My best friend Tyler and I got talking one night: we both wanted to go to Europe together.
It was the first Contiki trip either of us had done. Since it was a big expense, we spent days researching online for the best option. Here’s my rundown review of our time whirling around Europe!
How to Pick Your Trip
Each Contiki trip comes with a style. We chose “High Energy” which caters to site-seeing during the day and partying at night, if you want to join. It’s a fast-paced trip that allows you to experience as much as possible. Accommodations for this trip were special stopovers and cabins, essentially hostels and hotel upgrades if available along with special Contiki rooms like their own chalet in the Swiss Alps.
Depending on your budget and style, you could check out trips that stay at hotels (more expensive) or camping if you’re up for roughing it.
Where You’ll Go
European Whirl hits a lot of fantastic sites quickly, just enough to give you a taste.
- Start in London to Amsterdam
- Amsterdam to Berlin
- Berlin to Prague
- Prague to Munich
- Munich to Austrian Tyrol
- Austrian Tyrol to Venice
- Venice to Rome
- Rome to Florence
- Florence to Swiss Alps
- Swiss Alps
- Swiss Alps to Paris
- Time to head home, or onward to your next adventure!
Understand there is a lot of time on a coach bus while driving to new destinations, but most locations receive a full day of site-seeing. In cases where you’ll be driving a lot, your driver makes sure to stop every two hours or so for a quick break.
What You’ll See
Honestly, the amount of World Heritage Sites and monuments you’ll see are unreal. On this trip in particular, some sites include the Reichstag in Berlin, St. Mark’s Square in Venice, the Colosseum in Rome and the the Eiffel Tower in Paris. I could go on forever but you’ll have to see for yourself. You’ll also have the bonus of a knowledgeable guide to point you to less-known attractions.
Be aware that a few European Contiki trips overlap destinations so if you decide to book your second trip, understand that you’ll probably see a few of the same things. I met tons of other travellers at sites, dinners and hostels that were on different Contiki trips all stopping at the same location.
Contiki has “ME Time Optionals” which are add-ons you can buy during or before your trip. These include experiences like a canal cruise along the river in Amsterdam, a historical walking tour in Berlin, tandem paragliding in Austria, a Gondola ride in Vince and a cabaret show in Paris. All are completely optional but know that Contiki will really push you to buy-in and go with the group.
Originally, my friend and I had budgeted on doing minimal ME Times, but were convinced during the trip to do a lot more. I don’t regret doing our optionals, but make sure you budget extra for these. They obviously vary in prices as well, from 10 Euros for a walking trip to 140 Euros for climbing a mountain in the Swiss Alps.
This trip includes all breakfasts (very basic) and nine dinners. If you’re not picky about your food, you shouldn’t have a problem. I wasn’t upset with any of the meals Contiki provided, but I kept low expectations. I didn’t pick this budget-style trip to be blown away from the included meals. Your tour guide can also help suggest where to get food on the nights where it’s not included.
Got a Cough?
I guarantee you will begin sporting the “Contiki Cough.” Nearly everyone on the trip will get sick, one way or another. It’s not surprising, considering that you’re bringing in 40-50 people from all over the world, completely jet-lagged and constantly busy with site-seeing all day and going out late at night. Not to mention you’re all on one coach bus, sharing rooms and being together 24/7.
Make sure you bring lots of lozenges and general cold and flu medicine. It’s tough trying to buy what you need in a small pharmacy in Rome when everything is in Italian.
Any Regrets with Trips with Contiki?
After all is said and done, I would absolutely recommend this trip to anyone. It’s an incredible way to see so many places, meet tons of new friends and experience things you never imagined.