It was a wonderful opportunity to explore the beautiful Rhodope mountains at more or less our own pace. Despite a misunderstanding/language problem which meant that we did not get our tour notes, route maps and walk notes until the last few days, we muddled along with the help of a good hotel local map and online notes saved, and thoroughly enjoyed the walks and the "nature". It would have been difficult to do it in these remote areas in the time that we had without the organisation of the tour.
Although we were initially disturbed to find that much of the walking was along roads, being used to walking along narrow bush tracks in Australia, it actually was very good for this time of year, as the wildflowers, butterflies, insects etc were wonderful in the more open areas, and the roads were not busy. And views were splendid.
The trip was fantastic. Great scenery, hiking, and the complicated logistics of transportation, reservations, taking us to trailheads, etc. was done seamlessly. Everyone was was friendly and helpful, and Zbulo is clearly devoted to making sure that everyone has a safe and fun trip. The meals were mostly traditional and made with fresh and local ingredients. I only rated them slightly lower becaue the menu became repetitive over several days, even as it stayed consistently tasty and satisfying. I wish I had learned more about Albanian history, culture and language before the trip, and would have loved a reading list.
A really good holiday, excellent accommodation, transfers worked well, good value for money
Great holiday. Well organised in every way. The area was perfect for walking.
Transportation in also n/a other than a provided taxi to take us to the edge of Porto. Also, other than breakfast, meals were not provided. As for breakfast, it was for the most part decent and the best breakfast was at Hotel Lux, Santiago de Compostella.
Accommodation was mostly very good with one exception which I felt to be not on par with all the rest.
Having the logistics figured out for the Camino was a very good choice for me. The overall service was good but there a few points of improvement that I think would be. beneficial.
- responsiveness from operators prior to the tour. I had a hard time getting timely responses
-return of phone calls. I called Tourradar before leaving and instead of a phone call, I got an email that was not client friendly
-on the first day, the driver left me at my hotel. I asked for one minute to use the restroom and he left without saying a word. this is unacceptable behavior; it is a vacation after all. The hotel called green walks to have him return and he did; again, why is this even happening to begin with?
-AC should be available and in working condition in all accommodations. I was not able to sleep well several nights due to this
-I did the Camino with another couple and in one of the towns, my hotel was significantly less value and I had to change. operator was friendly and helpful, but this meant that I had to transport my suitcase on my own after a very long hot day. I believe I am entitled to a monetary compensation for this hassle of $150. this happened on another location as well, but I did not have the energy to deal with this again (town was Padron).
-hotel in Padron town should be closer to town
I hope to hear back from you soon on this.
Operator's comment: Dear Gabriela, I am Alex from the Natural Adventure Company. While I regret that some components of the holiday did not meet your expectations, there are a few things I would like to clarify. Regarding communication, I think we always reacted promptly when you contacted us directly. I hope you appreciate that we managed to organise your holiday with only a two-week notice. The Camino is a very popular itinerary and booking a last minute Camino walk in June is a real challenge. We still managed to book you into private en-suite rooms in clean and nice hotels located in close vicinity to the trail, and please note that some of them were not our default hotels due to lack of availability. Sorry about the driver attitude on first day, this is unacceptable and we will for sure not be using this driver anymore. I am however happy that you appreciate the friendliness and attitude of our local team - but they are not able to do the impossible, especially on such a short notice. Most of our clients book our Camino itineraries at least 8 months in advance and then we have the time to discuss all details including the list of hotels and make the necessary changes if needed.
Great experience! What we liked most was the variety of excursions and places to visit. A must sightseeing is Katrin Bad Ischl and walking around the mountain. We loved Hallstatt, and it was great to be a bit outside of the crowd. Another must visit is Salzwelten. We enjoyed the variety of transport we could take. The hotels to stay are fine. We enjoyed a lot at Zinkenbachmühle. The swimming pool after a hiking is a great option. Breakfasts were good, specially at Sandwirt. It's a good area and we think we have plenty of choices to explore in future holidays. Please inform us about new tours.
Doing this hike was a great experience - it was not busy at all and so there was much time for contemplating life and truly experiencing the beauty of your surroundings. The trail can be challenging at times - the beach and dunes walk was particularly difficult; not only because of the terrain but also because of the heat (32+ degrees) and there being no shade. The hike up the hills was a little challenging at certain points, but overall not too difficult. The view from the top of the hills was phenomenal. Finding the beginning of the trail was a little difficult as the directions weren't as clear as when you were on the trail and the yellow dots guided your way; it would have been helpful to have had one of the people at the accommodation locations take us to the start of the trail. Breakfast is not served early enough to get on the trail at an early time in the morning, so if you want to eat before you hike, you can't really start the hike until at 8:30am. Not all accommodations provided water, so you have to find a little store to stock up before you begin your hike. A couple of the accommodation locations were very basic - it would be helpful to offer some options for those who would like a few more amenities.
A well organised trip in a great location. Challenging walks but at a nice pace with comfortable accommodation. Good instructions for self-guided. Recommended.