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

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  • Reviewed September 2018
    John Roberts

    'High Peaks' is rated highly by me.

    Pretty much a faultless trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Well the tomatoes were consistently wonderful. It was satisfying to be on the highest point in Bulgaria.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    If all his tales and legends were true he is very learned. If they weren't he has a great imagination. Who knew the difference anyway? Vladimir can certainly crack on.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The description warns that the trails are rough - note that this is especially the case on the first couple of days. Also, remember, Vladimir really can crack on!
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Marcus Lynch

    Discover these trails before the secret gets out

    This was a great opportunity for some proper hiking along pristine trails in the Balkan high country. Routes almost to ourselves, with a mix of terrains and environments from deep forest and river valley, to high meadows, glacial moraines and narrow ridges. Plenty of flora and fauna to discover along the way, against a backdrop of incredible scenery.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    After a long, hard day on the trail, with a hearty meal inside and the firey taste of the local brandy still on the tongue, we were treated to a mesmerizing session by a trio of passionate village folk singers. Some of us were even persuaded to get up and make awkward movements vaguely in time ('dancing' I'm told).

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Faultless. Vladimir kept the group in check, while being endlessly patient and cheerful. For me the whole experience was made more complete by Vladimir's extensive knowledge of Bulgarian history, mythology, culture and nature

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I'm by no measure a foodie (could happily exist on cheese sandwiches) but was quite surprised at the quality of food, better than experienced elsewhere in the Balkans. Basic but varied, fresh and healthy, with influences from Bulgaria's Ottoman past. Prepare hiking gear well, as can be quite chilly at nearly 3000m, and a drop of rain isn't unusual. For seasoned hillwalkers the trails are a good workout but not overly demanding.
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Phillip Burrows

    A Challenging yet Rewarding Trek

    A great weeks trekking in Bulgaria's Pirin and Rila mountains reaching high passes, through ancient coniferous forests, walking through spectacular meadows hosting many wild plants and butterflies, passing glacial lakes and some good ridge walking and the ultimate challenge - ascending Bulgaria's highest, Musala (2925m)

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    All mountain days were spectacular but there was great reward from slogging up steep forest paths as when you exited the forest you would suddenly come across an open meadow and seeing the flora of wild plants and butterflies. Ascending Musala

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Vladimir set a good pace which kept us moving and ensured we all kept together. He managed the group really well, never stressed and very patient and encouraging. He had a story to tell about every lake and mountain. He shared his passion of the geography and history of the regions with us at the various rest stops and points of interest on every day.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Trekking poles a must.
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Claire binns

    Hard but Worthwhile

    The trip is very much a level 5 treking trip rather than a walking trip. Be aware some of the climbs are very physically hard.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being able to complete the "longest" trek in the middle of the trip. Plus stunning views

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Validimir was excellent. A really good treking leader and lots in funny and interesting stories to keep us amused.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do not underestimate how hard this trip is physically. There are lots of steep sections over boulders. I have dodgy knees. I have done other treking holidays and never had a problem but this time I had to miss some of the days to rest my knees. Having said that this is good trip if you do need to rest since it is centre based so you can just have a day of relaxing.
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Paul Gofton

    Bulgaria mountains

    Great trip in high Bulgarian mountains. A fantastic sense of achievement in completing all the walks and summitting the peaks. Wonderful views throughout. Walking is tough and should not be considered for someone with little walking experience day 2 walk and penultimate days walk are tough due to the terrain

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to the top of mount Vihren. Not keen on heights when feel exposed and the last 200m is a scramble using hands up limestone slabs. Sense of achievement was great and the views made the effort worthwhile.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Vladimir was excellent had a detailed knowledge of the areas we were walking in. He had plenty of stories to tell about beautiful Bulgarian ladies! He was concientious and was always looking out fof members of rhe group. Cajoling people on when they were falling behind

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a challenging trip. If you regularly walk in the mountains or do lots of calorie burning exercise should be fine but due to the terrain 2 days walk are tricky. The longest day walk whilst long is not particularly hard. There is not a lot of time for relaxation on the trip.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I flew from Manchestet which gave me a couple of hours in Sofia on last day. If flying from London expect very early get up !
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Phil McLean

    High Peaks of Bulgaria, August 2017

    This was my first group walking holiday and I am pleased to say it exceeded my expectations. The itinerary for the trip is excellent, including a couple of peaks I knew I wanted to visit (Vihren and Musala) and several other walks I would probably not have stumbled across and which were all really enjoyable. The walk up Malyovitsa was a particular highlight, and the preceding day crossing the Rila mountains was also stunning. Overall there was a nice variety of scenery and types of walking (forests, lakes, valleys, ridges, plateaux) and a nice 'flow' to the week's itinerary as we moved from one area to the next. I enjoyed not having to think about logistics and simply enjoy the walking and the company of the group. The hotels were all very pleasant and we were very lucky with some superb weather too!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It's hard to pick one single highlight but the views from the summits of Vihren and Malyovitsa were superb.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Vladimir was a truly excellent guide - unwaveringly enthusiastic, sociable, and knowledgeable!
  • Reviewed September 2016
    Richard Broughton

    Great walking holiday

    This was a great walking holiday in mountains that were not busy or developed in the same way of the alps. There was no technical climbing, but some scrambling and even rocky paths. The days were long, but with bus support we did not have to camp so could shower and relax in the evening.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The final ascent of Vihren was very impressive with a huge limestone summit that looked spectacular in the sun.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader was excellent both on and off the mountain.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Whilst all the paths can be walked, the rocks require concentration to not slip over. The days are long particularly the ridge walk which ends with an added forest walk to the nearest road.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Perhaps spend another day in Sofia, as the group flight was very early and I enjoyed the city.
  • Reviewed July 2016
    Martin Maley

    Amazing panoramas, head earned.

    A great week with long days rewarded with amazing vistas and sweeping panoramas.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the top after a 1400m ascent on a 22km day. Tough, but ooooh so rewarding!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Maria was excellent. Well organised, very safety conscious (counting her "ducklings" at regular intervals to make sure all was well) and aware Of the differing speeds and technical ability of the group. All one would wish for in a leader. Possibly would have benefitted from the presence of an assistant. Marshalling 15 people of varying abilities in such harsh terrain seemed a stretch to me.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you are well prepared and fit. The advertised walking times were always exceeded by at least an hour and a half so prepare for long slow ascents and arguably over hasty descents to compensate for the time "lost."

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trip summary on the website states six dinners are included (whilst the detailed notes say five) it is in fact five so you will have an extra dinner to pay for if you relied on the summary. Bulgaria however is inexpensive so this whilst irksome ( especially as it has gone unaddressed for several trips) is not a material calamity.
  • Reviewed September 2015
    Philip Hogsflesh

    Bulgarian National Parks

    One of the best weeks walking in mountains we have experienced. The scenery was breathtaking. The people were extremely friendly. The walking was challenging and very rewarding. We will remember the summit days of Mount Vihren, Mount Malyovitsa and Mount Musala for a long time.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The summit days of Mount Vihren, Mount Malyovitsa and Mount Musala were exceptional walking days. They were challenging but very rewarding.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Vladimir was an excellent group leader. He had a comprehensive knowledge of the mountains and was clearly very proud of his country.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you train for day after day of hill walking for this trip and that you have a high level of fitness for this holiday. We walk regularly walk in the Lakeland fells and we found the walking challenging, especially the summit days.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It would be really good if Exodus did a follow up week of other Bulgarian mountains and ridge walks. The mountain scenery is breathtaking and we would like to experience more of it.
  • Reviewed August 2015
    John Muir

    Bulgarian National Parks

    Great walking with a great group of people.Vlademir lead the group very well, keeping everyone involved. His extensive knowledge of local sights & customs kept us all informed throughout the holiday. Loved the traditional Bulgarian hotels. The movement from place to place was well organised & Vlademir ensured we kept to a tight schedule. We were also blessed with great weather apart from a couple of hours on the seven lakes walk when we were bombarded with hail & thunder.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the mountain summits Vihren & Musalla.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent . Could not have been better.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you are fit enough before booking this holiday. My fellow group members were all walking enthusiasts so this kept us all together.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Superb holiday. Magical scenery.