Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
I chose the London & Paris, with the Paris extension PLUS two extra days in London. This gave me time to get acclimated, go and do the things I wanted to do without feeling pressured to get it all done in a short amount of time. This is the perfect trip for an "introduction" to London and/or Paris. Loved the Stonehenge & Bath excursion, didn't do the Perfumery, and really enjoyed Versailles. The group was great, the bus was comfortable, and while the rooms were small (ish) they were clean and had good food. Would definitely travel with Contiki again!
I had never done a Contiki tour before so it was all new to me.
I cant speak for all tours but this tour involved a LOT of driving. Obviously the country is huge and there are a lot of miles to cover. However knowing how many hours there are to each destination would be worth looking into and might change your decision on which tour you take.
Average driving time was 7 hours for most destinations.
This meant you were on a bus for almost an entire day from 8AM with 2 stops usually pulling into the destination around 5PM. You then race to your room, get ready and head straight back out to go to dinner with your crew. If you wanted to experience most places, it meant staying up all night to drink with everyone and try and explore (if it was the kind of destination that was a night life destination and was actually open at night). Otherwise you would be in bed and back on the bus for another 7 hours the next day.
So if you are not a night owl and would rather do activities during the day then dont do this tour.
If you were in a place for more than one day then you had an opportunity to explore and do the town during day light hours, provided you're not hung over from the night before. I am not a big drinker, but everyone else will be, so be ready to be sociable and drink every night, or a hermit and not be involved in the goings on of the crew if you dont hang out.
As for the destinations on this tour I did love most of it. Albuquerque was a waste of time. It was probably a stop because it would be too far to drive straight through and the optional extra was a hot air ballon ride over what was described as a beautiful mountain scene in the desert. It was instead over a dirk clearing then over peoples homes in suburbia. The ride itself was nice, but the location for it was poo.
Other than that it was a good tour to get a good overall taste and look of America, with quite huge differences in landscape, culture and food. So I would recommend it, just be aware of the amount of driving involved and that it all happens during the day. And there is a lot of drinking so kiss your liver goodbye!
Had the best time ever! Thailand is the best! :)))
This tour was amazing, made so many friends and had so much fun along the way. My only issue was we didn't get enough time in certain places. I would definitely recommend this tour to others. So much is included and you see some spectacular views at Yosemite, as well as passing through many towns.
This tour was probably the most fun I have had in years, I saw the most fantastic places and did the most wonderful things. It was also the most fast paced thing I've done, if you are looking to relax and chill all the time this is not the tour for you.
Be ready to walk and be amazed by Europe.
We had the best group by far and also the BEST tour manager and driver.
Thanx for an unforgettable experience!!
We did the European magic tour but wanted to spend some time in london beforehand. Adding on the london explorer tour was clutch!
It was so helpful and convenient. They provided us with the hotel extension, tickets for a hop on hop off bus for a day, two days tube pass, a west end musical (we saw spamalot) and a tour for Windsor castle, bath and Stonehenge. It was a perfect way for us to see what we wanted but give us some sort of structure and home base for our visit. They also provided our tube tickets for getting in from and back to the airport. Score!
The European magic tour was a jam packed tour and a fantastic way to see tons of sites quickly!
We had a great group, mostly couples and we had a higher median age which made for a nice, chill group. Don't get me wrong, we definitely partied (and I don't drink but you can still have fun hanging out with everyone!) although our tour manager probably partied harder than the rest of us! ;)
We ended up doing most of the optionals, which we hadn't intended on doing but turned out to be a ton of fun and we're glad we did. Moulin rouge was a great optional to end the tour!
The bus was our main source of transport (although if you hung out late at night you had to take the train or taxi home... Pretty cheap and manageable though). It could get a little cramped in the window seat if you're like me and like to stretch out when you sleep but it was otherwise a very comfy bus and it was so convenient to just get to sleep between cities. We also only had like 34 people so we had some extra open seats which was very nice.
I loved getting to eat a couple provided meals (breakfast was crucial) but then getting to run off sometimes and grab our own meals. Food in Europe is tasty! Tip: eat at the trattoria alla Madonna in Venice for lunch... Best pasta I've ever had.
This was an amazing tour and we're already plotting our next!
From the moment go, it was so full on but relaxing at the same time. On the first day it was so absolutely surreal that you do so much, in just 1 day. You see all the highlights that you want to see when you want to go to Egypt. With climbing into the pyramids (at a price) to relaxing along the nile on your boat and having a party along the red sea in Hurghada. Its such a mix of sightseeing, history, partying, relaxing and having such a good time with fellow travel mates. The tour guide, Sheriff, was an absolute history guru that knew absolutely everything of Egypt. You always constantly feel safe in the group as Sheriff knows the best time of the day to go to certain sights, which is awesome. I would do it again in an absolute heart beat, it definitely is worth every $$$
The walking tours were a little rushed, and I felt like I was rushed to take pictures a lot of the time. However, seeing so much in little time was definitely worth it!! Every place was different, with its food and culture!!
Being young and able to do this finally was an amazing experience!!! I would recommend this tour to anyone. Our tour manager was awesome, and worked hard to keep us all excited and happy.
Thank you, Contiki!!! :)
Best tour ever!
This tour is fantastic if you have a short amount of time to see the highlights of europe! There were 53 of us on the first tour of the season, mostly aussies! Matt was group leader and Ana was our bus driver, both GREAT at what they do! Obviously 24 days isnt alot of time to take in 12 different countries and there were more than a few early mornings & travel days. That being said when we did arrive at a new destination we sure as hell made the most of our time. Mostly everyone joined in the optional extras which were around $600 on top of the tour. Thanks again to Matt, Ana & everyone who made my trip unforgettable. You will not regret this tour!
If you're trying to decide between this trip and a shorter trip choose this one!! After going on this trip and talking to other people who did a similar but shorter trip I was so happy I picked the European Experience! On the shorter trips most of your time is spent travelling but on this trip you get free days in the amazing cities and countries you visit. This trip was the trip of a lifetime!!!
During this trip we got to see the best of Costa Rica. You really see and do a lot in the 12 days. The accomodation was better than expected with some nice hotels. Our group was a blast!
This trip was absolutely incredible. I had so much fun, and only wish I could have stayed longer!!! I myself chose to travel with two other friends which was great, but it's definitely not necessary. I made a ton of new friends on this trip, and would even go alone next time if I had no one to go with. Contiki made this trip the great experience it was, and without them I don't think that would have been possible.
They do a really great job making sure everyone is happy and this trip had a little something for everyone. Travelling with Contiki was a great way to get around, the tour guides know a ton of spots for great eats, they know secrets on skipping some of the queue's at some of the attractions you may choose to visit, and also know all the hot clubs to party at ! They take you to most of the main attractions for each city, and our tour guide Laura (who was AMAZING) by the way gave us metro maps, and maps of the city with basically all the tourist attractions marked on it. From my experience I found The Contiki staff to be very knowledgeable, and if there was a question they didn't have the answer to they would get it for you no problem. I loved meeting all the different Contiki staff members at each Contiki Resort we stayed at they're a great bunch, who love to have fun! On this tour you stay at at least 5 "Contiki Resorts" - (Chateau in France, Venice, Florence, Rome, and Corfu), which usually had at least one or two other Contiki tours there at a time, along with some of the hotels you stay in, which is also great because you can meet even more people who you will most likely bump into later on on your tour as well. For the most part I found the rooms we stayed in to be average, this is a budget tour so I mean they aren't the fanciest of places but they were decent. We didn't spend a lot of time in our rooms, for the most part we were just there to sleep anyway so they did their job. The party nights the Contiki onsite crews plan were a blast! On our tour we had 4 Contiki planned parties and they were all tons of fun, so if you're on a budget and stay in on some nights, I would suggest to at least attend the parties they plan for you. These parties are on site where you're staying so there's no paying for taxis, the other Contiki groups staying at the resort also attend, and drinks for the most part are reasonably priced! You can also pre drink in your rooms which is another option to save money, it's quite easy to buy a bottle of wine or mickey of vodka in town during the day and just bring it back for later. My friends and I did this most nights, you can find HUGE bottles of wine (1.5 Litres) in Europe for 5 Euros, which for most people will last 2-3 nights.
For those planning on doing this tour I think it's a great investment for your time and money, this trip honestly opened my eyes to travel, and I can't wait to go on my next trip ... which may be with Contiki again. Although you could backpack through Europe, which I may do eventually, this was great way to learn about the Continent, and the particular countries we visited for the first time. I liked not having to worry about where I was going to go/stay next. Having everything already taken care of was a huge relief and just made it that much more enjoyable. A few tips for those going on this or any other European tours check the weather first ! That was one thing I didn't do London was a little chilly and so was Paris, but that was expected at the time we were visiting, so just making sure you have the appropriate clothing is a good idea. One more tip DO George's Boat if your tour offers it ! That was the most fun I've ever had. George is a cheeky old man, and it just makes all the more fun !!! As long as you love the water, and you like fun then it should be an amazing time ! I myself did most of the ME Time optionals, they were all pretty well done, the only ones I didn't do was the Cabaret Night in Paris, and the dinner in Florence. Those were just personal choices, based on reading some of the previous reviews on this tour. I suggest reading as many reviews as possible, just so you're aware of what different people thought of it, but overall I found it to be a lot of fun, and would recommend it to everyone! Also if you have the time and it's available to you, do the Greek Island hopping! Unfortunately I could not, I didn't know it was possible to pair a Contiki with a Contiki, had I have known before I left home I definitely would have done it. Trust me once you get to Greece you won't want to leave, and it's extremely hard saying goodbye, especially when you know some of your fellow tourists are going on to have fun without you. I also learned for next time, which I suggest to think about doing if you're planning on going to Europe on this tour or another to not book your flight home. I myself would have loved to fly back to some of the places we visited on the tour to go back and explore a bit, and also would've loved to extend my stay in Greece where the tour ended. So if it's available to you it's a good idea in case your plans change.
Overall it was an amazing trip, I would do another Contiki in a heart beat no questions asked. On this trip not only did I meet new people from all around the world (Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, USA and Canada) I made friends for life, and I can't wait to go visit them! I think using Contiki to travel is a great idea. and I know my trip would've been nearly as fun as it was without the Contiki family I was with! And one last tip take HEAPS of pictures, there's never a dull moment on these types of trips, and being able to show your friends all the pictures when you get home and telling the stories behind them is like reliving all the good time!
Was a really hectic, fast paced and awesome trip. Definitely a great tour for those wanting to see lots in a short period of time. Not much down time on this tour, it's all go go go. I was a first time traveler and found this tour no problems at all. Just be prepared to be tired and spend a bit of time on the bus. If you can handle that, you'll love it. Scenery on the drives is amazing anyway.
Had a really knowledgeable tour manager (Kristen) who was very well organized, and had a Guru of a driver - Johnny "No Problem". Crazy fella and really first class service. Couldn't have asked for better people to run the tour.
Everything was well organized and the accommodation and food was great. You always knew where to go and what to do.
Definitely recommend doing ALL of the optional extras.
The Good: All of your hostels and travel in between cities is arranged. At least a third of your meals are covered. You get to see some of the best cities in Europe and you have the flexibility to explore them your own way.
The Bad: The quality of the places we stayed at were very low, lower than I originally thought even for a 'budget' tour. Three people got bed bugs in one place and two others had their cameras stolen from their locked rooms at another. Also, the add on tours and those already included ranged from average quality to poor.
Bottom Line: If you want a cheap tour that has your transportation, hostels, and some meals and tours included, this might be for you, just realize this is a cheap tour for a reason.
If you are a very nervous solo traveler, than this might be the tour for you. Everything is already arranged and paid for.
with that said, if you're comfortable making the arrangements to see London yourself, I suggest you do that instead. The Hop-On Hop-Off Bus tour is a great, easy way to get an intro to the city, but you can easy book it yourself. The options for the West End musical were poor and I would have rather paid a little more, done it myself, and have gotten a better experience. Similarly, with the 'hotel' included in the tour, the Royal National. I am aware that hotels in London are expensive, but I would have never chosen Royal National for myself after staying there two nights.
Bottom line: I was a solo traveler and I wish I had arranged my London visit on my own terms.
Had the best time on this tour, I couldn't of asked for anything else! Its a very full on contiki and you are always doing something and always on the go. So if you are keen to fit in as much as you can in as little time as possible, then this is the tour for you!
My tour manager was absolutely amazing and totally went above and beyond then what we expected, she always made sure we had an amazing time. I met so many awesome people and we all had fun partying and exploring all the different countries together.
I did all the optionals, which I think made it so much fun. You are on the coach a bit when you are going from country to country (but trust me this isn't a bad thing, as you use this time to catch up on sleep and get some energy for the next country)
I travelled solo and instantly made sooo many friends, so weather you are going solo or with friends you will fit right in!
I highly recommend this tour to everyone, just be prepared for the craziest time of your life. Cant wait to do another contiki :D
My second contiki did not disappoint. We had the best tour guide Petula. We saw and did so much. Probably wouldn't do the walking tours again but would do all the other activities again. Loved the perfumery in Paris! It was magic seeing all the places I'd seen so many times in photos. Best food was definitely through Italy. Highly recommended tour to anyone thinking about Europe.