Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
From the buzzing nightlife of street markets & bars, to stunning temples, crazy tuk-tuk rides, elephant rides, thai cooking classes, remote villages, beautiful scenery, swimming in waterfalls, bucket nights, photos with tigers and ancient ruins......this trip was truly life changing and an amazing experience I will never forget! The people in SE Asia especially are the most unforgetable human beings. So friendly and cheeky, they will always bring a smile to your face.
Our tour manager Nikki was the best and took the stress out of everything. Contiki certainly run a great show and take you to places you would not normally see if you were doing your own thing. The accomodation and transport was more than adequate.
We only had a mini group of 16, but my tour mates were diverse, fun, outgoing and will be friends for life. The 2 weeks flew by so quickly however the duration was perfect for this trip. I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting a holiday with an even mix of culture, sight seeing and partying.
On this tour I was fortunate enough to go with 3 close friends of mine, right away I realized that whether I came with a group, or went alone, it wouldn't have mattered.
Everyone on the bus got along, no problems chatting with one another or hanging out at the pubs. I made friends on this trip that will last for a lifetime.
Our tour manager, Michelle, was incredible. As soon as we went for our meeting she was very welcoming, had a good sense of humour, and her knowledge of Ireland was extensive. She knew a lot of authentic pubs and little shops in Ireland and could answer any question. She put a lot of emphasis on respect during the tour and for our bus driver as well, Steve. I don't think we could have asked for a better driver, he was patient when people were late, he helped us with our luggage, and came to all the excursions with us. He definitely made himself present during the tour and became friends with a lot of us.
The whole tour was incredible, from Dublin to Cork, to Kilkenny, but what stood out for me the most was Northern Ireland and Galway.
In Northern Ireland we had a guide named Ronan and he was absolutely phenomenal. It would be a crime if Contiki ever decided to pass on this tour, but I doubt they ever would. He is an absolute superstar, completely unbiased to either the Catholics or Protestants, and speaks only of fact and RARELY personal opinion. He speaks eloquently and with humour to keep the group engaged.
While all of Ireland is beautiful and historical, Northern Ireland has such a unique story and history that makes it very impacting.
Galway is such a beautiful town, a lot of the shop lined streets are decorated and pedestrian only, making it simple to navigate and safe to roam about, of course still using caution at your own discretion.
The hotels weren't the Bellagio, but a lot of them offered free wifi, breakfast, a place to shower and sleep which is definitely the essentials. There were only two hotels outside of the city, this being Derry (we all went and hung out at the hotel bar) and our last nights stay in Dublin (and the cab ride cost about 10 Euro solo!) so none of us were complaining.
I would EASILY recommend Contiki and this tour and only hope that someone else is lucky enough to have Michelle and Steve show them Ireland.
This tour was amazing, saw some amazing sites and met some great people. I would recommend this to anyone!
This was my first contiki and turned out to be an amazing trip! I was traveling alone so was a bit nervous in the beginning but the group really became like a family...I liked it so much that although I had originally signed up to do London to Rome, the last night I was in Rome, I decided to extend to ATHENS! The trip took me to all the places I was dying to see (Paris, Barcelona & Florence) and opened my mind to places I had not really known much about (French Riviera, Corfu). Our tour manager, Zac, & driver, Rui, were super informative and fun! I highly, highly recommend this trip!
I decided to take this tour as a starting point to see where I wanted to go back to in the UK (as I am now living in England for a couple of years). It was a great snapshot of the UK - we went to the best cities and I think the time spent in each was perfect. I loved everywhere we went but Dublin was the best - Wolverhampton was the best for cheap drinks (1 pound vouchers!) and the Aran Islands were just gorgeous - its an optional to go there for the day but its worth it, it did rain a little but we had a great time exploring and the day ended with lots of sunshine. Our tour manager, Glenn, and driver Nick, were fantastic - Glenn knew lots of history and interesting facts about everywhere we went and Nick was a great driver - I never felt sick once considering all of the small and winding roads in the UK. I tried (someone else's) haggis in Scotland - it was a weird experience! And all of the other food we had was pretty good - there was always a hot/cooked breakfast (which was great after a hangover!) and lunch was easy to find. I met some great people from all over the world and still keep in touch with them. There were only 2 faults with the tour - the first being I would of loved a stay in Wales - we only drove through from the port in Holyhead and I would of loved the tour to be longer! At least 3 weeks to see more places, hang out with my new friends and party!. Do it if you can!.
This holiday was amazing. It covered all the normal european must see places and some of the off the beaten track onse. I have to say this tour was well thought out and put togeather. Our driver and tour manager were amazing!!
I would recommend this tour, however it is a long one so be sure you have the stemina for it
It was the best thing i have ever done in my life, i travelled with my sister but yet made sooo many friends from around australia. We both had the time of our lives, our whole crew drank every night and was up bright and early for the bus the next day. Travelling on the busy across the country made it sooo much more fun, we played games and caught up on sleep. I would love to do it again, but worried that it would not come close to the adventure i have recently experienced. Must say though i am considering doing the Grand Northern next year!!!!! It is definately something that everyone under 35 should do in their life :)
this tour was so much fun and our tour guide Eileen was the BEST! the optionals were fantastic - the helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon and snow mobiling in Lake Tahoe were my favorite moments. Value for money... all the accommodation was clean and so well organized, the time spent on the bus was so much fun (and our bus driver Richard was UNREAL) 6 months on and im missing all contiki crew badly... the time spent on the bus were hilarious and everyone got along so well. favorite city was San Diego.
Of course it was fast paced 14 days across such a big country - would have loved to spend more time in certain places, but that's what is so good about doing this - now i know where i will go back and visit next time!
I know i've made friends and memories for life... have already booked my next contiki (I can't believe i ever thought contiki would not be for me)
*helpful hint; don't sit too close to Shamu at SeaWorld (unless u fancy getting seriously wet)
Fantastic tour, a great way to see Alice Springs to Darwin, covering all aspects of the Northern Territory, I love Contiki, great way to meet people and have lots of fun!!!!
I absolutely loved this trip! Even though I was worried about meeting people (I was the youngest: only 18!) I had an absolute blast! Mathieu, our guide, was hilarious and Genaro, our bus driver, was a total sweetheart even though he didn't speak any English. At first when I was booking this trip, I wasn't sure what to think or to believe all of the great reviews I seemed to be finding. But after going on this trip, I knew I made the right choice by choosing Contiki. The trip was amazing, the people I met and the friendships I made will stay with me forever.
If you book the London Explorer, keep in mind that it isn't really a tour. It's mostly just an accommodation package - you don't have a tour group or anything. With that said, I'm so glad I booked this as an add-on to my trip!
The open top bus tour was incredible. If it wasn't included, I absolutely would have paid for it, because it took me everywhere I wanted to go. It's great that you're able to buy tickets for a lot of the main attractions at the Contiki Basement; it definitely saves time and money. I was able to get in to both the Tower of London and the London Eye with very minimal wait times, which was awesome.
I wasn't expecting to have a roommate for this portion of my tour, but I did. It was a complete surprise, and we ended up spending all of our time together and becoming extremely close! That's the best part about Contiki, in my opinion... all of the amazing people you meet and become friends with.
Basically, if you want to spend some extra time in London, book this add-on tour. It gives you a place to stay, a few included extras, and maybe even a super cool roommate. :)
I had never done a contiki before and honestly it changed my life. This tour I think blows all the others away you get all of Europe that you want to see for the sights and also get 3 nights in Greece which are the best chilled out 3 days to just relax and have a beer/cocktail. It was great having 2 days in most countries didn't feel rushed to do and see things. This tour was a great mix of sightseeing and partying all rolled into one. You meet the most amazing people and new friends. I highly recommend this tour well worth every cent. I loved every second of my tour European contrasts 2012 cheeky monkeys for life and best tour manager Kat and best bus driver Raf can't forgot those cheeky monkeys too.
The whole trip was great! I'd definitely do it all over again. It was relaxed and we got a great feel of the cities. My 3 stars goes towards the tour manager, not the actual tour. He was a great guy but majority of the people on our tour had not been overseas before and we felt like our tour manager could have helped out a bit more in that sense.
(4 star). This tour is great for big cities on the eastern side of North America (Washington DC, Toronto, Montreal, Boston), and obviously everyone spends time in New York separate to the tour. There is necessarily a lot of American (and some Canadian) history covered on this tour and our guide, Ryan was very knowledgable in this regard. Included are a couple of special day stops at Arlington National Cemetry (the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was a sombre moving experience for me) and Gettysburg (American Civil War battlefield). The nightlife was a bit lacking especially in the early part of the tour but this is dependent on the places I guess. Toronto and Montreal were the best in terms of nightlife. The three hour Montreal bike tour optional was really worthwhile being a fun and efficient way to see the sights with a guide. You also get to keep your bicycle for the rest of the day and cycling the F1 Grand Prix track was one of my personal tour highlights. The group of 44 consisted of mostly Aussies with a good spread of ages.
I looked up all the hotels that Contiki booked before this trip and found that they all had one and two star reviews on Hotels.com and other review sites, this should have been a red flag for this trip. Everywhere we went the accommodations were very bad, the staff and the locals were very rude, everything was designed as a sales pitch. Honestly, many of the activities of this trip felt like timeshare weekend, they are really showing you the wine, or the leather, the glass blowing, etc. because they want you to buy it. I guess that's not really a bad thing, if these activities would have been a good experience. The problem is that the staff and the locals everywhere we went were very obvious with their disdain for us, whether that is due to the fact that we were foreigners or with Contiki I am not sure. The accommodations were all terrible, the staff resented us, no air conditioning, no internet, broken bathrooms, no amenities.. basically many hostels are better. On the first night the tour guide took us on a crowded bus in Rome, in which I did not want to go on, where I was subsequently pickpocketed, which crippled my finances for the rest of the trip. There was not proper warning given for the pickpocketing on the buses in Rome, something I would expect a tour guide to be aware of. It also takes some of the enjoyment away from seeing the sites, as the thieves frequent all those locations and you have to look out for them as much as looking at the sites. It should be known that pace of this trip is very grueling, expect little sleep as the night activities can go late and every morning there is a wake up call at 6 am to start the days activities. In my case this led to a fever and chills on the 5th day, as my "Contiki cough" was strengthened by my lack of sleep. This also complicated things as I had limited capability to get medicine or change the trip due to being pickpocketed. The bright spots of the trip was people I met and traveled with on Contiki, who were very nice and interesting, and the bus driver, who was really good.
I went on Aegean Classic in September 2011. This was my second Contiki Tour (European Magic, 2006 was my first) and I would have to say compared to my previous tour this one seemed a little harder to meet and bond with folks as you are on a larger cruise ship as opposed to a coach bus, so it will take a little more effort to make friends especially if you are travelling alone. I was not, but this is what I observed. This review was written mainly about the cruise and the activities while on board and on land. Anyway, here is my review. Enjoy!
Pre-night Athens - the dinner in Athens the night before was a good time and the only time you will get to meet as a full Contiki group (outside of meetings). I would recommend making an effort to attend this if you can.
I went on the Louis Majesty cruise to Crete, Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes, Patmos and Kusadasi Turkey from September 5-September 8th 2011 with a friend of mine. This was actually my very first cruise and I was impressed with the fact that it was international and I had a good time.
Embarking – You will need to turn in your passport for a passport receipt and boarding card which will then serve as your identification and you will need to use it to embark and disembark at the remaining ports.
Food – The food on the cruise is pretty decent. We dined at the Four Seasons, Café Royale and mainly and at the top of the deck. The desserts are a little subpar in the dining rooms, and the food is usually culturally aligned by night (greek, Italian, etc).
Bar- everyday there is a cocktail of the day for about 4 or 5 euros so I would recommend taking advantage of that. The cocktails were pretty good! In addition to the drink of the day, they also had happy hour specials (2 for 1) that I took advantage of. So combined with the drink of the day, happy hours and the option to purchase liquor at the cruise ship store, I did not see a value in the all you can drink option.
All you can drink purchaes plans – I did not take advantage of this special and I consider myself an avid drinker. The bottles of liquor on the ship are actually VERY well priced considering the convenience, so I took advantage of this and had a mini-bar in the room. They will not let you bring your own drinks in the disco but otherwise, I didn’t have a problem walking around with my own drinks. You will have plenty of opportunities to purchase the all you can drink option in the first couple of days while on the ship, so I would recommend waiting it out the first day to gauge your drinking level. Also, everyone in a cabin must sign up for the all you can drink package so make sure to confer with your partner first. You are not allowed to purchase by day and from whatever day you begin your cabin will have the feature from the day you leave. Does not include premium liquor, however you can purchase a premium liquor upgrade. You can also purchase a non-alcoholic all inclusive drinks package that includes soft drinks, fruit juices, coffees and teas, non-alcoholic cocktails, alcoholic free beer and mineral and sparkling water by the bottle.
Prices: Non-Alcoholic Package: 3 days – 44.85; 4-days – 59.80 Alcoholic Package: 3 days – 83.85 4-days -111.80 (euros). The drinks unlimited package averages about 27.95 per day and the non-alcoholic about 14.95 per day. ALL PRICES IN EUROS. If you wait to purchase on the second day, the prices will be reduced by about 15% of the prices stated above.
Ship Activities – I did not participate in any activities (except karaoke at the disco) but I wish I had. They had greek language lessons, salsa lessons, arts and crafts, bingo, yoga, trivia, casino, etc.
Islands – Crete was the most disappointing and Mykonos was the best, wish we had a longer time her. Once in Mykonos, you have to try the crepes, they are AMAZING! The best I have ever had. Patmos and Santorini are beautiful. A lot of biblical history in Patmos which made it very exciting.
Kusadasi – I recommend trying the Turkish apple tea. Very good. While shopping, bargain, bargain bargain! They also accept US dollars at the shops here, so I would recommend using those if possible. Of course you can’t go to turkey without browsing the fine carpets and rugs! There are plenty of shops in this area. I went on the Ephesus and House of Virgin Mary tour. It was a great tour, however, make sure to bring a hat as the sun is very strong and you are in open area for a couple of hours with no shade.
Internet – Very expensive! I would recommend leaving your electronics at home. 20 euros for one hour on board the ship.
Cash – Excursions are paid with cash on board the ship. Each island has an ATM, so I would recommend getting cash once you arrive on the island.
Patmos – In Patmos, we did the Scenic Island Tour, however, if I could change it up, I would select the Monastery of St. John tour instead. The Scenic Island Tour was ok and a majority of it was going around Patmos via coach bus.
Shopping – DO NOT SHOP UNTIL YOU GET TO RHODES! I was very disappointed in myself for accumulating so many souvenirs before I got here! The best island for shopping in my opinion. Pretty good variety and unique souvenirs.
Settling your Onboard account – I chose to settle my account with cash which worked great. The lines were surprisingly short and the transaction went quickly. If you choose to settle with a card, you will need to have a credit card on file and they will give you the bill before arrival in Athens. Once your account has been settled, you will need to pay cash from then on because they will not take credit on the last day.
Disembarking – There will be an announcement to pick up your passport before arrival into Athens. You will need to leave your suitcase outside of your door the last night on the ship so it can be picked up by staff. I made sure to purchase locks on my suitcase prior to leaving it out. Since we traveled in a group, our group leader brought colored ribbons so we could all identify our bags more quickly as a group. Pack an overnight bag with essentials and use this for the last night.
CABINS - Cabins are pretty small. We had a view of the ocean in our cabin and I couldn't imagine being totally enclosed. It was nice to look out of the window to get a sense of the weather when disembarking. However, housekeeping did a good job and always left the room spotless.
SHIP TOILETS: It is recommended in Greece not to flush toilet paper down the toilet, due to the fact that the drainage system is very narrow. You will see a mini trash in your room and this is for disposal of toilet paper, rather than putting it down the toilet. Interesting...
Excursions – If you book an excursion at a specific port, you will have to disembark usually very early. Passengers with excursion tickets are usually the first to disembark at each port by group. You will need to decide and pay for the tours by 4 p.m. the day of arrival on ship. Your contiki tour manager will provide more details regarding the excursions.
Athens – Avoid the Athens City Tour that will be presented as an excursion once you arrive back in Athens. This is a waste of money and you can easily get a good view of Athens from the double decker bus tours for half the price. If you are looking for somewhere to stay in Athens pre or post days, try the Plaka Hotel, great views of the Parthenon and reasonably priced! Great shoping on Ermou street and Monastraiki
This tour is honestly the most perfect way to explore Italy. It was so in depth and I left Italy feeling like I had properly explored the country and really got to experience the culture.
The day trip out to Capri from Sorrento is just incredible, one of my favourite places. I highly recommend doing the optional boat trip around the island. Jumping off the cute wooden boat into the gorgeous ocean was an awesome experience. Sorrento is so cool as well, explore the smaller side streets for local products and buy some limencello! The coastal towns of Cinque Terre are amazing as well.
The nightlife in Florence is incredible! The hotel was super close by as well so take advantage of this and have a crazy night out! Venice was just breathtaking and so surreal. Definitely go on the gondola ride for a true Venitian experience. Of course Rome was fascinating, its literally a walking muesum. You will enjoy every moment in this city. Throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain to increase your chances of returning to Italy!
The food is simply delicious too! Pizza from the Naples region is the best as they are famous for their tomatoes, so so yum.
Matt and Cornelius were the best crew anyone could ask for, so informative, cheeky and so much fun! Lots of Aussies on my tour and we all got along so well and had a blast.
This was the perfect Italian experience that I'll never forget!
I can say without a doubt that this was the best two weeks of my life. This tour has so many things to offer, from rich incredible history, amazing unique experiences, visiting fascinating places and amazing nightlife and parties every night! It is truly the perfect mix of culture and fun.
The accommodation was really nice and usually reasonably close to the city squares, especially in Krakow (really great underground cave bar there, check it out!) Budapest, Prague and Krakow were my favourite cities. This tour had so much partying and something exciting happening every night which was the best for adventurous people like me.The pub crawl is Prague was INSANE. I don't actually remember most of that night except it was so much fun! The nightlife in Eastern Europe is crazy so get amongst it!
Going to Auschwitz Concentration Camp was a once in a lifetime opportunity and was truly eye-opening, I'll never forget it. You will learn so much history about the Berlin Wall and World War II which is still so evident in all the cities. Learning so much was a true highlight of this tour for me. The cuisine was so delicious (especially Hungarian goulash) and the optional dinners were the best experiences to have a great night with your contiki mates and try new dishes.
Petula and Angela were our brilliant tour guides, easy going, so much fun and energetic, and full of knowledge. I had the best time with a great group of people from a variety of ages and cultural backgrounds.
I would definitely recommend this tour because it is the perfect way to discover Eastern Europe. I wouldn't change a thing!
Grand Northern was AMAZING! The hotels we stayed at were good, most of the optionals were great. Our tour mates were killer and I would totally reccomend it! Its a good party / sight seeing ratio.
We have got the best photos and even better memories ;)
Amazing place & amazing people! Did all the optionals and they were so worth it! If I could do it again the only thing I would change is I would spend a few extra days on Ios at the end :)