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European Experience

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ WOW

I had the time of my life!!! Met super amazing people and got to see evan more amazing places!!!

Accommadation was good - think 99% of us got most of our sleep on the coach (bus) ride to our next destination..... :D

We had the best coash driver and tour guid - made a great team and that made the trip just that much more awesome.

In France and Italy we had a lot of Pizza and Pasta, and then when we got to Germany we got around to the food that I as a South African love. In Germany there was a lot of beer drinking.

All the Contiki stop overs had a bar - and wow what a PARTY!!!

I recommend this trip to anyone that wants to see Europe and have fun!!!

My Contiki was: Wow, Amazing, Fun

European Discovery (Winter)

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ amazing
  • Deniz Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 0 Countries

i highly recommend this tour. our tour manager jac was amazing, she made the trip extra special. our driver rasto was this shiz! they were kind and really helped everyone get the most out of their trip.

day 1: netherlands amsterdam was amazing, ferry and then bus into amsterdam, had the included dinner which was nice and off we went to the canal cruse, it was fantastic. and then optionals to the red light district

day 2: free time in amsterdam in the morning, great shopping here, meet back at the bus on way to germany st goar, arrived in st goar, had dinner and off to our wine tastnig which was really fun. then free time

day 3: beer stien demo in the morning, then some free time in town. back on the bus on route to munich. arrived munich, dumped out bags at the hotel and went on ourwalking tour. amazing! after that we had free time the whole night, went to the beer hall and had a pretzel.

day 4: breakfat and on the bus to innsbruck austria, amazing place austria, free time pretty much the whole day with an included dinner that was really nice. get some swaovski SO CHEAP HERE

day 5: back on the bus and into venice, were we had the gondal ride, then free time to explore then to the optional dinner which was great, had a mask theme, very fun

day 6: venice to rome, longest bus ride yet about 8 hours i think, got to hotel and had a walking tour then free time, then the included dinner right next to the collusium which was spectacular.

day 7: rome, free time all day pretty much, and had the vatican city tour which was not to bad

day 8: florence , walkign tour, then free time, then thee leather demo and then dinner and space disco

day 9: lucerne switzerland, when to harrys watches for swatch and knifes, free time not long in this city its pretty much a rest point on route to paris

day 10 -11: paris. free time, and optional these two days it was great, very magical at night

day 12: depart paris for london

the hotels for all these places were really nice, super clean, we stayed at a jail hotel one night, it was actually really fun. pretty much you drive all morning until about 3 then arrive in the place your going. you get about 30-60 mins to go to your room, change shower and get ready for the night out, which doesnt seem like alot of time but it actually is.

our bus dirves were long but not time really does fly. every 4 hours or so you stop at a service stop to go to the loo and get something to eat, usually for about 45 mins. great food at the italian services great pasta and pizza.

this tour is great for anyone who is trying to see as much as europe in a short amount of time in a tight budget, you get plenty of time to go out and explore on your own and you really do get alot out of the time you have.

DO IT PEOPLE ITS GREAT

My Contiki was: magical, fun

  • Marlene Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 1 Country

Before going on this trip I had read some reviews of a tour guide "Sherif". I wasn't sure if this guide was the same one I'd be getting on my trip, but it was. He is Contiki's Egypt and Nile guy. I have to let anyone know that if you choose this trip, you will be getting a great experience with a truly caring, fun, informative, educated, safety-concerned guide. Contiki had everything set to go with the packet I got before leaving, and once arriving, at least in my experience, everything was so easy and organized for the Contiki group. Some of the girls on the trip had just gone through Europe, and said that the guide could definitely make or break a travel experience. Not only did Sherif take us on every excursion as was in the itinerary, but he gave us historical background that we would enjoy, information that was necessary, hints about how to dress and what to expect where from the people and vendors, and stories that entertain. He was incredibly personable, warm and funny. We also had a great group, everyone liked each other, but Sherif made it truly memorable. As I read in other posts, the trip is non-stop, but once on the cruise, there is plenty of time to chill and regain energy for the many temples and stops. As a guide usually does, Sherif had contacts everywhere we went, and through in little extras that weren't on the itinerary. It turned out to be a little more spending than I planned, but it was well worth it. The buses were clean and comfortable, the drives were good, the sites were amazing, the people were great, and the memories will last a lifetime. Girls might want to bring a head scarf for the few times you may be in areas where it is more expected to be covered, and good walking shoes you don't mind getting a little pyramid sand on. :) Oh, and don't over eat anything you're unsure of...but the food everywhere was great!

  • JulieK Level 3 Traveler
  • 3 Contikis
  • 15 Countries

Absolutely amazing, made lifelong friends, it was a whirlwind action-packed month but the stress wasn't there because Contiki takes care of EVERYTHING, my tour manager, Jordana, looked out for us and went the extra mile, I couldn't have imagined doing it any other way. Not only did I soak up all the culture I wanted, ate my way through Europe, but I laughed and danced and drank with people from all over the world that I never would have met otherwise. I don't regret. a. single. cent.

Peru Uncovered

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Peru Uncovered
  • Marc.L Level 4 Traveler
  • 4 Contikis
  • 10 Countries

This was the most amazing trip i have ever done thus far. Everything about it spectacular! I would highly recommend it!

  • Trudi1301 Level 5 Traveler
  • 5 Contikis
  • 5 Countries

There were many highlights on this tour. Las Vegas was definitely a 24 hours a day city. A great way to start the tour. I felt No matter how many photos I took even from the helicopter there was no way of showing in a photo how big the canyon is. Dallas was the best for accommodation. Memphis was not to miss for Elvis and the Graceland tour. New Orleans was an interesting place to. My favorite was Miami. The optional thunder jet boat ride will definitely be a ride I will never forget.

My Contiki was: Nightlife, Music, History

  • Trudi1301 Level 5 Traveler
  • 5 Contikis
  • 5 Countries

It was great to experience all the famous landmarks in NYC. A great way to finish off a month in the USA. The accommodation was good at the shereton brooklyn. It was very handy to be given a prepaid subway pass lasting 7days. I would recommend the statue of liberty and times square. These were both equally a stand out for me in NYC and of course being there for 4 July fireworks.

My Contiki was: Nightlife, Fun, 4 July

  • Bec Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 10 Countries

I am 19 and his was my first trip overseas by myself. I was so nervous but ended up having the most amazing time. It is really hectic and exhausting (if you wish to make the most of every city you are in including binge drinking for 19 days straight) Our tour guide JB was awesome, and Rasto out driver was a legend. From drunk party bus rides home including light shows and sing-a-longs dancing down the bus, to watching a proposal on top of the eiffel tower I really had the most fantastic trip made some incredible memories and made lifelong friends. THANK YOU CONTIKI!

ps do this tour!

My Contiki was: hectic, drunk, breathtaking

  • Georgia Level 4 Traveler
  • 4 Contikis
  • 17 Countries

I found this tour to be a lot different from my others. One of the reasons is you fly (not necessarily a bad thing) But I didn't get to know the people I was traveling with as well due to not spending enough time as a group. There was a lot of free time but you tend to hang around the same people a lot. The tour manager didn't really do much except explain what we could do in each location and for the most part we didn't really see her on a day-to-day basis.

  • amy Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 0 Countries

This was my first travelling experience by myself and I can honestly say it was the best decision ive made.. I saw some amazing things and visited some beautiful places in america (grand canyon wow!) and I'm already looking into my next trip to Australia! The tour manager - Tyson - was fantastic with great knowledge and insights to every place we went to.. Not only that but ive made some life long friends and treasured memories that I will never forget! Book with contiki.. an awesome company!

  • RosieP Level 2 Traveler
  • 2 Contikis
  • 2 Countries

This tour was the trip of a lifetime! Every day was exciting and I had the time of my life. I travelled by myself, which I was worried about to begin with, but from the first day I met such amazing friends from all around the world and who i still keep in touch with. The accomodation was absolutely amazing, very comfortable and we always had a double bed each - bonus! The optionals were spectacular and definitely worth the money - isn't often where you'll hear someone hot air ballooned over Alburquerque or did a tour of Dallas Cowboys Stadium! The tour guides are so informative and the bus driver was keen to get to know everyone. The worst day of the tour was saying goodbye and knowing it was finished! I want to go back ASAP and am planning on doing the Grand Northern. My advice for anyone even considering it - JUST DO IT! You will have no regrets and will find that 26 days isn't even long enough, so take the risk, and travelling alone was the best decision i have ever made :)

My Contiki was: Amazing, FUN!, time of my life

  • lauren.w Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 0 Countries

As a traveller you go to so many places and you see so many amazing things - but nothing I have experienced compares to this! I had second, third AND fourth thoughts about this trip because I was so nervous about what news head lines said about the protests, but in the end I booked it and what an amazing trip it turned out to be! With a fantastic tour guide and an amazing bunch of people from all over the world, we visited the pyramids, temples, cruised the Nile for 3 days and got lost in Egypt's incredible history. Definitely recommend this tour! I'd do it all over again in a heart beat!

My Contiki was: Incredible, History, Memorable

Jaffas 'n' Jandals

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ It was fun!
  • Kenny Level 2 Traveler
  • 2 Contikis
  • 1 Country

Although the trip lasts for 3 days, I experienced a life which is very clam, unlike in large city. This is a really a beach paradise in NZ. I will be back.

My Contiki was: CLam, awesome, stunning

  • Alannasch Level 11 Traveler
  • 11 Contikis
  • 14 Countries

I would like to start off by saying, that a few of the people on my tour had previously already done the Grand Southern and said that they preferred the Grand Southern over this tour- so if you're trying to choose between the two- hope that helps!

But anyway here is my experience on the Grand Northern..

Highlights-
-NEW YORK - absolutely incredible- read my review on the New York Uncovered which I did as an add on tour before the Grand Northern
-BOSTON - went to a hilarious restaurant called Dicks Last Resort which was extremely crude food wasnt great but drinks were strong and a good night was had by all
- EVERYTHING IN CANADA - candian landscape was beautiful especially in French Canada around Quebec! Fantastic city great places to go out, Niagara Falls was definitely one of the highlights
-CHICAGO! We were very fortunate to get to see the Chicago Bulls NBA game while we were there
- Mt Rushmore
- Snow in Wyoming and Yellowstone
- Grand Canyon- most humbling and beautiful place
- VEGAS! Unlike the Grand Southern this tour has 3 nights in Vegas and every second is a fantastic blur

Lowlights
- Tour gets really quiet between Chicago and Vegas... We stayed in lots of smaller towns and a lot of places were closed for the season as it was the last tour of the season before Winter .. also not many activities or places to go out
- Some of the accommodation was a little dodgy especially Cleveland and Kanab
- Kanab in general is a pretty dodgy little town and the included dinner was awful!

Tips
- Budget for tipping! And plenty of spending money (I took around $4000 AUD for the whole tour and that worked out about right! And I did almost all of the optionals)
- Make sure you are 21 before you book! A few underagers on the tour had to miss out on nights out which was a little disappointing for them :(
- Do the FULL tour (some of our group were only doing parts of the tour like North by North East etc.) rather than the full 26 days and they were very disappointed to have to leave us :(
- Go mid season as opposed to end of the season (October) a lot of activities (included and optionals) were unavailable and some days we had to make detours to our destinations because of the snow
-Pack for every season! Some places are incredibly hot and others incredibly cold, so pack a variety of warm and cool clothes because the weather changes in every city
- Talk to everyone on the bus! One of the best things about travel is the people you get to meet along the way.. Don't judge people before you get to know them and put yourself out there to make friends with everyone. You will be suprised at who you're doing Tequila shots with at the bar at the end of the night..

Overall, had an amazing time, made the best new friends I could possibly ask for and currently saving up to do the Grand Southern in 2013!

For anyone who hasn't done Contiki before, the experience is what YOU make of it and it will be different for everyone. Some people on my tour hated it and were very anti-social... needless to say they didn't have much fun. It is really about putting yourself out there, putting in the effort to make new friends, try things you wouldn't normally do and overall get out of your comfort zone!

My Contiki was: Fun, Hilarious, Fast Paced

  • sbaildon Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 1 Country

I had an absolute ball on this tour, met some wonderful people, had some great times that bring a huge smile to my face, saw so much and more. This tour gives you the opportunity to sightsee with the tour members with the optional extras as well as to venture off on your own for the day and see exactly what you wanted to see. I loved the SF bike tour, well worth it, just dont look at how long it is, and def go see Alcatraz!! Even though we got stuck in Hurricane Sandy in NYC, i still had a great time, and the tour guides were great!! Thanks again Contiki, i had a great time and will def be using you guys again!!

My Contiki was: Fantastic, Exciting, Full On Fun

  • Patricia Level 4 Traveler
  • 4 Contikis
  • 7 Countries

This was my first Contiki alone, but not my first. I'm so glad I took the plunge and went solo because I made so many friends. I decided to get to Berlin a day early so I wouldn't have to deal with the jet lag on the first night of the tour. Just did the extra night through Contiki and I met a ton of other tour mates before the tour started which was great. The hotel was nothing fancy but it had all the basic amenities and it was CLEAN! The only downside was that it only had free wifi in the lobby and it was a 10 min walk from the subway... that isn't too terrible but when me and my tour mates were lugging around luggage for 5 long blocks... it made a difference. The optional tour of Berlin was amazing, our local tour guide was very insightful. He also took us on the Eye Spy tour which wasn't exactly what I imagined with the whole spy mystery thing but we did get a lot of history on the Berlin wall before we headed out to party. Probably the best night out of the whole tour! On the drive down to Prague we stopped in Dresden, Germany. We only got a couple of hours there so don't waste your time eating lunch inside a restaurant. Grab a sausage from a food truck and walk around. It is GORGEOUS! When we finally arrived in Prague we had dinner at the converted church. We stayed at an Ibis in Prague which was the best hotel we stayed at since it was very modern and had free wifi in the rooms. The breakfast wasn't so great, I found a hair in the bacon.... Anyways, Prague was amazing despite the heavy fog that clouded the skyline for half the day. Walking tour was great to familiarize ourselves with the town. I skipped out on the lunch cruise so I could explore the city more and see the Astronomical clock in action once again and a very awkward visit to the Sex Machine museum. For some local cheap good eats, check out Czech Kitchen by the small market. Good food, it is a cafeteria style restaurant. Definitely take advantage of the optional Czech dinner. It was lots of fun with the music and dancing. It was interactive too. We got to play local games and won little bottles of czech alcohol to take home. Prague Pub Crawl was optional and 20 Euros. I would've had more fun if the bars didn't allow smoking indoors. It made it very difficult to breathe for me personally. Since I caught the "Contiki Cough" on a winter tour, this pub crawl was definitely not a great idea for me to partake in. The ride down to Vienna was a trek and we stopped at a small town. AVOID the "authentic Italian" restaurant that takes credit cards at all costs. Couple of tour mates and I got a bit of food poisoning there. Vienna was AMAZING! The first included dinner there was probably the best included dinner I've ever had on a Contiki tour. They took us to a restaurant called Leonard's I think. Also, the hotel in Vienna is very sophisticated, I really liked it. It was quaint. Unfortunately at this point I only had one day left in my Contiki since I had to go back to work I couldn't continue to Budapest. We had a free day in Vienna to check it out. Lucky for us we were there for the Christmas markets. BEAUTIFUL and I love Christmas. Try the sausage with cheese inside it. I cant remember the name right now but it was amazing. When they take you to the Schnapps museum, try the rocket fuel. You'll thank me later ;) Overall this tour was great. Our guide Glenn was hilarious and our driver Elko was very interesting to talk to. He had many great stories. The tour mates were great, but as always you do tend to make a little group and they were truly fun to go out and share experiences with. I cannot wait to do my next Contiki!

My Contiki was: educational, exciting, unforgettable

  • Connie Level 9 Traveler
  • 9 Contikis
  • 22 Countries

Costa Rica!! Pura Vida!! This was a great trip, highly recommend it if you’re seeking adventure and activity at a moderate pace and can handle a few different climates.

Good stuff: Costa Rica is a great country. Unlike Mexico, its not built up so the accommodations are small and in lush natural areas surrounded by animals and lots of plants and trees, and it wasn't hot until we hit the low lands on the Pacific coast. Waking up to the sound of howler monkeys, being greeted by an Iguana at the hotel or hanging out poolside with Monkeys was quite common during my trip. The tour includes lots of activities such as White Water Rafting (which you can swap for ziplining, though zipling is way better in the Monteverde optional), bridge walks over the forests, a visit to a volcano and a coffee plantation, to name a few. There is a day at a nature park in Monte Verde where you’ll get to hang out with hummingbirds - by far the coolest animal on the trip! The accommodations were pretty good (some worse than others): decent bathrooms (hot water didn’t work in a few places, but the water is drinkable everywhere) and very close to nature. The hotel in San Jose was fantastic! Its brand new, has free WiFi and long distance calling. The optionals were amazing: the Rappelling/Canyoneering option in Arenal is not to be missed, neither is ziplining in Manuel Antonio or the catamaran trip into open water (with open bar). I could have done without the horseback ride in Arenal and the surf lesson in Manuel Antonio. The chocolate tour is good too, plus its one of those “if you don’t go you may be doing nothing for a few hours” moments.But i love chocolate so i'm biased.

Bad stuff: the weather! I went in late November. All the books say the wet season is over by then, but we had nothing but rain the first week. It didn’t put too much of a dent in the trip (the night cruise in Tortuguero was cancelled but we partied at the hotel bar instead) though the stay at Sarapiqui in the jungle tents was a tad uncomfortable since there were only gravel paths to the tents – the tents were dry, thank goodness. The night walk there was in a deluge! Pack for rain on this trip, especially the cloud forest where it always rains from the trees. Pack rain ponchos (all our expensive ‘rain jackets’ were useless, we were drenched, only a plastic sheet can keep you dry and don’t bother with umbrellas in the parks) and pack shoes that can get wet: wet shoes stink and can’t dry because its too damp. Pack closed shoes for the walks and for the activities, you can’t wear sandals on the rafting or the zipling (my crocs were superstars). Pack long pants: jeans, convertible pants, yoga pants whatever. It gets cold at higher elevations.

Suitcase or back pack? I had a suitcase, so did the majority of my group: it was just fine. The boat to Tortuguero doesn’t exactly have a dock but we managed to get the bags on and off ok. Same in Sarapiqui, there’s gravel paths and stairs. Just be ready to carry it for about 30 m.

Budget: I budgeted about $80 USD a day and did ok, but the optionals and Tips were extra to that (~$500USD). They accept US Dollars everywhere interchangeably with the Colon. Conversion rate is 500 colons to $1USD.

Group Size: we were 23. I think there’s only 24 spots available. Big coaches don’t travel well in Costa Rica – most of the roads are not paved. our coach was super comfy even on the bad roads.

Ammenities: ATMs are a pain. Sure they are nearby but folks had a tough time with them. Use them in San Jose near the hotel (there’s a scotiabank there for my Canadian friends). The Tour manager gives you heads up about where they are if you are in a bind. Tortugeuro is pretty much all-inclusive unless you venture to town and do some shopping (and by town I mean the 20 huts that sell touristy things and food and drinks). food is ok, it was safe to eat anywhere and the breakfasts at all the stops were great.

Stuff to pack: Beach towel, closed shoes, open shoes, long pants, short pants, rain poncho, jacket, stuff you don't mind getting wet in and stuff to keep your camera dry (bonus if you have a waterproof camera, you’ll get great shots). Free wifi at all the hotels so pack your smartphone/netbook/tablets even if you don’t want to use the Roaming feature. My Contiki Ekit SIM card was terrible down there. The calls were all broken up. Pack equal amounts of bug repellent and sunscreen. You’ll use more of the repellent especially at the start of the tour.

Highlight: Manuel Antonio: warm, sunny, lots of fun, real close to the beach (ah the sunset!). Monteverde was a close second with the ziplining park and humming birds. Arenal was a blast at the bars and the cultural dinner.
Lowlight: Sarapiqui!

If you’re looking for a more chill vacation or more history/culture, consider Mexico Grande. Costa Rica unplugged will keep you busy and active in the most amazing greenspaces you will ever see! You will see tons of cool natural stuff, don’t let the threat of rain dampen your spirits, the monkeys don't seem to mind. Its called the rain forest for a reason!

Enjoy!

My Contiki was: Nature, Adventure, Outdoors

European Magic

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ So. Much. Fun.
  • josurinu Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 8 Countries

This tour was ah-mayyy-ziiiinnnggg. But it also isn’t for the faint of heart. There were all sorts of different personalities on our tour. There were couples, friends/siblings who traveled together, and people traveling alone. Some chose to do their own thing, and others joined other groups. There was enough of different types of personalities to not make anyone feel awkward, at least in my tour group.

So if you’re a couple looking to do your own thing, or honeymooning, you can easily do this tour if you want to see a lot of places in a short amount of time. BUT as I mentioned before, this isn’t for the faint of heart. We were literally on the move all the time. The only rest time you had was in the long hours on the bus. (Yes, there are LONG hours on the bus. We hit traffic on the way to Switzerland, and we were so late, we had cancel shopping and the boat cruise). A lot of people chatted up, talked to our Tour Manager, Amy, got shut eye, or took pictures of people sleeping. (I totally hid my face every time I slept, and I didn’t get caught... but there are times you’re so freakin’ tired, you can care less.)

People traveling alone, EVERYONE on our tour was nice. Yes, we played pranks and teased each other, but that was all part of the camaraderie. If there is one thing I noticed, we may joke, but people are respectful (at least on my tour). You can easily join other people, or wander off on your own.

People traveling with friend/siblings, (which is the category I fell in) you can easily have fun with your bestie and see the sites, while getting to know other people. If you’re weirded out by going with a sibling, don’t be. There were 4 sets of siblings, and they all had a blast with each other and with the group. What usually happened was that they ended up separating and hung out with new tour friends.

Tip 1: Get to know everyone and make FRIENDSSSS! What I enjoyed about the Contiki experience is that not only are you seeing new places and enjoying new experiences, but you’re thrown into an awesome social setting with like-minded people your age. They are people from different cultures, ethnicities, and nationalities. Take advantage of that! You’ll learn so much more than the cities you visit, and you potentially can start planning your next trip to visit your new friends. For sure, I want to visit Australia, South Africa, and Canada to see the beautiful places my friends spoke of and to see them!

London. The first day, it’s a little awkward. Everyone doesn’t know what to expect. No one knows each other. If they want you go to a meeting place like a pub after the initial meeting, go! Make friends. These are the people you’re going to be around A LOT. Might as well start early and break the ice. My friend and I met two girls who were traveling alone and decided to explore London. We ended up having a great time and became pretty good friends.

Tip 2: If you have the money, do all the optionals. It’s part of the experience. And you get to experience it all with your new friends.

Amsterdam. DO the BOAT CRUISE! This is the place where EVERYONE will let loose! (This is because it’s a booze cruise, no lie.) I’m a loud and sociable person, so instead of staying with the same group of people, I went and mingled with as many people to get to know everyone and break the ice. Turns out, it was the best idea I ever had. Everyone I met became my friend and we all had a blast. After that, it’s a sex show. Be open to it. It’s not super disgusting or anything. It’s people on a stage having sex. We’re adults. Some parts of the show is pretty funny. Oh, and you get two drinks at this show. After that, we partied the night away. The next morning, you get to explore Amsterdam by day. I recommend the Anne Frank Huis. It’s really amazing and it’s such a big part of World history. If you’re gonna partake in herbal remedies... cookies are weak. Just sayin’

St. Goar. This is the place you recover from all the Amsterdamage. You go on a wine tasting and a beerstein demonstration. (I went for Oktoberfest, if you’re going to do this tour, BOOK IT FOR OKTOBERFEST!) The wine tasting wasn’t all that great, but it was only 8 Euros, and you get a free shot glass. St. Goar the town is small, so going off wandering wouldn’t be all that great either since the shops close at 6 PM. I bought an Oktoberfest beerstein, and everyone back home I’ve shown it to has coveted it. (Mind you, it’s really heavy, think about that when you think of luggage requirements.) The inn we stayed at was cute and quiet. Take this time to relax because the next day is Munich.

Munich. We did the bike ride, and Tony, our tour guide, was hilarious. He was an American, so I was able to clearly understand him (though, to European credit, many speak better English than I do). It was nice seeing the sights and riding a bike again. But to the real reason I love Munich was Oktoberfest. I was one of four people in a tour of 50 that booked this trip WITHOUT knowing about Oktoberfest. Thank my lucky stars I chose this tour. Oktoberfest was flat out AHHH-MAAAYYY-ZIIIINNGG. DO IT. Even if you don’t like beer! It’s such a culture shock, and everyone has SO MUCH FUN. Partying with happy Germans and your tourmates is just fun. I can’t emphasize it enough. DO IT. AND, these tours book fast, since there is only TWO European Magic tours that do it (but there are other tours that do it as well like European Discover), just sayin’. And don’t think you can get German beer anytime, they SPECIFICALLY brew a new beer every year for Oktoberfest. It’s definitely on my to-do list, again.

Stopover in Austria. We bobsledded. I’ll tell you, I LOVE watching bobsledding in the Olympics, but I didn’t expect that ride. It’s really rough, but an awesome experience. Seriously, it’s awesome to say that I bobsledded on an Olympic run with an Olympian. You stop off in Innsbruck, which has a Swarovski store. I spent a LOT here. The bottom floor has the cheaper good because they’re not technically Swarovski brand, but they’re designed by local Austrian designers with Swarovski techniques. Still very pretty. They also gave me the option to charge with American dollars versus Euros, so it saved me on transaction fees.

Venice. The first night is a chill night. Rest up, because there will be a LOT of walking when you actually get into Venice. (You won’t be staying in the actual city of Venice to keep costs low.) Get lost in this city. We went up St. Mark’s bell tower and the views are LOVELY. It doesn’t even cost much. Eat Italian food (It’s freakin’ delicious, obviously). I shopped away from the big stores and bought things at the stands. I have to say, my favorite thing I bought from the whole trip was my Murano glass ring. They have cheap leather bags, and cool masks.

Switzerland. We hit a lot of traffic so we missed out on shopping and the boat cruise, but we did go to Mt. Stanserhorn, and the views are glorious. The Swiss are very orderly and their landscape proves it. Bring a jacket, I went in September, and I wore a cotton jacket. It was enough. You stay at the Jail Hotel. It’s an experience. It’s a little scary at first, but it’s just a place to sleep. I’ve read reviews where it said it was dirty. I didn’t see that in my room.

Paris. Expect a LONG road ahead of you. It took us 9 hours, I believe. The first night is a chill night and you do the city of lights tour. It’s pretty and you learn a lot of the rich history of the French. The next day, you go to a perfumery. This really wasn’t all that great, but I did buy lovely French perfume for really cheap, and they only sell in Paris. I wear it all time now. We had 45 minutes of free time, and a group of us booked it to the Lourve to see the Mona Lisa. The Lourve is HUGE, and we literally got in, saw the Mona Lisa, and ran back to the bus. We took our group picture, then went up the Eiffel Tower, and were given free time. One day in Paris is barely getting an intsy winsty taste of Paris.

Tip 3: Extend in London BEFORE the tour starts and extend in Paris when the tour is over.

One day in Paris is seriously not enough. Make a plan of attack of what to do in Paris, ask your tour manager on what you should do and how to do it efficiently. I did the Moulin Rouge... I have to say, it was cool, but it wasn’t my thing. But most of the tour went, and you want to spend your last night with them. After that, the last night was spent at O’sullivans, the bar right next to the show, and partied our final night.

Other tips you should know. They do check your weight before you head out, but they don’t check afterward. Just be aware of any baggage allowance for your flight back home. Don’t bring a laptop. You’re on vacation. Bring a phone or iPod to do fast emails, instagram posts, and facebook updates. There are some hotels that offer free wifi. If you’re an iPhone user, download skype or viber. You can call another phone with the same app for free using internet (so you can call home on a budget). Bring a neck pillow, it’s great on the bus. TAKE A LOT OF PICTURES AND VIDEOS! I made a video for my group, which I will share with you, and I’m grateful that I can relive these moments. Emergen-C will be your friend. I took it everyday a month before I left and sporadically while I was there, I never got sick, even when I got back home. My best friend wasn’t so lucky (and she didn’t take Emergen-C). Buy jewelry and accessories. It’s a nice reminder incorporated to your every clothes when you go back to reality.

You’re on HOLIDAY! Have fun! Don’t sweat the small stuff, and just enjoy what’s around you.

I like to party. If you like to party, I HIGHLY recommend doing Contiki. If you don’t like to party, that’s okay too! You can have fun without partying. You get to see the sights, do the activities, and meet cool people in a short period of time. If you don’t like a fast pace, don’t do this tour. This tour also caters to people on a budget, so don’t expect 5 star rooms and 5 star food. In return, I got 5 star service from my tour manager and bus driver. Amy and Sergio were fantastic. I really can’t emphasize how much I’ve enjoyed this tour. I plan on doing Contiki again, and you should really consider it.

If you have any questions, feel free to message me. And here’s the youtube video I made with my tour: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__Ug3o5xVh8

My Contiki was: Amazing, Partying, Fun

Winter Wanderer

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Winter Wanderer
  • Hannah Level 3 Traveler
  • 3 Contikis
  • 13 Countries

Had the most amazing time. Going back to do the Greek Islands in 2013.
Our group was amazing and Majeic (Bus driver) and Sophia (guide) were just incredible and awesome people! Sophia knew many things about Europe and It was so easy to contain the information.

CONTIKIIIIII follow the right leaddeeerrrrr

My Contiki was: AMAZING, SPECTACULAR, AWESOME

  • Sophie Level 2 Traveler
  • 2 Contikis
  • 10 Countries

I just finished my 12 day European Discovery yesterday and oh my god it was the best 12 days of my life. I went alone and I was a little hesitant but I met the most amazing people straight away who I will keep in contact with for life. This tour is very fast paced, no sleep ins and long coach rides but the having such an amazing tour manager (Jah), bus driver (John) and contiki family made it so worth it. Jah is such an amazing person, she was positive every day and went out of her way to take care of us and to give us the best experience possible. And John was the best driver I've ever seen, and always was happy to see us to put our bags on the bus. Every city was amazing, even Florence mid storm, and the last day I was in tears. I could have easily gone for another 12 days and now I have so many memories to take home. I recommend this tour for people who are willing to go out at night in free time, even if you don't drink, the best times I had where in a small pub in some random European country teaching Australian slang to other contikis. A+++++

My Contiki was: Amazing, Life long friends, Life changing

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