Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
I went on the European Vista during November/December. It was an amazing trip! I made so many great friends, we had the best group, and the best tour manager and driver: Blair and Marcin.
I recommend Contiki and this tour especially to anyone! It was also a perfect time of the year to do the tour - not too cold (early winter) and no lines anywhere! I think any later in December we would have seen a lot more tourists!
Contiki is definitely the best way to travel!!!!!
What you need to know (Review of tour)
Background of myself – Single, Travelling alone, Not on a budget, knew what I was getting into – If they had a tour where you could pay more for better included meals, better and city center hotels, and a train I would have done it. Overall, the tour was what I expected and I got what I wanted out of it. I wanted to see a lot of Europe to see where I wanted to go back with friends/girl.
Best places (Venice, Florence, Rome, Paris). Worst Places (Generally the small towns – St. Goar, Innsbruck, Lucerne – generally not much to see) – Surprising Places (Amsterdam – Nicer than I thought) – Needed more time (Munich, London).
General Europe Info – Lunch stops are best in Italy (cleanest, most and best food available), public bathrooms charge money, bottled water is expensive. Have an idea of what you want to see and where you want to eat in advance (mark it on a map).
Pros – Good for travelling alone, a lot of places in little time, walking tours and some expeditions are good. Our tour manager was a good guy who made the trip more enjoyable (Chris Tabone). The driver (Chris Peck) was also very personable.
Cons – A tour generally meant for younger people. There were some couples, but I would rather explore on my own if I was a part of a couple. Bus needed wifi and could only use bathroom for #1. A general budget trip with longer bus rides, ok at best food, non modern or city center hotels. For a budget trip I thought it was very unusual to include places such as Swarovksy (Innsbruck), Perfumery (France), Leather Shop (Florence), Watch Store (Switzerland). Included meals were not good and expedition meals I heard were ok. Lack of independence for tour members – a younger college type mentality. I thought that prior to the trip some information could have been given out (Tentative Schedule with times, Attraction closing times (there was a huge mess up with the closing time at the Coliseum in Rome, Maps), so that you can help plan your free time accordingly knowing some stuff is subject to change. Sleep and free time are limited on this type of tour. Early mornings every morning.
Overall – I was expecting what came of the tour. I would only do a contiki tour again if I didn’t have someone else to travel with.
Sat Nov 26th - England
Hotel - Royal National - small, only soap, tv has few channels ok at best - very hostel like
Sights seen - Buckingham palace, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Parliament building
Food - London pub At hotel - southern fried chicken burger - ok
Notes - not enough time in city. Would have liked another day there as well as a walking tour.
Sunday Nov 27th
Travel from London to Amsterdam
Up early. 2 hr bus ride to ferry. Food on ferry was decent English breakfast – 10.0 Euro. Another 4 hr drive from ferry to Amsterdam. Will see the white cliffs at Dover at ferry - ok
Hotel - Hotel Slotania - paid for a single room and got a room by myself with 2 bunk beds. soap only, no tv, no alarm clock or wake up
Food - Hotel Slotania - Dinner - awful - had chicken cutlets, broccoli, pasta and beef stroganoff - just wanted to eat.
Canal cruise - 20 euro - free beer or wine - cool way to see the city but they didn't point out enough stuff
Sex show/red light district - 29 euro - not worth it - just like watching live porn
Monday Nov 28th - Amsterdam
Breakfast at hotel - ok and serves its purpose - bread with meats and cheese
Sights to see
Anne frank museum - 8.50 euro - worth it - very interesting
Historic museum - 10.00 and 1.00 euro for locker - ok but nothing great - not enough audio
Kalverstraat - retail shopping
Dam square - just a public square - used to be the exchange center
Food - lunch in caffe espirit - got a salmon/mozzarella ciabatta - good - located near museum on Spui
Notes - overall a very interesting city in general. The architecture was much nicer than expected. Red light district was good to see, but show unnecessary.
Travel from Amsterdam to St. Goar - 2 hrs on bus, lunch break, then 3 hrs on bus
Hotel - Hotel Montag - small hotel again but a decent room but uncomfortable bed. Very old hotel. Has free wifi. Family run. Soap included.
Dinner - chicken rice soup ( probably Lipton brand) - pot roast (surprisingly pretty good) - peas and carrots (frozen – not good)
Wine tasting - 8 euros - 4 white wines - all very sweet with sweetest being small taste of a 5th wine called ice wine - free shot glass included - ok for price
Tuesday Nov 29th
Breakfast - at hotel - meats and cheese sandwich - does the job
Stein show – Skipped it
Travel from St. Goar to Munich - 500k 7 hrs with a lunch break in middle
took a 1.5 hr walking tour of area – saw a lot – tour guide was good
Dinner - Hofbrauhaus - Sausage sampler (good) - Pork knuckle - (good) - potatoes (not good) - 32.0 euro
Tollwoods - at site of Octoberfest - ok night - beer - 3 euro - vodka drinks - 6.50 euro
Hotel - Holiday Inn Munich South - best hotel so far - has tv, soap and hairdryer. Has a clean and big bed along with a pull out couch. An americanized hotel.
Wednesday Nov 30th
Breakfast - at hotel - I skipped it
Travel to Dachau - 45 mins
Dachau concentration camp - very interesting. It is only concentration camp to operate throughout Nazi Germany time period. Has crematory and gas chambers.
Travel to Innsbruck - 2 hrs 20 mins
Innsbruck is a pretty town but we stayed in the town during the day for 4 hours. We stayed in town too long in my opinion. I got a great photo up on the hill from a church.
Lunch - Gasthaus - Roast pork and cabbage with dumpling potatoes. (good).
Hotel - Hotel Dolinger - better hotel than I thought. Has soap, hair dryer, tv with 1 English channel. The hotel was not too far from city. The hotel has clothes washing available.
Dinner - at hotel - Pork cutlet (good) - mashed potatoes (good) - string beans (good) - broccoli soupy (good) - chocolate mousse (good). Overall, it was the best hotel meal.
Breakfast - at hotel - meats, cheeses, bread, jams, nutella, yogurt and cereal available.
Thursday December 1
Travel to Venice - 2.5 hr ride to ferry, 30 min ferry ride, 1.5 hr ride to Venice.
Skipped excursions of gondola ride and dinner. Heard dinner was ok, a family style dinner.
Sights - bridge of sighs, scuola di San Rocco, San Marco square, academia, pionte de Rialto, teatro la fenice
Dinner - went to a random trattoria - ok, nothing great. Forgot name.
Hotel - Base hotel Venice - best hotel so far. 4 stars. Modern and trendy theme. Flat screen tv but no English channels. Nice room. Hair dryer, soaps and shampoo provided.
Friday December 2nd
Breakfast - at hotel - meats, cheeses, cereal, rolls
Travel from Venice to Rome - 3hrs in bus, 45 min break to eat, 3 hrs in bus
Sights to see - Coliseum, Vatican city, Spanish steps, Trevi fountain. We took 1.5 hr walking tour by our tour manager to see most of above.
Dinner - included – forgot name - pizza only (not good) - wine was not included. I would recommend skipping this if you can and know of a good restaurant.
Hotel - Park Rome Cassia Hotel - TV included, has CNN, soaps and shampoo included, hair dryer.
Saturday December 3rd
Breakfast - at hotel - typical breakfast of meats, cheeses, bread, cereal.
Optional Vatican city tour was well worth it. 2hrs with an audio tour.
Free time after.
Lunch - il convivial near piazza navona. It was closed for lunch. So we ate at a random place. Food was ok.
Went to coliseum. It closed at 330pm. KNOW THIS. We got in finally after I paid someone at the exit.
Dinner - Tony's in South Rome was closed. We ate a place that was not good.
Sunday December 4th
Breakfast - at hotel - typical breakfast with meat, cheese, cereal and bread
Travel from Rome to Florence - 3 hrs
Florence - stopped at a leather shop (waste of time, but you have to wait for walking tour to start). took a walking tour with a guide, then went to academia
Sights to see - David, Ponte vecchio, il duomo
Dinner - Acqua el Due - maccheroni il gorgonzola (good), cannelloni with mushrooms (fantastic), blueberry filet (good but order 1 temp up, they cook it raw), tried salad sampler (good), house chianti (good). 28.0 euro - overall fantastic meal and cheaper than excepted. BEST MEAL on Trip
Space discoteque - only contiki tour members from 2 total groups.
Hotel - Select Hotel (best western) - soap and shampoo included, hair dryer, free wifi but service not great
Monday December 5th
Breakfast - at hotel - typical breakfast with meat, cheese, cereal and bread
Travel from Florence to Lucerne - 3.5hrs, food break, 2.5 hrs. This is a gorgeous drive if you can stay awake. Saw Lake Como during the drive and many other pretty spots.
Lucerne - very small and pretty city
Sights to see – The Lion Monument, The Chapel Bridge, Church of St. Leodegar
Dinner – Fondue House – Reiclet – Good but pricey. 40.0 Euro without wine
Hotel – Lowengraben Jail Hotel – Worst hotel on the tour – Soap only – Free wifi in Lobby
Tuesday December 6th
Breakfast – at hotel – worst breakfast on tour – Plain bread and butter or jam – No meats or cheeses
Travel from Lucerne to Paris – 3.5 hours on the bus – 45 min Lunch break – 3 hours on the bus
Paris – Overall the nicest city to visit on the tour
Arrived in city at around 7 or so – Took a bus tour with contiki to see many sights at night
9:30 – Trip up the Eiffel Tower – 10 minute line – Gorgeous at night
11 – Bar – Coolins – Irish Pub
Hotel – Ibis Hotel Berthier Porte de Clichy – Soap, Shampoo, Free Wifi, Hair Dryer, Flat Screen TV with some American Channels – Top 3 hotel on tour
Wednesday December 7th
Breakfast – Best breakfast on tour – Quiche, Meats, Cheeses, Breads, Juices, Croissants
Perfumery – Skipped it
Sights to see -Tour Eiffel (Eiffel Tower), Palais Garnier (Paris National Opera), Galeries Lafayette, terrace at Galeries Lafayette, Basilica Sacre-Cœur, The Musée du Louvre, Grand and Petit Palais, Arc de Triomphe, Avenue des Champs-Élysees, Hotel del Invalides National, Notre Dame Cathedral (Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Paris)
Lunch – Grabbed a ham, cheese, egg crepe at the Christmas Market and ate on run to see more of the city. (Good)
Train system is very easy to figure out if you are used to subways.
Moulin Rouge – 137.0 Euro – Great Show but terrible food – Had duck liver patte and Filet Mignon – Terrible
Went to the bar right next door – fun bar and a good night
Thursday December 8th – No Breakfast – Slept in
Saw Notre Dame
Lunch – La Bouteille d’Or – Right near Notre Dam – 9, Quai de Montebello – Had Escargot with garlic wine sauce (Good), Saute de veau a la Pietra, polenta au basilica (Veal – Good, Polenta – Ok) – 40.0 Euro
Trains to Airport – Take RER B to Charles De Gaulle – DO NOT TAKE TOWARDS MITRY - American Airlines was Terminal #2 (last stop)
This tour was amazing. Even though it was very short, we got a lot for our money! the hotel we stayed in was nice and the food that was included was wonderful. our tour guide and bus driver was fantastic. they answered any questions we had and after doing some of the schelduled tours they dropped us off exactly where we wanted to go. then on new years after dropping us off at a pub which was fantastic our bus driver left early, had a sleep and then battled the traffic to pick us all back up which was something he didnt have to do. definitely something i would recommend for anyone. we also had plenty of time to ourselves to do what ever we wanted. I would love to go again!
Don't waste your time and money with contiki, you can find chaper trips and better service somewhere else. I just lost a ton of money by booking a trip with this company.
My LA explorer trip experience wasn't the best. It was a convenient way to see parts of LA without having to figure out public transport, but it wasn't well organized or run efficiently. Our tour manager couldn't find the restaurant where we were supposed to have our welcome dinner, so we spent a ridiculous amount of time walking the streets at night trying to find it. On the day we went to Disneyland, our tour manager got us there at 7:30am, dropped us off and left. We then soon found out that Disneyland didn't open until 10am. Fair to say that we were all pretty annoyed. Having to wait 2.5hrs for it to open was not good.
Kind of felt that the tour manager should have known a bit more about the tour and should have known a bit more basic information.
Our day of sight seeing in LA was probably the best day. It was an easy way to see parts of LA as the contiki bus drove us everywhere. But, we weren't given much time in each place we stopped.
I wouldn't necessarily recommend the tour. It was an easy way to see LA, but it was unorganized and not run well.
I did this tour because I wanted to go on holiday but was time-poor so wanted something fast-paced and where I could see several highlights of Europe so that I'd know where I'd like to visit again. This tour delivered all that and more. My tour manager and bus driver were amazing- friendly, helpful and experienced. They were also great fun to party with!
Tours like Conitki are great, particularly if you're travelling solo (like I did) or haven't dont much travelling before because you make "instant friends" and are shown all the main attractions of the cities without having to organise your own transport and accomodation. What you have to keep in mind with this tour though is that it is only 14 days. Realistically you are not going to see everything in 14 days and the tour also covers 8 cities. This means that there is quite a lot of time spent on the bus. That was definitely the downside to the tour but it couldn't really be helped. If you want to spend less time on the bus, either find a tour which spends longer in each city or do your own thing.
But overall this tour is AMAZING if you want to see a "snapshot" of Europe, make great friends and have an awesome time!!!
I travel frequently for both business and pleasure. Of all the places I've visited, Egypt has been, by far, one of the best experiences of my life!
Prior to my departure, I cannot express to you the amount of people around me who were worried and feared for my safety and well-being, for planning to travel to a country where a political revolution was going on. As for myself, having been used to traveling solo for a long time, it was never really a worry that crossed my mind. When we arrived in Egypt, the riot was just in one part/center of the city. Everywhere else was fine and and status quo. In terms of safety, we walked outside the city in groups and did not feel we were in danger. Further, I knew that Contiki was a well-respected travel company, and that they wouldn't take us travelers towards a place that would jeopardize our safety. Basically, everything was cool. It just makes sense that as long as you stay with the group, follow instructions, and don't go towards any chaos, then you won't attract any unwarranted danger towards yourself.
The tour of Egypt was marvelous for a multitude of reasons, one of them being that we had an amazing tour manager/guide/guardian/and friend named Sherif. I believe that a huge part of a successful tour is to have a great tour guide. If it weren't for Sherif's guidance, Egypt might not have been the same for us. He really took care of the group, made sure everyone felt safe and comfortable, and guided us in our journey throughout Egypt. He exuded so much passion in all of his stories and the history lessons he provided us at each location we visited. He was always happy, positive, patient, and energetic, and these attributes really contributed to the overall quality and experience of the entire tour.
Another reason for the tour being fantastic was the people we met along the way. It may sound cliche, but it's true that the effort and energy you put into something, is what you obtain out of it. By the end of our tour, we built good friendships, and future travel buddies via Contiki.
We also met all the different local people in the towns and villages along the way. People in general were friendly. We were informed in advance of all the hustlers in the marketplaces and how aggressive and pushy they could be. It's true, they will follow you to make a sale; fib about prices; etc. All you have to do is say 'no' and just walk away, if you're not interested. Yet, still, you will definitely come across a lot of hustling from young and old sellers for money, and if you're not careful, you could easily be swindled and then lose something valuable. Just like anywhere else you travel to, not everyone trying to sell you something is going to be bad. If you have an unfortunate experience, you might get a bad seller and then get swindled. As a traveler, you are immediately exposing yourself to areas where there is a lot of tourist attraction, so naturally, you will be amongst people and stores that will target you to buy something, so there is no way to go around this. As a traveler, this too is common sense: make sure you are aware of your surroundings, and don't wear or carry anything flashy, don't carry around a lot of money, and don't trust someone you don't know to hold something valuable for you. Don't worry, your guide will inform you of all the marketplace information.
In regards to the layout of the entire tour, opinions may differ from person to person, as some people wanted to do less, and some people wanted to spend a day longer here and there. There really is no way to foretell which person would or would not like a certain place for what amount of time. In that case, they should just do a private tour. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed and loved every single thing that was planned out in the tour itinerary. In my opinion, this is the best way to see and experience everything. We even rode every single method of transportation: bus, camel, train, cruise ship, taxi, car, plane, and atv's (due to the weather, snorkeling was replaced with atv's, and it was so awesome riding through the Arabian Desert in Hurghada)! As for the overnight sleeper train experience, it was a small space, but who cares (it's just one night), and it was so much fun. On the cruise ship, it was roomy and luxurious, and we had amazing chefs on-board who cooked fabulous meals everyday. At night, the group had drinks on the top-deck and chatted and played games. On the last night on the ship, there was an Egyptian Night where everyone dressed up in Egyptian clothing and danced and had a good time (participation is optional).
There were also the optional excursion tours available for those who wanted to experience more. I did everything on the optionals, except the Luxor Light Show. We were told to just do one of the light shows if we wanted to experience that, so we chose the Karnak Show, which was supposed to be the better of the two. Please note that the light show is not the temple being lit up and being flashy like fireworks. It was a walkabout tour, where you would walk through the temple and a projector would emit light and images against the backdrop of the temple walls (images were blurry and not in focus), and a sound system would play a recording of a story that went along with each image. It sounds cool, but in reality, the Karnak Show was sub-par and very outdated. I'd suggest this one as a pass, until there is one day a major update to the show. As for the other optional tours, you must do Abu Simbel. That alone is worth your trip. It is something you have to see in person to experience everything that is magnificent and wondrous. Trust. All of the other optional tours to the different temples is also worth every penny in my book. Each temple is amazing in its own right, and should be seen with your own eye, especially because you cannot take pictures inside most of the temples itself, and pictures do not do any justice.
The only thing left to discuss would be the food. I ate everything that was provided to me without any worries (bread, cheese, falafels, fruits, veggies, hummus, yogurt, etc) and was fine for the duration of the trip. No sickness. Although, this also varies from person to person, and the sensitivity of your stomach. I'd say 90-95% of our group were fine. Sherif will let you know in advance that it is okay to eat everything at a certain restaurant. Basically, any restaurant that you're taken to during the tour is approved. The only thing that you'll be reminded of is to not drink any tap water. You should only drink bottled water. You'll also be informed to not eat the peel of certain fruits, and certain leafy vegetables. Once again, your tour manager will inform you of all of this.
I hope everything above explains in detail, and answers any questions you may have had about the tour. I would highly recommend Egypt & The Nile tour to any one of you. As long as Contiki is providing it on their site, I would be confident that it is all good and safe to travel there. Should you have any further questions, I'd be happy to answer them.
Happy travels to you all!!!
I really enjoyed every minute of my trip, even the train ride haha, it was so good that I wanna go back and take the same tour again!! Egypt was amazing, I definitely want to go back again.
Had the best time of my life. managed to fit so much in to such a short time. stayed in really nice places, saw everything from drag shows to gators (alligators) did everything from helicoptering over the grand canyon to karaoke to air boating to ghost hunting. would totally recommend this to anyone who want to see america. we meet some awesome locals, some crazy locals. Our tour manager and bus driver were awesome. fun, interesting and just down right cool!! made some amazing friends who i will be friends with forever! thank you contiki!!
This tour was amazing! A great way to see a lot of Europe in a short amount of time. There were so many optionals to choose from, though the most memorable for me were the trip up Mt. Pilatus in Lucerne and the Moulin Rouge in Paris. The accommodations, for the most part, were pretty good. The only thing I wasn't thrilled about was having to share one key with my roommate.
The Contiki crew was awesome! Our Tour Manager, Krista, was very helpful and knowledgeable about each of the places we visited. Her sunny personality kept our group lively and happy. Gustavo, our Tour Driver, transported us in a safe and timely manner, and he, too was awesome.
Our group was like one big, happy dysfunctional family. Most of my tour mates were Australian, but it was great meeting everyone from all parts of the globe. We all keep in touch via Facebook, which is great! It was also fun meeting up with other Contiki tour groups on some of our stops.
I highly recommend this tour to everyone, especially those who want to see all that Western Europe has to offer (and are on a time constraint) and want to make great friends from all over the world.
My first Contiki ever...and my first international trip. Uh-mazing!! The group of ppl in the tour were amazing and was able to lounge on the beaches of Thailand as well as see some amazing things...elephant safari, James Bond Beach...Simon Cabaret. Our tour guid Bayden was the best! Was able to answer our questions...gave us insight about the different places...and partied with us every night :)
It is a fast-paced tour, but just about the right length. Great experience all around. Rome and Florence hotels have their drawbacks, but it's probably a necessary sacrifice. We were lucky with the weather, had an awesome tour manager, and a great bunch of people. Would do it again In a heartbeat. Contiki, do you love me?
To sum it up Vietnam Highlights was AMAZING. Vietnam itself is insane, it's so completely different and that's the best bit about travel :)
Our Contiki group were awesome, and Emmo was the best tour manager, always keeping us going during early mornings, getting us to great restaurants, and he organised so many awesome extra things.. mud baths in Nha Trang = amazing! Dog meat in Halong Bay not so amazing..
Anybody thinking of heading to Vietnam, do it, and do it with Contiki!
It was an amazing fast paced trip that allowed the entire group to participate and see loads of sites packed into 9 days! Our tour guide Christina was fantastic! She entertained, organized, and was full of information about the history and what each city had to offer. Best trip I have ever taken!
My husband and I went on this trip for our Honeymoon and it was amazing. We got the chance to experience all the greatest spots London, Stonehenge, Bath, Paris, and Rome had to offer. We made lasting friends we still talk to monthly. It was the best way to tour overseas! I can't wait for our next big adventure!
this was such an amazing trip for the following reasons:
1) amazing people we met and bonded with in our group
2) incredible views and sights we experienced during the trip
3) worry-free traveling across 3 countries, all in part to our amazing, amazing guide Emmo. he is the man.
What an amazing tour! This tour was one of the best ways to see all that northern U.S.A and Canada has to offer. Keep in mind that it is go, go, go like all Contiki tours but one of the best ways to see a lot of the northern part of North America in a short amount of time. When you go to Canada, you HAVE to go on the Jet Boating tour. BEST MONEY SPENT ON TOUR! Not to give too much away but you won't walk away from the experience disappointed. There is a little bit of a lull between Chicago and Salt Lake City, but you will need it to get your energy back for LAS VEGAS!
My top three places (in no particular order);
- Chicago (pizza is awesome and so is the music. An architecturally beautiful city. Definate wow factor)
- Québec City (in fact all of Canada - it's like it stepped out of a postcard. Culture is fantastic and the people are super nice!)
- Las Vegas (need I say more?)
If you are thinking about seeing a lot of the north, then do this tour!
This tour is a short and sweet way to see all the iconic images of New York, New York. Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, the new World Trade Centers, Central Park, Wall Street, you name it and you'll probably see it. It is really fast but with enough spare time that you can catch a Broadway show or go out on the town. Definately a tour to choose if you want to see a lot in a short timeframe.
One thing you always hear about Ireland is that the people are so nice and it's true! From the moment I got off the plane in Dublin I felt welcome. Not only did I fall in love with the people, but the culture and the land. Everything was simply breathtaking. One of the best parts was Northern Island and our tour with Ronan in Derry. Standing where Bloody Sunday took place and hearing how Ronan described growing up there is something I truly will never forget. Aside from the places we visited and the things we experienced, I truly believe it wouldn't have been the same had I not been with the amazing group I was with. Our Tour Manager, Jason, was amazing from his knowledge about the country to his personality and making sure we all had the time of our lives. I made some great friends and have a whole new list of places to visit because of them. I also came back with a new vocabulary thanks to some of my new aussie and kiwi friends. It was more than I could've expected and I would recommend it as one of the best ways for a twenty something to travel. Planning my next trip as I write this! :)