18 Dec 2015 - 27 Dec 2015
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!
Review written Feb 2016event 0.3
27 Sep 2015 - 05 Oct 2015
I was slightly sceptical when I booked this trip, having never left the UK before I was unsure of what to expect. As a solo traveler would it be easy to make friends with my tour mates and was it really possible to fit so much in to such a short time? It was indeed. I had the most amazing time on this trip, I saw and did so many things, from seeing the Red Light district in Amsterdam to enjoying a Gondola ride in Venice. I have also made new friends that I just know will be friends for life. Everyday is completely different and offers something new. We started in Amsterdam, the Calnal cruise was a lot of fun and offered great insight into the history of the city and the workings of it now. Next was a trip to the red light district, this is the kind of place I know some people wouldn't want to go, all I can say is that it is something I think everyone should experience at least once in their lives, it offers a look into a way of life for the people of Amsterdam, it also opens the mind up to other ways of thinking and is a real cultural experience. Next was a free morning to explore Amsterdam, the square has the most amazing sounding clock chimes and I would definitely recommend the little waffle shop in the right corner next to the church, the best waffle with cream and strawberries I've ever had, and it was bigger than my hand! After this we traveled to the Rhine Valley, I loved the Rhine Valley, St Goar is an adoreable little village that offers the most relaxing of evenings, definitely take part in the wine tasting here, the guys are clearly experts and give so much information on each wine.. Plus it gives you the chance to get a little tipsy ;) I would recommend the shop with the largest cuckoo clock outside if you'd like a cute souvenir from here, I bought the cutest of clocks hand crafted and it lights up! I enjoyed the evening meal with fellow travelers and getting to know some of the group more. The next day is the drive to Munich, the scenery is stunning. Once here I opted into the bike tour with Mikes Bike Tours, we saw a lot here from the shop fronts filmed in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to surfers in the English park. The tour guide was very knowledgeable and was great at getting everyone involved. Don't worry if you haven't ridden a bike in a few years, they give you the chance to practice, and the saying that you never forget how to ride a bike is very true. We were lucky enough that our tour landed us right in the middle of Oktoberfest, so we enjoyed the evening here, I would recommend this even if you don't drink, there's rides and some of the best food you'll ever eat. Just be warned, beers only come in one size here and that's a litre, definitely value for money. After Munich came Innsbruck, Austria. Austria was beautiful, one of my most favourite places by far, perfect scenery, perfect atmosphere, perfect everything, I'd recommend enjoying a meal sat outside as the view of the mountains are stunning, I only wish we could have stayed here longer. Next it was on to Venice. As there are no viechals allowed on the island we stayed just outside and caught the train into the centre in the morning. The walking tour and lace tour were both fun and informative, and the free time was some of the best I had. Our tour manager told us that you haven't truly experienced Venice unless you've got lost in Venice and this couldn't be truer! i got lost several times and in the process saw things I wouldn't have seen otherwise. There are so many quirky shops and these are set out like a maze, lanes snaking in and out of each other each one offering spectacular sights and sounds, there's something about hearing a gondolea singing to his passengers that sent chills down my spine, it's like something straight from a movie. The locals are friendly and the food amazing! Take part in the optional Venetian dinner, it offers a wonderful experience and we had to buy Venetian masks for ours which made the whole trip even more fun. After Venice was Switzerland, the overnight stay here was epic. We had a boat cruise at sunset and the sights were truly amazing. The sights at the top of the mountain (optional extra) were some of the best I've ever seen. The meal this evening was fun and you get the proper Swiss experience. The next morning is just a short stop in town, but you have chance to pick up a couple of souvenirs, a Swiss watch and some of the best chocolate you will ever eat (which my family seemed to enjoy even more than I did haha). Up next was Paris. The first night here was the sight seeing tour and the chance to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower. The views from here are spectacular, seeing Paris by night is something everyone should get to experience atleast once in their lives. The next day was the group photo and a chance to see the tower in the day (just as pretty) and the a trip to Fragonards, the French perfumery. They do great deals on their perfumes for Contiki people and they make lovely gifts. There's so much to see and do in this city that having a plan can be a good idea if you know exactly what you want to do and see, otherwise you could just wonder around and see where you end up. The Moulin Rouge is one of the best shows I've ever seen and whilst it may seem a little expensive, it's more than worth the money. I stayed with the trip back to London which was great as I didn't need to worry about the souvenirs i'd bought been ruined as I knew they were in good hands.
Our trip manager and coach driver excellent the whole way through, they had exceptional knowledge on each place we visited and always got us everywhere safely and on time. As a solo traveler, I enjoyed being able to go off on my own and do my own thing, but I also enjoyed having tour mates I could spend time with. I would recommend taking part in all the extras, just so you know you've had the truest cultural experience. This is a fast paced tour with late nights and very early mornings, there's always the chance to catch up on sleep during the coach ride to the next place. I will also say that the Contiki cough is very real and I caught it quite bad, however don't be afraid to go into a pharmacy and ask for some kind of medicine, I did in Paris and I told the pharmacist I couldn't swallow tablets so she gave me liquid sachets and within a couple of hours I felt much better.
All in all I would always recommend this trip and Contiki as the best way to travel, especially if you're a first timer like I was, you're at ease the whole time and the only thing you have to worry about is having fun :)
Hope this review has been helpful, enjoy your Contiki experience!
Review written Dec 2015event 0.3
04 Oct 2015 - 12 Oct 2015
I was a little nervous booking this up as i went solo. However upon arriving and meeting some of the awesome people i soon chilled out, especially after our weird icebreaker at a sex show in Amsterdam. its a quick tour of Europe but it was surprising how quickly everyone gets close and everyone became my extended family :D i could go and talk to anyone about anything. I've made friends from all over the world and I hope to go see them all sometime in the future :D I was 21 when i went on the tour and I wasn't the youngest and I certainly wasn't the eldest!
I went out every night, it was great! showing off my incredible (terrible) dance moves, i was tired but didnt sleep on the bus even though most do, i wanted to talk to and learn as much as I could as you're only with these incredible people for 9 days! yeah it's true you're on the bus quite a lot but that's where I learnt the most about people, move seats, speak to new people. everyone was lovely and i appreciated every conversation i had :)
my favourite place was Paris, it's a gorgeous city the national monuments, the Eiffel tower, the arc de triomphe, the louvre (which we skipped the queue by bribing a security guard), Les Invalides during the day and then the Latin sector by night, we tried frogs legs and snails and I got a drink called the TGV (tequila, gin, vodka and a drop of blue curacao) it's meant to get you drunk quick as it's named after the high speed train in France.
do all the extras if you can, for example Mt. Stanserhorn in Switzerland was amazing and beautiful, we were above the clouds and felt on top of the world. or the moulin rouge in Paris. it may be expensive but it was so worth it, by far the greatest show i've ever been to, at one point there were live 10 foot anacondas on the stage!
overall an absolutely fantastic experience and worth every penny! I enjoyed every minute and have made some unforgettable memories and friends. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone even considering visiting Europe, it changed my perspectives afterwards and now look at my life differently and what is really important to me. Goodbye to my savings for a new car and hello to my next Contiki tour :D
Review written Oct 2015event 0.3
12 Sep 2015 - 21 Sep 2015
I have done multiple trips to Europe but this was by far the most amazing of them all!! The people absolutely make the trip so much more memorable! This trip is as fast paced as it gets so be warned, you wake up every morning, pack your suitcase and are in a new country by the afternoon. I absolutely loved how much we got to see in do in such a short amount of time and the tour manager was INCREDIBLE at making sure we kept on schedule. If you ever get the chance to travel with KIM and SANDRO you are in for an unforgettable experience!! The group is a perfect mix of personalities and you are bound to come back with 45 new friends from all over the world! The cities are all different and awesome in their own way! Some of my favorites were the night in Amsterdam and the bike tour in Munich! the quick stop in Innsbruck turned out to be one of my favorite scenery locations of the trip and our awesome bus driver Sandro went out of his way to take us to a breathtaking photo stop in the middle of Austria. They really do make the experience so much more memorable and I will definitely be back for another Contiki experience in the future!
Review written Sep 2015event 0.3
08 Jul 2015 - 16 Jul 2015
What can I say, what an amazing 9 days. It helps when you have an amazing contiki team to guide and drive you all over Europe Jay and Eric were absolute legends. The group I had was absolutely amazing and a great variety, Aussies, Americans, Canadians, South Africans and even a guy from the UK. We all hit it off from day one but it also helps when your tour guide makes you all comfortable from the start. We honestly had an amazing guide and I hope everyone gets to have him as there guide as he is very knowledgable and is so easy going and laid back and is ready for a good time any time and any place. Accomodation was great, me time optionals were great and the food we got was also great. This tour has some amazing inclusions, mikes bikes tour in Munich is a must it's included in the contiki and not as an optional, it was my favourite activity the guides are brilliant and they take you to a beer garden for a stein and then let you back on the bikes to cycle around some more. Top blokes and Such a laugh. Paris was amazing we were there for there national day known as Bastille day so to be there on that day was pretty surreal. I would 100% recommend this tour to anyone, I had the time of my life! #noregrets #contikijay #legends #europeanmagic2k15
Review written Jul 2015event 0.3
09 Aug 2014 - 18 Aug 2014
Bri and Contiki Tours made our Honeymoon trip a momentous and memorable trip. Bri is excellent at what she does, and it shows in her professionalism, expertise, and passion to allow everyone in the tour to have the time of their lives. She takes the time to commit to being the best tour guide - from planning out every step of the trip, giving a mini history lesson of each country we visited, to even staying up each night and highlighting maps and "go-to" hot spots wherever we visited. She basically did all the work for us, and all we had to do was enjoy our experience. This shows her dedication to each and every person, and they will forever be grateful to her for it. She is also a very sincere and sweet individual, as she made sure everyone on the trip was having a good time. The transportation and value for your buck is the best you can ask for, especially if you catch the Contiki early discount deals when booking. Our bus ride across Europe was peaceful, clean (the cleanest bus I've ever been on), and quite comfortable for those long hour(s) rides at times. The accommodations are a "get what you pay for" expense, but are just as interesting to experience (we spent a night in a former jail that is now a hotel - so how many people can say they did that!). The meals. I am a spoiled American (only when it comes to eating) and usually have a huge breakfast and dishes. But it did open my eyes to how much Americans eat - however overall the meals were according to the country we were in. It was awesome trying cafe and desserts from Italy and France especially. The Contiki and tour guide experience overall is a hands-down 5 stars! You cannot get a better deal anywhere else.
Review written May 2015event 0.3
16 Aug 2013 - 26 Aug 2013
If you've always dreamed of waking up to the warm sunrise from another country after a night of partying; or getting lost in the back streets of a foreign city with just a translation book and a fold map and great new friends who feel just as compelled to have a time of their lives traveling abroad as you, then this is the trip for you. Be warned: this is a fast-paced trip; you'll barely spend a day or two in most of these countries so make the *most* out of every moment, do not go lightly. I had an unbelievable time, made so many amazing new friends, learned some much stuff culturally and historically during this trip. Our guide (Sara) was extremely friendly, knowledgeable, and lots of fun (Contiki if you're reading this she gets an A+ recommendation)
Message me for any tips. Or check out photos and videos from our August 2013 trip. Enjoy! #noregrets
Review written Dec 2014event 0.3
21 Sep 2014 - 29 Sep 2014
I hoped to have reviewed the trip sooner. It was very properly planned and very well executed. The time of the year I went in was September which was pleasantly warm and bearably cool in most places. I was slightly intimidated of doing a Europe trip but going on this 9 day tour really eased me into it and I realized that the cultural and language barriers are not intimidating at all and are very enjoyable on the contrary.
The trip was a quick one and we had limited time in each place but that made me do so much in a day, especially in Paris which was the last stop. I never thought I could walk so much in a day and see so much! The people I met were very diverse and great fun to hang with. I was travelling alone and was in groups, pairs and by myself as and when I liked which was super. It is great what a trip like this can offer lone travellers.
Our tour manager Evan was very knowledgeable and helpful. It was worthwhile to get a historical, contextual and cultural introduction to all the places we visited. The maps he explained to us and his suggestions for the places made it even easier.
The trip overall was like a taster session of Europe, very well delivered in 9 days. I am definitely clearer about what I want from my next Europe trip. I miss it so much and hope to do Contiki again someday for another continent or who knows another region of Europe! Highly recommended for lone travellers and groups/couples alike! :D
Review written Nov 2014event 0.3
21 Sep 2014 - 29 Sep 2014
Great trip, if you haven't got too much time and want to see a lot. This trip is perfect, very fast moving but so worth it. Huge bonus for our trip was that it overlapped with Oktoberfest which was unbelievable! Paris by night spectacular. Evan was a fantastic TM, his tips for every city were spot on! Just do it!!!!
Review written Oct 2014event 0.3
06 Sep 2014 - 15 Sep 2014
I 100% recommend this tour for anyone who wants to see the most of what Europe has to offer in a flash. Tour is 10 days and hits most major Western European destinations. I am an avid traveler having lived in Spain and Australia in the past and have traveled Europe prior to this to a large degree. I decided to go with a friend who had not seen Europe at all and I was not in the mood to plan it all for us. Contiki did a great job of leaving the planning out of our hands. Even for some one whose seen Europe and is well traveled this tour wasn't too 'touristy' and didn't bother me like I thought it might. Everyone on the trip was respectful and super fun. Many traveled alone, some couples, and some friends. It was great to go out and do things on your own during the day and meet up with everyone at night for a good time. Its super easy to make new friends on this trip which is what everyone ended up doing.
London, Day 1: London on this tour is a quick stop. Arrive early if you want to see London as you really just meet up in the morning the tour starts and are off to Amsterdam. My friend and I came in the morning before the tour started and saw as much as we could. The day the tour starts you basically get on a bus and travel down the UK over the English Channel and to France and eventually through Belgium to get to Amsterdam by dusk. Its actually not bad because I was tired from traveling from NYC to Europe so the bus time allowed me to rest. That night you take a night cruise through Amsterdam and this is really fun. Its the best way to meet your fellow travelers. After we explored the red light district and saw a sex show. Everyone on our tour pretty much did it and it was all a harmless laughable experience to share.
Amsterdam Day 2: Amsterdam is gorgeous. Our tour manager gave out maps and let us know what we should see if we had no plan. Most people ended up checking out Anne Frank's house and then heading out to shop, wander the canals, or go to a museum. My friend and I ended up going to the Heineken museum which was a blast. It was quick so it didn't take too long. After we wandered the streets and ended up getting some food. Bus to Germany was in the late afternoon. At night you do a wine tasting tour in the Rhine Valley which is super nice.
St. Goar Day 3: Day 3 is spent mostly on the bus. We started off the morning in St. Goar at a small little German town which was picturesque and had some shops. From there we took a LONG bus ride down to Munich. It seemed like it took forever but we hit a bad accident on the highway which tacked hours onto our commute. You play bus games and can sleep so it really isn't the end of the world. That night we had limited time in Munich because of our delay but we went to a beer hall and had lots of fun in Munich for what we had time for.
Day 4: We ended up waking up in Austria. Our tour had to make a detour because of our traffic mishap and we got to spend a night in Austria, which was bar far my favorite place! Today is a bob sled trip in the Austrian alps. Super fun but if you don't like roller coasters this isnt for you. Its fast. We had a rainy day so we couldn't see much of the Alps either which was disappointing, but, its Europe, and it rains. A lot sometimes. In the afternoon we made another long bus journey down to Venice. This bus ride was long but the views of the Austrian and Italian alps are an event in themselves.
Day 5, Venice: Venice is glorious! We started out with a quick train to Venice for a full free day in this city. We literally did everything. Got lost in the streets, climbed the tower in St. Marks. Saw a royal palace. So much fun! We stuck around with most the group this day to hang out. At night you eat a Italian restaurant with the group before departing by ferry and train back to the hotel. Party at night of course near hotel.
Day 6, Lucerne, Switzerland: Bus ride from Venice to Switzerland is long, but, like previous rides the views are gorgeous. We passed by Lake Como and into the Swiss Alps. It was rainy when we arrived in Switzerland so we missed out on going to the top of the Mountain but it gave us extra time in Lucerne to hang around and see the sites. Still lots of fun. At night everyone went to a local bar for some fun. You stay in a jail this night. Kinda bizzare and not my cup of tea but its one night and its kinda funny.
Day 7: To Paris! Today is another long bus ride to Paris. Painful but worth the ride! You arrive at Paris late afternoon and go to the Eiffel Tower with the group to go to the top. Super gorgeous views. At night we all took the metro back to hotel together.
Day8: PARIS! Full day in Paris. I had seen Paris many a time. You start off with a group photo in front of the Eiffel Tower. BUY THIS. Its like 8 euro but its a fun photo. Then my friend and I went to the top of the Arc de Triumpf and walked down the shopping street to the louvre and eventually went into the Notre Dame Cathedral for fun. Night time is the Moulin Rouge show. This show is expensive. Most everyone in our tour did but from my perspective (having been to Vegas many times and seen many shows) I really wasn't that blown away. If seeing 'shows' isnt your favorite thing I would skip this. They tell you its classic French culture and you can't miss out but I thought it was kinda dull. 1 or 2 acts were interesting. Afterwards is the last night party so its worth attending just to go to the bar with everyone after!
Next morning was depature!
I'm sure I forgot some things. So much happens on this trip but my main take aways are .. Most people were traveling alone and made friends immediatley so dont worry. If you are an experience traveler.. no worries.. this wasn't a 'touristy' trip that makes you roll your eyes. If you've never seen Europe or never traveled this is also perfect for you because its all very taken care of. Overall, amazing trip! Shout out to our tour guide Steve E. who was awesome.
Deff would do Contiki again! :)
Review written Sep 2014event 0.3
08 Jul 2014 - 17 Jul 2014
I just returned from the the European Magic Tour and had a fantastic time! This was my 4th time to Europe, but first time traveling with a tour group and I have no regrets choosing Contiki. It made traveling very easy and I was very happy that it wasn't a "Follow my umbrella" guided tour around Europe. I was still able to take in the sights as a individual, but still have planned activities if I wanted to participate. It was the best of both worlds.
Reviews of the Stops:
London: I recommend arriving a few days early or taking the free transfer back after the trip to take in the city. There isn't any planned things here with Contiki, but there's lots to do! My friend and I missed the Meetup meeting on the first night. Don't worry about this, a sheet is posted outside the Basement door with all the info you need. I never felt left out because I didn't attend.
Amsterdam: We stayed at a Best Western, so it was a really comfortable hotel stay. Since we arrived at night, we hopped right into the "nightlife" of Amsterdam - aka (pot and sex). I opted not to go to the sex show and I didn't regret it. It saved me 22 euro and the people on my tour said it really wasn't that great. They could tell that the people were just going through a routine. I did find it interesting to walk through the Red Light district to the sex show with the group since this is part of Amsterdam culture. I was glad that I was able to experience this part but didn't need to do anything else. There is free time in the morning and I recommend going to the Anne Frank House. You wont have time to do anything else that morning, but the tour was really worth it. Our group arrived late to Amersterdam after a slight bus problem in Belgium so we weren't able to take the canal cruise. Contiki bought us all public transport passes to make up for it, which was nice. While in Amersterdam, definitely try stroopwaffles! They are delicious.
St. Goar: Definitely just a stop over place. There isn't really anything to do in the town, but the wine tasting that Contiki sets up is nice. All the wines are really sweet though, so it's great for those that are new to wines. Plus you get to try ice wine which is expensive to buy on its own. Hotel Montag was also nicely redone for the stay.
Munich: Personally, I just love this city and have been before. The bike tour was really well done and the guides for funny and interactive. Really worth the time. The stop for dinner at the biergarten was great. You're going to wish you had more time in this city. Our hotel was amazing too. Easily the best stop.
Innsbruck: I loved the chance to bobsled (even though we almost missed it because we were late getting on the road and the bus driver got lost...). The bobsled is really short though so it almost doesn't seem worth the money, but how many times can you say you've bobsledded on an Olympic course? I recommend sitting in the front seat of the bobsled to avoid getting jostled around too much and take the recommendation to hold yourself upright like the instructors say. The town was really nice, but we didn't get to stay long because we were behind schedule. It would've been cool to explore more. There isn't a tour at the Swarovski Crystal store, they just welcome you and then you shop. If you're looking to buy something nice as a souvenir then it's a nice place to spend time. Otherwise, I would just enjoy a nice relaxing lunch in the town.
Switzerland: It was too bad that this was our one rainy day of the trip, because the low hanging clouds made it difficult to see the mountains. Since you have to pay for the optionals beforehand, pray for a clear day here! I really couldn't see anything from the stop of Mt. Stanserhorn because of the clouds, but they cleared when the second half of our group was up top and they had great pictures. It was fun to be that high up a mountain though, just wish the weather was better but thats not something anyone can control. The stop at the watch/knife store is really not anything worthwhile, just a time filler. If you want to buy one of those then it's worth it otherwise it's obviously a company that has joined with Contiki. They also own 4 other stores all connected. I recommend walking a little further down the street where there are other shopping places. Just one street up from the jail hotel is a bunch of big shopping names. The JailHotel was interesting. You just have to take it for the experience. There was nothing wrong with the room (aside from our musty bathroom because it doesn't air out). I was glad we only stayed there for one night, but it was just an experience and something you can say you did. The boat cruise would've been nice if the weather was better. It was raining so noone could go on the top deck and the captain sounded really bored. He had some interesting facts, but noone was paying attention. I listened and actually found it interesting, just wish we could've seen the sights.
Paris: What a crazy city! I thought the traffic in NYC was bad, but it doesn't compare to here. The driving tour that our Tour Manager took us one was really great. She was very informative and it allowed us a chance to see where everything was located in order to kind of plan for the following day. I then went up the Eiffel Tower that night which was totally worth it because it saved so much time the next day. Plus I got to watch it sparkle which was beautiful (it shimmers for five minutes on the hour beginning at 10pm, 11pm and midnight). The next day I toured the Opera Garnier (where Phantom of the Opera is set), Norte Dame (go when there is a free guided tour, it saves you from waiting in line) and the Museum D'Orsay (closes at 5:30, be aware). I opted not to do the Moulin Rouge because of the price although everyone said it was fantastic! Instead, a few of the other people from the tour and myself went to the grocery and bought food and wine for a picnic under the Eiffel Tower. It was perfect. We ended the evening with a river boat cruise and then met the rest of our group at O'Sullivan's bar to enjoy our last night together. It was a great day.
I had a great time on this tour and really enjoyed meeting everyone from around the world. We had a great mix of people and everyone really got along and cared about one another. Our Tour Manager, Tamsyn, was incredible. Very sweet and knowledgeable. It's unfortunate that this was her last tour because she was fantastic.
As an American, we are a very time driven, schedule driven society. You will never receive a full time itinerary with hours listed for the full trip. Each night your Tour Manager will post the timings for the following day, but don't expect to receive one before hand. What you see on the website for the full trip is what you get. You come to realize that with traffic and large groups you don't always stay on time. They don't give you a timed itinerary so that you don't freak out about being behind. You will still get to do everything, but you might just not stay in one place for as long.
Also, know that you will spend long driving hours on the bus. Bring a good book (or 2 or 3) and prepare to catch up on your sleep here! They stop at nice services though to get meals and snacks.
Overall, I was highly pleased. It was just what I was hoping for and I made some incredible memories. After this tour, I was given a taste of many countries and now I can decide where to return to.
Review written Jul 2014event 0.3
04 Aug 2013 - 12 Aug 2013
Firstly what made this tour so awesome was having a great tour manager (Felippo) and bus driver (Mark). It also helped that everyone on the tour were absolute champs!
Starting in Amsterdam was great as the ice breaker for the group was a canal cruise and then a sex show!
This tour had enough sites to tick off the bucket list, but also enough places to let loose and party hard.
Highlights included the night out in Munich and Lucern, bike riding and rapids (don't forget your swimsuit) in Munich and Paris.
Would have been great to spend more time in Munich and Paris but all in all, great way to see a lot of Europe quickly.
Can't wait to do another Contiki!
Review written Sep 2013event 0.3
16 Jun 2013 - 24 Jun 2013
We had the time of our lives. We amazing people and made such good friends form all over the world. I don't think it is possible to see so much in the 9 days other than with Contiki. I would recommend this to anyone having limited time but want to see as mush as possible. The optional extra's are worth doing and is really not expensive. Do it...you know you want to!
Review written Jul 2013event 0.3
14 Jun 2013 - 24 Jun 2013
The European magic tour was a jam packed tour and a fantastic way to see tons of sites quickly!
We had a great group, mostly couples and we had a higher median age which made for a nice, chill group. Don't get me wrong, we definitely partied (and I don't drink but you can still have fun hanging out with everyone!) although our tour manager probably partied harder than the rest of us! ;)
We ended up doing most of the optionals, which we hadn't intended on doing but turned out to be a ton of fun and we're glad we did. Moulin rouge was a great optional to end the tour!
The bus was our main source of transport (although if you hung out late at night you had to take the train or taxi home... Pretty cheap and manageable though). It could get a little cramped in the window seat if you're like me and like to stretch out when you sleep but it was otherwise a very comfy bus and it was so convenient to just get to sleep between cities. We also only had like 34 people so we had some extra open seats which was very nice.
I loved getting to eat a couple provided meals (breakfast was crucial) but then getting to run off sometimes and grab our own meals. Food in Europe is tasty! Tip: eat at the trattoria alla Madonna in Venice for lunch... Best pasta I've ever had.
This was an amazing tour and we're already plotting our next!
Review written Jun 2013event 0.3
21 Sep 2012 - 01 Oct 2012
This tour was ah-mayyy-ziiiinnnggg. But it also isn’t for the faint of heart. There were all sorts of different personalities on our tour. There were couples, friends/siblings who traveled together, and people traveling alone. Some chose to do their own thing, and others joined other groups. There was enough of different types of personalities to not make anyone feel awkward, at least in my tour group.
So if you’re a couple looking to do your own thing, or honeymooning, you can easily do this tour if you want to see a lot of places in a short amount of time. BUT as I mentioned before, this isn’t for the faint of heart. We were literally on the move all the time. The only rest time you had was in the long hours on the bus. (Yes, there are LONG hours on the bus. We hit traffic on the way to Switzerland, and we were so late, we had cancel shopping and the boat cruise). A lot of people chatted up, talked to our Tour Manager, Amy, got shut eye, or took pictures of people sleeping. (I totally hid my face every time I slept, and I didn’t get caught... but there are times you’re so freakin’ tired, you can care less.)
People traveling alone, EVERYONE on our tour was nice. Yes, we played pranks and teased each other, but that was all part of the camaraderie. If there is one thing I noticed, we may joke, but people are respectful (at least on my tour). You can easily join other people, or wander off on your own.
People traveling with friend/siblings, (which is the category I fell in) you can easily have fun with your bestie and see the sites, while getting to know other people. If you’re weirded out by going with a sibling, don’t be. There were 4 sets of siblings, and they all had a blast with each other and with the group. What usually happened was that they ended up separating and hung out with new tour friends.
Tip 1: Get to know everyone and make FRIENDSSSS! What I enjoyed about the Contiki experience is that not only are you seeing new places and enjoying new experiences, but you’re thrown into an awesome social setting with like-minded people your age. They are people from different cultures, ethnicities, and nationalities. Take advantage of that! You’ll learn so much more than the cities you visit, and you potentially can start planning your next trip to visit your new friends. For sure, I want to visit Australia, South Africa, and Canada to see the beautiful places my friends spoke of and to see them!
London. The first day, it’s a little awkward. Everyone doesn’t know what to expect. No one knows each other. If they want you go to a meeting place like a pub after the initial meeting, go! Make friends. These are the people you’re going to be around A LOT. Might as well start early and break the ice. My friend and I met two girls who were traveling alone and decided to explore London. We ended up having a great time and became pretty good friends.
Tip 2: If you have the money, do all the optionals. It’s part of the experience. And you get to experience it all with your new friends.
Amsterdam. DO the BOAT CRUISE! This is the place where EVERYONE will let loose! (This is because it’s a booze cruise, no lie.) I’m a loud and sociable person, so instead of staying with the same group of people, I went and mingled with as many people to get to know everyone and break the ice. Turns out, it was the best idea I ever had. Everyone I met became my friend and we all had a blast. After that, it’s a sex show. Be open to it. It’s not super disgusting or anything. It’s people on a stage having sex. We’re adults. Some parts of the show is pretty funny. Oh, and you get two drinks at this show. After that, we partied the night away. The next morning, you get to explore Amsterdam by day. I recommend the Anne Frank Huis. It’s really amazing and it’s such a big part of World history. If you’re gonna partake in herbal remedies... cookies are weak. Just sayin’
St. Goar. This is the place you recover from all the Amsterdamage. You go on a wine tasting and a beerstein demonstration. (I went for Oktoberfest, if you’re going to do this tour, BOOK IT FOR OKTOBERFEST!) The wine tasting wasn’t all that great, but it was only 8 Euros, and you get a free shot glass. St. Goar the town is small, so going off wandering wouldn’t be all that great either since the shops close at 6 PM. I bought an Oktoberfest beerstein, and everyone back home I’ve shown it to has coveted it. (Mind you, it’s really heavy, think about that when you think of luggage requirements.) The inn we stayed at was cute and quiet. Take this time to relax because the next day is Munich.
Munich. We did the bike ride, and Tony, our tour guide, was hilarious. He was an American, so I was able to clearly understand him (though, to European credit, many speak better English than I do). It was nice seeing the sights and riding a bike again. But to the real reason I love Munich was Oktoberfest. I was one of four people in a tour of 50 that booked this trip WITHOUT knowing about Oktoberfest. Thank my lucky stars I chose this tour. Oktoberfest was flat out AHHH-MAAAYYY-ZIIIINNGG. DO IT. Even if you don’t like beer! It’s such a culture shock, and everyone has SO MUCH FUN. Partying with happy Germans and your tourmates is just fun. I can’t emphasize it enough. DO IT. AND, these tours book fast, since there is only TWO European Magic tours that do it (but there are other tours that do it as well like European Discover), just sayin’. And don’t think you can get German beer anytime, they SPECIFICALLY brew a new beer every year for Oktoberfest. It’s definitely on my to-do list, again.
Stopover in Austria. We bobsledded. I’ll tell you, I LOVE watching bobsledding in the Olympics, but I didn’t expect that ride. It’s really rough, but an awesome experience. Seriously, it’s awesome to say that I bobsledded on an Olympic run with an Olympian. You stop off in Innsbruck, which has a Swarovski store. I spent a LOT here. The bottom floor has the cheaper good because they’re not technically Swarovski brand, but they’re designed by local Austrian designers with Swarovski techniques. Still very pretty. They also gave me the option to charge with American dollars versus Euros, so it saved me on transaction fees.
Venice. The first night is a chill night. Rest up, because there will be a LOT of walking when you actually get into Venice. (You won’t be staying in the actual city of Venice to keep costs low.) Get lost in this city. We went up St. Mark’s bell tower and the views are LOVELY. It doesn’t even cost much. Eat Italian food (It’s freakin’ delicious, obviously). I shopped away from the big stores and bought things at the stands. I have to say, my favorite thing I bought from the whole trip was my Murano glass ring. They have cheap leather bags, and cool masks.
Switzerland. We hit a lot of traffic so we missed out on shopping and the boat cruise, but we did go to Mt. Stanserhorn, and the views are glorious. The Swiss are very orderly and their landscape proves it. Bring a jacket, I went in September, and I wore a cotton jacket. It was enough. You stay at the Jail Hotel. It’s an experience. It’s a little scary at first, but it’s just a place to sleep. I’ve read reviews where it said it was dirty. I didn’t see that in my room.
Paris. Expect a LONG road ahead of you. It took us 9 hours, I believe. The first night is a chill night and you do the city of lights tour. It’s pretty and you learn a lot of the rich history of the French. The next day, you go to a perfumery. This really wasn’t all that great, but I did buy lovely French perfume for really cheap, and they only sell in Paris. I wear it all time now. We had 45 minutes of free time, and a group of us booked it to the Lourve to see the Mona Lisa. The Lourve is HUGE, and we literally got in, saw the Mona Lisa, and ran back to the bus. We took our group picture, then went up the Eiffel Tower, and were given free time. One day in Paris is barely getting an intsy winsty taste of Paris.
Tip 3: Extend in London BEFORE the tour starts and extend in Paris when the tour is over.
One day in Paris is seriously not enough. Make a plan of attack of what to do in Paris, ask your tour manager on what you should do and how to do it efficiently. I did the Moulin Rouge... I have to say, it was cool, but it wasn’t my thing. But most of the tour went, and you want to spend your last night with them. After that, the last night was spent at O’sullivans, the bar right next to the show, and partied our final night.
Other tips you should know. They do check your weight before you head out, but they don’t check afterward. Just be aware of any baggage allowance for your flight back home. Don’t bring a laptop. You’re on vacation. Bring a phone or iPod to do fast emails, instagram posts, and facebook updates. There are some hotels that offer free wifi. If you’re an iPhone user, download skype or viber. You can call another phone with the same app for free using internet (so you can call home on a budget). Bring a neck pillow, it’s great on the bus. TAKE A LOT OF PICTURES AND VIDEOS! I made a video for my group, which I will share with you, and I’m grateful that I can relive these moments. Emergen-C will be your friend. I took it everyday a month before I left and sporadically while I was there, I never got sick, even when I got back home. My best friend wasn’t so lucky (and she didn’t take Emergen-C). Buy jewelry and accessories. It’s a nice reminder incorporated to your every clothes when you go back to reality.
You’re on HOLIDAY! Have fun! Don’t sweat the small stuff, and just enjoy what’s around you.
I like to party. If you like to party, I HIGHLY recommend doing Contiki. If you don’t like to party, that’s okay too! You can have fun without partying. You get to see the sights, do the activities, and meet cool people in a short period of time. If you don’t like a fast pace, don’t do this tour. This tour also caters to people on a budget, so don’t expect 5 star rooms and 5 star food. In return, I got 5 star service from my tour manager and bus driver. Amy and Sergio were fantastic. I really can’t emphasize how much I’ve enjoyed this tour. I plan on doing Contiki again, and you should really consider it.
If you have any questions, feel free to message me. And here’s the youtube video I made with my tour: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__Ug3o5xVh8
Review written Dec 2012event 0.3
07 Oct 2012 - 15 Oct 2012
If your even considering for a minuite to go on a contiki tour... DO IT NOW
it is the best thing ive ever done, amazing people, beautiul places and so so so much more
This tour is very fast and you do spend alot of time on the coach.
Saying that our AMAZING tour guide lucian and our driver GAZZA made it so much fun all the time.
I have made friends for life and have some unforgetable memories
And girls.. all the hotels on this tour had HAIRDRYERS
AMAZING TOUR CANT WAIT FOR MY NEXT ONE
Review written Nov 2012event 0.3