Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
Started in Paris and stayed at a nice hotel (Marriott). Got to skip lines at the Eiffel tower (due to having reservations already made) and avoid long lines at the Louvre. Was given a list of recommendations of places to visit during our free time (very helpful). btw, throughout this tour, there is a lot of free time which you're given a sheet of sightseeing activities to do in each city except Berlin. But it can be challenging being efficient with your free time when you're on your own - so I would ask the tour manager the best way to travel around the city and what sight's were worth checking out (but our tour guide got easily annoyed when we asked her questions). Our tour bus driver was great and didn't mind us asking him questions. We had a great group and it was nice meeting new people and making new friends from around the world. You will likely hang out with part of the group when sightseeing during your free time. Btw, the weather was colder than I expected for July - bring sweaters.
Next stop, Amsterdam. There was a lot of free time here. Biking tour in a small town called Edam was memorable - also saw how to make clogs at a clog and cheese shop. several museums to visit - Van Gogh and Anne Frank's house. Hotel was good (free internet in the room). Not easy to get around unless you're comfortable with bus transportation - I would always go back to hotel whenever tour manager provided transportation. or else, just take a taxi with a few friends to save on cost - less likely to get lost and waste time.
Next was Berlin. Not a pretty city, but tons of interesting history. Walking tour made you learn a lot of history - unfortunately it was raining and cold during 75% of the tour- so I only enjoyed the last 45 minutes of the tour when it finally stopped raining and warmed up some. Hotel was close to the city, but not that great (free internet in lobby only, rooms were okay - I booked SUPERIOR level for hotels so I expected nicer hotels - I would consider this hotel a budget hotel). I know minimal time is really spent at the hotel since we're busy going out and touring the city but nice to be able to look forward to a little bit of luxury in a nice hotel.
We made a mini stop to Dresdin (very pretty town) on our way to Prague. This was a nice stop. didn't really have time to visit a museum - spent more time trying to figure out which restaurant to go to. by the time we ate, it was almost time to leave. Our tour manager pointed out all the interesting sites in town within a short time. I couldn't remember the place of the museum she pointed out to visit. It was disappointing when I get an annoyed look when I ask the tour manager a question- especially when I am paying her to be my tour guide. She had a huge fund of knowledge but would say pertinent info so quickly that I couldn't always write everything down - I even recorded her tips and directions on my phone (which was helpful) so I don't have to ask her.
Prague was a beautiful city. had lots of free time there. enjoyed an awesome bike tour - our bike tour guide was from the US and loved answering all of our questions - she was very helpful. Our hotel was in the city but it seems like the quality of our hotels would continue to go downhill (I kept looking or hoping it was like our first hotel in Paris). I loved Prague food and enjoyed the lunch tour cruise. It was a little chilly in this city also for the month of July. I really liked the booked tours and optional tours that Contiki provides. I just wish there were more of them during our free time, so we don't lose too much time figuring out how to get around the city on our own. I finally got to do laundry at this location (it was about $20 for a load which they wash, dry, and folded within a few hours at a laundry place in the city).
Last stop was to Rome. This is a beautiful city with tons of old history. I got to see a lot in this city. We had a booked group tour for the Vatican (no lines!) - the tour guide for the vatican was great and helped explain all the art work we were seeing. We also got to the front of the line for the colosseum (as long as you purchase the audio). Hotel was near central station and in the city. Laundry & internet shop was a few doors down. Hotel had old charm, but breakfast was terrible. Bathroom was small (due to being a very old hotel) and some rooms did not have A/C. again, disappointing hotel, but tolerable if I was doing a budget tour.
The five included dinners were very good. I especially enjoyed eating next to the colloseum.
Overall, I did not realize how much partying there was (which is optional). But after day 2, there was a party at a pub/bar/club every night until the last night. Your group usually all goes together which is good. The tour manager will usually take you to a location or recommend a location each evening. I also didn't realize how much money I spent while on vacation. Expect to spend on average 100 to 200 Euro per day - optional activities are an additional expense. Also never use the EXCHANGE offices in the city to exchange money - they are a rip off. It's better to use your debit card -they usually just charge a small fee and you get a good and fair exchange rate (call your bank to find out which european banks are best to use). In the end, you make a lot of great friends, see a lot of key things in each city, tolerate your tour manager, party every night, and sleep in a budget hotel.
I have recently returned to Australia from the 10 day London, Paris plus Rome tour and I have nothing but positive feedback! The tour was fantastic - we got to see so many sights in a short period of time. We also had 3 nights in each of the cities so we didn't feel too rushed and we had plenty of free time in each city to explore by ourselves. It was really great to have the last 3 days in Rome unescorted - it meant that we could relax and explore the city at our own pace.
We had a fantastic tour manager (Thanks, Alex!) and it really made a big difference. I would definitely recommend getting involved in all of the optional activities - the day-trip to Stonehenge and Bath and the night at the Moulin Rouge in particular! I would also recommend arriving in London a few days early if you are able to - I did and was able to see a lot of extra sights and recover from the jet lag before the tour started.
Overall I was super impressed by this tour. It was my first time in Europe and my first Contiki tour and I have to say that it was even better than I expected it would be. Being a part of the tour meant that we skipped the lines at places such as Stonehenge and the Eiffel Tower and we had an incredible guide who filled us in on the history of all the places we saw and visited. Ideally, it would have been great to have more time in each of the cities (because there is just so much to see!) but we were able to fit a lot into the time we had. I would highly recommend this trip for anyone travelling to these cities for the first time - I can't wait to start planning my next trip!
I had a blast and will remember ever moment of it. I will miss all my friends i met. I recommend this tour for 20 year olds or older as it is catered to the older crowd. I loved all the cities but wish there was more time in vienna as two days was not enough time.
Words cannot describe how amazing and how much fun this trip was, but I'll give it a good shot.
Our Tour Manager was Lasse and our Coach Driver was Ben or 'The Dream Team'.
From Day 1 they were both full of excitement and fun, and Lasse threw as many facts and as much information at us as he could as we headed to Paris.
After Day 1 tour just kept getting better and better. Lasse and Ben went out of their way to make it the holiday of our lives.
Myself and a guy on tour (Ash) both celebrated our 21st birthdays in Prague. To begin with, we were each given a birthday cake on the river cruise, then later in the night were showered with champagne on the Prague Pubcrawl that Lasse and Ben had organised for us.
Lasse was always full of bubbles and fun, even after a big night he'd be on his microphone ready to start the day, while everyone else just wanted to sleep.
I can do nothing but give great feedback about this tour.
If you're looking at going to Europe, I would seriously consider this tour :)
Let me first say that I had a great time on this tour. I got to see a ton of cool stuff in a very short amount of time. Thats both the good and the bad. If you want to cram as much as possible into a short time this is a great trip, but if you want to relax and take in EVERY sight then I would find a tour that covers less ground. My guide was great, my group was pretty awesome as well so I rated it 4 stars but that just because we we up early and on the bus quite a bit. Had it not been for the early mornings this would have been a 5 star trip. They did a great job of giving us as much time in a place as possible considering the distance we traveled.
All I have to say is Epic. I met some of the greatest people I know during this trip. Many of which I have kept in close contact with. The tour is so organized, and is so much fun. I'm thinking about making this a yearly tradition.
Our Tour Manager, Glenn is the bomb too!
The Simply Italy tour is a rich mosaic of unforgettable experiences. From small towns and isolated islands to great cities, from excellent beaches to enriching museums, upmarket shopping and sublime dining, the jam-packed schedule lacks nothing. There is enough to suit party animals and relaxed travellers alike. The trip maintains a perfect balance between free time to do your own thing and fun group activities. But one of the truly outstanding factors, for us, was the tour manager: Mathieu Morelli. His style, flair, personal dedication and inexhaustible energy adds a touch of magic. From what I have read from other reviews, and heard from other travellers, this is simply not always the case. This manager is unique.
Ok, this trip was awesome and I am so glad that I went. I am writing this review though with the idea of helping you to make your trip a little bit better. So I may come across a little negative at times but it is with the idea of helping out future travelers.
One gripe I have is that on our trip the focus seemed to be on partying at night. Ok, I get it, that can be fun. If your looking at going to Europe for culture or sights thsi can get a little bit lost when the focus turns to pub crawls. Anyway, the key for us was to plan our "free time" which is very limited to see one or two things very well. One key to this is looking at your tour dates and checking the days of the week to the cities you are visiting. Many museums are closed on odd days (i.e. the Louvre on Monday). Check this ahead of time before going to see something and only have it be closed. Check out guide books like Rick Steves to help you find ticket short cuts as well.Stay healthy. We got sick due to being on the bus with sick people. Take vitamins and wash your hands!
Optional Excursions-Unless you are really bad at planning or are going with a big group of friends most of these can be skipped without too much regret. the dinners especially are very expensive unless you are really picky about food. Take your money and go to a small cafe and enjoy the local life and better food. The one dinner we did do, the Tuscan dinner, was good fun due to the live entertainment. Most of the boat tours can be found for cheaper but may not be done by locals. We did the Lake Lucerne cruise excursion but had more fun on our paddleboat ride so, make your own chocies there.
The contiki hotel in Haupfgarten will offer to do your laundry for 15 euros for a small bucket. or you can go down the street to the laundromat and do 3 or four loads for that price and again enjoy the locals or hop over to the awesome cafe next door.I only did the mountain biuke excursion which was great. It is the equivalant of a blue in ski runs so it is not for the faint of heart but is only hard for about 30 mintues or so. the lunch after was ok.
Be prepared for some less than awesome rooms and wifi is available only about half of the time.
The Mozart concert in Vienna was amazing and should not be skipped by anyone ever!
The tour of the Vatican was ok. Our guide was kind of long winded and focussed on weird stuff. I turned off the audio guide and had a great time.
If you do not do some of the excursions be prepared to be treated as second class. We didn't do the Schnapps tour and basically just had to twiddle our thumbs in front of the museum as they wouldn't even let us shop inside?!
DId the Mike's bike tour in Munich and was very dissapointed, but I think it was more the guide we ended up with than the company as a whole. There is a very long stop in the middle at a beer garden so keep this in mind as well.
Try lots of food. eat lots of gelato and have a great time! there is so much great stuff to see, this is a good way to get a quick taste of the best Europe has to offrer.
Don't drink Chino unless you love robitussin!
What a time to go to London! The Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee! Lots of great things in town!
Hotel Accomadation-Royal National, ok room, staff were very unfriendly, unhelpful and incompetent. The first employee I talked to couldn't even tell me where the elevator to go upstairs was. Wi fi is only available in main lobby and then it is pretty sketchy. Good location though.
Hop On Hop off tour- Excellent! Pick up is right by the hotel and it takes you everywhere you could want to go with free informaiton while you're going there. Included boat trip down the Thames to the tower was awesome! (Tip, the cruise actually stops at the eye, so you can do the eye and get on the cruise instead of going back across the river.) This tour also includes your chocie fo three walking tours. The changing of the guard is free to the public so skip this tour and do it on your own. the Jack the Ripper tour is only during the middle of the day so it can kill your schedule. THe other one available is a Rock and roll history tour. We didn't do this part so can't say how they are.
West End Show- I love musicals and this is a great opportunity, but you get what you pay for and the seats are terrible. The agent told us since we came in early we got their best seats for this deal and we were so high up we could'nt even see the stage and the seats were so tiny my legs began cramping.
If you buy eye and Tower of London tickets with Contiki you get to go into the group admission lines which is quicker so that is nice. The eye akes for great views but is very crowded and can take a long time to get on. the tower is a very large castle. Skip the torture exhibit. It's three signs and displays and takes 20 minutes in line and 5 minutes inside.
Everything is walkable so take your bus down towards one of the parks and enjoy the experience of walking around a corner and seeing the landmarks come into view. For instance pick up your show tickets and make the short walk down to Trafalgar square to see Nelson come into view and then see Big Ben come into view. Wonderful time!
Most of the museums are free and the British Museum (huge) is just down from the hotel.
The complimentary tube pass is a life saver!
If you are doing this at the end of a tour like we did (Vista) you don't get back in until late so that first day is all travel and then whatever night life you can take in.
Overall a great experience!
A wonderful trip. Great tour guide, lots of extra activities. Fab people, a trip I will NEVER forget!!! The early mornings were worth it :)
Accommodation was fine, Vegas - amazing! San Francisco - not what I expected, absolutely brilliant. I would happily do this whole tour again!!
The name sums it up - it is definately a wild western trip!!!
Is was fun!!! fun!! fun!!
Immediately after i finished my tour a nd i touch down to my home town, i booked the Italian Espresso with Contiki to travel in Aug 2012!! Less then 8 months i start travel again!
The Paris hotel was a bit run down. There is only 1 hair dryer for the entire hotel. I have super long hair and i was there during Christmas. The cold weather doesn't help my hair to dry easily. So, that sucks and also the iron. I have to walk to the next door hotel just to borrow an iron. It looks funny on me, that i have to carry an iron walking down the stresst ... :-)
London hotel was good! Good location, good hotel. Bit old, but it was good one, near to Contiki basement and it was an easy access place to anywhere!
So what are you waiting for?? Book a tour with Contiki today before you are 35yrs :-) you won't regret it going with them, you will regret if you never make one!!!
I mean, Contiki is the way to travel no matter what, but Spain was a sick trip. The siestas, the fiestas, Ibiza, the sights, the history, Ibiza, the monkeys, the heat, the beaches, F'ing IBIZA! Our guide Garai was fantastic and the bus rides weren't too long and the hotels were comfortable and all the food in Spain is delicious and cheap and the sangria was tasty and the coffee was strong and I'm just very happy I went. You get A LOT when you go to Spain because each region is different. Go go go. Here is proof: http://spanish-spree.blogspot.com.
The European Horizon trip was amazing, met some great people, had some awesome experiences, seen things with my own eyes that I have only ever dreamed of seeing.
Amsterdam was by far the craziest place of all, and the Canal Cruise is an absolute must!
Germany was just fantastic, from the sleepy little village of St Goar to the City of Munich, so much to see and I will be back to explore more of Germany in the future!
Austria was great, beaut scenery and the Paragliding was out of this world, have never experienced anything like this in my life! I wanted to do it again after landing! There are no words to describe the feeling of flying over the Austrian Snow Capped Alps.
Switzerland took my breath away that's for sure, and I was most looking forward to this part of the trip and it did not disappoint. So many awesome photo opportunities there.
Venice is insane, in a good way! The Gondola ride was fantastic and no trip to Venice is complete without this! Picture Perfect!
Paris was just AWESOME. Getting to see the Eiffel Tower with your own eyes is just hard to explain how great this was, and taking a stroll along the Champs-Élysées is definitely a must do!!
I would do it all over again, met great people and had a great taste of Europe. It is a very fast paced tour, but that is all part of the experience!
I did this tour in April 2012 and was truly an experience of a lifetime. The countries, people, and cultures that i seen and experienced was really awesome. And not forgetting our tour guide Dan :)
Everything is a little bit different in Asia, sometimes things don't go as planned (for example an overturned truck in the middle of the road in Laos that caused some delays, music videos being shot at the Bangkok train station etc..) But those are the things that make for fun experiences! (You never know what you are going to get with Asia)(But I guarantee you will love it!) This trip was so much fun! Be prepared to do a lot of sightseeing in a short amount of time. You will love Thailand- everything is so cheap, and it is a fun and exciting place to start your trip. Laid back Laos is AMAZING. Seriously, Laos is the best! Cambodia gives you insight to Southeast Asia, and the culture there is truly unlike any other you will experience. Vietnam is fast-paced, adventurous and Halong Bay is well..... You will have to take the trip to experience it!
Don't take this trip if you just want to check off boxes to say that you have been to Southeast Asia. Don't take this trip just because you want to go where they filmed the Hangover II. Take this trip if you have ever wanted to experience Southeast Asia for the amazing sights, scenery and way of life. A truly awesome experience.
Hands down best 25 days of my life without a doubt. Every single part of this tour was perfectly run by the amazing Lisa and driven by the greatest COACH driver in the world Pedro.
The itinerary gives you a glimpse into where you go and what you'll do, but the tour is made by the great people you will meet and the extras that they don't mention - the parties, city tours, added extras. I don't want to spoil anything all I can say is sign up for this tour right now and go and have a blast!
This was our first time seeing Vietnam, and this trip was an affordable and fun way to do it. Brendan was our tour guide and you will always feel safe around him LOL :) . The optionals are fantastic and there are enough free days to cruise around on your own - I loved the cooking class in Hoi An at Morning Glory definitely a highlight for me. My hubby and I were prob a bit too old for this trip (33 yrs) and we were relieved to see other couples on the trip, but our tour mates were so great and a real fun loving bunch, I really enjoyed there company !! Brendan and the tour guides gave us a great introduction to the history of each location, and I learnt more about the Vietnam War on this tour than I ever did at school. Be opened minded to the experience and be prepared to things differently, e.g. instead of going to a modern/popular bars to drink and listen to music on your free time, go to one of the smaller restaurants and drink bia hoi and talk to the locals...costs 25c (4000dong) and support the smaller families in the area. All in all an ABSOLUTELY AMAZING EXPERIENCE, loved the Contiki experience and will definitely squeeze one more tour in before we reach the age limit LOL...Thank you Brendan top job xxx
Excellent tour. Probably one of the best trips of my life. I met so many people on this trip that I've actually stayed in touch with over the last year. I've even gone travelling with some of them after. I was able to see so many sites that I doubt I would have been able to on my own. I know people say that Contiki is a very bar oriented and party hard kind of tour group, but really it comes down to who you hang out with. I hung out with like minded people who would rather experience more of the cultural aspects of this region than sit in a bar -which you can do at home. We saw a lot more sites than many of our tour group did because we chose to spend our time differently. On your free days be sure to wake up early and make the most of your days. Sleep in when you're at an all inclusive - not here. There's too much to see and do. Also wear a money belt! Two people I was with almost go pick pocketed. Fortunately one of them had a money belt. I did almost every optional except for the group photo one which we did anyway with out the additional price. I don't recommend the club in Italy. Lots of teenyboppers and techno music - but maybe that's your thing. If you have any questions about this tour give me a shout.
This tour was amazing! Absolutely the trip of a lifetime! Did so many amazing things! White water rafting in Austria, gondola ride in Venice, went to the top of the Eiffel Tower in France! The whole trip was simply fantastic! I made so many awesome new friends and I am already looking into another trip overseas! I will definately travel with Contiki again! Everything is so organized and the tour managers/bus drivers are such amazing people!!!!
To sum my time up it was: AMAZING, INCREDIBLE, AWESOME FANTASTIC INSANE DRUNKEN EDUCATIONAL TIME