Published on December 14th, 2015 | by Emma Hackwood1
A European Christmas with Contiki
Have you always dreamed about exploring the Christmas Markets of Europe? Our Travel Consultant Ian Kivell shares his experience visiting four countries in Europe with Contiki Holidays and what you can expect when travelling with #NoRegrets.
Having been on a number of tours with different companies in the past, I was excited to experience the difference Contiki had to offer first hand. This opportunity was going to bring me to Munich, Vienna, Bratislava, and Budapest. I’d only been to one of those places before, so my expectations for the remaining three countries were high; I was hoping to see everything they had to offer.
Contiki did not disappoint.
I quickly realized that the amazing Contiki team were professional, educated, helpful and some of the most fun people I’ve ever travelled with! From the Marienplatz in Munich to St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, to the Hero Square in Budapest, they had the answers to all of my questions and interesting information I would have never thought to ask about.
The accommodations and transportation was noticeably top notch. The hotels were all 4-5 star properties, and located within 30 minutes of the city centres, usually even closer than that. The breakfasts were all included and had a variety of meats, cheeses, coffee, tea, bread, and hot choices like eggs, bacon, and sausages. The coach was one of the newest in their fleet. It had a washroom on board, wifi, lots of comfortable leg room, a video system, a music system, and about 10 power outlets where people could charge their devices. The outlets came in lots of different formats (European, UK, and others I didn’t recognize). They even had 10 USB outlets!
The itineraries were a perfect combination of history, culture, fun, leisure, and discovery. I loved how there was ample free time so you could take it easy and go to the baths in Budapest, or go shopping in the markets.
It was great to see that Contiki includes free time; travellers are often concerned that there will be too many organized activities, but that wasn’t the case at all. It was well balanced with just the right amount of free time versus organized activities.
There were also several special extras that were completely unexpected! In Vienna, we had a beautiful classical music concert. I was especially looking forward to this because I’ve studied classical music since I was very young. The difference of Contiki was that we got to spend the intermission with the musicians drinking champagne! Then in the Swarovski store, we had champagne and a wonderful tour which independent travellers would not have received had they done that on their own.
Overall, I was so impressed with Contiki and I can confidently say they lead the industry in coach tours for 18-35 year olds. In fact, I’m trying to see what other Contiki trips I can take before I reach 35 in a few years!