What’s A Contiki Tour?
Contiki is an Australian tour company that puts together trips for people ages 18-35 years old. They offer 350 trips across 6 continents with planned vacations perfectly set up for the under-35 crowd.
There’s a range of prices from the budget backpacker to the person with a few extra dollars to spend. One of my favorite things about them is that you can find every kind of accommodation on Contiki from sweet villas to cheaper hostels.
My Contiki Trip
I’ve never been a big drinker, especially of beer, so at first, I resisted going to Oktoberfest. This trip was a year after college and I had the itch to go somewhere different, feeling stuck in the cubicle world I had graduated into. My roommate convinced me to go, so we booked our Contiki tour for 6 days in a Munich hostel during Germany’s biggest party – Oktoberfest.
We ended up going to Amsterdam for 2 days before our trip to Germany, taking a train to get to Munich, but that’s a tale for another day.
I decided to book a flight separate from my Contiki tour package since we went to Amsterdam first. The flight returning home ended up being the worst flight of my life. For this reason, I would recommend booking your flights with Contiki. They can accommodate you if you are making additional stops as I did.
We ended up staying at the Haus International Hostel in Munich, sharing a double bunk-bed room (see above) with a pair of Australian ladies. The room had beds, lockers, a bathroom with toilet and shower, and a tiny area for our bags. The hostel was clean with zero frills.
They offered free Wi-Fi in the lobby, our room was on the second floor. If you held your phone up to the wall, the Wi-Fi worked in the room for some reason. The hostel served us free standard European breakfast and offered a pizza vending machine, the slowest machine I’ve ever encountered but a unique experience nonetheless. There was also a discotheque/club in the basement.
Oktoberfest itself was one big party full of smiling people in lederhosen (for the men) and dirndls (for the women), the traditional Bavarian dress. We ended up buying dirndls at the only shop open at 9 PM – a kiosk at the train station! Mine fit terribly, but it enhanced our experience so much more being dressed in a traditional way.
I was surprised and impressed by how well the German police/security managed all the drunk people. Anyone who was sick/looking like a hot mess was swept away in a banana-colored stretcher we dubbed the “yellow box of shame”. Therefore the only people left were happy drunks, not angry/hot mess drunks. We sang John Denver tunes and made blurry memories that I’ll never forget.
Beer & Food
Oktoberfest kicks off with a cool parade, and you can visit different beer tents from different brands. Each has a different vibe, some are made for drunk 20-something people while others are more mellow and family-friendly. We were able to get to and from the ‘fest easily on public transportation.
All the sausage you could ever want is for sale there, along with a ton of different beer varieties. There are also giant pretzels which are perfect for sharing with a friend or even a total stranger.
Surprisingly, Oktoberfest closed around 8 PM each day, so everyone got home safe and didn’t party too hard in preparation for more fun the next day.
In stark contrast to the fun of Oktoberfest, we decided to join Contiki’s excursion to Dachau, a concentration camp turned memorial north of Munich. While this experience was sobering, I learned more than I ever would on my own about Nazi Germany, the concentration camps, and the people who lost their lives there.
Contiki also offered a trip to the Neuschwanstein Castle in the Bavarian Alps, most famous for being the inspiration for Disney’s castles. Our third excursion was a bike tour from Mike’s Bike Tours through the city’s landmarks, which was absolutely rad even in the rain!
We also went to some local beer events, learn how you can find events here!
Everyone at Oktoberfest was at least slightly buzzed, so they were more friendly than usual. We made friends with some of our Australian roommates from the Contiki tour, and I’m still Facebook friends with them years later. It was quite an experience for bonding and despite my initial hesitance, I’m glad we stayed at a hostel because it brought us all together.
Would I Take Another Contiki Tour?
After spending a week with my new friends at Contiki, I would absolutely recommend it to anyone under 35 looking for a fun and new travel experience. We had a blast at Oktoberfest, but I think this tour company would put on a great showing anywhere you decide to go!