Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
This trip had its highlights and its downfalls! It’s hard to review this particular tour because this is not your typical Contiki experience compared to a tour in Europe for example, and each time your Tour Manager will be a different person than mine, so please keep that in mind with this review. For example, we had two Tour Managers: one for the Turkey part and one for the Greek Island cruise part (3 days). Our group was 90% women, lots of Canadians, Americans, a few Aussies and 2 Kiwi’s. I was travelling solo and found it easy to make new friends and meet some awesome people from around the world.
For the Turkey part of this tour we had a freelance tour guide from Turkey, a local, who handled this part of the tour. His name is Ahmet and he was a 46 year old Turkish man. I liked him, I thought he organized the tour well even though at times it was last minute planning it seemed to work out. Ahmet was an expert in the history of Turkey and was passionate about his country, which showed. At times Ahmet re-organized the pre-planned Contiki itinerary, which proved to be to our advantage. He knew the places we were visiting well and suggested to rearrange things to create a better experience for us all.
For example one pre-planned day had us getting up super early sightseeing Istanbul and going for a Turkish bath and then sightseeing again right after. Ahmet rearranged the Turkish Bath to another location because he knew after the bath we’d be in a relaxed mood and wouldn’t want to be going on another excursion straight afterwards. He was right, we ended up postponing the bath to another location and the people who did the bath were happy, because as he predicted, after the bath most people wanted to relax and take it easy, which is what we were able to do thanks to Ahmet’s re-arranging.
This tour is very fast paced, we cram a lot of sights into the short amount of time we had in Turkey. The days start early, around 7 am each day and end late. If you do a lot or all of the optionals it can get exhausting but you have a great time though so I thought it was worth it. I had a blast in Turkey!
The included meals were not very good to be honest, most of them are buffets and significantly lack in flavor, or worse, have been sitting for awhile and are served cold. When we had free time to pick our own places to eat, the food didn’t disappoint (I had THE best chicken curry rice dish in Taksim Square area at this amazing rooftop restaurant overlooking Istanbul!)
The sights in Turkey are beautiful. Istanbul is an interesting bustling city where men dominate the streets. At times as a woman I felt uncomfortable in certain areas, especially at night, without a guy as an escort. The population is dominantly Muslim and especially with the way you dress, you could get harassed (I was tisked at verbally a lot). I went on the optional boat cruise in Istanbul which I enjoyed a lot, but beware of the crew selling drinks. We had an incident where they came up with orange juice and made it seem like they were free the way they were handing them out and insisting we take one…until they came back a few minutes later informing us that our small plastic cups of orange juice cost 3 Euro (9 Lira) each and that we needed to pay up now. Yikes!! I’ll just say that there was a lot of pissed off people…The Blue Mosque was pretty, however it held little to no resonance with me so it wasn’t a highlight for me. The Grand Bazaar is pretty cool, worth it to check it out and Taksim Square is the heart of Istanbul, with plenty of adventures to get yourself involved in.
The countryside and the coast of Turkey are picturesque. Pamukkale was a highlight for me, along with Anzac cove and Ephesus. The ancient ruins of Troy were a letdown, the reconstruction and site pales in comparison to Ephesus and Ancient Pergamum. Unexpected visits turned out to be good highlights, like a visit to a carpet maker family property and a lamb leather fashion show!
After a whirlwind of a time in Turkey, we said goodbye to Ahmet and embarked on our cruise ship to the Greek Islands.
My expectations for this cruise were we would see a lot of the islands. In reality you see more of the cruise ship that the islands as you have to be on the ship at night and miss out on the true Greek Island experience. If you really want to experience a Greek Island adventure I recommend after this tour, hop on the Greek island hopping tour which is slow paced and gives you a true visit to the islands. On the cruise you only had a couple of hours sometimes to visit the place. Then there was the Oia fiasco. Santorini is a highlight for most people, unfortunately for our tour we only saw 1 very rushed hour of it when we were promised 4 hours. Most of us paid quite a lot of Euro (55 Euro) to get off the cruise ship, take a boat, then a bus ride to Oia. But because the cruise ship arrived in Santorini an hour late, our excursion was cut down significantly because the ship was still leaving at 8:15 pm. A lot of people on our tour were upset. I wasn’t too gutted as I was getting off the tour in Santorini anyway, what I was really pissed off about was getting to the island and disembarking the cruise ship early. I believe one person on our tour was going to file a formal complaint about her experience.
There were four of us from the tour who were disembarking the cruise in Santorini (the best decision we ever made) AND going on the excursion to Oia. 2 other girls were also disembarking the cruise but not going on the excursion. For us four, it was a nightmare experience. Our tour manager Stacey was very unorganized during this time, and the experience for the four who were also going on the tour and disembarking was awful to say the least. Stacey was not very helpful and all of us were super stressed during this process. We were left to check out on our own, standing in hour long line ups on the cruise ship to pay our drinks bill and check out early. What should have happened is Stacey could have gathered us four together and explained as a group or at least notified to the staff what was happening with us as the reception clerk who handled me didn’t know what was going on and was refusing to give me my passport early (I almost missed getting on the tour because of this major miscommunication). All of us four were not pleased with the way this unfolded, the famous question amongst alot of our tour that evening was ‘What is going on?’ And the common answer was ‘I don’t know’. Our tour manager was nowhere to be found to answer people’s questions during this time which led to more confusion and frustration among several people on our tour. I’ve been on other Contiki tours where our tour manager went above and beyond to ensure our holiday was stress free and relaxed, so to experience this was a shock from Contiki. What was really annoying was we completed our evaluations for the tour manager that morning, and this fiasco happened in the evening, leaving no room to write comments on the tour manager’s performance within this situation (hence this long-winded part on this review). The situation had miscommunication problems all over, especially between Louis Cruises and Contiki and definitely has a lot of room to be improved for future tours.
All in all I had a great time in Turkey, but not as stellar a time in Greece. Luckily I got off the tour a day early to stay in Santorini so I got to experience my Greek Island adventures sans-Contiki and had a blast. One great thing about this tour? The friends I made from the group. We hung out pre-tour and post-tour for days after, it was great. The friends I’ve made outshone the downfalls of this tour and for that I’m still going to give Contiki another shot.
just come back from tour had a blast with a great road crew and Group of People to go around Europe with and would gladly do another Contiki again well worth the Experience and time to kick back and do what you wanted to do and the place and onsite teams were awesome as well I would recommend anyone who want to go over seas in Europe to do a Contiki
Overall great trip. Great people in the group. Great views. Great Weather (Lucky). Food was great. Now, down side. NOT A PARTY TRIP. The only place where we were really able to cut loose was in Florence.
This trip is a 'must do' for anyone planning to do Contiki in America!
I did this trip in April and it was an amazing. I did things I never thought I would do and saw some amazing things! We had the most awesome tour manager, Rachel, who was just excellent and definitely made the trip more amazing!
Being on a pretty tight budget I didn't do many of the optionals but there are always other things to go see and do but I would definitely budget for all of the optionals even if you don't do all of them.
All of the accommodation was pretty good, there were a couple of hotels we stayed in that weren't that great but you don't spend much time in hotel room anyway.
The tour is split into 3 so you can do LA-New Orleans, New Orleans-NY or the full trip LA-NY. I would definitely recommend doing the entire trip. you get to bond with more people and see more.
I went as a solo traveler and had made friends on the first day. A lot of the people are in the same boat and are by themselves so you just have common ground and its easy to make friends. Going out with the group at night is also a great way to get to know everyone, even if you're not a big party person or a big drinker, it doesn't matter, there will be people who will go out every night and get drunk but its what you make of it, you don't have to get drunk, just go out to have a good time!
Rooming with another person was definitely a new experience for me and it was great! If you don't get on with your roommate its not that big of a deal because you're not in your room that often anyway.
My advice would be to try as much as you can, be open to trying new things, try to research the places you are going to before so that when you have free time you can go explore more effectively.
Do the Grand Southern, you won't regret it!
I did this tour last summer with some of my girlfriends and we had the best time. It is pretty fast paced, but if you are looking to get a taste of Europe in one month, then this trip is for you! When you go back in the future, you can spend more time in the places that you really love. I recommend this trip for first-time Europe travelers like me :)
Check out my blog www.ellafortuna.com to see each place we went to and how much fun we had! :)
This trip is a whirlwind tour to be sure but not only do you get to see some of the most amazing historical sites in just under two weeks, but you get to do it with some of the most amazing people you'll ever meet. Our tour manager John was absolutely fantastic and our driver Wojtek was a wizard if I've ever met one. I would definitely advise taking this tour as it fits most schedules and you get to experience Europe and figure out where you want to go back to. Worth every penny and every second.
Anzac Day will never be the same after this trip. It was emotional and fun and moving and a whole other heap of emotions.
We had Roxy as our tour guide and she was fantastic. She took us on a tour around Istanbul and we got to see some great sights. I recommend taking the time to look at the Cistern, it's a sight to see.
The bus trip out to Gallipoli is long but worth it. Everyone gets into the Anzac Spirit on the bus, signing Aussie songs and sharing what Anzac Day means to you. It's arranged so you get to Gallipoli early and you have at least half the day to explore the cemetery's at the bottom of the hill before you go in and get set up for the night.
All night there is entertainment and history played to keep you in the spirit and to refresh your history.
Anzac day itself is very emotional and something you will never forget. The climb up the hill is a big one but you don't dare complain and it makes you think of the sacrifice the Anzac's made for us today.
We made some life long friends on this trip and it's not a party trip like you would expect from Contiki.
I had always wanted to go to Egypt and it did not disappoint. Sherrif was an excellent tour guide, he was full of knowledge and got us to all the places before the crowds rolled in. He could tell us everything we wanted to know and could take us to the best places for photo's and even got us into one of the pyramids for a look.
The food on the house boat was excellent but make sure you take something on the train to eat as the food on there is cooked in the morning and left all day in pretty unappealing conditions. It didn't look all that appetizing either. Sherrif also took us to a great place to eat and relax after the pyramids and before the train, so fill up there while you can.
Everything about the trip was amazing. but be prepared for lots of sightseeing and temples. Being interested in it I wanted to see more but my partner was happy to see the last one by the end.
The camel ride at the pyramids is great fun and you get an absolutely awesome view from it.
Our last day out on the reef was perfect. the weather was great and i heard great things about the snorkelling.
I would recommend this trip 100% to anyone who wants to go. Just take a friend, Cairo is a bit full on and if you are a woman alone it's pretty intimidating. If you get there a day early you have the option of going to Alexandria for $100, it's worth every cent!
What a great trip. You hit 2 of the most popular islands in all of Greece and a unknown gem that's sure to please! This is a vacation dream for any sun soaker. Mykonos, Santorini and ios are so beautiful you won't want to leave. From breath taking sunsets to Sandy beaches this trip has it all at a pace that's just right. The night life is the big draw, even in the shoulder month's you'll find yourself having a blast at any number of clubs. For the adventurer I recommend a atv rental and exploring. This was a unbelievable adventure made possible by my great guide and friend David!
A whirlwind of entertainment. The onboard activities are great. The excursions are excellent. The downfall is staying up late in the dancehall and waking early for breakfast and exploration. The trip is not long enough to get exhausted so it's very doable as long as you stay hydrated and take a break from the sun. I had a great time and it was all made possible by my lovely tour guide Stacey :)
This was the best trip ever! I'm already trying to plan my next contiki! My only regret was that I only booked the shorter version of the trip and not the whole thing. I definitely recommend!!!!!
This was my first Contiki and it exceeded my expectation by a mile! If you want to see Italy in depth and meet new friends along the way, I couldn't think of a better tour. The best part of the trip for me was travelling around such a gorgeous country with a bunch of like minded people who ended up being life long friends. The optionals are great and I wouldn't sit out on many of them. My favourite optional would have to be the dinner in Florence which was easily one of the best nights of my life! Great food, great wine, great company and a guy who looked like a meatloaf impersonator playing the piano! Perfection :) Our Tour Manager Yannick (quickly got the name Enrique for no other reason than that he looked like an Enrique) and bus drive Fabio (whatever you do don't order a Fabio pizza haha) were a great duo and really brought our group together. I knew if I was ever in trouble they would be there to help no matter what, which was really comforting. I would do this tour again in a heart beat!
20 days 10 countries sounds like a lot and it is but it is but I highly recommend it if you want to see things but don't have that much time. I had my doubts of being about to do this tour and still be alive at the end. There was 50 people on my tour and we all got along great, some of us became best of mates, we kept an eye on each other whilst out. Cindy our tour manager and Carhil our driver were fantastic, two very funny and caring people.
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.