Customer reviews: Holidays in Catalunya
Here at Headwater we thrive on feedback from our customers. It's the only way we can continue to develop and, where necessary, improve our services and ensure our all holidays continue to be the best they can be.
Eveyone who travels with Headwater will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assesment of all aspects of their all holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus, of course, an overall rating and comments about their all holiday.
Any feedback collected is posted straight to our website - totally unedited. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.
By Mr Chandler on 24/04/2017
The walking tour was a great way to really explore the countryside. It was comforting to know there was someone there if we got terribly lost or hurt.
By Mrs Ward on 29/11/2016
Overall a very enjoyable holiday in great locations with good accommodation. The local representives were helpful and cycles and equipment excellent.
* the route guides need to be revisited generally, but specifically in relation to routes through towns. (If you require more specific information, I don't mind speaking in more depth about this.
* The Garbi hotel is satisfactory as a transit hotel....an over night on the way in and out. But should NOT be used for additional add on days. The place is soulless and despite us upgrading it felt no better than some travel lodges we have stayed in. The hotel has great potential because of its location and basic facilities, but it has passed it's best.
* The El Castell hotel needs to be looked at carefully by you for the future. If it continues to develop its wedding reception business which it is doing from information I gleened during our stay then your guests are going to be side lined with regards to service if they find themselves there at the same time as a wedding. They currently do not have the facilities to cater for both.
On arrival after a long day cycling we were told that we could only be booked in for dinner at 9pm ....in the poolside bar. They made as good a job as possible with the space they had. But this is a 4 star hotel which didn't come cheap especially with an upgrade. The other issue with the hotel is that there was not one scap of written information in the room about any of the hotels facilities including opening and closing times. This caused a potential problem on the second day when upon returning from another days cycling we we advised that the earliest dinner booking was 8.30pm. We quickly changed with the intention of getting a snack from the poolside bar. This was at almost 3.30pm and we were advised that the bar did not provide food after 3.30. As it happens the chef was cleaning down and I think took pity on us and provided us with a snack.
By Mr Hockin on 29/11/2016
Was exactly what it said on the can! - it fulfilled our expectations.
By Mrs Cunningham on 29/11/2016
As first time cycling holiday, this was the perfect option for us. Travelling between hotels was really interesting and we could go at our own pace. On our first day it took us 4.5hours to cover just 20km due to a bird-watching husband. Our final ride back into L'Ampolla was substantially quicker! Each part of the holiday was a different experience as we moved from river delta to plain and into the mountains. We enjoyed the variety of hotels too.
By Ms Grybaite on 22/11/2016
Nothing compares to an active holiday, exploring local culture at your own pace!
By Mr Till on 31/10/2016
The notes were very detailed,accurate and all the paths well-marked locally; that made for a very relaxing walking experience. The hotels, whether grand or more humble, exceded our expectations; The Castell d'Emporda was a stunning place to spend our rest day, the food and friendliness at Hotel Rosa was great.
By Mr Ward on 31/10/2016
Excellent holiday with varied scenery. The 1+ rating is about right. The walks are too long for a 1, but the terrain is not difficult.The timing of the arrival of the plane into Barcelona gave insufficient time to make the scheduled train so we had to wait an hour for the next one.
By Mrs Ould on 31/10/2016
Bikes were excellent as were the reps but the accommodation was poor.
By Mrs Blease on 31/10/2016
Thoroughly enjoyed this holiday . Chose the harder/longer options every day and suggest a reasonable level of fitness required to do this. Probably would have chosen easier options some days or rest days in high season when weather warmer - mid October it was around 20C so great cycling/sightseeing weather. Enjoyed all the unspoiled medieval villages. Hotels all high quality but different in character. Will certainly try similar holidays with Headwater in the future.The reps Brian and Olivia were very personable and it was reassuring to know they would be available if required.
By Mrs Craik on 31/10/2016
This holiday was to be a special treat after a stressful year moving house plus a major renovation project. I am not a strong cyclist, and we chose the Catalan Coastal Cycling because it had the same pattern of two night stays with alternate days cycling and at leisure which we had enjoyed two years ago on the Venetian Villas and Vineyards holiday. Headwater emailed on 31 August 2016 in reply to our enquiry to say that all hotels had confirmed availability, so we booked our flights. On 5 September 2016, we got an email from Headwater to say that the Reservation Team at one of the hotels, the Castell dâ€™Emporda, had accepted our booking in error as they already had a wedding booked for what would have been the second night of our stay and could only accommodate us for one night. We had looked forward to the two nights at the Castell as the highlight of our trip, had specially wished to visit the ceramic workshops at the nearby town of La Bisbal on the â€œrestâ€ day, and did not feel confident of cycling around 35 kilometres on each of two consecutive days. I asked if another hotel could be found that could accommodate us for two nights, but was told that this was not possible. Our flights could not be cancelled or changed, so we had no option but to go ahead and accept the offer from Headwater of a refund of Â£72 per person to reflect the difference in price between the Castell and the next hotel where we would now spend three nights. In the event, the two consecutive days cycling were extremely tiring (as previous reviewers have noted, some of the cycling on this itinerary is on off-road tracks which makes it more strenuous than the equivalent distance on tarmac). When we arrived late in the afternoon at the Castell, a large British wedding party was there, with the main terrace area entirely occupied with tables for dinner and live music for them. The upgrade to a suite (offered to us by way of apology for the booking error) was of limited interest as we were there for such a short time, though the complimentary bottle of cava was more appreciated. What I find particularly unacceptable is that when I expressed astonishment that a hotel of this standard could make such a mistake with our booking, Headwater told me â€œit happens all the time, theyâ€™re not very organised out thereâ€. We have been organising our own independent travel to Europe and the US for over thirty years and have never had this happen before. It is no encouragement to use (and pay the premium for) the services of a travel agent. To conclude, I would like to say that the other three hotels we stayed in were excellent, obviously popular with Spanish people, and our two reps, Brian and Olivia, were friendly, helpful and efficient. However, the experience of paying for an expensive holiday which does not turn out to be as expected is not one we are likely to repeat.
By Mr Young on 31/10/2016
This was out second cycling trip with Headwater the first being the Canal Du Midi in 2014 .They helped us select this holiday as we wanted to go for a little longer and to move to level 2 (as we had kept up cycling in the UK.)
Classic Catalan 10 days worked just right for us .Ok the days are a little longer and you get three long but very cycleable hills but the variety is wonderful. Also we were given excellent ride out options on the interim days.In fact we only had one non cycling day but if you ever visit El Castell d'Emporda you'll maybe understand why..
The route notes were so accurate we never used the maps and the road surfaces were so good it took us a couple of days to stop pothole spotting ( Heres hoping someone from Devon/Somerset/Dorset highways read this)
Overall a great holiday excellent hotels and routes and the Catalan pople are lovely sort of Spanish without the shouting!
Thank you Headwater and thank you Brian and Olivia our excellent hosts.
By Mrs Aries on 31/10/2016
I felt safe travelling totally alone and venturing out on my bicycle by myself, secure in the knowledge that assistance would be readily available if required. Happily this was not needed but it made a huge difference to my piece of mind. I hope that Headwater can extend its leisurely options to include other trips. The travel notes routinely described inclines as 'gentle'. Some of these gentle inclines were about as much as I could manage. I now wouldn't attempt any cycling trips in the catalogue beyond 'leisurely'. The hotels were delightful, El Castell d'Emporda being top of my list.
By Mrs Mann on 31/10/2016
The region was flat for easy cycling, except for the climb up to the Parador Tortosa!! but it was fun trying. Allan made it to the top! All the hotels were great . A good mix of eating options.
By Mrs Rees on 13/10/2016
This was our first holiday with Headwater which did not disappoint. The scenery was beautiful, with the contrasting coastal and inland areas. We particularly enjoyed visiting all the medieval villages along the routes, especially Pals and Peratallada, although finding places to stop for refreshments in the smaller villages was sometimes rather hit and miss. The weather was lovely and warm, ideal for cycling, and the route notes were good for the most part. However, some of the forest tracks were a bit harder to cycle along. As regards accommodation, Hotel Sa Punta deserves special mention for its excellent service, superb facilities and the most delicious food of the holiday. Our reps Olivia and Brian gave us great service too. We have been on cycling holidays with other companies before and they provide a small front pannier on the bikes, so perhaps Headwater could consider doing this also.
By Mr Moore on 13/10/2016
This particular holiday, cycling in the River Ebro region, offers the traveller a wonderful variety of scenery and opportunities to explore this relatively unspoiled part of Spain. Value is added by the extremely friendly and accommodating locals. The HW sourced accommodation was superb and the in-house dining second to none. Dining outside of the hotels was relatively cheap and of a very high standard.
Sections of the route instructions contain inaccuracies which, for us, simply added to the fun, though they should perhaps be revisited as they could cause problems for the more diffident.
Our reliable and extremely helpful representative in country did a wonderful job of making us feel welcome and we felt reassured that we could call on her any time in case of a crisis. Well done Triona!
By Mrs Feely on 04/10/2016
As with all Headwater Holidays experienced so far the Catalan Coastal Walk was a great experience,. The walking was challenging but the notes provided were meticulous and at the end of each day it was a joy to experience the comfortable, characterful hotels in interesting locations. I can't fault Headwater's meticulous arrangements.
By Ms Forsythe on 04/10/2016
It was far too hot for cycling ( beginning sept) and the rough stony tracks were hard going although they kept us off the main roads. The countryside wasn't quite as beautiful as say Tuscany although after a long hot summer, everything was rather parched-looking. The hotels were very good and hospitality excellent and we enjoyed falling into some lovely pools after our rides!
By Ms Nicolson on 23/09/2016
Catalan Coastal Walk has it all: wonderful walks, stunning scenery and fabulous hotels - one of the best!
By Mr O'Sullivan on 14/09/2016
excellent. very informative guides and route plans with excellent accommodation provided
By Mr Tait on 12/09/2016
A beautiful area of Spain particularly the coastline with some wonderful accessible walks . Longer walks can be challenging on the warmer days !
By Mrs Capper on 12/09/2016
A very enjoyable holiday. A good opportunity to see a foreign country. Safe cycling routes and good hotels.
Olivia and Brian were good reps, giving us enough local information without going in excessive detail. We felt they were available if needed, but fortunately did we not have to contact them at all (apart from travel during the stay)
By Ms Chapman on 17/08/2016
Overall a thoroughly enjoyable holiday. Our reps couldn't have been more helpful or obliging, with useful tips about the route, hotels, places to eat and useful suggestions about places of interest to visit. They were a lovely couple and made the holiday go very smoothly.
By Mr Furness on 08/08/2016
This was our first self guided cycling holiday and it lived up to our expectations . From the office to Brian and Olivia , the service was excellent,professional and personable. The quality of hotels was of a very good standard with superb food and locations. The routes were were diverse, interesting, well supported with comprehensive notes and gave us the feeling that we had really seen and experienced the region. Brian and Olivia were hugely supportive , caring and very personable . We felt that we were not alone on our first cycling trip and they were a phone call away if needed. We really enjoyed our holiday and looking to another one next year in another European country. Mark and Philippa Furness.
By Mrs Valdes on 01/08/2016
Overall we enjoyed the holiday. The route was a lovely combination of countryside and seaside. On about half the cycle days, we went past the coast and there were some lovely places to go swimming (well worth buying a snorkel since there were loads of fish to see). Inland there were some lovely villages and quiet country lanes. There was one long climb (for us) but we were able to take it slowly and felt like an achievement when we got to the top. We went in early July and it was very hot so do make sure you drink enough. The reps (Brian and Olivia) were great. Some hotels were lovely, we particularly Iiked Mas Falgarona. Unfortunately we also had a very bad experience in El Castell d'Emporda. Very poor quality room and service (e.g. we waited 2.5 hours for food). This spoiled our overall view of the holiday.
By Ms Stowe on 25/07/2016
we had a fantastic time - the locations of the hotels were good and we had a mix of sea and rustic villages- really well planned trip. Some of the cycling was hard in the heat so not for the fainthearted
By Mrs Leonard on 22/07/2016
We have two teenage sons and this was the perfect family holiday for everyone. Combining the activity of cycling and rest days at beautiful hotels and locations, taking in the wonderful medieval villages of Catalunya, farm lands, bays and beeches. It was the perfect way to explore more of the region.
By Mrs Steen on 15/07/2016
An excellent walking holiday with a well chosen itinerary and beautiful scenery. Standards of food and accommodation were very high. We all had a great time.
By Mrs Chapman on 06/07/2016
A very well considered walking route with accurate and detailed route notes which helped to make the holiday very enjoyable. We opted to stay an extra night in one of the suggested hotels which worked out very well. We liked the independence and choice of pace the holiday presented even though we had the full back up of Headwater representatives there if we had needed them. The rating of 1 boot + for the Catalan Classic tour was appropriate as was the 'at a glance' write up in the brochure. Overall this walk/holiday fulfilled our expectations and introduced us to a lovely part of Spain.
By Mr Harrison on 06/07/2016
We had a fantastic time in Catalunya. The route and scenery were magnificent. The areas that you took us to were away from the regular tourist routes.We were able to absorb the culture and enjoy being with the local people.
By Mrs Hughes on 30/06/2016
Great blend of good hotels and cycling with enough time for relaxation too. It was just what we needed for an active but relaxing holiday in a lovely part of Spain. Well organised and the rep was very helpful and really personalised the experience for us - for example by working with us to adjust the final days route including picking us up from the hotel and driving us to the start.
By Mr Robb on 27/06/2016
We enjoyed the lovely Catalunya countryside and villages, the contrast of coastal and rural cycling was most enjoyable. Hotel Sa Punta was the best we've had with Headwater and the others were very good too, each quite different from the others. We did feel that there were too many inclines and rough tracks for this to be a 1 bike grade, maybe 1+ would be our classification. Having been on three other 1 bike holidays, this was more challenging.
By Mrs Bibby on 27/06/2016
The Catalan coastal walk is challenging in parts, particularly when the weather is hot, but it is spectacular and the route notes were great (with one or two exceptions, see below) The hotels were all quite different, each lovely in its own way and the restaurants that were pre-booked offered varied and interesting menus.I would thoroughly recommend the holiday.
Last year we walked in the Venito and we think the walks and accommodation in Catalonya are even better than those last year.
Thank you Headwater.
By Mrs Gee on 27/06/2016
We knew from previous experience that the holiday itself would be great. This time we also experienced the highly professional, efficient and supportive nature of all the Headwater personnel in dealing with a string of unforeseen travel problems.
By Mr Cheek on 17/06/2016
We enjoyed our holiday however I must point out certain issues. The notes on page 3 of your Catalunya brochure are unclear - you have tried include notes for several holidays in one go using commas which results in it making little sense. In the first two lines you do not make it clear that you are talking about two different stations (Airport Terminus and Passeig de Garcia). I think you should investigate alternatives to having to wait at Passeig de Garcia station - it is busy, hot, no facilities, you are not allowed out of the station and we waited one and a half hours for the train. I think you should also give more information as to where to get off, it was luck we spotted the Viajuiga sign and managed to scramble off the train. Trail notes badly written and in parts not clear, there were two instances of them being totally wrong. Page 23 2nd para arriving at junction we could not understand which path to take so opted for the road route which says follow to Cala Joncois NO just the opposite is correct. Page 25 second column 3rd para on reaching T junction turn right NO turn left and at next T junction turn right. There are no road signs to help you.
By Mrs Reynard on 14/06/2016
A wonderfully relaxed but interesting holiday with good food and a comfy bed, a highlight was when we saw a Heron catch a snake and fly off with it in it's beak, as we were cycling along by the side of it!
By Mrs Robertson on 13/06/2016
Excellent holiday. Be sure to carefully check the travel details if you have requested any changes or non-standard arrangements.
By Mr Cross on 08/06/2016
Definitely a two--boot walk, especially the day to Almadabra Park hotel, which was the longest and had some quite hazardous sections on the coast path.We were in late May and had some disappointing weather, and there was no question of swimming in pools or on beaches. Hotels were good, although the dinners at the Monterey/Porto Christo were poor - dinners and breakfasts at other hotels and restaurants were good. Francisco our taxi driver did the job OK but he speaks only Catalan and a little French.
By Mr Abrahams on 07/06/2016
Excellent concept well executed
By Mrs Kyle on 06/06/2016
Excellent holiday, cycling is the perfect way to explore. We enjoyed it all - some freedom, some things sorted out
By Mrs Warnock on 06/06/2016
Our first cycling holiday and it will definitely not be our last!! Cycling through Catalunya was a real treat, beautiful peaceful countryside, wildflowers were so colourful, medieval villages to explore,lots of restaurants choice for coffee or lunch and then to end the day great hotels and delicious food. What's not to like?Highly recommended.
By Mr Langrish on 03/06/2016
Accurate description of contrasting scenery and cycling. Very quiet roads and plenty of flowers and birds to see.
By Mr Straughan on 03/06/2016
A beautiful area with quiet lanes and roads. Lovely villages, small towns and views. Super coastal locations, fantastic varied scenery and marvellous bird life and wild flowers. A fantastic holiday!
By Mr Kaye on 18/05/2016
Outstanding food in lovely hotels. Top class local support, advice and guidance. Stunning walks through fascinating medieval villages, shady forests and patchwork quilts of colourful fields.
By Ms Burrluck on 10/05/2016
A pretty perfect holiday. Headwater were very well organised and my reps, Brian and Olivia, were totally fantastic - helpful, very efficient and totally reliable. I was walking on my own and they texted me to ensure I had reached my destinations safely. The walks were wonderful and the instructions very clear. Everywhere I turned there was a picture postcard view. This is a wonderful area of Spain to visit - I did the Catalan Classic Walking holiday and walked every day, even though I didn't have to but there was so much I wanted to see. Wonderful that there was always hot water for a good soak in the bath when I got back to my hotel. I didn't want to come home although, to be honest I couldn't have kept up the walking for many more days.
By Mrs Ritchie on 03/05/2016
We enjoyed this holiday enormously although we spent quite a bit more than 5 hours on the walks between hotels so we didn't take the recommended walks on the days in between. The first walk is the hardest.
By Mr Bridge on 29/10/2015
Excellent mix of seaside and inland routes with fantastic hotels. A great introduction to the less commercial side of Spain. Brilliant weather in late September made it perfect.
By Mr Geh on 27/10/2015
We had an excellent time. Lovely scenery and weather and excellent food. I would definitely recommend doing this either early or late in the season as it was much cooler and less busy. Very few cars on the road and no traffic.
Felt a great sense of achievement after each cycle day. Our 2 boys- age 11 and 13 enjoyed themselves and there was not a single moan of ''are we there yet?!'
By Mrs Peden on 20/10/2015
The holiday overall was most enjoyable, well organised, the cycling routes were at a good level and the documentation of the routes both on paper and on GPX excellent and the countryside lovely. There are some excellent wineries en route in the Emporda region.
By Mrs Satterthwaite on 14/10/2015
Great fun. Our reps were extremely helpful. We will definitely do another walking holiday.
By Pro Davies on 12/10/2015
The holiday was disappointing. Onward travel from Barcelona airport was so awful the thought of having to make the return journey hung over the rest of the period, such that I changed my flight and went home a day early, using bus rather than train. If you use Passeig de Graca station you need to supply the timetable - there is no way of identifying if you are catching the right train (and there's a train every 2 minutes) and it is an awful place to wait.
By Mr Jenkinson on 12/10/2015
An interesting coastal and inland holiday on quite roads and tracks. Visiting in October the coastal locations and hilltop towns and villages are quiet, but the weather was good and ideal for cycling. having enjoyed many Headwater cycling holidays in Spain, Portugal, France and Italy, we may well be interested in following-up an e-bike option in the future.
By Mrs Read on 06/10/2015
Peaceful cycling along quiet country road, interesting villages and lovely scenery.
This holiday certainly shows the contrasts that Catalonia has to offer.
By Mrs Kill on 24/09/2015
A wonderful, unspoilt region. We had no idea that the Costa Brava was so wooded and had so many places of historical interest. Going just out of season, the beaches were quiet and devoid of sunbeds! The number of cycle tracks - albeit somewhat roughly surfaced in places - puts the UK to shame.
By Mrs Johnson on 23/09/2015
Really enjoyable week with everything thought of and attention to detail. Excellent route notes.
By Mr Peckham on 22/09/2015
We had a wonderful holiday enjoying the contrasts of Catalunya, from the sea at the Costa Brava to the rice fields and woodlands inland. The reps Jim and Katie gave us a terrific service, from the introductory postcard sent to us prior to leaving, and the provision of satnav files to make navigation so easy. The hotels Hotel Sa Punta and the magnificent El Castell d'Emporda both exceeded our expectations, and to stay in the tower of an ancient castle was the highlight of our holiday. We have had three Headwater holidays now and will definitely be back for more.
By Mr Sadler on 21/09/2015
The representatives Katie and Jim made the holiday truly wonderful. They were extremely helpful with nothing too much trouble.
By Mrs Campbell on 21/09/2015
Holiday was very good, gentle relaxed cycling in nice area and traffic free roads and tracks. Hotels and food were of a high standard.
By Mrs Wakefield on 21/09/2015
Wonderful variety of walks and scenery with comfortable hotels and good food.
By Mis Smith on 17/09/2015
This was our first Headwater walking holiday, and it has definitely lived up to our expectations. We thoroughly enjoyed the mixture of walks, as well as the cuisine and rest day activities. Jim and Katie are excellent reps, and definitely contributed to our memorable experience. Many thanks!
By Mrs Capper on 14/09/2015
An excellent holiday. Lovely area of Spain. Reps Katie and Jim are excellent and provide excellent information and advice (and are always willing to go the extra mile to make the holiday as enjoyable as possible). The bikes ar excellent and route information and maps are easy to follow. We did not use GPS but never got lost , even when meandering through villages
By Mrs Cox on 08/09/2015
Overall we had a great time. A few hiccups - BA losing a suitcase! not Headwaters fault (found it eventually) and on the return journey arriving at Barcelona airport to be told they only had two seats - we are a family of four! Eventually found us two more seats but made for a very stressful journey. We did not check in late and online checkin was not an option for us. It was VERY hot 35 degrees. A bit too hot to be honest and we probably would not do this holiday again in August! Go when it is a bit cooler. The area is fabulous and we would go back. The hotels are generally very good. We did have an issue at Garbi. Our first night the aircon was not working properly in our room but we got on with it. On our last night the aircon in the boys' room was not working at all and it was 29 degrees! The suggested remedies as the hotel was full was to a) live with it then b) sleep with the window open and they would provide insect repellent! We rejected both these options and in the end moved the two boys in with us for the night. The staff provided camp beds. We managed but not overly happy having paid for two double rooms. We did mention it to the reps in the morning but as it was our last night there was nothing to be done.
By Mr Russell on 24/08/2015
I joined this vacation basically to walk through some lovely countryside and to see a lot of historic buildings in Spain. That was pretty much what I got. But in addition very enjoyable stays at the hotels where the staff all spoke great English and were really helpful. The guides made some very useful suggestions that saw me undertake day 2 hikes on day 1 and 2 . Good advice for the middle of summer and it enabled me to get back in time about 3.30 to enjoy the wonderful situation of Castell de Emporda. The Coastal phase was beautiful and after the completion of the hike and I stayed a few more days at Begur.
By Mrs Thompson on 11/08/2015
Our reps were superb. Jim took particular care to ensure the bikes were fitted to each individual and this meant each of our party was comfortable throughout the holiday. He had specially removed the bottle holder from the ladies bikes so they would not catch their legs when getting on and off. This attention to detail was much appreciated. He had gone to great lengths to produce a gps version of all the trails and this was invaluable and worked without any problems. I had brought a smart phone holder and battery charger so had a days full battery life. While this would have been sufficient without the notes, the two worked in tandem well and should become a standard on all your cycling holidays.
The bikes would benefit from a small front pannier particularly for the ladies to keep a small water bottle in and a handbag.
Our reps kept in email contact to check our progress and made very helpful recommendations on places to eat and visit on the trip. They put their knowledge to good use so we had an excellent holiday.
By Ms Turner on 11/08/2015
Contrasts of Catalunya is a great route which takes in coast and countryside. We were two non-cyclists and found the routes achievable and well-planned, with thought given to where you could stop and explore different villages. Cycling was partly on quiet roads and partly on tracks - the routes through the rice fields and alongside apple orchards were particularly enjoyable, while some of the sandy tracks through pine forests were a bit harder going. The bikes were well-maintained and comfortable. Highlights on the route were medieval Pals and Begur, while the Sa Punta Hotel stood out for its fantastic service, excellent swimming pool and the best food we had all week. Service from the reps was also great, and they provided helpful map files and instructions on how to use these on a smartphone as well as practical tips. Highly recommendable!
By Mrs Coonan on 28/07/2015
Jim and Katie Illingworth, the Headwater reps, were absolutely fantastic - the best we have ever had; from the postcard we received a few days before our trip to their solicitous and detailed advice about the routes, the travel arrangements and thoughtful attention to detail e.g. Katie suggested that we buy a multi pack of bottled water which could be transported with our luggage every day. In addition as we experienced a heatwave during our trip, they suggested ways of shortening the walks to make them more manageable. They also recommended excellent restaurants when an evening meal was not included giving us lots of choices. Francisco, the taxi driver who transported the bags (and us on some days as it was so hot and we didn't want to walk) was delightful despite his lack of English and our lack of Spanish!
By Mrs Morris on 27/07/2015
An enjoyable holiday: a beautiful part of the world; the hotels were very good; the cycling was not strenuous but overly detailed and confusing directions for the cycling routes was frustrating and meant that our pleasure on the rides was diminished.
We enjoyed the cycling in Provence two years ago much more.
By Dr Taylor on 24/07/2015
We would not cycle in this area which is too urban really. The route notes require stopping every 100 or so meters in large parts of the journey to check directions.
By Mrs Tindle on 21/07/2015
An enjoyable experience. Some very contrasting hotels during the holiday. A great way to see the local area.
By Mr Thompson on 20/07/2015
First of all a big thank you to Jim & Katie Illingworth (headwater reps). This our 8th trip with Headwater and Katie & Jim are by far the most well prepared reps we have encountered. They have put lot of effort into helping guests make the most of their holiday with nice touches such as preparing a list of recommended restaurants by other guests to help on the days when we had to make our own arrangements. After reading reviews by previous visitors we chose the easy grade of cycling this year to give us time to enjoy the journey and explore the villages and coves along the way. The holiday lived up to all the positive reviews, and was our most relaxing holiday for years. This was our first visit to Catalunya and it is a very different place to southern Spain (Costa del Sol), the people are very polite and friendly and English is spoken in most places so our phrase book did not get much of an airing. The cycling was not difficult at all and you have plenty of time to enjoy the prettier villages.
The included meals were of a very high standard as were these hotels. We were advised by Jim and Katie that if the hotel at Palamos was not busy and you are allocated a room to the side or rear of the building without a balcony to ask for an up grade. We did this and were given a 2nd floor sea view room with a balcony for an extra 10 euros per night. Well worth it.
Glad to see Headwater are now including cycling suggestions for the rest days, this was much appreciated as on previous holidays we have spent the evening before planning our own route notes.
Our best holiday with Headwater since our visit to Provence.
The only comment we would make to improve the holiday are in regards the over descriptive notes for directions for which we felt compelled to find every detail on the notes and seemed to be stopping every few hundred kilometers or so to check notes. For example it would be simpler to record 'keep on straight ahead to the next T junction an ignore all turnings for 2 km' - whereas for example, the notes detail sign posts to a destination on the left in detail and instruct you to continue straight ahead. This said, we did not need to use the OS maps for the whole of the holiday.
By Ms Clark on 15/07/2015
Fantastic walking area if you like wild, remote stony terrain. Incredibly windy at times and also challenging steep downhill sections if these are not your forte! Superb coastal and inland scenery. Great to have suggested walks for free days especially as the weather wasn't really good enough for swimming and relaxing. The local taxi driver was great, carrying on the luggage and when we finished the last day's walking early we phoned him and he picked us up. He also helped us sort out an earlier train to Barcelona. We had the same reps in Tuscany last year and once again they were brilliant, providing extra route notes and e mailing changes. The initial briefing by phone worked well and we were delighted when they joined us for our last evening meal. They really go the extra mile to make things go smoothly. The hotels were all excellent and we liked the variety in the evening meal arrangement. Adding on 2 nights in Barcelona was the icing on the cake. The hotel there was of a lower standard, a very small room,but we did expect an ensuite room and not one with a bathroom down the corridor. We would have liked to have known this in advance and been given the chance to upgrade. Overall, a memorable holiday!
By Mr English on 14/07/2015
The holiday over all was very enjoyable BUT the 1 cycle rating was far from accurate. The 'tracks' mentioned in the brochure were rutted farm tracks full of sand and rubble. This was incredibly hard to negotiate, especially with the bikes we had which had narrow wheels not suitable for the purpose. The dry surface of the tracks meant the sand and rubble moved under us making it quite dangerous. This was not pleasant easy cycling but required all one's concentration to keep upright at times.
Occasionally the directions were out of date, or inaccurate, causing us to get 'lost' on several occasions.
J & S English
By Mrs Sinclair on 10/07/2015
We have been cycling to different parts of Europe for the past 7 years so we have a little experience of what to expect.. Headwater certainly is the best company we have cycled with. It was not the most interesting place we have been to but we wanted some sunshine and we certainly had that.
By Mr Collins on 30/06/2015
A good mix of scenic, coastal, country and historic town locations for both walking and overnight stays. Introduced us to a lesser known area of Spain. While most of the walking had excellent scenery and moderate challenges, some sections were slightly tedious on tracks/roads rather than paths. However these were marked walking routes on the published maps, and it is difficult to see what alternatives were viable to get you to the next place of interest. No gain without pain! Walking instructions were excellent throughout.
By Mrs Harding on 22/06/2015
A terrific holiday, just the right balance of activity and relaxing days off. We love Headwater cycling holidays, this is our fifth, and we will be booking another soon.
By Mr MacDonald on 22/06/2015
Well organised holiday. Trouble free. Excellent Hotels and food. Varied cycling coast and inland in foothills with mountain views.
By Mrs Mayor on 22/06/2015
Excellent equipment, good hotels and lovely route
By Mr Warrington on 17/06/2015
A great experience cycling on Costa Brava coast route but just as well our guides/reps told us about and downloaded for us the gps as paragraphs missing from guide route. The notes had been cut and pasted from portrait to landscape and some notes did not transpose. The other independent coup,e had the same problems.
The food, service and attention to detail was top class at the Sa Punta. We upgraded to a sea view room but was of course charged.
The food at the Castell d'Empria was good but not a patch on Sa Punta. Service wasn't too wonderful either and knowledge of dishes. Facilities in bathroom below standard ie no separate towel/soap in separate bidet area. The views and location though were fantastic so I think they rely on this to pull them through. The cycle up to the Castell was really steep as you can imagine but can't change that! Bit tough though at the end of 32 km; came at it another way the next day.
In Paloma's The room at the Hotel Trias would have been at the back so we asked for a front room which they were able to do at no extra cost, so worth asking. The Gallerie seafood restaurant was great but we paid through the nose, Â£90 and no credit cards accepted, our co cyclist who also came into the restaurant after us, were scratching about for enough cash to pay later! We had Just 3 plentiful fish dishes, one dessert and 4 glasses wine. The old waiter just told us what special fish he had that day, there was no menu. So beware!
By Mrs Crowther on 17/06/2015
Met our needs brilliantly. Superb scenery. High level of service and comfort.
By Mrs Clark on 17/06/2015
Very enjoyable, Choice of hotels excellent in good locations. We had a Garmin on our cycle ride in Portugal. Unfortunately on this holiday I was not able to download the routes on every day because of Wifi difficulties. Garmin instructions so much better and safer than written instructions, and increase enjoyment of ride.
By Mrs Small on 19/05/2015
One of the best (out of eight) cycling holidays we have done. Catalonia is a beautiful area, ideal for cycling by the coast. The representatives were excellent. Thoroughly enjoyable trip, busy working out our next year's jaunt!
By Mr Jackson on 18/05/2015
First time and we loved it.
By Mr Cameron on 07/05/2015
Excellent holiday and a lovely area of Spain with great food and wine
By Mr Beal on 28/04/2015
On our holiday we found the attention to detail and the help from the reps was outstanding. The detailed route notes in particular were very helpful and made the walking a pleasure. We will definitely travel with Headwater again.
By Mr Dilnot smith on 27/10/2014
Excellent apart from Hotel Meson Castilla is in the middle of the University area and can be very noisy until early hours of the morning
By Mr May on 20/10/2014
Everyday is an adventure with a luxury start and finish.
By Mrs Holmes on 16/10/2014
An interestingly varied holiday with wooded hills, inland country and scenic coastal walking, giving a good taste of the area. We particularly enjoyed walking via some of the beautiful mediaeval villages included in the route of the second walk. Also, we really appreciated having route notes for some suggested 'rest-day' walks, especially as this holiday is relatively short. The three hotels were also quite different and all had a charm of their own - we thoroughly enjoyed each one. This holiday would suit those looking for variety and a balance between activity and rest. The walks were well constructed, with some challenging sections, but not too exhausting, so there is a sense of achievement at the end of the day and tired legs are soon revived by a gentle swim and a good dinner! Thank you, Headwater, for a great holiday and we hope to be back for another one.
By Mr Grant on 16/10/2014
We enjoyed the rest days and some parts of the walks were very enjoyable with spectacular landscapes. However, overall we felt that the holiday was not exactly as described. It is called a 'Coastal Walk' but it is, in fact, rather a tough mountain hike as the walks focus inland in dry arid and often rather inhospitable terrain. The holiday description states 'once you begin walking clockwise around the peninsula, the sea is your constant companion'. The sea is not your constant companion, as for the most part, it is far off and out of sight. There are no villages at all (bar one small one just before El Porta de la Salva) on the walks, pretty,'cute as a button' or otherwise. A lot of people would enjoy this but it could be clearer in the holiday description. A lot of the climbs and descents are steep and rocky and in one place you do have to do a small bit of rock climbing. The trails are often on loose rocks and stones and narrow.There is quite a lot of scrabbling required. I think this should have been flagged in the holiday description with better photos. I would have rated the holiday difficulty at least as a '2 boot +.' Cadaques is certainly the highlight but all the hotels were excellent and welcoming. Recommend the restaurant 'Can Rafa' in Cadaques.
By Mrs Potts on 10/10/2014
Varied walking, great countryside and wonderful, welcoming accommodation with excellent food. An ideal holiday with real feel good factor
By Ms Morgan on 08/10/2014
We had a wonderful holiday. The walking was a dream and took us to so many beautiful places we had never heard of. Two of the hotels were a bit basic for accommodation and we would have liked to have the option at Hotel Rosa to upgrade to a suite if we had known. Garbi first day the room was basic but on the last night we had a great room, much larger and with a view. Will be back....
By Mr Chantrell on 08/10/2014
Arrangements comprehensive, cycling testing at times though enjoyable, hotels all well situated and of a very good standard.
By Mr Petch on 08/10/2014
Couldn't fault it. Even the weather was excellent. Looking forward to next year's brochure.
By Mis Rodgers on 08/10/2014
Enjoyed the whole holiday. Walking and hotels were great and the scenery was fantastic. Enjoyed barcelona and the trip to the Dali House. Overall a good variety of experiences in the time.
By Mrs Ramsell on 08/10/2014
A lovely blend of activity and relaxation, plenty to see and do in the Catalonian region, congenial fellow travellers and good back up system for emergencies.
By Mrs Huddart on 07/10/2014
This is a lovely holiday. Catalonia is very well provided for cycling with lots of traffic free routes or roads with very little traffic.One of the easier two bike holidays we have done (perhaps we did all the hard ones first!). Beautiful countryside and plenty to see do, and contrasting landscapes (coast, hills, river delta) My one (slight) criticism would be that on the days where there is least to do in the area the hotel (de la font) is not a place to laze around at, only a very small courtyard. A little more information about what was accessible via public transport from Peralada, and/or a couple more rest day routes would have been good. Hotels were all good although we did not stay at the Moli del Mig as they were overbooked.
Best dinner - Mas Pau, best breakfast - Castell d'Emporda, best hotel Castell d'Emporda.
One tip...if you are travelling via air/rail and arrive a lot earlier than 1520 at Passeig de Gracia station get an earlier train to Flaca and wait in the cafe there for pick up....we could have spent over two hours in the Spanish equivalent of Tottenham Court Road station if we hadn't done this. Trains to Flaca are about every 30 minutes.
By Mr Lewis on 26/09/2014
For us aged 79 and 74 the walks were challenging but we very much enjoyed our holiday in a beautiful area of Spain.
By Mr Blain on 24/09/2014
A way of combiningexercise with comfort and an opportunity to see a region of a country
By Mr Banham on 19/09/2014
Interesting and varied walking through delightful countryside with visits to and refreshment stops in beautifully preserved historic villages. Each day culminated in a stay in excellent accommodation, the highlight of which was the 3 nights we spent at Castell d`Emporda.
By Ms Caughey on 15/09/2014
Catalonia is a fantastic location for cycling. Routes were excellent, though occasionally challenging - you should expect a full day of cycling every day (with a couple of breaks). All hotels bar one were top notch.
By Mr Gower on 28/08/2014
Great walks. Plenty to see and do. Vegetarians beware.
Dear Mr Gower, Thank you for completing your post-holiday questionnaire and for the feedback you have provided, we have discussed your comment regarding vegetarian meals with the hoteliers. As a result of this they have advised us they will ensure a better variety of vegetarian meals are available for future customers. We are sorry for any disappointment this may have caused you during your holiday and were pleased to see that despite this you had an enjoyable holiday.
Headwater Customer Service team.
By Mrs Brown on 22/08/2014
This was the second Headwater holiday that I've taken and it gave me all that I wanted and more. The hotels were all really good and some offered way more that I expected. The entire holiday was a fantastic experience, very well organised and thought out and the cycle routes had clearly been given a great deal of thought. We felt very safe, very well fed, very welcome throughout, and this includes the locals, and had a thoroughly enjoyable time from start to finish. Thank you for coming up trumps again and I certainly will look at future holiday options.
By Mrs Onions on 18/08/2014
This 8 night trip visited a good mix of hotels and places. The cycling was mainly gentle, through orchards, cycle tracks and numerous medieval villages. Pleasant mix of activity and gastronomy!
By Mr Lipscomb on 18/08/2014
Brilliant family adventure: Cycling through beautiful scenery from beaches, through paddy fields, rolling countryside and little medieval villages and complemented by a range of hotels-2 with gastronomic cuisine and the third giving the opportunity to enjoy eating out in the small seaside town of Calella.
By Mrs Sharkey on 15/08/2014
This was our first Headwater holiday and we really enjoyed it . The coastal catalan area is great for cycling with beautiful countryside and unspoilt villages . Although we booked for August, the weather was not too hot . Route maps were very clear. The hotels were of a high standard and great places to relax after the daily exercise. A very enjoyable week.
By Mis Evans on 27/07/2014
This was an excellent holiday for us with our 12yr old son - a great mix of exercise, culture, wonderful scenery, good food, wine and decent weather. Well organised, very acceptable accommodation, clear route guidance. At times the cycling was challenging, but this was in part due to the heat - strongly advise wearing cycling kit, especially padded shorts. An occasional road with some traffic, but mostly quiet country roads and tracks and we always felt safe. The locals were very welcoming and once away from the coast we encountered very few tourists. Thoroughly recommended.
By Mr Bird on 22/07/2014
See comments on rail travel, and specifically Headwater's absence of advice. Naturally people from the UK expect a similar experience to using the rail at home, and while this assumption would be valid for rail travel in France, Germany, NL etc, Spain was very different.
Dear Mr Bird,
Thank you for taking the time to complete your post-holiday questionnaire. We were pleased to see that you scored your holiday overall as good to excellent. However, it was disappointing to see that you encountered issues navigating the Spanish rail system. We would like to apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.
In order to improve the experience for future customers, we have been working closely with our local agents. With this in mind, we are pleased to advise you that for the 2015 season we will be pre purchasing all Spanish rail tickets. This should alleviate the time spent queuing and ensure a smoother trip through the Spanish region. Whilst we realise this does not help you personally. We do hope that it goes some way to show we take your feedback seriously.
Headwater Customer Service Team
By Mis Aplin on 21/07/2014
This holiday changed our perception of Spain. Catalonia is a beautiful area of varied scenery with wonderful food and hotels.
By Mrs Wakefield on 11/07/2014
We really enjoyed this holiday. Moving from hotel to hotel provides much variety. There was a real problem getting drinks especially at the castle hotel. A welcome drink immediately on arrival at the hotel should be offered especially as people are very tired and thirsty after a long walk in the heat.
Also the communication at the Castle Hotel needs to be improved, e.g. no one told us where to go for dinner when it was not outside as on the first evening.
However, we really enjoyed the holiday in spite of these little things.
By Mr Alden on 10/07/2014
Hotels were lovely . The region has some stunning scenery ,and beautiful villages.
Well done Headwater
By Mr Hughes on 07/07/2014
A well organised & supported holiday Cycling routes are well thought out & realistic The guides are beautifully written with succinct local notes. All the accommodation was comfortable & clean with some place outstanding The locals were all kind & helpful everywhere we went The roads chosen were not busy and great care was obviously taken to utilise the quieter & often more scenic routes The transfer support was reliable with the luggage waiting in your room at each new hotel
We had a really enjoyable holiday despite losing some of our luggage & will be considering a similar trip next year Thanks Sean & Annie Hughes
By Mr Anderson on 02/07/2014
In the circumstances, given the accident, very difficult to make comment on this occasion. The hotels were extremely satisfactory. And the countryside, certainly from the inside of a taxi, or the Headwater transport looked very interesting. A trip to maybe repeated in the future!
Dear Mr Anderson,
Thank you for taking the time to complete your post-holiday questionnaire. Please be assured that all of the feedback we receive whether complimentary or critical is valuable in helping us to continue to improve and develop our holidays for the future and is always well received.
It was great to see that you rated your holiday overall as good to excellent. Although, we were sorry to read that one of your party had an accident whilst on holiday, we hope they have made a speedy recovery. It was pleasing to read that during this stressful time you found our rep helpful and supportive. We will pass on your positive feedback to him.
In closing, we would like to thank you for choosing Headwater this summer and we look forward to welcoming you on another of our holidays in the future.
Headwater Customer Service team
By Mr McLeod on 21/06/2014
Enjoyable. In the inland parts the villages were lovely with less interesting walking, but the coastal walking was great.
By Mrs MacKenzie on 21/06/2014
Beautiful countryside to cycle in cpntrasting so well with the equally gorgeous coves and beaches - thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and would wholeheartedly recommend this holiday.
By Ms Yates on 17/06/2014
This was our third Headwater holiday and for us, the package balances good organisation with the freedom to discover little visited areas of the country while enjoying a good standard of accommodation and food.
By Mrs Evans on 13/06/2014
Fantastic holiday - very good walks and directions. Only niggle was the train journey in Spain as instructions about tickets not clear. Ticket booth at Barcelona closed so ended up buying wrong ticket and then having to pay again on train. Again on return journey not enough detail about buying ticket and when I rang rep unfortunately he did not know so made journey slightly stressful! Overall a very enjoyable holiday
By Mrs Talbot on 05/06/2014
Thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It was very helpful having the Headwater local back up. Will definitely use Headwater again.
By Mrs Brown on 03/06/2014
Does what it says in the brochure - 7 days of interesting sights without using cars or trains - organisation during walk flawless.
By Mrs Currie on 03/06/2014
Excellent walking with fantastic scenery. All accommodation of high standard. Walking definitely 2 boot.
By Mrs Price on 30/05/2014
We really enjoyed our Headwater walking in the Catalan region. The walking was a great combination of inland and coastal routes. The mediaeval villages were lovely and at this time of the year not overcrowded.
One or two of the walks had some challenging sections, particularly the suggested more interesting route to Begur on Day 4. We are older walkers and although experienced and fit we thought that the long relentless climb should come with a little more warning of the steepness. The weather was perfect for us but on very hot days this section of the route would be very demanding.
Otherwise the descriptions of the walks and the routes themselves were helpfully detailed and informative.
By Mrs Rathmell on 29/05/2014
All was very efficient and the walking instructions were excellent
By Mr Thompson on 23/05/2014
We enjoyed the holiday but did find some of the walks challenging. The accommodation was good but the quality of the food at the Hotel Rosa was outstanding.
By Mr Robertson on 23/05/2014
First try at a walking holiday and enjoyed it thoroughly. Would certainly recommend it.
By Mr Flanagan on 07/05/2014
A wonderful mixture of healthy exercise,beautiful scenery, fantastic food and friendly people.
By Mrs Grundy on 28/04/2014
Headwater holidays always live up to the descriptions in the brochure. Well planned walks, mainly excellent food and accomodation.
We had a great holiday. Well done Headwater.
By Mrs Brewster on 30/10/2013
We had a great holiday. The children thoroughly enjoyed the cycling, the scenery was beautiful, plenty of medieval villages to stop end explore and the hotels en route were great. We were extremely lucky with the weather - hot and sunny every day, so that we could enjoy the hotel pools at the end of each day. A brilliant family holiday.
By Mr Adamson on 08/10/2013
Well planned cycling routes with excellent instructions. 2 out of the 3 hotels were excellent. Alan & Linda were extremely helpful throughout the holiday & largely responsible for it running so smoothly.
By Mrs Hawkins on 07/10/2013
Well chosen area for walking.Very good self guiding notes and helpful and efficient rep.Excellent choice and standard of hotel. Just everythig we expected of Headwater. Thank you.
By Mis Callaghan on 05/10/2013
This was a lovely holiday. The walks were quite tough and in particular the walk from Cadaques to Roses was demanding. The scenery was stunning and hotels very comfortable. Alan's guide notes were excellent. Overall a thoroughly enjoyable holiday in a beautiful location
By Mrs Shorney on 03/10/2013
We found the cycling to be very enjoyable. Excellent instructions and maps and lots of variety in the scenery - coastal and inland. Rather more riding on tracks [often sandy or stony] than expected, but little traffic to worry about. Thought the overrall grading was higher than 'soft'.
First class hotels throughout. Cannot speak too highly of the couriers, Alan and his wife. We were lucky to have fine weather throughout, so a very good holiday.
Only small drawback was the long time spent travelling - air/rail took the whole day, both outward and return
By Mr Howard on 02/10/2013
A super holiday hard work at times but well worth it , hotels and food excellent never to old from a seventy four year old
By Mrs Paine on 01/10/2013
A well put together 10 day holiday with lots of variation. Interesting cycling which was demanding on a couple of occasions, really good accommodation and excellent local reps with lots of knowledge.
By Dr Young on 30/09/2013
The local rep provided the MOST EXCELLENT route notes we have ever experienced. The routes allowed us a great taste of both inland and coastal scenery. There are some built up areas on this holiday and we had no difficulty getting through. He also led us most interesting routes through the little towns so we felt we had seen a great deal. He had obviously ridden the rides himself recently as there was no confusion at all over road work issues etc which we have found before.The routes for the 'rest 'days were fantastic although more challenging than the other days! But well worth the effort. He also provided us with the best maintained bikes we have ever experienced - so thank you enormously for that. 2 of the 3 hotels were just wonderful- quite a treat-and of a luxurious nature.
By Mr Stocks on 28/09/2013
Cycling for softies but the fitter you are the more enjoyable especially if you want to cycle and get the best from some of the 'rest day' route possibilities.
A real holiday.
By Mrs Bonham on 23/09/2013
My husband, and our 23 and 20 year old off spring thoroughly enjoyed our first Headwater holiday. It was very well organised and the routes were well mapped. Alan our rep was helpful and on hand for assistance if required. I haven't ridden a bike for many years and my legs were challenged at times by day ten. I'd definitely recommend the holiday to others. The scenery was stunning and the food was out of this world both in the hotels and local restaurants.
By Mrs Gambrill on 18/09/2013
This was a thoroughly enjoyable holiday. I would never have seen this area of Spain doing a normal Hotel/Package deal. It is like a mini adventure with someone else doing all the arranging, absolutely loved it. Look forward to doing another one soon.
By Mr Goodall on 17/09/2013
The holiday overall exceeded our expectations. The Hotel Castell d'Emporda in particular is in a stunning location with exceptional service and quality. The food at the Hotel Rosa was excellent. The walking instructions were exemplary and Alan and Linda could not have been more helpful.
By Mrs Winward on 17/09/2013
use headwater and plan a holiday to fit your needs and wishes.
By Mr Pearce on 15/09/2013
Excellent walks but in places were much more demanding than 'leisurely.' Good mix of hotels. Generally good food. Roses was very much at the Costa Brava end of holidays but the rest was good. It was a bit disappointing to find so many extra costs - the train from Barcelona to Garriguella & back - the £59 for a relatively short taxi ride from Garriguella to Figueras for the train home (although the taxi people - Francisco & Maria - were very reliable). With a few exceptions the guidance notes were reliable - the optional walk at El Port de la Selva had loads of mistakes - I have pointed this out to the rep. Overall though it was a good experience & I would recommend it.
By Mrs McKinstry on 15/09/2013
The Catalan Cooastal Walk guides you through an area of outstanding beauty which remains unspoilt by tourism.
By Mrs Allen on 14/08/2013
Think about biking in the heat as it can be hard work in the heat to go up the hills
By Ms Jassey on 07/08/2013
Probably more challenging that you might expect, but in a very positive way, and well worth the effort. The views and experiences are unbeatable. Not sure if we could do a car-reliant holiday again!
By Mrs Hales on 24/07/2013
Although we enjoyed the walking we found some of it challenging, and yet we are quite active walkers. It is not what we expected as a leisurely classification.
But the whole area was beautiful and enjoyable.
By Mr Hughes on 23/07/2013
This was a very enjoyable holiday, it exceeded our expectations. All hotels were of a decent and sometimes exceptional standard. The route maps and advice provided by the rep- Alan -were very comprehensive and the suggestions for the rest days were also enjoyable with alternatives to cycling if required. We would have no hesitation in recommending this type of holiday to other cyclists and intend to do something similar in a different area next year.
By Mrs McLaughlin on 20/07/2013
I really enjoyed the holiday. The local rep was excellent as were his directions. He'd obviously put a lot of work into them. The walks were very enjoyable and varied. The Castle Emporda which was the highlight. The hotel in Begur was OK but the location in the town centre was great and the restaurant of higher quality.
By Mr Moorhead on 18/07/2013
The holiday was enjoyable, the Castell d'Emporda was fantastic, and had the holiday been 30% cheaper we would have thought it good value for money. I've been on many cycling holidays (this was the first with my wife and son) and it's the first where there has not been support throughout the day. I know the reps were available by phone, but it would clearly have taken an hour or more to get help from them if a problem had arisen and at this price, that's not good enough. Next time I would simply book the hotels for myself, hire bikes and then organise a taxi to take the bags from place to place - you did not provide sufficient additional value to justify the cost. Cycling routes are also easy to find - with so many GPS users uploading data to the web I would have little problem in organising routes for myself. This was a premium price but what we got was a bike (in good condition to be fair), and a map, and then left alone for a week. My wife had a bad insect bike which became very inflamed and sore and required anti-biotics (it has still not fully subsided a week later) - we had to sort this out for ourselves in Barcelona - our guides expressed polite interest but offered no real suggestions about local medical help. This compares poorly with my experience on cycling holidays in France and the US where anyone with even a slight medical issue was promptly driven to the nearest clinic or pharmacy, helped with the language and sorted out very quickly.
Thank you for your feedback Mr Moorhead, we were pleased to read that your holiday was enjoyable.
However, we are sorry to see that some aspects did not appear to meet with your expectations. The type of holiday that you had booked is classed as a self-guided cycling holiday. Therefore, we do not provide support vehicles. This type of holiday is geared towards the more independent customers who like to travel at their own pace, starting and finishing at various times throughout the day. Therefore, it would not be practical to have a support vehicle on the route. We do however provide a 24/7 rep service which is available if needed in case of emergency or should you have any questions or queries along the way as well as a brief at the start and de brief at the end of the holiday.
We were sorry to read that Mrs Moorhead was bitten and required medical treatment, as you comment our reps was aware of the bite, but not necessarily the severity. Had they been made aware of this they would have offered assistance as required.
Despite these issues I am glad that you had an enjoyable holiday.
Thank you once again for your feedback.
By Mr Archer on 17/07/2013
The holiday was exactly as described. The route note were absolutely perfect, we did not go wrong on the wrong route once
By Mrs Ball on 16/07/2013
I am a Headwater Holidays fan! This is about the 16th cycling holiday I have been on with your company and it is my second trip to Catalunya. Last time, about 5 years age, I took the cycling hol in Catalunya and the guide was Robin! say no more he was useless. Alan is a real gem. Look after him. As I am getting older now and so are my two cycling friends we look for the flat cycling routes and each time you bring out a new one we seem to book it. So do keep adding new routes. I am sorry that you no longer go to Majorca. Many years ago we did the cycling around the centre of the island and was going to book the one centre hotel this year but you have removed it. I guess it was not popular. I think its so important to keep the standard of the hotels and food at a high level. Its such a big part of the holiday for us. After a day cycling the destination is always exciting and good accommodation is a must. I am a single person and mostly travel with my married friends so always have to pay a single supplement which does increase the cost rather.( This trip I went with my daughter and we shared a room so no supplement, a real bonus) If I get a double room for the cost this is fine but on occasions I am in the attic in a single room; not so good. Keep up the good standard and as long as I am able to cycle I will be booking!
By Mr Lindley on 09/07/2013
good experience well supported both by headoffice and at the resort. hotels were well chosen for quality of room and food. walking varied and interesting and routes accurate. let down by one hotel on one night which we will take up with the customer service team.
By Mrs Mizon on 06/07/2013
The holiday was a perfect. We cycling along quiet country roads alive with butterflies and birds, scented with blossom and decorated by a myriad of wild flowers. The route took through a quieter version of parts of Tuscany with hill top villages and stone farms but had the advantage of including a wonderful coast line of rocky coves and sandy beaches, so I swam and swam. The June/July weather was kind to us; hot sun but a cooling breeze, and then at the end of the ride, a great hotel and a good dinner. What more can I say!
By Ms Apsey on 26/06/2013
Often very windy places but also sunny too. The rides usually undulate with the odd steeper climb here and there but even if they are a bit of a challenge at times but remember there are two sides to every hill and the end result whatever your day has been like is often a superb hotel in an outstanding or unique setting.
By Mrs Dietz on 24/06/2013
This was our best cycling holiday. The routes were varied: through woodland, rice fields, open country, along the coast, to a nature reserve, through medieval villages. All the hotels were good, but our favourites were the Moli de Mig and Mas Pau. The bikes, although not light, were suited to the terrain, as some of the tracks were rutted, and the front suspension protected wrists from jarring. We enjoyed hearing cuckoos (4 times) and seeing bee-eaters and hoopoes.
By Mr Worthing on 19/06/2013
The route guidence was too detailed and involved too many off road tracks. It would have been better if the route had stuck to metaled roads even at the expence of more traffic and greater mileage. Having to stop every few yards to read the notes was tedious and spoilt pleasure of the ride.
By Mrs Bolton on 18/06/2013
A very enjoyable holiday staying in excellent hotels.
By Mr Bostock- smith on 12/06/2013
The holiday was excellent. We were fortunate with the weather and the walks were good. It is a simple task to calculate the costs of the basics in the holiday particully hotel prices. We are therefore paying a significant premium for the convenience and support of having a local guide & his imput into the walk instructions.. What you charge is of course up to you and many will no doubt be happy to pay this premium for the reassurance it provides but we would not regard it as value for money
By Mr Davis on 07/06/2013
Excellent holiday. Walking notes by Alan were excellent and to a point that a map was unnecessary.
By Mrs Whybrow on 29/05/2013
The holiday was a chance to explore a region in depth and to do walks into deep countryside, which we could never have done without your detailed route notes. Lovely scenery, flowers, butterflies and birds. Some of the walks seemed quite long! - but worth the effort.
By Mrs Hilditch on 28/05/2013
Whilst we have had the most brilliant holiday as it was an old school reunion, considering the time in advance it was booked it seemed that the cost did not really reflect our expectation. We paid well over £1000 for a four night trip that did not seem very well tailored to our needs mostly in terms of transfer arrangements. We felt that for a group our size there could have been better transfer arrangements. The walking was very well organised and well marked and our guide whilst he clearly was not used to such a large group of opinionated women (!) he ensured that our needs were met.
By Dr Hand on 23/05/2013
My sister and I were looking for a walking holiday which neither of us had done before.
This was one of the best holidays I have ever had. The superb organisation from start to finish resulted in an almost totally stress free time.
The walks were very thoughtfully planned , varied and a total delight. The scenery and views were spectacular. The area is unspoilt and full of history. The hotels and food were a real pleasure.
The local knowledge meant that every aspect of the holiday was chosen carefully to maximise enjoyment.
You just couldn't do this yourself.
Grilled rep on way back about which holiday to do next.
I would highly recommend this trip
By Mr Cameron on 23/05/2013
We had a wonderful holiday. We last traveled with Headwater in 1994 and 1997, and there is no doubt that the standards of the hotels, route notes, and bikes have improved immensely. Alan was a hugely experienced rep who provided route notes of a superb standard. 2 out of the 3 hotels were truly excellent, and while the other was one of the weirder I've ever stayed in, it was perfectly serviceable, and the fact that it was B&B only was a good decision.
By Mrs Tromans on 16/05/2013
A very relaxing holiday in superb locations with varied walks & interesting local historical interest. Away from the usual tourist spots. Manageable walking for those not used to walking great distances & very helpful & knowledgeable local rep.
By Mrs Winward on 07/05/2013
A fantastic holiday. Alans notes made the self guiding really easy. There was a lovely mix of different types of walks i.e. woodland, coastal, villages. Alan did his very best to plan the walks away from any main roads en route so we had a lovely, safe views and vistas. The Castella D'Emporada was one of the nicest hotels that we have stayed in, in the world. The food in both hotels was excellent. The bags arrived before us, as if by magic at each hotel. This is a beautiful area.
By Mrs Scott on 24/04/2013
This was a most beautiful part of Spain and completely unexpected. As we were the first guests of the season our hotels and destinations were not at all crowded. People had time to stop and chat. The weather for walking was perfect at this time of year.
Although this was a 'soft' holiday, we found some of the walks quite challenging either in length (Castell d'Emporda to Begur) or difficulty (Cami de Ronda between Begur and Lafranc), but we took our time and shortened walks by taking the odd taxi (phone numbers thoughtfully provided by Alan). We have had many wonderful holidays over he years, both in Europe and elsewhere, but have never been so reluctant to leave an area.
By Dr Miller on 03/11/2012
Note on Hotel Ratings: I did not stay at Castell D'Emporda, as they were booked with a private function. I was placed into Mas de Torrent, and my "all excellent" ratings are for that property. Mas de Torrent was perhaps the best hotel I stayed at in the ten hotels I used while I was in Europe. It was superb, and I would happily pay a surcharge to stay there if I was to cycle through Catalonia again.
Moli de Mig was a bit of a letdown. The service was friendly, but they did not really try to solve issues that I had with the room; I complained that my room had no functioning internet, and they responded by saying internet was working fine at the front desk, so the issue was with my computer, which it was not. More importantly, my half-board only covered my ordering from the set menu, which was very limited (Apple Menu) and the same both nights. The rooms and property are lovely, but I would have mixed feelings about staying there again.
Hotel de la Font is a modest hotel with smallish rooms and baths. However, it is absolutely off the scale for charm. The owners were delightful hosts, in the true sense of the word. The made me feel like a welcome guest, and their efforts more than made up for the physical limitations of the property itself.
I used the Hotel Alga as the last hotel of the trip, as Hotel Garbi was already closed for the season. This hotel was not up to the standard of the others on the trip. Cleanliness and service were only fair, and the restaurant was appallingly bad for dinner. Breakfast was better, but still below average.
The headwater reps at Calella were superb. Alan's route notes were meticulous, reasonably easy to follow and pointed out possible side excursions for more energetic riders. Alan and Linda's enthusiasm for the region was manifest. They went considerably out of their way to help me when I left my AC adapter plug behind at the first hotel.
I was very pleased with the bicycle that Headwater provided. It was in excellent working condition. The panniers were also in like-new condition, and were a really valuable item of equipment to have.
The tour of Catalonia was a great experience. The roads chosen were quiet, the small towns were charming and the ones away from the coast were completely unspoiled by mass tourism. The countryside was quite pretty, with rolling hills, vineyards and olive groves. It was not especially challenging riding. I averaged around 40 km per day, but that was with a few side excursions.
By Mrs Garwood on 30/10/2012
Probably the best Headwater holiday we've had. Alan's walking directions were so good we didn't need to refer to the maps. The accommodation was excellent as was the food. The walking was varied through beautiful scenery which included pretty towns & villages, undulating farmland, cork & pine woods & rugged coves.
By Mr Stokes on 30/10/2012
This was another first-rate Headwater walking holiday. Where do you find such super local reps? Only gripe on this particular trip to Catalonia is that much of the walking was necessarily on paved or unpaved roads rather than footpaths or farm tracks; and with little shade for much of the time this was quite tiring. The area is perhaps better suited to cycling than to walking.
By Mr Harrison on 30/10/2012
The route had been planned to give you excellent ctcling and Alans enthusiasm for the region and the routes made a challenging very rewarding.
By Mr Kendall on 17/10/2012
Excellent hotels and food. Varied walking that would appeal most to those who prefer to use Tarmac roads and broad well made tracks. Nevertheless there are long sections of vehicle free rough tracks and trails that can give superb views. There are even some small hills.
The route notes were the best we have ever used.
By Mrs Beaney on 17/10/2012
A great holiday in some lovely locations. Well planned routes with easy to follow guidelines. We did the walk in late September/early October - not sure I'd want to do it in the summer months as some of the walks are quite open and hot!
By Mr Stables on 17/10/2012
Headwater came highly recommended and justifiably so we had a fantastic holiday. This region of Spain is stunning.
By Ms Smith on 17/10/2012
We had never been on a cycling holiday before but would certainly repeat the experience using Headwater based on the quality of the beauty and variety of the cycle routes and the quality of the accommodation.
By Mrs Warburton on 10/10/2012
A very well organised holiday with an excptional and knowledgable rep.
By Dr Mair on 10/10/2012
We had a really excellent holiday with Headwater. The reps were knowledgable and available and we had enough autonomy to allow us to enjoy it, but enough support that we felt safe at all times. The hotel Sa Punta deserves special mention for the outstanding service and food.
By Mr Moore on 06/10/2012
We had a bad start, nothing to do with Headwater - wallet and knapsack pick pocketed/stolen in Barcelona Sants Station. Headwater (Alan Hughes, Kim Schreier and Francisco (taxi driver) were terrific in rescuing our spirits and on practical things like replacement medicine, hiking boots, knapsack.
We found the walks challenging for a 71 and 65 year old and rewarding scenically and for interest. We have minor suggestions on the walking instructions, but very minor, which we will give to Headwater.
We thought the hotels were all very good, not to knock the others, but in particular Playa del Sol in Cadaques - fine design, fine bedrooms and public rooms, 20 meters to the sea for swimming, fine pool and gardens and eating at pool.
We much enjoyed going to Garriguella. It was very good to be in a small hill town that was quite traditional.
We enjoyed our rest days:nice walk to the Dali House near Cadeques, very fine restaurant in Can Tinto; all the facilities at the Almadabra Hotel in Rosas, including superb food; two interesting vineyards in Garriguela and a good, traditional Catalan restaurant with a larger than life owner, plus the really helpful Vilamont Spa Hotel owner.
If you do not have Spanish or best of all Catalan, French is useful and English is less commonly spoken than you might think.
Iain More and Pam Siler
By Mr Gillies on 06/10/2012
Very good experience all round. Well organised by people who know what they are doing. A couple of the routes stretched us a bit more than we expected for first timers. Unusual/excellent, well-chosen hotels helped make the trip better value for money. The weather could make a major difference to your enjoyment of these trips however.
By Mr Makin on 01/10/2012
Probably the best cycling holiday we have had.
The weather was good and the accommodation was generally very good - although the hotel in Palamos was trying too hard to be something it wasn't.
By Mrs Currie on 24/09/2012
Varied walking through pretty towns and villages and along spectacular coastline. Very nice contrast of accommodation. Excellent food at the Castle; table d'haute was the same each day but there was a choice.
Temperatures in high 20's when we were there early September. Our guide Alan rightly emphasised the need to carry plenty of water.
By Mr Cooper on 24/09/2012
A successful first holiday! Headwater appears to be a company with a culture of great attention to detail and good organisation but with an eye on the personal touch.
By Mr Tuffill on 24/09/2012
We think this was our ninth holiday with Headwater - so you must be doing something right. We really enjoyed this holiday and would recommend it to others. You mark it as a One boot plus walk. I am not as agile as I was so we decided on this level. But there were some bits that were a bit more challenging in my opinion, in particular the coastal path from Begur and the piece of day 6 walk which made a big deal about vertigo - where the real problem was jumping across rocks. So we took the alternative which involved a 2km steady climb, close to scrambling at times to gain enough height to take an alternative trail high up. But, I repeat, we did enjoy the holiday.
By Mr Rowbotham on 24/09/2012
A good cycling holiday, a lot of it "off road", in beautiful and interesting countryside. However, in the holiday description in the Headwater brochure, greater emphasis should be given to the "gastronomic cuisine" aspect of this holiday. ALL of the evening meals provided were of this type and did not really suit our requirements.
By Mr Flynn on 24/09/2012
A fantastic hoilday that we would really recommend! Our guides, Alan and Linda were exceptionally helpful, and we hope to do another headwater hoilday in the very near future.
By Mr Sharp on 10/09/2012
This was a magical holiday which my wife and I will remember for a long time. It had all the igrediants which we had hpoed for; excellent cycling restaurants hotels beaches.
We have been on the northern Italy holiday and we will be booking again for next year.
Best holidys ever.
By Mrs Allen on 29/08/2012
A perfect combination of wonderful, scenic walks; superb hotels and amazing food! This was our fourth Headwater holiday and was as enjoyable as all the others. The holiday felt we were immersed in local life; it is a pattern we have noticed in all our Headwater holidays and is something we really enjoy and want to be part of.
By Mr Hides on 13/08/2012
A very good balance of challenging walks and pampering at the hotels. The very personal treatment and superb food at Palau Savadera was particularly welcome and appreciated.
The mix of hotel character was a positive feature of the holiday.
The rest days were important when it was very hot, during high season, but we liked the opportunity offered by the additional walks.
Even though we didn't meet our rep in person, he was very accessible and extremely helpful and friendly over the phone, supporting our day-to-day experience and also communicating with us very well over a problem (outside of his or Headwater's control) with the final taxi transfer on the last day.
By Mrs Cox on 13/08/2012
Overall I think this holiday would be best done at a slightly cooler time of the year. Whilst the distances do not seem particularly long they are when done in the high twenties/thirties and especially when you have children. Some of the towns we passed through were beautiful and it would have been nice to spend longer exploring them. As it was we were not getting to the hotel until 6/7 pm on moving on days. We would love to go back the area again perhaps not on bikes so that we could see more of the medieval villages. The two hotels Castell D'Emporda and Sa Punta were excellent and the food lovely. The children loved them too particularly the pool at Sa Punta. Worth the effort up the hills to get to them. Callela is a charming seaside town. Not at all what we expected on the Costa Brava. Alan was very helpful with tips on where to eat. The Barcelona extension was well worth it but longer needed as there is so much to do. Another great holiday!
By Mis Gow on 07/08/2012
We very much enjoyed our holiday on the Catalan Coastal walk. The scenery and the views were lovely. For us Cadaques was the real highlight both in terms of the town itself and one of the nicest hotels and certainly the cleanest in which I have ever stayed.
We did find a couple of the walks quite hard going especially in the heat and in particular some of the downhill sections but we aren't particularly experienced walkers and the more sensible would no doubt have avoided July and perhaps would have had a better understanding of the grading. Our rucksacks were mostly full of litres of water which added an extra challenge!
We had a most unfortunate experience in Niu de Sol which we raised with Alan at the time. Headwater had clearly been put in an unacceptable position by the hotel owner but they responded promptly both during the holiday and immediately on our return. Alan called us several times and travelled the 2 hours to Port de la Selva to take us to the station on our return to Barcelona. We also received a call as soon as we got back from Steven in Head office. We felt the response of Headwater was excellent and genuine ie no-one was just going through the motions
Alan's notes were astonishingly detailed though we did suggest the insertion of some extra distances between marks, but given the effort he has put in I feel a bit petty raising that.
By Mrs Evans on 28/07/2012
This is a beautiful part of Spain, with lots of interesting little villages to visit. All in all a very enjoyable holiday.
By Mrs Midgley on 23/07/2012
it was a great family holiday with the option of cycling every day or not so we felt that we were having a rest and getting some exercise and seeing parts of Emporda that we would not be aware of if we had been in a car.
The Castle had a great location but found the other clientel a bit stuffy and the pool on the small size for such a lovely hotel and in the dry heat a bigger splash and swim area would have been ideal.
The half board system was a bit frustrating as we saw lovely food been given to other guests which made us very jealous and there was a feel of being a bit of a different kind of client because of this at the Castel on the first night however the second night and different Maitre D we were able to choose a la carte for no extra cost!
By Mrs Baillie-smith on 11/07/2012
Had a fantastic time, cycling varied and very enjoyable
By Mrs Sidders on 11/07/2012
A good enjoyable holiday in a beautiful and varied area of Spain.
By Mrs Colquhoun on 07/07/2012
Very enjoyable and would like to try the longer route next time.
By Mrs Godsall on 30/06/2012
A great holiday in a lovely quiet part of Spain which lived up to all our expectations.
By Mr Mooney on 23/06/2012
Excellent, well researched, varied walking holiday---no negative points--not even a drop of rain!!!
By Mr Jones on 16/06/2012
Apart from 3 days of rain and 1 day of food poisoning (restaurant recommended by previous headwater clients in cadaques) we had a lovely holiday.
By Ms Radford on 16/06/2012
Had a wonderful holiday with my husband!
By Ms Swinburne on 11/06/2012
Really enjoyable, despite poor weather. The hotels and Alan did their best to help us work around the rain. Only complaint was the Barcelona/LLanca transfer.
By Mr Gilmour on 25/05/2012
Good walking, good food, good hotels - an all round great experience in an interesting area of Spain. Also, great variety in the walks each day within a relatively small region.
By Dr Heneghan on 25/05/2012
Wonderful- one of the best holidays we have had or are likely to have.
By Mrs Best on 19/05/2012
By Mrs Fuller on 19/05/2012
Absolutely brilliant, really excellent route notes and advise from your rep Alan.
By Mr Sedgwick on 05/05/2012
Overall a thoroughly enjoyable holiday.Headwater, as usual,provided good quality hotels in scenic locations. However, the Hostel de la Font and the Hotel Mas Pau were the stars for us.
By Dr Williams on 05/05/2012
We have thought carefully about the responses and have no hesitation of the designation of "excellent" in nearly all cases. This was an excellent holiday, great routes and hotels, with strong back-up and local support by Alan.
By Mr Christer on 28/04/2012
An excellent holiday which surpassed our already high expectations. Two excellent hotels in the Sa Punta and Castell D'empordia and a lovely area to cycle in.
By Mrs Crawford on 00/00/0000
Wonderful, quiet cycle routes through stunning countryside and coastal villages. Catalonians were extremely friendly and welcoming and the whole area was clean and well maintained.
By Mr Ezra on 00/00/0000
The Catalan Coastal Walk holiday was really good, with interesting walks, stunning scenery, pleasant accommodation and great food. We would certainly return to a couple of the destinations we visited on the way. The walking was not too onerous and we were normally quicker than the expected time to be taken, even without rushing. The hotels were all welcoming and comfortable, with a discernible rising in quality of accommodation from one location to the next. The taxi arrangements were superb, with our driver, Fransisco, always early, cheerful and helpful. However, there are always some bug-bears, but these are merely small tweaks that could have made our personal experience better. Mainly, the notes were not to our taste and often needed re-reading, others may find differently. Also the location of the first and last night's accommodation, although nice enough, seems to be at odds with the holiday's overall description of 'coastal'.
Dear Mr Ezra,
Thank you for taking the time to write in with your post-holiday feedback. It was great to read you had an enjoyable holiday overall. We were however sorry to read, that you found issues with some of the route notes. Please be assured we check all of the routes and notes seasonally. We will keep your feedback in mind when we do our next update. In closing, we would like to thank you for choosing Headwater for your summer holiday; we look forward to welcoming you on another of our holidays in the future.
Headwater Customer Service team
By Mrs Fernley on 00/00/0000
Cycling, location, accommodation and especially food were of a very high standard. Local reps were very attentive, and the postcard we received from them before the holiday with their phone number was a nice touch. We travelled from a 'non-standard' airport, and arranging this and transfers through Headwater was more difficult than we expected.
By Mr Taylor on 00/00/0000
We had a fantastic week cycling in Catalunya, food, wine and people were great.
By Mrs Feaviour on 00/00/0000
It was ideal for us. Lots of bird life so husband a happy chap, lovely cycling area so wife is happy!