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Reviews

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

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Reviews

Lovely country, great walks, excellent ice cream

Croatia was lovely and I would definitely recommend the country and this tour. Good walks and then a dip in the sea/pool to look forward to.

Most Inspirational Moment

Every day was different, cant pick one thing, it was all good.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Ivan was an excellent group leader, you will be in safe hands if he is your guide.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Recommend walking poles as there is some downhill on scree which is a bit unstable underfoot. I flew into Dubrovnik and out of Split, so I could fly direct to/from Gatwick. Getting from Dubrovnik airport to hotel was fairly straightforward, airport shuttle bus then local bus. At the end of the tour I stayed in Zadar for 3 nights so I could visit Plitvice Lakes, and spend time in Zadar which was also nice. To get there I took advantage of the group transfer to Zadar airport, and then got the airport shuttle bus from there into Zadar. Taxi's are an expensive option, so I wouldnt recommend unless you are able to share the cost with others. The buses are fairly easy to use. On return, 2.5 hour bus ride to Trogir, wander round, then local bus to Split airport later that day.

Suggestions

I would recommend this tour.

Croatia hiking tour

This is an excellent exposure to a lovely country. There is a healthy amount of exertion with beautiful scenery and challenging but not killer hikes. There is enough time to explore a number of the coastal towns, but each could use a full day or two on its own. The island of Brach was such a treat with it’s sleepy, but beautiful resort feel to it. Croatia was a wonderful country with friendly people, exceptionally clean cities and countryside and gorgeous scenery. I had a feel that we were visiting sunny seaside resorts from 60 years ago. I mean that in the best way, as the country does not (yet) have over the top big high rise hotels, with the fast paced scenes and crush of tourists. Lot of families enjoying the waterfront and great walks along promenades overlooking the beach. I loved the exertion of the hikes, but also loved the times to simply relax and wonder through the towns and along the beach. Also I was shocked by the amount of the populace that spoke really good English. If you like a good deal of exertion in a clean, friendly, beautiful country that still has a relatively understated tourist feel this is a great tour. (There are tourists, but in late May it was not a crush of humanity by any means)

Thoughts on Group Leader

Evan was the guide and was exceptional. He had a tremendous sense of humor with great people skills. He was truly knowledgeable about his beloved country and informed us about the history, politics and flora and fauna of Croatia. Again, his humor and graceful motivating kept the group on task and upbeat, and his personality added so much to the enjoyment of the tour.

Advice for Potential Travellers

This is a wonderful combination of hiking and time to tour some of the beautiful coastal cities, especially Dubrovnik and Split and the island of Brach. The entire coastal geology is made up of limestone. Because of this, the hiking does have a great deal of loose small rock and scree. Though the uphills were not exceptionally hard they do require a healthy amount of effort and balance. So, not a trip for someone looking for a leisurely hike. It does have beautiful scenery and just the right amount of rewarding exertion.

Suggestions

Not joining the group from the UK does make the final connection a bit challenging. You start in Dubrovnik and end the tour 4 hours up the coast near Zadar. Zadar has a small airport with flights mainly to Europe. Only way back to Dubrovnik is a private driver, car rental or 8 hour bus ride. One might consider flying into and leaving from Split which is about halfway from both cities with easier connections. Plus Split is a wonderful city worth an extra day to explore.

Beautiful Croatia - Sept 2021

Great way to see lots of Croatia in a short space of time. The tour takes you along the coast from Dubrovnik in the South to Zadar in the North via islands, waterfalls and beautiful beaches. It’s quite a fast paced tour but Exodus has got the itinerary down to a fine art and the schedule is well thought out and works well.

Most Inspirational Moment

I loved Day 3 in Makarska. Lovely walk with open views out to sea & not too challenging so that I could look up, rather than at my feet! In the afternoon we went swimming off the beautiful beach; very refreshing after hiking in the warm temperatures of mid September. We then had a sunset ferry trip over to the island of Bol which was our base for the next two nights. All the worries of 2020/2021 seemed a world away!

Thoughts on Group Leader

Ivan is honestly one of the best group leaders I have ever travelled with. He is so attentive and hard working - he feels like part of the group rather than a leader. Full of good humour, knowledge of his country & was meticulous in thinking ahead, choosing restaurants for us, making sure we are all okay and counting us all the time!

Advice for Potential Travellers

I would recommend bringing a walking pole even if you are reasonably fit and used to walking - the limestone terrain is a bit tricky at times and a walking pole definitely helped me.

Suggestions

Bad weather on our last day forced us to shorten our planned hike and instead spend an afternoon in Zadar itself. Zadar was a pleasant surprise - really enjoyable to sit by the sea and listen to the Sea organ (architectural sound art) which plays music by way of sea waves. Also lovely to just to wander around with an ice cream. Recommend visiting that city if you have a chance towards the end of the tour.

Good...But...

Overall, the trip was quite good. It gave one a pretty good taste of the mountains and islands of Croatia.

Most Inspirational Moment

The city of Dubrovnik is a very special place to visit...probably the largest occupied old walled city that I have seen. I spent 4 days there before the hike began. The Krka Waterfalls were very special...and could be viewed from various walkways with historical buildings along the way. On my own, I visited Plitvice Lakes National Park which is probably the #1 natural attraction, but would probably add an additional day on to the tour.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Our guide, Zelko Zarak (sp?), was very good. Not only did he know the hiking trails very well, but he also had a wealth of information about all the areas we were visiting. He provided information on the numerous changes that have taken place since Yugoslavia was abolished and the creation of several independent republics and the resultant conflicts. Hi kept a close watch over his (sheep) so they would not get lost. He also provided me with several good suggestions as to what to see after the tour was over. Thoughtful, considerate, and helpful.

Advice for Potential Travellers

- The weather, and time of the year, is probably the most important. Of course, you can prepare for the very cold, rainy, or very hot weather...I've found that just after the very beginning of September the crowds are smaller and the weather can be ideal. -Consider the Covid restrictions. Not only where you are going, but also returning home. While I had made airline reservations for one month in the Balkans departing from the US, and was planning to spend about 9 days in Bulgaria, I discovered a few days before departure that Bulgaria was not allowing visitors from the US. So, I had to make plans on my own as to where to go and what to see/do. When I went to Ljubljana airport for my departure, I discovered that I needed a test...even though I had been vaccinated. Fortunately, the lady from Lufthansa Airline helped me to get the test and make it to my flight.

Suggestions

The communication from the home office in the UK was not as good as I had hoped for. (They very well could have been understaffed due to Covid 19 restrictions.) While the forms I had to fill out required my name to be typed exactly as appears on my passport (which has my Middle Name), the forms returned to me never had my middle name. I was assured that it would be ok ...and it was. But there was still a conflict in the guidance. The correspondence that I received on the name of the hotel we were staying in for the beginning of our tour was changed twice on the same day! It seems that the people on the home office were not aware of what was going on locally. As to how to reach the hotel for the start of our tour in Dubrovnik, I was informed that I would have to follow certain directions and that I would then walk along a path to the hotel. These directions may have make sense when the original hotel had been selected, but for the new hotel, which was at a major intersection, they didn't make sense...and the hotel was not far from a regular bus stop. I had the option, when selecting the tour, to request the rental of poles for 10E...which I did. When I asked our guide for the poles he said that he was never informed of this request. This was a big disappointment. If it wasn't for the above issues, especially re the poles, I would have rated the tour as 5 stars.

Great mixture of hiking and sightseeing

Really enjoyed the variety in this trip. There was a walk every day plus the chance to visit the historic parts of Dubrovnik, Split and Zadar. Most days there was an opportunity to swim in the sea. Some of our group opted out of the hardest walks, which gave them time to have a relaxing day by the sea.

Most Inspirational Moment

There wasn’t one single moment, but I particularly enjoyed all the views from the various high points that we walked to. We were lucky with the weather and didn’t get rained on all week.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Our leader Jelco (Zelco? Not sure of spelling) was excellent. He was endlessly patient, very organised and fun to be around.

Advice for Potential Travellers

I approached this as a walking holiday, so didn’t pack properly for the swimming. I wish I had taken swim shoes as getting in and out the sea is on stones at all locations and was painful. I also only took a travel towel and didn’t take a beach cover-up. The Lufthansa flights weren’t at the most convenient of times and transited via Frankfurt. In these COVID times it makes sense to use group flights in case of cancellations. In normal times I may have considered booking my own flights instead.

Excellent way to visit Croatia

The previous reviews say it all, a great way to experience Croatia. I had already visited Dubrovnik and Split so for me the mountain hikes were what I enjoyed most especially those in the Paklenica National Park. On the Thursday hike we stopped at a mountain hut for delicious bean soup. Vegetarian choices in restaurants were available and the home cooking at the restaurant on the second evening in Bol was delicious!

Most Inspirational Moment

The views from the mountain tops and the abundance of wild flowers. The waterfalls in Krka National Park were amazing and certainly worth visiting, although very busy with tourists.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Our guide Ivan Rakonic was excellent. Very knowledgeable about the geography and history of the country, very friendly, great mountain guide and the bonus of a good sense of humour! He looked after the group very well and made sure everyone was enjoying themselves.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Good hiking boots and walking poles to help on the rocky terrain, especially for downhill in the Paklenica National Park.

Suggestions

It would be good to include packed lunches prepared by the hotels which is what I've experienced in past Exodus trips. A great trip, highly recommended!

Croatia: Islands and Mountains

A fine mix of culture- Dubrovnik and Split, with daily walks. Brac was a sample of Dalmatia’s islands and Bol was both a quiet characterful resort, and ferry port. The long linking distances were made in a comfortable mini bus and the travel linked first rate scenic highlights. The northern Krka National Park with its superb waterfalls; and the sharp, bare fluted limestones mixed with rich pine and beech forests of the Paklenica National Park made a memorable finale. Our guide was excellent and the choice of restaurants for the evening meal together was generally much appreciated.

Most Inspirational Moment

The orchids that bloomed in dark pine forest- birds nest orchid and sword leaved white helleborine; and pyramidal orchid and bee orchid that grew on open limestone pasture.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Very warm and professional.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Be prepared for hot walking. When you are away from shady woodland it can be exposed take water and sunscreen and a hat.

Suggestions

Slightly disappointed to have to provide our own picnic. In previous trips the leader usually shops and the picnic is shared out and carried by the party members. Not here.

Croatia holiday

Good walking, good food and accommodation, good leader, convivial group. Sight seeing was considered to be a little rushed (so we booked a few extra days in Dubrovnik, Split and Zadar on our own)

Most Inspirational Moment

The walls of Dubrovnik and the limestone canyon in Velika Paklenica national park

Thoughts on Group Leader

Very good, friendly and considerate. He coped well with two weak members of the group and found them alternative walks when we did the hardest routes.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Bring walking poles as one or two walks in the National Park were very rough and steep. These were goat tracks not wide paths.

Suggestions

Trip notes need to be more specific as to the difficulty of the terrain. A few more hours needed in both Split and Dubrovnik. Zadar worth a visit.

Amazing 7-Day Tour of Croatia

I highly recommend this tour if you want to see the Dalmatian Coast and Croatia’s mountainous terrain. I have never visited Croatia so I was eager to see the big cities-Dubrovnik and Split-but I also wanted to hike in Croatia’s National Parks. With this tour, I could do both plus write about them for my blog (www.femalesolotrek.com). It was a writer’s dream.
Our guide was Mario, a native who taught us so much about his country, the war and the Croats. He was high energy and great fun. I would definitely do a tour with Mario in the future.
I think it is a great decision by Exodus to stay at a seaside Dubrovnik hotel for the first two nights because it features wonderful walks to view the Adriatic Sea (plus friendly cats). There was also a great restaurant for our first night out (order the black risotto with cuttlefish) plus the local grocery store to purchase food for lunches during our hiking days.
I highly recommend that your group pay the extra fee for a walking tour of Old Town Dubrovnik to learn about its history. I also chose to pay to walk the fortress walk. It took about 90 minutes. It was an incredible experience. If you are a cat lover, you will cherish all the time to play with the street cats in Dubrovnik. They are so friendly.
In quick succession over the next seven days, we visited the Island of Brac, Split, Krka National Park (the waterfalls), Starigrad Paklenica and National Park Paklenica.
I loved each location but the stay in Brac was particularly memorable. We had an old fashioned Croatian dinner featuring roasted meats and potatoes. I also loved the goulash served at a mountaintop restaurant/inn. It was a great treat after climbing all morning on Thursday.
You don’t visit Zadar as part of the tour. But the group flight departs from Zadar airport so you can make your own tour on the last day. Our group had several people who chose to take a van back to Split to fly home.

Most Inspirational Moment

It was standing at the summit on each of our hiking days in Croatia’s mountains and marveling at the beauty of this country. I loved the people, the scenery and the adventure.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Our guide was Mario, a native who taught us so much about his country, the war and the Croats. He was high energy and great fun. I would definitely do a tour with Mario again.

Advice for Potential Travellers

October is a great time to do this tour. Our temperatures averaged mid 70s which made it very comfortable to hike. Do not book this trip during August. Our guide Mario said his group had a difficult time hiking during the heat wave this summer.

Suggestions

This is my third tour with Exodus in the past year. I love the small group size, the avid hikers and the unusual places we see.

Mountain walking in a beautiful country

The first part of the week is a whistle-stop tour of some of Croatia’s top spots (Dubrovnik old town, Bol on the island of Brac, Split, Skradinski buk waterfalls), with a walk each day and quite a bit of travelling.

The remainder of the week is at one base, with longer, mountain walks in Paklenica National Park and a final few hours in Zadar before the plane home.

Our Croatian guide was brilliant and gave us loads of insights into the history of the area, how the mountain people lived as well as taking us to an authentic Croatian restaurant, a mountain refuge and visits to local houses where we sampled local produce.

Most Inspirational Moment

I loved the sunset at Dubrovnik old town, plus the views from the summits we visited were absolutely stunning (my favourite was probably from Vidova Gora on Brac island).

Thoughts on Group Leader

Zeljko, our guide, was fantastic. He couldn't have been any better. He was extremely knowledgeable and was able to answer everybody's questions. He loved his country and wanted to share his knowledge with us whenever he got the opportunity. We got a real insight into the complicated history of the country and into the way people live. We were caught out by an unexpected storm while up on a mountain walk one day. The Bora winds were far stronger than forecast and we had to get off the mountain as it was dangerous. Zeljko was calm and professional, got everyone to safety and managed to organise alternative transport for us all to get us to our destination on the island of Brac. He also made sure that everyone got to where they needed to be at the end of the week (as not everyone was travelling home on the group flight).

Advice for Potential Travellers

If you want to swim, the sea around Dubrovnik was lovely and warm but at Starigrad Paklenica it was chilly (to say the least)! This could just be because of the weather but it's possibly more protected around Dubrovnik. Also the opportunity to swim around the Skradinski Buk waterfalls was not quite what I had imagined. It's fairly touristy and the area for swimming is quite restricted. Also, if you want to wander around the waterfalls on the wooden walkways you won't have time to swim as well. Many of the mountain paths are rocky and loose. If you are used to mountain walking you won't have a problem but some people in the group found this more difficult. We went at the end of September and it was chillier than expected on some days (but very hot on others). As well as light hiking gear, make sure you take a waterproof jacket AND trousers, take some long trousers - not just shorts, and possibly even a pair of light gloves and a hat.

Suggestions

Croatia is a beautiful country. This trip gave me a really good overview and insight into the Dalmatian coastal region (as well as some very enjoyable walking). I definitely want to go back!