Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
The trip might sound amazing. All the places and sights you are able to see in a short amout of time. A very short amout of time. So short that you have no time what so ever to really experience it - you mostly just have the time to take some quick snapshots and then leave for the bus. It mostly left me wishing that I could stay longer at many of the locations.
During this Contiki trip you basically live on the bus. Lunch is almost always at a gasol station, so do not expect to enjoy the local cuisine. What is funny is that our tour manager always made it sound like these stops at the stations really was a way to get an insight in the culture. E.g. "Did you enjoy the beautiful German food?". "No, because the only food available is Burger King and sandwiches".
The optional activites were pushed onto us too much by our tour manager, but still barely half of us participated in them. Optional activities should be optional, and not forced. The most fun I had during the trip was actually at our spare time. Anyhow, most optional activities were worth the money besides the dinners. The food was never more than "okay", and when I went of to find dinner with friends we fould better food for about the same price or cheaper (depending on amout of courses and alcohol).
When it comes to the bus time, I had been expecting more information and facts about our destinations from our tour manager while we sat in the bus. As it was now it was mostly superficial facts, if any, and sometimes the facts were wrong.
Even though Contiki is aimed at 18-35 years old, I would recommend it to 18-20 years old who first and foremost wish to get away from their parents to drink and party. Even if the party animals at our trip were a minority, it felt like the focus was on drinking, as our tour manager often suggested drinking and bars as a free time activity.
Some positive words; you make new friends.
Lastly, if you are looking for relaxing on your holiday, Contiki really is not for you. Early mornings, long hours sitting in a bus and a forced schedule. If you want to enjoy other cultures there are absolutely better ways to do it.
I had an amazing time on this tour! I loved our group, it was so hard to leave everyone when it ended. Our Tour manager Nic and driver Gabi were awesome! Best tour manager and driver ever! I went as a solo traveller, but after this trip I have made so many friends. I would recommend this tour to everyone, it was a great way to see lots of Europe! It is very fast paced so prepare yourself for lack of sleep and lots of partying, but mostly lack of sleep. Sometimes it sucked having to leave a place so soon but it is too be expected with this tour. The accommodations are never very close to the city center. It would've been nice to be closer to the action. I didn't mind The accommodations, there were places that were better than others. You will stay in a couple of "camping" areas in mini cabins. You aren't paying for top notch hotels or hostels so don't expect the best. Going on this trip was the best decision I have ever made. I had so much fun, made so many friends and have no regrets! I had the time of my life! Corfu was probably my favourite part and was the most relaxing part of the trip. Also, I would suggest to not do paragliding in Austria and arrange to do it in Switzerland! It's a bit more expensive but very worth it. It's longer, higher and you glide through the Swiss alps. It's very close to the camp ground contiki stays at, five minute walk. A couple of us did not get to do paragliding in Austria due to weather so we did it in Switzerland and it was waaaaay better! Overall amazing time, do this trip!!
Favorite places : Corfu, Prague, Amsterdam, and Switzerland
This was my first Contiki and from what I've heard it is not a typical Contiki as a cruise pace means more time individually and disappointingly for me most of my group were couples which was unexpected as a solo traveller. That being said our tour manager Caroline was great and even though it was her billionth cruise I never felt like it was and she was enthusiastic every step of the way answering our questions before we even knew what to ask. If you are travelling alone like me it's imperative you attend the first couple of excursions and get to know your group before you all start splitting off a bit.
Overall I had the best time and cannot wait to book more Contiki !!!! Even though there were more couples I never felt alone or bored and my group really made the trip so invest in friendships early on.
The first night at the President Hotel was AMAZING. Rooftop pool and stunning cocktail bar . It's worth getting here early to make most of your stay and I'd wished of booked post night accommodation. The room was basic.
The windowless cabin was tiny and poor making me feel a bit sick so definitely go for twin or quad share as this helps you bond fast making friends for life so you'll always know what's going on with at least someone! We never spent much time here.
Buy the drinks package on the ship as it's so worth it - drinks are a bit watered down but wine and sparkling are included to!
Pack Suncream as there is no shade!! The ship is basic 3 star but thr bars are plentiful and more than adequate for drinks every night with your fellow group but don't book am exercusions everyday or you'll regret getting up at 6 am daily!!
I packed too much - you only need a handful of little tops and shorts over your swimmers as we took these everywhere for beach swimming.
Mykonos; the tour guides are reluctant to take you to Paradise Beach but YOU HAVE TO GO. A small group of us branched off and it was a few euros on a 15min shuttle and it is the party beach . Best bit if the week!!!!
Santorini is the best exercusion but there's not much time here so I wish I had some days here after.
Turkey doesn't like lira so don't change and just use euros.
Rhodes was beautiful and we saw it all for a short city bus ride and skipped the excursion. Save it for the beach in the afternoon. It's stoney but there's a bar renting loungers under umbrellas with fantastic cocktails and wifi!
Tell friends and fsmily you have no wifi as we only got it once or twice entire week.
This Contiki was a great taster for anyone not sure if they like Contiki as there is something for everyone and it's a little bit tame in comparison to others. My best advise is make the most of every moment as it's over too soon but is a good taster of the islands as I saw a little of each and now know where I'd go back.
We all wished we'd taken a deck of cards with us for group games.
The exercusions are expensive because they are cruise ship not contiki hence my 4 star rating not 5.
I'd 100% go on a Contiki again and was the most liberating experience!!
Where do I begin? Well first I would like to make it clear that I am an extremely positive person. My parents raised me with the highest of values and taught me to be rational with every conflict I come across. That being said, when I’m faced with an arduous situation, I like to think I’m always fair when addressing said situation. This trip was truly an experience never to be forgotten. I laid my eyes on sites that I never thought I’d be blessed with seeing at such a young age. Yes, the food could have been better and the hotels could have been closer to the city centers but it’s fair for the price you pay. The trip would have been perfect if it weren’t for the trip manager. The trip manager is a person I almost can’t explain in words due to the fact that I am still overwhelmed at how barbaric he acted and how unprofessionally he represented Contiki. To be fair, the trip manager put on a good show. The way he misled some of the more gullible members of the group was astonishing. However clever he was, it was unfair, oppressive really, the way he “managed” a group of people who had just spent a large sum of their money in order to visit one of the most artistically and historically beautiful places in the world. Less than two days into the trip, the trip manager started to have an affair with a fellow member from my group. They could have kept it private but instead she boasted her position to everyone and he had no interest in stopping her. I’m all for sexual freedom but this was not that. One’s intimate life is meant to be separate from one’s work life and I understand that the trip manager’s job doesn’t favor a serious relationship but if you’re that concupiscent that you need sexual attention from another person, don’t make the rest of the group feel uncomfortable with your lustful, and probably illegal in the workplace, arrangement. About a week later, the trip manager was fifteen minutes late to the bus departure. He made the reason clear when he arrived with a “one night stand” (a fellow Contiki employee) and brought her onto the bus, still in her clothes from the night before. The trip manager didn’t even have the decency to apologize for being late, which tells me that he either thought we were too mindless to note his inappropriate behavior or he just didn’t care about what we thought. Not only that but, on the first night in Paris, he left a young girl who has never left Australia before, alone at the Eiffel Tower to have to find her way back to the hotel and she ended up having to pay for a 70 euro taxi. But, when the girl that he was having an affair with was late for the bus, he didn’t hesitate to wait for her before we departed. Now how is that humane in any way? The events that I have discussed thus far caused me to feel uncomfortable and unsafe because it was clear that the trip manager's priorities consisted of himself and nothing else. “If there was an emergency, would he abandon us?” was a question I started to argue in my head yet, I am thankful to have returned home safely with only a bit of psychological scarring. If it weren’t for my best friend who came with me and a few other like-minded people I befriended, I would have gone home halfway through the trip, as everyday seemed to consist of at least one misbehavior or violation of the trip manager. That being said, it hurts me that I regret going on this trip as it was fantastic but unfortunately, the manners of my trip manager greatly deterred from my experiences and blemished my month overall.
for everyone thinking this trip is to long, it isn't. I had the time of my life on this trip and made friends that I will have forever. Our tour guide told us we'd be like family at the end of the trip and all of us were like no we won't, but when it came to the last night I felt like I couldn't live without my contiki family.
Our contiki crew was awesome, shout out to Feddo and Timmy, they made the trip for all of us and all the insures were really inviting!
We seen so much in 45 days and it was incredible, it was so hard to choose my favorite place, I had so many!
but to wrap it all up, I definitely recommend this trip to anyone wanting so make friends forever and see the world! #fatbrokehappy
Doing this trip was one of the most memorable and best things I have ever done! It is no joke when they say it's high energy. You are constantly moving. Going out at night till 3-4am and waking up at 6am to do it all over again. Needless to say, it takes a toll, so this trip isn't for everyone. If you don't take care of yourself, it can definitely ruin some awesome nights for you.
With the tour being a High Energy, you move fast and spend a lot of the time on the bus. Here is where you get to know everyone and make awesome conversations. This tour is the perfect tour to do if its your first time in Europe and want to see as much as you can with an awesome price. Our tour guide (Scott) and bus driver (Joao) knew so much information! They new the perfect places to go for absolutely everything. The sights that you see on this tour are unreal.
The people I met on this tour, made it amazing. I have met the most sincere, wild, awesome people who I know I will definitely keep in touch with and will love to see in the near future. I even met my spirit twin! You're with these people literally 24/7 and in such a short amount of time, you become so close.
I will definitely do another Contiki tour!
If you're looking at this trip, just book it. The sights are incredible and the scenery is something else. The accommodation is simple, but it's clean and has everything you need. The itinerary is perfect (our trip manager said that this is generally considered the best European route). The people you travel with become your family and you'll make some lifelong friends. Shoutout to our Trip Manager and Driver, Ric and Kamil, who kept us entertained and in high spirits the whole way, especially as it was their first ever trip! Can't wait to go on another Contiki.
My contiki experience was one that I will never forget and for good reasons! Not only did I meet amazing people who will now be life long friends - I saw some amazing countries, did some incredible things. It was all a once in a lifetime opportunity and I took it all in!
Our trip manager Evan was absolutely amazing and completely made this trip for me! His passion for travel and the his knowledge of the history of every country we went to was amazing. I learnt so much that I never would have if I had travelled on my own. Both he and Rui our coach driver were amazing guys and I can not thank them enough for what they did and how they made my experience that much better.
I would highly recommend contiki to anyone looking to travel especially if you are just starting out! This was without a doubt the best month of my life and I will definitely be returning to Europe!
This short explorer was amazing,
I covered all of London in just 4 days before my 24 day contiki winter wanderer in Europe.
You get so many coupons and flyers that you can use those days which come in handy. You also get an underground card for the metro which you can use to get to places rather then catching taxis everywhere.
You get things a lot cheaper doing this explorer rather then doing it yourself cause the contiki discounts things. And the amazing thing is you can do whatever you want whenever you want. No time schedules or selected times which is great.
I highly recommend to use the bus tour, it's either toured via headphones on the bus or by a tour guide. You can hop on and off whenever you like and simply wait 10-15 mins for another bus to hop back on and get off to your new landmark. You find out so much history and information with these tours which really help when your walking around freely or even finding where to go.
I definantly recommend this to anyone, definantly started my holiday and experience perfectly!
BEST TIME OF MY LIFE!!!!
Growing up I never fantasised about travelling but my best mate asked if I wanted to go and I thought why not?
And I'm so glad I did. It was the best time of my entire life.
There was so much to do and covered so much of each country we visited. Let's just say you never get bored or never have anything to do. My tour manager was magdi and driver was joao aka- j wow haha. I couldn't have asked for a better team, magdi told us so much history and information when we travelled to each country and even when we were just roaming the streets and towns, asked her anything and she always had an answer. Joao was a cracker, he made the long bus trips and absolute ball, with playing his funk music to prancing people on the bus and taking selfies on our phones if we left them on the coach!
We stayed in hotels which I was more comfortable on then staying in hostels. They were all clean and tidy. Even though a lot of us had issues with the showers and it flooding the bathroom floors! But I couldn't complain too much!
All of the optional a were great I probably missed about 2-3 out of all of them. My opinion is it's worth doing all of them so you constantly have things to do, rather then finding stuff to do! They are all worth the money rather then going off and doing it yourself!
I was worried on what to pack cause it wasn't in the heart of winter it was at the end. But trust me it was still oh so cold! Plenty of jumpers and I tended to double sock it most of the time. Make sure you bring very comfortable foot wear aswell as you girls at night with heels cause most countries don't have flat surfaces, they have uneven stone grounds, I personally almost fell over a couple of times. So keep that in mind Aswell. But just pack really warm clothes, it's always best to pack to warm, cause you can always take layers off during the day.
As for the rest of the contiki group, I couldn't ask for a better group of people to travel with. They were such a happy, nice, amazing bunch. Everyone got along with everyone and there was not one single issue. Don't get me wrong there were a few that made some cliques which is predictable, but everyone always spoke to eachother everyday! Being back now for about 3 months now, I still talk to half the group which was a group of 53. I made life long friendships which I will cherish forever. Even though they might live on the other side of the world or in another
State or country, distance doesn't define friendship.
I highly recommend this tour, you cover so much in a short amount of time, but also enough time to gain great friendships and an exciting experience travelling all over Europe!
This was my first trip with Contiki, and I am so, so, so glad I did it! I really lucked out with my trip!
Being a shy and introverted person, I wasn't sure how well I'd do on a group bus tour, but I was so lucky that the group I ended up with was welcoming and friendly. There was a mixture of Aussies, fellow Canadians, a few Kiwis, a handful of Americans, one South African, and one Hong Konger; one of the best things about this trip was meeting people from so many different (yet similar) cultures and comparing notes (like all the different words for "tank top," haha). I ended up forming friendships with many of them, and have stayed in touch since.
I chose not to do all of the included activities and optionals, mainly because I needed some time alone to recharge, but also because I hate riding bicycles and wanted to save money (haha). Wandering through a museum filled with art by Alphonse Mucha AND Salvador Dali was one of my favourite things that I did by myself, but I also loved . You can tailor your experience to suit your tastes, though you shouldn't limit yourself too much either. Even if one of the activities doesn't sound like something you'd enjoy, take a leap and try it anyway! You might be pleasantly surprised. ;)
Of course, the trip wouldn't have been possible without the hard work of the Contiki team. Our guide Cameron was fun, passionate, knowledgeable, and always there to help us "sausage dog through it" (make the best of a difficult situation). Being a history nerd myself, I really appreciated how he injected humour into his summaries of historical events -- it definitely helped keep us awake on those long bus rides! And I can't give Patryck, our bus driver, enough praise for his skills at driving that massive coach, for cleaning up after us all the time, and for staying so upbeat through it all.
The only kind-of negative aspect of the trip (for me) was the length of the bus rides between cities; it's a necessary evil, though at the same time it's a good opportunity to socialize with your group. I'd recommend changing seats often to break up the monotony, which is something I wish I'd done more of!
To summarize: I was super lucky. Meeting so many interesting people, seeing so many amazing things, and having such a fun time, made this trip worth every penny. I had #noregrets :)
I had the most amazing time on my trip, i have seen that other members from our trip have written about our tour manager, unfortunately they have written things that are untrue. Evan was the best tour manager i could have asked for. The knowledge and experience was extraordinary, his passion for travel and the help he provided was brilliant. There was not one fault for our Crew, our bus driver Rui was brilliant and the relationship within the crew was happy and great.
I can't wait to go on another Contiki and i would love to travel with Evan and Rui again, i feel really sad that other members of our trip have falsified information from our trip in spite of our crew. There was not a wrong foot put by either of them and i can see why Evan and Rui are very valued members of the Contiki crew in Europe.
The Western Quest was amazing. I went alone, but made so many new friends right away. The ability to explore cities on your own but still have a tour manager to give you tips and a short tour on arrival was great, it really let me make this trip my own.
I was surprised that I got to know 50 people so quickly and we truly did feel like a family. We'd go off in smaller groups to explore, but when we ran into anyone, everyone was really friendly and welcoming. At bars and clubs everyone made sure to look out for one another so you never felt alone. No matter what, you could always find someone else who wanted to do the same as you whether it be staying at a Paris bar until 5am close, or finding Nutella stuffed churros in Barcelona.
The Me Time Optionals were wonderful, but don't be fooled, the name makes them sounds like solo adventures, but really they're a great way to get to spend more time with your tour group and they're fun and the food is really good. I did all of the optionals during my short tour and had a great time during each.
The only disappointment was the included food. Unfortunately, it was very lackluster and made me wish it hadn't been included at all (I'd rather the overall price be a bit cheaper and have to find my own dinners more often).
I always felt safe and comfortable, even when I went off on my own to explore. The hostels surprised me and were actually nicer than one of the hotels we stayed at. Rooming seemed to be random, it could have been better organized by who became friends, but it forced me to meet even more people.
The nightlife was amazing, and you can usually recover on the bus the next day, meaning you don't miss anything. Our tour manager had "ins" in every city and not only knew what bars were fun, but also got us discounts on drinks, into clubs for free, and we were always able to skip the line.
All in all, this was a trip of a lifetime. Western Quest is the start of the the European Quest and when it came time for me to leave in Barcelona I wanted to continue on. I would definitely do this again, and just be prepared to not eat the included meals when possible. I hope to do the rest of the European Quest soon!
Great way to see most of the European countries in just over 2 weeks. The duration of the trip (18 days) was perfect, just enough time in each location (could have had more time in Munich as we only spent one night there) but otherwise was great. The only down side was some of the "included meals" were average. And when they say "included" they mean, money you have paid in the compulsory food fund. Also I traveled with my boyfriend and we were not told that the rooms would be almost all quad share (there was only 2 places that we had a private room), luckily our contiki had 4 couples so we were able to share with them, but even still...in Germany they forced us to stay in boy only, and girl only rooms meaning that we were separated 5 nights in a row. Its not a huge issue in the long run but would have been nice to know before we left! Some of the accommodation in Italy was kind of low quality, whilst our tour manage mentioned this at the start of the trip, nothing can really prepare you for paying ridiculous amounts for wifi that can't event be used in your room, and looking at the dirty rooms...but as our tour manager mentioned, we were on the "hostel" tour not the "hotel" tour. I honestly didnt even look at the accommodation type when picking my tour, but if having a relaxing clean room that has wifi then i would suggest going with the hotel version. In all, we had a great group, tour manage and driver!
Even though there was only 29 of us it was the greatest small group of people to meet and spend the 14 days with experiening everything new together. Our driver Aiden was funny and Amazing. Our team Manger Hannah was the most incredible organized and fun person to lead us.
I did this with my partner and was such amazing experience. Past all my expectations.
I was so excited to come on this trip, especially after some of the great reviews. However, upon arriving I quickly realized this wasn't what I expected. Most of my group was younger then me. I turned 28 while on the trip. There as 4 people older then me and they all traveled with someone. Leaving the group to be between the age of 18-21. There were hardly any solo travelers in our group which made this trip very cliquey as most just stuck with their kind. This was much more of a party trip then I expected. Maybe because I am a little older I didn't expect to be out until 4-5 every morning. I wanted to actually enjoy the experience and see the sites. Everyone was mostly hungover and very tired from the night before.
Our tour guide was friendly, however his girlfriend joined the trip for 2 days which I thought was a bit unprofessional considering this is his job- however, i understand it must be tough to maintain a relationship while you travel every 2 weeks. She worked for contiki also. She was very nice, just as a professional aspect- it wasn't. Our guide also got upset one night because half the group left the bar crawl and went home after midnight. we had been traveling most the day and had an excursion the next day. Some of the younger girls decided to post something in our Facebook chat stating that our travel guide said we are the worst group in 6 years. The fact that he didn't address it and gave most everyone attitude the next day was surprisingly shocking. I told him directly how that wasn't cool as we all spent money to enjoy our trip and don't need drama because some people are tired and want to go back to the room. sidetone: the introduction night, he didn't even have a kick off introduction for everyone to introduce themselves. I think this also set the trip on the wrong tone because everyone had a guard up initially.
The accommodations were decent. I thought the hotel in Mykonos sucked, and its up a giant hill- so bringing a backpack instead of a suitcase i think is a better idea. You could tell that a lot of places we were taken to there are arrangements set. For example the tour guide will recommend certain places like this is the best to go for this but once we are there they are like best friends and its clear he gets a kick back. its basically a travelers trap. My advice is venture off.
I think the best excursion of the entire trip was the day we got to see the volcano, and ride donkeys and play in mud. this was in Santorini. which was personally my favorite island we visited. Mykonos is total beach club vibe which is fun but theres drama between contiki and the actual fun beach bar tropicana so we had to go there 'undercover' and not say we were w contiki. In Ios expect to be up until 6 am . nothing gets started until 10/11 pm.
Also- don't think that the sand is amazing at any of these islands. Bring rock shoes.. seriously. It hurts to walk on. I would also recommend bringing your own sunscreen because its expensive and half the time expired. Don't expect to get good wifi either. it comes in waves. But then again some people dont want to be on their phones when traveling.
I think If this trip included more singles, and it wasn't mostly catty younger cliquey girls then this would have been a great trip. The guy to girl ratio isn't wonderful. there was one couple on the trip. I really wish the age range was better monitored. Its difficult to have anything in common with a group that is 10 years younger then you. I think contiki should change their age range so its not so broad. I can't even imagine being 35 and coming on this trip lol.
If you've never traveled alone before or abroad this is a good way to do it. it was nice not having to worry about figuring out how to get from point a to point b. but if you're going with the intention of being friends w everyone and meeting a bunch of other single travelers I would say look at another agency, or you may have a better experience going through hostel world and doing the research yourself. Overpriced for the experience. 4 days into it, I wished I didn't book it. ha.. Luckily I had other travel plans after this tour so It made up for the entire trip! Do your research and set realistic expectations! Enjoy!
I have been on 3 different Contiki’s (2 European ones and LA to the Bay) and this last one was by far the best Contiki I have been on.
The locations were amazing, the hotels great, the additional activities amazing and the people world class.
Another reason why it was really awesome was thanks to having Matt as our awesome tour guide. I really appreciated the small gestures like having Cards Against Humanity for us to play, playing awesome location related movies on the bus before we got to the location e.g. The Hangover before Vegas, for making being late a fun thing rather than a serious thing with bus karaoke and dancing.
It was a super fun trip and I had a world class time!
I was apprehensive about booking Contiki - I've travelled with Intrepid and Topdeck and as I'm in my early 30's I was worried that I would be stuck with immature 20 year olds for 2 weeks. Luckily, I had a GREAT group of people and thoroughly enjoyed spending time with the group. Some of my favourite times were going out with the group for dinner and drinks/clubs.
Our tour manager Jesse was awesome - super friendly and knowledgeable. She is also multilingual, which was useful in Spain to have a Spanish speaker. Jess also came out with us and seemed to genuinely enjoy socialising with the group. Our driver Luis was quiet but friendly, and I was impressed with his driving skills. I normally get a little motion sickness but did not experience it at all this trip.
Spain was awesome. We had a great local guide in Seville, who was funny and engaging. Portugal was also great, Sintra and Cascais were beautiful, although I'd have loved more time here, as well as other places in Spain. As with any Contiki i'm sure, time is limited and you'll always want to spend more time in some places, but that's what you get when you want to experience several countries in 2 weeks.
Morocco was a good experience, however it was not a place we were advised to explore on our own, except for Marrakech. Tangier was particularly dangerous, but we only stayed one night prior to returning to Spain. My stand out experience in Morocco was the traditional hammam - not for the overly shy - but a really interesting experience that I am glad i did. Our tour manager also joined in, which made the experience a little less daunting!!
Overall, I wasnt overly impressed with the food, particularly with some of the optional dinners, however not all were bad. Breakfasts are basic, as with most places in Europe, so dont expect anything too fancy. Pastries and fruit are the norm. A fair few meals are also eaten at service stations, in Morocco, this wasnt great, but in Spain there was generally a variety of options so it wasnt too unpleasant!
I was pleasantly surprised by the standard of the hotels we stayed in. The majority were quite comfortable and nicer than i had expected. Most were 20-30 mins outside of the city, however for the cost of the tour you cant expect anything much closer. For group dinners/city activities, we were taken in by the coach, however taxi fares werent overly expensive when shared among a few people.
Overall i had a great time on this trip. As i had expected, Contiki is more geared towards partying than other companies I've travelled with...however I really enjoyed this aspect, which surprised me! I'd definitely recommend this tour, some great sights and experiences :)
What I loved about the trip:
- Very friendly and knowledgeable tour guide (Sarah). The presentations about each new country were interesting, and the maps of the cities we visited and ‘survival phrases’ were very useful. She also gave us good advice on restaurants and things to see/do during our free time.
- The optional extras. I signed up for most of them, and they were worth every penny! The guide on both of the Budapest tours was very funny, and the guide on the “Traditional Tastes of Venice” tour chatted to us all as we tried some very tasty Italian antipasti. All of the guides were very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. The pierogi evening was fun, and the gondola ride was a bucket list item!
- The inclusions. Key landmarks were pointed out to us, and the included meals were traditional. Sarah took us on short walking tours of the cities, and we also had plenty of time to look around Auschwitz-Birkenau and Banska Bystrica.
- The free time. I felt that there was enough time to explore in all of the cities (except Rome – see below).
What could have been better:
- Very little time spent in Rome. The trip description says “See the Colosseum” and “See St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City”, but neither place was included in the walking tour, and we did not get off the coach to have a closer look. I therefore only managed to get a quick glimpse, which was disappointing.
- The hostel in Ljubljana. The hostel was on the top few floors (floors 12 and upwards) of a VERY tall hotel building. The lifts were slow, and stopped on every single level. There was only one electrical socket in the room (for 4 people), the bathroom door did not close properly, and there was graffiti on the walls next to some of the bunk beds. The lights in the room were not working when we arrived, and one of the hinges on the window was broken. The Contiki website says that the hostels visited are “some of Europe’s top hostels”, but this one was poor, and one of my roommates said that she felt nervous staying there.
- The rooming situation. When my friend and I booked this trip, we requested a twin room in each of the hostels/hotels. A rooming list was passed round when we were on the coach on the way to the next destination, and the non-quad rooms were usually reserved for couples. We managed to get twin rooms in Krakow and Venice, and although we understood that twin rooms were not guaranteed, we felt that our request had been ignored for the most part.
A fantastic trip, and I’ve already started thinking about my next adventure! I would definitely recommend the Eastern Trail.
The contiki hotels felt more like hostels - the staff in those locations were rude because they only have contiki guests so they aren't worried of repercussions. We actually got worse service at other hotels because of the reputation of contiki - and I don't blame them. You're on holiday with people who don't know how to respect other people in the hotel and will be loud all hours of the morning. The included breakfasts are most often bad, and even when there is food to choose from you're up so early and have only 30 minutes to eat so it's an unpleasant experience. You eat most lunches at a servo/gas station. The included dinners are actually worse because as the TM would say "it's hard to feed 35+ people great food" - which it's not. The money you think you save going to Contiki you end up paying in food and taxi cabs to the hotel because they are always so far out of city center; and at least when you're on your own you don't have to deal with high school like drama from other tour members. The transport ends up being much longer than you would expect when mapping it out yourself because we have to stop every 2.5 hours for 45 minutes for the drivers hours. Basically every other day you are on the coach for 8-9 hours, so you're too exhausted after dinner to try to explore the city that's a 30 minute drive away. Everyone on the bus got sick, and a week later I'm still recovering even though I tried to sleep as much as I could because your body is not meant to eat such awful food and travel so much in 30 days.