gouveia helped to make our trip through Europe so amazing! If you want to see the best of what Europe has to offer, in an action packed, fun filled environment then a Contiki tour is for you! I highly recommend it!
This trip was the most amazing excursion through each of Peru's regions. We saw the coast line of the South Pacific, the high plains, the desert, the lake region, and the rain forest. We met Andean priests, a monkey whom invited us into the forest, and even our tour-guides mother! We were welcomed by the leader of a floating Uros island, and the leader of Taquille Island. The best dinner had a live show with dancing from each region, including los bailarinos de tijeras (scissor dancers). The highlight was feeling so small next to the humongous Incan temples of Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo and Pisac. I did three optionals: zip lining through the Colca Canyon (followed by amazing HOT SPRINGS!!!!), kayaking the amazon river, and a VERY safe (padded down) bicycle ride through Sacsayhuaman. I would recommend each and was saddened that water-rafting was cancelled. You have to be sure enough people sign up for each activity. The altitude is in your head, most of the time; so just enjoy the ride!
I had the best time with my 3 best friends and am now going on another tour in January with people I met on the tour. You meet awesome people and a lot is paid for
I had the most amazing time on this Contiki!! The weather was hot and humid, but that didn't ruin my trip. Koh Samui was by far my favourite island, coming close behind was Koh Panghan. The vibe was incredible and the Thai people were so friendly and helpful. I have never experienced so much culture in 9 days than i did on this tour. i fell in love with Thailand and you will too! I'd go back there any day.
Definitely on my top ten places to go to again
When I booked my tour I was so nervous I had no idea what to expect, all I knew is I wanted to see Europe in a quick time as I couldn't take too long off work! I guess because I felt like the tour was an amazing price there would be things that were missing. Boy was I wrong, I am still shocked at how amazing this two weeks was, best of my life and way to short meaning I could've done this tour for months on end it was so good. Everything was so perfectly planned & nothing isn't thought of.. you don't have to think about a thing or worry about missing anything as the tour guides & whoever else plans these trips have it all done for you, perfect for me. Every place you visit the important things you need to see are all worked out for you :)
Breakfast is there for you every morning & most of the time dinner as well, the food is good. Almost every night has something fun planned & there is a night or two where its free time which is so good if you want to recover a bit. The accommodation I loved personally because I love the whole cabin thing, all your mates are close by there's always a pub or something on site and you can just hang and walk back to your room later, its not luxury & its usually small but its a place to sleep and that's the only time you spend in your cabin or sometimes hotel room. We did have a few nights in hotels some pretty nice actually. Laundry is available at some places along the way too. The optional extras are great and not expensive at all & sooo worth it, do them all! The bus is a lot of fun, and a good place to take a nap if you have had a hard night, some days you travel a fair bit but its a load of fun with 50 other travellers right there with you, I enjoyed it heaps, I got to know everyone really quickly! The bus driver and tour guide go out of their way to ensure you have an amazing time & I was so amazed by how awesome they were they truly make it the best experience. I cannot rave enough about contiki, two solid weeks of constant fun and laughter and just generally being on a huge high from the amazing places you visit. Id do another in a heartbeat, either solo again or with a friend.
BEST TWO WEEKS EVER!
When I booked this trip, I was looking for two things: a relaxing holiday in the sun and sailing. The Greek Sailing trip delivered just that. What I didn't know was... well... everything else. On the morning of the trip, I knew exactly three things. 1. The ports that we would stop at, 2. where to go for the meetup and 3. the day that we would get back. Even with the message board, those of us on there really had zero idea what to expect. How many people? What are the sleeping arrangements? What are the optionals? It was a complete mystery.
That said, it couldn't have been better. I've done Contiki before Winter European Escapade and this was so different. There were only 8 (plus the one skipper) of us sharing a 5 cabin sailboat (roughly 50'). Two of the rooms have (very small) bunkbeds and the other 3 have a queen sized bed. I, however, made the wise decision of sleeping on the deck every night as it's just that much nicer to sleep under the stars. Everyday, we woke up around 8, as the sun made it very hard to sleep in, where we went swimming, then had breakfast, sailed (or used the engine if the wind was poor) for a few hours, swam again, had lunch, sailed to port, walked around, had dinner, then hung out.
This is nothing like my other contiki tour of clubbing and drinking every night. We went out once and it was a lot of fun, but our tight knit group hung around with a few beers and chatted most nights. It was very relaxing and a very Greek experience.
Now onto selling the idea of this trip for you. When I say that we had swim stops, that encompasses every aspect of swimming that you can imagine. We were rock climbing in small caves, jumping off 40' cliffs, diving to the bottom of the med, swimming with schools of fishes, playing on the beach, relaxing on a paddleboard and simply just swimming. Every stop was uniquely different and every stop had absolutely stunning views. While we did spend a lot of time commuting from port to port (sometimes roughly 4 hours), the sun was amazing and it was very relaxing just lying on the front of the boat. I tried to read a book, but I couldn't bear looking at text when the views were so amazing (we even saw dolphins). The breakfasts were authentic (best Greek yoghurt I've ever had) and the lunches were delicious. Our skipper was a great cook and knew some amazing recipes. Meals were in no way handicapped by having a vegetarian on board (the warm summers usually steer Greek cuisine away from meat). We each got to try our hand at sailing the boat and picked up some amazing speed. It was such a good experience. While this trip does not have any optional experiences, each port is filled with unique things to do. We did some sightseeing, went to an art gallery, climbed 1000 steps to a fortress, rode donkeys, rode bicycles, went shopping and - most importantly - watched the sunset nearly every night. That was definitely a highlight for me. We went out for dinner every night, but there is the option of cooking dinner as well. The places recommended by our skipper were excellent. He never led us astray. Meals were cheap and delicious and the fish and vegetables were always amazingly fresh! Every night was truly unique
I really can't say enough about how great this trip was. It was a truly authentic Greek experience and I felt like I had really soaked up the culture and Greek lifestyle, but didn't feel like a tourist at all. I got to relax in the sun and swim in the Med. I really think you'll enjoy this trip. My one piece of advice is to leave yourself a day or two for Athens as well, as the trip doesn't truly include athens. Ours started at 2:30pm on the first say and ended at 9:30am on the 8th day. So make sure you get some time to see Athens (and maybe book a trip from the harbour out to a few other ports as well!)
I loved this tour. The Wild Western truely has it all. A great mixture of nature and cities. So you can have time to relax and time to Party on. Our tourmanager Jack Larsen was great. This tour has many 2 nightstops what holds back the fast pace contiki is usually traveling with. Vegas was a blast... The surprise is so funny. Do it. The Grand Canyon... Wow, best National Park I've ever seen. You can't stop being astonished. Highlights: Grand Canyon, Vegas, Yosemite.
This tour is very nice but also a bit stressful. It's City after City. Nightclubs, bars and Programme until 11pm. It can be exhausting and it was for me. After the 4th City you don't really see the difference anymore. It's just again, another City. The tour is great... but as I experienced not my biggest favourite as I prefer nature (Now I know... didn't know it then) If your into big cities and nightlife, this is your Thing. But I prefer a mixture of nature and cities in my Holidays... Strong tour, with a big night Programme...Clubs, bars and drinking oppurtunities. Highlight: Quebec, Niagara Falls. Cool, but not my favourite.
This tour truely has it all. It is one of my favourite tours I've ever done with Contiki. I'm a Person that likes to be impressed by nature, and truely that happened. We had a small Group (26 people) and although Contiki is traveling fast paced you have enough time time to relax during this trip. I appreciated it not to have big traffic, Clubs or Pubs in the outback. It's silent, breath-taking but NOT boring. It's a tour, also relaxing. The ideal combination for me. I'm looking forward to do more scenic Contiki tours. This nature touches your heart. ;-) I love it. Rebecca the tourmanager was very kind and funny. Australia forever.
This was my first Contiki and the first travel that I actually count as travel. I went alone which was a big deal for me, but everything was worth the worry I had. We started in Lima, then to Arequipa, Colca Valley, Colca Canyon, Puno, Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, back to Cusco, then to the jungle.
I didn't realize how amazing all of the cities would be. Before I left all my focus was on the Inca trail trek to Machu Picchu (which WAS probably one of the best days of my life), but Peru has so much more to offer than that. There were so many beautiful churches/cathedrals, monastaries/convents, archeological sites, even the streets were beautiful.
The scenery is beautiful, the food is amazing, and all of the crafting you come across is beautiful.
I got to go horseback riding for the first time in Cusco and saw the temple of the moon, I went Whitewater rafting in th Sacred Valley, went Ziplining/did a ropes course in the jungle plus went swimming in El Gato falls, and of course hiked up to the Sun Gate at Machu Picchu.
I met great people on my tour, my tour manager Clarisa was such a happy, enthusiastic, and passionate person, and everyone we came into contact with for our backstage passes, our MeTime, and our "special surprises" were great.
I'm already saving up for my second Contiki, it won't come soon enough.
This sailing trip was really awesome! we had a fantastic time, the skipper was very friendly yet knowledgeable. We enjoyed authentic Greek meals on the boat, and got help out with sailing which was really fun. The ports/islands are beautiful! It was a good mix, of scenery, adventure, swimming, and good fun!!
I want to start this review saying I had a great trip, but that's because I was determined to have a great trip. If you like to get totally drunk every night then maybe you will not have to work so hard to have a great time like I did. This tour was the perfect way for me to check some sights off of my bucket list and refine my future travel list, but it was definitely a BUDGET tour. I have gone camping more times than I can count so I knew from the beginning that I can handle basic accommodations, but what I dislike are dirty accommodations. Many of the sites were overrun with bed bugs as well as many other dead bugs all over the rooms and even in the beds. At one sight in particular the cabins reeked of mold and sewage, but when this was brought up to the tour manager they brushed us off as just being whiny. I did not appreciate our tour manager's attitude at all as she constantly asked us to voice our complaints and then did nothing about any of them. If I had it to do over I would not go with Contiki, but since I can't go back in time I have to just focus on the fact that I have seen a lot more of the world now than I had before this trip. As for the "me time optionals" I think they are a total rip off. The only ones I would truly recommend are the gondola ride in Venice, the Ionian dinner in Corfu, George's Boat in Corfu and the Parisian dinner simply because that was a good time to get to know people since it was the beginning of the trip. All of the other dinners gave a lot of food, but none of it was very good so if you can convince a group of people to skip it then I would.
Ireland was amazing! It was my 1st Contiki trip and 1st time in Europe. I went in mid-May and experienced great weather and little rain. Unfortunately though, the day we stopped at the Cliffs of Moher there was the most unbelievable fog I've ever seen in my life. We saw no Cliffs. I wanted to cry. Unpredictable weather is just something you have to deal with in Ireland and the UK. Pack a poncho!
Our tour managers Sophie was so sweet and fantastic and very well-organized. Our group was a bit too large for my taste (a full bus of about 65 people) but the positive about it was meeting lots of great people.
All the included activities were great. My favorites were the Blarney Stone, the Rock of Cashel, the Belfast Peace Wall tour, and the Kilkenny walking tour.
I HIGHLY recommend doing *ALL* the optional activities as well (most people on the tour did all of them, as I did too). You'll experience Ireland in many ways, from cultural and historic to fun and fiesty. My favorites were the Aran Islands, the Titanic Museum in Belfast, Giant's Causeway, and the Jameson Brewery. And definitely do the optional farewell dinner at the Merry Ploughboy. Our entire group went to it and it was the perfect way to end our trip with traditional food, drink, music and dance!
Dublin is a fantastically metropolitan and multi-cultural city. It was so much fun! The Peace Wall in Belfast was fascinating. The cobblestone streets in Kilkenny were beautiful. The GREEN countryside is the brightest green you'll ever see. And SHEEP! There are sheep are everywhere.
This tour was fast-paced so be prepared to get up and go early every morning. The only downside was the limited time we had for some of the activities, such as the Rock of Cashel. We had less than an hour there, which is far too short considering how beautiful it is. But for the most part we had an adequate time to enjoy the activity/destination/excursion.
The hotel accomodations were mostly good. I'd say 2 of the 6 hotels we stayed at were sub-par but nothing intolerable. Our tour bus was surprisingly awesome... new and clean and very comfortable with huge windows so you can get a panoramic view of all the landscapes.
So all in all, this trip was an amazing mix of culture, history, sightseeing, and fun (we had numerous group outings to local pubs). As the Irish say, SLAINTE!
Before I head into it take this into account before booking this tour: if you have never skied or boarded before, this tour probably isn't great. You more than likely wont enjoy it as much, but still you can have a lot of fun. Lessons arn't organised for you though, but gear is if you haven't got you own.
BUT this tour was pretty bloody good!! I was lucky when I was there, the people on my tour were awesome and we all got along really well. Being a pretty good skier I loved it and the weather was perfect. Blue sky's and heaps of powder, what more can you ask for!! 4 days skiing and with day in the middle to jump off cliffs, bridges, boat rides and all that good stuff was awesome and went out for dinner and drinks every night, and you don't have to head out for a late one if you don't want to. But the nightlife does go off!
Also there is some time to explore which I loved, you do get a bit of freedom. And the scenery is unreal, I got some awesome photos of mountains and the lake at Queenstown. Absolutely stunning trust me. So if you can ski or board at all, I recommend it. I'd go again for sure!!