I took a fabulous trip in summer 2010 with “Contiki” a tour company that accommodates 18-35 year olds. Contiki includes different ways of travel; such as Superior (hotels), Superior Easy Pace (hotels & relaxed pace), Budget (cabins, hostels, and budget hotels), and Camping. Contiki travels worldwide. Of the 260 tours of varying lengths, they offer different sightseeing experiences, excursions, some meals, and optional excursions.
Our Contiki trip called “Amsterdam to Barcelona” was awesome and I came home with 36 new facebook friends and a lifetime of memories I will treasure forever. Our tour group was like a family as we set out to explore sights, experience activities, and taste food. My husband and I celebrated our five year wedding anniversary on this trip!
We added three days in England at the beginning of our trip, an extra day in Amsterdam, and 2 days in Barcelona. It is economical to add on days because Contiki has pre-purchased hotel rates. We also only paid $1800 by booking with Affordable Tours. (Awesome company with discount travel rates).
In London, we discovered a Contiki office and found out these are in most cities for Contiki travelers. There is a lounge area, free wifi, and staff that can assist you in your journeys.
Our Contiki group started in the Netherlands and we hit up the Heineken Brewery. For $15, we saw how beer was made, made a video singing Dutch music, and got 2 beers. At night, we went on an unlimited buffet and drinks canal cruise and then went to the Red Light District. The following day we went to a cheese farm & clog maker’s house and we took a bike tour through the city of Edam.
We arrived in Paris by night and explored. Our day in Paris was a day at leisure and my husband and I decided to seek out Jim Morrison’s grave which was an adventure in itself to find… At night we enjoyed the Moulin Rouge Dinner Show with the group. This was a fabulous night to remember and we all trekked into a local bar following the show and had a blast!
The next stop was Lucerne, Switzerland where we stayed in a hotel that was a former jail called the Lowengraben. Upon arrival, we went on a cruise around Lake Lucerne which was some of the most breathtaking views of the city!! In the evening we walked through the cobblestone streets to a local dance bar.
Upon arriving in Chamonix in the French Alps, there were gorgeous mountains and an opportunity to take a cable car to the top of the mountain to check out the view. This place was one of my favorites.
On the way to Nice, France along the gorgeous French Riviera, we stopped at a French Perfumery called Fragonard and got to sample and buy products. In Nice, we wandered around the city and hit the gorgeous beaches (these are nude beaches might I add.) There is one bar in particular that we all fell in love with called, “Ma Nolan’s” and we got to party with our tour guide, Emmo and our bus driver, Hans!
A close drive from Nice is Monaco, where we saw the Monte Carlo Casino and the port of Monaco with many boats and blue waters. We had a great anniversary dinner there to celebrate our five years of marriage 🙂
Our last city was Barcelona and we stopped at the Sagrada Familia Catholic Church designed by Antoni Gaudi that has been under construction since 1852. Our hotel was in the Catalonia area and by La Rambla, a long street packed with street acts, shopping, tapas & sangria cafes that had some of the best food!
It was hard to say goodbye to our new friends upon leaving. I recommend Contiki to anyone in the 18-35 age groups that is interested in travelling with a fun group of like minded people that want to enjoy both day and night activities.
This article is also featured on the Contiki Blog & can be found here: Contiki Blog
I also have a longer version of this article that can be found here: Longer version
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Wow, it looks like you had an amazing time! Thanks for sharing your amazing trip with us, hope to be taking a similar trip very soon and will keep Contiki in mind : )
Thanks for your comment, Karla. If you have never done Contiki and still fit in age range, I say it is a definite must at least once in your lifetime!! 🙂
This was a great trip, I hope that the youth of America get a chance to explore the world to see that there is a bigger world outside their small community. Experience = Upward Mobility
Oh yes it was! That is a great point you bring up about upward mobility. I am definitely encouraging my graduates to take advantage of such an opportunity!!
Looks like you had a blast!
Most definitely! I love Europe! Going back this summer:)
WOW! Thank you so much for sharing all the wonderful info and pics! This looks like a super place! Love it! 🙂
Thanks for the comment.:) We look forward to going back to Europe this summer, but to a new destination, Ireland.:)
What an amazing adventure you had! Can I follow you next time! I am 46 and put my feet on the Pacific Ocean for the first time last month. I can’t wait to travel to somewhere new again! I do want to go to Europe before my life is all said and done..;)
Thank you for the comment:) Definitely I say travel all you can!! We are going to Ireland in May/June this year and it will be my 4th trip to Europe. You will love it when you go!! 🙂
What a fabulous-looking trip! I love Amsterdam. Alas, I am a bit over the age limit for Contiki! 😉
Amsterdam is fabulous. I have been there twice, once as a teenager and once in my thirties. I will go back:) We are now one year over the age for contiki, but I am excited to say they will soon be posting this article on their website:)
How FUN! Thanks for all the special tips! We have never taken a “group” trip, other than with people we already know. I think this sounds like a real experience! Thanks for sharing!
Thank you for the comment. We still have yet to travel with people we know. My husband and I usually just travel the two of us, but it would be fun to do a group trip with friends:)
Wow that looks like so much fun! I am outta the age range, but maybe they have something for me too? : D.
We are now out of age range too, but it was a great time:) I am sure there have to be trips like this for other age groups too:) It really was a great time.:)
Wow amazing. I have backpacked extensively (all on my own) and have such great memories of the fellow travelers I met. This is a great way for people who aren’t comfortable on their own to get that experience.
The cool think about Contiki was people came on their own and with others…great variety! Backpacking must have been awesome! Where did you get to go?:)
That would be something I would do!!! Unluckily my fiancee is out of age range 😦
We are now out of age range too, but it was a great time:) I am sure there have to be trips like this for other age groups too:)
I love to travel, but often avoid tours. This blog makes me rethink that strategy. thanks!
Awesome! It was well worth ir. Have a great day!:-)
Wow what a great way to fit so many great places into a trip – looks like you had a truly awesome time!
Thank you! We had a blast!
Great marketing site! Very impressive and sure to snag those who log on into investing more time looking over what you are offering! Everyone looks as though they are having FUN!
Great share, great trip, great pictures! What an exciting way to celebrate your 5 years! 🙂
Thank you Norma!:-) This year we are going to Ireland to celebrate 8 years! Loves Europe!:-)
Wow, what an amazing trip! Thanks for sharing your experiences in such detail.. even though I am in a totally different age group your experience makes me want to take a similar trip.
Thanks for the comment! It was awesome:-) Travel is great at any age:-) Enjoy!
You were in all my old stomping grounds, Dani. Thanks for letting me take the trip with you vicariously … 😉
It was truly an awesome trip! Thanks for the comment:-)
Wow! It sounds and looks like an amazing trip! Thanks for sharing this travel resource.
You are welcome Lisa:-)
Love the pictures. Looks like you had a blast! Thanks for sharing ;o)
Thanks Meryl!! The trip was a blast:-) This summer we r doing Ireland!:-)
Looks like you had an awesome trip! Thanks for sharing it with us!
Of course:-) I love to travel!