Carpathian Walking & Bears

8 days
from
£1,199
View Trips
Loading...
Traveller ratings
4.5 / 5 from 90 reviews >
Trip code: 
WVR
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Wildlife Holidays
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–16

Hike through the majestic mountains and rustic villages of central Romania whilst searching for wild Brown bears

History and geography conspired to make Transylvania in central Romania one of Europe’s most beautifully wild and fascinating regions. For centuries the locals have existed in harmony with a variety of wildlife, including Europe’s highest concentration of wolves, lynx and bears – almost half the European population of Brown bears is recorded in the Carpathian Mountains. Meanwhile, dense forests have remained largely untouched. Our days are spent on walks through spectacular canyons, virgin forests and Saxon villages. We go in search of Brown bears and explore the mediaeval town of Brasov as well as Bran castle, best known as the residence of Count Dracula.

Highlights

  • See Brown bears from a hide
  • Discover one of the last remaining wilderness areas in Europe
  • Have a unique opportunity to observe a great variety of wildlife in its natural environment
  • Hike through meadows, forests and along mountain trails
  • Stay in comfortable private guesthouse providing an authentic Carpathian experience and a very warm welcome

Key information

  • 7 nights at the Villa Hermani Guesthouse 
  • 5 centre-based day walks 
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Altitude maximum 2505m, average 1300m

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 6 dinners
  • All accommodation
  • Transfers for group flights

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas & vaccinations
  • Single supplement
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

5

Days of Wildlife
Pace:

 

Day by day breakdown
Day 210.0km/6.0miles
Day 310.0km/6.0miles
Day 420.0km/12.0miles
Day 512.0km/7.0miles
Day 77.0km/4.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

This adventure is centred in one of Europe's largest ancient forests and carried out in close co-operation with the Wildlife department of Brasov University and local people from the communities of Zarnesti and Magura. The days are spent walking through the forests, pastures and towns of this region where we learn about its fauna, wildlife and history.

The Carpathian Large Carnivore Project (CLCP) established the ecotourism programme 'Wolves and Bears in Transylvania' as the first step towards making the conservation of bears, wolves and lynx economically profitable for local people. Although the official project has now closed, the locally run Conservation Project, along with the Romanian Wildlife Institute, the National Park Piatra Craiului and the National Eco-Tourism Association (AER) are continuing the work and are raising funds with the aim to pass the benefits of a developing tourist industry to the local population, giving them an incentive to preserve the wilderness and promote sustainable economic activity. Your hosts are founding members of the Romanian Eco-tourism Association (AER).

Baiting wildlife - an important issue in wildlife tourism

Baiting is a useful practice in attracting wildlife to aid sightings of certain animals in many areas around the world. It is also an approach that leads to much debate about the ethics in feeding wild animals – does baiting wildlife support stereotypes of animals as objects for visitor entertainment, is it sustainable, and most importantly can it serve a conservation purpose?

In some circumstances we are strongly against baiting, for example camps in Africa placing carrion to attract leopards purely for tourist sightings. However in Romania, and in this particular area we believe it is a practice that can lead to conservation benefits.

There are strong arguments for and against, but our belief is that this will help in protecting the wildlife from hunting which is still occurring in the region. Tourism is helping create enclaves where hunting is prohibited, and that growing income will hopefully lead to more protection in the future. Tourism is more sustainable long term than hunting, and growing support locally to protect the wildlife is important in Exodus taking this stance. Currently sweet corn, fruit, bread and something sweet like biscuits or honey is used on this trip as the bait. Using this type of bait has less effect on natural bear behaviour. Sightings are not guaranteed but are highly probable as bait is used.

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Fly to Bucharest; transfer to Magura

    On arrival of the group flight at Bucharest Airport we are transferred by minibus to our private guesthouse at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains (approx. 3 hours). Food and refreshments will be served during the transfer. Our guesthouse is situated in the quaint village of Magura at 1020m and within the boundaries of the Piatra Craiului National Park.
    Villa Hermani Guesthouse

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Daywalk visiting Kalibash villages and bat cave.

    After breakfast we spend the day walking around the area surrounding the unique Kalibash villages of Magura and Pestera, where the houses are built along the mountain ridges with deep ravines and valleys in between. We visit these traditional houses and learn about the history of the settlements, which were built against the mediaeval invasions of Mongols, Tartars and Turks. Near Pestera we visit a bat cave, home to five separate species of bats (though not found year-round). Make sure to bring a good torch with you!  
    Villa Hermani Guesthouse

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Horse-drawn cart and hike in Barza Valley; evening Brown bear watching.

    Today we travel the traditional way as horse-drawn carts take us into Barza Valley, a long valley stretching along the Barsa River. As we make our way slowly through the valley we can enjoy the spectacular view to Piatra Craiului Mountain and the dispersed settlement of Poiana Marului. We leave the horse-drawn carts and hike through the hay meadows uphill to a hermitage in the rocks where we have lunch and enjoy the tea made by monks from herbs picked in the meadows.

    This evening, those who want can take the opportunity to go Brown bear watching. A forester will take us to a safe hide deep in the forest. The hides are managed by the forestry commission and access is dependent on their permission which is why it is organised and paid for locally. Not being able to get access to the hides is extremely rare.
    Villa Hermani Guesthouse

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Hike through alpine pastures to Coja and Pestera

    Setting off from Magura, we hike up to the alpine pastures. From here we can see the 25km ridge of Piatra Craiului as we enjoy the calm of the area. The silence is broken only by the bells of cows and sheep that are brought to these high pastures in summer to graze. We return to Magura in the afternoon.
    Villa Hermani Guesthouse

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Walk along a high alpine trail.

    Today we explore the second biggest mountain in the region, Bucegi. After driving to Busteni we take a cable car up to Babele (which means ‘the old woman’) at 2,216m. Nearby, an odd rock formation has been named ‘The Sphinx’ due to its resemblance to the Egyptian monument. From here we start our high alpine trail heading for Omu, the highest peak of the Bucegi Massif at 2,505m, and enjoy breathtaking vistas as well as a large variety of alpine flowers en route.

    We have lunch at Cabana Omu before returning to Babele along a different trail.

    Please note that at times the cable car may be closed due to high winds and the road may be closed. In this case, we will hike along an alternative high alpine trail in the region.
    Villa Hermani Guesthouse

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Visit Dracula's Castle and Brasov; observe local birdlife.

    Today we uncover Transylvanian culture at its best!

    After breakfast we drive to Bran Castle, also known as Dracula’s Castle. This impressive fortress was built on the border to Wallachia where Vlad Tepes (also known as Vlad the Impaler), the Duke of Wallachia, once ruled. Vlad, also known as Dracula, was a brutal tyrant and provided inspiration for Bram Stoker’s famous vampire story. Vlad himself never went to Bran Castle, but Bram Stoker saw an image of it and felt it was the perfect setting for his gothic tale.

    After Transylvania had become part of Romania in 1920, the castle was donated to the Romanian royal family. It became the summer residence of Queen Maria, a granddaughter to Queen Victoria.

    From Bran Castle, it is less than an hour’s drive to the region's culture and economic heart, Brasov. This mediaeval town has been a melting pot of nations ever since its foundation in the 12th century. We have a guided tour of the town before having some time to explore at leisure. In the late afternoon, we join staff from the Brasov University as they take us to a lake area just outside of town to discover some of the local birdlife.

    In the evening we visit a traditional Romanian restaurant in Brasov for dinner (at own expense).
    Villa Hermani Guesthouse

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 7

    Visit Brown bear sanctuary; hike to Vulcan.

    We head down to the valley and visit Libearty, Europe's largest Brown bear sanctuary. Set in 70 hectares of oak and hazel forests, the sanctuary is home to nearly 100 rescued bears, many of whom suffered over years in captivity as dancing bears or in circuses.

    From the Brown bear sanctuary, we go on a gentle hike across meadows to the village of Vulcan. This region, around Brasov, is closely related to the history of the Transylvanian Saxons, settlers who emigrated 800 years ago from the Rhine‐Moselle valleys. Their strong fortified churches have attracted international attention and some of them are listed as UNESCO world heritage sites. Vulcan derives its name from the Slavonic word 'valc', meaning wolf. In Vulcan we will be welcomed with coffee and tea in the yard of the fortified church. The churches in Transylvania were strongly fortified during the Middle Ages when the region was raided a number of times by Mongols and Tartars.
    Villa Hermani Guesthouse

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Transfer to Bucharest; fly to London.

    Transfer to Bucharest; fly to London.

     

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Romania

No visa required for British passport holders.

Vaccinations

Romania

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 6 dinners are included during our stay.

Meals are a mixture of fresh local produce and Romanian/Transylvanian specialities.

Transylvanian cuisine contains different dishes and is influenced by several traditions and cultures (German, Hungarian and Romanian cuisine) but still maintains its own distinct character with a love for homemade cooking. Soups are a staple and much loved dish, main meals tend to be hearty with a strong focus on local produce and desserts are varied and plentiful.

Breakfasts usually consist of a small buffet including an egg dish, cold cuts, cheeses, boiled eggs, vegetables, spreads, bread, yoghurt, cereals, jam, juice, herbal teas and coffee.

Lunches included on this trip will usually consist of self-made sandwiches, and you can choose your own fillings from the buffet in the mornings.

Each evening there is a choice of a meat dish or vegetarian option. Dinner on the first evening is typically a light snack due to the late arrival of the group.

On one evening we enjoy dinner in a typical Romanian restaurant in Brasov. This meal is not included and you should allow approximately 25EUR (without drinks) for this.

Vegetarian and special diets can be catered for, but options can be limited throughout Romania –please inform the office of any specific requirements upon booking.

Weather

Romania enjoys a continental climate with warm summers and cold snowy winters. Rainfall is usually quite low except in the mountains; spring and summer are the wetter seasons. The weather changes abruptly from winter to summer and spring is generally short. The Carpathian Mountains can be blanketed in snow until mid to late May at higher altitudes. Summer days are often long and warm with ten to eleven hours of sunshine, whilst nights can range from pleasantly warm in the lower valleys to cold at higher elevations. September temperatures tend to be lower than those in July and August but at any time of the year changeable weather with cloud, rain and chilly daytime temperatures can occur. Expect temperatures in the village to be lower than Bucharest.

Brasov

Is this trip for you?

The trip is Activity level 2 (leisurely/moderate) and has a safari rating of 3.

Walking times will vary from half to full days walking. There are numerous uphill sections on paths and tracks and distances walked are up to 20km with optional longer walks sometimes available. The trip goes up to altitudes of 2505m from its starting point at 750m, so a reasonable level of fitness is required. The exact trails, lengths and difficulties may be adapted dependent on local weather and trail conditions and fitness of the group.
Please be advised that the chances of seeing Brown bears from the hides are good and in the past groups have seen wolves, beavers and other wildlife too. Our leaders are knowledgeable about the local wildlife but like with all wildlife viewing, a large part is down to chance and we cannot make any guarantees.

The itinerary may be followed in a different order due to various reasons such as weather and local conditions, but we will still do all of these activities even if on different days.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Guesthouse

We will spend 7 nights in the comfortable private guesthouse, Villa Hermani that offers twin and single rooms.

Villa Hermani is situated in the remote and beautiful village of Magura at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains, located within the boundaries of the Piatra Craiului National Park. Our friendly hosts at the Villa Hermani possess a wealth of knowledge on Transylvania, wildlife conservation and serve delicious homemade food.

Almost all rooms have private facilities but some do have shared bathrooms. In such cases, however, there are never more than two rooms sharing one bathroom.

There is Wi-Fi available at the guesthouse. However, due to the weak internet lines in this remote location and the need to go via satellite which is provided by an external provider, the hosts of the guesthouse kindly request guests to pay a small fee of €5 for 750MB which should be enough for a week with checking emails. 

Single supplements are available on request.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Here at Exodus we are incredibly passionate about wildlife and the conservation efforts to save it.

Embracing a healthy lifestyle can be a challenge, but if you’re going to keep it up there’s got to be more to it than

  • Reviewed October 2018
    Daniela Amabile

    Beauty, as to be found nowhere else.

    Waking up every morning to the glorious Autumn colours of the Carpathians is something I will remember for the rest of my life. The beauty of the forests, the splendour of the mountains and the simplicity of the life there is something I never imagined. Granted, I was initially inspired by my interest in the Dracula legend to go but after experiencing the wilderness there, I can honestly say that I fell in love with “the land beyond the forest”.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    When I managed to make it to the top of the mountain on the long hike without collapsing :-). Seeing Bran castle. Sitting up at the monastery, looking at the mountains with the sun behind them. The views of the scenery during our lunch breaks in various locations. Being on top of the mountains and looking down at the clouds.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thomas was incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about the natural environment of Romania and its history. He also has a great sense of humour that kept us entertained. With his experience as a leader and training in the army, I definitely felt safe and in capable hands. And he was unexpectedly charming.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Try to remain as healthy as possible the week before this trip. I came down with a 24 hour stomach virus 2 days before the trip and it made the first few days difficult as I was still weakened. Also, walking poles are your friends. Definitely learn how to use a pair before you begin.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Suzy Franklin

    Wildlife and hiking

    A well paced hiking tour with free time to relax in the remote alpine accommodation, in the mountains of Transylvania. This is certainly the place time forgot with small farming communities farming sheep and cattle, and small orchards aplenty. Dogs are tied up or in the fields protecting the livestock from the bears and other predators. The accommodation is basic but comfortable. We went when the weather was getting cooler and at times it was a little cold in the room. We had to remind the owners to put the heating on, which they did! There were 3 course set meals in the evening that were hearty and consisted of local produce but possibly limited if you are vegetarian/vegan. Don't expect there to be snacks like crisps and chocolate to be available, expect local fruits instead! The guide kept us updated on the itinerary during the week and gave a very informative tour of Brasov and Bran. All in all - a place to get away from it all and enjoy a slower pace of life! It was a very noncommercial region to visit and very refreshing in that sense!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The hard work of the people in the bear sanctuary, who had rescued bears that had suffered cruelty and now been given the best chance of life - all funded by donations with no government money! One bear had been blinded and had its claws cut so it would tolerate people having their picture taken alongside it. Quite emotional to hear the sad back history of some of the bears. The good news is that owning a bare is now banned in Romania.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was friendly, quiet, amenable and informative.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take your thermals, scarf and gloves if going in the autumn as it get's cold in the mornings.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    John Chapman

    Lots of bears

    I enjoyed the walks although quite a proportion of the walking was on dirt tracks ( Romania doesn't appear to have much in the way of public rights of way over farm land)

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Bear watching was great, we saw lots.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thomas was an ideal leader for this type of holiday.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Neil Thompson

    Breathtaking

    Having been on several Exodus trips before I was unsure of what to expect as I not done any trips as remote as this. Not removed from civilisation but bit on the verge of wilderness. The walks produced breathtaking scenery of the mountains and forests, all conducted at a leisurely pace mainly over unmade paths, meadows or very easy woodland walks, which posed no problems for any of the group. Although not able to see every animal that inhabits the forest there presence was evident. The added option to under the guidance of a local ranger, see the brown bears in the wild is something that should not be missed. This was defiantly a highlight of the trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The stunning scenery was only beaten by seeing the Brown Bears in their natural environment which was by far the highlight of the trip, this was even more so augmented by visiting the bear sanctuary which was heartbreaking to see and hear how thes poor animals had been persecuted for the amusement of humans.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    In Thomas we could have not had a better guide for our holiday. He was both funny and increadably knowledgeable about the environment and the history of his country. On any of these groups holidays the guide plays a pivotal role and Thomas really help make the week special and an unforgettable holiday.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Located within the mountains the weather can be changeable host to hour so would suggest a good light weight rain coat/clothing, again good walking boots are definitely an advantage. Walking poles are an advantage on some of the walks, but I do have a slightly weak knee. I took £100 in the local currency and spent a little over, being able to pay the hotel for the visit to the Bear hides and the honesty bar in Euros helps with this.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Julie Bridge

    Carpathian walking and bears!

    We were extremely lucky with the weather (Aug), however, this did result in some of the hiking being rather more strenuous than anticipated as it was really warm most days - take lots of water! The trip was brilliant, highlights every day, but the bears (in the wild and at the sanctuary) definitely made the trip!!! Our guide, Thomas, couldn't have been more interesting (and funny) and extremely knowledgeable about the fauna, flora and history - simply the best! Villa Hermani was a hit too; friendly & helpful, good food and very reasonably priced drinks. Highly recommended trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The bears without a doubt! Lovely to see in the wild, however, visiting the sanctuary in bright daylight produced the best photos.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide, Thomas, couldn't have been more interesting (and funny) and extremely knowledgeable about the fauna, flora and history - simply the best!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take plenty of water on your hikes, especially if warm weather. Villa Hermani - don't bother with their wi-fi; extremely slow (used 4G instead).
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Jacqueline Harris

    Good varied trip with great guide.

    This was an interesting and varied holiday with excellent trips, varied walks and an excellent guide. Some of the days were long and involved a fair amount of time in a transit or small bus which was not always comfortable especially when it was hot. However , it wasn’t overly arduous and added to the overall interest of the week.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The scenery on the first two days of walking. Watching the bears feed from a hide was also fascinating.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thomas was really excellent. He was knowledgeable about the area and it’s history and had a great sense of humour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for some long days of varied activities. Take some biscuits/ energy bars ! While the walks were not overly demanding you should be used to walking with sturdy shoes. The transfer to the hotel takes several hours from Bucharest which means a late arrival , especially if the flight is delayed ( we arrived at 6a.m ) .

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would suggest that the hotel offers snacks for sale particularly on the evening of the bear hide trip when the main meal is eaten very early.
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Emma Cowen

    Picturesque places, lush landscape and beautiful bears.

    A great way to spend the week, walking in the countryside, seeing many sites with fantastic architecture and cute bears doing their thing in the wild.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching the bears in the wild from our bear hide and seeing how they play, eat and look out for each other. Also the visit to sanctuary was interesting, but sad to hear how those bears had been treat in their earlier years before being rescued from their previous owners. I also enjoyed the long walk along the canyon and the visit to Dracula's castle.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thomas was very knowledgeable, helpful and friendly and always had an answer for every question asked. He also made sure every one's needs were catered for. He also knows the area very well. His assistant Sebi was also helpful and friendly and knows the area well too.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you have a good pair of walking boots, plenty of water and waterproof gear.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The hosts at the lodge were very friendly and approachable, making everyone's stay comfortable and making everyone feel at home. They also catered for vegetarians and always accommodated every one's requirements, no matter how big or small.
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Sylvia Ryan

    Transylvanian experience and hospitality at its finest

    I booked this trip primarily to see the bears and enjoy some leisurely walks through the meadows and forests. It exceeded my expectations, mainly due to our guide Thomas, the lovely hosts Herman and Katerina at Villa Hermani and the variety of local experiences from the ride in a horse cart, tea at a hilltop monastery, dinner at a restaurant specialising in game meats, harvesting mushrooms after the rain, and schnapps and cake at a fortified church with an intriguing priest! Transylvania is a beautiful part of the world, still in a time when we were closer to nature where animals are respected and in proximity, shepherds tend the flocks, and the landscape provides a bounty of wildflowers, fruit, hay and mushrooms.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The visit to the Libearty sanctuary, learning of the history and great work they do to return these wild creatures to a semblance of a wild existence they deserve. The story of Maya was very sobering and I'm glad to see I wasn't the only one to shed a tear. Seeing these bears' behaviour compared to the real wild bears from the hide was quite a contrast. I was also pleased to see they had some wolves at the sanctuary - dogs did bark for a short while in the late evening around Magura but the second night I heard distant howling and I want to believe that was some of the wild wolves! Also the bear hide is a must, we spent a good couple of hours viewing well over a dozen bears plus four cubs.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thomas was a gentleman guide. Literally. Modest, engaging, and genuine. Wealth of knowledge about the history and culture of Transylvania, interested in the experiences and thoughts of the folks in the tour group and always willing to assist. An excellent leader in which you are in no better hands.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Because of the mountainous nature of the region it is hard to gauge the weather more than a couple of hours out and rain can start and stop fairly quickly on a cloudy day. I note from a previous review that they thought the horse cart ride should have been cancelled because it was a rainy day, but in our case it was raining up to when we got to the carts and then it stopped raining. When we finished the ride, the rain started again! The cart ride was a highlight for me and I would have enjoyed it even if it continued raining. I would also say bring more than two pairs of shoes as it does take a couple of days to dry a pair after a rainy day. And yes bring cash to cover the extras (bear hide was 210 lei and wifi access about 25 lei).

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Roll with it and find enjoyment in things that are small or simple. Don't worry too much about getting wet, possible familiarity or monotony or the basic nature of some amenities. One review stated Bucegi mountain was like Dartmore; I've never been there but I reckon it's not 2500m altitude with a gorgeous view of a Transylvanian valley. The simplest things were often the best moments: a yellow spotted salamander in the rain; barley for breakfast; a deer darting in the distance; a vivid pink wildflower; the sharpening of a scythe; a fluffy puppy; a large parasol mushroom ripe for harvest; a herd of donkeys approach while bird watching; drinks at the local "bar" on the side of a meadow hill with Benno the dog watching over us. Brilliant.
  • Reviewed July 2018
    (Edna) Pat Arlette

    What does this mean?

    This was a very well thought out holiday with an excellent mixture of walks and visits designed to give us an insight into the local way of life that fell exactly into the leisurely/moderate grading.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Can't think of anything in particular

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent - very easy going manner with a wealth of historical knowledge
  • Reviewed June 2018
    Rosalind Jarvis

    Amazing bears

    Overall a good holiday. The best things for me were seeing the bears in the wild and the local walks around Magura. The high alpine scenery, the flower filled meadows, the limestone gorges, were beautiful. The guest house is pleasant and food good. Breakfasts are help yourself, semi-continental with a egg option, using this good selection to make packed lunch. Generally I thought the evening meal food was very good, the staff seem to work tirelessly preparing them and must be commended. Though on one or two days, whilst portions were perfect for my small/normal appetite, I think a large man may have been left a bit hungry. Honesty bar for beers and wine works well. Negatives - we had mixed weather and the leaders Thomas and Katrina rejigged the week's schedule. The rain entirely spoilt the horse and cart ride/walk to the monastery day. Out of exodus's control yes, but not quite sure why the leaders insisted upon us starting this activity if they knew how rainy it was in the valley below the guesthouse. Perhaps a bit more leeway to add in a visit to an indoor place or town would be sensible here? Secondly, Exodus should reconsider the addition of the cable car and high alpine walk. This involved a near two hour transfer there and back (4 hours in total driving), and a less inspiring walk at the top (think Dartmooresque scenery) than those around Magura itself. The restaurant on this day was good but game orientated. I would entirely leave this option out and add in another walk around Magura.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the bears in the wild was brilliant. I would have been happy to see one or two, but we saw 10-15 in a three hour period including mother and cubs. Secondly visiting the fortified church, having local schapps and cake with a very different type of priest. The beautiful scenery around Magura for walking. Observing some of ongoing traditional farming practices.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thomas, and Katrina (who owns the guest house), were very knowledgeable leaders about the local history and environment. Katrina would accompany us on some of the excursions e.g. bird watching (where we saw a pelican!)

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is certainly not a walking holiday for anyone who does a reasonable level of walking - I found this frustrating. However, if you are not a walker, the nature of some of the shorter (10km walks) makes them a little more challenging than normal. There is also a considerable amount of time spent on mini-buses transferring between activities due to the location of Magura in the mountains, which I didn't appreciate on booking. Magura is a peaceful location, there is no other source of evening amusement apart from the guesthouse and a local "bar" (read cabin on stilts).

Dates & Prices

Please provide as much information as possible below so we can best help with your holiday requirements.

Fields with * are mandatory.

Please provide as much information as possible below so we can best help with your holiday requirements.

Fields with * are mandatory.

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

Trips you might also like

  • New

Wild Finland

A week in the magical Finnish wilderness searching for Brown bears 

Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures

Wildlife
6 days Incl. Flights
From £1,899
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
5 / 5
 from 
Call us on 020 8772 3936