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I had the best time of my life during the European Experience... My whole group was fantastic and have made some friends for life.. You need to do all the optionals.. Your only there once so try everything. Austria & the Swiss Alps are the 2 most beautiful countries. I wish we had spent more time there! One of the best nights out was Nouvelle Eve Cabaret show! Best optional without a doubt was the White water rafting & paragliding in Austria.. Try as much of the local foods as possible.

  • nachute Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 1 Country

This trip was through a Prodive company located in Cairns, Queensland. After about 20 minutes of being on the boat I quickly realized I was the only one snorkelling. The rest of the individuals were diving or completing their diving certificate. I was a little concerned with this at first. I had a few divers come snorkelling with me one time, which was fun. I also paid 50 dollars and went diving with an instructor twice. This was absolutely amazing. I would recommend diving over snorkelling if you have the opportunity, but snorkelling was so amazing in itself and the staff and food was amazing. Every time we got out of the water there was food waiting for us!
Unfortunately the weather was not the best, so we sat inside the boat when we weren't in the water, but there was definitely enough room for everyone to fit comfortably and be social!

Was GREAT FUN! Meet lots of people, but wish i had done the larger tour and visited more countries, CAN'T GET ENOUGH!!

My Contiki was: Amazing, Hot, Fun

  • Jason Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 10 Countries

Thank you to the best tour manager and coach driver Garai and Mark for making this experience so memorable. We loved ever moment of the tour and we gained so much knowledge from Mark and Garai. I will recommend you two to anyone who asks!!! Thank you.

My Contiki was: Fantastic, memorable

  • renee Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 1 Country

I completed this tour in June of 2012, and it was the best experience I have ever had.

Our tour guide Jon was outstanding, he was like the father of our contiki family.

Every place we visited was amazing, the accommodation was great, the food was great, the add-ons were excellent and the night-life was amazing.

Speed-boating and the Zoo in San Deigo, Ballooning in Arizona, Hiking the Canyon and the Yosemite ranges and Biking in San Francisco are all optionals that I completed that I can highly recommend, along with the Helicopter over the Canyon (which I didn't participate in but heard amazing reviews about).

You think the Grand Canyon is beautiful, you should see the jaw-dropping sights at the Yosemite Ranges, and you think you will have a hangover from Vegas, wait till you party at Bass Lake.

I recommend that everyone pay for the "Contiki Surprise" as it was also well worth it.

The 50+ people on this tour started off as strangers to me, but are now part of my contiki family - or the "contiki dream-team", and I have ensured to keep in contact with these people as I now consider them to be friends that I will have for life.

Anyone considering doing this tour should go ahead and book, I can guarantee that you will thoroughly enjoy each minute spent on this trip.

One thing that I can also recommend is after you hike the Yosemite Ranges and you head back to Bass Lake - hire a boat or a jet ski and enjoy your time at the lake, it is very reasonably priced and no licences are required. Along with that, enjoy a swim in the lake after sunset - it is beautiful.

My Contiki was: amazing, jaw-dropping, perfect

  • alsrmt Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 4 Countries

This tour was fantastic and our tour manager Laura was great!! The hotels were decent, basically you can't expect much in Europe (twin beds pushed together, tiny rooms sometimes you have air and sometimes you don't lol) but they were all clean and in great locations close to transit or city centers. On our free day we spent a day on a wine tour in Tuscany with darkrome tours it was fantastic and I recommended Contiki add it as an optional because it was one of our best days, as for the guided tours we had a really good guide Peitro in Rome but to be honest you may want to do what another couple did and download an app with all the history on an ipod or tablet or walk around with a guide book (Rick steves Europe is great) only because when you are on the tour you can feel as though your pushed through I felt this way in Pompeii and at the Akropolis and if your like me you may want to explore it on your own time spending longer in some areas, the great thing about Contiki is you can do as little or as much with the tour as you want so if you go on your own its no big deal other then you have to get back to the hotel on your own just let your tour guide know if you do leave so she/he isn't looking for you. I do suggest to buy a 3 day metro pass in Rome that way you can get lost and just hop on the subway to get back to the main areas. When you arrive from the airport there is a taxi tariff of $40 euro flat rate (no matter how many people are in the cab) its a good 45min drive into town and if you want a stress free arrival into your hotel I recommend this!!

The dinners are great and a fun way to socialize with your group but if your a couple sometimes we found it cheaper and more intimate to just go on our own to a little bistro (it was our honeymoon) but as a single traveller I highly recommend the contiki dinners but one optional dinner that was by far the best is the traditional greek meal in the taverna in Corfu everyone should go to that one and the optional in Rome was fun too!! The food is good not amazing as with any place that feeds lots of people at once plenty of pasta.

In Athens if your staying at the Arion hotel get some people together and all get takeaway food and have a buffett meal its cheaper and you can just buy wine/beer super cheap at a store theres a beautiful rooftop with the Acropolis lit up behind you overlooking Athens the hotel was very good at providing everything you needed as long as you cleaned up and you can even have music via an Ipad. Try the Calimari if you don't get grossed out by visuals (its an entire grilled squid lol) it was amazing get the cheese sauce in the middle yum!!

As for other optionals that you must do, the boat around Capri was amazing but I wouldn't bother paying to see the blue grotto theres plenty of nice grottos to see for free and I found this to be a tourist trap ripoff but some people loved it so you decide. Georges Boat is a blast and a contiki staple, Ephesus and village Akritini if you love history.

For anyone worried that Contiki is the equivalent of Jersey Shore you have no worries, yes there is a party atmosphere but I have been on 4 tours now and theres someone for everyone (just like camp lol) I have travelled as a couple and as a single traveller and have always met the most amazing people that I have staying in touch with for years and feel blessed to have met. Every night theres the option to head out to a local bar courtesy of your tour manager but nobody has to go and you can drink as much or as little as you feel comfortable the best part about being on vacation is nobody judges anyone and everyone just wants the best experience, for myself I always went out but usually was in bed by midnight so my day was never ruined with too much of a hangover lol.

All in All everyone should go on a Contiki tour its an experience of a lifetime!!

My Contiki was: exhilerating, hilarious, historical

  • alsrmt Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 4 Countries

This tour was fantastic and our tour manager Laura was great!! The hotels were decent, basically you can't expect much in Europe (twin beds pushed together, tiny rooms sometimes you have air and sometimes you don't lol) but they were all clean and in great locations close to transit or city centers. On our free day we spent a day on a wine tour in Tuscany with darkrome tours it was fantastic and I recommended Contiki add it as an optional because it was one of our best days, as for the guided tours we had a really good guide Peitro in Rome but to be honest you may want to do what another couple did and download an app with all the history on an ipod or tablet or walk around with a guide book (Rick steves Europe is great) only because when you are on the tour you can feel as though your pushed through I felt this way in Pompeii and at the Akropolis and if your like me you may want to explore it on your own time spending longer in some areas, the great thing about Contiki is you can do as little or as much with the tour as you want so if you go on your own its no big deal other then you have to get back to the hotel on your own just let your tour guide know if you do leave so she/he isn't looking for you. I do suggest to buy a 3 day metro pass in Rome that way you can get lost and just hop on the subway to get back to the main areas. When you arrive from the airport there is a taxi tariff of $40 euro flat rate (no matter how many people are in the cab) its a good 45min drive into town and if you want a stress free arrival into your hotel I recommend this!!

The dinners are great and a fun way to socialize with your group but if your a couple sometimes we found it cheaper and more intimate to just go on our own to a little bistro (it was our honeymoon) but as a single traveller I highly recommend the contiki dinners but one optional dinner that was by far the best is the traditional greek meal in the taverna in Corfu everyone should go to that one and the optional in Rome was fun too!! The food is good not amazing as with any place that feeds lots of people at once plenty of pasta.

In Athens if your staying at the Arion hotel get some people together and all get takeaway food and have a buffett meal its cheaper and you can just buy wine/beer super cheap at a store theres a beautiful rooftop with the Acropolis lit up behind you overlooking Athens the hotel was very good at providing everything you needed as long as you cleaned up and you can even have music via an Ipad. Try the Calimari if you don't get grossed out by visuals (its an entire grilled squid lol) it was amazing get the cheese sauce in the middle yum!!

As for other optionals that you must do, the boat around Capri was amazing but I wouldn't bother paying to see the blue grotto theres plenty of nice grottos to see for free and I found this to be a tourist trap ripoff but some people loved it so you decide. Georges Boat is a blast and a contiki staple, Ephesus and village Akritini if you love history.

For anyone worried that Contiki is the equivalent of Jersey Shore you have no worries, yes there is a party atmosphere but I have been on 4 tours now and theres someone for everyone (just like camp lol) I have travelled as a couple and as a single traveller and have always met the most amazing people that I have staying in touch with for years and feel blessed to have met. Every night theres the option to head out to a local bar courtesy of your tour manager but nobody has to go and you can drink as much or as little as you feel comfortable the best part about being on vacation is nobody judges anyone and everyone just wants the best experience, for myself I always went out but usually was in bed by midnight so my day was never ruined with too much of a hangover lol.

All in All everyone should go on a Contiki tour its an experience of a lifetime!!

My Contiki was: exhilerating, hilarious, historical

  • Ashlea Level 3 Traveler
  • 3 Contikis
  • 12 Countries

Hi All,

The European Encounter was my first EVER trip with contiki and it was amazing, the friends i met i have kept in touch with and the sites you see, and visit are astounding! This trip was perfect to get a taste of Europe, without having to worry about anything but getting on that bus in the morning. But the trip was a little dawnting as i had never been out of Australia, which is where i live, up in the pilbara of Western Australia. The pilbara in Western Australia is basically a dessert, red dirt and spinifexs all around so europe was a massive change for me.

We Climbed the IAMSTERDAM letter in Amsterdam, danced the night away in Luzerne, sang off key on a gondela ride in Venice, Got lost in Paris, caught a horse drawn carrage in Rome, held up the leaning tower of Piza and ran through the lourve, as it closed on Tuedsays, which we didnt know until we got there at 4:10pm on Monday evening, we all picked 2 items we most wanted to see and raced off to find them before closing time, I fell in love with Italy, the food, people, sites and atmosphere was addictive and i have no doubt ill go back.The trip wasnt all sunshine and roses, arrivng in Heathrow airport my luggage had been misplaced!! They finally found it the night before my tour left, took them 3 days!

The Trips optional extra, if you have the extra money do them! I took them all the optinal extras offered and had no regrets with any of them, my favorite was the moulin rouge show in Paris :)

Helpful hints:
1. Pack an extra change of clothes in a backpack and take it on the plane with all your valubles or presious items incase your luggage is delayed.
2. Have a bottle of water where ever you go
3. Pack less and take twice as much money!!!
4. Take a photo of each locations itinery on you phone or camera
5. Have extra cash hidden in your suitcase ATM's are hard to find in some places
6. Send things home via post. Extra baggage fees are astronomically expensive
7. Take cold and flu tablets, if one person is sick you all will get sick
8. Take enough underwear to last the entire trip, washing machines and dryers are not common, you may find one during the entire trip.
9. Learn the lauguage basics "Thank you", "Yes" "no" "how much?" "do you speak english?"
10. Have no regrets!

I wish you all a great trip
Ashlea

My Contiki was: Breathtaking, New Friends, Classic Moments

This was my third Contiki Tour and was definitely an average experience. My first two tours were incredible and I didn't want them to end. Eastern Roads had a few things that I feel could have been organized a little better by Contiki such as the location of the hotels in Vienna and Berlin. They were far away from the city centers, making it difficult to get anywhere. The hotel in Vienna was a 5 star resort that was 45 minutes from the city center. Also, I would argue that those two cities are not really Eastern Europe. I would probably add Bratislava and get rid of Vienna. Vienna was cleaner than Kirk Herbstreit's hands before he touches the microphone.

The tour group was an interesting bunch. I'm probably a little biased as my New Zealand tour group was 46 girls and 14 guys and I'm a 25 year old guy. Eastern Roads was probably 55% guys and for me, partying with a bunch of 22 year old frat guys is just not as much fun. I understand that the male to female ratio or the individuals on the tour can't be controlled but I also believe in being candid. My buddy and I had 'Contiki Girlfriends' if you will and the poor girls had to put up with several of the wasted 'dudes' constantly touching them and lurking around them on multiple nights. I laughed. The girls were creeped out.

I feel that the tour manager on this tour did the bare minimum to facilitate the tour. For example, we didn't do any group-bonding activities on the bus until a girl complained on the 5th day. Then we did speed dating. We weren't given the tour manager's contact info, room number, or exact address of some of the places to where we were going. If someone got separated, they weren't able to find the group. We were also told that there was nowhere to do laundry on the tour by the guide. My buddy and I did laundry in Vienna because we thought that it was going to be only chance we would have. I was charged 79.50 Euro for 5 T shirts, 5 boxers, and 3 pairs of socks and they lost one sock. They also attached these super-sticky labels with a serial number that pulls the threads out of my clothes when I try to remove them. It's like the hotel laundry mafia interned my socks and charged me ransom. After hearing about our experience, the tour manager emphasized to the group that we could do laundry in the next city, Budapest for 10 Euro. Obviously this incident was my error but I would expect a tour guide with 8 years of experience to tell us when we asked at the beginning of the tour that we could do laundry in Budapest and how exorbitant the cost of laundry was in Vienna.

I know from my other tours that the Contiki experience can be better and I'm on the fence about doing another tour.

This trip was incredible! It was a great way to see many countries in a short amount of time. We got a taste of everywhere we went, but we were constantly on the move. I experienced almost all of the optional activities and enjoyed them. Taking the canal tour through Amsterdam was probably my favorite since it was at the beginning of the trip and gave us the opportunity to really get to know our tour mates and get ready for the crazy night we had ahead of us. Taking this trip was just what I needed at this point in my life. I met some incredible people from different parts of the world and we got to experience Europe together (most of us for the very first time). What a fantastic experience!

My Contiki was: Unforgettable, Fabulous, Amazing

  • Av Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 9 Countries

This tour was absolutely amazing. The stuff we got to see in the given amount of time was definitely worth it. This tour is called a "sampler" for a reason, we had very limited time in each city but got to see the "must see" sites and got an idea of the places that are worth visiting again. I went on this tour alone but made a lot of friends, a lot of other solo travelers, tour mates were very friendly and got along well with everyone, definitely a fun time. Went white water rafting in Austria, which was amazing, the bike tour in Munich was definitely worth it as we got to see the majority of Munich while riding through the streets. Switzerland was a bit of a let down as it was crappy weather, rain and all so our trip up the mountain was cancelled and since it was a Sunday, all the shops were closed but we did manage to find a Chocolate shop that was open. We got to Paris on a Tuesday, the Louvre is closed on a Tuesday so we did not get to go in - however our tour manager tried his absolute best to get us there before it closed, so thanks again Lee for trying! The food was amazing in Italy, everywhere else it was ok. Must try Febo in Amsterdam, absolutely delicious. The jail hotel in Lucerne was a shack, you either like it or you hate it and I was not fond of it. Hotels over all were fairly decent, some were better than others but you're only there for a night. All in all this trip was of great value for the price and all the things you get to see. I would recommend it to first time travelers to Europe so they get an idea of where they would like to go again. I am definitely heading back to Rome, Florence and Paris.

My Contiki was: Fast, Amazing, Fun

i would recommend this to anyone that wants to have a good time. i have to warn you though, that it's a lot of time on the bus. that's the only way you can see so many places in so little time. other than the travel time on the bus, had the best time ever!

  • MarkW Level 2 Traveler
  • 2 Contikis
  • 12 Countries

European Contrasts was the best tour as we spent 2 nights at all our stop overs apart from a few which meant we got to spend heaps off time in the City's and explore all around the town that we were in. Danny was awesome and made sure we had heaps of information and history about the places that we were going to. Can not wait to do another Contiki. Meet a great bunch of friends on the trip which I look forward to keeping in touch with,

My Contiki was: Amazing , Fun packed

  • Mari1327 Level 2 Traveler
  • 2 Contikis
  • 1 Country

This trip was the most amazing trip I've ever been. Never having been on a tour like this I wasn't sure what to expect so I was a little weary. Contiki made my thailand experience that much better. Josh our tour guide was awesome, always kept us safe and showed us the true meaning of Thailand. I would recommend contiki tours to anyone traveling in a group or on a solo trip. Either way contiki is the way to go!

My Contiki was: Magical, Cultural, Awesome Fun

Winter Wanderer

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Winter Wanderer
  • kaityelise Level 3 Traveler
  • 3 Contikis
  • 21 Countries

This was the best tour. I made awesome friends for life, nick our tour guide was amazing, he knew everything about every country! And tim our bus driver the scotts man was to funny and made our trip even more awesome! Would deffanety recommend the winder tanderer tour, enough countries to see in the right amount of time! :)

My Contiki was: best, trip, ever

Winter Wanderer

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Winter Wanderer
  • kaityelise Level 3 Traveler
  • 3 Contikis
  • 21 Countries

This was the best tour. I made awesome friends for life, nick our tour guide was amazing, he knew everything about every country! And tim our bus driver the scotts man was to funny and made our trip even more awesome! Would deffanety recommend the winder tanderer tour, enough countries to see in the right amount of time! :)

My Contiki was: best, trip, ever

Simply Amazing!!!!

  • Glenn Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 10 Countries

It felt like there was a huge emphasis on partying for the entire trip. There were Contiki-organized parties almost every night of the trip, many of the "optional" activities included going out to bars and clubs. Not that partying is so bad, but it's not what I went to europe for. It's ok to offer these activities, but I just felt like half the trip was based on it. And most of the people who went on the trip seemed to already know that - I don't know how I didn't, but apparently Contiki is famous for this. Don't get me wrong, it was a pretty good price to see so many countries, but don't go on this trip if you want to see and experience europe, go on this trip if you want to PARTY in europe. And by that I mean, party in remote campsites outside of major cities in europe.

Furthermore, all the (costly) optional activities were overhyped and overrated. The tour manager was clearly trying to push for people to spend more money (probably made commission), and many activities were very disappointing (especially anything involving food was particularly mediocre).

A LOT of this tour is spent on the bus, where the music is very loud, even after repeated requests to turn it down, it always ends up loud again.

My Contiki was: hungover, bus, loud

  • Timothy Level 1 Traveler
  • 1 Contiki
  • 9 Countries

Went on this contiki tour may 24th 2012. Meet lots of new friends. All the countries were amazing. Id go back any day. Our tour manager and driver were so much fun. Lee and Marco. Would recommend this to anyone. Also if you go do ALL the extras. They are alot of fun.

Can't wait to do my next contiki tour. Welcome to contact me if you have any questions.

My Contiki was: AWESOME, THE BEST, Memories for LIFE

  • Smarie_85 Level 4 Traveler
  • 4 Contikis
  • 12 Countries

The tour included everything that I thought it would and I feel like I definitely got my money's worth. Even though the trip was pressed for time to squeeze everything in, I got what I wanted out of every place. I loved the very top of the Eiffel tower, the Chateau de Croix in France, the Colosseum, Vatican City, the gondola's in Venice, and the paragliding in Austria.
I really appreciated the work that our tour Manager, Mike and driver, Andras put in to make it a successful trip. There were some bumps in the road but with these guys at the front of the coach they always made me feel taken care of. Mike's passion for the job and for Europe was clearly reflected during the tour with how he spoke about the different counties we were entering, to partying with us till the early hours of the morning even though we all had to be up early. Even his day sheets rocked :)
I would definitely recommend Contiki for the more intense traveler that likes adventure and to see everything humanly possible in the amount of time they are given, not for the people who consider vacation as sleeping in and laying on the beach all day.
I am currently saving up for another vacation, and I hope I am able to do it with Contiki.

My Contiki was: Unforgetable, Exceded expectations, Intense

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