CONTIKI EUROPEAN ADVENTURER

Choosing the Contiki European Adventurer (37 day tour)

My cousin Izzy and I had been talking about a Eurotrip together for what seemed like years. Towards the end of 2014 we had both finally saved up some money and were keen on booking a trip during our 2015 winter uni break. Our original plan was to see as much as we could, doing some countries on our own and doing a contiki tour for a few weeks. We started looking at them all and there were a few great ones that were around 20-28 days but many missed out on visiting either Spain, Greece or Croatia which were our top 3 countries to visit. It seemed easier to just book a Contiki tour that went everywhere and we then stumbled across the 37 day European adventurer. The more we thought about it the more we wanted to do it. Yes it sounded long, but it went everywhere we wanted to go, and the only place we’d have to organise by ourselves was London. We booked the trip and then flights and could not have been more excited!
I knew that Contiki tours in Europe were very full on with lots of sightseeing, partying and little sleep so I was just hoping that I’d be able to keep up!
We counted down almost every single day until it was June 25, the day we were leaving to fly to London.


Costs:

Tour itself: around $5200 AUD

Flights: $1800 AUD from Melbourne to London return

Spending money: Around $5000-$6000 AUD (I didn’t keep track too well!)

 

Overall experience:
I could not recommend this tour enough! The European Adventurer tour was 37 of the best days of my life filled with sights, food, parties, fun and adventure. It may seem like a long time to be on a group tour but you get to see and do so much in 5 weeks, while making life long friends. This tour would be great to do with friends or solo, as there will always be someone on the tour that you will get along with. With 50 people on my tour, the average age would have been around 22 or 23, but everyone ranged from 18 – 28.
The tour itself was very well organised and there were some amazing optional activities, as well as lots of free time in the cities that were more than a nights stay. My favourite activities were white water rafting and paragliding in Austria, and the sex show in Amsterdam was also pretty interesting, haha. My least favourite activities were the schnapps tasting (not really worth it) and while I enjoyed the Greek feast in Athens, it was very overpriced, as most of the food in Athens was very cheap in comparison.
The accommodation was pretty good: We stayed in a mixture of hostels, hotels and Contiki special stopovers such as the Austrian Gasthof and the camping villages (cabins). I enjoyed rooming with different people all the time as it was 2-4 people to a room depending on the accommodation type.
The included food was always nice and tasty and nothing to complain about.
While the tour was very fast paced and intense, there were many opportunities to catch up on sleep on the long days of driving to the next destination.
If you choose this tour you won’t be disappointed!

My favourite cities were Dubrovnik and Mykonos.
My most underrated cities were Athens and Ljubljana.

 

Tips:
– Try the different cuisines in every country. I tried snails and frogs legs and while the snails absolutely freaked me out, the frogs legs were delicious! I could have eaten a whole plate of those lovely garlic-y seasoned legs. Also in France I tried a ‘steak tartare’ which looks like a patty of raw meat, but is actually delicious!

-Contiki cough is the real deal. Everyone on the bus got sick and it will probably stay with you for the rest of the tour. Take some vitamins, medicine and whatever you will need for sickness. Some people got so sick that they had to see a doctor and stay inside for a couple of days which meant missing out on fun activities. The worst part about it was the coughing which was sometimes uncontrollable.

-There will be very long days of driving, usually between 6 and 10 hours from memory. It may sound like a lot but you get used to it and there are plenty of things to do whether it be chatting to the people around you, playing a game or having a nap. By the end of the tour I would fall asleep almost the instant the bus started moving.

-If you’re looking to save money try buying alcohol from a liquor store to have some drinks before you hit the town or party. It’ll save you from buying more expensive drinks while you’re out.

-If you have a 3 course meal with unlimited wine, GO EASY ON THE WINE. I wanted to take advantage of as much wine as I could on a certain night in Paris, which led to me completely blacking out and apparently making a total fool of myself.

-I didn’t do this but wish I had: If you want a cool memory of each country try collecting a postcard/ magnet/ shot glass from every country or city you visit.