1 independent reviews for Croatia self guided hiking vacation, Istria region

Reviews for Croatia self guided hiking vacation, Istria region

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review 1 Nov 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

We especially enjoyed our stay in Motovun, which was a beautiful place to spend a couple of nights, and the guesthouse had a beautiful terrace and outstanding breakfast. The hikes were, for the most part, varied and beautiful.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Request that the tour operator book you in the nicer hotel options.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

It probably benefited the local people who work in the restaurant industry.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Overall the vacation was good. But there were some critical components that made it less enjoyable than it could have been. - There was insufficient communication and organisation for daily pickups and lunch options. After the first two days, the tour operator neglected to tell us what time we’d be picked up the following day, so it was up to us to text them each evening to find out. They sometimes took several hours to respond, even on their so-called emergency number, which was a bit worrying at first. They also did not clearly explain our options for lunch: on a couple of days there were no lunch options available and we needed a picnic, but that wasn’t clearly explained to us the first time, so we didn’t have a picnic and just had to stick it out until a very late lunch; and on the second day, we had to proactively request that our driver take us to a supermarket so we could buy picnic provisions. - Several routes were much more difficult than described - extremely steep/slippery/overgrown with thorns - and took much more time than estimated. This may have been because of different weather and foliage conditions in the off-season, but it’s something that the tour operator should warn hikers about and, ideally, provide alternate routes when the planned trails exceed the "moderate" level. - The final hotel in Lovran was a huge disappointment. It was supposed to be a four-star hotel, but it was quite a bit worse than any of the previous three- or four-star accommodations. The air conditioning in the room wasn’t functioning (the staff said it had been turned off for the year, as the current warm weather was unexpected, so there was nothing to be done). So we had to rely on keeping the windows wide open, which unfortunately let in a horrible smell. The staff offered to switch us to another room on the same floor where the smell wasn’t quite so strong, so we did that. But in both of the rooms the windows were in the ceiling so you couldn’t see out except through the filthy skylights. - The first stop in Kaldanija was also a disappointment: the guesthouse was located on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, with no views, no picturesque surroundings, and no other guests - we were the only people staying there. The next nearest hotel, Casa Romantica la Parenzana, which is also used by Fiore and seemed much nicer when we stopped there for tea, was a 30-minute walk away. There were also problems with having enough hot water for showers, which took some time to remedy. The breakfasts weren’t adequate: presumably because we were the only guests, we were provided a fixed amount of food rather than a continental spread, and for some reason got even less on the second day than on the first. - The taxi driver who took us to the airport on our last day was not a very safe driver. He was regularly driving 2x the speed limit (80 in a 40 kph zone) on a winding coastal road, and was frequently fiddling with his papers, his coffee, and his mobile phone. We had certainly expected a higher level of safety, especially at a cost of 120 Euro. - This wasn’t a problem but just a suggestion: I would recommend that the tour operator guide book include more information about the routes so that people can learn where they come from, and about the villages and landmarks along the way. We were constantly wondering how the paths came to be, and how there were old stone walls in the middle of dense forests, and it would have been great to learn more about the origins and history.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Katie, Thank you for your feedback about our self guided tour. We will use your comments to improve our tour and service in future. Because of nature of our job we are not always able to tell schedule for next day until late afternoon previous day. This is the reason why we didn't answer you some of the days at same time as we get question. Transfers of clients are always from 8-9:30 in morning except if clients wants different. On first meetings with clients we are explaining that we will call hotel reception and leave the message for the clients about the transfer next day in most of the cases. Our emergency phone number is in our offer for our clients to fell more safe, they are coming from foreign country for a walks so our opinion is that is better to have some number they can reach 0-24 in case they get lost or have some big problems or issues. For that reason we have our emergency phone on call redirection in case no one is answering on emergency phone, call would be redirected to someones other phone from the agency. On our road book writes number of agency too. From our experience emergency phone was great service for clients and us. We apologize if we didn't mention information about the lunches. Most of the days have options for lunch. For the days where the restaurants are not reachable in time of lunch we are suggesting our clients to ask driver to stop in super/market for a picnic or if they prefer to buy previous day in market. Some of the towns (start points of the walks such us Grožnjan and Oprtalj) have small markets so there is possible to buy picnics too. We are aware that some of the clients would like shorter routes. So we are offering shorter routes and walking options too (except for the first day). On maps (not in instructions) which we are providing to our clients, there is shorter route option too. If someone wants to have shorter route we would need to know that information day before so we could prepare our schedule for different transfer next day and prepare instructions for shorter routes. We are mentioning information about shorter routes on our meeting points especially when the walking conditions are harder than usual (warm, heavy rain etc.) In our road book on first page there are some information about the possible problems on the routes, we are aware that clients cannot always remember every detail about the routes we mention on meeting. For our clients we are always looking for best accommodations and service. I will provide yours feedback to hotels and driver. We appreciate your suggestion about the more information of the trails and history of the area. We will consider this idea for our new road-book and instructions. On our meeting points with clients we are try to give as much information of the trip. We are explaining each day us much details as we can. It might be possible that we sometimes forget to tell something but for that reason on first page of our road book we have main information for each day. Once again thank you for your feedback, which we will use to improve our service. Despite of some of the yours bad experiences I hope you had great time in Croatia and Istria. Please if you will need anything else write us back Regards from Croatia Ilija

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