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The Contiki European Discovery Tour Review

London UK
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9 countries. 13 days

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 Contiki Europen Discovery Tour Review

A little background info…

I’m Marcelle. I was 25 years old, I had saved some money and I was about to go to the States for my vacation. But for personal reasons I had to cancel my trip to the US. And there I was: vacation scheduled, money saved, yet no destination to go to. I wanted to travel abroad so badly, I had the time and the money to do it, so I made it a mission to find a way to make it happen. And I did. So I’ll do a full review of my experience and my opinion on Contiki, the company I traveled with. All opinions expressed here are truthful and 100% my own.

How I found out about Contiki

I found out about Contiki when I was searching for a travel company most travelers would recommend. I found the best reviews of Contiki. What also interested me was the fact that they work with young adults, 18 – 35-year-olds.

I could not believe my eyes! Contiki was perfect for what I needed: a company for people my age and with a great reputation. 

I have a confession to make: one fear I had was to go on a tour bus only to find out the activities were for people way over my age. And trust me, until Contiki I had never been to tour buses exactly, for this reason. That’s how afraid I was of having a bad experience. 

Colosseum in Rome with Contiki

Why I booked my trip with Contiki

Because their trips are exclusively for young people, I knew Contiki would be a great fit. I was happy already!

I did my research before booking my trip with them, to really make sure Contiki was a reliable company. Not only did I find that it has a great reputation, but also that Contiki is the travel business that young travelers trust. I was sold!

So if you also think tour buses are dull or that they are for older people only, check Contiki’s website and see it for yourself, what I’m talking about.

Red Telephone Booth in London

Who is this trip for?

If you want to get the most value for your money, if you have a tight schedule and want to see as many different places as you can. If it’s your first time international trip, first time traveling solo, first time in Europe. Or simply if you don’t like planning or don’t know how to even start planning a trip…then Contiki European Discovery Tour is for you!

If you don’t mind getting up early to hit the road, knowing a different country awaits you, then this trip is definitely for you.

You want to meet people and make friends? Contiki European Discovery Tour is for you.

You’re not focused on meeting people, but don’t mind being in a group? Just want to have a more convenient trip with your friend or husband…? This tour is for you! 

Want the whole trip planned out but yet some free time to do what you please? Contiki is for you.

Guys, it is possible to go to Europe and have the trip of your dreams without breaking the bank and in a stress-free way. 

Seriously, just check out Contiki’s website, you won’t regret it.

 

Club in Amsterdam with Contiki

 

What is Contiki and their European Discovery Tour?

Contiki offers over 300 trips around the globe, from the Americas to New Zealand and Australia, you can pretty much find a trip to and from everywhere, whether you’d like to go to Asia or Europe, they have it all.

As I mentioned in the title, I decided to go with the Contiki European Discovery Tour. It is a 13-day trip, departing from London, going through 9 countries in Europe, visiting 10 cities. 

What to expect from a Contiki Trip

How Contiki organizes their trips

I honestly didn’t expect Contiki to be as amazing as it is. They organize the trips very well. When I received the confirmation email, it had all the instructions for the trip, such as luggage limits, a hotel list of where I’d be staying (with full addresses and phone numbers and a nice reminder to give a copy to our family), booking summary, all travel vouchers, itinerary lists, online check-in info and activity lists. I mean, that’s a l.o.t! Imagine having to plan all of this by yourself if you go on a solo trip? They go through every detail of the trip. It is such a great work, totally worth the price. 

Contiki Coach Bus

Where you’ll sleep

They place us in very good hotels, that has free wi-fi and breakfast included – and sometimes even dinner or drinks. If you travel solo you’ll have a shared bedroom with a Contiki roommate. They’ll pair you up with a same-sex roommate or, if you prefer, you have the option to pay a little extra for a room to yourself. I know that if you travel with a friend or as a couple they can put you two together if you let them know when you book.

The hotels are usually located outside the central and famous areas, which I believe is why they are able to give us better hotel experiences, but since Contiki coach bus always pick you up at the hotel and drop you off as close as they can from the sightseeing spots, the hotel location is never a problem.

Italian Fontana di Trevi

 

What you’ll see and do

Contiki offers lots of activities included in the trip. Like a locally guided bike tour of Munich’s famous landmarks, a private boat to Venice, a special Rome sightseeing tour with a delicious gelato (Italian ice cream), tons of locally guided walking tours such as the ones where you’ll see the Statue of David, the Ponte Vecchio, Medici Palace and much more. Contiki will also take you on an exclusive sightseeing night tour in Paris and will take you to the top of the Eiffel Tower.
If you want, you also have the option to explore even more with additional activities. Contiki gives you the chance to fully explore the destinations with exclusive experiences, like a canal cruise, a night club and museum tickets in Amsterdam, wine tasting in Germany, white water rafting and the Swarovski museum in Austria, a gondola ride, a walking tour and a dinner in Venice, a modern Italian opera dinner in Rome, fast line access at most museums and at The Vatican (so worthy because the lines are ridiculously gigantic at the Vatican), a Cabaret dinner in Paris, a boat tour, a funicular and cable car tickets to the Stanserhorn mountain in Switzerland for stunning, s.t.u.n.n.i.n.g views, and much, much more!
You can choose some of these optional activities, you can choose to do none of them or you can pick them all. Remember though, they are optional and will cost you extra. Prices depend on the activity and you can find more information on each trip page on Contiki’s website. 

I chose to participate in all of their additional activities. That’s what I did, and when someone asks me, that’s what I recommend. It was a great decision to have saved a bit more before I traveled, and go with the whole package. I did not regret at all. 

Some of these activities are an outdoor adventure, which can have some risk involved, like the white water rafting I did. Make your own decisions about such activities and please, only participate in activities you feel absolutely comfortable doing. Make sure your travel insurance covers your participation in adventure activities. If you’re looking for a good travel insurance, World Nomads is the one I trust and recommend. 

Contiki Mask Dinner in Venice Italy 

Contiki European Discovery Tour Itinerary Overview

  • Contiki European Discovery Tour departs from London. On the day of your arrival, you have free time to explore London. At night you’ll have a meeting with the Contiki family. 
  • The next day in the morning you’ll leave London and get a ferry to Amsterdam (via Belgium). You’ll probably arrive in Amsterdam in the late afternoon, so get ready for the nightlife, which is very much unique in the Netherlands’s capital, definitely worth going out for some fun.  But remember you’ll still have to explore Amsterdam the next morning, so don’t party too hard, LOL. There you can visit museums, canals, and cafes. 
  • The next stop is in the Rhine Valley in Germany. A charming little old town, with wine villages and a great vibe.
  • On day 5 of the trip, you’ll be heading to Munich. I loved the hotel we stayed in Munich. Not to mention all cabs drive a Mercedes-Benz. #fancy Or maybe it’s just easier to splurge if it’s on a local product, I guess, lol. If you plan ahead, or just get lucky like me, you can go to Munich just in time for the Oktoberfest. I didn’t plan my travel dates, but I, fortunately, happened to be there for the festival. Now that’s what I call a bonus! Prost!
  • It’s now day 6. Time to head to Austrian Tyrol, where you’ll find jaw-dropping mountains, famous for its sport. 

Contiki White Water Rafting in Tirol

  • The next day, the Italian portion of the trip starts! The first city you’ll be visiting is Venice, which is awesome because you get to arrive by boat, so that alone is already a great start. In the floating city, you’ll see beautiful palazzos, plazas and cute little local shops.
  • On days 8 and 9 Rome is your destination, because a city so big and with that much history is definitely worth a 2 day stay. Of course, you are going to see the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain, but there’s even more to see, like the Roman Forum, the Piazza Venezia, Pantheon & Piazza Navona and the gorgeous St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, with a tour of The Vatican museums including the Sistine Chapel. As you can see, lots of things to see and do when it comes to exploring Rome. 
  • The last destination in Italy is in Firenze, or Florence in plain English. I had a great time in Florence. Beautiful plazas and Basilica, interesting local shops and great food – if it’s Italian, of course, the food has got to be amazing, which by now, your 4th day in Italy, you’ll know from experience. 
  • It’s day 11, and despite being a little tired from all the traveling you’ve been doing through Europe, you’ll probably be wishing it was still day 1 or 2. That’s how fun and exciting this Contiki tour is! On this day you’ll jump from Italy to Switzerland. Oh yeah, the beauty of Europe. This was one of the most mind-blowing days to me. The country is unbelievably gorgeous, as you’ll see right from the road. Swiss Alps? Jaw-dropping, breathtaking…a.m.a.z.i.n.g. !!!! Did I just give a hint of what my favorite places were? 🤔
  • In Lucerne, Switzerland you’ll see the Wooden Bridge, the Lion Monument, you’ll eat great cheese fondue and chocolate bars and candies. In my Contiki trip, they placed us in the craziest hotel I have ever, e.v.e.r., stayed at. I’ll share more details later in the highlights of my trip.
  • Day 13: the last day if the trip. They say they save the best for last….and I have got to agree guys…Because it’s when you go to PARIS! Oh, my G.O.D! The Eiffel Tower alone is worth the trip. We arrived in Paris in the afternoon, so we had the chance to see the Eiffel Tower both in the daylight and in the night time, which is gorgeous either way, but totally different experiences. You’ll also see the famous Arc de Triomphe, the gorgeous Louvre museum, the amazing Champs Élysées & the one and only Notre Dame Cathedral. Because we were staying for the night, we had the whole evening and night in Paris, so we did – and saw, it all.  
  • On day 14 it’s time to either head to Paris airport or go back to London, which it’s what I did. I stayed an extra 5 days in London, exploring the city with a friend who was living there at the time. If you can extend your trip and stay in London a couple of days, I totally recommend it! 

Eiffel Tower in Paris

The pros and cons of traveling with Contiki

Pros

One positive thing about traveling with Contiki is that you only have to worry about one thing: having fun! You can book your international flight tickets with them if you want or, you can book it yourself through a company like SkyScanner. It’s totally up to you! Once you have chosen the trip, Contiki will take care of all your transportation while on your trip, as well as accommodations, breakfasts, a dedicated Trip Manager, and Driver.

Another positive side is that you get to choose whether to spend time with the group and your new friends or, to go off on a solo adventure. Just let your Trip Manager know in advance (for obvious safety issues) and make sure to arrive at the meeting point in time to catch the coach. 

One more advantage of the Contiki European Discovery Tour is that you visit the most famous countries in Europe in a 2-week trip. This is awesome because you get a great overview of multiple destinations to see which country you like most and, eventually book another trip for a more in-depth experience.

Another positive side is that you don’t have to learn or try to speak a foreign language while traveling with Contiki. Despite the tour guide of my trip have given us a list of main phrases used in every country in its own language, you really can get by without really speaking much of a foreign language, since Contiki will take you to all major landmarks and get you a guided/walking tour with an English speaking tour guide.  

Lastly, one of the perks of traveling with Contiki is that museum lines are faster when you have a group ticket so, you usually don’t wait more than 30-40 minutes to get in. This is a must for entering The Vatican and The Louvre.

Now let’s get real: the Cons

Traveling in group means you will have to wake up early, otherwise you may lose the bus. But since you’ll spend a couple hours on the bus, you can catch up on some sleep, so that shouldn’t be a problem – even if you’re not a morning person (I speak from experience. I’m not a morning person at all, and I used the time on the road to sleep as much as possible).

A trip to Europe equals lots of historical and cultural information to take in and, sometimes this can be a little overwhelming. My tip here is to read a little overview of where you’ll be visiting prior to arriving there. That way, you’ll know what interests you, if listening to the tour guide is what you’d really like or if you’d rather sleep an extra 30-minute or do something else.

The other thing that can be annoying is when you love a city/country too much that you wish you could stay longer. Well, when traveling on a tour that’s not an option, but it’s always a great excuse to travel again, to go back and explore more! 

London UK

How much does a Contiki Tour cost?

At the time I am writing this post, the price for the Contiki European Discovery Tour is $2,220 with a discount. Regular price is $2,775.

Personally, I think the price is a very good value for what you get from the Contiki tour. 

We’re talking about 12 nights of accommodation and 16 meals (11 breakfasts and 5 dinners)! Plus all the transport from country to country, the possibility of making new travel buddies, a tour guide, a comfy coach with air-conditioned and charging spots. 

To me, it’s not only about the things that are included in the trip price. It’s more about the experience! And the Contiki family makes your European Discovery trip a phenomenal experience! 

In my opinion, it is definitely worth the money!

London UK

How was the Contiki experience? What are the benefits?

Before traveling with Contiki I had taken a solo trip myself, back in the States. I traveled for about a week I guess, from Chicago (where I was living as an International Student) to LA, going north to San Francisco and then head to Vegas to meet up with friends for the weekend. 

I remember not having fun, not having fully enjoyed and explored the places like I wanted. I remember being constantly checking how to get from point A to point B, and asking strangers if they could take a photo of me. Of course, that traveling solo was still better than not traveling at all. But given the choice between doing it alone or with a group of friends, I’ll go with the latter. Even if that means to meet a group of my future travel friends right on the spot! That’s how I see Contiki. 

I got a much better solo travel experience with Contiki. I felt safer, I didn’t have to worry about planning, I knew even though I’d get in it alone, I’d definitely leave it with lots of new friends. I didn’t have to carry a heavy backpack on my back while transiting countries and exploring places. I didn’t have to worry about different languages or face communication problems. I was dropped off at good restaurants for great dinners. I was given free time to explore the city my way. I had the opportunity to include additional activities for exclusive local experiences. I was taken as close as possible to most landmarks and I always had a travel buddy to take photos of me. 😇

Prost at Oktoberfest in Munich Germany

Should you travel with Contiki?

If you want better travel experience, then yes! You should definitely book your next trip with Contiki. 
Travel is more than ticking places off your bucket list. A travel is an exclusive experience, all about being present, tasting, learning, trying, seeing, doing. 

Contiki has absolutely given me the opportunity to access it all (something I have failed in the past when I tried doing it by myself in my 1st solo trip in the US).
Visiting new places is about indulging in unique local experiences: living the moment and making remarkable memories, the best ones!  

Want to have fun & create your own history while having THE time of your life?

Book the European Discovery trip with Contiki to visit 9 countries in Europe or, browse other trips they have throughout the globe!
#noregrets

Would you rather go on a solo trip by yourself or with a group? How’d you like Contiki as your next travel company?
If you have already traveled with Contiki like I have, where did you go & how was your experience? What were the highlights of your trip?

Travel is more than ticking places off your bucket list. It's living the moment & making remarkable memories. #noregrets #whyipost Click To Tweet

 

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About Marcelle Mazzocato

2 thoughts on “The Contiki European Discovery Tour Review

  1. Your trip sounds so amazing! I haven’t traveled much and I’m getting old… I’ve done more traveling in my adulthood than childhood though, and going to Europe is on my bucket list. I’ll definitely check out that company.

    1. Hi Lisa, thanks for stopping by! ❤️ I really had so much fun on my Contiki trip! It was definitely one of THE BEST ones, for sure! I didn’t expect to go to Europe that young and I thought I wouldn’t even enjoy it that much but…Oh my! I totally recommend it! I can’t think of a better travel company for 18-35 year-olds! It was soooo fun and I loved it! Yes, check their website and you’ll find lots of different tours through Europe. I’m sure one will fit your desired destinations, time and budget just perfectly. They have that many travel trips to choose from 😅

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