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5 Core memories from my European Vistas trip

Contiki in Italy

28 days in Europe on Contiki with a group of strangers. What started off as something so daunting, ended up being one of the best times of my life, and little did I know that by the end of our European Vistas tour, my Contiki friends and I would become a tight knit community saying tearful goodbyes to each other. 

From trying new foods and going dancing, to soaking up the sun and exploring new cities together, the fun never ended. It brought us together as a group and left us with memories that I know I’ll be looking back on for the rest of my life! Here are my top 5 core memories that the whole group agreed were the best.

5. Paris was the capital of proposals

Yes, you read that right. While Contiki is known for being a hub for singles, our group took the cake for the number of marriage proposals on tour! We had four couples in total, and by the end of the trip three of them were engaged. While some of the boys had let slip that they were going to propose, we didn’t know when it would be.

The first couple got engaged during our boat cruise in Switzerland. Once we got over the shock, we all swarmed to congratulate them and admire her beautiful ring – which was purchased in Italy, how romantic! We finished the cruise with a celebratory toast to the happy couple before heading off to a bar to continue celebrating their night. 

Things stepped up a notch when we made it to Paris, however. The Eiffel tower proved to be the most romantic spot in town, with the final two proposals of our group happening in front of it, and on the same night too!

4. Pierogi making class in Poland

As part of Contiki’s MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences , we were able to learn the art of pierogi making from a professional chef. For those who don’t know, pierogi are delicious Polish dumplings filled with vegetables or meat or cheese. They can be boiled or fried, and I can confirm that both are just as tasty as each other.

Nestled together in the basement of a polish restaurant, we gorged on premade pierogi while our amazing chef demonstrated what we needed to do. Then the fun began. 

We took it in turns to get up and put our cooking skills to the test. The prize: a free shot. No one in our group was willing to pass that up, and the competition was on. From getting flour everywhere to filming each other pulling silly faces, it was a night none of us will ever forget. 

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3. Karaoke in Italy

If you’ve been on TikTok, you would have seen past Contiki travellers listing Karaoke at the Red Garter in Florence, Italy as one of the best moments on the trip. And I can 100% confirm that it lives up to the hype. Whether you get up on the mic or not, you’ll still lose your voice from shouting out the words to your favourite Taylor Swift or High School Musical song.

Surprisingly, Italy proved to be the best country to break out into impromptu karaoke sessions. Every night on the drive home, our coach transformed into a mini club. Our tour manager would pump out pop hits while our driver would turn the LED light strips on while everyone sang their hearts out. 

And Rome became our musical capitol. We had another MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® dinner, which involved our host singing and everyone getting up and dancing to hits like the Macarena while our food was being prepared. 

We also said goodbye to some of our group in Rome. To celebrate, we convinced the bar manager to play our requests (lucky it was a quiet night) and sent our friends off with another night of singing. So if you’re looking for a fun way to burn off all the carbs you’ve eaten, I’d recommend singing and dancing your way through Italy. 

Contiki group together in London

Image source:Natalie di Paola

2. Our day in Capri

While Italy in general was the majority of the group’s favourite destination, we can all agree on one experience that we loved: our day trip to Capri. We hopped on the ferry across bright blue waters to one of Italy’s most famous destinations. Colourful buildings lining the hills and white boats dotting the shoreline, it was the perfect way to spend a scorching hot day.

We spent the morning on a yacht sailing around Capri, stopping at different swim spots. The water was so clear you could see all the way down to your toes. The water was nice and warm, so if you’re from Sydney like me you’ll find it a nice change to the (sometimes freezing) cold waters back home. 

After drying off, we headed to the island to explore. We ate delicious pasta and gelato (which I can confirm is all you eat in Italy). In the afternoon, we all congregated at the beach and spent the rest of our time swimming and sunbaking. 

Talking afterwards, we all agreed that it was the most relaxing day we’d had on the tour. Being a fast-paced city tour, spending a day at the beach was a nice and much needed change for us to rest and recharge before exploring the rest of Italy.

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1. SZIGET music festival in Budapest

Taking the top spot of number one was our trip to the SZIGET music festival. While Budapest is known for being one of the top places to party in Europe, we got to experience how good it could be at their annual music festival. 

After a morning walking tour of the city, we all headed back to our hotel to begin getting ready. Cute fits on, hair styling sessions done, and bodies covered in glitter, we made our move over to the festival. 

Nothing will ever beat having a few drinks and getting up on someone’s shoulders to watch Niall Horan and David Guetta perform live. 

Group consensus: it was one of the best nights of our lives that we’ll treasure forever.

Sziget music festival on Contiki

Image source:Natalie di Paola

I am honestly so glad that I went on a Contiki. I was so worried about doing activities alone and not making any friends. Luckily for me, my Contiki trip was the perfect way to explore different countries and make heaps of friends at the same time. The perk of travelling in a group is that there is always someone who wants to do the same activities as you, so I never found myself alone and bonded with everyone in the group at some point. Put that deposit down and go and have the time of your life with Contiki! 

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