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Your Words - We tell it like it is! Holiday Reviews by previous Exodus travellers  

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174 Reviews

  • Reviewed October 2019
    Eleanor Mole

    Cycling in Albania

    This was a really great cycling holiday. The moutain scenery was amazing and hardly anyone around except the odd cattle and motorist here and there. Food and accommodation were all excellent and guides were very professional, friendly and helpful. Great bikes with front suspension. Road a little bit bumpy in places but on the whole fine for cycling. Great tour leader, trainee tour leader and driver.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling upto the trout farm. A long steep climb but all in the shade and amazing smell of the pine cones. The exhilarating downhills on the bike. We had a great group and we all got on really well. Scenery every day was amazing and very tranquil. Thermal spring visit was great - water was lovely and warm. The coffee on some of our stops was amazing. Lovely food including fish, grilled vegetables, greek yoghurt, sea food risotto, seafood linguine and chips. Wine very nice in some places and very cheap too.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Brillant - organised everything and gave us maps, told us what was coming up next on each cycling day. Took care of all the coffee stops and restaurant ordering and everything else. Really friendly and gave us history lesson. Our leader Erlis was really well supported by Ouni (trainee leader) and Tani (driver) so we were really lucky. They also both did a great job.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Have a bit of fitness behind you as the climbs are steep and long in places. Take some aqua shoes as beaches and theral spring have a fair amout of pebbles. Take care on the downhills as they are very steep and windy in places.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Best holiday ever - book it now!
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Filippo Salmina

    Nice but not perfect

    I did enjoy the cycling in those desolated monutain regions, with practically no traffic in company of our joung enthusiastic guides, as well as the way along the coast, with lot of ondulation. The hotels at the coast were nice, although concerning the meals there was room for improvement. It would have been nice to dine a couple of time in a restaurant instead of staying always at the hotel.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I did enjoy the cycling in those desolated monutain regions, with practically no traffic in company of our joung enthusiastic guides.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very helpful enthusiastic young guides.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The hotels at the coast were nice, although concerning the meals there was room for improvement. It would have been nice to dine a couple of time in a restaurant instead of staying always at the hotel.
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Phil Triggs

    What goes up must come down

    This trip was a calculated risk - who do you know who’s been to Albania? However, it paid off. It was a great trip, memorable for the fantastic cycling experience, friendly population, superb local cuisine and the skills and helpful nature of the guide and driver/mechanic. The pound in your pocket went a long way too. The challenge rating is accurate - it is tough on some of the hills, especially combined with searing 40+C heat. No one should feel shame in hopping on the bus in those circumstances. We had superb people in our guide (Junid) and driver. Both put heart and soul into making our lives easier and the experience very enjoyable. The bikes were of a great standard and needed to be to tackle the inclines. The route was well designed and took in stunning scenery. The highlight was the Macedonian foray and the UNESCO listed Tuen of Ohrid.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The best moments of the trip were the conclusions of each day’s cycling and the £1 beers immediately available. Sterling is still worth something in Albania.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    As stated, top marks to our leader. Leadership skills indeed.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Advice for travellers reading this: definitely go!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Fantastic trip.
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Nigel Metcalfe

    Just book it

    This tour of Albania was incredible from the contrast in scenery between mountains and coast and our expert organisation from our guides, Erlis and Oni.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    On day 7 the ride towards Vlorë and the spectacular climb over the breathtaking Llogara Pass.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Erlis and Oni were both amazing. Great personalities, well organised, courteous and always smiling. Their history knowledge of Albania during its troubled times was also top notch.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don’t hesitate just book the trip. Albania is such a beautiful country, away from over commercialisation. Great friendly people, lovely, healthy and wholesome food (all locally sourced). Don’t be off put by the climbs in the mountains as the bikes have a high gear ratio and there is always the minibus as an alternative option. The age group of our trip varied between 35 to 71 years. You must book this trip before the big tour companies get into Albania

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I never knew much about Albania before this trip as the country was always a bit of a guarded secret with the old communist rule. Erlis and Oni our guides did a fantastic job of the trip and I would give it a 10 out of 10. Thank you Exodus and we’ll done Erlis and Oni
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Andrew Healy

    Interesting insight to Albania

    This was a good trip which covered the main highlights of Albania. It is interesting to see how the country is progressing and developing in the last few decades since the fall of communism and regional troubles.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Really enjoyed the drives through the mountains and stopping for lunch at the working farm. Interesting castles to visit and I really enjoyed the icon museum.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Ilir was excellent. He gave great talks and information on the history of Albania and it was interesting to hear about life during the communist era which he lived through himself. He took great care of everyone. Also our driver Kujtimi was excellent and felt save throughout the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring some shoes with grips as there are a few walks with cobbles and a short walk in the forest. There are plenty of ATMs and exchanges for money and they will take Euro in most hotels\restaurants. Plenty of veg and salads for vegetarians.
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Cynthia Felice

    Solitary hiking in the Balkans

    This was a wonderful exploration of the mountains of Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro with knowledgable guides who led us across hillsides and on established trails. The meadows were lovely and the peaks were stunning. It was hot in Tirana but comfortable in the mountains, with only one afternoon of rain on the trail. Even in mid-August there weren't many other people hiking or at the guesthouses/alpine huts. The proprietors were very hospitable, serving traditional meals with locally grown ingredients such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, bread and feta-like cheese. We had a great group of 16, five couples, all experienced hikers who were friendly, considerate and responsible. Given the group size, pace differences, and terrain, it was helpful to have two guides, one who led and the other who stayed at the back of the group. Two members of the group who wanted a rest day were able to catch a ride to the next accommodation with the luggage transport vehicle.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The hospitality extended by local owners of the guesthouses/alpine huts and the luncheon in Prilep.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    All of the guesthouses provided blankets so bring a sleeping sheet, not a sleeping bag. Some but not all guesthouses provided towels (another useful thing to pack). Fruit is limited and usually not included in packed lunches; bring dried fruit if this matters to you. Herbal tea was the common hot beverage, with Turkish coffee often available on request. There was always hot water if you want to bring your own tea or coffee crystals. Bring medicine for stomach flu and lots of hand sanitizer lotion. Half of our group got a stomach flu on the same day (including one guide) and the next day another person and the other guide got sick. We were unable to determine any specific cause; treating the drinking water didn’t make a difference. Fortunately people only missed a day of hiking.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    For future trips I suggest that Exodus consider either hiring a professional tour guide for a 2-4 hour tour of Prizren or dropping the side trip and adding another hiking day. The tour of the mosque and museum were interesting, but content was thin and the side trip involved a lot of driving.
  • Reviewed September 2019
    clare mcnulty

    Beautiful Balkans, an epic jouney

    A challenging and beautiful journey through Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Montenegro with breath-taking scenery. The cycling was challenging with lots of climbing, but the bikes that we were provided with were perfectly geared for and suited to the terrain. There were regular re-groups on the hills as everyone climbs at their own pace and is able to enjoy the holiday at a pace that suits them. Delicious healthy and reasonably priced meals were provided in the hotels and cabins that we stayed in. Our guide Joshua was knowledgeable and efficient and provided us with information each day about the route and some background history. He arranged for a local guide in each country we visited to give their personal perspective and an opportunity to ask questions about the complex history of the region.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The climb through Durmitor National Park in Montenegro with its wild and rugged scenery, exposed to the elements. The very welcome Turkish coffee brewed on a portable gas stove at the top, before the stunning descent through switch backs and short tunnels. At out destination in Rudinice, we were greeted with a dramatic sunset with a double rainbow across the mountains, a delicious roast lamb dinner and comfortable stay in a log cabin. Standing up high on the castle walls at Prizren, Kosovo, hearing the call to prayer from across the city from the many mosques below with the Pashtrik mountains in the distance. The opportunity for quiet reflection on the beautiful climb through no man's land between North Macedonia and Kosovo. The thunder and lightning on the last part of our descent into Berane which thanks to our guide we avoided the worst of.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Joshua and drivers Toni and Juli made a great team - very welcoming, funny and approachable. Joshua gave detailed descriptions of the route ahead such as rough roads, descents, metal grids, tunnels, city traffic and any inclement weather. He gave advice on how to negotiate these safely and as a result there were no serious mishaps. We regrouped regularly after climbs and descents. Coffee stops and meals were efficient with a group tab system. We were given some free evenings to explore the area we were staying in and make our own arrangements for dinner which was nice to have a bit of freedom to explore/take a break from the group. This safety conscious but relaxed and friendly approach worked well and it felt like a holiday!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take layers for cycling: the mountains were cool in Montenegro and we did encounter some rain. For the descent from Durmitor I was regretting not having my long finger gloves! Rehydration tablets I did have a slightly upset stomach on a couple of occasions, which was fixed with loperamide! Take Euros with you to pay for meals/settle the tab at the end of the holiday.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would recommend this trip, it was fantastic.
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Tony Chau

    What a nice surprise!

    This is our 10th Exodus cycling trip and because we were both very busy in the summer, we didn't have a lot of time preparing and read up about the trip. We knew next to nothing about Albania and just managed to read the trip notes once so that we know how many days to pack for and that was it. The trip turns out to be a great pleasant surprise. We thought Albania will have poor infrastructure with lots of pot holes (like Cuba or Romania) but the back roads that we rode on were great. Most of the cars are Mercedes (surprisingly) and the hotels were great European standard (most have good fast WiFI except in the mountains). The food and drinks are cheap (even with the £ being so low because of Brexit) and the old city of Gjirokaster and Butrint were amazing. The quality of cycling is also very good. There are quite a few climbs (especially the one on the last day) but we are never in a rush and with our keen leader encouragement, we managed most of them.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We had mountains / lakes / coastal scenery; great cycling with nice climbs and descents; UNESCO sites; swim in the Med. or a modern pool and even natural thermos pools + fresh cheap food and beer. Just about perfect!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Erlis was our leader and since he did the trip more than 40 times, he knows everything there is to know. The organisation is amazing and we never have to wait for anything (coffee stop, water, food, sites, hotel check in....). Everything is time to perfection and he explains the routes (with the best maps including the profiles) everyday so that we know exactly what to expect before hand. He always brief us and ensure that we are safe. The whole group felt that we were being extremely well looked after and the food was always fresh local produce which is great (and the prices are very reasonable compare to UK!).

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I didn't prepare for the trip but it would be more enjoyable if I did a bit more cycling before hand. A nice saddle is a good idea as the climbs can be long. Also, do try to spend (or exchange) your LEK before the airport since the banks/money exchange at the airport may be closed (may be it is open at the arrival hall but we were too lazy to go and find it). We had 6000 LEK left and had to buy a few bottles of expensive wines at the duty free (not a bad thing :) ) to spent it all!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just book this trip :)
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Anita Williams

    Walking in Albania..................

    Such a beautiful, currently unspoiled, country full of diversity and dramatic scenery

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the top of the mountain ranges and looking out across the wonderful landscapes ......and......the boat trip on Komani Lake - magical!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very pleasant and accommodating

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You need to have some Hill walking experience in order to enjoy this trip. The duration of the ascents is more of a challenge than the gradient

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I think this is a well thought out balanced trip giving a good taster of this beautiful country. Definitely one of the best Treks I have done
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Sara Barry

    Hot and hilly

    Dramatic hills and lovely Albanians

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The road trip to theth

    What did you think of your group leader?

    A little in experienced but relaxed at the end

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you struggle with heat avoid August