Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
This tour was hands down, the most memorable and amazing experience I have been lucky to do. I met so many great people from all around the world and because it was such an extended tour, we became like a family. The sights and sounds were breathtaking and I will never ever forget taking the plunge of going into the tour completely solo, but leaving arm-in-arm with some many friends.
This tour far exceeded my expectations. It was 7 jam packed days of sightseeing and partying. I was absolutely exhausted at the end but I had such an amazing time and made such good friends.
I genuinely couldn't find any low lights of the trip. People will always find something negative to say and I'm sure not everyone will have had the entirely positive experience that I did, but I truly believe if you go into the tour wanting to have a good time and are open to all experiences you will not be disappointed.
The highlights for me were definitely the helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon (or the Grand Canyon in general!), speed boat tours in San Diego, jeep tours through Sedona, every night out we had and just generally meeting such an amazing group of people.
The schedule is designed to fit a lot into a fairly small amount of time. When you consider how far apart Vegas is from LA, you have a lot of ground to cover which means you do spend a bit of time on the bus so you have plenty of time to catch up on sleep.
In almost every destination there are optional activities. I was not originally planning to do many of the activities but ended up doing most of them. In San Diego they have changed the harbour cruise (which people found boring) to a speed boat tour which is basically little 2 person boats which you get to drive yourselves and race around the harbour. I was reluctant at first but it was probably one of the best things I did. Try as we did, you can't flp these things but you can definitely race each other, not to mention its a great way to see San Diego a little differently. If you don't go on the boats you are taken to a shopping mall which isn't the most exciting way to spend 4 hours so definitely consider it! On the second day in San Diego you can do Sea World or the zoo. Contrary to other reports, you can definitely do both. If you do one you get dropped off and picked up at each destination, if you want to do both you just have to get yourself between the two, but it is definitely possible. In the afternoon you head to Mission Beach and you can do a surfing lesson (probably only a summer option though!)
In Phoenix, Arizona you pretty much only spend the night although it definitely has some memorable and enjoyable night life and the weather is beautiful about 90% of the time. On the morning you leave you have the option to do a hot air balloon ride. I didn't do this one but everyone seemed to enjoy it, although a few found it a bit slow. You head out very early as you are supposed to be up there for sunrise, so the views are undoubtably amazing. From Phoenix you head to Sedona which is set amongst these amazing red rock cliffs. Although the scenery is amazing from the bus and walking around, I definitely recommend the jeep tours which are run by (for want of a better word) cowboys who are absolutely hilarious. They weave you through this amazing scenery and you see things you just don't from the road.
From Sedona you head to the Grand Canyon. When you arrive at its quite late in the evening so you get just a quick look at the canyon which is enough at first for you to appreciate the magnitude of where you are. The next day you have the whole day to explore the canyon. Unless you have great plans to hike all day or you are afraid of heights, definitely consider the helicopter tours - especially the 45 minute one. It's quite expensive ($260 from memory) but completely worth it. You get the see the scenery in a way you can't even imagine by land and it is completely breathtaking. The other option is 25 minutes, but considering you have about a 5 minute trip each way over the forest to get to the canyon, its really worth while paying the extra $70 for the extra time. In the afternoon you have the option of doing bike tours, which I didn't do but I'm told were also very enjoyable. As I say, if you don't plan to spend the whole day hiking its great to have another activity to do during the day. That evening, if you have awesome tour manager like we did, they might take you somewhere to watch the sunset. The accommodation here are these tiny little cabins right on the south rim of the canyon so you literally only have to walk about 3 minutes to get to edge of the canyon but fair warning, especially in spring/summer, its very hot during the day and absolutely freezing during the night so pack accordingly. It is also high altitude and very dry which can play havoc with your breathing a bit.
From the Grand Canyon you head to Vegas via Route 66. This tour combines with a few others. The Wild Western, LA to the Bay and you are joined in Vegas but people doing the California Highlights, but whether it's your last nights on tour or not, the partying in Vegas is epic. We stayed at Harrah's right on the strip, so you are central to everything. It's in Vegas where you also do your surprise. I won't mention what it is but it is amazing and so much fun, especially as a group so for $10, just do it. There's no way you can't have fun. On both nights in Vegas you head out to two different clubs (not sure if they vary depending on your tour manager) but be prepared for a considerable increase in the cost of your alcohol. Good news for girls, everyone pays $10 to cover entry for both nights, guys sometimes have to pay extra and we usually get a couple of free drinks! Depending on your stamina these nights can finish very early the next morning. You have one whole day to yourself in Vegas but definitely don't waste it sleeping! There is shopping, amusement parks, crazy attractions like an indoor gondola ride and of course gambling. If you do this tour this is your last night in Vegas so you spend it at another awesome club. A lot of people carrying on with other tours choose not to go to bed.
As exhausted as I was by this point, I was definitely sad to be leaving all my new friends but for me this tour was the perfect amount of time.
Just some general tips about the tour, try everything! Obviously everyone has different budgets but definitely do as much as you can. The best way to get to know people and really see the sights are to get out there and do the optional activities. I genuinely didn't regret any of them. Also, as dorky as this will sound, go into the tour wanting to have a good time. Contiki run a pretty smooth tour but not everything will go according to plan. Just roll with it and don't be the person who complains about everything and I'm sure you will have amazing time. If you have an amazing tour manager like we did, definitely tip them well. It might seem like an easy job, visiting these places and going out with you but when you don't see them they are busy organising everything to make sure it runs smoothly so it's definitely not a week long party for them.
This was probably one of the best weeks of my life and I would recommend this tour to anyone. The places you visit, the optional extras, the accommodations, included meals - can't fault any of it!
I just got back from the Italian Espresso trip and it was a total blast. Our tour manager, Yannick, was the most fabulous guide and our group could not have been more fun. The sights were amazing and all the optional activities were wonderful. The only activity we skipped was the leather making demonstration but other than that I'd highly recommend everything. This was my first trip to Italy and I gotta say it would be damn near impossible to have done/seen everything we saw if I had done it on my own. The access to some of the bigger tourist attractions (the Vatican, Colosseum and things like that) were amazing. If you were on your own you would stand in line for forever, with the Contiki group we walked right in. All in all I had the most wonderful time in Italy and would absolutely not hesitate to recommend this tour to anyone - espeically if you can have Yannick as your tour manager. Ciao ciao! :)
This was the best trip I have ever been on! Do not let your friends, family, or the media scare you into thinking this place is unsafe. I never felt unsafe once. I had the best time and I encourage everyone who is thinking about it to just do it! You will not regret it.
A perfect mixture of history, sight-seeing and partying! Accomm was basic but it was fine because you're out all day anyway! From the history of Rome to the romance of Verona and Venice - it really did give us a taste of just about everything! A tip for anyone in Florence - don't think twice about buying a leather jacket! Just do it!! Trust me!! You want one!!
The only thing I would do differently is stay a few days longer (we already added 1 extra night!) There is so much to see and do that an extra couple of days would have been great! Contiki was a good starting point for us though and the hotels and contiki basement are perfectly located and easy to find!
The European Discovery tour was simply amazing.
Two major factors that made this trip so incredibly awesome for everyone included our Tour Manager, Lasse and Coach Driver, Rasto. They both were extremely knowledgeable and extremely kind to everyone on the tour. They both treated us like family members.
In each city that we visited, Contiki had kept us busy! I can't believe all of the amazing things that I had seen in such a short period of time. We had loads of "cultural experiences" that we will never forget.
We all had created so many wonderful memories and ended the tour with many new friends. I can't imagine doing all of the wonderful things that we did on my own... Contiki is definitely the way to go. If you are looking for a fast-paced tour - where you can visit 9 countries in such a short period of time, European Discovery is definitely for you.
I can only hope that I will see Lasse and Rasto on my next Contiki tour!
I booked this tour without planning or really thinking about it only 2 months before it left. It was homestly the best thing ive ever done!
Ive made friends I'll have for life, saw incredible sights and have some awesome memories! I had an awesome tour manager Megghie (you'll be blessed if you get her) and a fabulous driver Rui!
If you are thinking about doing this tour, DO IT!!
Also make sure you have enough money for optional extras, they are worth it! Paragliding over the swiss alps was insane! Something I will never ever forget.
The only way to see the USA. I saved thousands due to the included activities and there is just no way to know all the cool local spots they take you along with the local knowledge from your guide. A really good part was getting free entry into the most exclusive night clubs in the US.
Yeah Dublin yeah!
Had an amazing time, loved all the places we visited and soaked in the culture (and the food)! We had a fantastic tour guide, who was a lot of fun, had lots of great suggestions and ideas for day and night activities. The group was also lots of fun, lots of different personalities but we meshed really well. Trip was just long enough and we didn't spend too much time on the bus which was good. Have recommended this trip to any one whose asked- a must for those who want to see some culture and party a little too.
Phuket was amazing and our tour guide Muffin was the best! Made the trip the best time ever! Koh Phi Phi was amazing and doing the burger eating contest was a massive challenge. Elephant riding was awesome fun and a great experience. The day trips on the boats were awesome too. Plenty of beer drinking, partying and nightlife too see and do everywhere combined with plenty of chillout and shopping and relaxation time. Going to do the East Hopper in July 2013 to complete the duo. Recommend for anyone doing a first time contiki and first time to Thailand.
London was great! M&M World was the best!
The trip to Stonehenge, Windsor and Bath ruled.
Had a Great Time.
I just got back from Contiki Costa rica. This trip was amazing!!! The country is so beautiful and the people are really nice. Totally recommend this trip to anyone.
Our tour guide Andreas was really helpful and had so much knowledge of his country including the plant and animal life.
The canyoneering optional is totally worth the money and the zipplining through the cloud forest in Monteverde was amazing also. The catamaran sailing optional was also lots of fun and a chance to sunbake, snorkel and have a drink (alcohol is included :)
Make sure you pack warmer clothes as well as the temperature varied a far bit depending on where we were. You will also need shoes that you can wear in the water - especially for whitewater rafting and canyoneering.
The accommodation was pretty nice for the most part. Some places nicer than others. Most with pools. Food was served buffet style with a big selection of choices and was pretty good although you will get sick of seeing rice and beans for breakfast! The fruit tastes amazing over there!!!
Our tour had 23 amazing people mostly from Aus, Can, USA and UK. It was a really great bunch of people and a really good group size.
Hot tip - Take bug spray that works - the mosquitos had a feast on me even with spray on. Also bring medication for gastro. Many of the people on our trip got sick -myself included. However it is easy enough to buy from the pharmacy over there.
Most places will accept US dollars or Colones but if you pay in US your change will be given back in Colones. ATMS for MasterCard are harder to find, The majority we found will accept VISA. There are certain ATMS that can disperse US or Colones.
This was my first Contiki and I loved every minute. This trip is on the go most of the tour, expect to be up early most mornings for different day trips. But there is still time to relax by the pool with a drink!
Great experience to be at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli. Would recommend spending a few more days in Istanbul as its an amazing place, so much to see!!
Had an absolute ball on this trip! Made so many new friends who i will be in contact with for life. The people who work for contiki were great and knew a lot of stuff about the places we visited. Being in Paris on Bastille day was definitely a highlight! Definitely recommend Contiki to everyone!
I went on the Simply Italy trip in July 2011 and had a fabulous time. We visited cities, swam around the island of Capri, sailed across lakes in the north and visited vineyards in the Tuscan countryside. We went site seeing, shopping, sailing, and partying. It was a perfect way to see Italy, and the company was fantastic (as was our Contiki tour guide)! I highly recommend this trip to anyone who wants a taste of Europe and the Mediterranean!
It was my first trip overseas and I went solo - an experience I'll never forget or regret. Winter was fantastic - no crowds, no lines so able to see as much as possible and heaps cheaper too (plus I like the cold so it didnt bother me but we also had an amazing run of seasonally abnormal sunny days). All in all, I had an amazing time and meet some amazing people. It was a great way to get a taste of everything so I know what to come back - totally reccomend for anyone on a budget and doesnt mind the cold and would like to see Europe in a different light :-)
I just returned back from this trip less than 24 hours ago and I still can not get over how great it was!!! I was anticipating a high paced trip and coming home completely exhausted. Instead I got a high impact, multi cultural experience that did not completely wipe me out. This trip provides opportunities to see all the landmarks that we have read about. At the same time we had plenty of time to relax and roam the streets of the cities that we visited eat plenty of delicious food and drink vino.
Just a tip, if you like to see specific museums, do some research and reserve tickets ahead of time since there are a LOT of tourists and the lines tend to be extremely long.
The me time optionals were also great. Our tour guides where spunky, insightful and knowledgeable. They were able answer all of our questions and provided very good information. ( I pretty much did every me time optional and I am glad that I did).
Our tour manager Yannik was also great recourse. He was very fun to be around, also knew a lot about every city that we went to. He was very helpful with providing us with information regarding places to see and eat (local places for cheap!) This was very helpful.
Our driver was great too. Besides the fact that he was very at his job, he was also very friendly, interesting to talk to and provided great insight about Italian culture.
Additionally, I feel that we got very lucky with our group. We had people from all over the world, which was great because I was also able to learn about other cultures.
The one thing that I have to critique (which I wrote in the feedback brochure that we filled out on the last day of the trip) is that the outlet mall excursion should be excluded. (This is coming from a girl who loves to shop by the way)!
This was on day when we went to Pisa and Verona on our way to Venice. We spend an hour and half there and the selection was not great and the prices were very high. I would have much rather grabbed something quick to eat and spend more time in Verona.
Overall, if I had to do this again, I would do it in a heartbeat!