Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
This tour is definitely worth the money! You get to stay in hotels for the whole tour, some were amazing some not so (e.g. the jail hotel in Lucerne) but you will be out exploring Europe for most of the day anyways so the hotels are just for sleeping. They all have good bathrooms and warm showers so you can look forward to that too at the end of your adventures.
In terms of optionals i know wish i had done them all but because i wanted to save money i skipped a couple but found i could have paid for all of them because i ended up going home with quite a bit of extra money. I don't recommend the Venice walking tour because you can find amazing little parts of the city on your own without the guide and i didn't like the swiss fondue lunch that much but the entertainment was pretty funny and all of the people on your tour make it feel worth it!
Included food was great for the most part, get used to eating chicken for dinner on these nights! But you can always grab a bite to eat while you are out in the cities!
The coach we had was super new so it was so nice and comfy to sleep on for those long driving days, and our Tour Manager Lee and our driver Patrice were the BOMB! They made the trip so much fun and i will always love them for that!
In most of the cities you have to catch the metro to get around but its not too bad just get used to reading maps and asking for directions if you need help. You also get mostly 1 full day in the cities and if you get there early enough you may have 1 and a half days to go around, which is plenty if its your first trip because you then can decide where you want to go back later on in life.
I loved the cruise even though it was pretty short and the time spent on the islands was not long enough for me! The food and crew on the cruise were amazing and they feed you delicious food at the buffet. i also suggest getting the 80 Euro (that's the price it was when i went) unlimited drinks package because you get alcohol, water, juice, smoothies etc included in that for the duration of the cruise so you don't have to worry about overspending on the drinks while you party!
I would do this tour again in a heartbeat with no changes even if there were a few bumps along the road, nonetheless it is an awesome tour that you will enjoy and have fond memories of because the people you tour with are amazing as well and they will be there forever!
If you want specific details about the tour check out my travel blog, it has daily recounts of what i did on this tour in June/July 2013 (summer):
Happy travelling! x
The tour was sub par it was rushed to much. Free time was like 4hrs. A day to do what u want then u had to go on some lame ghost tour or walking city tour then the manager would tell u where to eat (so they get kick backs). All the meals are basic cheap meals boiled ham and taters and cream on everything never any vegetables. Good luck trying to eat healthy it's truck stop food all the time. Every night the manager would try to get everyone out to get drunk and majority did and if you don't you kinda miss out on connecting with everyone. You spend about 7+ hrs on the bus each day many of the sights they claim u get to see you are on the bus having to snap pics through a window... most the add on activities are lame once u seen a few castles it gets boring fast there's not much to see in them. the farewell dinners are way over priced and again basic. You get to 'see a lot yes'. But you get to experience the culture and locals very little. And the end when you fill out your sheet about the trip the manager basically makes you feel like you have give 10 to everything and keeps stressing to tip them 20 pound n 20 for driver :/
Let's start out by saying this tour is awesome!
Wanna see this tour in action?
Check out my Contiki Thai Island Hopper West travel vlog here!
Thailand Contiki Vlog:
The activities that you have the opportunity to go on as optional are awesome and didn't disappoint. The length of the tour was good, but I would have been happy if it was even a few days longer! Was sad to have it end.
The snorkeling boat tours were the best, Thailand is just so picture perfect. The atmosphere in Thailand is somewhat touristy now, but it is what it is. Patong Beach in Phuket, Thailand is something you just have to experience at some point in your life (Ping pong show, anyone? No? Didn't think so...).
Southeast Asia is amazingly beautiful. Thai people are generally kind and polite and that's what makes this trip even better, is the locals who make it special. Most of my tour mates where either South African or Canadian, some Kiwis and a few Aussies.
The tour dates I went on included New Years Eve which was an incredible experience. The parties, especially the beach party in Koh Phi Phi didn't disappoint...fluro body painting happened, people jumped through hoops of fire, crazy drunken adventures took place. It didn't disappoint.
One suggestion would be to shorten the time in Patong and lengthen the time spent in Koh Phi Phi...that island is just surreal and amazing.
Our tour manager was great, she took care of the fine details and ensured our holiday was smooth, but she also came out with us and partied which was great. Nobody was injured (even with jumping through hoops of fire) and nobody was lost (another tour running the same time as ours actually lost a person for a few hours before he showed up at Lucky Chengs).
The weather was amazing, sun shining every day, the friends we made on the tour were great. Overall a really awesome tour that gave me memories to last a lifetime. Great for relaxing, sitting back on the beach and being out in the ocean and sun.
I loved this trip! I was a little nervous going a far ways from home and by myself for the first time but I am so happy I did. Our tour guide was so friendly and super organized and always had things for us to do on our spare time. The group I traveled with was a lot of fun and felt more like a little family traveling around. For only being 10 days you see so much of the country and it's history but, I would recommend a longer tour if you wanted to see more and get lots of traveling in. But all in all this was a great trip and would recommend it to anybody wanting to visit Vietnam :)
This tour was good even though it only went for a few days. Lots of things you get to do and see in a short time and lots of new people to meet (did this tour by myself). New Years was unorganised though, our group didnt get to the venue until late and all the other groups were already there. The venue was average. Would prefer to be right in Times Square for NYE next time.
I had an incredible time on this Contiki, it was my first proper Contiki experience that I did by myself, and my first time in America. I met some friends for life and saw so many amazing things and experiences. Highlights are definitely Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Lake Tahoe and San Francisco. Definitely live every day and night to the fullest on Contiki because it is so sad at the end saying goodbye to everyone and you don't want to have any regrets. If you are planning on heading straight home once its finished book your flight a few days later because you might want to go back to your favourite spot with your new friends. I wish the time was longer in Vegas and San Fran as they were so much fun, would definitely go back!
If you are a solo traveller and don't want to organise everything yourself - this trip is perfect for you! All your buses up to the mountain are included, your ski passes, breakfast every morning and your accommodation which makes this a whole lot easier.
If you are thinking of doing this tour, it is well worth it!! We saw so much, did a walking tour of the city, saw a live Irish band and Irish Dancing, amazing Irish food and partied the night away on St Paddy's day and much, much more. Met some awesome people!! It is a very quick snippet of Dublin, so I did stay longer. But overall I would definitely recommend this tour!!
I absolutely enjoyed the European tour was fast but you got a taste of each country in the amount of time you had, saw all the big attractions without huge crowds. Accommodation was brilliant, food was varied and culturally diverse. We had an awesome bunch of people on tour was like one big family, sad to finish the tour. But big thumbs up to Johnny our driver and Matt out tour guide, couldn't have asked for better people to take us around Europe.
Thanks Heaps for a tour of a lifetime!!
I would have to say the big chill tour was the most amazing thing I have ever done! The people I got experience it with were fantastic. Our coach driver Ricardo our tour manager Trent and our on road cook Boyd were the absolute best team a 40 something group could ask for.
I would recommend this tour to anyone! I have to admit I was unlucky in getting very sick with bronchitis through half of it but I did not let it get me down. I still had the most amazing time!
If you are hesitating. DONT!!! It's awesome. Turkey was awesome. Didn't. Like Albania or places like it but still a great experience. Wouldn't change it for the world.
Have fun guys if u decide to go.
My boyfriend and I literally had the best time of our lives. This tour was great, we got to see so much and experience an amazing European winter! Heads up the included meals aren't the best but they're decent for what you pay for. We did almost all of the optionals so make sure you budget for the extras. Our tour guide Jamie was amazing she was so dedicated and helpful. Our bus driver was awesome too, he was the best driver. Our hotels were decent and mostly central to everything. We met such great people too. It really packed so much into the time we had and we were able to get the most out of our holiday. Would recommend this tour to anyone!
This trip was everything I had hoped for and more. It was my first time leaving the states and I was traveling alone so needless to say, I was a little nervous. From the time we met up with our Contiki group, the good times started rolling. Ebony, our Tour Manager, was AWESOME! She was so helpful and very clear about what to expect in regards to how things were going to work with times, hotels, travel, etc. Marco, our driver, was equally awesome! I don't know how he did it but he managed to make it through the craziest driving conditions without so much as a knick on the coach. He even took a detour not included on our tour so we could visit the Disney castle in Germany on our way to Venice! They both made it extremely easy to enjoy my vacation without worrying about the little things. Ebony knew a lot about the cities we were visiting and would recommend things to see and places to eat. She was so fun yet professional and I don't think anyone could have done a better job!
I did all the Optionals except for the Eye Spy in Berlin. I was told it was a good time though! I probably wouldn't do the Fondue lunch again in Switzerland but it was always fun having meals with most of my tour mates. Mt Pilatus is a must and so is the walking tour of Berlin. Our local travel guides were very cool.
I could not have lucked out with a better group of people to travel Europe with. The people in my group were from the US, Mexico, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
We also lucked out weather wise. I was expecting it to be a little chillier but most days, a light jacket would suffice (except at the top of Mt Pilatus!). I had to buy t-shirts and tanks in Prague because I mainly packed long sleeve shirts. So glad I went in March/April because I didn't feel like there were too many tourists. Italy would have been jam packed if it was summer time!
Hands down it was one of the best vacations I've ever taken. Not only was it amazing to see the beautiful sites and get immersed in the history of Europe, it was great to meet people from all over that will become lifelong friends. It was worth every penny and every minute away from home. It definitely was an experience I'll never forget and will think about often.
An absolutely fantastic tour, full of spectacular landscapes and legendary travel-mates. Go by yourself, each of us in the group of 20 were by ourselves, and had the best fun hanging out, having heaps of laughs... Everyone was so positive and fun and so was the tour manager and driver! The sites you'll see are like no other. It's a relatively active Contiki tour and there are a few hot and tiring hikes. But you feel on top of the world afterwards! And you can opt out of those walks if you don't have the fitness levels. Get excited about the bushtucker tour, sleeping under the stars and the reptile park!
Do it. Go. Get off your couch and book now!!! No regrets!!!
Had a few misgivings with this tour:
The hotel in Paris is in a "ghetto" (the words of our tour manager, not mine). There were nightly gatherings of hundreds of what he referred to as "gypsies" outside the hotel every night.
We were made to pay for what was supposed to be our included meal (duck, escargot, etc), and then given dry chicken as our "included dinner" instead.
New Year's Eve in Paris is very dangerous. Contiki will not provide transportation on that night (not surprising because it's impossible for traffic to move with literally thousands of drunk people clogging the streets like a mob). There are no fireworks at Eiffel Tower, just the sparkle lights that happen every night, on the hour. Don't expect to be able to get back to the hotel before 4 AM.
Two drunk men harassed our entire floor in my hotel until early morning hours by screaming and trying to open all the doors. There was no phone in the room with which to call the front desk; very scary.
This was one of the best things I have ever done, met the most craziest group of people and travelled some of the most beautiful places in the world. ONE WORD: PARADISE BEACH. one of the best days of my life! mykonos and iOS nightlife is crazy, especially the first night in mykonos the bar crawl will leave you with a sore head the next day! tour guides were brilliant, knew so much, very informative and VERY crazy! santorini was beautiful, unfortunately i was unwell but i have been unwell in worse places to say the least!
This tour was more that was I was expecting, if you want to travel, eat amazing food, meet crazy people while partying in the most beautiful places in the world this is the tour for you!!
This trip was the best decision I have ever made. Having never been to Europe before, I wanted to see and do as much as possible. Contrasts let me do that! It was a little crazy at times because it was a fast paced trip but I still loved every minute of it. On top of getting to see and do so much, our contiki group was amazing and our tour guide and bus driver were amazing. My suggestion for anyone looking in to the trip is to give yourself a fair amount of time after the tour is completed to do some more travelling. My one regret is not being able to extend my vacation and spend more time with some of the best people I've ever met.
Love, love, loved this tour!! Being a first time contiki traveller I wasn't sure what to expect, but our crew were fantastic and our group was like a big happy family!! All the optionals were well worth doing! Our tour manager even sourced out extra activities for us to do (e.g. football game), going above and beyond her contiki duties. The accommodation and food were great, especially in Barcelona! However, we spent minimal time in our accommodation and maximum time seeing the sights and checking out the local night life. A downfall was that the tour was so jam packed, you didn't always get to see everything you'd like to. But all the more reason to come back to Europe! 10/10 experience!
Throughout the entire trip 2 of us were bullied, purely because of immature bitchiness. because we were excluded and made to feel as though we were not welcome, we chose not to show up for alot of the me time optionals that we had paid for. our tour guide refused to refund us and did nothing to support us through this situation. we also found that many of the me time optionals are grossly over priced and always under delivered. buy tickets on your own from the locals. i have a photo of the mozart prices offered .. front row in a theatre with a 3 course meal for 56 euro, we paid contiki $63 euro for a cheap and nasty meal then went to a hall that had a white sheet over the stage and some fold out chairs lined up. soooooo dodgy. to make it worse we were told to dress up in a room full of tourists wearing sneakers and visers. this tour was a joke ! and an absolute waste of money ! hotels are all so far out of town and the food provided is HORRIBLE ! you can do the same trip for half the price on your own and have a much better time ! tour guide isnt even qualified to guide and on walking tours we had to pretend it was our guides birthday, to avoid a fine we were told to break out in "happy birthday" if somebody was behind us. NEVER AGAIN. # YOU WILL REGRET ! they are lucky i do not take it further. you dont get to experience the countries. your on a bus all the time or at a hotel in the middle of nowhere or at an overpriced activity. I WANT MY MONEY BACK !
I previously did Contiki in Europe in 2012 and enjoyed it. So I decided for my 21st birthday I would embark on a Vietnam contiki trip. Best decision I have ever made! Tour manager Danny was brilliant really knew his stuff and he was so much fun. He was really organised and the trip went smoothly. We had a lot of spare time and fun activities. Asia contiki is so much more relaxed. I was lucky enough to spend my 21st birthday in Halong Bay, with surprise birthday cake on the boat! I couldn't have asked for a better trip. Great people, food, culture, places, things to see :)
Nha Trang, Hoi An and Halong Bay are definite highlights. Be prepared to eat lots of food :)
Make sure you check out the Green Chilli restaurant in Hoi An- great food and the chef is hilarious :)
I am a 24 year old female who loves to take trips on group tours, such like contiki. I love the people on the trips, I love the itineraries, and I love the experience of them. I recently went on a trip in February to do the Argentina and Brazilian Experience. I was really disappointed with the guide. The trip itself was good, but the guide was not great. This was the first time I had experienced this with Contiki. She was biased towards liking the men on the trip more then the woman. I once asked her a question and she told me I should've been listening and I asked one of the guys to ask her the same question and she responded right away while flirting with him. She didn't know any information that every question we asked her she didn't know the answer-and that's ok because I don't expect tour guides to know everything, but she didn't even go out of her way to find out the answer. Most of the time we were doing our own research and asking other people for information. She didn't seem interested in even being on the trip. One of the girls on the trip felt like she was going to faint because we hadn't stopped for food and the tour guide made a huge deal about having to stop for food and that it was really inconvenient. The girl who was ready to faint said "that's ok I'm just going to faint then don't worry about me" and the guide was like "ok lets keep going then." Thank goodness for great people on the trip otherwise it would've been a really unpleasant experience. I know there are quite a few people who are still writing their complaints about her. I am already looking at new Contiki trips, but I don't think I got my moneys worth by having her as a guide. We did have some trip delays. It was a 10 day trip and we spent one day in the airport and spent 2 extra nights in Argentina which set back everything else on the tour and minimized our time everywhere therein after. It is understandable and I don't hold her accountable, but having a bad guide on top made the situation rough.
When i got home i wrote contiki a complaint and it took them about 1 month to respond. They defended to tour guide and only offered 5% off my next tour. Very in sincere and does not help the waisted money and energy that i spent going on that tour. Next time i recommend EF COLLEGE BREAK TOUR COMPANY!!!!!