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

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24 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
    clare mcnulty

    Beautiful Balkans, an epic jouney

    A challenging and beautiful journey through Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Montenegro with breath-taking scenery. The cycling was challenging with lots of climbing, but the bikes that we were provided with were perfectly geared for and suited to the terrain. There were regular re-groups on the hills as everyone climbs at their own pace and is able to enjoy the holiday at a pace that suits them. Delicious healthy and reasonably priced meals were provided in the hotels and cabins that we stayed in. Our guide Joshua was knowledgeable and efficient and provided us with information each day about the route and some background history. He arranged for a local guide in each country we visited to give their personal perspective and an opportunity to ask questions about the complex history of the region.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The climb through Durmitor National Park in Montenegro with its wild and rugged scenery, exposed to the elements. The very welcome Turkish coffee brewed on a portable gas stove at the top, before the stunning descent through switch backs and short tunnels. At out destination in Rudinice, we were greeted with a dramatic sunset with a double rainbow across the mountains, a delicious roast lamb dinner and comfortable stay in a log cabin. Standing up high on the castle walls at Prizren, Kosovo, hearing the call to prayer from across the city from the many mosques below with the Pashtrik mountains in the distance. The opportunity for quiet reflection on the beautiful climb through no man's land between North Macedonia and Kosovo. The thunder and lightning on the last part of our descent into Berane which thanks to our guide we avoided the worst of.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Joshua and drivers Toni and Juli made a great team - very welcoming, funny and approachable. Joshua gave detailed descriptions of the route ahead such as rough roads, descents, metal grids, tunnels, city traffic and any inclement weather. He gave advice on how to negotiate these safely and as a result there were no serious mishaps. We regrouped regularly after climbs and descents. Coffee stops and meals were efficient with a group tab system. We were given some free evenings to explore the area we were staying in and make our own arrangements for dinner which was nice to have a bit of freedom to explore/take a break from the group. This safety conscious but relaxed and friendly approach worked well and it felt like a holiday!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take layers for cycling: the mountains were cool in Montenegro and we did encounter some rain. For the descent from Durmitor I was regretting not having my long finger gloves! Rehydration tablets I did have a slightly upset stomach on a couple of occasions, which was fixed with loperamide! Take Euros with you to pay for meals/settle the tab at the end of the holiday.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would recommend this trip, it was fantastic.
  • 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
    Mary Amann

    Great climbs, wonderful scenery, good food and company.

    The challenges were so worth while. The guide and driver/mechanic Dimitri and Juli were lovely guys. Juli made you smile every time he passed us slogging up the hills :) We saw different kinds of villages and towns, some busy some remote, all with their own charm. Having everything organised for you frees your mind to just enjoy the wonderful scenery and sweeping descents (some a little scary).

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling up a remote valley, seeing traditional farming and hearing the calls for prayer. Cycling through beautiful no-mans land between borders. The first view of The Bay of Kotor.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Lovely guy.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take lots of layers for hot or cold weather. We had a lot of rain and it got cold. Definitely take light overshoes, they take no room.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I didn't get much hill practice in, living in Essex but your climbing ability does improve every day. I loved how different this holiday was, it was very different to the Indochina I did.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Jill Sumner

    4 counties in 15 days!

    The Balkans cycle trip has magnificent, spacious mountains and lakes. It's an adventure, not knowing exactly what the weather or the mountains will challenge you with. A discovery each day, staying in high alpine mountains or by the spectacular Lake Ohrid. Likewise, the sea at Kotor and absorbing the cultures and religions of each country.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The people on the trip all gelled through the rough and smooth times, making it the best trip ever, for me. The dramatic skies and snow on the hills after rain. Also, cycling up the never ending hills, then free wheeling for miles.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dhimitraq is a very good leader quietly in control and sorting out any problems. Julio is an excellent driver, entertainer and watchful carer, looking out for everyone.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a good waterproof jacket and warm clothes. Waterproof shoes wouldn't go a miss either.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I went on this trip to see an unknown and unspoilt part of the world and was not disappointed, I will go back!
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Dave & Ann Gouldney

    Stunning

    This has to be without doubt the most fantastic trip we have ever done, with breath-taking scenery around every corner. Josh, Dhimitri and Juli were full of local knowledge, well organised and complimented each other as a team. If you have never cycled a steep hill without some motivational Queen or Ram Jam then you have never met Juli! Accommodation and food varied, as you might expect, but was well above what we have experienced on other trips and generally superb. The roads were quiet for the most part, but some busy sections with manic drivers have to be negotiated, but no worse than in the UK.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The mountains of Montenegro and the Tara canyon were particular hi-lights, but when you just thought you had reached peak scenery and taken every possible photo, around the corner was even better.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Josh was great and is really passionate about The Balkans and their history. We would have learnt a lot if not so tired after the days cycling. We had thorough briefings about the rides ahead and he would often take personal responsibility for minor things that went wrong that were really out of his control. Dhimitri is full of knowledge and is quietly efficient, even to the point of serving us breakfast at one slow hotel. Juli is loudly efficient, caring and tremendous fun!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The climbs tend to come in big hits, which can mean 2-3 hours of constant climbing. We managed them all though and thank you for all those who waited patiently for us at the top! Be warned though, despite the mammoth climbs, miles and the burning of 27,000 calories, somehow we still managed to put on weight ! All those lovely cheesy dishes, beer and coke I think.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Our only concern now is how do we top that ?
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