Customer reviews: Holidays in Chianti
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 Holland on 14/08/2017
Great holiday with a good mix of activity and comfort. The walks take you through some beautiful countryside and the notes are accurate and useful. The length and difficulty of walks build up over the week so that the long final day feels reasonable. Our holiday was in July, consequently we started walking early to avoid the worst of the afternoon heat. This meant that we were arriving at our hotels in the early afternoon. We found places to eat a late lunch close to the end of the walks, which meant we didn't need packed lunches and made the glass of beer in the cafÃ© feel well deserved and taste fantastic. All of the hotels were good and all had different areas of merit. We found the food in Le Fonti very good despite the surly head waiter; the rooms in Terre di Casole were great with a patio just a few steps across the lawn from the pool; the Relais della Rovere is a beautiful building with great poolside service, and the Relais Santa Chiara is very well located to explore beautiful San Gimignano.
Overall an enjoyable holiday if you like walking in the countryside, relaxing in decent hotels with good food, and meandering around Tuscan hill towns and villages.
By Mrs Dunnill on 21/07/2017
It was a magnificent experience again. We have used Headwater before, and were extremely satisfied with their product.
Our Reps in Italy were stunning. They couldn't do enough for us, and were so helpful. The hotel accommodation was outstanding, and the food excellent. We will certainly use Headwater again as the whole trip was brilliantly lubricated. We were more than satisfied. Thank you for everything!
By Mr Owen-jones on 07/07/2017
The walking was great but might be challenging when the summer temperatures occur. Good combination of walking and sight seeing.
By Mr Stevenson on 07/12/2016
Varied walking with except for the first morning no need for a lift to the start of the walk although limited opportunities to find drinks or nibbles en route.The final day was longer than we anticipated and we did flag down a passing taxi to take us up the huge hill to Volterra.The hotels varied but with good accommodation, views and the food was generally good. The best meal by far was in the agrotourismo down the road from Hotel Pescille (3 * with no restaurant) which was a real gem as the hotel was a fair walk from San Gimignano and avoided taxis at night.
By Mr Dent on 29/11/2016
Really attractive area,great hotels.We interspersed some extra days for additional relaxation and chance to visit additional restaurants for dinner.Fonti was weakest for dinner but other 3 were all excellent. Terrific wine tasting and dining at San Gimiagno
By Mr Ford on 29/11/2016
We enjoyed this holiday but with the following proviso in comparison with the Footsteps of St Francis Umbria which we did last year there was much more hard surface and road walking particularly on the last day.
Our first and last Hotel San Limo was without doubt the poorest hotel that we have experienced on a Headwater holiday. there was no atmosphere in the restaurant the staff both at dinner and breakfast did not give a friendly or welcoming approach. We actually decided to eat out in Volterra on the final night rather than eat at the hotel. The room we were given 403 was supposed to be a superior room it was the smallest of all the rooms we had and the only thing that could have made superior was that it had a small balcony.
Hotel Relias della Rovere whilst the food was excellent and the room good, the pool and the pool area was very poor, grass uncut and pool a little dated
By Mrs Handley on 29/11/2016
Challenging, enjoyable walking in a scenic setting.Easy access to visit Sienna, Florence and the small historical towns along the way a real bonus.
By Mr Dick on 29/11/2016
The cycling routes and notes were excellent, the food was gorgeous and the scenery beguiling. Luke & Eleanor were more than welcoming and helpful. When I reported a small technical issue with one of our bikes, it was changed within an hour. The restaurant suggestions were lovely for the nights not on half board.
The opportunity to take a day in Sienna or Florence should not be missed.
By Mr MacKrill on 11/11/2016
Beautiful countryside and villages with fantastic unspoilt views, fabulous hotels and food. Plus being very well looked after by excellent Headwater staff.
By Mrs McKenzie on 08/11/2016
thoroughly enjoyed the walking-especially when following the river. Accomodation comfortable and staff in the hotels welcoming and friendly. We had really personable and informative couriers able to supply us with local information on the areas-they went the extra mile!
By Mrs Pincott on 31/10/2016
The Secrets of San Gimignano holiday was fantastic. Eleanor and Luke, the reps, simply could not have been more helpful, the cycling was excellent (but hard work - Tuscany is hilly) and the hotels and food amazing.
By Mrs Sillett on 31/10/2016
A holiday that we enjoyed so much in 2013 that we went again this year!
Walks are not too challenging and provide beautiful views of Tuscany. Be aware that generally the hardest walking is the final ascent to your destination so reserve some energy and water.
A trip to Florence or Siena is really easy from Colle Val D'Elsa by bus and the location of the hotel in San Gimignano is perfect for dipping in and out of the crowds during the day
By Mr Davies on 23/08/2016
This was my fourth holiday with Headwaters and have enjoyed them all
By Dr Scally on 16/08/2016
The walking was varied and interesting. The stretch along the river d'Elsa on the way to Colle di Val d'Elsa was the most interesting. Some of the hotels are quite busy with tour groups. The hotels also vary markedly. Hotel Terre di Casole was easily the best, particularly for service. One minot point however was that the room we were allocated the room (204), despite plenty of empty rooms alongside it that were a bit bigger. The reception staff and the main waitress in the restaurant were fantastic and we particularly appreciated that there were plenty of special options offered to us in the restaurant that were not on the menu but were suitable for vegetarians. The poorest hotel was Relais della Rovere. Reception staff were uninterested and the restaurant (not run by the hotel) was poor for vegetarians. The pool at Relais Santa Chiara was hopeless for swimming. San Gimignano was very touristic and not very pleasant. On the other hand, Volterra was very interesting and worth more time that it was allocated as a start/finish point.
By Mr Smith on 20/07/2016
Stunning countryside and food. Best reps we've ever had.
By Mis Aplin on 15/07/2016
This is a lovely cycling holiday but quite challenging with regard to the hills especially when its 34C! An early start is recommended to avoid the hottest part of the day. The hotels are all good and food at the Della Rovere is excellent. Nice pools at all the hotels. Plenty to do on the off days. The walled town of Monteriggioni is a relatively easy cycle from the Della Rovere. Worth booking an extra night at the end of the holiday in Volterra. Beautiful town with lots of little shops, cafes and alleyways. Thanks to Luke and Eleanor who were excellent reps.
By Mrs Walker on 15/07/2016
Headwater take all the uncertainty out of your holiday: you know the hotels are going to be excellent in every respect, you know you are going to get picked up at the right time, you know the walks are going to be through beautiful countryside. Everything runs smoothly and efficiently. We find the balance between a walking day and a rest day just perfect. This was our eighth holiday with Headwater and we are already talking about next year's.
By Mrs Payne on 30/06/2016
We were surprised at how strenuous the cycling actually was! The distances were not long, and so we really expected to complete the routes much quicker than we did.Very big hills, but the bikes have good gears and we managed to cycle to the top of them all. The downs were brilliant. Roads were mainly very quiet.
The hotels were all lovely and we enjoyed having non cycling days to explore the interesting hill top towns.
Lots of great food and wine was had.
By Mrs Ryan on 27/06/2016
This holiday delivered on great food, amazing scenery, friendly staff along the route and comfortable hotels. We thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience
By Mr Clarke on 16/06/2016
Luke & Eleanor the reps couldn't have been more helpful and made the holiday a special experience. Taking the extra days to allow for visits to Sienna and Florence added an extra dimension to the holiday and would thoroughly recommend doing this as an addition to visiting the hilltop towns.
By Mr Wightman on 14/06/2016
We really enjoyed this first cycling holiday, we loved the Tuscan countryside and the rustic food, delicious wine! We regularly enjoy our bicycles at home but are not 'cyclists'. So the 'undulating hills' and ' steady climbs' mentioned in the brochure were a lot more challenging than we expected. Having said this, we completed the route with a great sense of achievement and looked forward each day to a new adventure !
By Mrs Prentis on 14/06/2016
I was a little sniffy with the 40km every other day distance. However the hills more than make up for it. We are both very fit and did manage the hills but it was warm and quite a few are long and on the stranda bianca which are unmade up and with the wrong size of stones which makes cycling quite difficult at times. The area is lovely and the reps were delightful and extremely helpful.
By Mr Loaring on 14/06/2016
A wonderful holiday with excellent walks in beautiful countryside; staying in comfortable, well appointed hotels, which for us were marred by the fact that very few concessions were made to guests who did not eat meat, and therefore we did not eat very well throughout the week except on the evenings when we had to eat out at restaurants of our own choice (when we were very well catered for). However, one of the most attractive aspects of a Headwater holiday is to be accommodated in a comfortable hotel offering good cuisine at the end of a day's walking, and not having to go out again searching around for somewhere attractive to eat.
By Mrs Sparshott on 13/06/2016
don't under-estimate how hilly/undulating Tuscany is.
By Ms Woodall on 13/06/2016
Great holiday. Good challenging cycling days and a region with great food and wine for lunch and dinner. Headwater looked after us well again in Italy.
By Mrs Thomas on 13/06/2016
Don't be put off by the two and a half star rating of this holiday. We are two averagely fit 50+ couple that managed all the hills and they were well worth it for the fantastic views. Each hotel was unique and individual and the welcome you received at the end of a days cycling was lovely. The standard of food for most was good. We thoroughly enjoyed our holiday and have come back invigorated and amazingly pounds lighter! The reps Luke and Eleanor were very helpful and couldn't do enough for you - even texting us to see if we were alright on the only rainy day we had.
By Mr Flett on 03/06/2016
A fabulous way to explore the beauty of rural Italy. The exercise during the day is balanced by delightful food and wine in the evenings. Self-guided cycling with Headwater offers independence, but with the comfort and reassurance of excellent local Reps. This was our second holiday with Headwater and is unlikely to be our last.
By Ms Vipond on 21/10/2015
Beautiful cycling! Great route and some excellent hotels.
By Mr Creswell on 30/09/2015
Wonderful scenery, good friendly hotels, tough walks but worth it! Mosquitoes, especially the new 'tiger mosquitoes' are a real problem it would seem even in September so take lots of insect repellent and a spray to do your room before bedtime. I covered my legs and sprayed my arms for walking when I realised this and that did the trick!
By Mrs Houghton on 29/09/2015
Very well organised from start to finish
By Mr King on 29/09/2015
Very good well balanced trip
By Mr McGregor on 21/09/2015
Beautiful area but let down by inattention to detail.
Disappointing largely for small but cumulative reasons.
By Dr Winter on 21/09/2015
Well organised and professional service - headwater deliver what they promise and the holidays are excellent. A reasonable degree of fitness is required for the cycling holidays - not suitable for beginners or irregular cyclists.
By Ms Morris on 21/09/2015
Everybody was so professional, friendly and helpful from our first phone call to the office to our final goodbye to the reps. The routes were great - enough cycling to feel we'd earned our lovely hotel, pool and dinner but not too much to feel disheartened. There was plenty of time built in to sight see with excellent suggestions for rest days. We visited some great places that we'd never have found on our own as well as some more main stream destinations. A lovely combination and so well organised.
By Mr Lawrence on 18/09/2015
Relaxing yet active walking holiday - lovely locations and good back up if needed
By Mrs Price on 18/09/2015
This was one of our very best Headwater holidays. We liked the mix of walks and sight-seeing. We felt very well looked after.
By Mr Howell on 16/09/2015
Perfect holiday. Beautiful countryside, great walks and the pools at the end of every walk were a real treat. Also there was the perfect mix of culture and countryside.
All the hotels were very good, the walks varied. Headwater holidays take the stress out of the holiday, once you have booked, all you need to do is turn up,
relax and enjoy.
We wanted to attend our son's wedding at the beginning of our holiday, in the area, and Headwater made it possible to combine the wedding, the walking and some extra nights in Pisa!
The staff at the office give you an excellent service!
By Mr Elliott-jones on 14/09/2015
A fantastic package, great value for money in superb, friendly & family-run hotels. Great cycling routes through some challenging terrain, very good, sensibly built bikes. Reps & Headwater office staff were very helpful, couldn't do enough to make sure we were sorted.
By Mr Quick on 02/09/2015
Our most scenic Headwater cycling holiday to date and well worth the physical effort!
By Mr Pridmore on 27/08/2015
A challenging holiday but thoroughly enjoyable. The views were amazing and the rides took you through beautiful places. The use of the word undulating in the notes was over used, hill was closer! Had such a sense of achievement at the end of the holiday! Would love to do this again.
By Mrs Firth on 25/08/2015
We found the holiday provided a good mix of cycling and relaxation. The cycling in July was very hot and the hills quite challenging while the hotels were very comfortable and quiet. Enough choice of things to do from the hotels or simply relax by the pool.
Cycle routes were very well mapped, cycles were properly geared for the climbs and well maintained.
Transfers from the airport to the hotel were well organised and on cycling days our luggage was promptly transferred between hotels.
By Mr Gilbert on 24/08/2015
We were initially slightly worried by the directions and unknown roads etc, however the notes proved to be excellent and only got momentarily lost once during the whole holiday. Take plenty of food, water and sun cream on the rides as shops and shelter can be few and far between.
By Mr Gray on 24/08/2015
A very enjoyable mix of interesting walks and good hotels. Probably best-suited for adults whose idea of a good holiday is not sitting around on a beach.
By Mrs Brown on 17/08/2015
I have found Headwater holidays to be consistently excellent over the three occasions that I've used them. You find some amazing places for us to stay in and provide really useful information on local places to visit. It's lovely to get off the usual tourist tracks and really get to see the countries in more detail, experiencing far more of the areas we visit. The views were spectacular which made up for the challenging sections of the rides, and we were entertained by a golden eagle only metres away from us on the first and last cycle days.
By Mrs Stockton on 17/08/2015
An excellent first holiday with Headwater. We chose a 2+ cycle standard which was tougher than we expected, however the heart had a large effect on our ability. All the hotels were beautiful my only complaint was the air conditioning could of been a lot more powerful. The scenery was just breathtaking on the rides and over all i would highly recommend this trip.
By Mrs Downes on 21/07/2015
This is a great way to explore Tuscany with a good physical challenge and lots of wonderful gastronomic experiences thrown in.
By Mrs Clark on 08/07/2015
This holiday was one of the best we have had.Tuscany was beautiful and the chance to see it on foot made all the difference. The hotels were terrific and the food amazing.We will be back next year.
By Ms Smart on 23/06/2015
A challenging (take note) cycling tour taking you to some beautiful places in Tuscany. The bike was great and despite having to get off a few times in a few places I was mostly very happy with the km and the routes. If I could change any part of the route it would be the strada biancha on day 1 as that really is a bit tough with no views for most of it. The rest of the routes were fine and took you to beautiful scenery.
I was sorely disappointed with the hotel in Siena and would strongly recommend that Headwater change this option as it spoilt my trip a bit. The other hotels were great - my favourite was Pescile. Hotel Revere was good if the weather was ok but I can imagine this is a bit gloomy if its raining as there are limited places to sit inside.
The food was mostly good - breakfasts can be a bit 'Italian' but on the whole not too bad. The biggest let down for food was being sent to two Pizzerias two nights in a row in Certaldo. There is a huge choice of restaurants in Certaldo Alto and I would have preferred paying for my own meal and being given options.
A highlight was a tour of Montalcino (can be done from hotel Revere) and finding some amazing restaurants in San Gim (better at night to avoid the day trippers) and Siena.
For anyone wanting to know here are my restaurant highlights:
Siena - La taverna de San Giuseppe
San Gim - Cum Quibus
Certaldo Alto - Fonte Antica
Overall very happy and am missing the cycling now I am back in the UK
By Mrs McGaw on 23/06/2015
Wonderful holiday in beautiful surroundings. Good hotels each of which had their own character. Excellent walking notes. Our local reps Audrey and Chris were a very pleasant and helpful couple and they did a sterling job in a quiet but very efficient manner, we couldn't have asked for better!
By Mrs Sheardown on 17/06/2015
It was a lovely holiday and we saw lots of things that visitors to the region wouldn't normally see. However, we feel that you need to be fit to undertake it. We are used to walking in the Peak District but still found some of the days quite challenging. We travelled in May when the weather was reasonably warm for most of the week. We feel that later in the summer when the weather was hot the walking would have been very hard in places where there wasn't shade.
By Mis Barrie on 11/06/2015
A fun way to exercise in a beautiful location
By Mrs Napier on 11/06/2015
Choice of venue for walking very good. Notes extremely helpful, reps very good with local information. They were also very helpful when needed to help with a blistered foot on a bank holiday.
By Mr McDowell on 03/11/2014
We had a wonderful holiday and will have plenty of fond memories and photo's. It was a nice mix of exercise,visiting some lovely cities and villages and relaxation.The beauty about cycling is that you get time to appreciate the views, the Tuscan countryside is absolutely amazing. Our reps were extremely pleasant and helpful which went a long way towards our holiday enjoyment. We would definitely do another cycling holiday or even a walking one, but would not want to cycle on another Strada Bianca! It was a very well organised holiday from start to finish. Thank-you Headwater
By Mrs Grant on 27/10/2014
The walking was relatively easy although there was more need to carry your own picnic lunch than on other holidays as there were few opportunities to pass cafes/restaurants. Walking was scheduled for every other day so we needed to arrange things to do on days off. In addition, there was probably less 'sights' to see than on previous holidays unless by independent travel on the non-walking days. However, as usual, the arrangements were superb and everything went smoothly including the lovely warm weather in October.
By Mr Millican on 22/10/2014
The cycling was challenging, much more difficult than we expected from the rating. We would not have made it without the help and assistance from the reps Katy and Jim. They were excellent. There were downhill parts of the route that were dangerous for moderate cyclists. I know the area is hilly, however some of the climbing was more akin to a cycling race than a holiday.
By Mr Larcombe on 17/10/2014
We really enjoyed the holiday. Katie and Jim were very good representatives. There has been a problem with an outbreak of horse flies and so they went out of their way to suggest an alternative walk that avoided walking through woods. This was really appreciated. My only issue was the last walk between Casolare Le Terre Rosse and Park Hotel Le Fonti. I found this walk to be too long especially as the last couple of miles was up hill. Luckily it was a relatively cool day, if the sun had been out I don't think I would have been able to complete the walk.
By Mrs O'Carroll on 16/10/2014
I enjoyed looking through the website which was very informative. The whole holiday was very well organised; being met at the airport and being given chilled water bottles when we got in the mini bus was great. Our reps couldn't have been more helpful; they stopped at a shop on the way to our hotel so we could buy food and water for the following day's walking, they offered us equipment and leant us waterproofs. We felt very well looked after and listened too. For us this was the ultimate, stress free holiday! The walks were quite long and it was hot, but the terrain was pretty easy and we never found ourselves struggling - there was always the knowledge that there was a lovely hotel with pool and meal waiting for us at the other end. As a family we are fairly active, but not very fit - my husband plays racquetball once a week and I go for a daily 50 minute dog walk which proved to be enough to allow me to enjoy the walks. Our children all do sport at school and our eleven year old found the walking easy!
By Mrs Gorman on 15/10/2014
Holiday was very enjoyable. Good but not intrusive support from local representatives who gave some very useful hints and were always contactable. Hotels were very excellent with one notable exception.:
- one notable exception - Hotel Terre di Casol, see below for more details,
- the welcoming receptionist at Casolare LeTerre Ros who had no interest in helping us locate our forwarded luggage (which had arrived).
By Mr Hill on 14/10/2014
The scenery is spectacular - typical Tuscany -but beware the cycling is not for the inexperienced. The region is hilly and you do cycle on some busy roads. Good location for visits to Sienna and other famous hill top villages We very much enjoyed the holiday
By Mrs Wakefield on 08/10/2014
A superb holiday. The scenery was spectacular and moving from hotel to hotel makes the holiday interesting and varied.
By Mrs Spriggs on 01/10/2014
Beautiful countryside, tough cycling you would need to do some cycling at home prior to a 2 bike plus. We feel the hotels are much more cosmopolitan than in the past. Whilst they are of a very good standard we miss the more authentic accommodation with more local traditionally prepared food and eating together as a group.
My husband found the food at Relais della Rovere disappointing.
By Mr Kell on 25/09/2014
Well organised and supported walking holiday assisted by friendly and knowledgeable staff. Fine food and accommodation.
By Mrs Capper on 16/09/2014
Excellent holiday, very well organised. Will definitely take another holiday with headwater
A special thank you to the reps Kate and Jim Illingworth who went far over and above there duty to make our holiday outstanding
A special thank you to headwater for the 2 bottles of wine we received for our 30th wedding anniversary
Thank you all
By Mrs Wall on 12/09/2014
Excellent! Not a cheap holiday, but worth every penny. Good hotels, excellent food. Bikes were good. Friendly helpful service from the reps who went out of their way to meet the needs of individual guests.
By Mr Gallagher on 11/09/2014
Katie and Jim put every possible effort into making our stay problem free. On the first afternoon they sat with us for an hour giving us very helpful information about the route and terrain that we would be walking, places en-route where we could get food and drink, landscape features and sights to look out for. Although we no cause to call upon their assistance during our holiday it was clear that nothing would have been too much trouble for them.
With regards to the holiday itself, the route had been carefully planned and all the hotels were in wonderful locations (Medieval Tuscan hilltop towns).
We would recommend the region and this holiday to anyone.
By Mr Stead on 27/08/2014
This was our first holiday with Headwater and we thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. The cycling was challenging and we would advised others choosing this holiday to be prepared for the 'undulations' also known as long, steep hills! However, saying that if you are of a competitive nature they only added to the enjoyment when you reach the top. On the whole the accommodation was fantastic especially the Relais della Rovere where nothing was too much trouble and Le Renaie whose family atmosphere was lovely. We're now looking forward to choosing from next year's brochure - roll on next summer!
By Mrs Buckle on 08/08/2014
Thank you for a wonderful holiday! We enjoyed the walking, the days off by the pool, the scenery, the swimming pools, the food and the wine immensely. All five of us, including the kids, had a fantastic time.
By Mrs Holman on 05/08/2014
Excellent service from Kate and Jim starting with a postcard before hand saying that they were looking forward to meeting us. Excellent combination of sight seeing and cycling
By Mrs Osborne on 04/08/2014
The holiday was very enjoyable, very well organised, and the reps went out of their way to be helpful.
As Headwater guests, we felt that we were being given particularly good treatment at each hotel.
By Mrs Spalding on 21/07/2014
Well organised walk through beautiful countryside. Perfect opportunity to see the rural Tuscany and taste local food. Wonderful mix of walking sightseeing and relaxing.
By Mrs Marks on 26/06/2014
This was our third holiday with Headwater and as always everything was great, the guides, accommodation, trip routes, bikes, excellent and memorable holiday
By Mrs Pickles on 25/06/2014
Tuscany is wonderful. Beautiful countryside and enchanting hilltop towns. However the cycling routes are long and steep, and hard work in the very high temperatures we experienced. It's a glorious holiday if you're fit!
By Mis Wilson on 17/06/2014
A solitary bat swinging from the arched roof of an underground Marmini Etruscan tomb. Lizards posing on sun bleached steps or rustling through the undergrowth as you cycle past. The call of frogs, the flash of jays. An abundance of flowers, butterflies, insects and birds and stunning panoramic views. Loads of local colour and culture. Pasta, gnocchi, pecorino cheese with a honey and pine nut dip, ricotta cheesecake, pizza al taglio, gelato. Buongiornos and waves from Italian cyclists. Enjoy those downhill whizzes because there are also some climbs - but you will survive to tell the tale!
By Mrs Lai on 09/06/2014
Tuscany was a beautiful region with a great mix of walks in wonderful countryside and stunning cities/towns full of history and lovely architecture. The reps, Jim and Kate, were so helpful, thoughtful and genuinely caring - the best we've come across.
By Mrs Bird on 01/06/2014
Katie and Jim looked after all our needs and we are grateful to them for making our holiday work. We found the cycling very tough, but were able to switch to the walking holiday with their help. We probably over estimated our ability but the grading of the holiday was a little misleading to us. Some of the other guests agreed that they had found it tougher than they had expected. Overall, the holiday was enjoyable and we would use Headwater Holidays again.
By Ms Pilgrim on 01/06/2014
The care and attention that the Reps provided in the area was outstanding, and having been on 2 previous Headwater holidays they both worked very hard trying to please everyone.. I felt that the holiday was accurately graded as a 2 boot holiday and all the walks were well within our capabilities but sufficiently challenging. The area was fantastic and May appears to be a great time to visit with all the spring flowers in bloom and pleasant temperatures. I am usually happy to return home but I could have stayed another week so am looking to repeat the experience in a similar region next year as is my walking companion.
By Mrs Cushion on 29/05/2014
Probably not for 'casual' walkers as the walks seemed appropriate for experienced ones.
By Ms Gibson on 27/05/2014
We had a wonderful week with a perfect combination of walking, sightseeing, swimming and sunbathing plus delicious food and glorious landscapes. The local reps couldn't have been more friendly and helpful; it was very reassuring to know that they were there in case anything went awry - but it didn't.
By Mr Beresford on 12/10/2013
This was a well organised holiday with 4 excellent hotels with swimming pools, good food, 4 quite long days walking through interesting and varied terrain, and opportunities to explore Siena and Florence on the rest days. The reception staff at all the hotels were very helpful, providing local information including booking tickets for the Accademia/Uffizi in Florence. Excellent and knowledgeable support from Roger and Monika, the holiday reps - who were always there when needed.
By Mrs Duncan on 09/10/2013
good mix of cycling and rest days. Profile maps giving an indication of the heights gained and lost would be of interest. We cycled an extra day whilst at H della Rovere, and some information about possible routes might have been useful. In fairness, we hadn't told the reps we intended to do this as it was a last moment decision. Hotel Rovere room 404 was noisy as it was opposite reception and trundling suitcases early and late were noisily intrusive. Don't book this room or ask the hotel to lay down a rubberised pathway... The room was also quite dark.
Reps were excellent and helpful setting up and checking the bikes.. Rattly rear mudguards over the via bianchi and uneven road surfaces needed a bit of first aid. A bike bottle holder on the bike frame would have been nice
By Mr Gunn on 30/09/2013
Lovely walks particular second and third ones. Wouldn't recommend extension to 10 nights as food at Rovere was very limited in choice.
By Mr Fletcher on 29/09/2013
A very good holiday. All the hotels were good and the local reps were fantastic.
By Ms McLellan on 28/09/2013
Helpful reps and decent kit with good route notes but accommodation and food variable; slightly disappointing overall. 50 euro 'cash back' for dinner in San G when hotel restaurant closed was a bit tight based on what the hotel charged for a 3 course meal (but did mean that we had a good night out in San G and the best meal of the holiday by far!). Cycling tough at times, more road work than expected and would have struggled if it had been in the height of the summer heat but rewarding and some memorable views.
By Mrs Rouse on 25/09/2013
An excellant Holiday company for all the local knowledge it incorporates. The reps were great.
By Mr Prestage on 25/09/2013
We did enjoy our walk. The scenery is good. To ans the 'no' above - we would seek out a different type of holiday as we are getting on in years. It is a fairly steep walk for parts of the day, particularly the final ascent to the villages and hotel and can be hot in the sun. Suggest picking a time of year when temp is 24-28 degrees max. If you are over 60 you may wish to consider an easier walk as this one will test your fitness. You will have to train up for the event, as we did, if you are only of average fitness for your age. The other 4 members were younger than us (in their early and middle 50's) and handled it fairly well without any real training. Choice of footwear was not critical as one member did it only in runners. The rest had slightly more hike specific gear.
By Mr Galbraith on 20/09/2013
Generally well organised, as above hotel selection varied and some of instruction on walks info could've better. Walks much harder than appear to as advertised.
By Mrs Brown on 20/09/2013
This is our second HeadWater holiday and both times we have not been disappointed. We have been pleased wit the standard of hotels in Italy, better than the ones we had in Switzerland - clearly you get more for the money in Italy. Breaking the holiday into 2 and spending 2 nights in Florence was a highlight for us.
By Mrs Lee on 18/09/2013
Overall, very enjoyable with delicious local food and beautiful scenery. The thrilling downhill sections made up for the uphill challenges. Volterra is a gem and a wonderful place to celebrate your cycling achievements on the final night.
By Mr Whitton on 16/09/2013
Very well organised. Excellent reps on site. Excellent choice of hotels
By Mr Groom on 09/09/2013
Very well organised allowing us the opportunity to have many splendid days to enjoy both countryside and town alike. Accommodation, with one notable exception, excellent. Scenery, sights and sounds will all remain locked in the memory for a long time to come - would happily recommend the holiday
By Mrs Allen on 21/08/2013
Roger and Monika had changed the routing of the first day's walk as a result of storm damage. We really enjoyed this walk as we felt it added more variety and more open views than the original route which would have meant more walking in less open woodland. The walk was shorter than the original but we felt this was a good idea as it broke us in more gently and meant we had more time to savour the landscape. We recommend you amend your notes to keep this new route and ditch the original. The last day's walk was lovely until we reached the agriturismo San Antonio junction; from then on until Restaurant Prato d'Era we were on quite a busy strada bianca with quite a lot of traffic (not just tractors) for a long time, followed by and another long walk on a tarmaced lane. We would have preferred more 'off-road' walking if it had been possible at this point without losing the views. All the other days were simply lovely, the views wonderful and the walking very much enjoyed.This is our fifth holiday with you and we have had some excellent reps but we must say Roger and Minika were outstanding and provided a personal, friendly and humerous service above and beyond what we could have expected.
By Mrs Slater on 18/08/2013
Headwater always come up with the perfect balance between walking, time for relaxation and interesting, well-appointed hotels.
By Ms Merrick on 15/08/2013
1. Make sure you get the details you need before you travel.
2. If travelling with friends, insist on separate invoicing if that is what you want. Keep insisting
3. Self guided holidays offer great flexibility and also require more effort. Guided holidays have the potential to give local knowledge.
By Mrs McIntosh on 13/08/2013
Four very varied walks, challenging in places given my fitness level (poor!) but all definitely do-able - and very, very rewarding - in fact, unforgettable. It was unseasonably hot (35-38 degrees) but we were able to stop for leisurely lunches on two of the walks. The weather meant we made full use of the pools a each hotel - just wonderful. Our room at the Terre Casole will go down as one of my favourite ever - wonderful terrace with a walk across the lawn to the pool. At the relais we were upgraded to a superior room at no extra charge - just a most lovely room with a jacuzzi bath. As for the rest days ... with easily arranged trips into Florence, Sienna and San Gimignano - just wonderful, giving great lunch opportunities too.
This was a complete break from our daily lives. Whilst undoubtedly costly ( we had three extra nights) it was the main holiday we will take this year, the only holiday abroad and was just superb. I'm usually very attached to 'seaside' holidays but the landscape, countryside, towns and hotels all combine on this holiday to make iot a real experience to treasure
By Mr Sillett on 09/08/2013
A really lovely mix of hotels with excellent walking and sight seeing opportunities
By Mr Thomas on 02/08/2013
Our Tuscany Holiday (Secrets of San Gimignano) was totally brilliant and was enjoyed by the whole family ( 6 of us) - age range 24 to fit 70!.Our reps made life very easy for us and were incredibly helpful. The hotels were varied and all really lovely and well chosen by Headwater. The food was excellent - and being Italy, there were plenty of options for my vegetarian daughter ( no meat or fish). There was plenty to do on our non-cycling days which is always important.
By Mrs Kimber on 25/07/2013
Fabulous way to see Tuscany. Excellent service from the reps and they were reliable with delivrng luggage and had super local knowledge. All the hotels were friendly and had lovely pools which we needed when we arrived. A great holiday that I would thoroughly recommend.
By Mrs Turner on 18/07/2013
We had a fantastic time and will certainly recommend this type of holiday to our friends. Even our 15 year old son got into the swing of it. We went in early July which was hot but it had the benefit of the walks being reasonably dry underfoot.. Our guides had changed one of the routes as a result of previous bad weather which was good as I would imagine that some of the walks could be quite difficult after rain. The route descriptions were generally very good and we didn't get lost but there were a few times where this was more by luck. The hotels were all good, some of the rooms were a little tired but the welcome, service and food made up for it. We completed our walks between 2-3pm each afternoon and our luggage had always arrived before us. Thank you Roger and Monika for your support and for taking us back to Pisa airport so early on Sunday morning.
By Mr Goldstone on 13/07/2013
What a fantastic experience ! Not a tourist in sight and walking in the middle of nowhere with just the sound of the birds and wildlife to break the silence.
The beauty of this holiday was the fact that we were walking most of the day but HeadWater have appreciated that just because you are walkers you don't need to 'rough it' in down market accommodation it was such a joy to have he freedom to enjoy the beautiful countryside and arrive to find your luggage already in your room and a luxurious hotel with fabulous food and absolutely breath taking views !!!
We had some great moments and despite eating and drinking copious amounts of wonderful food and local wine because of all the exercise, amazingly we didn't put on any weight
We cannot praise the reps highly enough. Monika and Roger made us so welcome and at ease from the moment they greeted us at the airport with chilled bottles of water for the journey to our hotel NOTHING was too much trouble for them ! A HUGE THANK YOU TO YOU BOTH
For anyone considering this holiday , you do need quite a high level of fitness. Both of us are EXTREMELY ACTIVE and fit people and were pleased to find that we were suitably challenged by the walks in the heat. The hotels all had stunning views as they were all at the top of mountains ( so bare in mind the end of your walks when the sun is at its hottest are all uphill!!)
A fab holiday!! Something so different. I would not hesitate to recommend!
By Mr Alexander on 09/07/2013
Beautiful countryside, gorgeous hilltop towns, good accommodation, superb reps; cuisine (in and out of hotels) generally somewhat disappointing - ordinary and predictable (except Relais della Rovere) - this is more a comment on the region than on the Headwater aspects.
By Mrs Graham on 03/07/2013
we really enjoyed the holiday-great way to visit these lovely hiiltop towns and cities of Tuscany
By Mr Hart on 20/06/2013
generally excellent holiday. I think however, we over estimated our capabilities on the bike ride in tuscany. But enjoyed it nevertheless, esp. the scenery. We would certainly book with headwater again but be more careful on the bike ride we choose in future
By Mrs Stonehouse on 18/06/2013
we loved cycling in Chianti country - the climbs up to the hilltop towns were always rewarded with fantastic pistacchio gelati!
By Mrs Gillison on 02/06/2013
A well organised holiday with very helpful reps onsite. We haven't needed them in past holidays but had saddle trouble this time which was fixed in a trice (with a lift up one of the VERY steep hills as well!). Although we discussed this holiday on the phone before booking we didn't get a clear picture of difficulty from the brochure, so be very clear about how good a cyclist your are!!!
By Mrs Wright on 30/10/2012
All arranged at very last minute and your staff were up to the challenge. Thanks especially to Karen Ross in the office,particularly as we added an extra day in the middle to our itinerary. Also appreciated being able to discuss this 'upper 2 bikes' holiday with Catherine Crone as she and her husband had done it previously - helped us decide we would be able to manage it!
Routes very varied with lots of scenic and historic interest.
Hotel Le Renaie at Pancole was the best one for us - delightful staff, gorgeous evening meals and lovely setting.
We wouldn't have managed this in the heat of the summer but late Sept/early Oct the weather was pleasant especially as we managed not to get caught in any of the thunderstorms.
Great to have all swimming pools still open as we used them all.
We ended our holiday with a great sense of achievement and we can't wait to go back to Italy.
Charles and Ruth aged 50 something and only moderately fit.
By Ms Meadows on 06/10/2012
We could write pages about a lovely combination of cycling and walking but the best recommendation that we can give is that at the end of the holiday we were thinking about how we could just stay in Tuscany and do the holiday all over again
By Dr Wright on 01/10/2012
We booked last minute so it was expensive. The weather was awful, torrential rain most days but still the Tuscan countryside was stunning and the walking good to excellent. The hotels were all extremely good, with excellent facilities and near charming towns. The walking instructions were almost certainly written for lovely weather and it is more difficult when you are watching your feet to avoid slipping so we found them less than clear at times and got lost. Our luggage was always waiting for us when we arrived. If there is a sincere thought to assist local communities then more nights eating out would have been preferable.. We did not have a single night in a local restaurant. which would have added to our experience. Walking boots are definitely required the terrain at times is tough.
We saw virtually no other walkers but the local people were very friendly and helpful. We travelled to Florence by local bus which was also excellent and to be recommended. If you fly out of Pisa and wish to see the leaning tower then get ot the airport early as they only have limited left luggage facilities.
By Mr Harrison on 24/09/2012
A wonderful holiday - very well thought through and organised with a perfect mix of great walking in beautiful countryside and opportunities for sightseeing in nearby cities.
By Mrs Melhuish on 24/09/2012
we thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of our holiday.
By Mrs Dee-crowne on 24/09/2012
A great holiday with a variety of walks and accommadation. Walk instructions were clear and concise. Headwater staff could not have been more helpful.
By Mr Marler on 24/09/2012
We were very satisfied customers. We wondered if the trip, with all its stopover days might be a bit soft, but there was plenty to do at each place and we wouldn't have missed any of it. The route was well planned and all the accommodation was, of its different kinds, excellent. Karen was outstandingly good as local rep/route manager - efficient, reliable, enthusiastic and helpful, and possessed of a great fund of local knowledge.
We were sent the wrong trip notes initially (for the cycling version instead of the walking tour) but this mistake was rapidly corrected.
We were glad to have the map provided, notwithstanding the shortcomings of Italian maps, though those shortcomings were more apparent on the local map we borrowed at the agriturismo, which fitted the forest paths just often enough to be seriously confusing! Just as well we had a compass. But the exploring was fun.
By Mr Conway on 24/09/2012
We went to Tuscany for a wedding and asked Headwater if we could do the Volterra to San Gimignano walk on consecutive days, which we did. The walks were excellent, challenging but not debilitating ranging from pretty to spectacular countryside. Accomodation was good, but miserable staff at the Park Hotel spoiled the first night a bit. They made up for it on the last night with a big improvement in service. The Agriturismo was brilliant. We arrived a couple of hours earlier than predicted and Signora came out with several courses of food plus a huge carafe of Chianti. This is the first time we have done a Headwater holiday and are considering going again. It rates as one of our best short breaks we ave ever had.
By Mis Lording on 29/08/2012
The Secrets of San Gimignano is definitely an upper two bike holiday! There were plenty of hills going up but the rewards were the breath taking scenery, excellent hotels and lovely places that could be visited. Thank you Headwater for another great holiday. I can't wait until 2013 to book the next one!
By Mr Lucas on 07/07/2012
Excellent mix of walking and sightseeing.
By Mr Bennett on 07/07/2012
Tiring but worth while! An experience to be repeated
By Mr Park on 23/06/2012
Great hotels, lovely scenery
By Ms Waites on 16/06/2012
By Mrs Cox on 00/00/0000
Wonderful hilltop towns and beautiful, diverse scenery. Good hotels and excellent food. Luke and Eleanor were lovely reps. Nothing was too much trouble. We found we needed to shorten the walks and they helped us work out a way to do this, yet ensuring we did the best parts of each one. They ensured we had a stress free holiday and overall we had a very relaxing and memorable time. Ten days was ideal. A holiday we would recommend.
By Mr Precious on 00/00/0000
This was our first Headwater Cycling Holiday and our first visit to Tuscany, we felt that we were able to get up close and personal with the beautiful countryside. We would recommend this type of activity to anyone, we had a wonderful time and we look forward to booking another trip soon.
By Mrs Craig on 00/00/0000
I was initially somewhat trepidatious about attempting a' two and a half cycle' difficulty holiday with my younger, fitter, regular cyclist husband and so ,probably, was he. I am dog walking fit and that's about it. Some of the hills were fairly challenging but the bikes supplied have plenty of gears and the views from the top and the downhills are well worth the effort involved getting up and I was never that far behind him in the end! We went in September during the grape harvest, a lovely time of year. I'm not sure I would have coped with the cycling quite so well in July or August! The reps were very helpful but not intrusive and the hotels were all good. My husband is a map man and thought the quality of maps supplied was poor so we used the written instructions which were accurate and detailed. You don't need to be an olympic athlete to get the most out of this holiday, you have all day to complete the 40k between hotels, just take your time and enjoy those views!
By Lad Blackwell on 00/00/0000
This holiday was a perfect mix of walking and relaxation. It was reassuring to have reps on the ground, although everything went perfectly and so we didn't need to call on them. The route notes were first rate and the accommodation excellent and in just the right locations for our rest days.
By Mr Cumber on 00/00/0000
We had an amazing trip walking around Tuscany. San Gimignano was probably the highlight but everything was excellent. Walking in mid-August was very hot, but we found the if we left early the walking temperature until about 11am was just right. On our off days we visited Sienna, took a vineyard tour near San Gimignano (the excellent Cappellasantandrea is a 30 min walk away) and explored around Casole. The meals outside at the Relais della Rovere were also fantastic. Overall a great trip we would highly recommend.