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Customer Reviews

Average Rating: Red-stars

Total number of reviews: 1,843

Europe's Last Frontier AB

Tour Duration 14 Days
  • Lake Ohrid
  • Porto Palermo
  • Beautiful Albania
  • Kruja Bazaar
  • Scenic trails
  • Tour Style: Classic
  • Tour Type: Small Groups
  • Tour Pace: Moderate
  • Tour Comfort: Standard
 

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14 reviews for this tour

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Tour notes

Each departure date has it's own dedicated tour note, detailing all you need to know about that tour. Whether you've already booked, or weighing up your options, please choose carefully the relevant itinerary for you.

We have the following different versions of the Europe's Last Frontier tour available at present.

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10 , 17/10/13

Name

Johanna Free

Tour Name

Europe's last frontier

Tour Code

AB

What Was The Highlight Or Most Memorable Moment Of Your Tour

There wasn't one highlight for me but one sticks out and that was the walk in the Llogora National Park. The weather changed really quickly and the drive up the mountains was quite a challenge and the visability as practically nil but Diu our driver was brilliant.Because of the weather the walk the next day was on the road. It was wet and cold but quite beautiful, the low clouds hiding my fellow walkers.A strange highlight for a wonderful trip to a facinating country.

Tour Leader Name

Endrit

How Was Your Explore Tour Leader

Endrit is a great guide who gives a good insight to Albania.Any group is lucky to have him as a leader and Diu as a driver. They make a great team.Diu is a careful and calm driver in a country where all other drivers are less so. The banter between the two always made us laugh.

What Tips Would You Give To Someone Else Booking This Tour

Have no preconceived ideas about Albania or Macedonia. They are countries full of surprises.

Do You Have Anything Else To Add

Great tour,Great team,Great group.Have Good footwear and beware the raki but do have a cocktail in the sky tower in Tirana the view of the city as the sun sets is amazing and a great way to get to know your fellow travellers

 
8 , 26/09/13

Name

Mike Bright

Tour Name

Europe's Last Frontier

Tour Code

AB

What Was The Highlight Or Most Memorable Moment Of Your Tour

It's difficult to pick out highlights, as each day brought new ones. The mountainous scenery was splendiferous, and I never tired of looking at it. On other Explore holidays I mostly read or write on the bus, but this holiday I hardly did eiter of them, on account of the scenery. Other highlights include: swimming in the sea (and getting knocked off my feet twice by 2 rogue waves); bathing in hot springs (although Explore ought to change this description to warm); releasing the inner child in myself on various funfare rides we encountered at various cities; the steep cobbled twisty streets of Berat; the electric storm we experienced one evening; visiting a local school that served 5 pupils after a pleasant walk up a mountainside near Benja; the group experience (as we all gelled, bar one); the tour guide and drivers' expertise at their jobs (including the friendly banter between them); the hairpin bends (which weren't as scary as I thought they were going to be); views from the walks that we went on in Llogora National Park; collecting conkers in Berati etc, etc, etc

Tour Leader Name

Endrit Necaj

How Was Your Explore Tour Leader

Endrit was excellent, and he had a great relationship with the bus driver Diu (who could eat, and eat, and eat!). Endrit was knowledgeable, in control, very personable and as a measure of his abilities, I voted for him in the Tour Leader Awards. You will not be disappointed if he becomes your guide, nor will you be disappointed with Diu, if he becomes your driver.

What Tips Would You Give To Someone Else Booking This Tour

Meals cost my wife and I between £6 - £9 for both of us. That's a main meal, and 1 drink each, soft or beer. Internet access was available in all hotels, sometimes even in hotel rooms. Elsewhere, internet cafes were conveniently placed. When travelling between towns, we invariably arrived at the next hotel about lunchtime, with a few hours for lunch before launching into a walking tour of somewhere. Morning departures were mostly around 9am. If you get big notes when exchanging at airport, just change them to smaller ones at the 3 exchange bureaus situated close to hotel in Tirana. 200 or 500 Lek are good notes to have. Most people you will encounter speak a little English, and every restaurant we went to (and they were never the tour guide recommended ones) had the menu in English as well.

Do You Have Anything Else To Add

Some hotel bathrooms were a tight fit. Hotel porters were mostly non-existent. All hotels, bar one at Permetti had lifts anyway. Hotel breakfasts are what you pay for, OK with nothing lavish. All hotels were of a comfortable standard, and unlike most other holidays we've been on, everything worked in the room. If you're a group of 16 or less, you'll get a 16 seater bus. Any more, and you'll get a 35 seater bus! I can't see Albania being ruined by mass tourism for many, many years to come. We encountered hardly any beggars or street hawkers - basically, you'll have a hassle free holiday. When you're in Macedonia, they no longer accept Euros, so exchange your money at the conveniently placed exchange bureau when you get to Ohrid.

 
8 , 25/09/13

Name

John Sturley

Tour Name

Europe's Last Frontier

Tour Code

AB

What Was The Highlight Or Most Memorable Moment Of Your Tour

Gjirokastra, Berat, Butrint and Apollonia

Tour Leader Name

Endrit

How Was Your Explore Tour Leader

Endrit is friendly and helpful - a great ambassador for his country. Diu drove very well and safely, even if everyone else didn't!

What Tips Would You Give To Someone Else Booking This Tour

Take shoes/sandals with good grip. The condition of roads and pavements leave a lot to be desired. The cobbles in Gjirokastra and Berat, etc are smooth and slippery.

Do You Have Anything Else To Add

Albania is the poor cousin of the Balkans, but is really beautiful with lots to offer, if only they would cure the rubbish and bad roads problems. It boasts 2 UNESCO Heritage sites at Gjirokastra and Berat, as well as 2 ancient cities in ruins at Butrint and Apollonia. The people were friendly, the food and drink were good and very cheap, and (oh yes) it was warm and sunny. Go there, but only after you have exhausted other destinations on your wish-lists.

 
10 , 06/09/13

Name

Sally Thorne

Tour Code

AB

What Was The Highlight Or Most Memorable Moment Of Your Tour

I think the very best bit - although there were lots of wonderful moments - was dancing the night away at an Albanian wedding on our last evening in the country. It was pointless to think about the journey the next day; the only thing to do was dance! Another highlight which stands out was the seaside town of Saranda where we had a great evening - and this is from someone who is not a seaside person at all - but Saranda felt special!

Tour Leader Name

Edjon Maliqaj

How Was Your Explore Tour Leader

Ed was great. He was really good fun with brilliant organisational skills. He had a facility for helping us to gradually come to understand and gow to love Albania. And he drew the driver, Fati, into becoming a member of the group which worked wonderfully. Fati controlled the bus with enormous skill, never demonstrated better than on the hairpin bends of the mountain passes. I was sitting at the front of the bus and felt relaxed throughout.

What Tips Would You Give To Someone Else Booking This Tour

It's a good holiday if you want to relax as well as see a fascinating country with wonderful scenery. I find some Explore holidays are a bit frantic in pace so this was perfect for me. I had time to take it all in instead of being rushed on to the next thing. There was some walking at intervals but not masses - seemed just right to me.

Do You Have Anything Else To Add

It would have been even better if we hadn't stopped in Vlora but had been able to sample northern Albania by going to Shkodra instead. Vlora was interesting but the northern part of the country remains tantalisingly unknown. As it is I'll have to go back under my own steam at some point since I don't think I'd want to do the walking tour. Loved Albania - it's such an interesting country with so much going for it.

 
10 Linda Harris (Explore Staff), 01/02/13

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

I do not have one single highlight but the whole country was one big highlight.  Great weather, stunning scenery, fascinating history and wonderful historical sites to explore.

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10 Elspeth Berry, 28/08/12

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

The Roman ruins at Butrint were wonderful, and having several hours to explore them at leisure was perfect (there are very good explanations in English, and if you have the Bradt guide that sets out a walking tour).  The churches overlooking Lake Ohrid were beautiful - it's such a fantastic setting.  Berat was a lovely town to be based in.  

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0 Simon Pugsley, 17/07/12

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

In general the scenery on the tour is wonderful, especially travelling through the mountain regions. As for the sights I most enjoyed Benja and the cobbled stone towns of Gjirokastra, Berat and Kruja.

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10 HF, 28/06/12

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

Albania is a fantastic country with beautiful scenery and lovely, kind people.  I particularly enjoyed Permeti with the visit to the village and the hot springs, Macedonia and Lake Ohrid and the promenade in Berat.  But everywhere was lovely and each town had a character of it's own.

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1 A.M, 30/04/12

A great place to visit if you don't want too many tourists in a country! Lovely scenery, snow-capped mountains and spring flowers, very beautiful. However, April probably too cold to go to Albania. All hotels clean and had hot water. Some hotels more basic than others, but still clean. Had two nights in a few hotels, not just one, as per itinerary. Best hotel was at Gjirokastra. Also a wonderful little town - a highlight of the trip! Not possible to do the 'hot springs bathing' near to Permeti in April. Permeti itself 'closed in April', we wondered why we went there, but apparently it's lively in summer. There is a lot of hill climbing and many steps. Trip should be graded 3 for active, not 2. Food ok, very good in some places and poor in others. The Albanians tend to favour cold cooked food 'swimming' in cold olive oil, be aware if you're not keen on that! I'm vegetarian and found it a good country to visit food wise (except for the cold cooked food, couldn't get used to that). Kruja is also a wonderful place, the bazar there is the only place we were 'pestered' by shop owners, I use the word loosely, nowhere near as bad as other countries for pestering. Great museums at Kruja and Tirana. Apollonia and Butrinti good archaeological sites. Museum at Durresi closed for refurbishment through 2012 (so we were told). Saranda is a bit of an "Albanian Benidorm", quite a culture shock after quiet places like Permeti, Elbasan, Korca and Gjirokastra. Ohrid and St Naum in Macedonia are wonderful places, the lake at Ohrid is stunningly beautiful. Berat is a lovely little town. Take a few Euros for Macedonia, it will save time changing money in Albania. On the whole, a good trip, great Albanian guide and bus driver. Small group, only 10 in our group, a good number. A lot of free time, felt the tour could easily have been done in 10 days. Maybe in the summer, time is filled better that cold and wet April. Snow in Llogora National Park was pleasant to see.

 
0 Renee V, 19/12/11
If you want to go to a country in Europe that is not overrun with tourists, Albania is the country for you...get there before word gets out about it. The scenery is breathtaking...you get a bit of everything on this tour...mountains, beaches, ruins, beautiful towns, interesting history, great food, and friendly people.     One highlight for me was trying to get lost in the town of Berat, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Another UNESCO World Heritage Town is Gjirokastra, where we stayed in a former mansion-turned guesthouse perched on a hill with an incredible view of the castle and town.     If you like ancient Greek and Roman ruins, the World Heritage Site of Butrint is top notch, but not overrun with tourists.     I am a vegetarian, and was not disappointed in the variety of food available. Everything was fresh and plentiful...due to the location of Albania, they have influences from the Balkans, Greece, Turkey, and Italy. So, I had grilled peppers, grilled veggies, grilled cheeses, stuffed peppers, pizzas, pastas, burek, and gorgeous salads. I did not go hungry. Plus, the food was not expensive. Be sure to try the Raki, the local liquor, even though in my opinion it tastes like paint thinner (some people liked it).    One funny thing that happened...when we checked into our gorgeous hotel in the beach resort town of Sarande, there was a dialog between our tour leader Edjon (Ed) and the hotel manager in Albanian. Ed then turned to us, smiling, and said he had good news and bad news. We said we wanted the bad first. He said the manager says there is a group of Bulgarians in the hotel, and they are a bunch of pigs. They eat the breakfast buffet at 7am, and eat everything in sight, and cause a big mess. The good news is, he says if we wait until 7:45, he promises we will have a beautiful breakfast buffet and we will not be disappointed. It was a really nice breakfast buffet. In fact, most of the hotel breakfasts were fantastic on this tour.    I was the only American in my tour group, and I found my fellow Explorers to be warm-hearted and enjoyable...even when I had to take some good-natured teasing about my American pronunciations.      I just can't say enough about this tour...is it obvious I liked it? (AB - 18th September 2011)
 
0 Richard Fenn, 27/10/11

This was an outstanding trip to a fascinating country. There were probably too many highlights to list them all here, but here goes:  The warm welcome from the Albanian people.  The drive from Korca to Permeti on a superb mountain road - with a brilliant lunch stop en route.  The coast road from Saranda to Llogara  Butrint - a fascinating place  Berati - probably my favourite place (even though I had the worst room in the hotel!)  Dinner - and live music and dancing (not a tourist show, absolutely packed with locals) - at the castle above Saranda and, probably most important of all, the group, our tour leader Endrit and driver Jonny.

And the "unofficial" highlights:  The back window falling out of the bus  Raki!  Being offered asylum in Albania by a guide who had heard about the riots in Britain.  My room in Kruja - with a huge whirlpool bath with two headrests (I was a solo traveller!)  Being told by our tour leader that breakfast was seven-and-a-half with eight-and-a-half tomorrow!  I could go on.   

To anyone thinking of going - go now, before more of the country gets like Saranda - or, even worse, Durresi. (AB -31st July 2011)

 
0 Deborah Moye, 15/08/11
Albania is a really cheap, safe & friendly country. It has stunning rural countryside, mountains, coast, & ancient roman ruins. Explore visits several amazing Ottoman towns nestled in the hill side. Albania is unique in terms of current religious practice & significant historically. Albania should be high on your priority list to visit before it gets touristy. ( AB - 9th July 2011)
 
0 CM ( for Polly Stevens), 15/08/11
If you're expectations in going to the most out of the way destination is to find "Western" standards, i.e  hairdryers and fancy shower heads in your bathrooms) this isn't the right trip for you.  However, if you're expecting White Mountains, rolling valleys,  beautiful  wildflowers in a place called Gjirokastra, then you've found the right trip.   Wait till Day 6.  You will be amazed! ( AB - 12 June 2011)
 
0 Mike Peterson, 22/09/10
Albania is one of the less developed tourist countries. For those who like to go 'off the beaten track', there is nowhere in Europe that is better. We arrived at the height of summer, and experienced a holiday with wall to wall sunshine for a fortnight. To get us into the swing of things our first day started with a walk along a narrow path to a lofty cave where prehistoric people had competed with bears and wolves for shelter. The afternoon was a complete contrast, with Tirana, Albania's capital, giving up its secrets to Explore's explorers. Throughout the trip majestic mountains vied with scenic seaside for our attention. We travelled on winding mountain roads, or alongside the spectacularly blue Ionian Sea from one unspoilt place to another, interspersed with sightseeing and scenic walks. Because the country is developing, it doesn't mean it's uncivilised, having plenty of excellent bars and restaurants, where we partook of the superb local food, excellent beer and mind numbing raki. By the end of the tour most of our group had developed lasting friendships. I want to go back next year. (AB- 8th August 2010)
 
 
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