Turtle, Ecuador

Your words, not ours

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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.

Simply use the selector below to search our trip reviews and start reading real feedback from real Exodus travellers who have ‘been there and done that’!

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  • Reviewed June 2018
    Pam Peers

    A wonderfully authentic Bulgarian experience; interesting walks, comfortable accommodation and a lovely group

    This trip provides a great introduction to a very special, unspoilt part of Europe which maintains traditional practices in agriculture and food production. Yagodina is a real find and I hope its uniqueness can be retained; the local people were friendly and the Yagodina Family Hotel offers a genuinely homely atmosphere, including comfortable accommodation and plenty of interesting and well presented food. Maria, the proprietor, runs an impressive operation and is always available to ensure that guests' needs are met. The walks were well chosen and the week's itinerary gave an excellent overview of the Rodopi mountains, including insights into the history, culture, flora and fauna of the area.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Lunch most days was in beautiful meadows with masses of colourful Spring flowers and great views of the mountains - a real joy! The traditional Bulgarian singing and dancing on our final night was very enjoyable - Maria's mother and her team were an inspiration, and it was nice to see three generations of the family joining in the fun.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Svetla is excellent, and her passion and affection for the area were infectious. She is very well organised, always cheerful and positive, and has a great sense of humour. Her style in leading the walks was relaxed, whilst highly professional and she always ensured that all members of the group were comfortable with the pace.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you have time, stay an extra night or two in Sofia but make sure you join the group at the airport for the transfer to Yagodina - this can be arranged via the Exodus Office when you book. Sofia is an interesting and historic city, with impressive Roman ruins, a thriving music and cultural scene and some excellent restaurants. It is compact and easy to get round with a modern metro system. There are free city walking tours, which are highly recommended - tips for the local, well-informed, English-speaking guides are optional but well deserved
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Sue Totterdell

    If you go down in the woods today....

    A superb holiday in beautiful countryside, staying in an excellent local hotel with walks that make the most of what the region has to offer.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Realising that bears were probably within a kilometre or so of us as we walked through the forest. Julian's enthusiasm about all things 'bear' was catching. His expertise was not, however, limited to bears. The most photographed moment was on the last night when a small group of ladies from the village came to share traditional songs and dances. Seeing fellow walkers joining in with enthusiasm was a special moment.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Julian is a superbly knowledgeable leader. His long association with the region makes him an expert in the area's cultural heritage, as well as in local flora and fauna. His extensive knowledge of the mountain tracks and paths meant that there was always an alternative possible if weather conditions dictated a change of route.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for changes in the daily routes - the mountain weather is unpredictable and thunderstorms meant we had to abandon one climb for a more sheltered walk. Late snow also meant we did not reach the highest point described in the trip notes. The alternative were always carefully explained and fascinating. Bring waterproofs. Delicious four course meals can become a habit. Be prepared either to keep up the strenuous walking routine at home or suffer hunger pangs for the first few days at home.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is a great way to visit Bulgaria. You could add on a day or so to see Sofia but the mountains are sufficient to justify the trip. The orchids were plentiful and the traces of bears were a wonderful reminder of the varied wildlife that makes its home in the region.
  • Reviewed November 2016
    Joanna Z

    Beautiful walks in a remote part of Bulgaria

    It was a very enjoyable trip in a remote part of the country. I didn't hear about Rodopi mountains before so didn't know what to expect. The scenery is absolutely stunning - mountains, forests, gorges, caves - all so untouched and beautiful! I enjoyed all the walks and we never saw any other walkers - it was amazing to have it all just to ourselves. We also had a chance to see how local people live. It was a nice, relaxing week and the group bonded pretty quickly!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It is difficult to choose one moment as the whole trip was so beautiful. But I really enjoyed Sveti Ilia hike, the views were breathtaking and we even managed to see some wall creepers!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader was great, very informative and knew the area really well. Nothing was too much trouble, she was always willing to help. It was easy to see that she was passionate about what she does and that she really enjoys showing her country to foreign visitors.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You might want to bring a lunch box with you. And don't forget a sunscreen!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    You will never be hungry - every meal I had in Yagodina was absolutely delicious and the portions were huge. It was good to try local dishes, it was all home-made and very tasty. Alcohol was very cheap, everybody was pleasantly surprised at the end of the stay that our bills were so low!
  • Reviewed September 2016
    Robert Walden

    Bulgaria Rodopi Mtns

    Good walking in the Rodopi hills -Derbyshire on a larger scale (but with a lot more trees).

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The walks were a little "samey" as many of the individual views are masked by the extensive conifer plantations but the viewing platform from St Elijah (Sveti Iliya) Ridge on Day 6 gave an impressive and unique aspect and from where we saw wall creepers on the rocks just below and could watch their red flashes in flight. Later the Yagodina Cave was an impressive side attraction.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very good. Cheerful and willing - mixed well with the entire group. (Danced really well!)

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you take a large lunch box. The food is hearty but dull (a lot of cheese with every meal - especially breakfast!) - I would seriously suggest taking a bottle of ketchup or favourite brown sauce plus a supply of your favourite tea bags if you are not an avid coffee drinker. Beer, wine and coffee is very cheap - your bar bill will be a pleasant surprise!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The scenery is potentially stunning - much more dramatic than my favourite Derbyshire. However, some limited management of the trees is required to provide more open vistas and specific viewpoints, especially in and above the steep gorges. Imagine going to the English Lake District and being unable to see the lakes? As a consequence I am unlikely to return .
  • Reviewed August 2016
    Linda and David S

    Rodopi Mountains

    This trip was delightfully different from other European trips that we have enjoyed. The local people were warm and friendly and appeared content to work in the fields or sit with the cows in a high pasture all day. The difference between our fast paced life style and their post communist lives was marked. The scenery was beautiful, very 'vertical', with rare pre-ice age flowers. Even the long drive from and too Sofia was interesting and our driver surely the most competent in Bulgaria.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    This is a difficult one. Was it seeing ancient Soviet agricultural equipment, people working in the fields, the prospect of seeing bears and wolves? Maybe it was meeting local ladies who were chatting and embroidering slippers, or dancing with the folk singers from the village? Probably, it was just the sheer beauty and tranquillity of the area.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nelly's love and knowledge of Bulgaria shone through at every meadow, mountain and forest. Nothing was too much trouble and her care was always evident. She was an outstanding leader and made this a wonderful and exciting trip for us both.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take an empty plastic sandwich box for packed lunches, and lots of memory for your camera.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Food is local, traditional and good - don't expect to loose weight!
  • Reviewed June 2016
    Ronald Bowater

    Rodopi Mountains

    Excellent trip walking in the mountains and meadows of the Rodopi mountains. Lovely family run hotel with exellent food - very welcoming. We had a very peaceful and relaxing time in Yagodina and the walks were lovely - especially the time spent in the beautiful wildflower meadows.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking through the fantastic wild flower meadows with no one else around.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent. Nelli is a superb leader in all respects. Very kind and caring of her group at all times. She made our stay something special to remember. Many thanks.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just enjoy the scenery and the relaxed atmosphere.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip is very good value for money - would recommend it to anyone who enjoys walking in beautiful scenery.
  • Reviewed May 2016
    Beccy Reese

    A wonderful get away in the mountains

    A good week's walking in a rural location hosted in a great locally run hotel. This week was everything that I expected based on the detailed trip notes, the walks and the hotel were as described and ticked all the boxes for me. I spent a couple of additional days in Sofia which was a good balance.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Meeting the local women for an evening of song & dance was fantastic and the cave trips were a fabulous bonus. Being out in great countryside away from the city was the best part - day after day of lovely tranquil walks

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Svetla had a great sense of humour and was a lovely, calm guide.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I'd suggest taking a walking pole, although as lots of the walks are through forest a suitable stick can be found en route. Some of the ascents are steep and in wet weather pretty slippery. The group return flight was very early so would advise booking your own. If you stay in Sofia check out the restaurants Made in Home and Made in Blue - although you may need to make a reservation.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Read the trip notes & if it sounds like a holiday for you then I'm sure you'll have a great time.
  • Reviewed August 2015
    Peter Jackson

    Rodopi Mtns

    A very good holiday with good mix of people

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Every day in the mountains was great

    What did you think of your group leader?

    svetoslava was a very cheerful and a caring leader. she ought to have got us to introduce us to each other on first night and to our very good bus driver. Also to have got us to exchange e.mails before we left. We left at different times so was a little difficult.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just to order a brochure!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No
  • Reviewed August 2015
    Peter Jackson

    Rodopi mtns

    A very good holiday ,good mix in group. Good hotel food and service.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Every day in mountains

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Good, but could have got us to introduce ourselves, and to our very good bus driver, and arranged an exchange of e.mails as we all left at different flights.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just to order your brochure!
  • Reviewed August 2015
    Peter Jackson

    Rodopi Mtns

    A very enjoyable holiday with a good mix of people. Good hotel and food ,service was excellent.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Every day in mountains, great scenery.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader was good, but could have got us to introduce us to each other, like other trips I have been on, also to the very good bus driver, she ought to have arranged to have us exchanged e.mails, we left at different times for flight back so was a rush.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just to order your brochure !

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No
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