So you want to go on a group tour and you've found Contiki as an option. Is a Contiki trip a good idea for you? Is Contiki worth it? Find out if a Contiki tour is the best way to travel for you, Contiki tips, top Contiki tours and more in this honest review that will help you decide if Contiki travel is a big yes or no. #travel #budgettravel #grouptravel #europe #europetravel #europedestinations

So you want to go on a group tour and you've found Contiki as an option. Is a Contiki trip a good idea for you? Is Contiki worth it? Find out if a Contiki tour is the best way to travel for you, Contiki tips, top Contiki tours and more in this honest review that will help you decide if Contiki travel is a big yes or no. #travel #budgettravel #grouptravel #europe #europetravel #europedestinations

To kick off my solo travel career I opted to try a group tour so I wasn’t 100% alone. It was through a friend that I heard of Contiki tours and soon after I found myself on not only one, but three different tours back to back.

But what’s the truth, the brutally honest truth of Contiki travel? Below I cover exactly what to expect as one of few completely honest Contiki reviews. Keep in mind that this is based on my experiences and that others may have had significantly different experiences, though the majority agree that Contiki tours are awesome and a wildly good time.

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Visiting Pompeii on my Contiki tour was well the added on excursion.

What is Contiki?

Contiki is a tour company created for 18-35’s who want to travel the world and live by the Contiki slogan #NOREGRETS. They do a pretty good job of following up with their slogan on trips that are pretty much dream itineraries for travellers who want to see as much as possible with limited time.

Contiki offers tours for destinations around the world including Europe, Asia, USA and Canada, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand and their latest tours are now in Africa too.

With tours as short as a weekend to as long as 45 days, there is something for everyone. They offer budget to luxury, priding themselves in offering eight different travel styles. And with 53 years of tours under their belt, they know a thing or two about doing it right. They’re also known for having 50% of their travelers as solo travelers, making it easy to meet others.

Contiki Europe Reviews

I personally only went on Contiki tours in Europe and I did the following three:

My short take Contiki tour reviews? All of these tours are awesome and I would recommend them to anyone travelling solo or who wants to see as much as possible in a short amount of time. Expect for Oktoberfest, that was a completely different type of trip and it was too, totally awesome with excursions and transfers and Oktoberfest tables organized for you.

Should you go on a Contiki tour?

This is the short answer.

Yes, if…

  • You like to party
  • You want everything organized for you
  • You’re a solo traveler wanting to meet people
  • Your budget is not small

No, if…

  • You have a tight budget
  • You don’t care about meeting people
  • You want to explore more in places
  • You like luxury or relaxation

And for the long answer…read through these highlights and not so great things about Contiki tours to help you make a more informed decision.

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Do could meet the love of the life on a Contiki trip, romances are common!

Kind of People on Contiki Tours

If you’re Australian and are debating going on a Contiki tour to get away from your country or to meet people from around the world…you’ll probably end up meeting more Australian’s than anything. Little did I know before leaving for the trip that Contiki tours are insanely popular in Australia and widely known across the country. When I mentioned Contiki tours to people back home in Canada, not many knew what I was talking about.

Contiki Culture

Contiki tours are targeted to a younger market, with most traveler’s being between the age of 19-23. That age is a party age. So if you’re not a big partier then you may want to reconsider. I’m not saying that it isn’t fun without the partying because it is, you still do and see awesome things, but there is usually a lot of drinking involved. Like drinking almost every night. It’s always a good time.

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Contiki tours will make sure you meet a ton of new friends.

Contiki Tours for Solo Travellers

There’s something about traveling with people that really affects how quickly you become close. In no time you will find some people who you mesh well with, and by the end of the trip, you’ll be crying because you have to go on your separate journeys. These tours bring people together in a way that’s different than your friends at home which make them ideal for solo travellers. Since my tours I’ve met up with multiple people and travelled with a few from these trips. Travel friendship bonds you in a way like no other.

What are Contiki guides like?

The guides are so much more than a guide. They’re not just the ones telling you what time you have to be on the bus by, they’re also the ones partying with you until the last one calls a quit. They’re not just giving you phenomenal tours of a city, they’re also there to chat with you at breakfast. They’re not just your tour guide, they’re also a part of your family, your Contiki family which you’ll love dearly in the end.

What are the groups like?

Put a bunch of boys and girls together, mix in a lot of drinking and spontaneous decisions because well why not, you’re on vacation! And you’ll find some drama, usually amongst the girls, and usually over a boy. You’re with the same people on a bus day in and day out, cliques can form and people get mad when boys sleep with more than one girl. Shit happens, people get jealous, this is nothing new, but something that can be expected. Luckily this never happened on my trip! Though my big tour was 30 girls and 4 boys, two of which were gay, one found out his girlfriend at home was pregnant while on the trip and the last ended up marrying one of the girls he met on the trip!

Contiki Cough

Don’t be surprised to hear from past Contiki tour goers about the Contiki cough. You’re on a Contiki bus with the same people and sharing rooms, someone is bound to get sick. And then it spreads. With the lack of sleep and busy schedule you know one person will get sick and share their gems amongst everyone. Most common is the Contiki cough, or a cold, or both.

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Riding a gondola in Venice on my Contiki Europe tour was a highlight.

What do you see on a Contiki trip? What is the pace like?

Tours in general are known for being quite quick and the Contiki tours are no different. I took a slower pace tour and found myself jumping from city to city in the blink of an eye. You can spend anywhere from 1-3 nights in each city, which some people think is too little. I like to think of it as a small taste of each place. It’s just enough to know if you like the vibe of a place before you move on. Then you’ll know exactly where you’ll want to come back to in the future.

The good news is that different kinds of tours are offered for different paces, budget and accommodation style.

READ MORE: Groups Tours: Are They A Good Idea for You?

Is there any freedom?

Yes! What’s great about Contiki tours is that it’s not back to back events with every minute of your day planned. There are nightly events which you can attend (at an extra cost) or you can do your own thing. As long as you’re on the bus when you need to be, that’s the only time the tour guide ever does a head count. You’ll always have the day to yourself. This is when your tour guide and bus driver will take a break and you and your new found BFFL can see all the sites your heart desires.

Food & Accommodation

If you want local experiences, to try amazing food, and stay in good accommodations then don’t take a Contiki budget tour. I can’t vouch for their luxury trips but the budget ones bring you to restaurants that every tour goes to, and accommodation can have bed bugs (guess who slept in a hotel lobby in Greece because we discovered bed bugs in our room at 2AM?). Accommodations are often outside the city centre because they are cheaper. You have time to discover your own tasty food during the day and opt to go out for your own dinners if food is important to you.

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Is Contiki worth it? In my opinion, yes!

Best Contiki Tours

Ready for a Contiki trip? These are a few of the most popular Contiki holidays that look pretty epic. As you’ll soon realize, Contiki Europe is the most popular.

Greek Island Hopping

Countries Visited: Greece (Athens, Santorini, Mykonos and Ios)
Tour Length:
13 days
Best for: More relaxed, chilled travellers

European Discovery

Countries Visited: England, Netherlands, France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Holy See
Tour Length: 
13 days
Best for: Travellers with limited time and want to see the most

Simply Italy

Countries Visited: Italy, Holy See
Tour Length: 
12 days
Best for: Italy in-depth

Ireland

Countries Visited: Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland
Tour Length: 
8 days
Best for: Ireland in-depth

European Horizon

Countries Visited: England, Netherlands, France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland
Tour Length: 
8 days
Best for: Europe highlights with minimal time

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Find yourself on a Contiki and you could be taking selfies with new friends in epic destinations.

Is Contiki Worth It?

Only you can decide.

Contiki Tour Highlights

  • Maximize what you get to see in limited time
  • Make great friends
  • My Contiki seamlessly makes handling documents and meeting people a breeze
  • You never have to worry about booking a thing or transporation
  • Expert guides who go above and beyond
  • Ideal for solo and group travellers

Contiki Tour Downsides

  • Expensive (as are all tours)
  • Always large groups (which could be a good or bad thing)
  • Heavy focus on partying (only a downside if you’re not into that)
  • Fast paced aka little time for relaxation on majority of the tours but not all

The truth about Contiki tours is that they’re made for young travelers, people looking to have a great time, see some sights, drink some French wine, and meet people. The experience is as much of a party,and about meeting people as it is about travel. People will sleep together, you will see some amazing sights, you’ll make good friends, you’ll get little sleep, you’ll party lots, you’ll try unique experiences for each area, and most of all, you’ll come out of it with no regrets (as they promise), which is pretty good. Just don’t be one of those people who gets #NOREGRETS tattooed on them and I’m sure you’ll leave with none.

The simplest truth is that you’ll spend a decent amount of money, you’ll have a great time and you’ll scratch the surface of travel, seeing only the best of the best things to see in each place.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which I earn a small commission from and are at no additional cost to you. Taylor’s Tracks is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

34 Comments

  1. Wow, I had no idea that Contiki tours aren’t as well known in other countries. I’m an Australia so have heard a lot about them, although have never done one myself (I opted to travel complete solo on my first trip to Europe after uni) – but both my sister and brother have done at least one trip!

    • Yeah! I had only heard of Contiki 2 months before my trip in 2014. And have no idea so many Australians went on them! I didn’t mind though, Aussies are usually a lot of fun!

  2. Love this post 🙂
    I used to work in travel and sell contiki tours all the time – the stories i heard, oh dear – and i 100000% agree with everything you have just shared 🙂

    Good job!

  3. First I ever heard about Contiki was from my wife who watches Youtube and Prank vs Prank guys went on it and they actually came to our home city – Bangkok!

    Seemed like they had a good time but mostly doing the same thing everyone does – Khao san, temples, etc.

    • Yeah the tours really do just scratch the surface, I suggest them for people who just want to see the highlights of each place.

  4. Tom Stevenson Reply

    I’ve heard of Contiki tours before, must of been when I was living in Australia. Tbf I’d probably do it! I’m up for a laugh, so it sounds quite good to me!

  5. RunawayBrit Reply

    I stayed at a campsite in Venice with a friend a few years back. The place had a small bar/nightclub that we decided to check out after a long day sightseeing. The bar was completely full and within about an hour almost every guy in the room had tried to hit on us. Now, neither my friend nor I are bad looking, but we certainly weren’t the hottest girls in the room either, so we thought it was a bit strange. It turns out that everybody else was on the last night of a Contiki tour, and we were fresh meat. This was the first time I had ever heard of Contiki. Yes, most of them were Australia and they were totally amazed that we had travelled to Venice by ourselves!

    • Hahah yes sounds like Contiki for sure! I probably stayed at the same campsite when I was in Venice, it was a huge party area when I was there because there were 3 tours there at the same time. Good times though!

  6. Interesting article about your experience with Contiki tours! I have never been in one of those, though I have heard about them (but only since I moved to Europe) I will bear that in mind!

    • They really are a great company and have awesome tours, but if you aren’t looking to party I don’t recommend the longer ones. The shorter ones tend to have a better mix age-wise and don’t feel as party-party!

  7. Want to spoil your day.. have a contiki tour turn up within 500mts of where you are… that o in their name should be a u…

  8. Jess Mizzi Reply

    I was a Contiki tour Manager for 3 years… yep spot on description! My liver is still in recovery and I wouldn’t change a thing 😊

    • Hahah it must have been so fun! I don’t think I could be a tour manager now though I wanted to try it out a few years ago. I’m sure you have a great collection of hilarious stories!

  9. Danielle from Boots not Roots Reply

    Very interesting post! I have heard a lot about Contiki tours and had considered trying one out, but this might have changed my mind. 🙂 As someone who is a bit older (and therefore over the all-week party stage), this might be a no go for me! Thanks for sharing!

  10. I love a good honest post! I don’t think Contiki is for me. I may be 25, but I outgrew partying a while ago.
    It sounds like an amazing experience for those in their early 20’s though.
    I do like tours overall though, as often I find you get to experience things you otherwise wouldn’t on your own 🙂

    http://www.justbeingbrooklyn.com

  11. Nice tips! I didn’t need a post to tell me that Contiki is not for me (I’m way out of their age range) but others will find this useful 🙂

  12. Rachael Kowald Reply

    I did Contiki for my America trip (Grand Southern). It was a blast! We had a wider age group 19 – 33, so while we drank a lot of nights, we and a really good balance luckily.

    Still a lot of drama though! 🙂

  13. This was a good read!!! I have heard of Contiki because I live in Australia but never really understood what the tours were like! Now I know 🙂 thanks beauty!

  14. Wow the 1 single straight guy on your tour must have loved it! I did a two week, staying in hotels Contiki around Europe at 24 which weeded out the 18 year olds just looking to camp and drink all the time. Lots of couples, great friends. Agree with your thoughts!

    • Oh for sure, I would have loved to stay in more hotels! The one single guy ended up falling in love with one of the girls and he’s now left Australia to live with her in Canada and they are engaged!

  15. Hmm it appears like your website ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying
    your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to the
    whole thing. Do you have any helpful hints for novice blog writers?
    I’d really appreciate it.

    • I’m so glad that you’re liking my blog! 😀 My best advice is to get yourself into some Facebook groups, they are super helpful and I learn so much from the people in the groups.

  16. Thank you for this!
    My boyfriend and I just booked a tour with them through Europe so this is a perfect way to answer all my questions beforehand. Can’t wait to experience Europe through Contiki!

    • Have an amazing time! It will be a trip of a lifetime and I’m sure you’ll meet some life long friends 🙂

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