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

Here at Exodus we thrive on feedback from our customers. It's the only way we can ensure our trips continue to be the best they can be. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of the trip you're interested in, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.

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  • Reviewed March 2019
    Eleanor Freckleton

    Snowshoeing in Transylvania

    This was my first snowshoeing holiday and despite being a bit apprehensive beforehand I absolutely loved it. Everything combined to make it a fantastic holiday - a get away location in the middle of the national park, a very homely hotel with superb food and hospitality, stunning scenery on each walk and a very interesting daytrip to some of the local places of interest. Add to that a really friendly group of fellow travellers and it truly was a week to remember.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It was a week full of experiences, but for me the last two walks were the best. The walk to Bran Castle took us through some beautiful countryside, and the castle itself was very interesting (our guide also advised that this was the best time of year to visit as you may have to queue for up to two hours in the summer to get into the castle). Our last walk through the gorge to the Piatra Craiului mountains was also stunning. It was quite a slog up to the mountain hut, but well worth it for the views, as well as the soup and mulled wine we enjoyed inside the hut.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thomas was a star - I liked his relaxed style and his bad jokes! We had a full group of sixteen people, so he had to work hard to make sure that everyone was coping okay with the terrain. He made sure that we had all the vital information for each day's itinerary and generally went above and beyond to make our holiday as enjoyable as possible.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The hotel is quite isolated in the national park - no other bars or restaurants around. I loved the week away from it all but don't pick this holiday if you want a busier nightlife. Linked to this, take plenty of supplies with you, e.g. toiletries and snacks for the walks, as it is the middle of the holiday before you get a chance to stock up on such items. Be aware that there are a lot of working dogs in the neighbourhood. I was never woken up by them howling, but I know that some of the others in the group did find it a bit of a problem some nights. Also, make sure that you have a good level of fitness. I am a keen hill-walker so did not find it a problem, but on balance I felt that this Grade 3 holiday was more difficult than a Grade 3 summer walking holiday with Exodus.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you want to try something a bit different, then I would highly recommend this holiday. Indeed, I have already stated looking at the various options for another snowshoeing holiday with Exodus next year.
  • Reviewed January 2019
    Conor Carr

    A great intro to snow-shoeing in a really beautiful place

    A great intro to snow-shoeing in a really beautiful place, with 'warm up days' to learn how to do it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The beautiful scenery and lots of snow was definitely a highlight of the trip for me, helped by a nice, friendly group of people, great leader and hospitable, generous hosts at the Vila.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very good! Thomas is a great leader, he looked after everyone well, and knows a lot about the area and history and has good humour too.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't forget your yaktrax, gaiters and lots of layers of clothing! You will be cold at the beginning of the treks but warm up quickly so it's good to have the option of taking layers off. Although the breakfast and evening meal are substantial (plenty for everyone), I advise taking extra snacks for lunch and a thermos flask for hot tea.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A great trip for those wanting an intro to snowshoeing. This is a beautiful area, full of history.. I'd also suggest a day or two in Bucharest to visit the parliament building and museums (history museum was interesting)
  • Reviewed March 2018
    Simon Barber

    A very fine and scenic trip!

    A good week in the foothills of the Carpathians. The hotel, the Vila Hermani, was excellent. Even included 3 friendly hounds, one or two of which followed us most days as "free agents." Not the most challenging snowshoe trip I've been on, it'd be good for a newcomer to the sport. Wonderful scenery, good snow, very remote + unspoiled territory. Our guide, Thomas, really knew every path on the mountain!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    High points - 1:visiting Bram Castle, a very fine piece of architecture. 2. The final day, up to a mountain hut in the snows. Helping un-ditch the snowmobile a mile down the trail that got stuck carrying the resupply sledge. 3. 2 days up a very major gorge, 400' cliffs on either side! In England that'd be festooned with climbers - there, there's so much of it nobody even notices!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thomas really does know every trail on the mountain.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be fit. It's not the most strenuous snowshoe I've done, but deep, soft snow and steep slopes are arduous.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It's excellent value, in the Villa Hermani the beer is only £1 a bottle, and the local plum brandy (Tuica) you really have to try!
  • Reviewed March 2018
    ANDREW GRUN

    TRANSYLVANIA WINTER WALK & SNOWSHOE

    Wonderful snowy scenery in the forests. Expert guide (Thomas Oyntzen) with great historical knowledge of the area. Great historical buildings built to resist invasion from the Turkish empire. Very pretty mountain farming villages built on very steep grazing land, which is very hard to farm. Great wildlife to view. Very comfortable hotel with lovely food.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the wildlife: bears, chamoix, bats and the steep rocky mountain scenery.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thomas Oyntzen. Very helpful generally, particularly with snowshoeing and knowledgeable about the local history and local routes to explore. Spoke very good English and gave very detailed explanations of local history and the peoples involved. Had obviously studied history to an academic level. There was a lot to explain in this area, where there was often conflict between the Austrian and Turkish empires and buildings like churches were often fortified to resist invasion. There was a lot of interesting historical facts to learn about a country, which was very different to Britain.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Come prepared for real deep snow and cold weather. A real Winter experience in a completely different landscape to Britain.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Very interesting holiday offering good exercise in deep snow. Great natural scenery.
  • Reviewed March 2018
    Leanne & Michiel Nijemeisland

    Winter Wanderings

    We had never snowshoed before so were a bit apprehensive before the trip, but our nerves quickly dissolved when we arrived. Villa Hermani was excellent, with a strong focus on good quality local dishes and a wholesome experience. The owners Hermann and Katharina are very hospitable and welcoming. We had loads of fresh snow so the conditions for this snowshoeing trip couldn’t have been better. The trip was more tiring than regular hiking, though still was very enjoyable, and the mountain scenery was stunning. Snowshoes and poles are provided; you just need to take a day pack for extra layers, yak traks, lunch, snacks and a thermos of herbal tea.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Bran castle was one of the selling points of the trip, and was great to see. We also enjoyed the walks through the forest areas and the peace and tranquility. We took one of the villa's dogs with us on every trip and it was a joy to watch them having so much fun in the snow.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thomas was a great group leader. He changed the itinerary to suit the weather conditions and was very attune to safety. He let the group spread out during the walks, depending on personal pace, but would stop regularly to regather and check in on everyone. He shared his wealth of local knowledge and experience and was informative and interesting. I’d be very pleased if every tour leader was as engaged as Thomas – he is definitely one of the good ones.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you keep fit in the lead up to the trip and don’t worry about the distances for the longer walks, they are all achievable and the longer walks tend to be less steep. For people who are not great with heights some of the steep sections are nerve-racking but achievable. Don't bother taking a water bladder the pipe just freezes over no mater how well insulated.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A great winter holiday.
  • Reviewed February 2018
    Jo Kent

    Stunning scenery

    We took part in this group tour in February 2018. It was the first time we had visited Romania and it was fascinating to learn about its history and experience its wild beauty. Pros: Very well organised from start to finish; we felt well looked after. Food at the hotel was delicious, and we were well catered for as veggies. Good variety of walking with stunning scenery. The area is very unspoilt and most days we did not see another person once we got into the mountains. The country has reasonable prices for food and drink. Our guide, Holger, plus the staff at the hotel made sure we all got where we needed to go safely. We were lucky to be in a good group of fellow travellers who we got on very well with. Flights and transfers were very good. Cons: Although the food was delicious be prepared that there is no choice for dinner options (as if often the case in chalet accommodation). At breakfast there is no juice, and the buffet choice is not huge. Be warned that there are lots of dogs living outside of the houses in the village, and sometimes they bark all night. If you’re a light sleeper, take ear plugs. In room 6 we also had a creaky bed and ended up putting the mattresses on the floor to get a good night’s sleep. The trip is rated as moderate. I am pretty fit and have completed two Moonwalks (walking marathons), and I found the two longer walks quite challenging. Ice under foot plus the elevation gain made these walks tough, so you’ll need to be fairly fit or a regular walker, not a novice. The yak traks recommended in the packing list are really essential when there is ice under foot.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Stunning mountain views in the middle of nowhere.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Holger was very friendly and obviously very knowledgable. He looked after us well. Holger is quite laid back - I don’t think anyone would mind if he was stricter with us about staying together in a group, telling us when and where we need to meet, etc.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take ear plugs and the best yak traks you can afford.
  • Reviewed February 2018
    John Marsh

    adventure in the snow

    First time I have done this type of holiday and had never done snowshoeing. the accommodation was in a stunning area. with views of hills and mountains all round. the hosts/owners were very friendly and helpful. the hotel was very good. the walks were varied, but because of the weather involved lots of snow. day one was a short walk of about 14km but involved snowshoeing in places which were vital in place. day 2 was a long walk, it snow most of the time as we walked through Gorges and over hills( the gorge was used in the filming of Movie Cold mountain) Day 3 and 4 both were both short walk but hard walks Day 5 was a day of from walking. visit to bear sanctuary, walled church and town of Brasov, were we had free time. and then a meal in a restuarant as a group day 6 was a long hard walk, which i did not do due a little niggling muscle injury. the whole holiday was a great time tough but fun with stunning views. our walking Guide Holger was every you want, he was imformative, helpful, funny at times and above all you felt safe on the walks, he always made sure the group was not strung out to far. i would recommend the hoilday to anyone who wants a walking work out but also stunning landscapes, although snow cannot be gauranteed , we were lucky.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    completing the 22-24km walk and still be laughing at the end of it although tired.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Holger was a first class leader as I said earlier, he was everything you want in a leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    you need to be relatively fit, and be prepared for tough terrain, depending on weather.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    great hoilday
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Kathleen Ramsey

    Snowshoeing in Transylvania

    This trip provides a varied programme of walking/snowshoeing in beautiful scenery, with visits to a bat cave, a bear sanctuary, Bran Castle, a fortified church and the medieval town of Brasov. Physically, two of the longer days were quite demanding, so a reasonable level of fitness is required. We stayed in a very comfortable and remote guesthouse in the mountains; the food was excellent and plentiful, special diets were accommodated and our hosts were friendly and spoke excellent English. We were part of a very sociable and well-travelled group, and came back with plenty of ideas for other trips. Romania has a fascinating if troubled history and our guide, Holger, was very knowledgeable and provided a good insight into both ancient and more recent periods.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We were lucky to have plenty of snow, so the snowshoeing was a delight, especially on the clear bright days. The scenery was beautiful, although we did have one day when in snowed throughout and so views were minimal.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader, Holger, was capable and considerate, with a good dry sense of humour. He took a while to get used to the group, but became more sociable as the week went on.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you haven't snowshoed before, make sure that you are confident that your showshoes fit correctly and have no defects before you set off. Although plenty of bread and a variety of fillings are provided for packed lunches, there are no snacks, so I would recommend that you take some, as we definitely needed extra calories between meals, especially on the two longer days. A travel kettle could be useful too. The temperatures were well below freezing, and the roads around the guesthouse and in the towns were very icy. We found our instep crampons very useful; other members of the group used Yaktrax or similar.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We travelled to Bucharest before the holiday started, and spent a couple of days exploring the city before joining the rest of the group. There was plenty to see; we especially enjoyed the Village Museum and a tour of the Palace of Parliament.
  • Reviewed January 2018
    M B

    Transylvania Winter Walk & Snowshoe

    Definitely a moderate trip ( in winter ) . Some challenges with packed ice / deep snow so a reasonable level of fitness would be helpful.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    getting through a couple of very steep , snow and ice packed sections of a couple of the walks

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thomas was full of historical info and local knowledge which he was more than happy to share. good sense of humour and encouragement when he thought it was needed.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    use clothing layer system, plus gaiters . Weather can be sunny / cold / rainy / snowy . There are times when you dont snow shoe but may need to walk in deeper snow as its safer than an icy path. Alternatively it could be muddy and gaiters do help keep you clean. Definitely take some shoe grippers that can fit onto your boots i.e. Yaktrax or those rubber /spiky things sold in many shops. Some paths are sheet packed ice and the grips give you that extra safety feature , but you will be putting on and taking off multiple times during a walk so make sure you are familiar with them. The paths vary depending on if they are in open / forest / gorge etc. If you can , carry an old hiking trousers belt / webbing/ bit of string . Its useful to help tie down the snow shoes onto your rucksack ( if you dont have side straps on the rucksack ) . The guesthouse is cosy and warm , plenty of hot water. No TV in rooms . You make your lunch sandwich at the breakfast table in mornings and carry it with you. Might be worth carrying your own trail bars / jelly babies etc if you like to snack en route . A flask to carry your own tea ( the guest house will fill with hot water or fruit tea ) may also be useful in cold weather. You really only need a bit of spending money as one night in a restaurant in Brasov ( I had 2 beers plus main plus starter and it was 60 Lei or 12 pounds total . Roughly 5 Lei to the pound ) . The guest house runs a tab that you settle on final night. You just help yourself to beers ( one beer is 5 or 6 lei depending on brand , teas in afternoon 4 lei ) from fridge , mark it on your list and settle at end . The guest house is in middle of nowhere , really isolated . So no town or shops to walk to etc.
  • Reviewed February 2017
    Gillian Helme

    Snowshoeing in Romania

    A really good, interesting holiday. Rather more moderate than leisurely but very enjoyable. The group had a good age range and we all got along very well. The weather was glorious for all but one day and the guest house was lovely. The food was very good and the staff were all very friendly.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Definitely the bear sanctuary was the highlight but the whole trip was quite something. The scenery is breathtaking and the mix of ancient and modern is really interesting.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Traian was very engaged with the group, friendly and entertaining. He was very knowledgeable about the history of Romania and was a good guide on the visit to Brasov.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I think we all agreed that this was a more moderate than leisurely trip. We didn't always need the snowshoes and YakTraks were very useful. You do need a decent torch for the bat cave.
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