Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
This trip was a life changing experience for me. Everyday was an adventure and i have to thank my tour guide Paddy for that. Even on our free days, he was organising activities for us to do, booking kayaks, bikes, tuk tuks for us. I don't think he ever slept! I know our entire group is so greatful for all his hard work. My favourite country was definitely Laos. And my favourite days were the elephant ride and the kayaking, caving and bike riding (not included). My group were amazing and i have certainly made some friends for life. We all became a family and got on so well. The hotels we stayed at went beyond what i expected. They were lovely. Everyday was a different form of transport. Not your typical bus ride tour. We went on boats, bikes, planes, tuk tuks, an overnight train and a few buses. I definitely recommend this tour! Especially if it's your first time overseas! You will be very well looked after.
Spanish Spree was an awesome 2-week tour of the lively culture of Spain, with a mix of history, partying, shopping and relaxing. I believe in doing as many of the optional extras as possible, such as seeing the cheeky monkeys in Gibraltar or some much-needed relaxation at the Cordoba spa baths after a few days of crazy partying in Barcelona and Ibiza. I think the accommodation was always decent hotels, and definitely try Spanish food like tapas and some local sangria. We had a very talkative & fun tour manager and a real mix of tour mates, some of which will be lifelong friends. Loved the language, the nightlife, and generally the whole experience of Spain! Would I recommend it? Si!
LOVED IT met some great people all over the world and saw many things I have now ticked off the list. Highlight was Paris, Greece, Austria and Switzerland. Staying half was up a mountain is amazing. I would highly recommend this tour to anyone
I'm pretty sure the only reason it was so short was because it was such a blast! I met some really beautiful friends, we had some crazy parties with some locals, the bars were pumping (even though it was almost the end of summer) ; and the beach parties were just as fun.
The sightseeing was spectacular. Greece has such a rich history and culture (take a camera, yet even that wont capture the beauty).
One tip: eat your veggies before you head into this one, Contiki Cough was not as awesome.
This was the fastest, most amazing 9 days of my life. We had a great group of people and an awesome tour leader, Lisa. Words can't describe the fun we had, and all the fantastic memories we made, do this tour, you won't regret it.
I strongly recommend this tour! This trip has so much to offer... Culture, Adventure, Night Life & so much more that words cannot describe. Our tour guide Paddy was amazing. I've had great tour guides in the past but he is number 1 in my book! After finishing in Hanoi I decided to extend my trip & go back to Laos for 12 more days because I absolutely fell in love with the country. I can't imagine anyone not having the time of their life. I will definitely be back & I thank Contiki for this awesome fantastic experience!
This trip was one of the best times of my life!
You get to see the main attractions of the bigger European cities, however I did leave some saying that there wasn’t enough time. But it encourages me to go back, which isn’t a terrible thing :) There is also a mix of historical and scenery towns and some nice down chill time so that you're not always going full ball. An awesome mix.
Some of the optional activities are things I'd never seek out myself but I am so happy I did them! Worth the extra money. Don't pass up the opportunities!
The tour manager was a great guy who could point us in the right directions during our free time for food etc., and teach you the language’s pleasantries, and our bus driver was such a character.
Accommodation was actually better than expected. Staff at the cites were awesome too.
The nights are quite focused around going out, or parties, drinking, and having a good time which I certainly enjoyed. Time to bond even more with your new life-long friends. I went alone and it is nothing to be intimated about! I would actually totally recommend it, it makes you come out of your shell quicker, and even more, and you will form even better relationships with the others.
I think this tour was just about the perfect length. Take some vitamins before you go though, everyone but 1 person on my bus ended up getting 'contiki cough' throughout the trip.
Went on this in July 2011 and enjoyed it so much am currently planning out my second Contiki :)
What a wonderful trip!
New Orleans was vibrant, loud and beautiful! Bourbon Street was a fantastic experience and a good ice breaker to get to know your new tour mates.
Orlando was theme park heaven with great days spent at both Disney World and Universal Studios! Disney World really did feel like "the happiest place on earth" and I couldn't wipe the smile off my face!
Miami was sun soaked, breath taking and alcohol filled! A pub/club crawl is a must.
Cocoa Beach was a personal favourite due to my love of surfing and the great man Kelly Slater. The beach was gorgeous and you have to take a walk down to the "world's biggest surf shop" - Shopping Bliss! Also the nicest hotel of the tour!
St Augustine was rich in history and beauty. The water was crystal clear and the old buildings divine!
Savannah & Raleigh were also gorgeous, history filled towns that had their own hidden treasures.
Washington was a buzz with the upcoming election and the monuments were very interesting to see.
New York is New York, what more can you say! Even with Hurricane Sandy causing havoc and closing down parts of NYC you could still appreciate the bustling, beautiful city that it is.
The only negative was that we were joining a tour that had already started and it would have been nice to know that but all in all a wonderful, life enriching experience!
I had the most amazing time on this tour. There were alot of early mornings and moving quickly from place to place, however overall it gives you a nice little taste of what Europe has to offer. Great way to meet people and create amazing experiences.
I made a travel blog of my experience: giselletravels.tumblr.com
Fantastic tour, highly recommended
Amazing tour!!!!!!! Got to go right to the top of the eiffel tower-absolute highlight. had the best tour manager and bus driver, they were full of heaps of useful advice and were just generally awesome, tour mates were awesome! made some friends for life :) got to try frogs legs, escargot! , gelato! it was amazing.accom. is very good too. definitely recommend this tour :)
I was going through a difficult time this past summer and decided that getting away would be the best thing for me. Contiki could not have provided me with a better experience!
I wanted to go aroud Spain because I am learning to speak español and I figured it would help to be completely immersed in the culture for a fortnight. I would have to say, it is tricky to get around Spain (especially the smaller cities) if you don't speak some español. People are very helpful around Spain but most of the locals I talked to do not speak English (apart from university aged guys).
The tour I was on was fantastic because we had a versatile and ... sensible group of people. Spain on its own (apart from Madrid, San Sebastian, and Barcelona), is kinda boring, especially in the Winter. If you don't like drinking (bars and clubs are awesome) or looking at a few landmarks and cathedrals; I would not recommend this tour. You would be better off in a tour that visited a few European countries than just Spain. But then again, for the time and distance covered, as well as the quality hotels... this is a good value for money tour.
There is a lot of time on the coach and a lot of one night hotel stays which got annoying. Despite this, I had a blast. Great mates in the group and fantastic crew. Just... rethink whether you want Spain in the Winter. Not so interesting.
I booked the European Inspiration tour for January 2012 and toured alone, however I terminated the tour in Prague. I was absolutely disgusted in the quality and the calibre of people on board the tour including the staff. It should be age banded 18-25 not 18-35. I am 31 and I have never experienced such childish, immature, bitchy behaviour in my life. I felt like I was back in high school. I was totally ostracised by everyone. Most people on the tour were 18-20. I should have done my research then I would have known Contiki has a bad name for that exact reason. Trafalgar would have been a much better option. The tour manager Hannah was very immature and seemed to enjoy the childish atmosphere. She encouraged everybody to be rowdy and drunk and was always getting drunk herself, she swore a lot and was very unprofessional....perhaps attempting to lower herself to the standard of the passengers on the tour. She even implied that I should terminate the tour! Every stop we had entailed pub crawls of which eventuated in the stranger I was sharing a room with stumbling in drunk at 2-3am every morning, turning on lights and making lots of noise. I've never been so sleep deprived in my life. What an absolute waste of $3500. I am flying back to London at a cost to myself to resume interacting with adults not children!!! Shame on you Contiki....no where on your website does it stipulate that this tour is basically a 3 week long party for young teens who wish to take drugs, get drunk and act like idiots. Contiki take some responsibility!!! I'm absolutely appalled!! I will definitely be sharing my horrible experience with others!
I met some wonderful people and visited beautiful places. Got to swim in Nice, partied in Paris, and so much more! I will never forget this experience!
I had such a fantastic time on the Berlin - Budapest tour. Our tour guide and driver were absolutely amazing and went out of their way to make our experience special. All of the hotels were very nice and accommodating, and everything that was included (meals, walking tours, local tours and meals, stops, etc) was fantastic. All of the optional activities were well worth the money and I would recommend that anyone going on this trip do all of the optional activities. Our tour manager also had a list of tips for each city, which made checking out the sites and finding a good time super easy, and she also was great with explaining the maps and walking us through anything we needed help with. I really felt like I got to experience each of these cities and cultures despite only being there for a few days for each one, and I can't think of any way that this trip could have possibly been better. Thanks Contiki!
According to Dictionary.com the definitions for the word "spree" are
1. a lively frolic or outing.
2. a bout or spell of drinking to intoxication; binge
3. a period, spell, or bout of indulgence, as of a particular wish, craving, or whim: an eating spree; a spending spree.
4.a period or outburst of extreme activity: scoring spree.
These definitions accurately portray what this Contiki is all about! This Contiki well covers shopping, drinking and cultural sprees over 14 spectacular days.
The tour takes you all over Spain covering Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Pamplona, Bilbao, Granada, Seville and Cordoba, with day trips to Toledo, Zarragoza and Gibraltar also included.
All of the optionals (except perhaps the obligatory group photo) is a must. Some of the tour guides also include even further optional activities such as dinners, pub crawls, walking tours, bike rides and a visit to a Turkish spa in Cordoba. These are also mandatory to enhance your Spanish experience but the cost does add up. I chose to do all of the optionals on my tour and the bill was over 300 euros. If you are on a budget than the optionals you simply can't refuse are the visit to a monkey wildlife park in Gibraltar (most are well adapted to human interaction) and also the leisurely bike ride in Barcelona which takes you past all the city's beautiful sights.
This trip takes you through some of the most impressive churches in Europe such as Gaudi's masterpiece (and unfinished) Sagrada Familia and Valencia Cathedral (the home of the Holy Grail.) Spain is mostly Catholic and there are thousands of grand churches all over the country. The tour will take you to at least eight over the trip so it will become tiring after a while. For a change of religious scenery there are also visits to the Alhmabra and the Alcazar of Seville (*optional) royal Muslim palaces and wander through their beautiful immense gardens. If football (soccer) is your true religion than you are in for a treat. The Bernabeu Stadium - home of Real Madrid (the most successful team in Europe) is about a 5 minute walk from the Madrid hotel - although you will need to cover this in your own free time.
Spain has more bars per capita than any other country in the world! Your tour manager will know the best places to go and being in a large group many bars will shout you with complimentary drinks to keep you in their establishments. Sangria is the drink of choice in Spain and a jug will set you back 5-7 euros. Wine is also popular. With the purchase of a drink many bars will also offer you complimentary tapas, so it is great to go around lunch time.
1. The hotels are excellent with most being 4 stars. All hotels have hot showers, free wifi and hot breakfast. The beds are comfy and the rooms are adequate for two.
2. All tour guides I had were excellent. Many were humorous and went the extra mile to give you a good, enjoyable and informative experience.
3. In this tour you pay for a standard cereal breakfast, most of the hotels will give you a full English style breakfast upgrade.
4. There is plenty of free time for shopping, relaxing and drinking sessions. Spain is in economic crisis so most places are pretty cheap. The El Courte Ingless shopping malls and Zara boutiques were great shopping experiences. Plaza Mayor in Madrid is recommended.
5. The public transport is very easy and cheap to navigate.
6. Bring a student card and you get free (or minimal price) entry to most sites.
7. The saying "The rain in Spain falls mostly on the plain" seems to be true! I was in Spain for 3 weeks during (January) Winter and did not see a drop of rain. It was cold (-3 to 8C every day) but often clear blue skies. This is great for taking pictures. (Do not blame me if your experience varies)
8. Churros!!! - Enough Said.
9. The Spanish alcohol is fantastic. Be sure to try Sangria, Tito-Verano and Spanish Cider.
1. I did this trip over New Year. This was a mistake which I would re-consider if I had my time over again! I was expecting January 1st to be a public holiday but I was not aware of Spanish Christmas. Spain celebrates Christmas on January 6th with absolutely everything closed on these two days which cuts a major chunk in to the itinerary considering it is only 13 days long. January 7th is the equivalent of boxing day sales so forget trying to shop on this day too it is simply too crowded.
Whilst celebrating New Years Eve in Barcelona was fun but there are a lot of gangs up to no good! For them this is their Christmas. In our group at least 5 people had belongings pick pocketed or forcibly tugged off them despicably in full view of hundreds of people. There were also some indecent assaults.
I hope this does not put you off the trip. New Year's was a fun night but take extra care, especially considering you will be drinking, leave all valuables in the safe (for the entire time you are in Barcelona not just NYE) stay in the Contiki designated club(s) and leave in large groups preferably with males. Simply put if I had my time over again I would have chosen to go a week or two later in mid/late January.
2. This was my first European Contiki. After an enjoyable Contiki throughout Asia in a relatively small group I was surprised to discover that this tour had 52 people on it. I have no idea if this is a regular occurrence and everyone's opinion is different, and with this large amount it is great for making friends but for me this was simply too many. Even by the end of the tour I could not remember people's names. This was also chaotic at meal times with restaurants unable to cope serving (nor fitting) such a large group. This was especially apparent at meals not organised by Contiki.
3. The Spanish way of life can take some getting used to.
Dinner time is not until 10PM,
Literally every shop closes in the middle of the day for siesta
Night clubs are practically empty until 2-3AM
4. Fortunately on this tour we had a fantastic bus driver, however our tour manager told us that "horror stories" regarding bus drivers and refusing to pick people up etc is all too common in Spain.
5. If you are Vegetarian, Jewish or Muslim and don't eat pig than you will struggle! The Spanish have bacon and omelettes for breakfast, ham for lunch and pork for dinner. Beef/Chicken/Fish and Vegetarian options are available at all Contiki sanctioned places however on the street you may struggle with the lack of variety.
6. The Spanish economic crisis can not be underestimated. The unemployment rate in Spain is about 25% and over 35% for the under 30 year olds. Due to this their are massive rally's held almost daily in the major cities throughout Spain. It is very likely that at least once this will affect your tour. There are also beggers and scam artists all over the place - especially in Madrid.
7. Gibraltar is not part of Spain but part of Great Britain. You will need your passport and may require a special visa to enter. Several South African members of our tour were denied entry here.
8. Simply not enough time in Barcelona and Bilbao.
Overall Spain was an incredible and unforgettable experience packed full of fun, culture and flair. I would rate the trip 7.5/10 and definitely recommend it for travellers. Another tip would be to spend extra time (2 or 3 days in each city) in Madrid and Barcelona following the end of the tour, as there is just too many things to do to fit in.
Oh my gosh, First time traveling Contiki, I loved it! Egypt was so amazing and out tour guide Sherif was so awesome! I traveled alone and was worried but ended up with lots of friends! I loved my experience.. it was a trip I will never forget!
Great trip. Excellent tour guide and a lot of fun time. Pass New Year 2013 in London with exclusive location and party coordinate by our Tour Manager, Gleen.
Excellent group and friends. Great Hotels and nearby attractions.
I will be doing another contiki in Europe I hope the tour guide will be the same.
Recommended to all. Have fun and enjoy the culture and surrounding. I did and will never forget it.
The Contiki Contrasts tour was the best time of my life, I travelled in Summer from June to July and met some life long friends that I am still in touch with today and saw places and stuctures you read about in school and saw in the movies.
Our tour manager Magherita was amazing!! She was passionate, fun and full of life, she was Italian which was handy when in we were in Italy.
Our tour bus driver- Christian was french, he was a crazy, spontaneous and hilarous guy who drove through the hardest traffic conditions I have ever seen, aka. the arc de triomphe round-a-bout!!
The friends I have made on this tour have been made for life, I am still in contact with the two girls I got along with from the very begininng (Day 1).
This is once in a life time experience that is fully guided, you don't have to rely on public transport or getting from place to place, most meals are included which was very important for me and you are partying every night which was so much fun.
I have recommend Contiki to everyone that I meet and I am hopeful I will now be able to work in the travel industry as the trip was inspiring to me to realise what I want to do with the rest of my life.
Thanks to all the staff at contiki and my amazing group of 49 other contiki travellers who took this Journey with me, can't wait for my next two to South America in 3 weeks!!
Anyone who would like more information about the tour please feel to ask me any questions.