Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
Dont think about it just do it :-) Thats the advise I would offer to anyone considering this tour, It offers value for money and an unforgettable lifetime experience. I have to say I was a tad bit skeptical after reading some not so nice reviews about Contiki tours, I have to say having experienced it for myself i survived and would most definitely do a Contiki again, maybe its because we had an Amazing Tour Manager Danny Steenkamp and a Super Awesome driver Patrice and the amazing people that made our group what it was, We were like one big happy family. There are memories to be cherished for a lifetime :-) Things I would alert you to is that you budget for entrance to tourist sites Like Colosseum and the Eiffel Tower, These are not included in the tour and they are optionals as seperate to your Contiki. Meals you should budget around 10 to 20 Euros for lunch, you are able to buy snacks at every service station. Pringles, M&M's plenty. Dont forget comfy shoes and drink lots of water you will get dehydrated and most importantly increase your Vitamin intake when doing a Cotiki, Take flu & cold tablets with you, It is inevitable that you will get the Contiki cold / cough. Accommodation was ok, it was livable and for the most part you to tired to realize you not in the lap of luxury, go with the flow - Are you there to sleep or to take in new experiences. Make sure you do all the optionals, so worth it you dont want to regret it later. Travel opens your mind to so many experiences, cherish each moment this truly is the best of Europe ;-) Contiki European Highlights 10 - 23 September 2012 - You guys Rocked - Thank you!!
Great tour! Fast paced so be ready for a crazy 14days. Partied all night and slept on the bus all day. Be prepared to drink copious amounts of wine as the Italian and French love it!
We visited every country and although at times it felt like we were flying by the seat of our pants everything we got to see and experience was great.
I definitely recommend doing the optionals. Contiki has picked some of the best things to do in the different countries, and although for some people it may be a bit boring, like just a dinner in Florence, it is well worth the money.
If you don't want to do the optionals the crew are awesome people and will advise you on whatever you want to know. They know the best bars, clubs, restaurants, sightseeing areas, monuments, statues, etc in the area. Things to do and places to see.
Accommodation for some seemed to be not fancy enough. Personally, I was there to see Europe, not hang out in a hotel room. The accommodation was just fine.
We usually ate local food and they were all good wholesome meals. And breakfast seemed pretty standardized across the sites. Nothing fancy but fitting for all tastes.
The crew would always go above and beyond to ensure that everyone was having a great time. If you had special requests they would see if it was at all possible to accomplish them.
The coach was very comfortable. I did some solo travel after the tour and it was far less comfortable.
All the people on tour were friendly, and although not all of us may have gotten along, we were civil to each other and by the end of the nights were all dancing in one crazy group. Contiki is the time to leave any prejudice and pet hates aside and just enjoy the people for who they are.
I really loved Austria, I'm more an adventure/ outdoor sort of person and Austria was just packed with Mountain Bike ride, Paragliding and White Water Rafting.
I did enjoy the cities, walking, shopping and seeing all the ancient architecture.
This tour had an even mix of everything on the tour. There was shopping, adventure, walking tours, cultural viewing and plenty of group bonding.
I would absolutely recommend this tour to everyone who wanted a quick view of some of the most popular sites. This tour has let me taste all those infamous sites that everyone raves on about wanting to seeing (Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, etc). And has given me a basic idea of what I want to go back and re-visit, and explore further.
This is the most amazing tour. Having two nights in each city is really great and gives you more time to see the city. Lee was our tour manager and Kev our tour driver, both were the best anyone could ask for. I am a coeliac and had no problems with finding gluten free food on this tour. There is absolutely nothing I would change about this tour, I had the time of my life. No regrets.
Was an awesome trip! Travelling on the bus from London was long & horrible (especially on the way home) lol.. make sure you take a travel pillow. Lots of Ozzies on our tour. We didn't do any of the optional extras as wanted to spend all our time at the festival. Tents were fine, though it got really cold of a night.
The beer tents fill up quickly though this is a great way to join random tables and meet new people!! Make sure you do buy costumes because you will feel left out when everyone else is dressed up! We had a wheres wally day and that was great fun!
I know people from our trip that went again this year and didn't have as much fun as we did last yr. I think its a destination that you go to once.. have the time of your life and thats it :)
From the pre-tour meeting until the last goodbyes was an all round life changing experience! The tour made the holiday an ease with no stress about having to book accommodation or worry about how to get from place to place. The contiki campsites were mostly modern and meeting the contiki crew and other contiki groups was brilliant - I never thought I would have so much fun washing dishes after the groups meals or enjoy getting up early to move onto the next stop! It was great to see the main cities that truly are the highlights of Europe, a continent that one mustn't go through life without experiencing. Being on tour with other similar age and like minded travellers with a keen sense of adventure and energy to see everything possible within this fast paced tour. Being on tour is like travelling with a bunch of old friends that you didn't know you had who make the good times amazing and the mishaps even better! even today, we remain in contact and visit fellow tour mates who have now become lifelong friends. Our tour manager was excellent and the bus driver just as good! Their insight and endless stories were entertainment in themselves! The optionals were reasonably priced and the people who didnt do these later regretted it. the food didnt differ too much from home consisting of steak and salad one night to lasagne or pizza the next. There really is no need to think about doing this tour......just go on and do it!!!!
This tour was amazing!! Our tour guide knew everything about everywhere!! Great as a taster of Europe. Spent about 2 days in each place, just enough time to see most things. When food was not included, our tour guide pointed us (or dined with us) in the most amazing local spots. Made many friends of whom I still keep in contact with. I recommend everyone to go on this tour!! Best holiday yet! =]
Had such an amazing time meeting so many beautiful people and seeing so many amazing coutries..Contiki is defs the way to go if you want value for money.This was my second contiki and i was no dissapointed.Good work Contiki..Its hard to name your highlights when there were just so many but one ill never forget was paragliding in Austria,the view and moment was just perfect.Would defs recommend the Whirl for any peeps travelling to Europe.
Previous to this tour I had gone on one other Contiki tour, Spotlight on Greece, but that tour was 4 nights, 5 days long, a very short tour and I felt like I wanted to have more of a Contiki experience. I decided to go ahead and book myself a spot on the European Whirl. I went on my tour at the beginning of May, and let me just say that I feel May was a pretty good time to go because the weather is starting to improve, but because it isn't technically summer yet, the main touristy cities aren't too packed (they're still crowded, just not as much as it would be in the main summer season).
I was pleased with the amount of places this tour took us, we even got to check out Czech Republic and see the beautiful city of Prague (which was one of my top cities we saw on this tour). I will say that if you are interested in checking out what London has to offer, plan on staying in London a few days (1-2) before the actual tour starts. Although the tour begins in London, it doesn't include it. So if you want to check out the main sights in London like Big Ben and Tower Bridge, book your flights to arrive early. I arrived one day early and was able to spend a full day and a half before the tour started, sight-seeing and checking out London! I even booked my accommodation at the hotel recommended by Contiki, and shared a room with a girl who just so happened to be on the same tour I was on. It was great to meet another woman who was travelling alone, and it was a bonus that she happened to be on my same tour!
Our tour was full! 51 people including myself, mostly Canadian's and Australians but there were some New Zealanders and Americans too. Our tour guide was American and our bus driver was from Australia. It was a great mix of people, and by the end of the trip we were all referring to each other as our 'Contiki Family'. I feel like the length of the tour enabled us to properly get to know one another, and close bonds were definitely formed.
I felt the length of the tour was good. I did end up getting sick after 10 days into the tour. It was pretty awful, but I tried to make the best of it and still soak in everything we were seeing. My number one recommendation is bring cough medicine, even if you don't get sick you can share it with someone else on your tour that is. I suggest bringing a day pill, so you don't get drowsy and a night pill, so you can sleep. I ran out of my medicine I had brought from home and really had a hard time finding medicine in the cities I was in that actually helped me (not to mention it can get expensive trying to find proper medicine for your needs as well as the language barrier depending on what country you’re in when you do run out of medicine). Your body is used to the medicine you have at home, so I would stick to that and maybe double up on how much you bring, just in case. I also recommend nausea prevention pills, like ginger Gravol, cause it helps when you're feeling sick (nauseous) on the coach the next day after a long night of partying, or if you just get car sick. I mentioned ‘ginger’ Gravol specifically because that type of Gravol doesn’t make you drowsy like the normal kind does, so you’ll still be able to soak in the sights during the day without feeling like you want to fall over and sleep. Most people on my tour did get sick. Most of the time people get sick and don’t have a chance to get better because you get back on the bus for hours, where 10 other people are sick, and you eventually get sick again. The common symptoms were coughing, lots of mucous/phlegm (gross), sore throats and you lost your voice. Unfortunately for me, I lost my voice in Florence, the one night that we just so happened to have a karaoke party night. I think it’s helpful to tell you the symptoms so you can plan what type of medicine you want to bring before you leave home!
Now's the time to mention that Yes, you will be travelling on a coach/bus for most of this tour. Driving is how you get to each country. Your tour manager will plan some activities you can do to make the time pass by faster, but not all the time. Most people tried to sleep, as this tour has early mornings and long nights. If you can't sleep in a moving vehicle, make sure you bring something to keep you occupied while on the bus so you don’t die from boredom. I was so thankful I had brought my iPod with me, I listened to my own music and it helped pass the time. I was also VERY thankful I had brought one of those neck pillows you see people use on airplanes. Although the bus seats do recline back, it's limited how much you can recline without annoying the person sitting behind you. The seats can get uncomfortable after awhile, so if you plan to sleep on the long drives, that neck pillow will save you from discomfort and it helped me out more times than I can count. I would say that it’s a must to bring an outlet adapter. Depending on if you’re from North America (Canada and USA) or Australia, you need an adapter. The outlets on the coach/bus and in the hostels you’ll be staying at are standard European outlets, so you need an adapter to plug your chargers in so you can charge your phones/iPods/cameras.
The accommodations for this tour was good! Keep in mind that this tour is a budget tour. Don’t expect fancy hotels with room service. You get what you pay for. The hostels in Berlin and Prague were probably the best. The beds were comfy and yes, most of the time, if not always, the beds are bunk beds, so you will be sleeping top or bottom bunk. For the majority of the trip it’s four people to a room. Girls stay in separate rooms from the guys, except couples will get their own rooms. So it’ll be 4 girls to a room, 4 guys to a room. The rooms themselves aren’t bad, it’s just the location that kindof sucks. To keep the price down, you’ll notice that the hostels you’ll stay in aren’t near the main attractions. This makes total sense, because the closer you get to the touristy areas, the higher the costs for everything. Be open to catching public transportation to make your way to the touristy spots. Your tour manager will provide you with help and local maps so you have an idea of what/where to go. Face the fact that at one point, you will get lost. Try hang out in groups so you’re not lost alone. Getting lost with a group of people is much more fun than getting lost by yourself. This is a dominantly social tour, so being social and making friends is very important and is a major part of the experience. Getting lost isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I got lost so many times with people, and we saw more of the city that way and got ourselves into quite the fun adventures. Those are the times you’ll remember the most….I had quite the amazing adventure getting lost with friends in Prague….
I went into this tour knowing that I was planning on doing most, if not all of the optional excursions. I pretty much did every optional, except the one for Switzerland, as I was so sick by then, I couldn't muster the energy to go. My top optional excursions that I'm so happy I did are: the bike ride in Edam, the Amsterdam and Berlin pub crawls, the mountain biking and paragliding in Austria, the walking tour in Venice and the ‘last-night’ activities in Paris (it’s your last night to party and celebrate with your new friends, soak it all in!). The optional excursions I would say you could skip include: the walking tour in Berlin, the canal cruise in Prague and the Chinese restaurant that floats on the water in Amsterdam. They were okay, but nothing amazing happened on them and I would have saved some money if I skipped them. I would say the worst was the walking tour in Berlin. The guide we had didn’t use a mic or anything, so if you weren’t always at the front of the group, you couldn’t hear what she was saying. Most people on that walking tour ditched after awhile and did their own thing. If you’re feeling nervous about paragliding, don’t! It’s amazing and it’s probably the most memorable thing I did on that tour. I loved it! Words can’t explain the feeling of flying in the air, with beautiful scenic Austria below your feet.
Planning a budget for this tour was difficult for me. I knew I liked to shop, and I knew I’d be out partying, and I knew that quite a bit of our meals we had to cover on our own. So what I did was set aside enough Euros’ to cover all the optional excursions. If when I was on the tour, I ended up not going on an excursion, I’d have that saved untouched money to spend on something else. If you’re a partier: I spent quite a bit of money on alcohol alone, so plan to have a budget set aside for drinking nights alone. Drinks average to about 7 Euros and up in most cities (Except Prague, Prague has a different currency and everything was cheap there!). If you’re a shopper: Save your shopping for Prague. The currency is super cheap and since that city is sustained on tourism pretty much, they’ll appreciate you for spending your money there. I also noticed that a lot of people bought loads of souvenirs in Venice. There’s just something magical about that awesome floating city that makes people want to open their wallets.
I think I covered most things! Just soak it all in, even if you do get sick, and make
connections with your tour mates as much as possible. The tour is over now, but I still keep in touch with my ‘Contiki Family’ through Facebook. When I make travel plans, I contact them to see if they want to join, and most often than not, some of them will! Contiki is filled with people who have a passion for travelling, which is exactly why I love it so much, because that’s just how I am. I would totally recommend this tour, especially if you’re new to Contiki and want a taste of what Europe has to offer!
I have just returned from 14 days away with some of the greatest ppl I have ever met!! We started the tour as strangers and ended as great friends. Our Contiki crew was amazing! they worked hard every day of our tour to ensure that we all had the best time and arrived safely! Our tour manager was Dane, who was hilarious and full of energy! Pete was our bus driver and was also full of jokes!
we saw more in 12 days than I could have imagined. there was no favourite part of the trip becuase it was all unbelievable!!!!
I ate amazing local cuisine that came recommended by our tour manager! although I likely gained 10lbs.... it was totally worth it!!
thank you Conitiki!!!!
I just arrived from the 9 day Ireland tour and what an amazing trip!! Contiki you yet again have exceeded my expectations. We made it out to Dublin, Cork, Kilkenny, and the Aran Islands to name a few. These trips are a two for one package because I feel as if after every tour I come back with another stamp in the passport but more importantly the friends that you come back with! Melts my heart!! :)
This tour was amazing. I couldn't of asked for anything better. My tour manager and bus driver were awesome and so helpful. I got to see everything that i wanted to, plus so much more with thanks to the optional extras.
We had so much fun everywhere we went. I made some awesome friends and met some amazing people.
I would recommend this trip to anyone who wants to get a taste of Europe!
The accomodation was great, quad share most of the time and you got to choose who you roomed with. Contiki sites were great! The food was delicious and they can organise to cater for nearly any diet.
Definately one of the best ways to go about it and cheapest. Contiki are awesome!
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)