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

Here at Exodus we thrive on feedback from our customers. It's the only way we can ensure our trips continue to be the best they can be. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of the trip you're interested in, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.

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  • Reviewed April 2019
    Phil Myslowski

    Highlights of Albania

    This is a trip which exceeded my expectations. Friendly locals, fabulous landscapes, cheap and cheerful food and drink with the excellent guide, Ed. I have just one gripe which Exodus should consider and act upon. Despite outside temperatures of around 18 - 20 degrees during daylight hours our driver had the air conditioning on most of the time. The only windows that could be opened on the minibus were located in the front doorseat plus a roof window which was only opened once in 10 days for a couple of hours at my insistence. Some of our 15 strong group, myself included, developed dry throats, head colds, coughs etcetera. A week after returning home I am still feeling the effects. And for the last 24 years I have worked outside in all weathers without catching a cold. Tgere was never any need for the air conditioning to be activated within the outside temperature range at this time of year. Opening a window for fresh air would have sufficed. Instead 17 of us were enclosed in an airtight container for several hours on a daily basis breathing the same recycled dry air. Not healthy! There are court cases pending regarding illnesses contracted from air conditioning on aircraft. Take note Exodus.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Bonding with the group.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent. He would make a great politician.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a face mask.
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Cheryl Morris

    Go there!

    When I told friends I was going to Albania, the most common response was "why?". Albania is relatively new to tourism so it's a great time to explore the country. The locals are curious to get to know us which is a rarity in Europe. Albania doesn't have really show stopping sights but there are a number of significant highlights which hold your interest throughout and make this a fascinating trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There are several sites of archaeological interest such as Apollonia and Butrint, with some lesser known sites that our guide squeezed into the trip. These sites are often still being excavated and are not commercialised in any way. Kruje is a jewel of a town, clutching to the side of the mountains with fantastic views over the valley below. Gjirokaster is not looking its best at the moment as they are currently replacing all the cobbles in the town but you can tell it will be spectacular once completed - lots of little old wooden buildings clustered underneath the castle on a steep mountainside. The coast is stunning, particularly the coastline facing Corfu - white sands, turquoise seas. There are also beautiful lakes and rivers.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Eddy was extremely knowledgeable and so enthusiastic. He took good care of everyone and did his best to give us the best possible holiday.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You change hotel every night bar one on this trip so travel light. It may look like there's a lot of driving but each leg of the journey seemed fairly short with frequent coffee or point of interest stops so I never felt restless. It's an incredibly cheap place to visit - you can get a beer for just over one pound, lunch for a couple of pounds and, even pushing the boat out, it's hard to spend more than a tenner. The only "expensive" item on menus is chicken (!) but red meat is much cheaper. There are plenty of tasty vegetarian options too. The guide needs around 1,500 Lek for the kitty, just over a tenner. We went on the first departure of the year and it was quite cold in the mountains so make sure you bring some warm clothes for the departures outside of the summer season. Albania is a land of very slippery and steep pavement surfaces so shoes with good grip are recommended.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Albania is a very clean and safe country - don't hesitate to see it. Exodus, why don't you extend the trip into the North of the country? A couple of extra nights for some chill-time in the mountains and by the sea would have been great.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Janice Waight

    Highlights of Albania

    This was a thoroughly comprehensive tour travelling around a large part of the country, involving visiting many fascinating historical sites, museums, the countryside ....various towns,mountainous regions, flat fertile plains and the coast .

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were several.... The stunning mountains, breathtaking views of castles , mosques and the courteousness of the Albanian we met....and learning so much about the country thanks to our guide.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Klodi was a very fine group leader. His knowledge of his country and it's history was extremely impressive. We learnt so much and he was always really helpful and had a great sense of humour ! Also, importantly, Ghent, our driver, was excellent. We couldn't have been in safer hands....driving through the mountains was very tricky at times, but he was always calm and very careful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go to Albania now before it becomes too touristy. It's a great country and after such a sad history,the people are doing wonders restoring and revitalizing it. Only one criticism....some of the lunch breaks were too long!
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Rod Kantor

    Highlights of Albania

    Overall the itinerary was fine but it could be enhanced. A night was spent in Vlores and a visit made to Durres. Neither town was inspiring and what we saw there was incidental to the trip and would not have been missed if it had not been included. Cut Vlores and Durres out and spend more time in Gjirokaster and / or Berat. Or reroute slightly and include other destinations not on the current itinerary. There was a feeling of being rushed around the Berat Castle area in particular - a quick photo here then move on. No time to take in the scene. The photos have to be good as there's no time to retain a mental impression. The hotel choices were good to excellent and that in Berat exceptional. The minibus concept for transport has shortcomings, particularly when the bus is full. Anyone in an aisle seat has little chance of seeing mountainous countryside as line of vision is directed downwards by the top of the window for a tall person sitting in the middle of the bus.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to understand the seemingly endless battles over centuries that the Albanian people have had to fight and the compromises they have had to accept on the road to maintaining their identity as a nation

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The guide was very knowledgeable and shared his knowledge generously and frequently on a wide range of subjects, in part leading to the comment made immediately above. He tried hard to please everyone. That is not an easy task and can lead to the wrong result. When an option is offered and half the group go one way and half the other those attempts to please everyone end up disappointing half. Sometimes it's better for the guide to just say what's going to happen.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you're interested in life in Albania during the last century, and during the communist era in particular, get to Tirana a few days before the trip starts. The trip itinerary allows for surprisingly little time in Tirana and during that time the only exposure to visual information about Albania in the 20th century is a visit to the national museum. However, that museum is far from the best place in and around the capital to find out how Albanians lived and were treated during the communist dictatorship.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Lynn Pugsley

    Surprisingly pleasant country

    A great trip with a knowledgeable trip leader. We visited numerous castles, mosques and churches. The mountains are magnificent as are the plains, rivers and beaches.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Entering the home of our hosts for a traditional lunch. The food was all produced locally and the garden was delightful. The infrastructure was also a pleasant surprise - many good roads and hygienic sanitary provisions.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    iLife was very knowledgeable and adapted well to our sense of humour. He and our driver went "the extra mile" to point out and deliver extra experiences.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't worry about hygiene - dress casually - leave high heels at home - get a map or guidebook to research the country and it's history before you go. The trip involves some awkward walking and cobbles so be prepared with sensible shoes. Change money in small aliquot - food is cheap and wine/beer is much cheaper. Try the local restaurants - there are no McDonalds etc.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trip was very good. A couple of the hotel rooms were a bit iffy. There could have been other experiences - the trip focuses almost exclusively on churches, mosques and castles.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Pete Batchelor

    Wonderful tour of Albania

    A brilliant trip and great introduction to Albania, a beautiful country with such an interesting history. Organisation and itinerary were first class, with an excellent guide and driver. The trip is full on, with a different hotel each night, but was not tiring. All except one (which was still OK) of the hotels very good or excellent quality and in very good locations. Food and drink good and very cheap.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Not one moment but so much wonderful scenery, unspoilt and historic towns Berat, Gjirokaster, Permet, Butrint, Apollonia, Kruje, lake Ohrid….

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Eri was a wonderful guide and excellent ambassador for Albania. He was extremely knowledgeable and taught us so much about Albanian culture and history, as well as taking us to the best restaurants and places to visit. Driver Goshi was excellent also.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go for a direct flight from Gatwick (BA) rather than the standard group flight which changed at Vienna and took much longer. You can arrive the night before and have the best part of a day longer in Tirana, and at the end you can have an extra half a day in delightful Kruje. Was cheaper overall too! The trip is full on but no really long journeys on the bus, and well timed stops. Bottled water was provided on the bus and some of the hotels. Kettles were provided in only one of the hotels, so take your own if you drink tea. ATMs charge high fees so take cash (£250 will be plenty for everything) and change it as you go. Plenty of places to change sterling commission-free everywhere you go. Food was good and fresh, and outside of Tirana and Sarande, beer, wine, coffee and ice creams were so cheap.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The only problem was restricted leg room on most of the bus seats. Not a problem if you’re under 6 foot.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Chloe Ford

    Amazing trip

    This trip gives you a really good taste of Albania. The country was quite different to how I expected and its an absolutely beautiful place. We packed a lot in, but it didn't feel as if it was rushed. I would really love to go again!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The majority of the places we visited were absolutely stunning. We also did a lot of extra stuff, like viewing additional churches and mosques, which had lovely frescos and were often situated in lovely villages. Having a mezze dinner with a local family was also a highlight. The food overall was very good and fresh. Having a swim in some hot springs was also lovely.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ed was very enthusiastic and knowledgeable. The advantage of having a local guide is that they know a lot of people and places, hence why we were able to do a lot of extra experiences.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Definitely take mosquito repellant and bite cream. I didn't see any advice about taking any so didn't bother, but we all got eaten alive! It may have just been the time of year we went, but I wouldn't go again without. We didn't get much time in Tirana, just Sunday evening, so if you especially wanted to look around Tirana, it would be worth coming a bit earlier or staying on afterwards. If you are on the group flight, you don't need to exchange any money at the airport, our guide took us to do that on Sunday. The exchange rate was poorer in the airport too. There is a direct flight available which is a lot quicker, so that might be worth booking instead. The food and drink is very cheap, but I think I spent about £250 which is more than some people have commented, just because I tended to have an alcoholic drink at lunch as well as in the evening and ice creams here and there, so that is worth taking into consideration.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I got a lot of comments when I booked this trip about why I was going as it seems a bit of a 'strange' place to a lot of people to go and visit. I really wouldn't hesitate though. Albania is such an interesting and beautiful country and you see and learn a lot on this trip.
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Elisabeth Miller

    Highlights of Albania

    Overall a very interesting and informative trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Swimming in Lake Ohrid and the fish meal, mezze meal with locals, historic houses seeing how people lived.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Klodian was very nice and knowledgeable about his country. He has a good sense of humour and a very friendly manner. He could have given us a bit more local information or directions to the nearest supermarkets or other shops from the hotels. Congratulations to Gheti the bus driver for keeping us safe. His reversing and negotiating of hair- pins was superb. A lovely guy!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Book a direct flight if possible.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Far too much time was wasted waiting in restaurants for meals to arrive especially at lunchtime. Would have been better if we could look for our own lunch and meet up again at a set time. A quieter beach for swimming would have been nice. The music was deafening.
  • Reviewed April 2018
    anita norman

    EXCEEDED EXPECTATIONS

    This trip really did exceed expectations. Much better than we thought it would be. Beautiful country, somewhere we knew nothing about, leaves you feeling you want to know more....

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many to choose. The hotels were excellent as was the food.The mountains, the views, lake Ohrid, learning about the history of Albania,the 'blue eye' swimming in the natural springs, you can go on and on...Soft spot for Berat, beautiful place would like to have stayed longer. The hotel there was 5 star - excellent.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Edjon 'Ed' everything you could possibly want in a guide. Knowledgeable and passionate about his country, warm, friendly and professional.You would be hard pushed to find a better guide. Excellent. A guide like Edjon makes you realise no matter have much you travel, how little you know....always things to learn, wonderful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't change too much money when you arrive. At the moment it is still very cheap here, especially in the mountains.If you have a few spare euros laying around it might be worth taking them with you as around Berat/Tirana prices are often priced in Euros ( exchange rate poor) but it might save you changing anymore cash into Lek later in the trip. A couple of the places we were down to visit as free to visit appear to be now charging a fee. Look at alternatives to the flight Exodus offer.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Couple of points: Exodus this is a great holiday. But I do have a couple of question for you : You recommended Broken April to read, an excellent book but this trip does not take you to the north so the book does not relate to this trip. This trip could be improved by including Shkoder Castle. Which would link in with the book and give a better overall view of Albania. Also more time in Tirana to visit the museums that would also give you a better understanding of the more recent history of this country as the trip is built more around their past history, not their most recent. Finally although the coastline is beautiful, the two places we stopped overnight on the coast could have been any Mediterranean holiday resort and that time could have been better spent at some of the other places like Shkoder/Tirans and Berat. These thoughts are just feedback, we loved this trip.
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Sue Widdowson

    Fabulous trip!

    A guide book can only tell you so much and as I didn’t know anybody else who had been to Albania I really had no idea what to expect. We had a fabulous tour guide, Edjon, which helped make this holiday one of the best I’ve done with Exodus. He knew everything about EVERYTHING Albanian and related the country’s history with knowledge and passion, and most importantly an understanding on long bus trips of when to leave his group in peace to doze! The scenery is spectacular. I’ve never seen so many beautiful little churches and Gjirokaster and Kruge in particular were lovely. Hotels and breakfasts were all of a good standard. None of the hotels had tea/coffee making facilities but all had hairdryers. By day seven I still had money left from the £100 I’d changed into lek and that was after drinking wine with dinner every night! It’s not all beautiful countryside, white stone buildings and UNESCO sites but so much of it is that it’s definitely a place worth visiting. I loved it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many to name!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Far and away the best tour leader I’ve ever had.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a kettle
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