Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
I met up with the group in Paris, which did put me in a bad position for making friends. The Paris accommodation was average and a bit of a trip out of Central Paris. But oh Paris!! LOVE IT!!
The Contiki chateau was ok.. Something different. I found the perfumery a complete waste of time. The trip to Barcelona felt like a lifetime!!!! We didn't get into Barcelona until late. Had a full free day then to only leave super early the next day. Just remember that they have siesta and everything closes from 2-5 (I think) which I found to be very frustrating. I did make my way to Mar Bella which was a nudist beach which was definitely something different!!! Stayed at the generator hostel which was really good! From there went to Nice, which was lovely! Just remember though, it is expensive. Then to Monaco for a night trip which was cool and through to Italy. Oh the gelato!!! Did a stop over in Pisa on the way to Florence (I think) Very average. My highlight was sadly a Mc Donald's. Venice itself I enjoyed. The campground was dreadful! Stayed in tin shelf like things and had no hot water!! Florence, I found to be ok, but didn't love it as much as the other guys. Ladies just we warned, the campground cabins were ok.. However were told we couldn't use hair dryers or straighteners because the power would go out in the cabin. The was a shower block though. I loved Rome. I thought it was stunning! Did the colosseum tour which I recommend to cut the queue. We were also in Rome/the Vatican on a 'holy Sunday' so Contiki didn't book any tours of the Vatican because it was free. WORST DECISION EVER!!! It was beyond busy. We tried to get a 'tour' but we're ripped off. The tried to get us to cut the line and that was our 'exclusive entry'. This resulted in being booed by the public and - yep, nuns. We all just bailed and went to the end of the line. The Vatican museum line was beyond crazy!!! The pope was just about to do his speech.. I had a decision to make.. See the pope.. Or the Sistine chapel that was about to close at 12. I chose the chapel. The accommodation was about a 30min train ride from Rome.
We made our way to Athens via a overnight ferry. We were lucky enough to have cabins. Apparently some tours only get seats to sleep in overnight. Corfu- amazing! Greece is very cheap!!! 50 Euro cents for 2lts of water. Athens was very busy and our accommodation was in a very shady area. Just be careful at night!! My driver was lovely! My so called guide.. An absolute wanker!!! Rude, arrogant and even made me cry!!
Don't get me wrong - the trip was great, but I did expect more.
The trip was a cruise that was run by a third party, the ship it's self was average, as well as the food. But that's not what we're there for! I was some what disappointed that we didn't stay long on the islands at all. For example, Santorini. I was soooooo looking forward to it but after getting off the boat, we only had about 4hrs on the island. I did the optional tour to Oia, which was expensive!! Essentially the tour was a coach that took us to Oia- the place with white roofs. It was absolutely stunning!!!! I also wanted to do the volcano tour, but I could only pick one due to time. Patmos was incredibly boring... And Mykonos, spent about 4hrs there too. Once you were on the boat, free to do whatever you wanted. Only had to meet up when you were getting off the boat. All in all - I would have preferred to see the islands in more depth.
Absolutely fantastic trip. The crew were so helpful, our Contiki tour rep (Kassie) was awesome, knew all the great bars to go to and even enlightened us with some history about the islands we were visiting. This tour caters for those who want to go out and party but also those who want to take it a little slower. I cannot recommend this tour highly enough. Enjoy!
This was one of the best trips that I have ever done. The only downside was that it had to end so soon. I would have given anything to do it all again! Our tour manager, James, was the most awsome guy with the best dance moves :) Do all the optional a you can - they are a brilliant way to see the cities. The group became so close that I now regard them as my Contiki family and it was so hard to leave them. So take my advice, don't even think about it. Just do it - you will have the most brilliant time.
Best time of my life! I think about this trip most days and get upset in not still there! Made some incredible friendships that will last a life time. #contikifamily #lafamilar
Camping trips are are much better, more included, loads cheaper, better people, on road chef!
Meals were always different and amazing.
Best tour manager, cook, and bus driver!
Kate, tamara and pedro!
Highly recommend doing this trip! I had the time of my life!
awesome trip, great and funny tour guide, a really cool and relaxed bus driver and a very good atmosphere and "tour spirit". I very much enjoyed the trip and would recommend everyone to do the same.
Loved the travelling and Braden (our tour director) was really informative and he knew so much history! This is a great way of travelling, and a great way to meet new people.
The accommodation was less then expected because we stayed pretty far out of town whilst in Quebec City, Boston, and Montreal. The dinners were a mixed bag. Maybe if we ate more traditional food the region then that would have been more exciting.
The biggest let down was all the forced group time. I wish there was more time to hang out with your buddies without feeling pressured into group activities like lazer tag.
In Chicago Braden went out of his way to take us on a Food Safari and it was amazing! SO MUCH FOOD!!! It was a real highlight of my whole 8 weeks in the USA and Canada.
A friend and i chose to go on contiki because we didnt want to be on our own! and lets just say best decision ever!
The tour guide was AMAZING and made the group gel perfectly. I've never met a group of strangers who were so respectful, caring, fun and wild! A couple months down the track and i'm still in contact with many people from the tour!
The accommodation was what i would expect and food was catered with both western choices as well as traditional thai choices.
The optional tours are a MUST do as they were probably the best days on the tour. If i had to do it all again the only think i would change is to pick a longer tour!
This tour was 100% amazing, and exceeded any expectations I had. We saw something incredible every day - It took adjusting to normal monotonous life pretty difficult after a month of excitement. All the countries we went to were mind blowing - and Lucy - our tour guide was so insightful and helpful to lead us to things to do and places to party. It was a nice taste of the places we went because we were only in each place about 2 nights - it gave me a great idea where I would like to go my next trip. The Prauge bike tour was well worth it, the salt mines, cabaret show, Jungfrau mountain day, the optional dinners were great, especially the parisian meal. The only excursion I didn't particularly enjoy were the Venice walking tour. Accommodation was great - considering how cheap you are paying to get to stay for 24 nights in Europe. Of course breakfasts and the room were quite simple - but we barely spent any time at the hotels anyways. The group of people we were with was great! and there was a good mix of personalities that made things really work. You could go out and party almost every night or stay in some nights too and still have loads of fun. My favourite country was Hungary - which surprises most people but all of the countries were amazing. The best moments were the ones wondering the unknown streets late at night with a bunch of great people laughing and talking about anything. The bus rides were typically spent catching up on sleep - it worked out perfectly!! Our tour guide and Contiki outdid themselves with organization and planing of this tour. My only stress of the entire tour was to make sure I made it to the bus on time to get to the next city. I would recommend this tour to anyonewho wants a taste of some Europe countries, to see incredible things, meet great people and make unforgettable memories. The price was well worth it - you couldn't do it any cheaper on your own! Amazing time, great tour - HIGHLY recommended.
Contiki has unethical practices. I literally put 2 stars on here and when I went to VIEW my review it lists 4. I have logged in again and see that when I'm logged in it lists the 2 that I put but when people search it's 4. Now I see this review is unsearchable.
I have written to customer service multiple times with no response. Our hotel guide also told us we would be reimbursed for pants we had to buy last minute due to wrong information we were told when we went to the Moulin Rouge ($400) when it almost ruined our night.
This trip has almost nothing actually INCLUDED besides transportation and a few small excursions. For $500 a night we expected a lot more. Two of the 5 hotels we stayed at were so supbar I wouldn't want my worst enemy to stay there. We could not sleep due to the extreme head. The Tryp hotel in Berlin was so dirty and nasty and didn't even have real beds.
The Best of Europe tour wasn't as expected for my husband and me. This was my third tour with the company (traveled twice before to Europe with Trafalgar.) While the tour director and optional excursions were overall pretty good (sometimes great), the quality of hotels and included activities and transpiration were far below par for the price and quality of a superior level hotel tour.
The good parts of the tour were-
Our tour guide was organized and kind. The bus driver kept us safe and was also a nice guy. The canal cruises in cities (optional excursions) were very cool experiences. The hotel in Prague and Paris were decent. Also the Prague biking tour ( one of the few included excursions) was unique. The cities we visited were great except for Berlin which barely had anything good to see. I wish we had more time in Amsterdam. The walking tour there was interesting.
Worst parts of tour
Horrible hotel (Tryp East)-The hotel in Berlin can best be described as a dump and I am shocked it was part of this tour. Don't get me wrong- we weren't expecting amazing hotels but average hotels were at least expected for almost $500 a day for a couple on a superior tour. The hotel was old and had stains all over the wall and floors. The beds were not real beds. There was no AC and most couldn't sleep at night with the heat on the 6th floor. It was located in a rough area far from the subway. The people working in the restaurant were completely neglectful of us while we were there. They only had one key (physical) for each room. It reminded me of a hostel but worse. I can't explain how disgusting and dirty it was and the heat and straw-like beds were insufferable. It was not expected for a Contiki, especially the top level version of the types of tours.
Another hotel (Champagne Palace, Rome) was also so hot as night we literally couldn't sleep. Again it had a grungy feel (not as bad as Tryp) and the staff there was really rude.
We were also surprised that a lot of days all we got was a hotel room and a subway pass. Many times we didn't get transported by the bus (which is what I thought we signed up for). Often we were not given good directions to where the subway was or how to use it. There were also a lacking of included activities and you pretty much want to do a lot of the optionals because or else oh are on your own. For the price and level of tour I expected more.
Overall there were some good qualities but I wouldn't recommend it unless they change those two hotels and include a little more. It wasn't as expected for a superior level tour and the price.
Amazing holiday, with the nicest of people. Great atmosphere between everyone and the sights were incredible. Our tour manager was so fun, very knowledgeable and helpful.
First part of the trip on the east coast (New York-Toronto) is all city slicking (walking around, history about the cities, pubs/clubs ect.). Pretty nice cities to see, by far my favourite was Québec City. Amazing architecture, lovely people and generally a nice city with lots of history to walk around with your new friends on the trip. (Also Montreal's Jet boat ride was pretty awesome, so do that!)
Unfortunately you'll have to leave most of your new friends on this trip behind to fly over to the west coast after Toronto. (We had six people who went to the west coast from our big group on the east). Where you start with a fresh tour group so its pretty nice already knowing some people before going into another group who don't know anyone yet!
This is where I personally really enjoyed the trip. Anyone who likes the outdoors, wildlife and nature will appreciate this. Lots more activities compared to the east: zip-lining, kayaking, white water rafting, mountain biking, walking, helicopter rides. All of which I recommend. Amazing scenery of the rockies, lakes and glaciers (no pictures do this justice). Lots of wildlife we seen most excitingly bears and moose. You round off all this excitement with a nice party/dinner cruise at Vancouver which is a good way to end the trip with your Contiki family.
Tour guides and coach drivers where amazing, knew there stuff.
So if you like cities the first part is definitely for you and nature second part. If you like both its the perfect trip.
Highly recommend this trip.
I have been a seasoned traveller this being my third Contiki in 4 years, all being absolutely amazing....until "Turkey & Greek Island Odyssey"
This tour certainly needs a lot of work. It was the most unorganised and poorly run tour I have been on yet. The local guide in Turkey was extremely rude and took advantage of the guests on the bus by exchanging money at a hiked rate, leaving us in pre organised bars which he obviously was receiving back handers from locals to bring us to, where they charged us extortion prices for drinks then argued the bill after.
Then coming to the Greek islands part, the islands were absolutely amazing but the organisation was terrible, that's why you pay to go on a "GUIDED" trusted tour. The tours were in excess of 45 Euros, once we arrived on the island we found that you could take the same tours for 26 Euros.
I can appreciate a bit of business and making money but this is why you take these guided, trusted tours to avoid being taken for a ride by locals.
I am extremely disappointed and will not be undergoing another Contiki.
Feel free to make your own mind up but I'd highly recommend avoiding Turkey and doing a sole Greek island tour.
This trip is really what you make of it. Are tour manager (Joe) was world class, I learned more about history in 13 days than all of my time in high school and college. If you are the type of person that wants to just relax and enjoy the history and their is plenty of it you can do that. If you are they type to party every night you can because I did. Also they structure it nice because there's a 3-5 hour bus ride every day which you can sleep and recover and still enjoy the history. So my recommendation is party every night listen to the history and be friendly to your tour group their your family for the next 13 days.
Overall great time, but there are things I'd change.
The entire group is split into two boats, which makes it a little less fun. 50 people are far more fun than 25, and Contiki didn't properly distribute the solos and groups, which means our boat had about two solo travelers, while the other had 20. And although there were opportunities to join the other group, the times were not always aligned and the meetups were usually later in the day when we docked. The other boat was also given free air conditioning and we were asked to pay. Because the entire boat did not agree to chip in, we were stuck in an unbearable sweat box, which was so bad some people slept on the deck instead.
I also thought there'd be more time in each town, which was not the case. Most of the day is on the water, and you don't see each town until later in the afternoon.
The pros are pretty obvious. Croatia is absolutely stunning and we had a great tour guide who was extremely sweet and helpful. Lots of fun partying at night too, which is when all the groups were together. It's also a great chance to relax and kick back, especially if you've booked another action-packed tour before or after this one. Overall, I met great people and had a great time, just be aware of all the details before going in.
This was my first Contiki and I loved every moment! I was traveling solo for three months and this was definitely the highlight of my trip. The islands are absolutely amazing! The food is great. The drinks are strong. The nights out are insane!
I would definitely recommend the Paradise Beach optional, the sailing trip in Ios and everybody should catch the sunset in Oia. Also, don't miss out on trying a Gyros. For 2 Euro you can't go wrong! Oh and try a Slammer Shot in Ios.
Also a shout out to Courtney, my Tour Manager. She was amazing! There was nothing she didn't know about Greece and trust me I had some obscure questions. She made great recommendations for restaurants and activities you may enjoy if you weren't partaking in the optionals. She is very accommodating, always available if you need information, she put together a great time for my birthday and surprisingly enough she even laughed at my jokes.
I had a great time on this trip! I met some amazing people, made some incredible memories and made some awesome friends!
Definitely a must!
OK so I'm a Canadian who lived in London (UK) for a year and a half, and did a lot of travelling in my time there. (I've now returned to Toronto, this was my last trip)
This trip was definitely one of my favourites, if not THE favourite, for so many reasons.
Turkey was definitely NOT what I expected... I guess I didn't expect anything -- call it geographic ignorance, I just had no idea that Turkey was so beautiful. I had no idea what to expect as to Turkish food and Turkish people -- and let me tell you that both were phenomenal.
Let me share some memories with you....
- so good. good size for the number of people we had (15 + 3 crew), basically everyone slept on the deck every night, we ate every meal as a family at the dinner table at the back of the boat. you get partnered up for a twin room (2x people per room, 1 bed) that has a bathroom with toilet/shower/sink. hot water was available from 20 minutes after the engine starts, until it runs out for the day if you're anchored down. so basically all the time, with the exception of when we docked for the evening/night.
- really really nice. JJ the captain is hilarious, and made sure that everyone had a great time on and off the boat. Suat was the bartender but he did everything on the boat, and took turns with JJ when accompanying us on our nights out to clubs and out on the town. Really cool guy, probably speaks the best english out of the 3 of them. Memet the cook - we all wanted to bring him home. He rarely said anything, he understands english but doesn't speak much. His cooking though... which leads me to...
- the food on the boat is AMAZING. Memet and his cooking skills are the best. A lot of us actually lost weight on our trip because we were eating regular meals that were HEALTHY -- breakfast was generally a table of eggs, some kind of meat (sausage / ham), sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, bread, jam, tea/coffee. lunch and dinner were a feast of healthy salads, pastas/rice, meat/fish dishes, etc. we always had tea time as well -- when that bell rings for meal time, you haul ass out of the water for food every day lol.
- are not included, unfortunately. but bottles of water is cheaper on the boat vs outside -- 0.35 euros per bottle. we went through lots of them lol. cans of beer (not tall boys) are 3 euros per can, which is more than what you would buy at a convenience store. but they don't allow outside drinks on the boat, and the crew get in trouble if you sneak them in. few of us snuck in big bottles of water and some bottles of vodka from time to time, but generally drank lots of beers on the boat. there's a paper tab set up for each person at the bar, the crew will write a tick next to your name for whatever you had and you settle the tab at the end of the trip. i ended up paying a 70 euro tab at the end -- which wasn't as bad as some of the boys lol.
- is SALTY AS HELL. i haven't encountered such salty waters besides when I was in Croatia. You can basically float by just being in the water because there's so much salt in it. so make sure to hose down with fresh water after each dip, otherwise the salt will cake on your skin/hair and it's not good for you.
- so basically during your 8 days on the boat, you become REALLY CLOSE with everyone on the boat, as you spend so much time together. we were the first time that this trip had to have 2 boats because there were so many people -- my boat had 15 people, and the other boat had about 12 i believe. the 2 boats travelled together most of the time but we didn't really hang out with the other boat. as Contiki is an Australian company, there were tons of Aussies -- the other boat was actually 12 Australians. our boat was (thankfully) more diverse --- we had 5 Canadians, 4 Australians, 3 New Zealanders, 2 South Africans, and 1 British --- age 19 to 35. such diverse group of people made for some really interesting life stories and "never have i never" games ;)
- basically you don't know what time it is or what day it is.. which is exactly what most of us wanted. you wake up in the morning with the gentle shining of the sun while laying on the deck beds, birds are chirping, the boat is moving so you're hearing all the water lapping around you... the 2 South Africans that were with us brought guitars/ukeleles and would gently strum music all the time - so imagine all that happening basically all the time. it was incredibly relaxing, you basically do whatever you want -- nap on the boat, jump in the water (when the boat is stopped/anchored), go snorkelling, walk around the village and sit at a cafe for wifi (if available), play cards, drink, etc
- is real. basically it's a viral cough infection (lol) that gets spread during Contiki trips because a lot of people do back to back Contiki tours -- when you're spending so many days in a boat / bus / plane with so many people, when one person gets sick - you all get sick. and then you carry that to your next Contiki trip and spread it there, and so on and so on. i didn't catch it until probably the 3rd last day of the trip, so that wasn't too horrible. it's a wet cough, and will last about 2-3 weeks after your trip. not nice. stock up on vitamins and barroca (vitamin tablets) on the trip so you can try to keep your immune system up. (and i'm exaggerating, not EVERYONE gets sick)
- personally, i wouldn't bother with the mud bath one -- which is 50 euros (a lot of money). you get on a bus, go to this little park area where there's tons of other tourists, you go into a small pool of muddy water that stinks of sulfur -- in blazing sun by the way, i thought it would be shaded or in a cave or something -- and then you shower that off, go into a hot springs water that smells equally bad, then go to a shitty restaurant for some mediocre buffet-style food.
- the turkish bath is INTERESTING. i won't tell you more, it's a once in a lifetime experience... lol. MAKE SURE TO WEAR YOUR BIKINI/SWIMMING TRUNK TO THE SPA. no matter what that weird travel guide girl tells you (who randomly comes on the boat from time to time), make sure you wear a swimsuit under your clothes. i went in a beige coloured thong and immediately regretted it as soon as i was in a room with 4 hairy Turkish men with buckets of water in their hands. i'd recommend it, mostly for the stories lol.
- you can buy things like sunscreen / bug spray whenever you dock in a town, which is every couple days, so don't worry too much about that.
- there are wasps EVERYWHERE when you anchor near land or when you dock. at least they were when i was travelling in the beginning of July. they stung a couple of us, so if you get stung, use a credit card to gently scrape off the residue and put some cream on it
- speaking of cream, bring some antihistamines, heat rash cream, medicine for diarrhea/stomachaches, pain killers, band aids, etc.
There's so many more, I posted a bunch of pictures and tagged locations on my instagram so might be worth checking that if you're interested in the trip!
I've been back home for a week and I can still taste the spicy tacos of San Francisco; hear the slot machines in Vegas; feel the sunshine of LA on my skin and see the vivid colours of Times Square, New York every time I shut my eyes...
There are no words to express how amazing my Best of USA trip was... from the incredible sights, including the gorgeous views of Santa Monica to the unbelievable experiences ( champagne breakfast in the Grand Caynon, anyone?!) to the many, beautiful new Contiki tourmates who now truly are my family, it was, without a doubt, two of the best weeks of my life.
Last, but certainly, not least, a BIG thug shout out to our tour manager Jon Rammelkamp - THANK YOU for trusting us with your best, undiscovered experiences in each city - seeing the States through an American Boy's eyes was my favourite part of this trip!
Every part of this trip was great, from the organised events to the nightlife. We had a great tour guide (Jon) who was always looking out for us and making sure we enjoyed it - he also had great local tips. Vegas will blow your mind, San Francisco is beautiful, LA is crazy cool and New York will make you feel sophisticated (with great food). Definitely worth it.