London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Munich, Austria, Venice, Florence, Rome, Switzerland, Paris, all of the places you will visit on this tour.
I went on the European Whirl Contiki Tour on the 26th of June 2017 and let me tell you I have #noregrets sorry I just had to put that in there haha! But honestly this tour was one of my favourite things I have ever done, you won’t get these experiences anywhere else!
I have given my personal review on this particular tour down below, however, this can really relate to a lot of other Contiki tours as well as there are all very similar just basically follow different routes and various lengths. You just probably cant compare some of it to the camping or hotel options but I’m sure there’s plenty more posts out there sharing that!
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This tours accommodation includes a range of “cabins and special stopovers” now who really knows what that means? Its basically a whole range different accommodation, you will have a night in a really nice hotel in Paris, which makes it seem like your royalty on the last night. Then also a few nights in various hostels, they are just what you would expect for a basic dorm room and generally will have a private bathroom. There are a Contiki owned accommodations as well, one in Austria which is really fun cause it’s a great way to meet people from other Contikis and then we have the cabins which are in Venice, Florence and Rome. So don’t be alarmed when you see “camping” in the name of where you are staying because yes it is a camp site but you will just stay in the cabins there. The Venice and Florence sites were fairly decent and what you would except for a cabin in my eyes, they do get very hot so just keep that in mind however they will usually cool down a bit later in the night. Then we have Rome, this is one you really need to prepare yourself for… These cabins are very old wooden rooms, they are insanely hot and there is no fly wire on the windows so all of the mosquitos will come into your room, and they are really like extremely bad there so we would opt to keep the windows closed and just melt. The beds are quite dirty, the sheet I was given had stains on it so I asked for another one and it had stains as well and some other rooms had bed bugs. It was just a shock after all of the fairly nice accommodation we had stayed in, at least once compared to what I was expecting. I think you just need to keep in mind its only for 2 nights and your only there to sleep, and if you’re partying a lot then you’re probably only sleeping for minimal hours anyway. Overall the accommodation was fairly nice.
Me Time Optionals
Me time optionals are extra activities that Contiki offer to you at an additional cost, so basically they are not included in the total cost of the tour and you decide which ones you would like to participate in. I went in with the mindset of I don’t want to regret or miss out on anything so I chose to do every me time optional. Looking back I do wish I had read into exactly what the optionals were as there were a few I wish I hadn’t done. For example, in Florence, you will get a professional photo taken of the whole group with an amazing view in Florence. This costs 17 euros. I was still travelling for another 3 and a half months at this point and let me tell you the photo is barely in one piece, it is honestly so ruined it should be thrown out but because I paid 17 euros for it I can not bring myself to get rid of it. So the moral of the story here is just had a quick read of exactly what the optional is and make sure you actually want to do it. I do definitely recommend doing most of them as they are worth it! Paragliding is 100% if you’re going to Austria, BEST THING EVER
This tour includes every breakfast every morning as well as 8 dinners in the total cost. Breakfast will change from each place however it is generally a basic European style breakfast they serve at most places. Bread always, usually an offering for meat, cheese, tomato and cucumber. Cereal options were also available at most breakfasts along with juice and coffee and occasionally they will serve eggs.
Dinners were probably one of my favourites things about Contiki (yes I love food) they were always amazing meals with the most delicious ingredients. They really gave you that feeling of a home cooked meal, which you really realized how much you take for granted when travelling, I always looked forward to the days we would have an included dinner. Also to mention, which I thought was really awesome on Contiki’s behalf was that the 2 nights we spent in Switzerland where everything is craaaaazy expensive, they had included both dinners as this is a budget trip obviously the price of a dinner in a restaurant is out of most peoples budget.
As this is a High Energy tour, expect to be partying a lot. Generally within each city you will have a chilled night the day you arrive there so you are not hung over when exploring the next day and then there will be a party or an organized night out that night so that you are just hungover on the bus the next day and can just sleep to make the time go faster. So with saying that it is definitely each to their own when it comes to going out. There were some people on my tour that went out every single night and some that only went out a few nights of the whole trip, totally up to you.
In the cities we stay in where the accommodation is a little bit further away from the main area or hard to get to back to, like Rome, Venice & Switzerland Contiki organize parties. For me, these parties were definitely the best nights out! I really enjoyed them as its just your group (often there are other groups there as well however everyone seems to stick to their own group) and its just like going to a house party at home where you know everyone and no matter where you turn you have another group of friends to talk to except your on the other side of the world in a completely different country, there’s just nothing else like them.
Venice will be the first party and this was a nautical themed party for us, however, there was another group having their party on the same night as us and they were all dressed up as pirates, so I think it can go either way. Then you will have the I heart Roma party in Rome, I think this was my favorite night out of the whole tour because everyone buys white t-shirts that say I heart Roma and they give you textas to write on everyone’s tops and buy this time into the tour there has been a lot of funny things that have happened to these tops are the best way to remember all of that and look back on later.
Then the last one is in Switzerland, it is a Swissco Disco, it is a red and white themed party and a lot of people where their Swiss beanies or buy the red t-shirts and it is held in a bunker that is underground at the hostel.
Time spent in each location
Again as this is a high-energy tour you are cramming in a lot of activities and sights into a small amount of time, therefore you will generally only spend 1 day in each of the cities and for the stops that are only one night there are usually shorter drives so you will arrive there about lunch time and spend the afternoon exploring. So this is a super quick time to be spending in major cities and you will not be able to completely see the full city in my opinion, however if this trip will be your first time to Europe or first time in these cities then I think is the perfect way to figure out which of them you like and will come back to at a later date.
Budgeted Spending Money
When I had put my budget together for this trip I had not looked into or included the prices of me time optionals, which is really where I went wrong. For my whole trip (including travelling after Contiki) I have a standard budget of $100AU per day, including the cost of the optionals I went way over this number almost every day. I think if I was to redo the way I budgeted this part of my trip I would separate out the optionals and spending money, as the optionals added up to be much more than I thought (probably because I ended up doing everyone). So here is a breakdown: the total for the optionals inc the adventure park in Lauterbrunnen was 805 euros around $1,260AUD at the time of conversion. On top of this, I spent on average $42 AU per day, which includes opting for averagely priced meals and partying every second night so if you’re planning on doing a similar thing I think the budget for $50 AUD per day to be safe. However, if you plan on drinking a little more you may need to increase that number a bit.
I will also have a complete Europe Budget Guide post up soon so if you’re interested to n=know exactly how much I spent, make sure to sign up for my email notifications at the bottom of this post!
You will actually be worshipping day sheets by the time your trip is over, and let me tell you the first few days once your trip is over you will feel so lost without them. They are basically written out plans of times, activities and little things to note for each place you visit. And the best thing about them is your trip manager will draw fun pictures on them as well. (Check out sexy Ned Flanders below). These sheets are another reason why I believe Contiki tours are one of the best, this ensures that everything is organized and every single person on the tour knows what you are doing and when!
As this has been my only Contiki I only have my trip manager so be able to judge from. However the experience I had was amazing, it seems as though they have very in-depth training and are able to answer any question asked and know almost everything about all of the cities you will visit. They are extremely organized and we did not have any issues at all.
Hope you have the best Contiki tour if you’re doing one and leave a comment if you have any questions that I didn’t cover!
Love you babes x
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