Signature Collection by Gate 1 vs Hiking the Balkans - Tour Companies Compared
Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.
5 | Excellent
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Overall — 5
Value — 4.5
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Stunning views, good hikes and great hospitality5.0 July 2018
It was my first ever trip with Hiking the Balkans, so I had no expectations. I was pleasently surprised by the professionalism, the choice of accommodation, trails and restaurants on this trip.Read more
The combination of hiking and visiting thermal spas and wineries was ideal for an active, yet relaxing holiday.
I am planning to explore the Balkans more and I would definitely go with Hiking the Balkans again, they have good local knowledge of all Balkan countries, great contacts and are very good at recommending the best spots off the beaten track.
Great trail running adventure5.0 April 2018
I had been to Skopje once before, where I looked at Mt Vodno and dreamt of doing a trail run up it. Fortunately, Hiking the Balkans managed to get me in touch with Dean, a fantastic running guide who showed me all types of cool paths on the mountain. Dean’s pace and fitness levels were great: we covered 21km and almost 1000m uphill in under three hours (excluding breaks). The views were great and Dean told me lots of fascinating things about the mountain and about Macedonia itself. I’ll definitely be in touch next time I’m in Macedonia and have time for a trail running expeditionRead more
Tour Hiking the Balkans Reviews
|Tours||1 Trip||1 Trip|
|Average Trip Price Per Day||$ 0||$ 139|
|Operator Type||Group Tour Operator||Group Tour Operator|
|Size||Global Operator||Regional Expert|
|Headquarters||Fort Washington, Pennsylvania||London, United Kingdom|
|Solo Friendly||N/A||Good for singles|
A unique collection of luxury trips designed by Gate 1 travel.
What Makes Gate 1 Signature Collection Stand Out?
These are luxury minded trips with a local focus. Guides are all local experts, from and living in the destination you’re visiting. Each itinerary features exclusive experiences. Groups are small and each day is full of activity but well balanced.
They focus on offering only a select group of trips in this special collection - allowing them the freedom to create truly spectacular itineraries - which include more inclusions in the price than their other collections.
The tagline is “More Luxury for Less”. These tours may not be in same luxury travel class if you’re used to Abercrombie & Kent, however where comfort and extravagance meets fun and busy travel days of sightseeing and tours, you’ll find Gate 1 Signature Collection.
Who Will Enjoy Traveling with Gate 1 Signature Collection?
Those travelers who are willing to spend a little bit more for a 4-5 star experience, will probably find a sweet spot with Gate 1 Signature tours. These trips tend to be attended by older travelers, in the 50+ range.
Don’t expect too much strenuous activity. You can expect easy paced walks, guided tours and lectures, and stops to explore interesting cultural sites and historical attractions.
While some of these cultural experiences, included in their “Signature Experiences”, are truly unique, be wary that many of these inclusions are fairly standard offerings - such as a hot air balloon ride over the African savannah. So the luxury experience of exclusivity you may be expecting is to be taken with a grain of salt. These tours offer wonderful experiences - but the destinations or activities are not always particularly uncommon or rare.
They currently don’t offer an overly extensive list of countries, but tours do go all over the world. This includes Central Europe, Spain, and the UK, Israel, Jordan and Morocco, Peru, Southeast Asia, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.
Gate 1 Signature Collection Travel Style
Signature Collection tours with Gate 1 aim for comfort, ease, and unique cultural experiences. Like their other brands, Gate 1’s Signature Collection is about making sure your sightseeing is maximized, and the price is right for the experience.
Most sightseeing, meals, wifi, tips, and their “Signature Experiences” are included in the itinerary price - unlike Gate 1’s main brand which offers less inclusions. This type of itinerary more helpful to budget travelers wishing to pick and choose which activities they would like to pay for. Gate 1 Signature Tours, however, are best suited to those who want more inclusions and less hassle to have to decide on how to spend their travel time.
Why Choose a Tour with Gate 1 Signature Collection?
If you’re an older traveler looking for a boutique, comfortable, and well paced tour, the Signature tours may suit you very well. Travelers love the customer service, attention to detail, and depth of knowledge the guides bring to each day on the tour. There is also a good balance of free time and optional additional sightseeing opportunities.
All tours feature included “Signature Experiences” which are the main highlights that make the Signature Collection tours stand out from the other Gate 1 brands. These are unique excursions, usually with a strong cultural focus - such as an evening of Irish music in Galway, or a traditional dinner in the deserts of Morocco. They also often include lectures that explore a destinations history or a specific facet of the culture.
Founded by Maja Trajkovska, they specialize in outdoor experiences in the Balkans for active travelers.
What Makes Them Stand Out?
A passion project run by locals of the Balkans. All tours are hiking focused and imbued with a local spirit. Their guides all have interesting backgrounds and specialities, and trips are carefully cultivated to showcase the best of the Balkans and hidden gems. They are committed to responsible travel and incorporate this into each and every hike.
Who Travels With Them?
Their tours are specifically geared toward active outdoor travelers, looking for an adventurous experience. They are very focused in providing a unique local experience among mountain regions, so you won’t hit many tourist spots. If you’re worried about physical level, their hikes are suitable to most travelers, and there are many different trips to choose from.
Where Do They Operate?
The Balkans covers several countries, including Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, and Greece. Their tours operate in all these countries, with a focus in national parks and other specialized outdoor destinations.
Why Travel With Them?
If you’re looking for a unique outdoor experience among nature, led by locals, and with a culturally immersive touch, this is the perfect tour company for you. You’ll stay and spend time in remote mountain villages, and learn about the country from a uniquely qualified perspective. This is not the ideal company to travel with if you’re seeking a more traditional tour, visiting famous sites and cities. However if an active outdoor trip is appealing, they’d be a great place to start.