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

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  • Reviewed July 2019
    Beth Neill
    Trip:

    Great mix of outdoor activities

    Although the bear hide was the lure for us on this trip, the other activities of walking with huskies, rideing the river and walking the forests all made this a brilliant short break. Long days meant we had good evenings watching the bears and time to do things during the day as well. Oulanka base camp was a great venue.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the mother bear with 4 cubs emerge from the woods.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Elina was a wonderful leader - she always made sure we were all happy and knew what was going on each day, spending time telling us about local culture.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take plenty of mosquito repellant!
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Carlo b

    Cycling the Italian and Swiss Lakes

    The scenery on this cycling tour was very picturesque with the riding often along cycle paths or roads beside a lake. There was the occasional hill but they were short. There was 1 day of rainy weather and the rest of the week was a mix of sunshine and clouds with thunderstorms at night on occasion. The food was excellent! The hotels were basic but clean and in good locations; the final hotel in Menaggio had a beautiful view of Lake Como and was staffed by friendly and helpful staff. The hybrid bikes were well-maintained. Sara and Francesco had refreshing snacks during rest stops on cycling days.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling along Lake Lugano and Lake Como was beautiful. The restaurant in Porto Valtravaglia was lots of fun and the food was superb. Visiting the Borromeo Islands. The risotto for lunch on the wine-tasting visit.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Both Sara and Francesco were wonderful guides and always available for any bike fixes or adjustments. They were very knowledgable about the region and cycling route and lots of fun. They recommended really good restaurants.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We had rain on the first 2 days of cycling, although the weather improved for the rest of the tour, so bring rain gear just in case.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    You should be comfortable cycling with traffic because some cycling is along busy roads; follow Sara's and Francesco's cycling recommendations.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Diana Escudero

    Fantastic tour in an amazing country

    This was my first Exodus trip and it exceeded my expectations. I really enjoyed the different aspects of the trip from swimming in the lake in Pogradec (and eating local korani trout afterwards), to the icon museum in Berat, from the walk in Llogora to the Mirahori mosque visit in Korça. Albania is a fascinating country and I enjoyed exploring it with like-minded individuals who were great fun. I found hotel accommodation very good (single supplement basis).

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Difficult to say as there were several. The moment when we witnessed the call to prayer at the Mirahori mosque in Korçë, or possibly swimming in the lake in Pogradec, or maybe the last evening sampling raki and local cheese while listening to a young local musician playing the accordion.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I liked the group leader Gerti very much - he had a great sense of humour and we had some great laughs. He provided us with a great introduction to Albania and was very knowledgeable. I was very grateful for his help ensuring I stayed in the same room for my extra night in Krujë at the end of the trip. His style was to recommend restaurants rather than accompany everyone and I thought it worked well as it gave you the opportunity to make the most of your free time and interact with locals. There was the occasional lapse when it wasn't clear how long we had in a particular short stop but nothing really serious. I also thought he was kind looking out for any group members who struggled on the steep cobbled roads.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I recommend arriving early in Tirana to have more time to explore - I arrived the night before and had almost a whole day to explore places not included on the tour. It's a great city to explore on foot and apart from general wandering I really enjoyed visiting the National Art Gallery which included an Ottoman period exhibition but also featured many communist era paintings. Also I recommend taking walking shoes with a closed toe for the mini-hike in Llogora which was great!). I managed fine with walking sandals with a good grip but it is quite stoney in parts so shoes would be better.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Albania is a great country and Albanians are very friendly. I was worried before I went that I'd pitched my expectations too high but It more than lived up to expectations. Also if you have any concerns about safety they will seem absurd once you arrive. I wandered around the backstreets a lot by myself in various cities during our free time and felt very safe. The food is great too!
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Angela Wallis

    Beautifully Organised and Fun Holiday

    Really good holiday and guides. Superbly organised by Exodus. Bikes were in good condition and the accommodation ranged from rustic to very comfortable. For us, the cycling could have been more challenging and at a quicker pace but the guides did really well to manage the different levels in the group. The main negative point was the hotel in Sighisoara which really let us and Exodus down, and also that we were both sick at different times.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Encouraging the less able cyclists and learning from others experiences.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent, very supportive and knowledgeable, extremely kind and friendly.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don’t expect luxury accommodation or exciting cycling. Don’t expect a lift on the broom wagon either. Practice cycling up hills and in traffic before you go.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thanks for a great holiday, our last one was 18 years ago and this was in a different league for organisation and professionalism.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Denyse LeBrun

    Exceeded expectations!

    A blissful week of exhilarating trekking and comfortable lodging. The trees were of very reasonable length and level of difficulty. Every trek offered a different type of trek, terrain and views of the Dolomites. From finding am azure blue lake, to rolling hills of wild flowers, to wooded paths to raw limestone. Every day better than the previous. The hotel was stunning and very comfortable offering a plethora of food for all tastes and appetites. The quiet town allowed for a true escape and the opportunity to cycle on your free day.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Every day was an inspiration atop a mountain with a view of the Dolomites. My favourite day was monte piano and the opportunity to walk around a mountain.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Karl is a brilliant and nurturing guide. His ability to ensure every hiker is comfortable and content is only surpassed by his knowledge of the terrain, paths, history and botany. He is clearly comfortable in the area and enjoys making sure everyone is happy. His sense of humour puts everyone at ease and facilitates early bonding among the hikers. He goes out of his way to give everyone their best possible experience and adventure.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring poles, all weather layering clothes, good solid boots and sunscreen. Have enough cash as ATM doesn’t work well. Use the pool to relax after the hikes and bring earplugs as although the town is quiet, the doors slam shut and can be echoed.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip truly exceeded my expectations In every way. This was my second trip with Exodus, having previously partaken in Mont Blanc Highlights. I expected Dolomites to be less spectacular but it was indeed more spectacular with the contrasting colours and as I’ve mentioned the variety of terrains and views. The hotel was accommodating to my gluten-free vegan diet. The itinerary was perfect and every part was flawless. Lucked out having a wonderful guide and group.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Mike Giles

    Much more than it says on the tin!

    Ordinarily fans of group holidays we chose Tailormade for this trip as none was available the week we wished to travel. We were so impressed with the service that this may now have implications for our future adventures. Although we sometimes missed the company of fellow travellers we enjoyed the same itinerary and were blessed with the undivided attention of our guide, drivers and specialist wherever we went. We rarely handled our bags and as Seniors we welcomed an additional hand that always seemed available when alighting boats and other vehicles in which we travelled. The Islands are very different and each has its own ecosystem and character. Centrally based good quality hotels in both Sao Miguel and Faial enable main features of both to be fully explored without constantly moving on. Every type of land and sea transportation is readily available and Island hoping is easy using local ferries and inter-island air services.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Of course, the highlight of the trip must be Whale and Dolphin Watching. This is mainly focused around Peter’s Café Sport a unique establishment in Horta where you can mingle with the locals, boat skippers, conservationists and likeminded visitors becoming part of a clique exchanging daily experiences of sightings of these cratures and many others too. Properly briefed and kitted out we set out in groups of no more than a dozen aboard RIBs accompanied by marine specialists and directed over CB by spotters strategically located on the coastline. These boats are ideal for the purpose not only offering a fast exhilarating ride over the distances to be covered but a stable viewing platform riding easy on the swell near the creatures encountered. On one trip we saw at least nine individual whales diving and feeding, also a mother with calf so close you could smell the breath. On another we were accompanied by a huge school of dolphins teasing the skipper with their agility to dive and reappear unexpectedly at any point around the boat.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nuno Garcia was our Local Guide, and local in every way. He seems to know everyone on and everything about the Islands where he was born, lives and so obviously loves. Add to this his naturalist knowledge and professionalism he is the perfect guide. To the two of us he became a friend and travelling companion and it was sad and strange when he did not come home with us!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The weather may be stated as variable so pack accordingly. However we found it generally kinder than forecast and did not unpack either fleece or rain-gear at all during the week. If you intend bathing in thermal pools don’t wear your best swimsuit or one that is dominantly light coloured, it may not stay that way!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    In a Euro economy we expected European costs but were pleasantly surprised by favourable prices in restaurants and shops.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Dexy D

    Chocolate Hiking in Chamonix

    Fantastic fun week of hiking based at Chalet Chocolat with amazing hosts Zohi and Ben and top guide Emma. Nothing was too much trouble, including parking my car on demand ;-) Amazing three course meals every evening and interesting and varied salad options for packed lunches. Felt like staying in someone's home rather than a chalet. And the cakes made every day were outrageously delicious. We were made to feel very welcome and Zohi and Ben were very happy to share their knowledge of the local area, which was another bonus. We laughed a great deal this week and that was often due to their relaxed and welcoming manner. The hikes were also varied and challenging and never short of a spectacular view!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing Mont Blanc from almost every angle! Having dinner directly watching the sunset over the mountain and meeting a great group of people who I hope to stay in touch with.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    It was Emma's first tour as an Exodus leader and she did a great job. She shared her vast experience of trekking with us and managed the group very well. She had lots of fun ideas to bond the group and was happy to support everyone as they needed. We enjoyed her company over the week.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't be fooled by the level 3 rating. Even at this level, some of the hikes have significant ascent and descent and require a certain level of fitness. Poles are helpful.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    John Riley

    Fantastic trip

    Hi have recently returned from a wonderful week on the Highlights of the Tour de Mont Blanc trip. Had a wonderful time with a great group. We were so lucky to have Mike Rhodes as our trip leader - Mike's experience and knowledge of the region and routes covered each day was exceptional. Mike was always up for a chat and happy to share his wealth of knowledge - I even learnt a few new techniques to tie up my boots. The accommodation at Chalet Chocolat and the views were fantastic . Zoe and Ben spoilt us rotten - with all their tips and sensational meals . Thanks to all involved in a memorable week. JR

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The walks each day were quite varied - different views and landscapes - and always a spectacular spot near the top for a lunch break.... and a delicious lunch each day it was...

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Being able to walk with Mike was a highlight of my week.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Andrew Thomas

    You'll view steps differently...

    This is a well planned walking week on a beautiful (and steep) part of the Italian coast. Centred in Bomerano, a small town ideally situated - several of the walks start from the hotel - be warned they nearly all involve some steps (mostly downwards). The paths go through beautiful countryside with lemon groves, vineyards and spectacular views down to the sea. A day trip to walk the rim of Vesuvius and visit Pompei was very memorable. The hotel Due Torri was very comfortable and the staff all very friendly and helpful - very sensitive to some of the groups food intolerances or allergies.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I particularly like the visit to Ravello (Villa Cimbrone a must having been there 25 years ago) and the following walk down to Amalfi through lemon groves and a lovely wooded valley with waterfalls and streams (useful for cooling your feet) past old iron works and the site of the first paper mill in Europe. The ice creams and beers at the end were very welcome.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Martina was an exceptional group leader - funny, caring and full of local knowledge and a great ambassador for Italy and all things Italian - she introduced us the the word 'undulating' - some of those steps are uphill!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There are lots of steps - read the trip notes. Take walking pole(s) if you have them - the hotel do have some if you don't and there are a couple of well equipped outdoors shops in the village. I wore boots and was pleased to have them although others wore good walking shoes - you need something with good a grip (especially on Vesuvius). You can select your packed lunch each day - provided by the hotel - they were good.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is a great walking week in a beautiful part of Italy - just book and enjoy.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Rusne J.

    Highly recommend this trip

    Best holiday ever!!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The companions, the guide, the chalet with the hosts and the itinerary - I liked everything.
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