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16 awesome 18th birthday trip ideas to celebrate your Contiki eligibility

Group of Contiki travellers

It’s always fun to jet off somewhere to celebrate your birthday, but there’s no doubt some milestones are more special – especially the big one-eight. If you’re about to hit adulthood and want some brilliant 18th birthday trip ideas, then the below options are perfect for creating memories that will last a lifetime. Whether you want to celebrate your burgeoning independence with a solo trip, or just mark turning 18 with a unique experience, you’ll find inspiration right here!

Castles and camembert

Historic landmarks, buzzing city centres, and some truly outstanding natural highlights: Europe is full of birthday destinations, and what better way to celebrate than touring through some of the very best spots the continent has to offer? A European Discovery tour is a perfect year-round 18th birthday trip idea thanks to the kaleidoscopic diversity of attractions on offer.

In winter, you can hit classic German Christmas markets and marvel at snowy Alpine landscapes, and in Summer you can meander down the canals of Venice with an Aperol in hand, or bask under the Parisian sun. A perfect blend of culture, nature, and fun, made even better by the friendships you’ll forge in your Contiki group of like minded travellers.

Group of 5 young travellers sit in gondola, floating down Venice canal

Image source:Contiki

Going Greek

The gorgeous serenity of the Greek Islands during the day is turned on its head when night begins to bruise the sky, and the once sleepy beaches light up with unforgettable nightlife venues. During the day on your Greek Island Hopping tour you’ll get to dive into sparkling seas, wander through quaint villages, and check out awe-inspiring ruins.

At night, you can take advantage of turning the legal drinking age by heading out to the bars and clubs that dot these idyllic islands with your new group of Contiki friends, creating memories that will last well beyond your flight back home.

Explore the Emerald Isle

If you love poets and pints of Guinness, or have always just been a little bit obsessed with Giants Causeway and the Blarney Stone, then an Ireland trip is the perfect way to celebrate your 18th birthday. Blending dramatic natural scenescapes with charming pub visits and surprisingly educational distillery tours, this trip is the perfect blend of culture and fun – but best of all is learning to love the craic with the locals.

Colourful streets of Dublin, Ireland

Image source:Anna Church / unsplash

Incan Delights and Pisco Sour Nights

If your ideal 18th birthday celebration includes both an epic trek to wondrous historical gems and sipping cocktails with the locals at night, then a Peru Panorama adventure could be just what you’re looking for. Between spotting massive condors, marvelling at Machu Picchu, and getting to grips with indigenous culture on floating villages in Lake Titicaca, there’s something for everyone. And, as dusk descends, you’ll be able to let loose in one of South America’s most underrated party destinations with your Contiki group.

Granada to the Gothic Quarter

Few countries have as much packed into their shores as Spain, and this Best of Spain trip covers the most iconic locations in this unforgettable country. Wandering through bustling Barcelona, gorging at the Michelin-starred restaurants in San Sebastian, and taking in the manicured gardens of the Alhambra are just some of the things you’ll be doing, but that’s not all. You’ll also have the chance to dance flamenco in the South, as well as learn the Spanish way of life – that is, hanging out with your new friends over great wine and an endless supply of tapas. Start your adulthood the right way with this 18th birthday trip.

people enjoying the beach in Sitges, Spain

Image source:Contiki

Lavender Fields and Lazy Boat Days

Despite its white sand beaches, gorgeous villages, and plethora of brilliant nightlife options, Croatia still remains a bit of an underrated option as an 18th birthday trip idea. But if you like spending the day surrounded by the cerulean Adriatic while island hopping between some stunning landmasses, then this Croatia Island sail trip could be the perfect way for you to wish yourself a happy birthday. And that’s not even mentioning the bars and clubs that turn the idyllic islands into party hotspots at night, meaning you can share cocktails and throw shapes with your Contiki group after a hard day of relaxing on the waves.

Sushi, Saki, and Shinto Shrines

Turning 18 often marks a new chapter in your life, and there’s no better way to start fresh than by heading right across the world to the wonderfully unique Japan. Ancient traditions and modern technology combine to make visiting this country on a whistle-stop Japan in a week tour a truly special experience, and that’s not even mentioning the astounding eats on offer. From the bright lights and bustling bars of Tokyo to the serenity of Kyoto, there’s something for all kinds of travellers here, making it a perfect 18th birthday trip idea.


Image source:Contiki

African Adventures

Just because 18 is the legal drinking age, not all 18th birthday trip ideas have to be party focused. If you’re more about unforgettable scenery and seeing the wilderness at its most glorious, then the Southern African Safari is for you. You’ll start off in the incomparable Cape Town, before checking out the surging power of Victoria Falls. Then, it’s off to the Savannah, where you’ll be able to spot rare animals and interact with the indigenous people who make this part of the world their home. Don’t worry about roughing it too much, though: you’ll be staying in lodges across South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia, so after long days of spotting animals you’ll be able to relax and unwind in comfort.

Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh

Few countries have the cultural and natural diversity of Vietnam. The once war-torn nation is fast becoming a tourist hotspot thanks to its outstanding culinary culture and uniquely beautiful nature, and we haven’t even mentioned the fun-loving locals and cities bursting with life. With our Vietnam Experience you’re sure to fall in love with this country, helped along by its stunning white sand beaches and special mountain scenery, mouth-watering food scene, and epic nightlife. The only downside is at some point you’ll have to head back home!

Contiki travellers in Hanoi

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Siestas, Fiestas, and More

What is there to say about Mexico that hasn’t already been said? Heading to the Central American country is an ideal 18th birthday trip idea thanks to its blend of ancient historical monuments, special natural highlights, and the unmatched hospitality culture. As it’s such a massive landmass it can feel a bit daunting trying to figure out what to see and do, but with our Mexico Grande Trip you’ll be able to pack in all the best of what Mexico has to offer and more, from adrenaline-pumping adventure sports to diving into deep blue cenotes. Then there’s the tequila distillery tour…

Looking to the East

The fall of the Wall might have been decades ago, but Eastern Europe retains something different from the rest of the continent. Maybe it’s the epic scenery and storied old buildings (some made out of human bones – yes, really), the delicious and hearty food, or the combination of grandeur and lack of pretentiousness that marks it out from the West, but all we know is with the Eastern Road tour you’ll hit some of the most sought after destinations in this part of the world, like gorgeous Krakow and ancient Prague. Something else is for sure, too: you’ll get a blast of history, culture, and culinary delights, and as night falls you’ll be able to see that all the hype about Eastern European nights out is completely true.

group of travellers in the sea off the coast of Croatia

Image source:Contiki

Ice, Ice Baby

Otherworldly is often overused as an adjective in travel guides, but Iceland truly feels like it’s from another planet. The island nation is full of natural wonders that seem to only exist in this little corner of the globe, with waterfalls, black sands, and geysers being just some of the highlights you can look forward to on a Fire and Ice trip to the country. The extraordinary and stunningly bleak landscapes are matched by warming geothermal waters and even more warming shots of local liquor, meaning you can celebrate your 18th birthday in a wholesome way before cutting loose with your fellow Contiki travellers.

From the holy land to the beach

It might be small, but Israel packs in a heck of a lot. The Middle Eastern country is famous for being the epicentre of the Abrahamic religions, and in the capital Jerusalem you’ll feel the energy of the devoted while being treated to guided tours of the most iconic, important sites and artefacts, like the wailing wall and the Dead Sea Scrolls. It’s not all serious here, though, which is why a visit is such a good 18th birthday trip idea. With the Israel Uncovered tour you’ll have the opportunity to break bread with locals in a kibbutz, before ending up in the modern, vibrant Tel Aviv, which is known for being the nightlife capital of the Middle East. Who says you can’t have it all?

Woman looking out over Israel

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Souks, spice, and everything nice

Flavourful food, mountain treks, and chaos in winding, endless markets: a Moroccan Adventure requires a lot of energy, but you’ll get in more than you put out if you choose to head to the North African country for your 18th birthday. Alongside your fellow Contiki travellers you’ll get an insider’s tour of stunning Marrakech, ride camels in the desert, and share some delicious eats with locals. A perfect blend of culture and fun.

Parks and Recreation

America is a great destination for a number of reasons, but there’s no doubt that its National Parks are a truly phenomenal part of the States, and with the National Parks Plus trip you’ll be able to see some of the world’s most outstanding nature, while enjoying a classic American road trip between the wonders of this massive country. Sure, you might not be of legal drinking age here, but you won’t need anything but your surroundings to get intoxicated on.

two young travelers on a group trip to Grand Canyon

Image source:Contiki

American Idols

City and country combine wonderfully in this unique trip that zips you across the highlights of America’s south. The Grand Southern begins in L.A where you’ll get to see more than just the Hollywood sign thanks to our knowledgeable guides. Soon, you’re out of the big city and indulging in that all-American activity of a road trip, where you’ll get the chance to marvel at Grand Canyon National Park, groove in the streets of Memphis, before heading to sunny Florida where you can laze on the beach and check out the Miami and the Florida Keys. A trip like no other.

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