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12 Reviews

  • 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
    Brian Weetman

    The Ups and Downs of Albania

    A brilliant week. I have done many grade 3 trips which are very much a holiday with cycling but this grade 5 trip is very much a cycling trip plus a holiday. You will need to be pretty fit or a cyclist to get the best out of this foray into the mountains. Nevertheless you can easily tailor your trip with the odd trip to the broom wagon bus. It will be well worth whatever level of challenge you accept the scenery is stunning beautifully rugged and remote. Cannot fault the accommodation, food or guides Both junid the guide and Tuni the driver did everything they could to make this run smoothly and it did. As usual with exodus trips the group make the difference and I was lucky to hit on a fabulous mix of lovely people.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I should say getting up the climbs but really some of the descents were awesome. The availability of superb cold Albanian beer at the instant we finished each day and the discovery of mayonnaise sachets at day 4 picnic also stand out!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Great guy and did a great job.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just go life is too short to miss out :-) and go now before Albanian gets full of tourists.
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Wendy Tomes

    Brilliant holiday

    If you like cycling in the mountains with stunning views and quiet roads you will love this trip. The trip is graded as a 4 and this is accurate as there are some hard climbs on quite a few of the days. The views at the top make them all worth while. For the first few days you are on a ridge high up with the lake below. You then go down to the lakes and cross into Macedonia which is equally as spectacular. The road surfaces are really good for 99% of the time and much better than those we have at home. The traffic is very quiet and so for most of the holiday we had the roads to ourselves. This was our third Exodus holiday and was equally as good as the others we have been on. Albania is a hidden gem and it was so good to go there before the mass tourists arrive. Hotels were all good and actually better than many of the other exodus trips we have been on,

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to the top of the climbs and seeing the views. Lake Ochrid is a fab stopover and well worth a visit in itself. We arrived with enough time for a tour and chance to see the town.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Junid was our leader-what a lovely man. Nothing was too much trouble and he was calm but efficient. The food and drinks were all covered with a tab which we paid at the end of the holiday which saved so much time.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you are fit enough to do the mountains. If taking your own bike you will need a hybrid one as there are some potholes. However the bikes we all hired were fine. Take your swimming costume for the lakes. Take some cash so you can pay your bill at the end of the week -they accept euros or pounds.
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Wendy Tomes

    Brilliant holiday

    If you like cycling in the mountains with stunning views and quiet roads you will love this trip. The trip is graded as a 4 and this is accurate as there are some hard climbs on quite a few of the days. The views at the top make them all worth while. For the first few days you are on a ridge high up with the lake below. You then go down to the lakes and cross into Macedonia which is equally as spectacular. The road surfaces are really good for 99% of the time and much better than those we have at home. The traffic is very quiet and so for most of the holiday we had the roads to ourselves. This was our third Exodus holiday and was equally as good as the others we have been on. Albania is a hidden gem and it was so good to go there before the mass tourists arrive. Hotels were all good and actually better than many of the other exodus trips we have been on,

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to the top of the climbs and seeing the views. Lake Ochrid is a fab stopover and well worth a visit in itself. We arrived with enough time for a tour and chance to see the town.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Junid was our leader-what a lovely man. Nothing was too much trouble and he was calm but efficient. The food and drinks were all covered with a tab which we paid at the end of the holiday which saved so much time.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you are fit enough to do the mountains. If taking your own bike you will need a hybrid one as there are some potholes. However the bikes we all hired were fine. Take your swimming costume for the lakes. Take some cash so you can pay your bill at the end of the week -they accept euros or pounds.
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Paul James

    August 2019 in Albania and Macedonia

    This was my 9th cycling trip with Exodus and this was one of the best. Cycling through beautiful scenery in Albania and Macedonia with around 8000m of climbing in 6 days was exhilarating. The cycling was hotel to hotel. with the only bus transfers at the start and end of the trip. The accommodation was good and the food was abundant, healthy and tasty.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The 12km climb on day 5, and seeing the view over lake Ohrid and then the descent afterwards.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Junid was an excellent leader. He provided clear instructions during the cycling and was always on hand to provide assistance when needed.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you are prepared for long tough climbs in warm weather. You can always get in the backup vehicle if it gets too hard, but that's not a satisfying as finishing the climb on your bike. Pack a waterproof it was mostly hot and sunny but it did rain a few times.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you want a challenging cycle trip in stunning scenery then book this trip.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Michael Hanrahan

    Fantastic Trip

    An excellent trip that lived up tp it’s “challenging” expectation. Well organised and executed all the way. Our Guide Junid and driver Tani could not have done more to make this trip a really great experience. Varying terrain along the way and plenty of climbing to challenge the legs. The heat in August added to the demands of the hills. Local fresh food all the way throughout the trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to the top of the 12 km climb on day 5.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent, as mentioned Junid did everything he possibly could to make the whole trip a real success. He cycled every inch of the way with us. He was very knowledgeable and gave us a true Albanian experience.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for climbing every day.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Belinda Oh

    Tough but worth every drop of sweat!

    I wanted a challenging but fun cycling trip and that’s exactly what I got! Cycling past beautiful scenery, idyllic towns and villages, on largely quiet roads, was absolutely fantastic and not something I could experience at home. The roadside freshwater springs that we used to cool down and refill water bottles was a fairly unique experience for me as well. There was a decent amount of uphill every. single. day. But as the week progressed, it felt as if I were getting a little bit stronger and almost used to climbing. And the thrilling downhills made the grueling uphills worth it! We stayed in what I thought were very nice hotels every night, often with beautiful mountain or lake views! The food was great—it may have been the healthiest I’ve ever eaten on a trip before! :) The hybrid bikes we used were great and made me feel confident and secure on the occasional bits of road that were less than perfect.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    After the big 12km climb, having lunch al fresco on the mountainside with amazing views of Lake Ohrid – I was able to really take in the distance and elevation we had just successfully climbed!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Arjan had an amazing pride and love of country that I found admirable! He shared a lot of his knowledge of Albanian and regional history and politics that provided the extra touch that I appreciate from local guides/leaders. He admitted when he didn't know the answer to something we asked--good since he probably could have just made up anything and we would have been none the wiser! :) Arjan was also a strong cyclist and (along with the other extraordinary cyclists in the group) inspired me to make sure I’m in better cycling shape for the next trip I take! And Elvis (our driver) was always at the ready to help us out and provide the fueling snacks and water we needed to get through the week--I enjoyed chatting with him in the evenings!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for a lot of uphills! But after most of the uphill climbs, there was a downhill, so power through the climbs and your efforts will be rewarded with exhilarating downhills! Overall, go with the flow, try not to think/worry so much about each day's climbing or distances, cycle at your own pace, and remember to enjoy the views as you go along!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Overpackers beware, a few of the hotels did not have elevators, so make sure you’re able to comfortably carry your bag(s) up/down stairs! That said, it does help to be prepared for all conditions—my trip was at the end of June and it was sunny, hot, and slightly humid some days, cool/comfortable in the evenings, we had rain suddenly cool us down one afternoon, and at the top of the 12km climb it got windy and chilly, so expect the unexpected when it comes to the weather!
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Rosie Wych

    Albania

    Lots of varied cycling in a mountainous and scenic area. Routes almost always along quiet roads with good surface. Nice to stay along the way in all sorts of places - mountains, towns and lakeside.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The stunning scenery on the ferry ride to the start of the cycling.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    A very capable cyclist who led the group and checked that all were ok. Everything along the way was well worked out and ran smoothly.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Needs a level of cycling fitness and helps If you enjoy hills.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Be prepared for a stiff first day - although it sounds short it is uphill almost from the start and is rather a shock after two days of getting up at 5am. A lakeside swim is a welcome refresher at the end of three of the days.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    terri wells

    WOW the best trip ever!!

    This was my first cycle trip......sure wish I would have started doing these treks 20 years ago. The Northern Albania/Macedonia bike ride was very challenging....steep climbs, thrilling descents, beautiful mountains/lakes. Our accommodations were quaint and comfortable. The food was healthy and oh so good! I was very impressed with organized structure of this trip. Our guide, Dimo, was the best! I made 13 new UK friends, and loved every minute riding, dining, drinking and laughing with all of them. Exodus will by my 1st choice for traveling every year.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Making the 6,000ft cycle day

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dimo was the BEST! fun, friendly, from the area
  • Reviewed September 2016
    Martin Hall

    Northern Albania and Macedonia August 2016

    After riding the southern Albania trip last year I had to go for this one. It was a fantastic trip over the mountains with beautiful views every day, the lakes, the mountains, the valleys. It was a bit tough going at times but it was worth the effort. The scenery was quite different to the southern trip. I'm glad I did both. Macedonia was different again. Lots of small farms with their goods on display by the roadside. Ohrid, UNESCO town was very picturesque overlooking lake Ohrid.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing out of Ohrid to the plateau overlooking the Lake and seeing the tiny villages bellow. Also for me it was making it up the steep sections on days 2 & 3 without getting off.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader was very fit, he often had to drop back to help someone with a problem, then ride up to the front again.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Yes, you need to get fit riding up 10% hills (1 in 10) and be able to ride up long hills before you take the trip or you may not enjoy the tough sections so much. Some of the shorter gradients reached 14-16% (indicated on my Garmin). You do get some good down hill bits to recuperate, and there are stops for people to catch up. Age is not the problem it's the fitness that counts. Ride at a speed your comfortable with, don't try to keep up.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Our trip was in late August and the weather was great, sun every day with morning rides starting at around 19deg to 30 at the end of the days ride.