Read reviews from past Contiki travelers.
I was somewhat hesitant about using Contiki just because I am 30 years old and wanted my trip to Greece to include a ton of sights and great food along with a dose of partying. I was able to accomplish all of that and more. Contiki was a great and affordable option. I did all of the optionals except 2. They were so fun and gave you an opportunity to bond with the rest of your group. Greece Highlights: beautiful sunsets, seafood dinner in Paros, Antiparos (gorgeous), hiking a volcano, the bluest water ever, smashing plates, Greek dancing, infinity pools, and delicious food. Our Contiki Manager JASON was amazing. He is from Athens and shared so much with us about the history of each island. He was also very laid back and provided insider tips on how to score a good gyro, grabbing a taxi, and where the locals go for fun. He even helped us celebrate a birthday of one of our fellow travelers. So glad I followed my friends and my heart to a trip of a lifetime.
I'll try to keep this short but there is sooo many good things about Contiki Japan Unrivalled tour! The food at everyone location was amazing, the sites we visited was breath taking, our local tour guide Nato San was hilarious! Ahhh I want to do this again!
My tips for this trip would include:
- Try all the foods that are there! Even though you are not used to eating seafood back home, just try it once there. It was way better! I dont like raw Tuna back in Australia, there in Japan, its so much better!
- Embrace their culture. Things may be a little different back home but just do as the locals do. There were some on the trip that did not want to order food from a ticket vending machine out front because it was out of the ordinary, JUST TRY IT! Do what the locals do!! There is nothing wrong with it!
- Dont worry to much about learning the language. Yes it is polite to learn some phrases so you can communicate with the locals, but many of them can speak English. Some even want to speak English because they want to be more fluent in the language. I was in Hiroshima, and a local came and sat down with us, I said to him "Watashi no namae wa Chandy desu" (My name is Chandy) and he responded to me in English.
- Learn the dining etiquette. There is a few things to learn when eating out. Like saying " itadakimasu" before you eat, and "gochisosama" after you eat. There are plenty more so its worth looking into.
- Speak to the locals! As mentioned before in a previous tip, the locals love speaking to foreigners. They are some of the most nicest, wonderful people you will ever meet. Definitely get to know them and have a drink with them. It really makes your journey worth while!
- Be open minded. This just doesn't include Japan, but every country you visit. Go out and try new things. Even things that never interested you to begin with. For example, I was never interested in going to a maid cafe. I though they were a bit girlish, lame and an weird. However, I gave it a go, it was amazing! A cute happy overload in your face!! So just try new things! JUST DO IT!!
I know I said i'll keep things sort Japan has so many cool things to see and do! There are videos on youtube of this Contiki tour so check them out! Also it wouldn't hurt to see other travel videos about Japan before you leave. Definitely do this trip, it really defines Contiki's popular hastage #NoRegrets
If I can given any advice to anyone, book the Vietnam Experience trip. There was not a single moment that I was not in awe of this country! There are so many things to see, do and eat. Contiki caters for all the needs. The beauty and bustle is breathe taking. Best trip I have ever had. Absolutely perfection. My trip manager was Shannon - she was outstanding! You are lucky if you ever get her.
If you want to see a range of cultures in a small amount of time, the Quest to Rome will be your perfect trip. The best part about the tour is that for the most part, you make the most of how you spend your own time - in other words, you can do as little, or as much as you would like to do in each city on each dedicated day. The food in France (you HAVE to try the snails and the tartare, just to say you've done it!), and tapas in Spain were absolutely amazing, and the beaches in Italy are amazing places you wouldn't usually think to go to on a normal trip to Europe, but definitely worth the visit. Great variety of food, beaches, shopping, sleeping, amazing architecture, history, and partying (you could literally get drunk every night if you were up for it) - this tour literally covers everything.
I would recommend doing the MEtime extras - they make your trip that little bit more authentic/cultural, and add to the amazing memories you'll be making over in Europe.
As a few people on the reviews have said, the Contiki cough is a legitimate thing, prepare to get sick along the way, but it'll be worth it for the friendships you'll make, the fun that you'll have and the stunning places you'll get to see.
10/10 I would recommend doing this trip!!
Word of warning: don't go on this trip if you don't want to fall in love with a group of people and end up travelling the country or world to see them. With that out of the way I would urge anyone thinking about doing this tour to go for it! You will enjoy every day and do so many things you never thought you would. If you're worried or apprehensive about going to Egypt don't be. If anything it was probably my favourite part of the whole trip. From riding camels to going inside a pyramid to swimming in the Nile I did so much in Egypt. The people are beautiful and love the fact that some tourists are coming to their country. The whole tour was amazing and the fact that I made lifelong friends was a massive bonus. All in all I say forget about all the drama going on in the world, join this tour, see the world and fall in love with it!
This trip was awesome. I met up with a bunch of people prior to the start of the tour using the contiki app and found that a lot of the people on my tour were solo travellers like me. There was a range of ages, personalities and nationalities but we all got on really well and were able to have a laugh. Our tour guide James aka Tintin was awesome and really made the trip wonderful for everyone no matter what their travel style. He was full of knowledge about where to eat, shop and party. My favourite parts of our trip were the Mekong delta, we went mud fishing and I caught one! The Cu Chi tunnels were really informative and gave you an insight into the history of Vietnam and the war. Hoi An, biking around the ancient town, enjoying the lanterns and getting some clothes made at Yaly. Halong bay is amazing and the pirate party we had was epic! My advice is do all the inclusions, they were all interesting experiences and make sure you bring a swimsuit you don't mind getting muddy, mine got a bit stained, luckily it was an old one.
The destinations of the California Highlights tour were beautiful. The accommodations were nice especially the chalets at the Pines Resort. Those were fantastic. However, my friend and I were totally turned off by the fact that our group of about 10 people were joining a much larger group of 50 or so people halfway through their tour. We did not know that this would be happening and it was totally awkward from the start. All of the friendships had been formed already. There was no time in Las Vegas to talk to our group mates. We had a brief introductory meeting, then we were whisked off to a limo ride. The group was so large that we (all of the "California Highlights" people kind of got lost in the big mish mosh of "Western Highlights" people and "LA to the bay" people. Also, we did have to do a lot of the sight seeing independently which is not what I was expecting. Years ago, I did a Contiki tour in Italy. That experience was absolutely amazing. I made great friends on the trip and very rarely felt that I was left on my own to go sight seeing. I had high hopes for this California Contiki, but was unfortunately let down. I am sad to say that I probably will not do another Contiki.
I don't know where to begin, but whether in the beginning or the end, or even the middle…I’ve never felt more alive and have never been happier with my decision then with this trip. From top to bottom, left to right, this really is the trip of a lifetime that I had internally been needing my entire life. I grew up in a family that played it safe and didn’t venture out, I knew I needed something grand to ensure I was separating myself from who I was, to who I wanted to become. Yes, I have plenty of work still to do, but I am not the same person I was before this trip. I believe the Universe guided me to Contiki and this trip, everything I was doing led me to needing a break from reality, a detour from the maps and paths I was walking, riding and flying on. From having a list of regrets and knowing that the list was getting longer and longer with each passing year it was time to ensure that I incorporated “no regrets” into my life. All I originally wanted, was to be gone, anywhere, so I found the longest trip at the time and did that. What I found was a lot more than I had hoped. Sure, looking back I didn’t do everything I should have done on this trip, such like Parasailing in Corfu and taking the nightlife by the horns every night, but I did more than I ever thought I would do in a lifetime in just 46 days. I have met amazing travelers who have changed my ways of thinking for the better. I have tried foods I would never have eaten, seen sites I had only dreamed of seeing (unless it was living vicariously in a travel magazine or history textbook). Sure, with everything I have seen and done, I haven’t been able to retain all of it, but I know that there is a world outside my city that needs to be seen. The best advice I can give you is to “do it”. If you’re waiting for a sign or someone’s permission - this is it, life has a tendency to pass you by when you’re waiting for the right time to enjoy your life. I was hoping to have seen one country within the next one and a half years, or that is what I had planned on my “10 year map”. This trip alone allowed me to seen 22 of Europe’s most popular landscapes, cities and monuments and have grown to love camping and appreciate the outdoors and the serenity that being in places like Switzerland gives its visitors. We had the best on road crew who are filled with love and happiness which became contagious, if you’re worried about traveling alone or not having a support system - Contiki’s Trip Employees and travelers got your back - 100%. It really is wonderful to have a go to person when something is wrong, and let’s be honest you’re really never too old to benefit from a help in hand or someone’s resources. From Mike’s Bikes in Munich, coasting through the city just as you would imagine, and days on beaches and boats that allowed us to be at the center of Greek and Dubrovnik’s Islands, to feasting at authentic and cultural restaurants, I have lived. The best way I can say it, is that I want to be able to have the song “I Lived” as an anthem for my life, as should you. I want to know that
“I owned every second that this world could give
I saw so many places, the things that I did
With every broken bone, I swear I lived” - One Republic
This won’t be my last Contiki. This is the start of something wonderful. I don’t want to travel alone and with Contiki, I know I have people who are excited about making the most of life and their trip. These are people who also are going against the grain and finding that there is so much more that the world has to offer.
This trip has been a long time coming for my brother and I and we were admittedly a little nervous about travelling so far with a bunch of people we didn't know. Everyone on our trip were amazing and we all got along so well but what made our trip so spectacular was our trip manager Anne-Elys and trip driver Balazs! I have a serious fear of dying in a motor vehicle and Balazs was the best driver ever! I felt so safe. Both were enthusiastic no matter how long the drive or how annoying we were or how late the nights. Anne-Elyse was more than knowledgable and so passionate. The trip was exciting, informative and enjoyable. I have memories of a life time and everyone who asks I have so many amazing things to talk about with where we went and what we did and saw!! The me time optional a were worth every penny! Would hands down book another trip ESPECIALLY if it's with Anne-Elyse and Balazs!!
My husband and I did this tour after a week in Germany for our honeymoon. We met so many amazing people on this tour and our tour guide Mitai was the best! The tour was pretty fast paced but it was better than expected! We knew the Amalifi coast would be gorgeous, which it was, but we really enjoyed Rome and Athens as well. We got to see so much in 10 days that we never could have done on our own. We did all the me time optionals and they were all great! Lastly, the included meals were also above our expectations. The only thing we would change we 2 of the hotels, which were not as nice as we expected, but we were not there long so it wasn't a huge deal. We would definitely do a Contiki tour again!
You would think that a successful company like Contiki would have their shit together and be swift to intervene when something goes wrong... but in my tour's experience, this was NOT the case.
Note that we went in July, which was the absolute peak of the season in Europe, so Contiki had every single bus booked, and had outsourced busses to compensate for the massive number of tours they had running. We quickly discovered that our outsourced bus had faulty air conditioning, and in the biggest heatwave Europe had seen in decades, this made for an absolute nightmare. It took a *long* ten days for Contiki to rectify this mistake, by which time I had broken out in heat rash, had panic attacks and passed out from heatstroke, and I was making plans to catch a train between each stop for the rest of the tour.
The over-booking also meant that at each stop (some of which were exclusive to Contiki, such as the Chateau in France), a couple of tours didn't fit in the usual accommodation, and so were pushed out into some second-rate place, far away from the parties which were thrown just for us. In our case, in Rome we were forced to stay in disgusting caravans that had clearly not been stayed in for at least 12 months.
Also note that Italy (the usual accommodation as well as the overflow) is ridden with bed bugs, and many of us woke up with bloody sheets and bites, having to wash all of our belongings multiple times, making for a miserable week or so. In Italy (and the French Riviera), the accommodation is literally over an hour away from the city, so the days were mostly spent driving, and we only got a few hours in the city. It was awfully draining, didn't feel worth it.
If these things hadn't happened, I would be recommending Contiki. The pace is nice, there is a party almost every night if you want to attend, and it's easy to make friends quickly. However, Contiki's terrible handling of our disaster of a trip makes me hesitate to recommend it to anyone. (We all complained profusely during the trip, and afterwards demanded partial refunds, but they instead gave us 5% off our next tour.... thanks guys.)
A bit of advice would be to think long and hard about which ME-time activities you want to go on. Your tour manager will sell them to you pretty well, so you'll want to pay for them all, but it's worth avoiding some of them to have some nights off to relax by yourself (especially towards the middle-end of your tour). The ME-time activities will take a big chunk of your money, so budget for more than what you think.
Would not recommend as I could do it cheaper myself and stay in better accomm & fly to certain places
*Knowledgeable tour guide who was also extremely patient and never rude, was always happy & obliging
*Met great people who I will be friends with for a long time
* Loved the accommodation in Croatia & Munich
* Air conditioning on the bus broke about a week into the tour and we had no a/c for the remainder of the tour, it just blew hot air. It was extremely hot & uncomfortable, some people had headaches and in 40 degree heat in croatia it was unbearable. No initiative was taken by the tour guide/bus driver to have it repaired. Only until the last day of the tour did they swap for a new bus, which was pointless
* Accommodation in Amsterdam was disgraceful - it wasn't even in Amsterdam (even though the itenary says we stay in Amsterdam) which I felt ripped off about, it was a 70 Euro taxi ride from Amsterdam Central which was disgraceful that Contiki would have us stay so far out. The hotel was disgusting - Shower leaks & the room was in bad condition & it overlooked a swamp
* Too much time spent on the bus - Travelling to unnecessary stop overs such as Preveza, Albania & Lyon was a waste of time & money. Contiki easily could have put us on plane to get us to our main destination which would have been just as cheap as we would not need to pay accomm. and food for the day at the numerous service stops.
* The cruise was THE BIGGEST LET DOWN of the entire tour. I was soo mad when I found out we would only be in Mykonos for 3 hours (ended up being 2 hours because of how long it took to disembark the ship).
* 1 hour was spent in Santorini which everyone was upset about. Plus we had to pay the cruise ship 67 Euro to be taken up to Oia (where the white village is)- we were under the impression this was included with contiki and we only spent 1 hour there - we didn't even have time for a meal. After complaining to the cruise company they told us they only stay a short period of time as it is to expensive to stay docked in the waters of Santorni which made me so mad as we paid a lot of money for this experience & that wasn't our problem
* The toilet on the bus was not emptied the entire 33 days - the smell was terrible and there is no excuse for the bus driver to not empty it.
* We were under the impression Wifi on the bus was free - We only had about 1 hours worth of free wifi on the entire trip until we had to pay, this is a rip off as we all paid a large amount of money to be on this trip and contiki can't even provide free wifi - So many parts of the trip felt like a LARGE profit making scheme
* The ferry from Italy to Greece was 14 hours (the length of time was not noted in our itinerary) - We all should have flown it was such a waste of a precious 2 days.
If you INSIST on doing a contiki/this tour. Do the Mykonos option
First things, DO THE FULL TOUR. This tour is made up of modules and most people regretted not doing England, Scotland and Ireland. Do all the optionals, the bike ride around Kilkenny was fantastic, going into all the castles, jameson tour, the Scottish and irish dancing evenings . There is lots neat things included in this tour like jumping into the lochness, good meals (although I don't know if I can eat another potato for a while), try the haggis ( its surprisingly good). Also feed the hairy highland cows in stirling , they are so cute. The pubs are great craic , drink some guiness and listen to live music. Benny was a fantastic tour manager , and Pete was a great driver( I don't know how he made some those small streets). The accomadations were all clean. I would for sure recommend this trip, and spend a few extra days in London before and after the trip , you wont regret it.
Honestly still one of my favorite trips and ive been on three other contikis since this. The views and culture is amazing, the food will meet every expectations you have and the wine is fantastic ( try the limoncello as well). Do all the options, try all the food and get ready to have the time of your life. I would for sure go back to Italy and now I know my favorite places. You will meet the best people and have the time of your life. Our day song was Macklemore- cant hold us and it still brings back memories years later.
This trip was one of the best experiences I've ever made. It was not only about the magnificent places we went to, but also about the whole group (trip manager, driver and passengers). We saw the main highlights of the West and I can highly recommand travelling with Contiki!
This contiki was definitely the most incredible thing I've ever done. Even though it's such a cliche thing to say or hear; the people that you meet and become friends with on this contiki really make the trip amazing and everyone becomes such good friends in such a short period of time. I had the time of my life and loved all the places we visited; Switzerland being my favorite. I've never seen anything as gorgeous as that country!!! For hostels, they were pretty good! And nearly all the hostels had free wifi which was a bonus! I went travelling with my friend and it was good because we weren't living out of one another's pockets; we went off with our other friends and done our own thing sometimes which was great. I wouldn't recommend a shorter trip than 18 days. I found this to be a perfect amount of time to see lots of places but its also a great amount of time to allow everyone to become really good friends. There was a lot of clubbing and going out at night which was lots of fun but I had a few quiet nights as well to refresh. The bus trips between each country (usually 6 hours) was when everyone had a good opportunity to catch up on sleep. I cant wait to do another Contiki and meet another bunch of awesome people. Cant recommend this trip enough!! No regrets!! Friends for life!!
so these are actually two separate tours which means there will be two groups of contiki people.
First Was Spotlight on Greece
this was FULL ON. just non stop on and off the bus I would not recommend doing this tour in summer I actually managed to get heat stroke on the second day and actually missed out on the first night out because I was so sick.
It was very educational and we did see a lot of cool things. I suggest bringing a hat and apply heaps of sunscreen! bring water with you everywhere! we had 51 people in this group!
way to big of a group it's very hard to even remember peoples names! and groups form very fast!
The accommodation was pretty decent I really liked Zafolia Hotel best ( in Athens) it was just really nice and the buffet breaky was the best I've ever had in my life - it does seem to be in the middle of no where though. Greece is Super Cheap so that was awesome. since you get 4 days in Athens it gets a bit boring but the shopping is great!
Second tour was the Greek Island Hopping
where some people from spotlight on Greece continue with you or go on a different tour. The Greek islands were amazing! Cheap as well but not as cheap as Athens. All the accommodation is fairly nice but you will need to catch a bus or taxi if you want to go shopping. The Santorini Accommodation was a bit of a let down it seemed like it was in the middle of nowhere...
My highlight was probably Mykonos so much fun! (be aware there is no Wi-Fi reachable in your room though I came home with a $300 phone bill because I ended up using my phone data) All of the lobby's had free Wi-Fi though.
if you are prone to motion sickness! stock up on motion sickness tablets! highly recommend the Greek island hopping boat extra me time even though I spent most of it throwing up :| it was truly a beautiful experience :)
also you catch Ferry's from each island that can take up to 5 hours but they are huge!!! so your unlikely to get motion sickness :)
the clubbing was honestly a bit of a let down I did except we were going to go to cooler places or at least somewhere with cheaper drinks. I suggest pre drinking ...some of the alcohol at the bars tasted very cheap! This tour was very alcohol fuelled but not all of us went out every night to get smashed I actually preferred to drink by the pool during the day :)
this tour had 81 people on it......so be prepared!
check out the Pool party bar place next to the place you stay at in Ios it went off! :) and buy your self a heap of breezes for your pres from the convenient store! no ID checks!
This tour is the perfect length to see the highlights of Greece :) we had mike and Ed as our leaders and they were fantastic I felt safe and well looked after.
The trip was amazing, everyone i met on the trip was amazing and we all had so much fun. The trip was supposed to be easy paced, but never got more than about 4-5 hours sleep with regular all nighters. Everyone on the trip was keen to party hard, but still be up at 6am to be out the door seeing what each city had to offer! The trip really needed just one extra day in each city, but if you want to do the USAs couple best city's in such a short amount of time, and cram as much as you can into this time this is the trip for you! traveling between city's is super simple with the flights and there is alot of free time where you can explore and do whatever you please! I didnt plan to do anything before the trip, but with all the people i met i was always busy and doing something awesome. From breakfast at 7am to dinner at 8pm there was barley time to sit down and from 9pm to 3am there was always so much energy in the group.
It may sound like a standard response, but those 10 awesome days were some of the best days of my life!
We had amazing people on our tour from all over the world, and our tour manager was an absolute blast! Katie was very knowledgable and passionate about New Zealand, and made sure we all had an an awarding time.
All of our accommodation was great and comfortable, and the food along they way was even better.
Given that half the tour were Aussies, most of us had an absolute blast each night, waking up the next morning to find ourself on another adventure of a different city.
If you've got 10 days to spare in NZ, jump on the Contiki bus!!!
This was my first time travelling solo and first time on a Contiki trip and it was the best trip I have ever been on! My tour mates were great and Our Tour Manager and Driver Emily and Firo were the best. My favourite moment was biking around the Aran Islands the views were amazing from the cliffs. It's a great way to meet people from all over the world and I highly recommend anyone considering to go on the trip!