Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

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

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52 Reviews

  • Reviewed September 2019
    Steve Owen

    Fantastic views

    Wonderful walks through a surprising variety of alpine landscapes from lakeside walks to forest tracks, meadows and high mountains. Bob and Alina were great leaders, making the walks extra interesting with their knowledge of the flowers, history and landscapes. The walks were cleverly adjusted to suit the weather ( at this time of year expect everything from hot sun to wet days) and the option of a grade 3 or a grade 5 walk each day was a real bonus. Expect wholesome food, friendly and comfortable hotel, wonderful views and good company.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The views from the peaks were amazing but views of chamois, ferry trips on the lake, steam trains and a great group of people will all stay in the memory.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had two leaders. Bob on the level 3 and Alina on the 5. Both excellent. Bob has decades of experience and great knowledge and added hugely to our enjoyment through his knowledge and through adjusting walks to suit the weather. Alina was on her first trek as tour leader on the level 5s but her brilliant personality and overall friendliness was second to none and she is an excellent leader. Both Bob and Alina are great assets to exodus and match or exceed the standards for leaders we have come to expect from Exodus in Europe.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take clothes for all weathers. Poles are useful. On the day off there are many options. Have a look at information provided and speak with tour leaders to get the best from the day.
  • Reviewed September 2019

    Walking in the Austrian Tyrol - 31st Aug - 7th Sept 2019

    Very enjoyable week with a mixture of walking on forest trails and on mountainous terrain. Being up in the mountains area, the weather can be changeable at times, so be prepared to bring waterproof clothing and a jumper as well as sunblock and water etc. The hotel we stayed in has a great choice of evening food and the room I stayed in has a great view of the village and the lake ad well. Our tour group leaders Bob and Alina are friendly and great to chat to. The other travellers in our group made it a great week to spend time with.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The inspirational moments on our trip was being able to enjoy the walks with a great group of other travellers along with Bob and Alina as our group leaders for the week. On our free day, my room mate and I did the zip-wire in the Rofan mountains which was really great fun and then in the afternoon we walked along the side of the Achensee Lake from Maurach to Pertisau where we visited the Stone Oil museum as well.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our tour group leaders Bob and Alina are friendly and great to chat to. I enjoyed their company and it was a nice week with them.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared if you have colder weather up in the mountains like taking waterproof layer/s and warm clothing e.g. warm hat, jumper etc.
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Kamala-Maria Mueller

    Wonderful guided walks

    This was a wonderful walking holiday. I was in the moderate walking group which was stretching me but still allowed us to take photos and enjoy the scenery. The walks in the mountains around Achensee were varied and all wonderful. Inclusion of ferry, gondola and steam train on some walks were a wonderful bonus. We stopped on an mountain restaurant for a coffee on some walks, listening to cow bells, saw chamois, Marmots, a slow worm, Edelweiss and many Alpine flowers. Our leader knew where we were likely to find plants and animals. I enjoyed the optional evening with a good local brass band and a local dance group showing the traditional dances of the alpine trade guilds and was impressed that so many younger people (average age 34) is honouring the old traditions and keeping them alive. I rated the holidays as 4 and not 5 as I would have loved it if someone from the local community who cherishes the area could have given us a talk about the nature, history and culture of the area where we walked. Including a local guide with enthusiasm for this part of Austria would have been a bonus worth considering.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I most enjoyed that we had enough time to enjoy a rest in scenic places high up in the mountains and absorb the beauty that was surrounding us

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader for group 3 was lovely and made the walks and our stay enjoyable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Group 3, moderate walking, can be a bit more challenging than on other walks. A few people decided after a few days to do their own thing, but seemed to have a wonderful time as there is so much to do in the area. I took my binoculars and thoroughly enjoyed getting a good view of the chamois and marmots.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The hotel is great and staff switch on the sauna on request which was a bonus to counteract stiff muscles after a long day of walking.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Joanne W

    Wish I was still there!

    This was an excellent holiday and exceeded all my expectations, particularly as I'd already had a memorable walking holiday in Austria previously and thought nothing would top that. How wrong was I?! I wish I was still there! Despite thinking that the level 3 walks would be more than enough for me before I got there, I spent all of the days, except one, doing level 5 walks. Every night, the group leaders (the amazing Paul and Louise) provided a very detailed description of the walks, weather conditions and what we could expect. We even had visual demonstrations of each walk using table props by the end of the week! Who knew that pepper pots made such great mountains?! This was very helpful in gauging what walk I wanted to do, and luckily the weather was kind to us so only one day was wet (I went in August). The area of Achensee is very pretty and the hotel was right by the beautiful lake. The walks took in a variety of mountain ranges and scenery, giving you a good chance to explore the region around the lake. We travelled by local bus, cable car, ferry and steam train using the free Achensee holiday card, which was valid all week (including the free day). I loved the walking as the scenery was stunning, the trails were fairly quiet most days, the flowers and wildlife were incredible, and the sound of the cow bells was really special. One day, we climbed above cloud level and sitting on the mountain top looking down at the clouds was a special experience, realising I'd climbed higher than the clouds, like I was superhuman! Some days, there were stops at Almshouses in the mountains for coffee and cake, or a drink (more on the level 3 walks than level 5, due to their less intense walking conditions). The cakes in Austria are incredible. On the free day, there is plenty to do around the lake and there isn't really any need to go further afield by catching the train from Jenbach, unless you really want to. The hotel was excellently run and we were very well looked after by the friendly staff and owner, Crystal. The food was out-of-this-world, plentiful, traditional, delicious and ample. The four course meals every night (soup, salad, main course, and dessert) were just what you needed after a day's walking. My room was comfortable and I had views over the mountains and lake. The hotel is an old traditional Austrian guest house so don't expect a modern 5* hotel. I enjoyed staying there.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing to the highest mountain of the week in lovely sunshine with a cool breeze and looking at fantastic views - as far reaching as the snow-capped mountains of the Dolomites - and seeing other mountain ranges lower than me. I literally felt on top of the world and it felt a great achievement to have climbed higher than the equivalent of Ben Nevis from sea level.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The two group leaders, Paul McDermott and Louise Russell were absolutely brilliant. They were very professional, knowledgeable and skilled leaders, as well as being a good balance of fun, relaxed and sociable. They made sure every walk was paced for walkers of all abilities and provided chocolate and sweets every day, as well as plenty of well-timed stops so we could catch our breath! Paul and Louise really went the extra mile to make sure we were well looked after and nothing was too much trouble for them. I wouldn't hesitate to go on another trip led by either or both of them as I know I'd have a great time and a high quality experience.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take walking poles if you have them as the mountain paths are often rocky, loose and uneven underfoot, especially on the steeper ascents and descents. If you don't have any, the hotel have some that you can borrow for the week. Pay the 20 euros so you can have packed lunches from the breakfast buffet all week, as the Spar is a bit of a walk away. There is ample choice, including salad items, eggs, ham, cheese, etc, and 1001 different types of bread. Don't forget a lunch box if you have one, so you can be environmentally friendly, although plastic bags are provided. Be prepared for all types of weather, whatever the time of year, and make sure you have the capacity (bottles/hydration pack and rucksack) to carry 2 litres of water and all your waterproofs and suncream each day, as you'll probably need it all at some point. Do make sure your fitness levels are sufficient beforehand as the mountains are steep (naturally) and the walks, whilst well-paced, will be far more enjoyable if you don't feel like you're dying the whole way. The pace of the holiday itself was quite intense (well, for me at level 5 walks, anyway): breakfast at 7.30am, out around 8.45am, back between 4-5pm, dinner at 7.30pm, end of dinner around 9-9.15pm, then (for me) pretty much straight to bed. I'm glad I booked a few days off work afterwards to recover! The hotel does have a washing machine, if you need it. The wifi was 1 euro for the week but its quality seemed variable. I was on the 3rd floor and mine was fine, but others seemed to struggle. On the plus side, the hotel gives you two vouchers on arrival: one for free coffee and cake, and one for a free large alcoholic or soft drink. Take a good appetite with you as food is plentiful and comes in large portions! :-)

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would highly recommend this trip and would do it all over again in a heartbeat. The area is beautiful, the views from the mountains on good days are fantastic and the tour guides were the best. If you're sitting on the fence over whether to do this trip or not, just book it! You won't regret it.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Tony McNulty

    Ticked all the boxes for an active week of walking in fabulous scenery

    It's a week since my partner and I returned from this trip, we had an excellent time and would recommend this trip! .Originally a key factor in choosing this trip was the flexibility to choose different levels of walk each day as we were not totally confident on what would be suited to us and this turned out to be really great option. Each evening the guides Paul and Louise would outline the following days walks so everyone had a good idea and could choose accordingly and many did switch between the levels during the days. The guides were excellent, knowledgeable on the area, animals and fauna but most importantly full of energy and very supportive to everyone in the group, they made the trip a real pleasure. The location is very scenic even before walking up the hills and the Accomodation was spacious, staff were friendly and good food every evening.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching some of the summits particularly on the Friday which had amazing views

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Paul was very attentive to the group and incredibly knowledgeable on the plants and animals and shared plenty of information during the walks. The atmosphere was always friendly and supportive and overall organisation was excellent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring suncreme and rain gear - weather was super changeable... Don't be afraid of Level 5, we ended up doing the level 5 walks most of the days. Take the old steam train down to Jenbach on the rest day, it's quite an experience
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Annette Thampi

    Far exceeded my expectations

    This trip far exceeded my expectations. Offering two levels of hike a day was perfect for gaining confidence and challenging myself under the expert supervision of the group leaders . Be prepared for some incredible views of the pristine glacial lake, and the breathtaking sights from the highest peaks in the Austrian Tyrol. This trip offers challenging hikes with lots of opportunities to safely go out of your comfort zone balanced with discovering the best cake and beer huts on the mountain . The hotel and food were fabulous and the staff were always friendly and obliging. Austrians take politeness to another level . The area is well connected with transport so there are plenty of options for the free day . This trip offered challenges , camaraderie , excitement and serene moments at the summits . If you are lucky enough to have Paul McDermott and/or Louise Russell as your leaders expect to come home healthier, stronger , happier and a little heavier ( all muscle of course ) ! This trip will not disappoint .

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the summit of each level 5 walk to take in spectacular 360 degree views of the Tyrol. Making friends with people from all walks of life and sharing this incredible journey together.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Having fantastic leaders who clearly love their job and care about ensuring your enjoyment of every aspect of the trip was probably the best part of this holiday . We were given full briefings every night of what to expect and were never disappointed . Paul McDermott is clearly very experienced and knowledgeable in his field and despite having never hiked before I was managing the challenging level hikes in his group from day 1. Both our leaders joined us for meals and were constantly on hand to offer advice and help plan activities even on the free day . Louise Russell always had a smile on her face and ensured everyone got what they wanted from the trip . These two leaders make a great team and I would highly recommend going on one of their trips.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It is useful to read the trip notes and 'what to bring' as they are accurate and informative especially if you are a novice hiker.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was one of the best holidays I have had and the organisation from start to finish by Exodus and particularly by the group leaders could not have been any better .
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Annette Thampi

    Far exceeded my expectations

    This trip far exceeded my expectations. Offering two levels of hike a day was perfect for gaining confidence and challenging myself under the expert supervision of the group leaders . Be prepared for some incredible views of the pristine glacial lake, and the breathtaking sights from the highest peaks in the Austrian Tyrol. This trip offers challenging hikes with lots of opportunities to safely go out of your comfort zone balanced with discovering the best cake and beer huts on the mountain . The hotel and food were fabulous and the staff were always friendly and obliging. Austrians take politeness to another level . The area is well connected with transport so there are plenty of options for the free day . This trip offered challenges , camaraderie , excitement and serene moments at the summits . If you are lucky enough to have Paul McDermott and/or Louise Russell as your leaders expect to come home healthier, stronger , happier and a little heavier ( all muscle of course ) ! This trip will not disappoint .

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the summit of each level 5 walk to take in spectacular 360 degree views of the Tyrol. Making friends with people from all walks of life and sharing this incredible journey together.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Having fantastic leaders who clearly love their job and care about ensuring your enjoyment of every aspect of the trip was probably the best part of this holiday . We were given full briefings every night of what to expect and were never disappointed . Paul McDermott is clearly very experienced and knowledgeable in his field and despite having never hiked before I was managing the challenging level hikes in his group from day 1. Both our leaders joined us for meals and were constantly on hand to offer advice and help plan activities even on the free day . Louise Russell always had a smile on her face and ensured everyone got what they wanted from the trip . These two leaders make a great team and I would highly recommend going on one of their trips.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It is useful to read the trip notes and 'what to bring' as they are accurate and informative especially if you are a novice hiker.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was one of the best holidays I have had and the organisation from start to finish by Exodus and particularly by the group leaders could not have been any better .
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Helen Downs

    Walking in the Austrian Tyrol

    Wonderful week spent walking in the Tyrol. The hotel is perfectly placed by the lake and run with care and consideration by Crystal. The food was hearty and plentiful with buffet breakfast , self made packed lunch and a 4 course evening meal . 2 levels of walks were offered each day , some of which started or finished at the hotel and always allowed for plenty of stops for rest and refreshments . A complementary travel pass was included which allowed independent exploration of the area on the free day by bus, steam train, ferry, cable car or ski lift .

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Looking back down each day at how far I had ascended and realising that each of us , in our own way could “ climb a mountain “ ! The feeling of achievement at the summit and the knowledge that I would sleep soundly .

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Paul McDermott and Louise Russell were fantastic - reassuring , encouraging , helpful , patient and knowledgable .

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for wet weather just in case and remember walking poles ! It’s helpful to be a regular walker already and if you enjoy the Lake District or Snowdonia you will be perfectly capable of completing each walk .

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    In summary - breathtaking scenery in great company with apple strudel - what’s not to like !!
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Jon Musker

    Fabulous week of hiking

    Fabulous week of hiking in the stunning mountains surrounding lake Achensee

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Looking down from our final summit, back to the start of our day's hike and also looking down on two previous summits. Truly magical moments.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Paul was an excellent group leader. His relaxed manner and casual good humour belied the care and attention he gave to ensure that each day's hiking was happy, motivated and well ordered.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I was concerned about going on a group trip for the first time; but it was everything I . could have hoped for. The camaraderie was amazing, the walks were very well selected so that they were always manageable and captured the beauty and joy of the mountains. The hotel, travel and all the infrastructure of the trip were really well managed and Exodus looked after me very well. And the group leaders were great company and great at their job. Hard to see how it could have been improved.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    ARIANE ROCHA

    Walking in the Austrian Tyrol -

    Great trip with amazing views. We took level three walks and although we didn't have previous experience, we were able to go to all trips. Special thanks to our great guides Louise Russel and Paul McDermott, who were always in a good humor and made sure everybody had a wonderful experience, even when the weather didn't help much.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The views we had from the summits.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Paul and Louise were always helpful and made all the efforts for us to have a good time. Besides, they are a great company, fun and enthusiastic. We we had a great time with them and we look forward to walking with them in another trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Check the weather before travelling and make sure you have the appropriate clothing and gear for rain.