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

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133 Reviews

  • Reviewed October 2019
    Janet Sully

    An exceptionally interesting and varied trip

    This trip exceeded my expectations in terms of the sheer variety of scenery and experiences. Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro are stunningly beautiful countries and, as yet, unspoilt by mass tourism. The Bay of Kotor, with the mountains rising up precipitously behind; the remote valleys and settlements; turquoise lakes and rivers; deep gorges and waterfalls; fascinating towns and cities like Cetinje, Sarajevo and Mostar; monasteries below sheer rock faces; isolated villages offering great hospitality; plentiful food portions; wine tastings; a superb guide who brought the incredible history to life: what more could one want? Although we saw and experienced a huge amount, there were no early starts, and the drives were punctuated by stops at places of interest. It was also good to spend at least two nights at each place apart from the last (Dubrovnik), so that we were not packing up and moving on every day. Our driver, Semir, also deserves a mention - he was always helpful and was a very steady driver, so we felt completely safe.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Every day had several highlights and it would be impossible to single out one particularly inspirational moment, but unexpected sights such as a perfect rainbow over the river in Sarajevo, and shepherds with their sheepdogs and umbrellas up, herding huge flocks of sheep in most isolated terrain and unfavourable weather conditions, caused me to gasp in amazement.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I echo the other reviewers' comments about Sabina; she is simply outstanding and I feel very lucky to have had her as leader. Her knowledge of the history and culture of the region is phenomenal and her passion for the environment shone through, yet she never overloaded us with information at any one time. Her accounts of her family's experiences in World War II, under Tito and during the siege of Sarajevo brought the history to life. Sabina has a delightful personality; she was always cheerful, showed a good sense of humour and was very helpful and caring. Her organisational skills were excellent and the trip ran seamlessly.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We stayed on in Dubrovnik for three more days after the group trip ended and are very glad we did, as there would have been little time to do justice to it otherwise. Others in the group stayed in Cavtat, near Dubrovnik airport, for a night or two before the trip started, which seemed a good idea The centre of Dubrovnik is much more expensive than anywhere else, but outside the walled town we found prices reasonable. Bring mosquito repellent if you are prone to bites!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It's a tremendous trip and I thoroughly recommend it if you enjoy beautiful scenery, architecture, history and good food.
  • Reviewed October 2019
    Gillian Forbes

    Beguiled by Bosnia

    This holiday gave a great taste of 3 Balkan countries, breath-taking scenery, attractive towns and villages and sobering insights into the past suffered there, particularly Bosnia. A variety of sites, history and experiences were included which made the trip really interesting. The only downside was the over-popularity of Dubrovnik at the end of the trip

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The resourcefulness of the people of Sarajevo during the siege of the city was illustrated in the tunnel museum, also added to by our guide who, with her family lived through it. The city of Mostar was also particularly beautiful, the fallen bridge having been rebuilt exactly how it was before the war

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Sabena was really good, full of information, caring, sociable and organised

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bear in mind Dubrovnik is really expensive, pay in restaurants in the local currency not euros
  • Reviewed October 2019
    Emily Lever

    I loved it!

    There we’re so many highlights from this trip, it’s hard to pick just one. Even getting rain soaked on day one was a bonding experience! I came on the trip to have some hard cycling and to learn something about a country I’d heard so much about but had very little understanding of. It exceeded every expectation in every way and my only regret is that I can’t go back and do it all again.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The 26 switch back day and the hill climbs afterwards were the toughest but most rewarding cycling experience. But for me, it was getting to meet so many new people - bee keepers, olive growers, so many cats...and our group was amazing with a lot of laughter.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    There are no words for how wonderful Sabina was throughout the whole trip. She never stopped smiling, explaining about the history and culture of where we were and most importantly, having fun with us. It was a dream team with Sabina, Irhad and Eldar, and all three of them made it an unforgettable trip with a lot of laughs along the way.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don’t worry too much about currency - you can get Bosnian marks from an ATM when you arrive. Take some euros and kuna for Montenegro and Croatia in advance.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I’d end the trip in Sarajevo and not Dubrovnik. The latter is a beautiful place and a draw for lots of people who haven’t been there before...but I’d say that if you want to the true Bosnian experience and learn more about the history of the country - Sarajevo would definitely be more interesting (and cheaper!!)
  • Reviewed September 2019
    David Richardson

    Two surprising gem's

    This is a fascinating trip and I would recommend you book soon before some of the places you visit become too popular. The trip starts in Montenegro, and you spend a mixture of time in the stunning town of Kotor and out in the wilds of Durmitor NP and Zabljak. The views and walks are beautiful. Onto Bosnia and much learning about the recent war, however the country has far more to offer than this with wine tasting, waterfalls, remote villages and of course the very touristy, Mostar. The trip is paced well, with no really early starts and time allowed for you to explore yourself. Walks are not difficult and the food meaty, whilst accommodating vegetarians. If asked I would say "just book"

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Possibly for me the lunch up in the hills with a very generous and welcoming Montenegrin family, and this was closely followed by numerous "pies" in the wilds of Lukomir following a walk on the hills.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    What can I say about Sabina! "Hello, hello" Sabrina's passion for the region was clear and she struck just the right balance of giving us information without overloading us. She always put the group first and tried her best to make sure we had an enjoyable and hassle free adventure. I am proud to say she is now a friend and should she be your guide, she will enhance your trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Consider a night in Cavtat before the trip starts and extra time afterwards in Dubrovnik if you have never been there before. Otherwise, don't hesitate to book!
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Muriel Mccleery

    A fabulous trip - full of variety

    A superb trip with great variety - coastal scenery, mountains, rivers, lakes, canyons, the city of Sarajevo, and then all the history, culture and peoples of the Balkans. It was a very easy trip with comfortable travel, unhurried and yet lots seen and done. I really enjoyed travelling with the group - always someone to go out with for meals or a drink and yet plenty of time to do your own exploring.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The scenery - the Adriatic coastline of Perast and Kotor, Tara Canyon, the journey from Zabljak to Sarajevo (thank you Semie for your excellent driving skills) and all the history of the region. Sarajevo has lots to see and do and has so much more to offer than just its war history.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sabina Sirco was an excellent leader - she certainly deserves a nomination for an Exodus tour leader award. She was passionate about her country and through her family history was able to bring the history of the region alive. She put a lot of personal energy and time into ensuring that each of us had a really enjoyable trip. She was always friendly, helpful, knowledgeable, organised and with excellent English and communication skills. This all led to a relaxed and fun filled trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just book it!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    You will need to go on a diet at the end of this trip - the food was excellent and abundant.
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Cynthia Felice

    Solitary hiking in the Balkans

    This was a wonderful exploration of the mountains of Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro with knowledgable guides who led us across hillsides and on established trails. The meadows were lovely and the peaks were stunning. It was hot in Tirana but comfortable in the mountains, with only one afternoon of rain on the trail. Even in mid-August there weren't many other people hiking or at the guesthouses/alpine huts. The proprietors were very hospitable, serving traditional meals with locally grown ingredients such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, bread and feta-like cheese. We had a great group of 16, five couples, all experienced hikers who were friendly, considerate and responsible. Given the group size, pace differences, and terrain, it was helpful to have two guides, one who led and the other who stayed at the back of the group. Two members of the group who wanted a rest day were able to catch a ride to the next accommodation with the luggage transport vehicle.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The hospitality extended by local owners of the guesthouses/alpine huts and the luncheon in Prilep.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    All of the guesthouses provided blankets so bring a sleeping sheet, not a sleeping bag. Some but not all guesthouses provided towels (another useful thing to pack). Fruit is limited and usually not included in packed lunches; bring dried fruit if this matters to you. Herbal tea was the common hot beverage, with Turkish coffee often available on request. There was always hot water if you want to bring your own tea or coffee crystals. Bring medicine for stomach flu and lots of hand sanitizer lotion. Half of our group got a stomach flu on the same day (including one guide) and the next day another person and the other guide got sick. We were unable to determine any specific cause; treating the drinking water didn’t make a difference. Fortunately people only missed a day of hiking.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    For future trips I suggest that Exodus consider either hiring a professional tour guide for a 2-4 hour tour of Prizren or dropping the side trip and adding another hiking day. The tour of the mosque and museum were interesting, but content was thin and the side trip involved a lot of driving.
  • 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 August 2019
    james tyerman

    Good

    This a wonderful trip and I very much enjoyed it. Scenery was lovely, everyone was friendly and it was a real experience.We had a great group .You do need to be fit but the trek is not inherently difficult just long and tiring at times over different terrains. The guides were very good and were always concerned that we felt safe and were enjoying ourselves. However, we were a full group of 16 with 2 guides.With some walks 14 miles long I would NOT go on this trip unless there were 2 exodus guides (this does NOT include the local guide).You need a guide at the back for those who are not so fast.Fast walkers should be able to walk fast but the slower ones aren't going to to be able to catch up. I am not a fast walker and I found the pace too fast at times.There were not enough water breaks or rest stops. For me that made no sense. One day we left the guesthouse at 9am and arrived at the next one at 3pm. We then had 17 hours at the guesthouse in a wood with nowhere to go yet the scenery had been breathtaking !! It was not the guides fault they were being pushed to go faster. Of the 18 people , 14 (including the guides) fell ill over a period of 2 to 3 days. All stomach issues. Whether you drank the water or not or were vegan made no difference.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The scenery

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had 2 guides - in my view a nwcessity. Adnam and Khrisum.Both very helpful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    See above. In summer it can be very hot.Bedding is provided. Take pillow case and sleeping bag liner- forget the sleeping bag. Have long trousers - first full day of hiking we went through lots of nettles. Have plenty of snacks to supplement packed lunches. Walk at your own pace .There is nothing to do at the guesthouses if you arrive early. Remember to look at the scenery.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We had a great group which really gelled together. The trip should be re-configured as the last day is really a transfer(60KM) and then wander around Tirana until you go to the airport at 6pm.The so-called first day is simply an evening flight. If the configuration doesn't change then go a day earlier as we did. The trip is well worth doing but it could have been better and there is no excuse for the poor trip notes towards the end of the holiday.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Paul Bacon

    Fantastic trip through unspoilt landscapes

    A challenging trek through unspoilt mountains with fantastic hospitality from the locals along the way

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Trekking in the middle of nowhere, with little sign of tourism. The hospitality in the huts was great

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Dont take a sleeping bag, you dont need to as blankets are provided even in the huts. The heat can really make some of the days tough, although you can refill water along the way as you will be drinking alot! Take insect repellent as we all got bit alot during the trek

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Do this trek now before it gets more commercialized. There are plans to build a ski resort and building work is already underway for extra accommodation, so the area could be alot different and busier in years to come. The fact you meet very few people on the trek is what makes it special
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Sarah Wellburn

    Splendid mountains

    A reasonably strenuous walk through extremely beautiful mountain scenery in a relatively little known area, often delightfully off the beaten track. Still lovely wildflowers in mid-late July this year.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Departing on Day 11 from established walking routes to pick our way cross-country between valleys, over high places with the most-inspiring mountain views: Feeling for a few hours as free and alive and happy as I can..

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    All the shepherds huts and guest houses are very clean and provide mattresses with quilts and pillows. It would be probably suffice to take some thermals for the occasional cold night rather than lugging a sleeping bag with you, by mid/late July at least. The water was absolutely fine for drinking throughout the trip, be it on walks or in the overnight stays. Since during the first section of the trip no fruit was provided, dried fruit (apple, apricots, etc) would be good to bring as a supplement to the packed lunches or for snacking. Beware that the hotel pool cited at Boge may be closed. In mid-late July there were horseflies - don’t forget your anthisan cream.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I had a great experience of these mountains; thank you to those who led me through them and shared their own passion for them. Beautiful trip from start to finish.