Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
This was a great introduction to the islands of Greece from the beauty in Santorini to the partying and beaches of Mykonos and Ios.
I went during May on one of the first tours of the season and while it wasn't super hot yet the weather was pleasant the entire time. This month of the year meant a quieter time for Mykonos' Paradise Beach and on Ios we didn't have to battle any crowds either.
I was lucky enough to have a fantastic bunch of people and there was only about 25 of us with everyone getting along so well from day one we really didn't mind the lack of other tourists at all!
The Scandinavian Club opened for the summer while we were in Mykonos and was already crowded on its first night so I can't imagine how busy it must be during Jun-Jul! Another bonus of going in shoulder season though was getting hotel upgrades - my room mate and I even got sea views and a patio. All the accommodation on this tour was in fact, really good.
Ed was a great tour leader who is both informative and entertaining. Starting with the country's historic past in Athens, this tour is a wonderful way to enjoy the laid back lifestyle, food and culture of the Greeks.
This was my first Contiki and it absolutely changed my life. My tour mates were some of the coolest people around. I didn't know if I just got lucky, but every tour since I've had great travel friends. Our tour guide was nice, but complained a little bit about the behind scenes at Contiki at one point - a little put off by that, but all in all she was cool. Sooooo much awesomeness at every turn. Highly highly recco. Note: This tour has a super fast past, but well worth it. Always do the add-ons. Note: You do have quite a bit of bus time on this one... I highly recco starting in Madrid and finishing in Rome.
This was the first tour I've been on with less than 10 people. Normally my tours have 40 people... so when I got my BFF to join me on a Contiki it was quite a sad scene to show up and only 6 people were there. I didn't realize how little time we'd have in Santorini and Mykonos. The time we did have was amazing... but I wish I had picked a different tour. Basically, I wish I had picked a tour that actually spent less time on a cruise boat and more time docked in Greece. My bad for not reading the itinerary closer I supposed, but I expected more than 3 hours in Santorini. :( It didn't help that our tour guide was a jerk too - my BFF and I didn't want to do dinner with our 4 travel companions after awhile and he gave us major attitude about it. Our "cruise ship" was full of old people and the food on the boat was pretty terrible. Cruise staff was great, but overall I wasn't a huge fan of the experience. Nonetheless, what we did see was cool.
For real. Do this tour. My tour guide won tour guide of the year, so I am sure I had an exceptional experience due to that... but holy hell, one of my most favorite experiences to date. My only regret is that I didn't do the full NZ tour (you will join up with this tour with another group that has already been traveling in the north). So while our group definitely bonded as a whole, there were definitely two groups b/c all those just doing the south had formed a little bond before we got picked up by the northerners. Nonetheless, this trip is phenom. LOVED Queenstown and that we got to spend 4 full days there. Do every adventure thing you can in every city you can. You won't get those opps every day!
I looooooved Ireland! The pace is FAST, but well worth it. You see SO much. I'd say my only disappointment was that we didn't get more time in Galway, but all in all really great trip. I think the live music in every location is so magical. Love irish tunes so much more after this experience. Note: This is part of a larger tour, so you hop on with another tour at the last leg. I never seem to know that when I am booking. Tip: Take advantage of renting bikes on the Aran Islands. One of my favorite days of the trip for sure.
This was a wonderful trip, but I wish I had known it was part of several other trips. My tour group continued on to Morocco and I wish I could have joined! Prague will take your breath away for suuuuure. Berlin was a city wasn't on my bucket list, but I fell in love with it after two days. Definitely do the bike dinner crawl add-on. One of my favorite parts of the trip. All around it was AMAZING! Tip: Skip the bunker tour in Prague - absolute waste of time.
This was my third Contiki and probably my least favorite trip. But that's not Contiki's fault. I joined a tour group that had already bonded and weren't really receptive to us newbies. Also a bunch of people had money stolen on the first day. Which certainly put a damper on the trip. Additionally I don't think six days is enough to see a country. If I could do it again I would save a little more money and do the Mexico Grande.
The main portion of this trip is spent in Cancun, which is a highly Americanized tourist area. It didn't feel like I was in Mexico. It was like being in Las Vegas or Atlantic City. I didn't like that. But the beaches are fantastic. The Contiki hotel is right on the beach and has a pool which is fabulous. I also loved Mexico City, Merida and Playa Del Carmen. They felt less touristy.
I really enjoyed all of the cultural excursions like visiting the pyramids of Teotihuacan, Chicen Itza and Tulum. I also enjoyed the boat tour of the floating markets in Mexico city, the horse carriage ride in Merida and the Mayan Jungle Excursion in Cancun.
The hotels were all very nice. Each had queen size beds, showers, wifi and free breakfasts. My favorite hotel was the Holiday Inn Arenas in Cancun. The pool and beach were fantastic!
The night life in Cancun was insane. If you like to party this is the place to be. You can drink from sunrise to sunrise if you want to. Contiki does it's best to encourage this with free tequila shots almost everywhere. However you must remember to budget for these outings. In Cancun most bars don't have just a entry fee and cash bar. You have to pay a one time fee for open bar. We went to Mandala ($65USD), CocoBongo ($80USD) and a New Year's Beach Party ($54USD). These places were wild and must sees.
The Contiki included meals were for the most part sub-par. They mostly include buffets. The meal in Merida was the best by far. We were able to sample a ton of local dishes like Lime Soup, Mole and more.
Our tour manager Abe was great. He did his best to handle the crappy stolen money situation early on, as well as helping people who got sick. He also worked his magic and got us some great discounts on club entry. Plus he was knowledgable and friendly.
If you want a really in depth cultural experience I would not recommend this tour. If you want a high energy glimpse at Mexico mixed with a ton of partying and sun bathing then The Yucatan Highlights tour is for you.
If you want a really in depth cultural experience I would not recommend this tour. If you want a high energy glimpse at Mexico mixed with a ton of partying and sun bathing then The Yucatan Highlights tour is for you.
So at first trying to decided on what tour to do, But 33 days wasn't long enough, i could of stayed there for another 33 more days, but im so happy to choose this one as you got to see a lot and do a lot, wouldn't change it in a heart beat!!!
Lifelong travel buddies that i can go and see after the tour and you make so many memories with them. You spend all day and night with these people and it doesn't take long to become a family!!!!! the worst part about becoming family is that you will defiantly cry when you leave them!!!!! There's so much that happens so try and write it down in a book when your on the bus and take as many photos of where you are and who you are with! of course your Contiki family!!! seeing the photos now i wish i was with them!!!
Accommodation: Well its great, your things are safe and your only there for a few hours as you out in the town during the day and nightclubs at night :D, comfy beds!!!
ME Times and MY Times - They are great and I recommend doing all the Me Times!!! They are worth the money and worth the time :).
- Frogs Legs and Snails in Paris, (Amazing)
- Try to go out every night in a different Country
- When you go to Capri Get a private boat around the island and also experience Blue Grotto, Amazing!
- In Amsterdam Well we all know whats there, Try it, you don't know when you will be back :D (if you know what i mean :) )
- Try every traditional Food and drinks in each Country,
- Also get the drink package on the boat around Greek Island's!!! Worth the money, Woooo :D
- Try do everything, Get up early and GO!
Tips: so Laundry, a lot of places didn't have Laundry places. when you did take that chance and pay for someone to do it! but what i did i took laundry powder and string, the string i tied it from one side of the room to the other as i could hang my washing up to dry during the day and be dry at night :).
- Add up the Me time options of how much its going to be, so you will have that money to give to your guided tour person :) so your not panicking that your not going to have the money,
I could keep writing for ages but this a little bit to write! As i said i wouldn't change anything, Loved every Moment of it, I wish i could do it again!
Had amazing time with Steve and Nuno, they were our guided tour and bus driver, So glad i had the experience with them, They made the tour Fantastic, thank you :)
I went on this trip with my sisters hoping to have an authentic Italian experience. I suppose we got what we paid for...We were very disappointed with our experience. The hotel in Florence was horrible. Our showers flooded and bathroom NEVER had toilet paper. My sheets were covered in black hair! (My hair is blonde) I was afraid to go to the bathroom anywhere during the whole trip. Bathrooms were missing toilet seats and rarely had toilet paper! WHY??? We were constantly on edge for the fear of being robbed or harassed by street vendors. I was hit by a beggar because I wouldn't give her money as was another of our group members. It was hard to enjoy the beauty of the country when I was so worried about my safety and having my belongings stolen. We were even told to keep our valuables secured in our luggage at the hotels while we were sleeping. Also, everything smells like cigarettes!!! I know smoking is more common in Europe than the states, but the stink of smoke was overwhelming and nauseating.
Our tour guide was very nice and the coach was clean and pleasant. The optional dinners were nice and probably the most authentic food we had. The sights and museums were amazing. I really enjoyed the history and was hoping to have learned more about the country and its culture. I have heard so many great things about Italy, but it turned out to be a lot of hype. Overall, we enjoyed the sights, but that was about it. I do not plan on returning to Italy in the future and I will be hard-pressed to recommend it to anyone.
Buyer beware, you get what you pay for.
This tour was amazing - but I can't do it justice in such limited words. Follow along with every minute of the tour as I write up my travel journal and get a behind-the-scenes look at all of the amazing things that await you if you choose this trip: http://www.philsach.com/#!europe-2015/c1gla
A really great trip for a first visit to Europe and to see everywhere. Generally one day exploring the city, and one day travelling on the bus, but then bus trips were pretty good. Stop regularly, and see lots out the window! Was also good to have some downtime after walking a lot in the cities! Plenty of time to have for yourself, or to hang with others, its your choice! Most optional activities are pretty good, just weigh up what you want to do! Was very happy with accommodation, just make sure your charger is one of those thinner European ones! Kim was an awesome tour guide, so if you are lucky enough to get her she'll give you the best recommendations. Definitely the best money I have ever spent, and the best thing I have ever done. Will remember this trip forever.
This trip was an amazing time, got to experience a little bit of everything that Australia has to offer. The traveling days weren't that long and were broken up very well. Experienced everything from the aboriginals, rainforests, an outback cattle ranch, surfing, off roading on a beach, beautiful beaches, great night clubs, city life, you name it! It helps if you have a good group or not for these trips as well, the people you are with will make or break the trip. Would definitely recommend if anyone is on the fence about it!
I have never been to Europe before and really wanted to go. I spent a long time researching different trips before I finally decided to book the Italian Espresso. I wanted to go to Italy the most out of all the countries, and this tour promised to show you the most famous cities – Rome, Florence, Venice – in a short amount of time.
Our trip manager was Megghy. Megghy was the coolest person ever, a cute Italian punk rock chick always wearing bow ties, leopard print and high-top sneakers. She was perfectly fluent in English and had so much knowledge about Italy that she shared with us. She made our trip amazing, made sure we got everywhere on time and it wouldn’t have been as great without her. Thanks Megghy!
There were a lot of people on this trip whose first time it was in Italy. But also there were many people who were revisiting. So if you have already been to Italy, you will enjoy this trip as well.
There are lots of activities included on this trip. My favorite inclusion was the Venice boat ride because I love the water and it was so beautiful and relaxing. I also loved the Vatican tour. My least favorite was the leather demonstration.
There were also lots of great optionals included in this trip. My favorite one was the tour of the Roman Forum and Colosseum. This place was breathtakingly amazing. I did not sign up for the gondola ride because we were told that it’s not like the stereotypes you have in your mind where it’s a really romantic experience. Everybody in my trip that I talked to afterward said they were disappointed by the gondoliers who were busy texting the entire time, didn’t talk to them and definitely didn’t sing, so I’d recommend skipping the gondola ride.
The places where we stayed were quite nice. In Florence the hotel we stayed at was really nice; I would totally book that hotel again for myself if I was in Europe planning my own trip. It was nice to stay in hotels on a budget vacation such as this one.
The itinerary allowed us to cover the three must-see cities in Italy in just a week. I loved being able to experience these cities; each one was unique. Day 6 (Thursday) was our most exhausting day of the trip because we were on the bus all day traveling from Florence, to Pisa, to Barberino, to Verona, to Venice. If I had to make any change to the itinerary I’d skip everything we did that day and just go directly from Florence to Venice.
The food in Italy is delicious. You should definitely eat as much pasta and pizza as you can. Also, as Megghy informed us, you can never eat too many gelato – eating several in one day is perfectly acceptable!
Also I wanted to say that there is no pressure to party or drink while on the trip. I do not drink at all, and I was a bit worried from reading reviews that it was just going to be one huge week of College Students Gone Wild. I did not find that to be the case. Yes, there are certainly students who want to go out and party at night, and yes, Contiki does throw in some alcohol-centered activities such as a trip to a vineyard. But there are just as many people on your trip who are there to see the sights, and don't want to drink. You can do whatever you want; it's your holiday.
You can definitely have fun on this trip without spending a ton of money. I am a budget-savvy traveler and I only brought 150 Euro with me for the entire week, which I spent on the optionals payments, food and souvenirs. One tip I have is to do some comparison shopping before you buy. The places where Contiki sent us to go shopping were very expensive – the leather store, the Barberino outlets, the Murano glass store, the winery. You could get these items at a fraction of the cost anywhere else. So think before you buy.
My favorite city was Rome. The other cities had a few amazing things to look at, but I felt in Rome every single building was breathtaking. It’s amazing to look around at these buildings that are more than 2000 years old and are still standing. You can feel the intelligence behind the design.
Best Parts about this trip: Megghy our trip manager; having Contiki take everything for us from transportation, accommodation, food, etc. which would have been overwhelming on my own; seeing all of the amazing cities; hanging out with cool people my age who also love to travel.
Least favorite part about the trip: Our trip had 51 people on it. I have been on group tours before that have always been less than 20 people. By the end of the trip I only knew the names of about half the people in my group. I would have liked a group that was smaller and more intimate.
I highly recommend this trip for anybody who wants to go to Italy!
CONTIKIIIII WOOT WOOT
I was slightly sceptical when I booked this trip, having never left the UK before I was unsure of what to expect. As a solo traveler would it be easy to make friends with my tour mates and was it really possible to fit so much in to such a short time? It was indeed. I had the most amazing time on this trip, I saw and did so many things, from seeing the Red Light district in Amsterdam to enjoying a Gondola ride in Venice. I have also made new friends that I just know will be friends for life. Everyday is completely different and offers something new. We started in Amsterdam, the Calnal cruise was a lot of fun and offered great insight into the history of the city and the workings of it now. Next was a trip to the red light district, this is the kind of place I know some people wouldn't want to go, all I can say is that it is something I think everyone should experience at least once in their lives, it offers a look into a way of life for the people of Amsterdam, it also opens the mind up to other ways of thinking and is a real cultural experience. Next was a free morning to explore Amsterdam, the square has the most amazing sounding clock chimes and I would definitely recommend the little waffle shop in the right corner next to the church, the best waffle with cream and strawberries I've ever had, and it was bigger than my hand! After this we traveled to the Rhine Valley, I loved the Rhine Valley, St Goar is an adoreable little village that offers the most relaxing of evenings, definitely take part in the wine tasting here, the guys are clearly experts and give so much information on each wine.. Plus it gives you the chance to get a little tipsy ;) I would recommend the shop with the largest cuckoo clock outside if you'd like a cute souvenir from here, I bought the cutest of clocks hand crafted and it lights up! I enjoyed the evening meal with fellow travelers and getting to know some of the group more. The next day is the drive to Munich, the scenery is stunning. Once here I opted into the bike tour with Mikes Bike Tours, we saw a lot here from the shop fronts filmed in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to surfers in the English park. The tour guide was very knowledgeable and was great at getting everyone involved. Don't worry if you haven't ridden a bike in a few years, they give you the chance to practice, and the saying that you never forget how to ride a bike is very true. We were lucky enough that our tour landed us right in the middle of Oktoberfest, so we enjoyed the evening here, I would recommend this even if you don't drink, there's rides and some of the best food you'll ever eat. Just be warned, beers only come in one size here and that's a litre, definitely value for money. After Munich came Innsbruck, Austria. Austria was beautiful, one of my most favourite places by far, perfect scenery, perfect atmosphere, perfect everything, I'd recommend enjoying a meal sat outside as the view of the mountains are stunning, I only wish we could have stayed here longer. Next it was on to Venice. As there are no viechals allowed on the island we stayed just outside and caught the train into the centre in the morning. The walking tour and lace tour were both fun and informative, and the free time was some of the best I had. Our tour manager told us that you haven't truly experienced Venice unless you've got lost in Venice and this couldn't be truer! i got lost several times and in the process saw things I wouldn't have seen otherwise. There are so many quirky shops and these are set out like a maze, lanes snaking in and out of each other each one offering spectacular sights and sounds, there's something about hearing a gondolea singing to his passengers that sent chills down my spine, it's like something straight from a movie. The locals are friendly and the food amazing! Take part in the optional Venetian dinner, it offers a wonderful experience and we had to buy Venetian masks for ours which made the whole trip even more fun. After Venice was Switzerland, the overnight stay here was epic. We had a boat cruise at sunset and the sights were truly amazing. The sights at the top of the mountain (optional extra) were some of the best I've ever seen. The meal this evening was fun and you get the proper Swiss experience. The next morning is just a short stop in town, but you have chance to pick up a couple of souvenirs, a Swiss watch and some of the best chocolate you will ever eat (which my family seemed to enjoy even more than I did haha). Up next was Paris. The first night here was the sight seeing tour and the chance to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower. The views from here are spectacular, seeing Paris by night is something everyone should get to experience atleast once in their lives. The next day was the group photo and a chance to see the tower in the day (just as pretty) and the a trip to Fragonards, the French perfumery. They do great deals on their perfumes for Contiki people and they make lovely gifts. There's so much to see and do in this city that having a plan can be a good idea if you know exactly what you want to do and see, otherwise you could just wonder around and see where you end up. The Moulin Rouge is one of the best shows I've ever seen and whilst it may seem a little expensive, it's more than worth the money. I stayed with the trip back to London which was great as I didn't need to worry about the souvenirs i'd bought been ruined as I knew they were in good hands.
Our trip manager and coach driver excellent the whole way through, they had exceptional knowledge on each place we visited and always got us everywhere safely and on time. As a solo traveler, I enjoyed being able to go off on my own and do my own thing, but I also enjoyed having tour mates I could spend time with. I would recommend taking part in all the extras, just so you know you've had the truest cultural experience. This is a fast paced tour with late nights and very early mornings, there's always the chance to catch up on sleep during the coach ride to the next place. I will also say that the Contiki cough is very real and I caught it quite bad, however don't be afraid to go into a pharmacy and ask for some kind of medicine, I did in Paris and I told the pharmacist I couldn't swallow tablets so she gave me liquid sachets and within a couple of hours I felt much better.
All in all I would always recommend this trip and Contiki as the best way to travel, especially if you're a first timer like I was, you're at ease the whole time and the only thing you have to worry about is having fun :)
Hope this review has been helpful, enjoy your Contiki experience!
this was one of the best things i have ever done. i decided to do this trip by myself and i was scared at first but during the trip i did not feel alone at any point.
i met new people from around the world and they were all lovely and friendly.
this trip was fast paced which was tiring but it was really fun and i got to see a lot. for the price of the tour i was happy with everything that i managed to do and all the places i managed to see.
the tour manager (Adam) and bus driver (Luce) were really really nice and funny and Adam did his best to tell us about all the cool things we could see and do in certain places and also gave us tips.
the bus will be your home for the whole trip cause you will spend a lot of time on there so make sure you have comfy clothing for the long bus rides and a pillow as well. this is essential otherwise you will have a sore neck throughout.
for spending money this really depends on what you want to do and see. the optionals are not included in the tour price so make sure you have money set aside for the optionals. and make sure you have money that is designated for food only, so that means the lunches and dinners that are not provided. then for pocket money depending on how much you drink and if you want to shop bring accordingly. but i say its better to have a lot of money than not have enough.
Making friends- arrive on the first day so that you get to meet people on the very first day before people group off into their little cliques. i arrived on the departure day but i was able to make friends but next time i would go not the first day. and you have to make an effort to make friends otherwise people will just think you want to be left alone.
Accommodation- the accommodation was alright for the price. i brought my own sleeping bag which i used for the trip and I'm glad i did. some people got bed bugs and it was really bad. take bed bug spray and insect repellent. and make sure to check your sheets before sleeping overnight cause they can creep into your sleeping bag.
Food- the provided dinner was alright but i would have preferred to look for my own dinner especially at the hotel in amsterdam i was cut because we got chips and chicken and stale salad but when we went into the city later on there were these amazing places that had amazing food i regretted eating dinner at the place.
ESSENTIALS , a travel money card, you don't want to have cash on you the whole time. sleeping bag, comfy clothes, bring a cardigan although its summer some places like the rhine valley are a bit chilly. bring something red for the swissco disco in switzerland. bug spray, travel adapter. switzerland uses francs not euros and also their adapters are different to the rest of europe but at the campsite they gave us ones, all we had to do was pay a deposit of 5 francs and you would get it back if you returned the charger. bring a water bottle to carry around with you. a lot of us got sick by the last day and i think it was due to drinking too much and also not having enough water especially on the long bus rides. make sure you have comfortable shoes. no one wore heels on my tour even for the going out nights. and when getting cabs make sure you walk to the road and flag one down or they will charge a lot for coming form wherever they will be and also some driver will try to take advantage of you as tourists. IF you can find public transport easily use that cause it will be cheaper.
HAVE FUN, SOCIALISE AND DONT ISOLATE YOURSELF. BRING LOTS OF MONEY TOO
I had the most amazing trip and made friends for life. our tour guide magdi was amazing. i would recommend contiki to any one you will never regret going you will have the best time of you life :)
This was literally the best trip I have ever done, like ever!
This was my first time traveling completely solo and I was really nervous, but those nerves were soon put to rest. Everyone on the tour was so nice, the bus was comfortable and our driver was a legend.
The hostels weren't great and either was the food but half the time you weren't in your bed and you soon forgot about the food, I mean you're in EUROPE!
I have made some fantastic friends from all over the world and have some fantastic memories.
The nightlife was great, one of the funniest memories being when our group played a drinking game underneath the Eiffel (when do you ever do that, it was so unreal)
I have already booked my next Contiki and couldn't recommend this trip enough.
One piece of advice: try everything, step outside of your comfort zone because the memories that come from doing that are AMAZING.
Two points I need to make clear before continuing: The hotel in Cairo has CHANGED. The contract with the previous hotel (with the bad reviews) has ended, and you will be staying a nice hotel outside of downtown Cairo. The change went into effect right before my trip started. I was very happy with the accommodations at the new hotel--clean rooms, hot water and nice bathrooms, relaxing pool/bar/restaurant area.
If you hear something happened in Chicago, it's not going to prevent you from visiting New York City; same with Canberra and Sydney. The media does a great job in blanketing "the Middle East" with problems. Don't let your relatives or friends deter you from going on this trip because of what they have been led to believe is happening through media exposure. Egypt is very peaceful and their economy is seriously suffering from tourists (especially Australians and Americans) being deterred from visiting.
QUICK TIPS: Egyptian pounds and American dollars are accepted everywhere. If you bring American dollars, get all of your money in $1 and $5 notes before you go. It's easier for tipping and buying small things. If you are comfortable with using a debit/bank card and you bank does not have ridiculous fees, there are ATMs in all places. HANG ON TO YOUR SMALL EGYPTIAN NOTES. There is a shortage on circulating 5 l.e. (pounds) and the 1 l.e. coins. A few of the small travel-size packs of Kleenex tissues are great for toilet paper (yes, you will need these). Buy your water and be careful if you get ice in drinks.
Ahem... I personally selected this trip because I have always been interested in ancient history. It was also my 30th birthday, and what better way to celebrate than being in Egypt? I am for sure an 'in-depth explorer' and I love history. I did every Optional with the exception of one--the Unfinished Obelisk & High Dam. (You can see the obelisk when you drive past and it's really not that powerful or exciting.)
THIS IS NOT A PARTY TOUR. Unlike a lot of other Contikis, you need to understand that you are in a religiously conservative country, a place where gender and family roles are still very well defined. The only time we ladies went to a club was the one inside the hotel in Hurghada.
There is one key component of this trip that I would not have appreciated without having a prior Contiki experience, and that is the tour manager/guide, Sherif. Sherif is Egyptian, lives there, and has been working with Contiki for 15 YEARS! To my knowledge, there are no other Contiki tours where one person has been doing the same tour for that long. The vendors and staff at all stops know him. 'Mister Sherif!' You can ask him anything about history, culture, religion, life in Egypt, and he will tell you all you would like to know. He has an undying love for the work he is doing, to show people like us the beauty of his country, and he does with it real passion. (And he does this solo, as he is the tour manager and local guide in one.)
If you have any questions at all about little specifics of cities or optionals, please feel free to send me a message.
The Big Chill is the best. Say no more..... but I will because this tour will change your lives and you will make memories that last a lifetime.
Firstly I must say that yes everywhere this tour goes is amazing and Europe is very captivating, but it is the people who made the trip for me. I went solo and made really really good friends from all around the world. The hardest part is saying goodbye, but now I have so many people to visit and reunite with :) There is something about a camping tour that attracts relaxed people. There were never any big dramas or falling outs on our tour, and most people were solo travellers so I found really easy to talk with. I found it really refreshing that the majority were solo travellers so we were all in the same boat.
Before booking the tour I looked at the camping vs hostels prices etc and decided camping because I saved almost $3000 for the same length of tour. This decision was the best decision I could have made as it allowed me to travel after the tour with some of the tour mates and go back to places I loved. The tents are super easy to put up and with time and a great tent buddy you become pros and they are up in minutes. In some places there is an option to upgrade to a cabin for 4-6 people which works out at about 10 euros each which was a good option when it was raining or sometimes in the 1 night stop places we couldn't be bothered with the tent. There are also a few hotel upgrades which were great, and a real bed never felt so good. I miss the camping though so much and the community feel we all shared.
We often would sit around the campsite eating and drinking together and getting to know one another much more than the other tours might. It was fun being around everyone all the time as you all kind of become a family and are all involved in games and preparing for nights out.
Our Contiki team were outstanding!! If you ever get either Ryan, Bento or Bean as part of your Contiki team you are going to have the time of your lives!! They are all such great people with passion for making sure we were well looked after and enjoying ourselves.
Unfortunately in Albania my bag got mixed up and ended up on a Topdeck bus and I only realised when in Croatia as I was setting up my tent. Ryan got straight on the phone to Topdeck and luckily they were in Croatia too so we swapped the bag over the next morning. Problem solved in a matter of minutes thanks to Ryan.
The food cooked by the on road cook is phenomenal!!! Often better than you would find in restaurants and we never went hungry. Bean is the sweetest person I have ever met and went above and beyond for us. Hats of to you Bean :)
Our driver Bento was such a great driver and always got us to our destinations with time to spare. He stopped at many special locations for us to take amazing pictures as well. The coach was always clean. Bento provided many laughs and entertainment and also is a wonderful person with passion for his job.
- bring a power board - your friends will love you
- expect rain at least once over your tour
-make a budget on how much you think you will spend and double it
- do all of the optionals, Georges Boat was my trip highlight!
- mosquitos in Venice are horrific
- a neck pillow is a must
- take lots of photos and videos (vids are hilarious to look back on)
My favourite places were Corfu, Dubrovnik, Switzerland and Munich. I didn't like Turkey too much but most people loved it.
Book this trip before you regret it. It is worth every penny. I am so jealous of you all who do it. I promise you will have the time of your lives and want to do it all over again. Day 46 of the tour was the worst because saying goodbye to around 50 incredible people was heartbreaking. You will make friends and memories for life!