Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
I've never taken contiki or been to Europe before so I'm glad this was my first experience... I went on this trip alone as did most of my tour mates so it was easy to make friends and get along with most people. I was looking for a cultural experience, not a frat party on a bus and I'm glad to say I had a great experience. Turkey really blew me away, our tour manager, Ahmet, was really informative and accommodating. He made sure everything that was supposed to be done was done with enough time for us to enjoy everything but also rearranged the schedule when needed. The accommodations were fine... Nothing extravagant but just a place to sleep. The food provided on the tours were also just fine... Mostly buffets which is a great way to taste a little bit of everything but also wasn't the greatest in flavor. The food you buy on your own time while exploring is really great and tasty! Excursions in Turkey were moderately priced, I didn't join it but I heard the Turkish dinner was great, Pergamum (Asklepion) and Pamukkale were also great! Once we got to Greece everything was go, go, go! This was the part of the trip everyone was most looking forward to but enjoyed the least! The cruise is an actual cruise filled with other contiki tours and many, many other people not part of your tour. Our tour manager, Stacey, was great but couldn't do much as everything was contracted through the cruise line. Let me warn you that the excursions in Greece are very expensive and not all of them are worth it, I guess you can decide based on your budget. If you purchase excursions, make sure you're on time for meeting them b/c they will leave without you! Patmos was a beautiful island, the St. John Monastery is also nice but if you don't mind the hike, it's a beautiful one and the monastery fee is only 6€ and the Grotto is 3€ as opposed to 47€ they charge (you just don't get tour guide info). We were allowed 2 hours of free time on Patmos but there's not much to do and shopping is quite expensive. Rhodes was also an insanely beautiful island, I thought this excursion was worth it cause it's quite a bus trip to this side of the island. Our local tour guide was terrible though, he never once pointed out the bathrooms and was smoking while he was giving the tour! This is the only tour where riding the donkey up is worth it, you can walk down and do some shopping (5€ each way for the donkey ride and 47€ for the excursion). We're allowed a bit more time on this island, but choose what you do with it wisely. Stacey took us to a beach that's a bit of a walk but it had a cool diving board about 30 meters out in the water with 3 levels of diving heights.... Unfortunately the water was COLD and the sand was more like jagged pebbles... I left early to do some shopping before getting back on board. The next day was a true disappointment - I chose not to do the excursion cause it was expensive and a very early wakeup call (51 or 57€ and the people who went on it said it wasn't worth it and they didn't have any free time) but it didn't matter cause all aboard was at 11am so if I wanted to see the island I had to wake up early anyways, as we would be sailing to Santorini afterwards... The excursion on Santorini was partly worth it, it takes a while on a crazy winding road to get to Oia (the village everyone sees in pics of Santorini) but we were only allowed 4 hours in total on the island! It took almost 1 hour for everyone to get off the boat by tender and almost another hour to get to that side of the island!! Once there we were only allowed 1 hour to explore! We didn't even have enough time to explore Fira cause the last tender was leaving and we would miss the boat! Our local guide, Maria, was great but 55€ was almost not worth it. I decided not to do the excursion in Athens and explore it on my own but I heard it was the best one yet in all we've done in Greece. We found out later that you can disembark at Santorini and stay there as long as you like and take a ferry or flight back to Athens. I also advise you to bring extra money and also have Turkish Lira upon arrival or exchange in Istanbul. Shopping is much cheaper in Turkey so buy stuff there, and bargain hard especially if you plan on paying in cash. I think it was a great trip, if you're considering this trip I advise you to come to Turkey a few days early and stay in Athens a few days longer (the accommodations provided by contiki on both ends is quite pricey, you can do better on your own). I'd definitely come back to Turkey and explore more Greek islands as well.
This trip was the best thing I have ever done. I had the best time of my life and I would recommend it to everyone. I did opt for 9/10 optionals and they were all worth it. The value you get and the meal inclusions were phenomenal!! Honestly this trip was really fast paced but we were able to see so much in just a short amount. This trip allowed me to see so many countries and to go back and visit the places I enjoyed most!!! DEFINITELY RECOMMEND IT!
I have to be honest I was skeptical about the pace and constant get up and go nature of contiki. However once I arrived on the first day at the royal national all those concerns were gone. We were straight onto the bus and getting to know each other. Within 2 hours everyone was comfortable and I knew I was in for a good time. The accommodation was awesome and our tour manager mike was so organised it was ridiculous. Both himself and Michele (aka Macklemore,because he looked like him) were terrific and always helping out at with anything we needed. The people I met and the things that I did will be some of my longest lasting memories in my life. Walking tour in Berlin, jäger trains in Vienna, massage at the Budapest baths, Halloween in Ljubljana and snowball fights in lucerne are all things I would have never dreamed of doing but I now have them as a memory. As a first time traveller I was unsure about certain things, but contiki always had it sorted and the tour manager (mike) was always in control. The experience provided is like no other and I had the privilege to get to know some of the best people ever!!!! I know that there will forever be a bond forged by contiki with these people and I highly recommend a contiki to anyone wanting a life changing experience :) #wherestheplacetobe
Words cannot begin to describe how good this trip was. Awesome people made it worth while, that's what made it for me. The Road to Athens was amazing, a little busy but loved every second of it. Lots of big nights out in beautiful locations and plenty things to do during the day, including free time where you just go get lost in the city and do your own thing which I loved.
The Greek Island Hopping WOW WEE. I think I had only one night that I didn't go out, the rest of the time was PARTY PARTY PARTY. Got to sleep in most mornings which came in handy, and the every island was like paradise just incredible. And you could do whatever you liked most days. Which mainly involved recovering from a hangover.
Accommodation was good, you can't expect 5-star luxury ,but it was plenty good enough. My advice is don't be fussy. Remember you are on a contiki tour.
Like I said the people on the tours were what made it in the end, I was extremely fortunate to be able to travel with the people I did and those people will always be lifetime friends. Highly recommend this tour, have a look at it for sure.
Contiki is incredible, I definitely recommend doing a tour, you see so much that you wouldn't even think of doing on your own. The days are busy, long, and tiring but so worth it. I had the best time of my life on this tour, and it probably wouldn't have been as amazing without our tour manager roxy and driver jelly! They were amazing and always went above and beyond for us. It's great getting to meet and travel with so many people too, makes the trip so much better!
I did the European Adventurer last June (dep 21 June 2014). On the first day of Contiki I had the worst hangover I had ever experienced! Little did I know, this was going to be my life for the next five weeks! However it was the best weeks of my life spent with awesome humans who are all now my friends! By day we took in the mind blowing sites Europe had to offer and by sunset we were blowing our minds in other ways ;) This special trip would definately not be the same without our absolutely awesome Tour manager Scotty and bus driver Wjotec! They were both so knowledgable and always willing to go out of there way to help us! Can't wait for my next contiki yewww
I would recommend doing a hostel contiki because you get to meet up with other groups so it's twice the party :)
Was a good trip, got to see the different ski mountains.
This was my first Contiki tour, and the first thing I did when it was over was book another (honestly). I have a lot of friends who recommended Contiki but refused to tell me anything about it, saying you just have to experience it and then you would know. They were on point. I recommend doing most/all the optional activities as they are definitely value for money; the Budapest dinner cruise was beyond epic. My friends and parents paid in excess of 70 euro for their Gondola rides whilst Contiki provided for less than 30. Megs was my tour guide, if you get her; I envy you. She made the experience what it was with her infectious smile, organisation skills and extensive knowledge of all the places visited. My fellow travelers were amazing and ready to experience the world. I loved the Eastern European culture, cuisine and nightlife. I cannot recommend Contiki enough, and this tour. Get out there and do it, #noregrets!
Absolutely amazing! Shout outs to Mohrenberger and Volpini for been the best crew! #wherestheplacetobe :D
Well this is it. I don't know if it was because we had the greatest team or not, but hey. A definate trip of a life time. Something I will never forget and have never regreted ;)
Don't be fooled, depending on when you go you will be amazed by the weather. We had sunshine and warm days in the begining of the trip. As soon as we entered Germany-Austria it was snow from then on out.
Contiki is what you make it. I didn't go out much as I wanted to be aware of what I was seeing and be able to take in what was around me. Thank god I did, because I would have missed out on so many stories and walking trips with the tour guide. For example, I saw Prauge at night, when others decided to head out and drink. Also went to an amusement park in Austria (not planned)
On average I spent about $1,500 extra on my trip (this was for the times that we didn't have lunch or dinner planned)
If you are going on your own, have no fear, everyone is there for you, you'll find your niche of friends. It happens, trust me!
Also DO ALL THE ADD ON EXTRAS!!! boy am I a little annoyed I didn't do that.
Don't get the group photo. But do get the T-shirt/Hoodie (in the picture)
Saw some of the most amazing things, and met fantastic people. What reservations i did have quickly dissipated after the first day.
As dorky as it sounds, you will do and see so much on these trips, its worth making a travel diary, or at least taking a lot of random pics on your mobile - just to remember where and what you did as it does become a bit of a blur (for me anyhow).
So when your looking back on one of the trips of your life, you want those memories =)
I recently went on this tour and I have to say it was better than expected!
the Tour Manager, Nicole, was always very helpful and knowledgeable.
I did most of the optional extras, bear in mine these will cost you an extra €220 (approx) and I would also highly recommend the drinks package, which is €80.00 extra.
The wake up calls were very early, 6am, but totally worth it! Every stop was breathtaking, and there was a lot to do and see.
This tour will be a little harder to get to know people as you are on a cruise ship and you wont be forced to hang around each other as much as other Contiki tours, but its just an opportunity to make an effort, and I certainly met some awesome people on this trip! :)
My favourite places i would say were Mykonos and Santorini, I wish I had more time there, just another reason to go back! :)
The cruise ship was very nice, cabins were small but that wasn't really a big deal, good entertainment on board and we even had a toga party which was really fun!
The food, was AMAZING, I couldn't stop eating, it was so much better than expected, you wont go hungry!
Only downside is that if you get sea sick you might not want to choose this tour, the last 2 nights were pretty rough and my friend travelling with me got quite sick from it.
Also, its a very exhausting tour, you wont get much downtime, but as I said its totally worth it anyway :)
I wish there was a higher rating that I could give this tour! It was awesome!! The hostel was right in Munich which made it really easy to get around, and the extra excursions were really great.
This tour was great! As first-time travellers we didn't know what to expect, but there was an excellent amount of free time. The tour guide Ben was very friendly and knowledgeable and made sure that everyone in the group felt included.
London is a whirlwind of excitement, we got there a few days earlier to explore the Portobello Road market, London Dungeon and the Sherlock Holmes museum. The day trip to Bath & Stonehenge is a bit slow but worth it if you are interested in Roman history or are interested in Paganism.
A strange man was in the paddock near Stonehenge and kept shouting at the tour group. Don't look at him and he won't say anything.
I recommend you do the bike tour in Paris, it's scary but worth it! I felt that too much time spent in Paris was focussed on the Eiffel Tower, and once you've seen it there isn't much else to do. On the first day you'll drive around it, then the second day you'll go up it, then the third day you'll have it as the backdrop for the boat cruise. Oh, and take the underground entry to the Louvre - no line at all (we went in June).
Our tour friends took the Amsterdam extension, and my partner and I were the only ones going to Rome. Unfortunately, once you get to Rome the tour seems to end - you are left on your own with a met card to see the sights. I would have liked a tour guide to help us find the monuments - even a short bus tour would have helped orient us.
Overall this tour was a fantastic experience. I made some great friends and had a lot of laughs, made a lot of memories and I don't regret a thing.
(well, maybe drinking a little too much and causing friends to miss their train....)
Just got back from this trip (May 3rd trip) and loved every bit of it.
The boat was really nice and had plenty of deck space to walk around/ sunbathe on. It was only the beginning of summer though so it was a little cool at times, but that didn't stop us sleeping on the deck at night. The boat crew provide extra rugs etc and you basically just make one massive pile up of people and rugs and pillows and on deck to fall asleep under the stars (really, really cool).
The crew were so friendly, there were three of them and they always got involved with what we were doing and they got us into some really, really really cool clubs. Definitely recommend paying for the optional extra of a night out in marmaris, and the mud baths trip are worth the 50 euro. If you're worried about how much money you'll spend, drinks on the boat cost about 2/3 euro for non alcoholic and 3/4 for the alcoholic ones. Water costs 0.35 for a bottle. When you don't go on land, all you pay for are drinks on the boat. Drinks on shore are a lot more expensive when you go to a club. We never saw any drinks cheaper than 5 euro, and they were usually at about 10 euro for cocktails and stuff. I was on a really tight budget and managed to give myself 25 lira a day (9 euro) and then 6 euro for drinks. So about 15 euro. It was a VERY tight budget but some days you don't get off the boat/ there's nothing to buy so you just save loads that way.
The rest of the team were great and we all got along really well- and while the whole trip was relaxing and time to wind down, there was no shortage of going out/ singing "i'm on a boat" an excessive amount of times.
I should probably also mention that this part of turkey is really beautiful and friendly- quite a lot of us had family + friends who were worrried about us going to turkey but this side of the country is absolutely fine and quite westernised. You can walk round in shorts and a t-shirt and not be frowned upon or anything. Also, as there are so few flights into bodrum I recommend joining the meet up once you're booked on the trip because you're almost guaranteed to be on the same flight as someone on your trip, so you can split a taxi to bodrum (costs about 110 lira so 35 euro. Apparently there's also a coach that goes from the airport which costs like 5 euro or something, so it's worth looking into that.
I totally recommend this trip- at the end you'll realise how quick it goes and you'll be envious of the next people getting on the boat just as you're getting off it!
There is so much to this tour that you will love. The places, the food, the people and the parties.. Oh the parties.. You will see some of the most beautiful places in the world and make memories you will never forget.
My favorite places were Egypt, Budapest and Istanbul. The Eastern Travel is definitely worth it!
Do every optional, go out with your tour manager when they suggest something because you won't remember the nights you slept in (that's what the 8 hour bus trips are for).
You get used to the food, there's usually plenty there but its the basics, toast or some normal cereal, dinners are usually decent at the hotels and pretty good when you go out on tour. Lunch time is usually when you get to go out yourself and splurge a bit so make the most of them.
One thing i wish i did was spend all of my money, i worried and i saved as much as i could and didn't make the most of some nights. The best advice i can give you is come home in debt. Make the most of your tour and if you see something you like BUY IT! When is the next time you'll come through Florence or Vienna or Cairo?
Spend your money, make great friends, take photos but most of all have an amazing time.
Had the best time and made long life friends. Great driver and tour manager. Already planning my next , highly recommend
This trip had to seriously the highlight of my life! Turkey is freaking amazing, has to be one of the most amazing countries on this planet! I met some amazing people on this tour and made some life long friends, this has to be my all time favorite holiday I've ever had, thanks contiki <3
This was my first trip with contiki, I've never joined a youth trip like this one and I have to say it was a great first impression.
Yes people on this trip and my next ones are very young, however when you are travelling, the age gap doesn't really matter as everyone is just trying to have a good time and we are sharing the same experience with each other.
We had a great tour manager, she is extremely professional, helpful with a youthful spirit. She brings a lot of energy to us and she hung out with us on most night, same as the bus driver.
Food is just alright but that's the Eastern European Cuisine for you...meat and potatoe everyday...don't have high expectation on it if that's not your type of diet. Vegetarians beware as easter european don't believe in no meat meals so your dish will always be less impressive than the meat lovers...
Hotels are quite good for this trip, Ibis and Noveltels are the staples, they are much better than the old hotels in Italy though. Rooms in Europe are always small so don't try to compare them with the ones in North America.
Overall, amazing trip, great itinerary and met a lot of cool people. =}
Just came back from the Simply Italy tour (April 20 - May 1) and I have to say the majority of us had an excellent time on this tour. Without going over long on this review, here are some pros and cons of this tour.
- Meet a group of like-minded, fun and friendly fellow travellers. True, the majority of the group are girls and they came on this tour by themselves. It's a good thing cause we look after each other and we had a great bonding during and after the trip.
- Great itinerary. For those who always say they can pay less and travel on their own...I can only say that if they want to follow the same itinerary and visit the same amount of places we've been, that's almost near impossible. I've travelled on my own with friends before and just trying to find the right train station and check in to a hotel in a small town can take you more than half a day, especially when you are in a foreign place with people who don't speak much English...We honestly saw almost all the major attractions in Italy on this trip. Plus you can always stay a few more days after the trip to go at your own pace.
- Tour Manager and Driver: I've been on 2 contiki trips now and both Tour managers are fantastic people. They are young, smart, friendly and knows their way inside out of all the cities they are in. No matter how long they stay up late with us, the next stay they manage to get up early on time and get us going. I have huge respect for the professionalism that they bring into this tour. I've never felt like they would force us to buy/purchase anything from a vendor.
This trip we have 2 people's birthday and my tour manager bake them cakes and planed special surprise for their night out. She's not ask to do that and she really doesn't have to...it really came from her heart and the birthday boy/girl are over the moon happy.
- Free time: I know people said with that much free-time why bother to join a tour. Again, if you have a group of people travelling with you I suggest you don't do a tour. If you are travelling on your own, free time is good as we get brief while we are on the bus commuting to the next destination. By then we can choose what we wanted to see and the people we want to see it with. Everyone has different ideas of what they wanted to see so that's actually the best way to go about. At the end of the day everyone is happy with the path they took.
Okay, a lot of pros, now let's go with the cons:
- Hotel choice and location. Well in Italy you really have to lower your expectation in terms of hotels...most of them are outside of the city and would require taxi ride to get back to your hotel. The hotel near Cinque Terre is terrible, worse hotel I've stayed in. However when I do my research for all the cities that I've stay, they are pretty much the same within the price point. So just really don't expect much of the hotels you stay in and remember that this is a budget tour.
- Optional meals: If you can, skip all the optional meals. Italy have tons of good restaurant so you WILL have better luck just walk into any place with a menu you like. Optional meals are over price and usually very average as it's hard for the chef to cook good food for 50 people at once. All the optional meals are bad to us and the restaurants in small towns have the best food.
- Autogrill lunch. Again, because we are on the bus a lot we tend to get drop off to the gas service station called "Autogrill" to have our lunch. The food is average and expensive. If you can wait, I suggest you just get some snack and waited for a small at a small town or the big city to have a proper meal. Just because it's noon doesn't mean you need to have lunch. We all kind of hated Autogrill after having it many times on the road...
But honestly, overall this has been an amazing journey and I would definitely join coniki again in the near future.