Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
A year later and I still reminisce of this tour. From the UK to Amsterdam each day is filled with memories and adventures you will remember for a lifetime.
It was far better than my expectations as you had a lot more free time to explore the things you wanted to see.
I would highly recommend doing all the ME TIME activities - I ticked a lot off my bucket list and also it was a great way to get to know fellow travelers.
The Netherlands, Venice, Paris and the Vatican were the main highlights for the trip for me. From the delicious food to experiencing the night life, it was a great way to explore Europe and get a taste for the places I want to go back to.
If you are thinking about doing this trip.... DO IT. Its definitely worth every cent and the tour manager, bus driver and contiki team are there to support you every step of the way.
For more detailed info on the tour check out my travel diary:
I have always wanted to go to Hogmanay as it is meant to be the best New Year celebration and it didn't disappoint. I met some lovely, fun people to share the celebrations with and had a great time with a mixture of culture and partying. the accommodation was basic but clean and really close to the celebrations.
I watched the torchlight procession and the fireworks on Chalton Hill on the first night and it was really traditional but lovely with all the lights. I had been to Edinburgh before so I decided to do the optional trip to Stirling Castle and the William Wallace monument which was interesting as I like history but there are a lot of stairs at the monument.
The New Year's Eve street party was great and we went to the cheesy pop music stage so lots of old classics. You can bring your own alcohol (if in cans or plastic bottles) so that saves a fortune. I would recommend wrapping up with lots of layers though as it is freezing. On New Year's day, we went to the Looney Dook where loads of people jump in the freezing cold water for charity. I was cold enough just watching. The optional activity was a 3 course meal which was delicious and well worth the money. We also had traditional bag pipe music so a different experience.
I would recommend Edinburgh and Hogmanay it is a beautiful city. This trip is short but enjoyable. There is a fairly long coach journey from London to Edinburgh and back but even that is ok as our tour leader showed films and TV shows and it is an opportunity to chill out or sleep if you want.
Have to say I found this tour a bit of a disappointment after doing the Grand Southern in the USA which was the best time of my life. Our tour manager and group were both not the best which put a dampener on the whole trip. Also, being at the end of the summer season meant we didn't get the best reception from the contiki staff at some of the stops. Instead of looking after us they were partying and celebrating the end of the season. The campground in Rome had a massive bed bug infestation which was a bit of an issue! Otherwise this trip is a good way to see the main highlights of Western Europe at a worldwind pace. Highlights for me were Amsterdam and Oktoberfest (which we were lucky enough to attend).
Had a great time on this tour, made a-lot of new friends around the world, experienced a whole new culture thanks to a great guide Kenneth. Already planning to go back this year.
The first thing that I would say about this trip is that you're paying for the accommodation and the knowledgeable guide.
In all honesty, the best thing about this trip was the fact my guide was awesome, knowledgeable and put in a heap of effort.
Looking back on it, all the sights we saw as a group - Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Ground Zero, Empire State Building - could all be done with minimal effort for a combined monetary value of a lot less than the money for the tour.
However, as our guide offered fantastic extras to us - walking across the Brooklyn Bridge together, getting pizza in Brooklyn, getting tickets for the basketball at Madison Square Garden - it was worth it.
The things I would change would be the fact it costs so much for just basic accommodation and some cheap included extras (as you took the train everywhere).
I would also add in unique optionals and give people choices. For example, explore the Central Park Zoo or Museum of Natural History, Empire State or Top of the Rock during the day.
While you definitely won't get to see and do everything LA has to offer, this 3 day snapshot tour will give you time to have a taste of this wonderful city and leave you wanting more.
I arrived midday of the 1st day and decided to walk around Downtown LA (starting from Contiki accommodation at the Miyako Hotel). While only a short stroll from the hotel, I spent a good 6+hours exploring, eating and drinking my way around Downtown.
The 2nd was spent at Universal Studios (the concierge and front desk staff can help you organised a shuttle to the theme park, however, I booked mine through a third party which covered all transportation) and down Hollywood Boulevard, while the 3rd was the day I left for the Grand Southern Contiki.
This Contiki doesn't have a trip manager or any bells and whistles - it's basically accommodation and friendly staff that you're paying for. You can make the most (or the least) out of it by embracing your Wanderlust and venturing out. :)
I definitely recommend this tour especially for a country like Egypt where you may not know the language and need to be mindful of safety. This is not a party tour, it really is about the history and culture. There were some fun times, but overall you don't really get much time on your own or to be out at night.
The best part of the trip was probably our tour guide Sherif. He was amazing and the love he has for egyptian history and sharing that passion was truly great to experience. He was both our tour manger and tour guide. If you arrive a day before or stay a day after, Sherif is around and can take you on a day trip to Alexandria. I wasn't sure about how to arrange this so I didnt do it but if you just show up he'll be there. Safest bet is probably staying a day after the tour so you can arrange with him while on the trip.
All of the sites had so much history. If you want to visit Abu Simbel, the reason for the high cost is because you need to take a plane to the site since it was elevated above the Nile. It was massive and great, but if you are on a budget you can find value in other temples/sites.
Everything was an experience especially the camel riding, overnight train, sailing the Nile, going to the markets, hearing the history behind the temples/tombs. When we went to the tombs in the Valley of the Kings, Sherif says our group lucked out because 2 of the best tombs that were closed for many years opened up. They were really cool to enter. In Luxor you will have an option to hot air balloon before dawn. DO IT. It was amazing. You have to get up at 4am, and there is a lot on the itinerary for that day, but it is so worth it. I think the downside for me was that I didn't feel like I had authentic Egyptian food or time to just roam the streets particularly in Luxor which seemed like a nice, safe place to at least eat dinner on our own. I believe Contiki is mindful of our safety which is why we mostly ate on the cruise ship (for stomach issues) and didn't roam the streets alone at night. The night at Luxor temple felt rushed and that was a bit disappointing. I did all the tours/optionals with the exception of the unfinished Obelisk and the sound and light show - didn't seem exciting. The day at sea in Hurghada was awesome. Though a few weeks after our trip there were some terrorist happenings at the same hotel which was quite scary to hear. Overall, I felt safe in Egypt, though I would say I went at a time when situations were escalating due to the plane crash and such. Still felt very safe especially once you leave Cairo. One upside of going now is that most sites are EMPTY. Sherif told us that before the Revolution it was difficult to even enter some of these temples. The weather in November was mild - high 70sF. I appreciated that when we had to go into the pyramids, tombs or temples. The hotel in Cairo was changed for my tour, so we didn't experience any bugs and such.
Overall great trip, great people, great memories.
This trip was awesome! Had a great time beginning to end. Though it says easy pace you are moving and hopping around to the different cities within Italy at a fast pace. You are pretty much in each city for a day so try to maximize your time and plan out 2-3 things you would want to see/do. I recommend adding a day or two at the beginning or end of the tour in Rome.
We had a nice group of 50 including couples, solo travelers and friends joining from all over and diff age ranges. By the end of the trip we were tied at the hip.
It was hottt in August so dress light/airy, wear comfortable shoes and carry water and a fan.
Most of the optionals were worth it especially the dinner in Sorrento, the Tuscan Feast and the last dinner in Rome. The dinner meal in Verona was probably the least tasteful. Hotels were decent. If you stay extra days in Rome I recommend getting a hotel that is more center city. When you are in Cinque Terre at the bed and breakfast, if you are offered the homemade meal....have it! Best lasagna ever.
Our tour guide Maggie did a great job of keeping the group together and on schedule. She made sure we got to know each other, using the hours on the coach to play games. She was also super helpful and shared many tips and tricks.
Overall would recommend if you want to see a lot of Italy in a short time with the goal of one day returning to your favorite places.
This was my first Contiki, and it was honestly the best traveling experience of my life! I met so many amazing people on my tour, some of which I know I will be lifelong friends with. Our tour manager, Gaby Puma, was excellent at her job – there is not a problem that she cannot solve! She was so organized and friendly and loved showing us her phenomenal country of Peru.
I will start with the things that I did not like about the tour because there were not very many of them. Firstly, the “Peru Uncovered” tour is actually a small section of a larger tour that includes other countries like the Galapagos, Ecuador, Argentina, and Brazil. I believe a lot of Contiki tours are sold this way. They have one huge month-long tour that they break up and sell in parts. I would recommend looking for the longer tours because you get more “bang for your buck” (if you have enough finances and vacay time). Secondly, the Amazon portion of the trip was kind of underwhelming. We barely saw any animals, and the accommodations and exclusions in the Amazon were just “okay”.
Back to the good stuff – basically everything else was awesome. I found that I enjoyed the social element of the tour much more than the tour itself. You make fast friends with people you spend 24/7 with, and experiencing a new culture with them is fantastic. Peru has so much to offer – food, different landscapes and climates, friendly people, and most importantly… ALPACAS! Touching a real alpaca was one of the highlights of my trip, lol. Soooo soft. I recommend buying a ton of alpaca wool scarves as souvenirs for people back home because there is not much else in terms of souvenirs in Peru.
Machu Picchu was also amazing, obviously. You’ve seen so many pictures of it that when you get there, it seems almost unreal, like you are still looking at a picture of it. You just gotta find a nice empty spot and sit and look at it for a while. I did NOT do the Inca Trail because of some confusion and misinformation from Contiki, and I somewhat regret it. It was nice having a chill day while most of the group was hiking up the trail (some mornings we have to get up at 4AM… that, combined with drinking the night before makes for some tiring days), but it sounded like an awesome experience from the rest of the group. If you are of a below-average fitness level, I’m pretty sure you could do the hike and not die. Good luck if you do, haha!
My favourite city of the tour (by far) was Cusco. It has such a cool vibe and is just overall a beautiful city with amazing food and culture. I wish I could have spent more time there. I also think that I liked Cusco the best because Gaby was from there and she was the one that showed us around. I found the other tour guides in Lima and Lake Titicaca somewhat impersonal and slightly boring.
I recommend trying EVERYTHING in terms of food and excursions (Me Times). Peru really does have diverse and amazing food, and you will most likely (99% chance) have stomach problems at some point, so you might as well live it up and eat everything ;)
Make sure you get a selfie with an alpaca, eat an alpaca steak (preferably not from the alpaca you got a selfie with), go to the cat park in Lima, and let loose and have fun. You will have #noregrets if you go on Peru Uncovered trip!
This was my first solo trip overseas and it could not have been better. I went to some amazing places, tried some amazing food and participated in activities I would never have considered doing. But the highlight was the amazing new friends from all over the world that I made. They made this trip what it was. If you can do the full 19 days so you can experience New Zealand and all it has to offer. Try as many new things as you can and do as many metime optionals as you can. This trip really brings you out of your comfort zone and for the best!!!
This was my third Contiki and it did not disappoint. It was my first trip though going to multiple countries as in the past I've spent 2 weeks in Greece and 2 weeks in Peru. So the format was a little different and took some getting used to. It's hard to really dive into a country's culture. However, it's a great way to get a little taste of each county and to experience Europe if it's your first time. If you really want to explore a country in depth, this tour is not for you. With that said, I had a great time! We had a group of 51, which was by far the biggest tour I've been on. Late nights, early mornings, and lots of driving time. However, we made a lot of great memories in some of the world's most beautiful places! Venice was definitely my highlight. Was also, extremely surprised by how beautiful Austria was. Wish we could have had longer there. All in all, a great trip and a great intro to Europe if you're a newbie!
This was my first Contiki trip, and I loved it! I did hear from some of my Contiki mates that most other trips are much more fast paced and a little bit more party oriented (depending on what you choose). This was very slow paced and easy going with lots of in depth ventures into cities you never would have been able to find on your own. Our tour guide Mike filled out short drives (2-3 hours) with historical facts and pointed out sites we were passing by.
England was wonderfully full of history, and Liverpool had to be favorite city there. We got a nice Beetles tour and then had a night out on the town venturing through places the Beetles were known to have frequented. It also had charm all in its own.
In Scotland, jumping into Lochness was one of the funniest, most freezing, yet awesome experiences I'll treasure for ever for sure! The hotel you stay at that night is quite a site to behold. It's like living inside your Grandma's mind, tartan EVERYWHERE! But those most comfortable leather couches you will ever sit on.
Go up top for the ferry ride over to the Irelands! The water and vastness is breath taking!
Northern Ireland, I felt incredibly ignorant for not knowing the history with all the trouble they have/had. Our local tour guide (forgive me I can't remember his name) gave an INCREDIBLE tour taking us around to the peace wall, giving tales of his own encounters with the IRA, and so on. It was eye opening.
Ireland Republic was continually great. The inner Irish woman in me fell in love at the Jameson distillery and was ready to move in. Obviously the country has much more to offer then that but it was my high light :)
I am usually a solo traveler, having done England once before by myself as well as Iceland. It was fun having people to always grab dinner and drinks with as well to share the fun experiences. I also liked having the ability if I so desired to do something on my own when at times having 50 people around felt a little over whelming.
I loved everyone on my trip and plan to stay long time friends with quite a handful of them. I will definitely be doing another Contiki because I can't imagine being able to get the in depth experience I got from this company on my own without wasting time and money and patience!
This was a whirlwind tour of everything you need to see on the North and South Islands. A perfect mix of big city fun and small town culture. The scenery was incredible , swim every chance you get. I highly recommend doing the whole 19 day tour instead of just the north or south island, it is 100% worth it and you meet a ton of people who hop on and off at different points along the way.
Do as many optionals as you can afford, the guides are great and will tell you which ones are the best. Highlights:Skydiving in Queenstown over the remarkables,seeing a eel while black water rafting in waitomo glow worm caves and scrumpy(just drink it, trust me).
Just do it and enjoy every moment. Trip of a lifetime
This trip was amazing! Not too long, not too short, the perfect timing. Our guide Kate and driver Jimmy were outstanding. I would do this again in a heatbeat.
The sites we saw were great and the whole experience was awesome. If you're a firdt time Europe traveller, I'd do this exact trip!
Okay so its taken me 1 year to write this review.
Ever since I finished this tour I have been planning the next one. If your looking for an awesome fast paced trip choose this one.
I met so many amazing friends that I still keep in contact with today and actually planning to meet up with this Christmas.
As for the trip there was so many beautiful sights and so many awesome parties. Every single night we just partied hard and everyday took in the sights while traveling to our next location and exploring once we got there.
I recommend doing every extra me time activity and leave at least 1 week open at the end of the tour so you can keep the party going with the awesome guys and girls you will meet that are still around London or Paris or even Amsterdam(its not hard to get back).
Even tho the tour is short you still make the best friends and its super sad to say goodbye at the end.
Definitely no Regrets! and my next tour I do will be much longer as you never wanna leave!
Happy travels people look forward to meeting you all on the next tour!! :)
Seriously the most fun I've ever had.
Massive group, walked away with some awesome new friends.
I'm not a big drinker, thank god, its expensive to have a night on the town here!
Hotels were pretty great, stand out was Harrah's in Vegas. Wow, buffet breakfast, DO IT. Shopping is so much better than at home.
Wasn't a big fan of San Fran, lots of creepy people there. Did the bike ride over the Golden Gate Bridge, happy to say that I did it but, never again. No one said it was almost 20km. My knees did not appreciate that flogging. Spent the next 2 days writhing in agony from the waist down.
Vegas. Wow, just wow.
Grand Canyon, do it. An absolute must.
New York, not bad. Times Square is just like the movies. But, there is literally garbage, like massive bags pilled on the streets everyday everywhere and it kinda smells.
Went to a Yankees game. Even if you're not a baseball fan, the atmosphere alone is fantastic and you're guaranteed a great time. Food cart tour was cool, yummy, but its a lot of walking!
We added on Waikiki for 2 nights, 3 days at the end of this tour. Excellent idea, needed the wind down!
Would love to see the whole country. One day, hopefully.
Definitely worth doing before starting a tour! Especially if you're flight is delayed at home and then you miss your connection (yes, this did happen to me!). So instead of having 3 extra days in LA, it was more like 1 & 1/2 with 12 hours wasted in an airport while waiting for another flight!
Still, worth it, otherwise we would've missed the beginning of the Best of USA tour.
Managed to drop some serious money at the Citadel outlets and explore some cool local places to eat.
This tour was pretty much do what you want. No guide.
Stayed at the Figueroa and the staff were pretty rude actually, when I called from Hawaii to say we were delayed 12 hours they pretty much said "Tough shit, we'll give your room to someone else. " Wasn't until the travel agent from home got wind of the hurricane that was destroying the start of our trip and called these assholes to make sure we had somewhere to sleep.
Guess you could say the room wasn't too bad, turned out the only contiki hotel we stayed at that had a mini fridge in it and the included breakfast was pretty awesome.
I had just moved to London before Christmas when this little gem of a trip came up, and I and so glad it did.
I had travelled through France a few years prior and this trip is incredible value for money! Your accommodation isn't great, but your in Paris for new years! Tour manager pointed out all the places to see and what to do, which was great as you really feel you see everything. Night tour was beautiful especially at such a festive time of year.
For anyone not too sure what your doing for new years, put this in your diary now! You won't regret it!
This trip was absolutely perfect for my stop over on route to the UK. I felt I saw everything here was within he short stays of each place. His trip in the winter covers it all, partying in Vegas, action packed days in snow in tahoe, sight seeing in San Francisco and loads of shopping and celeb spotting in LA. I meet amazing people and had such an incredible time. Thanks to our contik manager Blake, who went above and beyond to ensure we experienced everything there was to see and do.
I would definitely recommend anyone who is thinking of this trip to send a few more days prior in Las Vegas, you define don't want to come all his way and not see the grand canyon.