Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
According to Dictionary.com the definitions for the word "spree" are
1. a lively frolic or outing.
2. a bout or spell of drinking to intoxication; binge
3. a period, spell, or bout of indulgence, as of a particular wish, craving, or whim: an eating spree; a spending spree.
4.a period or outburst of extreme activity: scoring spree.
These definitions accurately portray what this Contiki is all about! This Contiki well covers shopping, drinking and cultural sprees over 14 spectacular days.
The tour takes you all over Spain covering Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Pamplona, Bilbao, Granada, Seville and Cordoba, with day trips to Toledo, Zarragoza and Gibraltar also included.
All of the optionals (except perhaps the obligatory group photo) is a must. Some of the tour guides also include even further optional activities such as dinners, pub crawls, walking tours, bike rides and a visit to a Turkish spa in Cordoba. These are also mandatory to enhance your Spanish experience but the cost does add up. I chose to do all of the optionals on my tour and the bill was over 300 euros. If you are on a budget than the optionals you simply can't refuse are the visit to a monkey wildlife park in Gibraltar (most are well adapted to human interaction) and also the leisurely bike ride in Barcelona which takes you past all the city's beautiful sights.
This trip takes you through some of the most impressive churches in Europe such as Gaudi's masterpiece (and unfinished) Sagrada Familia and Valencia Cathedral (the home of the Holy Grail.) Spain is mostly Catholic and there are thousands of grand churches all over the country. The tour will take you to at least eight over the trip so it will become tiring after a while. For a change of religious scenery there are also visits to the Alhmabra and the Alcazar of Seville (*optional) royal Muslim palaces and wander through their beautiful immense gardens. If football (soccer) is your true religion than you are in for a treat. The Bernabeu Stadium - home of Real Madrid (the most successful team in Europe) is about a 5 minute walk from the Madrid hotel - although you will need to cover this in your own free time.
Spain has more bars per capita than any other country in the world! Your tour manager will know the best places to go and being in a large group many bars will shout you with complimentary drinks to keep you in their establishments. Sangria is the drink of choice in Spain and a jug will set you back 5-7 euros. Wine is also popular. With the purchase of a drink many bars will also offer you complimentary tapas, so it is great to go around lunch time.
1. The hotels are excellent with most being 4 stars. All hotels have hot showers, free wifi and hot breakfast. The beds are comfy and the rooms are adequate for two.
2. All tour guides I had were excellent. Many were humorous and went the extra mile to give you a good, enjoyable and informative experience.
3. In this tour you pay for a standard cereal breakfast, most of the hotels will give you a full English style breakfast upgrade.
4. There is plenty of free time for shopping, relaxing and drinking sessions. Spain is in economic crisis so most places are pretty cheap. The El Courte Ingless shopping malls and Zara boutiques were great shopping experiences. Plaza Mayor in Madrid is recommended.
5. The public transport is very easy and cheap to navigate.
6. Bring a student card and you get free (or minimal price) entry to most sites.
7. The saying "The rain in Spain falls mostly on the plain" seems to be true! I was in Spain for 3 weeks during (January) Winter and did not see a drop of rain. It was cold (-3 to 8C every day) but often clear blue skies. This is great for taking pictures. (Do not blame me if your experience varies)
8. Churros!!! - Enough Said.
9. The Spanish alcohol is fantastic. Be sure to try Sangria, Tito-Verano and Spanish Cider.
1. I did this trip over New Year. This was a mistake which I would re-consider if I had my time over again! I was expecting January 1st to be a public holiday but I was not aware of Spanish Christmas. Spain celebrates Christmas on January 6th with absolutely everything closed on these two days which cuts a major chunk in to the itinerary considering it is only 13 days long. January 7th is the equivalent of boxing day sales so forget trying to shop on this day too it is simply too crowded.
Whilst celebrating New Years Eve in Barcelona was fun but there are a lot of gangs up to no good! For them this is their Christmas. In our group at least 5 people had belongings pick pocketed or forcibly tugged off them despicably in full view of hundreds of people. There were also some indecent assaults.
I hope this does not put you off the trip. New Year's was a fun night but take extra care, especially considering you will be drinking, leave all valuables in the safe (for the entire time you are in Barcelona not just NYE) stay in the Contiki designated club(s) and leave in large groups preferably with males. Simply put if I had my time over again I would have chosen to go a week or two later in mid/late January.
2. This was my first European Contiki. After an enjoyable Contiki throughout Asia in a relatively small group I was surprised to discover that this tour had 52 people on it. I have no idea if this is a regular occurrence and everyone's opinion is different, and with this large amount it is great for making friends but for me this was simply too many. Even by the end of the tour I could not remember people's names. This was also chaotic at meal times with restaurants unable to cope serving (nor fitting) such a large group. This was especially apparent at meals not organised by Contiki.
3. The Spanish way of life can take some getting used to.
Dinner time is not until 10PM,
Literally every shop closes in the middle of the day for siesta
Night clubs are practically empty until 2-3AM
4. Fortunately on this tour we had a fantastic bus driver, however our tour manager told us that "horror stories" regarding bus drivers and refusing to pick people up etc is all too common in Spain.
5. If you are Vegetarian, Jewish or Muslim and don't eat pig than you will struggle! The Spanish have bacon and omelettes for breakfast, ham for lunch and pork for dinner. Beef/Chicken/Fish and Vegetarian options are available at all Contiki sanctioned places however on the street you may struggle with the lack of variety.
6. The Spanish economic crisis can not be underestimated. The unemployment rate in Spain is about 25% and over 35% for the under 30 year olds. Due to this their are massive rally's held almost daily in the major cities throughout Spain. It is very likely that at least once this will affect your tour. There are also beggers and scam artists all over the place - especially in Madrid.
7. Gibraltar is not part of Spain but part of Great Britain. You will need your passport and may require a special visa to enter. Several South African members of our tour were denied entry here.
8. Simply not enough time in Barcelona and Bilbao.
Overall Spain was an incredible and unforgettable experience packed full of fun, culture and flair. I would rate the trip 7.5/10 and definitely recommend it for travellers. Another tip would be to spend extra time (2 or 3 days in each city) in Madrid and Barcelona following the end of the tour, as there is just too many things to do to fit in.
Oh my gosh, First time traveling Contiki, I loved it! Egypt was so amazing and out tour guide Sherif was so awesome! I traveled alone and was worried but ended up with lots of friends! I loved my experience.. it was a trip I will never forget!
Great trip. Excellent tour guide and a lot of fun time. Pass New Year 2013 in London with exclusive location and party coordinate by our Tour Manager, Gleen.
Excellent group and friends. Great Hotels and nearby attractions.
I will be doing another contiki in Europe I hope the tour guide will be the same.
Recommended to all. Have fun and enjoy the culture and surrounding. I did and will never forget it.
The Contiki Contrasts tour was the best time of my life, I travelled in Summer from June to July and met some life long friends that I am still in touch with today and saw places and stuctures you read about in school and saw in the movies.
Our tour manager Magherita was amazing!! She was passionate, fun and full of life, she was Italian which was handy when in we were in Italy.
Our tour bus driver- Christian was french, he was a crazy, spontaneous and hilarous guy who drove through the hardest traffic conditions I have ever seen, aka. the arc de triomphe round-a-bout!!
The friends I have made on this tour have been made for life, I am still in contact with the two girls I got along with from the very begininng (Day 1).
This is once in a life time experience that is fully guided, you don't have to rely on public transport or getting from place to place, most meals are included which was very important for me and you are partying every night which was so much fun.
I have recommend Contiki to everyone that I meet and I am hopeful I will now be able to work in the travel industry as the trip was inspiring to me to realise what I want to do with the rest of my life.
Thanks to all the staff at contiki and my amazing group of 49 other contiki travellers who took this Journey with me, can't wait for my next two to South America in 3 weeks!!
Anyone who would like more information about the tour please feel to ask me any questions.
Great trip and had an awesome time! I was an anthropology major in college, so this trip had quite a special meaning to me - I mean what anthro student doesn't want to go to the last remaining wonder of the world!
The only reason that I didn't rate this trip 5 stars is Cairo. It is unfortunate, but Cairo is quite disappointing - lots of pollution, noise and chaos. Fortunately you are only there a few nights.
The rest of the country is awesome and the river boat ride is AMAZING! This is also my first Contiki and I loved the atmosphere and the people on it. I actually decided to go to NZ on my next one because a friend I met on this trip lives in Auckland and I wanted to visit her - so may as well go on a Contiki there too!
My biggest gripe? It wasn't long enough! This is an experience of a lifetime in a country that is undergoing amazing change. Do this trip!
I went on this tour in September 2012 and would highly recommend it to anyone. The history is just incredible and you will not believce how well preserved the temples and artefacts are. Sharif the tour guide was so knowledgeable and pointed out things you would never notice. He made the tour what it was. The highlightsfor me were definitely the Valley of the Kings and the camel ride at the pyramids.
Its not just all about the history. The day in Hurghada was lovely. Just watch out for the fire coral! And the overnight train from Aswan was a true adventure.
Don't be put off by the recent trouble in Egypt - I did not for one moment feel unsafe. Egypt needs tourism more than ever to help maintain the treasures it has there. It also means that at the moment it is much less crowded than it has been in the past.
Everyone was really nice on the tour and we had lots of fun - partcularly the Egyptian party on the Nile cruise.
I highly recommend this tour.
the big chill was the greatest experience of my life. For someone that has never camped in my life it was the most fun i have ever had. Although at first it was shock, i recomend arriving in london a couple days before the tour starts otherwise the jetlag will kill you.
I was lucky enough to have the best tour manager, he always gave us a history of the place we were going to do, organised activities, pub crawls ect, and made sure we were all having a great time!
This tour is great for those wanting to see all of europe but not sure how to go about it, its also awesome if you are travelling alone as youll meet so many amazing people from all over the world who end up becoming part of your new family!!
im even considering doing it all over again!
Was amazing. Good mixture of age. Garai (TM) and OJ( Coach driver) were the best. Well paced. About 2 days in each city.
This tour is amazing if you want to spend a good amount of time in this beautiful city. There was plenty of free time during the day to sightsee, and then Contiki had nights out planned for us in the evenings. New Years Eve was a crazy night with all the fireworks going off right above our heads and at our feet - it was so dangerous, be really careful of that. Also, Contiki took us to a club called Rain on NYE and there wasn't much of a celebration when the countdown reached midnight. It's good being with all the other people on the tour, but possibly finding a bigger, more exciting NYE party could be an idea. This type of tour would also be good to go on with a small group of friends. Being so short it's hard to make friends on tour, and on my tour most people were already with friends so they kept to themselves. Overall, this tour really confirmed my love for Amsterdam (and Contiki) and I would come back over and over again.
This trip was absolutely phenomenal. This was my first trip outside of the United States and I was pretty apprehensive and nervous. I went with my boyfriend and best friend and none of us really knew what to expect. I loved that all the tedious details were taken care of for us, it was cool to just show up and enjoy it. Our flight was great and I really enjoyed the hotel accommodations. I wasn't really looking forward to spending so much time on a bus but I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable it ended up being. The bus actually added something extra to the trip and I definitely looked forward to the long warm drives after exploring the cities in the cold all day. All the food and activities were amazing, and the other people in the tour group were as well. The best part of this trip was having all the security and care of the tour group, which was essentially a family and also having a huge amount of time to go on your own and experiance these places without a giant "tourist" sign over your head. Finally, our tour manager Jon and bus driver Szabi really made the trip worth while. They were incredibly cool, informative, and seriously dedicated to making our trip the best imaginable. I loved every minute of it, sad as hell it's over, and already planning the next one. Thanks Contiki!
So much colder than expected, and I wasn't even expecting a 'real' summer! The accommodation was great, standard Contiki quality. The best part of this trip were the nights out, and hearing the awesome local accents. Liverpool and Loch Ness were probably the highlights for me.
This tour is sectional, so there will be people who start in Scotland, and people who continue onto Ireland. It can be hard leaving when everyone else is staying together!
Whilst the trip was good, there was no stand out moment for me.
Had such an awesome trip with amazing people, most of whom I will keep in contact with. Tour manager Kellie was awesome! Saw her as more of a mate than a "guide". The beautiful scenery and night life was incredible. Will definatley do another Contiki as it was so easy an convenient, great to do on a solo travel!
Had the best time of my life spent Nye and Christmas with my new contiki family which was so much fun. Our tour manager was such a good bloke and very helpful if we wanted to know anything extra. My most enjoyable moment was probably my bday which fell on the same day as the Prague pub crawl something I will always remember and followed closely by Nye in Munich where alot of us dressed up in true Bavarian outfits and went to a festival where they hold Oktoberfest. If you get a chance and have the money go along for the ride you will never regret it.
Had a fantastic time, amazing dive sites. I wish I had done my open water certification on this tour instead of in Canada! Tons of wild life and variety of reefs. Good food, but dont expect a lot of meat, specially for the guys, but plenty of carbs and veggies. Very good bang for your buck overall. I would definitely recommend it.
The biggest regret of the tour would have been not coming on it!
The name says it all -- Asian Adventure. The whole trip is just an ongoing adventure. You see a different side of Thailand not just the party party white beaches. Laos is one of the most beautiful places and must be visited (even though the tubing has been shut down); you will be pleasantly surprised. Cambodia is so full of history and surprises. I definately didnt want this adventure to end and wish I had continued the journey onto Vietnam. Highly recommended tour. Accommodation, views, travel -- nothing to complain about.
Patong, Krabi and Phi Phi Islands. One of the best holidays I have been on. There is ALWAYS something to do, and there is never a dull moment. Thailand has so much to offer and there is so much beauty to be found. Definately a high party scene but that is what these three areas are about. Plenty of options to do as well. Definately treat yourself to some fun and adventure by doing this tour :)
This is an Excellent trip. Our tour manager Sarah was good with the history and showed us the best places for different people. Shoppers, History buffs, ect. There is a lot to see and while in Scotland look out for the Harry Cows. Also don’t be late or you may have to sing to the whole bus.
I would recommend this trip to anyone with British or Scottish heritage to go and see where your family and its history came from.
Over all, the trip is very enjoyable.
Had the absolute time of my life on this tour and would definitely do it all over again! Our tour manager Hugh was fantastic, and really went the extra step to make our Christmas and New Years special.
The highlight of the trip definitely includes the cooking class, giving alms to the monks, the elephant ride and the nights out with my amazing tour group.
The tour covers so many different places and offers so many different types of travel - an overnight train, boat, bus and plane. It is definitely the way to experience South East Asia.
I would recommend this tour to everyone!
Enjoyed this trip very much. Was my very first contiki and I was travelling alone. The highlight of the tour was definitely Phi Phi and Krabi. Accommodation is great. My tour mates were fantastic. The best day was definitely the optional snorkelling day. I definitely recommend this :)