Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
I went on the European Whirl June 27th- July 14th. i met my group in Amsterdam and the minute i met all 52 of them i instantly liked them. I got to know them all really well and made amazing friends. We started in Amsterdam and it was mad fun drinking and going out to these cool clubs, then we went to Berlin were we got to watch Berlin play in the world cup and that was the best thing to do :) then off to Prague and enjoyed the history and culture there, then we did a one day stop in Munich and i did the ME TIME activity Mikes Bike Tour and YOU HAVE TO DO IT this bike tour is the funniest and best bike ride i have ever been on you see so much of Munich in so little time with this great bike tour and you laugh the whole way. Then we went for another 1 night stop in the Austrian Tyrol and that was just BEAUTIFUL we also had our Tight, White & Bright Party at the place we were staying and that was a fun party with my contiki group and other contiki groups as well :) then we went to the beautiful country ITALY we stayed in campsites through out the whole time in Italy and they were alright (you will need your sleeping bag there and in Venice buy mozzie spray as they will bite you bad) Venice is a beautiful city i could live there, Rome didn't interest me that much but thats my personal opinion you may think different of Rome. We only had 1 day in Florence and from what i saw it is a beautiful city. We had our group photo and dinner in Florence which is a ME TIME OPTIONAL and i suggest you do it as its amazing and after dinner we went to a karaoke bar and drank and sang the night away ( hahahaha- Oh and eat lots of GELATI in Italy i did its so AMAZINGLY GOOD) we then headed up to Switzerland and it was cold but OMG such beautiful views and such a beautiful place we stayed in. another ME TIME OPTIONAL in Switzerland is going up to the top of Europe in the snow called JUNGFRAUJOCH and i enjoyed that heaps (but pack warm clothing as you will need it and Switzerland is expensive so if you are thinking you want to eat at the snow buy food at the place your staying and take it up there as its very expensive up the top of the mountain) then after that we headed to our last stop PARIS and just like the talk it is a BEAUTIFUL CITY we went as a group in free time on the first night we all bought wine and champagne and went to the Eiffel Tower at midnight and watched it light up it was so beautiful. Then the last night we had out goodbye dinner and cabaret show and those are both ME TIME OPTIONALS and you have to do them as its a fantastic night out with everyone for pretty much the last time :) then on the morning everyone left i was staying in Paris 1 extra night and i didn't think it would be that hard but saying goodbye to 52 people you have been with on and off a bus with and shared rooms with and toured around Europe with for the last 18days is so hard and sad to say goodbye to them i cried but i know i will have a friendship with them for life and will catch up with them soon :) This was my first ever CONTIKI TOUR and i LOVED IT i now have the travel bug and i will be booking to go on another Contiki December 2015 but on an American Tour - if you are hesitating about doing a contiki tour or hesitating about doing this tour - DONT HESITATE just do it as you will not regret it and you will have the best time ever and also don't be nervous going by yourself as i went by myself and i made the most amazing friends and had the most amazing time ever :)
I just returned from the the European Magic Tour and had a fantastic time! This was my 4th time to Europe, but first time traveling with a tour group and I have no regrets choosing Contiki. It made traveling very easy and I was very happy that it wasn't a "Follow my umbrella" guided tour around Europe. I was still able to take in the sights as a individual, but still have planned activities if I wanted to participate. It was the best of both worlds.
Reviews of the Stops:
London: I recommend arriving a few days early or taking the free transfer back after the trip to take in the city. There isn't any planned things here with Contiki, but there's lots to do! My friend and I missed the Meetup meeting on the first night. Don't worry about this, a sheet is posted outside the Basement door with all the info you need. I never felt left out because I didn't attend.
Amsterdam: We stayed at a Best Western, so it was a really comfortable hotel stay. Since we arrived at night, we hopped right into the "nightlife" of Amsterdam - aka (pot and sex). I opted not to go to the sex show and I didn't regret it. It saved me 22 euro and the people on my tour said it really wasn't that great. They could tell that the people were just going through a routine. I did find it interesting to walk through the Red Light district to the sex show with the group since this is part of Amsterdam culture. I was glad that I was able to experience this part but didn't need to do anything else. There is free time in the morning and I recommend going to the Anne Frank House. You wont have time to do anything else that morning, but the tour was really worth it. Our group arrived late to Amersterdam after a slight bus problem in Belgium so we weren't able to take the canal cruise. Contiki bought us all public transport passes to make up for it, which was nice. While in Amersterdam, definitely try stroopwaffles! They are delicious.
St. Goar: Definitely just a stop over place. There isn't really anything to do in the town, but the wine tasting that Contiki sets up is nice. All the wines are really sweet though, so it's great for those that are new to wines. Plus you get to try ice wine which is expensive to buy on its own. Hotel Montag was also nicely redone for the stay.
Munich: Personally, I just love this city and have been before. The bike tour was really well done and the guides for funny and interactive. Really worth the time. The stop for dinner at the biergarten was great. You're going to wish you had more time in this city. Our hotel was amazing too. Easily the best stop.
Innsbruck: I loved the chance to bobsled (even though we almost missed it because we were late getting on the road and the bus driver got lost...). The bobsled is really short though so it almost doesn't seem worth the money, but how many times can you say you've bobsledded on an Olympic course? I recommend sitting in the front seat of the bobsled to avoid getting jostled around too much and take the recommendation to hold yourself upright like the instructors say. The town was really nice, but we didn't get to stay long because we were behind schedule. It would've been cool to explore more. There isn't a tour at the Swarovski Crystal store, they just welcome you and then you shop. If you're looking to buy something nice as a souvenir then it's a nice place to spend time. Otherwise, I would just enjoy a nice relaxing lunch in the town.
Switzerland: It was too bad that this was our one rainy day of the trip, because the low hanging clouds made it difficult to see the mountains. Since you have to pay for the optionals beforehand, pray for a clear day here! I really couldn't see anything from the stop of Mt. Stanserhorn because of the clouds, but they cleared when the second half of our group was up top and they had great pictures. It was fun to be that high up a mountain though, just wish the weather was better but thats not something anyone can control. The stop at the watch/knife store is really not anything worthwhile, just a time filler. If you want to buy one of those then it's worth it otherwise it's obviously a company that has joined with Contiki. They also own 4 other stores all connected. I recommend walking a little further down the street where there are other shopping places. Just one street up from the jail hotel is a bunch of big shopping names. The JailHotel was interesting. You just have to take it for the experience. There was nothing wrong with the room (aside from our musty bathroom because it doesn't air out). I was glad we only stayed there for one night, but it was just an experience and something you can say you did. The boat cruise would've been nice if the weather was better. It was raining so noone could go on the top deck and the captain sounded really bored. He had some interesting facts, but noone was paying attention. I listened and actually found it interesting, just wish we could've seen the sights.
Paris: What a crazy city! I thought the traffic in NYC was bad, but it doesn't compare to here. The driving tour that our Tour Manager took us one was really great. She was very informative and it allowed us a chance to see where everything was located in order to kind of plan for the following day. I then went up the Eiffel Tower that night which was totally worth it because it saved so much time the next day. Plus I got to watch it sparkle which was beautiful (it shimmers for five minutes on the hour beginning at 10pm, 11pm and midnight). The next day I toured the Opera Garnier (where Phantom of the Opera is set), Norte Dame (go when there is a free guided tour, it saves you from waiting in line) and the Museum D'Orsay (closes at 5:30, be aware). I opted not to do the Moulin Rouge because of the price although everyone said it was fantastic! Instead, a few of the other people from the tour and myself went to the grocery and bought food and wine for a picnic under the Eiffel Tower. It was perfect. We ended the evening with a river boat cruise and then met the rest of our group at O'Sullivan's bar to enjoy our last night together. It was a great day.
I had a great time on this tour and really enjoyed meeting everyone from around the world. We had a great mix of people and everyone really got along and cared about one another. Our Tour Manager, Tamsyn, was incredible. Very sweet and knowledgeable. It's unfortunate that this was her last tour because she was fantastic.
As an American, we are a very time driven, schedule driven society. You will never receive a full time itinerary with hours listed for the full trip. Each night your Tour Manager will post the timings for the following day, but don't expect to receive one before hand. What you see on the website for the full trip is what you get. You come to realize that with traffic and large groups you don't always stay on time. They don't give you a timed itinerary so that you don't freak out about being behind. You will still get to do everything, but you might just not stay in one place for as long.
Also, know that you will spend long driving hours on the bus. Bring a good book (or 2 or 3) and prepare to catch up on your sleep here! They stop at nice services though to get meals and snacks.
Overall, I was highly pleased. It was just what I was hoping for and I made some incredible memories. After this tour, I was given a taste of many countries and now I can decide where to return to.
Loved every second of this tour especially with Enzo being the tour guide! I highly recommend this to tour anyone!!
Where to begin? This trip was amazing! It is safe to say we all had the time of our lives! Our driver was John and TM was Chris Tabone who, if you’re lucky enough to get him, was voted best Tour Manager 2 years running, so he knew what he was doing! It should be noted this tour is extremely fast paced but is perfect for those on a tight budget/time frame or are doing extra travels before/after the tour. You get to see so much in such a short time it truly is value for money.
Straight up some tips I’ve learnt:
Do all the optional activities - you never know until you’ve tried them all! Pack as light as possible: most hotels have tiny elevators that take forever and most of the time it will be easier to lug your suitcases up the stairs. Even if you go in summer always have a thicker jacket/pair of jeans: it rained at some point almost every day we were there in July! Don’t bother with a tablet/ipad for this tour – there isn’t enough time, so just use your smart phone for free wifi. You will most likely get sick towards the end so I recommend taking at least cold and flu tablets, throat lozenges and hydralite/berocca to get you through (the contiki cough is real)! For Europe you don’t really need fancy going out clothes: we only really had to look nice for the night in Florence and last night in Paris. I used the multi-currency cash passport and had no problems with it - thought it was the best way to carry currency around with little fees.
Summary of each place and optionals:
London: Although this is just the starting point for most people I recommend a couple of days in London. Best way to see the sights is a Hop-on Hop-off tour, which I found really enjoyable. We stayed at the Royal National Hotel – was basic but convenient and you hardly spend much time in the hotel. After the startup meeting a few of us went to the London pub for drinks and to get to know each other.
Amsterdam: Early next morning departed for Amsterdam. Hotel was one of the best and served good buffet breakfast and dinner. Canal cruise had unlimited drinks and was a great way to mingle with everyone. We then had a walk through the red light district and did the optional sex show. Not all TMs will offer the sex show, but most of us did it and found it quite hilarious and entertaining, especially when a few girls were called up to undress the male stripper! The night was then free for us to party. Next morning we had the chance to see the Anne Frank Huis which I would recommend.
St Goar: The scenic drive to St Goar was beautiful. The town is quiet but pretty and the hotel was surprisingly nice. In the afternoon there is the chance of the optional wine tasting. Most of us quite enjoyed the white wine and cheese on offer. It was yet again a good activity to get to know one another better in a candlelit cellar. After was drinks at the hotel bar. The next morning we also went to the beer stein demo and could do a bit of souvenir shopping before heading off to Munich.
Munich: The bike ride was a good way to see the city. Would have been better for us if it wasn’t raining the first half of the tour. In between you get to stop at a place for some beer and food then carry on the bike tour. Afterwards was the Hofbrauhaus, which was a huge beer hall. The atmosphere is great and the beer was actually really good – and I don’t even drink beer usually!
Austria: Next is a drive through the Austrian Alps and a chance to do white water rafting. I highly recommend this optional – it was so much fun and the waves aren’t so dangerous that your raft will tip, but just rapid enough to get the adrenalin pumping! Next up was a stop to the Swarovski crystal world. I actually say don’t do this optional because it isn’t really a museum but more an abstract/surrealist art exhibition where crystals are used. Found it a bit of a waste of money and even the gift shop wasn’t that impressive. The hotel we stayed at in Austria was reasonable with excellent dinner and breakfast. Take advantage of ‘schnappy hour’ and go to the pub where your TM recommends. I made the mistake of staying in that night and missed out on one of the craziest nights at the pub I was told.
Venice: Loved Venice for its charm. First up is a guided tour of Venice which was interesting, then the glass blowing demonstration which was insightful and an optional Gondola ride. I enjoyed this optional as our Gondola man actually sang for us and the canals had a certain charm to them! I also recommend doing the Venetian dinner as I found the food to be plentiful and tasty, however some on tour thought that the food was undercooked and not enough. Note about breakfasts in Italy – they suck. At best you’ll get cornflakes, plastic ham and cheese, plain bread and instant coffee and juice.
Rome: After a long drive into Rome we had a walk about tour at dusk which was perfect! The Park Roma hotel was another good hotel which had its own disco. Note that the alcohol they serve is extremely overpriced but all in all our tour had fun with dancing and hallway parties! Next day you have the optional Vatican and Coliseum tours, which I highly recommend as you get proper access and guided tours of the sights. Next up is free time, which we spent going to the Pantheon and Spanish Steps.
Florence: Florence was one of my favourites as it’s not as crowded as Rome but is just as beautiful and rich of history. The guided walking tour was excellent to see the major sights. We then had some free time in which a few of us went to the Ufizzi Gallery to look at some artworks. You then head to the hotel to get ready for the optional Tuscan evening. The food was by far the best here and entertainment was fun, especially when our whole tour jumped up for the macerina! Next was a trip to the Space Disco. There is nothing particularly special about the club but it was a great night due to dancing, drinking and laughing with our new buddies.
Switzerland: The first optional was the Mt Stanserhorn excursion, which I highly recommend as the views were stunning! The watch and knife demo was great for purchasing swiss army knives and other souvenirs. The Lake Lucerne cruise was also a great optional as we could all relax with a few drinks and great scenery. We stayed at the Jailhouse hotel, which in all honesty was perfectly fine – you hardly spend much time there anyway!
Paris: The next morning is a long drive to Paris. When you get there you have a bit of a driving tour to see the major sights. After was free time and as we were there on Bastille Day we got to see a fireworks show around the Eiffel tower. Next morning we had our trip to the top of the Eiffel tower. Views are breath-taking and it is a must do! Next up we went to the French perfumery and museums – the girls loved it but not so sure about the guys. Next up was free time in which we used the metro to get to the Arc De Triomphe, walk up the Champs Elysees, see the Lourve and Lover’s Lock bridge. We then headed back to the hotel to get ready for the cabaret show. Another must – the dinner was tasty and the Nouvelle Eve show spectacular. We then retired to the Irish pub for celabratory drinks and a final dance. The next day was the saddest by far as you have to say goodbye to all your new friends. With the complimentary transfer back to London you can expect to arrive back at around 6pm.
I absolutely loved my experience. The famous sights and the cultures. My favourite was Cinque Terre, San Gimignano, Florence and Barcelona. To see Gaudi's architecture in Barcelona was unforgettable. The glitz and glamour in Monaco and the ancient ruins in Rome is a must-see. We had a backstage pass to the Vatican museum and had a city tour of Florence. The authentic cuisine is part of the experience. This is were you get to know your fellow travellers. I have made such good friends on the trip. We had the best tour manager, Maite. She told us of all the best places to visit, the most delicious food to eat and to experience the cultures. Our day song, 'One day', surely helped to live the saying 'No regrets'. It was an amazing unforgettable experience. I loved every moment!
Eastern Road was the second Contiki tour for my husband and I. We loved the European Discovery trip a bit more than Eastern Road, but have no regrets and had a fabulous time.
One major difference is that with Eastern Road, many of the cities aren't as well known as say Rome or Paris and doesn't have major attractions like the Colosseum or Eiffel Tower, but this trip we felt was best enjoyed through taking in the culture of the city, the food & drinks, & the history (more so pertaining to WWI & WWII). We also really enjoyed having 2 nights in each city with more of a relaxed itinerary. I'd have to say that Prague was most beautiful, especially at night. Budapest is a great city, easy to get around, lots to see, & great food. Krakow was a wonderful surprise. Easy to walk everywhere & great atmosphere. All of the included meals on this trip were great and at decent restaurants, some with traditional music. All of the hotels were nice & clean and close enough to the city center to either walk, take a tram/train, or a cheap taxi. They all had decent to great wifi.
ME TIME OPTIONALS:
Berlin Walking Tour: skipped because we walked around the day before and saw most of the sights and wanted to check out other things (the Jewish Museum in Berlin is incredible and worth going out of your way to visit)
EyeSpy Tour: also skipped, heard mixed reviews from the group.
Traditional Czech Evening: Live music & dancing. Fun atmosphere. A plate full of duck, sauerkraut, dumplings, cranberries, ambiguous meat patty... basically a pile of meat with a few sides. Very filling.
Nuclear Bunker Tour: Could have been uninteresting and boring, but the guides were entertaining and interesting and we also had a Communist dress-up photo-shoot.
Schnapps museum: skipped to have more time walking around the city.
Viennese Classical Concert & Dinner: skipped to see a different concert in St. Stephen's. Less than half of the group attended, mixed reviews.
Budapest Dinner Cruise: Great buffet. Gorgeous view of Budapest at night. The lights are stunning. Good time socializing with the group. A must.
Parliament Tour: The architecture and interior of the building is stunning. The tour is boring. I tend to take in everything visually and not retain much historical information, but I found the building worth seeing. You might only be there once.
Salt Mines Tour: Be prepared to walk 100 + meters underground for 2-3 hours. Aside from that, it's super interesting, unlike anything I've ever seen. Lick the wall.
Polish Pierogi Night: Excellent food. Demonstration of pierogi making was fun. Overall great dinner.
Bike tour in Prague: My husband enjoyed this way more than I did. Prague is crowded. The streets are cobbled. I couldn't enjoy the city on a bike because I was too concerned with not hitting a pothole in the cobblestone, not hitting a pedestrian or the bike in front of me or other random bikers, not getting hit by a tram, getting thru the 6 second tram lights, and your face will jiggle the entire ride also. Wasn't my fav.
Auschwitz/ Birkenau: Moving. Eye-opening. Sad. A place you will never forget with history that should never be forgotten.
Walking/bus tours: The best walking/bus tour was in Prague, mostly because we had a fantastic tour guide that was interesting and engaging. The guides in Budapest, Krakow, & Warsaw were a little dry. We did a bit of them then would cut off on our own.
Our Tour Manager, Tasha, was fantastic. Very easy-going and organized. She created great handouts called "Tasha in Your Pocket" which we used many of her recommendations for museums, restaurants, & sights. Super helpful. Pete, our bus driver, was very friendly also.
After doing two European tours, personally nothing has yet to compare to Paris, but these cities were very enjoyable and beautiful. Berlin and Warsaw were my least favorite. Berlin doesn't have quite the grandeur and beauty of other European cities and much of the architecture is very blocky and rigid, but the history is compelling and there are many monuments & wonderful museums (Pergamon & Jewish Museum were excellent). The public transportation was the worst in Warsaw, couldn't find any tram or bus maps. The city is quite spread out and we spend the majority of our time in the Old Square. Did eat twice at Zapiecek's, a fantastic traditional polish restaurant, worthwhile!
Being married and a bit older than most of our tour mates, we tended to split off on our own more so than most of the group. Nonetheless, I would highly recommend this trip. And most of all, to travel without expectation. Then everything will be a surprise and a new experience. My biggest pet peeve was to hear people whine about how something wasn't as they thought, 'why they didn't have free wifi at a cafe in Slovakia or that the caesar salad they ordered wasn't the correct caesar salad...' Traveling is an adventure. So why leave home, travel hundreds of miles, spend lots of money, and have the same expectations as you do at home? Contiki's motto is all about NO REGRETS. We experienced amazing cities, visited 7 countries, ate delicious food, met 50+ new people, and thoroughly enjoyed our time in eastern Europe!
This tour was absolutely amazing, had the best on road team that made the experience even better. made some amazing friends that i don't think i would have made if it wasn't a camping tour. Food was absolutely amazing, thank you Laura. Lucas gave us some amazing tips on where to go, and Ian was an amazing driver. If you can't do this tour, you have to at least make it to dubrovnik somehow, most amazing place ever!
Had an absolutely amazing trip, tour manager Steve was absolutely fantastic very knowledgeable and worked hard to ensure everyone had the time of their lives. Too many brilliant stories and locations to mention and would strongly recommend this trip for anyone who wants to see a number of the major sites in Europe as well as a few hidden gems off the beaten track, big shout out to miki our driver as well. As for the optional extras, all were well worth the money and really added to the entire experience in particular the cabaret dinner and show and white water rafting were exceptional!
Greek Island hopping was by far the best tour I have ever been on with any group! Our tour manager Courtney Dailey was amazing! She gave us all the best info on each city we went to and made sure that we had the time of our lives! I could not have asked for anyone better :) The places I went and ESPECIALLY the people I met will never be forgotten! If you like to get lost in small towns,do a little sightseeing, go to the beach , eat amazing meals and party at night then this is definitely the trip for you!
Also, you will never see a more gorgeous sunset then in Greece! Each is more spectacular then the next!
This was an absolutely amazing tour! It was fast - paced and exciting. The memories I made on my trip will remain with me for the rest of my life. Our tour manager was excellent and so was our driver.
There is no doubt that Contiki is an organized, fun and affordable way for young people to travel the world!
This trip was a once in a lifetime for me (although I hope maybe one day to go back again). Greece and more importantly thee Greek Islands are a sight to see. Where do I even start.... if you are looking for relaxation, swimming, shopping, partying, sun and socialising this tour has a bit of something for everyone. And the views are just from out of this world, Greece is so amazingly stunning you can't even put it into words, it's just something you have to experience for yourself. I think this has been my favourite holiday so far, this being my third Contiki, and having travelled elsewhere solo, this has to be my favourite by far! Courtney our Tour Manager did such a great job, and she always had suggestions and things we could do and explore on each Island. The Greek food is beautiful, so tasty. Mykonos was beautiful very relaxed and laid back, Santorini had the spectacular views and so much to do in town, and Ios you can get pampered at the spa or hit the town at night for its incredible night-life. Highly recommend this tour Greece is definitely a place that everyone should experience.
9 day greek island adventurer tour.
10/10 for nearly every aspect of this trip.
If you like to party Greece is definitely the place to do it and this trip takes you to all the best places to have a drink or three... beautiful sunset bars, sailing around the islands, local clubs (with cheap prices for contiki) and don't let me forget Club Tropicana; the worlds best beach party - it literally blew my head off!
This is obviously different for each contiki but I couldn't have asked for a better group then the one I travelled with. Made some great friendships!
The only slight criticism I have are the descriptions of the optionals at the beginning of the contiki i don't think they gave you a true idea of what you were doing. That being said I did all but two of the optionals and was only slightly disappointed with one of the optionals I did. And no skin off my tour managers nose, he was awesome! Maybe just better descriptions on paper beforehand?
And lastly, did I mention that the Greek islands have some of the most beautiful places I've ever seen? Crystal clear water, mountanous rocky backdrop, not a cloud in sight and gorgeous women everywhere... lock me in for round 2!
The landscape of the south island of New Zealand is unbelievably breathtaking, and if scenery isn't your thing there is Queenstown! A town in which you can sky dive, bungy jump, jet ski, horseback ride and much, much more. The tour guide and bus driver were great, all the tours for any 'me time' options were great, and all the locals were as friendly as can be. Would recommend for anyone thinking of an adventure holiday, or seeing a beautiful country that is still mostly untouched. Coming from Australia I found that most of the food and activities were on par with pricing here.
This trip was the most amazing week of my life. Croatia is stunning, and seeing it by boat is even more incredible. The trip is the perfect mix of relaxation, nightlife, and sight-seeing, and the seafood was the best I've ever tasted. Considering going on this trip again... great for solo travelers like myself, and a fantastic way to meet people all over the world. I can't say enough about my time in Croatia!
Met some amazing people, had a lot of fantastic experiences and saw many beautiful and interesting things.
I would HIGHLY recommend doing this tour for the excellent variety of countries and also you REALLY need the 2 days per place. If this is your first Contiki/time overseas its a great pick for you, its a huge range of personalities on the trip so you will find your place in the group VERY easily and another positive it that it is short enough tour to avoid getting homesick and long enough tour to make you feel like a genuine traveller!
Accommodation is what you expect of a 3 or 4 star hotel, most stays were in the IBIS hotel chain if that gives you a better understanding. Food everywhere is amazing because its Europe of course!
Everyone is different obviously but I highly recommend at least these three optional extras:
1. Lake Cruise in Lucerne (STUNNING!)
2. Tuscan Dinner (lots of wine included and you're fed enough to last you a week)
3. Moulin Rouge (Dinner and a show, its great fun and awesome send off for your last night together)
My tour manager Mark and bus driver Christian were fantastic, you would be lucky to have either on your trip :)
I rate my Contiki experience 10/10 - not a single complaint!
My advice to you is to make the most of all the experiences on offer, I did almost ALL of the optional extras and don't regret any of them but I genuinely appreciated the "Free Time" when I could explore with my new friends and get lost in beautiful places.
Mediterranean Highlights (Start Rome) is a 13 day trip through Italy, Vatican City, France, Monaco, and Spain.
What is great about this tour is that you get to see so much in just 2 weeks! It really is a mind opening experience to be able to actually see places you've read/studied about in school.
What made this trip a success was our wonderful tour manager Maite and the awesome bunch of fellow contiki tour members. Maite provided us with alot of useful information and tips about the local areas including maps, trains, and buses to take if we wanted to explore during our free time.
A few things that makes contiki great is the free time to go explore on your own and the Me Time Optionals. The Me Time Optionals unfortunately are additional expenses on top of the tour you paid for, however the experience from it was worth it!
The highlight of this trip was probably San Gigmignano, Tuscany, Italy. The most amazing and beautiful view you will see of the Italian country side! If you go on this trip, climb the darn tower and see the view!
I traveled solo and was a little curious as to how that would work out. I ended up making awesome friends!
Tip: Travel with an open mind, be courteous to other fellow tour members, and don't be late, then your trip will be amazing :)
It was a couple of years ago now that my sister and I went on this tour, but I still have vivid memories. I have absolutely no regrets about choosing this tour, we got to see so many different sides of America!
Already on the first night my sister and I were blown away by the accommodation, it was well above what we expected. In the smaller towns it was less luxurious but still more than adequate.
I would never have thought to visit some of the cities on this tour; there were some very pleasant surprises. For me, the first half of the tour was the most memorable. Boston, Montreal and Chicago were just fantastic. So much great architecture and history. I really think I could live in Boston or Chicago!
The extras, like going to a baseball game in Chicago, were outstanding, and something I never would have done otherwise. We didn't choose to do all of them as it got too expensive, but we chose the ones that appealed to us the most. You really can tailor the whole experience to suit you.
Our tour guide was lovely, and had the great idea of making a 'tour song' - playing the same pop song every few days, so that years down the track we would remember the experience every time we listened to that song.
The main issue we found was that the tour was very long. By the end of it we were exhausted and very ready to say goodbye. I wasn't too into all the national parks, either. Not much of a nature person. But it was a great overview of the US and I think if I were to ever go back (it's a killer flight from Australia!), I would visit a lot of the same places as I did on this tour!
The European encounter was the first adventure of our honeymoon. At first i wasn't too sure about sharing all these moments with a group of strangers, but as soon as i met everyone that was to be on the same tour, i realized that it was going to be an experience that i will never forget!
This particular tour took you to a large amount of must see's while in Europe, such as the leaning tower of Pisa, and the Eiffel tower.
The hotels that we stayed at were fine. They were not your 5 star hotels, but they had a shower and a bed so everyone was happy! You're hardly ever in your hotel room anyway so there would be no point to be in super fancy rooms!
Our tour manager, Alex, was remarkable. You could ask him almost anything about Europe and he would be able to answer it. If he couldn't answer the question he would make it his job to find out the answer for us asap. He was also super friendly and approachable which made the tour much more pleasant.
Some of the best memories of my life have been made on this tour, the people i met, the friendships i made, the sites i saw. I would recommend this tour to absolutely anyone and everyone. Don't look at it as "oh its too expensive for me" you cannot put a price on experiences, adventures and memories that you will never forget.
Spanish Spree was my first contiki, and I was a bit nervous at first. I was traveling Han Solo (on my own) and got a twin share room with someone else. As a recent graduate, I was worried about getting my money's worth. Let me tell you, Contiki hooked us up. Each hotel was really comfortable, and provided WiFi so I could contact my family (most hotels had WiFi in the rooms), as well as breakfast every morning. Very cool. Then, I was worried about sharing a room. I've gotta wonder if Contiki facebook-background-checked me because my roommate and I graduated with the same degree and got along swimmingly. We were both crying when we had to leave each other to go home to opposite sides of the world. Everybody in our group, for that matter, (there were 51 of us) was absolutely amazing and made leaving very difficult.
Everything provided this trip exceeded my expectations of comfort. Really nice coach that we rode around on, an included plane flight to Ibiza, and a ferry ride back (I mean, the ferry had a pool on it. C'mon).
So, about the actual trip. Wow, I can't believe how much we got done in two weeks! I felt like I really got to see and experience everything. Do you like culture and history? This trip is for you. Do you like to go out and party? This trip is for you, too. Do you like delicious food? Oh man, get ready. We even got to go Ibiza for two nights and then Gebraltar and play with the apes for a day! Prepare to be pushed to your limits of awesomeness. Our tour manager took us everywhere. She even reserved us tickets to see David Guetta in Ibiza, as well as a bunch of other clubs at a discount, and we all took a necessary spa day in Cordoba. I also really enjoyed all the additional optional excursions that were provided.
Speaking of which, let's talk about my tour manager (her name is Chloe). I wasn't sure what to expect at first, but I can confidently say that Chloe helped make the trip for the majority of us. Talk about being amazing, incredibly competent, knowledgeable, and just....everything! I was surprised when she started taking us out on the night life after full days of touring, but she's got the energy of like 1000 people! Amazing! I'll never forget how attentive she was to everyone. She handled every situation with consideration, authority, and a smile on her face. I'd jump off the edge of the world if she told me to! This girl deserves an INSANE amount of credit. You should be so lucky to get on a tour with her!!
Overall, there's not enough I can say about my first Contiki trip. I had the time of my life. I got closer than I ever thought was possible with a group of 52 amazing people in the span of two weeks. I would absolutely recommend this company to my friends for their travels, and am looking forward to my next Contiki trip as soon as possible! Wow!!
I had a fantastic time on this tour and would highly recommend it to anyone! I had a great group and the most amazing tour manager, Tasha, who knew exactly how to serve everyone (culture vultures, foodies, partiers, shoppers - Tasha had all the answers to make every traveller happy). Pete the driver was courteous & transported us everywhere safely, helping with translation in every city.
5/6 hotels you'll stay in are great - the only "mediocre" one is the one in Berlin (no AC, bad Wifi, not particularly easy to access from public transport). As this was my first impression I was worried that the rest of the accommodations would be similar to that of Berlin but fortunately it only went uphill from there. The hotel in Vienna was my personal favourite (even if the Wifi wasn't good) and the breakfast I enjoyed there was the best breakfast I've ever eaten.
My group was incredible - I called ourselves "sophisticated by day, wild by night" and each member of the group seemed to embrace the diverse range of interests and backgrounds of those on tour.
All 6 cities are magnificent - everything in Prague is spellbinding, Prater in Vienna was a welcome surprise, Budapest was beautiful (if not very warm - bring summer attire!), everywhere was stupendous.
Bring an umbrella as it will rain but it never rained for longer than 15 or so minutes at a time.
One of the most important aspects of the trip is the pilgrimage to Auschwitz. This alone was worth the entire trip.
You'll eat lots of meat, sausage... some of the meals are better than others, but you'll never go hungry as there are McDonalds, KFC, and kebab stands everywhere.
DO THIS TRIP, you'll be happy you did! :)