Customer reviews: Cycling on Croatia
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 cycling 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 cycling 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 cycling 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 Ms Millar on 29/11/2016
Organisation was excellent unfortunately the route notes were poor leading to us losing our way a couple of times. Luckily the guide was very knowledgeable. She talked us through the section through the Fjord. Once we decided not to cycle that part she kindly agreed to transport us for this section. The route description of the Fjord did not include that this was a busy section with very limited space and no where to push the bikes if we decided that we could not manage the hills. A real omission of Headwater. Our middle hotel room while being comfortable had a locked interconnecting door. Unfortunately the only small child in the hotel was in the next door room which meant that we could not sleep in once the child was awake which was very early. The other two hotels were excellent
By Mr Lovell on 31/10/2016
Headwater Holidays are always an interesting and memorable holiday. The variety of accomodation combined with cycling or walking abroad is a winning formula whether you travel as a couple or with fitness minded friends. We have tried over 10 destinations now over the years including the canoeing down the dorgogne and every combination has been wonderful. The guided walking gives you a chance to see and learn about areas of europe that are off the beaten track and you feel like you are experiencing the real country.
By Mr Crawley on 04/10/2016
PThe cycling was not good. Along coastal parts there was rather a lot of pedestrian congestion along the many campsites. Inland some of the tracks were rough shingle
Inland in other places there were too many busy roads. In fact your rep very kindly too us by van over a busy section - it was her idea. The route was not too pretty, but some of the small towns were delightful
Dear Mr Crawley,
Thank you for taking the time to write in with your post-holiday feedback.
We were sorry to read you found the cycling more congested than yo had expected in some areas. As this region increases in popularity it does tend to be busier during high season, this is why, where possible, we take you off the busier roads onto the tracks and paths less travelled, however, this can sometimes mean the paths are not as smooth as the main roads. Please be assured, we do review all of our routes and customer feedback annually and will make any changes or adjustments as required.
We were pleased you found the service provided by our local rep useful and that she was on hand to offer you a lift during a particularly busy section of the route. We were also pleased you enjoyed your time spent in the small towns.
In closing, we would like to thank you for choosing Headwater this year and look forward to welcoming you on another of our holidays in the future.
Headwater Customer Service team
By Mr Harrison on 29/09/2016
Excellent way to experience the beauty and friendliness of Croatia and in particular the Istrian coast. Bikes excellent and fit for the sometimes stoney cycle paths. Not as daunting as we had envisioned bearing in mind we are both over 70. Rep excellent and very helpful. All accommodation is well chosen and perfectly located. A cycling holiday with an emphasis on the holiday aspect.
By Mrs Campbell on 23/09/2016
Great Fun. Lovely area and great cycling.
By Mr Kamper on 23/09/2016
Lovely coastline easy cycling
By Mr Self on 30/08/2016
The countryside was pretty and the places we stayed in had narrow, windy roads barely wide enough for a car which were intriguing to explore. Snorklling was fun and there were fish to see from waist height just standing in the water. The cycling was not overly challenging but the heat had to be managed with plenty of water and early starts.
By Mr Otter on 23/08/2016
Croatia and the Istrian Coastline are a gem and offer a variety of historic and scenic opportunities.
By Mr Mullan on 23/08/2016
Headwater never fails to please. We have holidayed with them on three occasions now, love their routes, their choice of hotels and attention to every detail.
By Mrs Eagle on 16/08/2016
Cycling the Istrian coast was such a wonderful holiday for myself and my husband. The sea was gorgeous, some of the routes were a bit bumpy and confusing but each location was so beautiful it was incredible. Food was great in the first two hotels and such stunning locations. We would definitely recommend to a friend and think about going on another holiday with headwater.
By Mr Bendrey on 03/06/2016
This was a great holiday, well organised, excellent communication, excellent rep who was very helpful, great route notes, good quality bikes and gives you an opportunity to visit some fantastic places on the Istrian coast in Croatia and see some lovely sights.
My only concern is that some of the routes, in my opinion, are quite dangerous, especially the unsurfaced roads and gravel tracks. If you have no experience, or little experience of cycling, this holiday I would suggest is not for you. Even as a regular cyclist I found some routes difficult and challenging. If you struggle with heat, I would suggest not choosing a holiday in July/August, but go for May or early June. You could be spending 4/5 hours out in the heat on some days.
However, if you love cycling, then this holiday is perfect and first class, a great company to go with as everything was organised as advertised and I would throughly recommend it.
By Ms Norman on 21/10/2015
An enjoyable holiday. Well organised, good bikes, very comfortable accommodation and breakfasts. Croatian coast attractive, and not too busy in September when we went and Croatian staff in hotels and local restaurants all friendly and helpful. Rides well planned, and maps and directions good. I had an unfortunate fall skidding on a wet road, and couldn't ride one day, but the support from local bike hire was excellent, and myself and bike both made it to the end of the holiday. Would recommend as good medium level cycling break.
By Mr Brodie on 30/09/2015
Fun and adventurous but no planning hassle
By Mr Beeby on 21/09/2015
Maintained the high standard we have come to expect from Headwater.
By Mr Fitzmaurice on 03/08/2015
...the 3 hotels were very different, but, were all in good locations with quality offerings. the people and staff of Croatia are very welcoming and have no airs and graces about themselves. the bikes are well maintained and sturdy, and, need to be for some of the unsurfaced paths. Rovinj was our favourite place, but, all towns / hotels that we visited were pretty and welcoming.
By Mr Savage on 13/07/2015
Great hotel locations, very friendly with good service and excellent food and drink especially the abundant and very good value seafood.
By Mr Barclay on 03/07/2015
Lovely relaxed cycles with plenty of 'things' to see along the way. The only difficulty was the route notes which had had the maps removed and left only descriptions and a very large region map. The guides had removed the maps because they were 'confusing' - I suspect that reflects a difference between visual and aural people - we would have been MUCH more comfortable with a MAP - particularly since some of the descriptions in the guide were a little wrong.
By Mr Hunt on 15/06/2015
A very good holiday. Some of the roads were a bit dangerous narrow fast and bendy like the road round the fjord. Some of the off road was too rough with big limestone chippings. Your reps were working on different maps to us.
By Ms Newman on 29/05/2015
Yet again a very enjoyable and successful holiday with Headwater. What a smooth running organisation you are.............efficient at home and abroad............friendly, welcoming and enthisiastic. The hotels in Fazania and Rovinj were exceptional. the staff were not only helpful, but also truly passionate about their work and their country. The cycle rides had been well researched and, apart from one transfer day (Fazania to Rovinj) when the busy roads far outweighed the quiet lanes and tracks, took us through fascinating places. Thank you to all and here's to the next time. Jenny and Paul Newman
By Ms Harris on 24/11/2014
Value for Money - fair to good, but can't choose more than one option.
The holiday was great - lots of quiet out of the way places to see. Very friendly people. The only criticism was the rep and the lack of local information given with regards to cycling which was easily available, if you knew about it. Would recommend Croatia as a place to visit - had a lovely time.
By Mrs Brooks on 17/10/2014
Great Hotels locations food. More hills than expected lots and lots of unmade roads. Hard to cycle on sometimes. Lovely people and country. Rubbish rep!!!
By Mr Aries on 08/10/2014
The whole holiday exceeded our expectations. Thank you. We will travel with you again.
Dear Mr Aries,
Thank you for your lovely feedback, we were pleased to see you enjoyed your holiday in Croatia.
We look forward to welcoming you on another of our holidays in the future.
By Mr Mitchell on 26/09/2014
All 5 of us had an excellent hoiliday ,Thank you.
One possible improvement- the last day's 'Directions' (Porec to Novigrad) were much simpler to follow than the other days' , because they used the local cycle route signs as reference points ; but there had been cycle route signs all along the way on previous days - they just were not mentioned.
By Mr Gibb on 19/09/2014
Excellent holiday overall, enhanced by a good mix of 4 couples in our group. BUT the performance of your reps was very poor in terms of availability and understanding of our needs.
By Ms Cope on 11/09/2014
Great location for biking, loads of marked routes, do go to the local tourist office and get the leaflet which gives all local cycle routes for that area, and use these whenever you can. Great hotels, with friendly staff, the locations vary but all interesting, our input to Headwater would be that the hotels need to be very good to make these holidays value for money. Good bikes which were well up to the local cycle routes! Do swim whenever you can as the sea was fabulous, and warm!
By Mr Harrison on 08/07/2014
The holiday was perfect. The area, the hotels and the activities were just what we wanted from a holiday. This was one of the best Headwater holiday that we have been on. We were disappointed last year with The Jura but this holiday has given faith in Headwater again
By Mrs Emmett on 28/06/2014
This was our sixth Headwater Cycling Holiday and every bit as good as the others. Croatia is lovely place for cycling, not too strenuous.. The hotels were all excellent and well situated. Eating out was easy and good value. The towns and villages were all interesting places especially The Roman ruins in Pula and the round stone shepherds shelters were a highlight. We had time for two enjoyable boat trips.
By Mrs Riseborough on 13/06/2014
To get the most enjoyment out of this holiday one needs to build up cycling strength and stamina as there were some long rides with hills which needed a lot of energy, particularly for my age group (65+). Fortunately I had been doing this for 4 months so it was fine. This was not a problem for my 25 year old daughter. The cycle paths were a bit challenging as the surface was sharp loose stones and it was necessary to get off the bikes and walk on many occasions.
Croatia is beautiful and the weather was perfect - swimming was possible every day. This is a great way to experience a country up close and get to places most tourists cannot.
By Mr Warren on 03/06/2014
We have taken several holidays with Headwater mainly in France and have always enjoyed them,but this one in Croatia comes top.Lovely countryside, many wild flowers to admire, super accommodation and very friendly people.
By Ms Debenham on 27/10/2013
We normally travel with our own bikes and a map, so this holiday was a wonderful luxury. Given the number of small back roads, I think we would have struggled to find such a good route on our own. The hotels were all very comfortable, friendly and welcoming and the countryside was beautiful. We went in September and the temperature was ideal both for cycling and for relaxing on the beach. On the evidence of this holiday we are keen to return and see some more of Croatia.
By Mrs Fox on 01/10/2013
The representative's initial meeting and info about the holiday was poor. The hotels were first class. The title of the holiday coastal Croatia was a bit misleading as although the routes were along the coast you could not see the coast from many of the roads. I was expecting to be cycling along the coast for many of the rides, so this was disappointing - where we did cycling along the coast it was stunning.
Many of the tracks were unpleasant to ride as one had to look down all the time due to the heavy gravel.
By Ms Chatwin on 28/09/2013
Great way to enjoy a weeks holiday with like minded people.Makes keeping fit enjoyable and easy.
By Mrs Newman on 15/09/2013
This was the best cycling holiday we have been on with Headwater. Excellent cycling, if tough in places, great hotels and beautiful scenery. The water was crystal clear and it is well worth cycling beyond Pula to some excellent secluded beaches. The 4am start at Gatwick was the only downpoint of the holiday - please Headwater put on some more sensible flight times in future.
By Mrs Woodhead on 15/09/2013
Great adventure, beautiful country new to us, superb mix of historic hilltop towns, world-class Roman heritage, lovely coast with tempting swimming coves, Italian food with a Viennese twist, red-earth olive groves and vineyards. Be prepared for some VERY rough tracks, thrills and spills, or get off and walk for extended sections. HOT, long days cycling but all very much worth it on arrival at characterful destinations and comfortable lodgings.
By Mr Young on 01/09/2013
the cycle routes took us through beautiful countryside that we would never experienced without Headwaters' guides
By Mrs Burnett on 20/08/2013
Two excellent hotels, Villetta Phasiana and Villa Tuttorotto, the second with a harbour view that was beyond fantastic. The cycling was energetic at times with a couple of busy roads and the occasional error in the 'talk-round' leading to some extended routes and some interesting conversations with locals to get us back on track - but overall was fine. Good bikes by the way.
By Mrs Cleat on 14/08/2013
Croatia surpassed expectations. We would have happily have stayed longer in all the places we visited. There is so much to see and do as well as the cycling.The first 2 hotels especially were just a bit different and in all 3 resorts there was an abundance of restaurants to suit all tastes. The Croatian people were warm and welcoming and we would definitely go back. Be warned that August is perhaps a bit too hot for the cycles with the hills !
By Mrs Morley on 11/08/2013
The cycling was not at all easy - much tougher than that. Rep was quite useless, friendly but not particularly helpful. We had no air conditioning for 3 days at Villa Phasiana and had a ladder in our room for most of those 3 days while the air con was attempted to be mended. We do have photos if you'd like to see. Our sons room here was the size of a postage stamp - they could not even open their cases except by putting them on the bed. The staff here though were very friendly and apologetic for the air con problem. It was nearly 40C!
By Mr Millward on 07/08/2013
The holiday was described as soft and leisurely however, it was much tougher than that description. There were more steep climbs and a lot of gravel tracks which was difficult to cycle on. Each day did not get within the 3-4 hours detailed in your description of leisurely . Other than the cycle rides, the hotels, travel arrangements and representative were excellent.
By Mr Morrison on 23/07/2013
beautiful part of the world best seen on a cycling tour like Headwater's
By Mr Mason on 20/07/2013
As has been the case with our many previous Headwater cycling holidays we have greatly enjoyed ourselves and appreciated
the consistently high quality of accommodation and locations.Perhaps even more so this year(esp. with no evening meals provided ) we are however very much aware that we are paying slightly more than we should be. and obviously this is likely to affect future decision -making.
By Mr Jardine on 13/07/2013
Did everything that it said in the brochure
By Mr Alpine on 06/07/2013
Pros - very good hotels and locations, wether perfect, service and food excellent, friendly, easy- going people, unspoilt area, inexpensive.
Cons - road network not well suited to cycling - too much cycling on roads carrying traffic and not enough by-ways. Wider rims and off-road tyres would have helped a lot on rougher tracks. Why so expensive? Local prices are very reasonable and cost of holiday, fundamentally for a bed and a bike, (no dinner) is too high.
By Mr Oldham on 01/07/2013
Great way of exploring the countryside in an environmentally friendly way
By Mr Waterston on 25/06/2013
Excellent location although on occasion the cycling was more challenging than expected and we spent a lot of the cycling on busy roads rather than cycle paths.
By Mr Alexander on 06/10/2012
This holiday lived up to its billing. We stayed in excellent welcoming hotels in three attractive coastal towns, and ate and drank well, twice while watching a superb sunset. We saw the Roman amphitheatre at Pula, the fine Byzantine mosaics at Porec, and frescos in several churches. And we swam on most days in warm clear water, including from beaches on delightful offshore islands.
By Mr Evans on 29/09/2012
A major feature of the quality that Headwater offers is the local representative who is always available to you during the holiday. They are on hand to sort out any problems with the bikes, advise on route notes, if they haven't actually written them themselves they are expected to know them, and transfers the luggage.
In Croatia these roles are shared around to the detriment of the quality we have come to expect.
By Mr Cliff on 24/09/2012
Our Headwater holiday was excellent, the only comment we would make is that since Headwater is now part of Thomsons this means that the flight times are very antisocial, a 6.15 take off time in the morning is horrid.
By Dr Hamilton on 24/09/2012
We enjoyed the cycling and the hotels were excellent but we were not very impressed with the countryside or coast compared with - say - the Catalan coastal walking we did last year.
Having said that, the Croatian cycle path infrastructure was excellent.
Accommodation could not be faulted - though we were upgraded probably because the Palazzo hotel was overbooked and some guests were moved elsewhere.
We thought the holiday was very good considering this is a new venture for Headwater.
By Mr Wakefield on 24/09/2012
The flight out to Croatia for our holiday was so early as to be almost the evening before.So the first day of a short holiday was elongated and left everyone tired and strained. The briefing from the cycle provider involved reading out the notes about where we were staying rather than providing insight into the routes and what we should look out for. No-one provided welcome drinks at any of the hotels, though the first two hotels suggested we could have them the following day. The hotel and staff breakfasts in Fazana (Villetta Phasiana) were brilliant and the bikes provided(but not the briefing)were also very good. The Rovinj Hotel (Villa Tuttorotto) was in a superb location and we liked it a lot - they also did good breakfasts.However, while the location and size of the Porec Hotel (Palazzo) was impressive it was not exactly comfortable (even though we got upgraded to a top-floor suite which gave us a huge expanse of wooden flooring and a lot of windows to look
out. The cycling was generally very good but the Rovinj circuit on day 5 was a disappointing exercise.
We enjoyed the holiday and met some very nice people but we were left with the feeling that this relatively expensive holiday was not value for money.
By Ms Gibson on 24/09/2012
Overall good holiday in lovely, not overly touristy areas. Some of the unsurfaced tracks were very rough indeed, much time was spend staring at the ground to pick the safest route rather than taking in the scenery. Not ideal, though it does say a lot for the tyres on the bikes that they survived unscathed. Staff at Fazana hotel were superb & dinner across at Konoba Feral meant huge(but tasty) portions- we asked for half portions to avoid wastage.Make sure you see the "Cat Playground" in Porec, great place to get rid of your holiday coinage for a good cause too.
By Mrs Richart on 05/09/2012
In August when we went it was hotter than expected; high 30s C. Also the Croatians all holiday at this time so some of the cycle routes on the coast through camp sites were exceptionally busy. However Croatia is a beautiful place with lots of trees and not too much vehicle traffic on the roads. We found all the hotel staff to be very friendly and helpful.
By Mrs Culligan on 01/09/2012
A very enjoyable holiday in a beautiful country with friendly people at all locations - we will certainly be going back to explore further!
By Mrs Hulme on 29/08/2012
A great holiday, staying in 3 wonderful hotels. Excellent sea food on offer and a wide range of good restaurants in Porec and Rovinj. It is the most populated holiday we've been on with Headwater as you travel from one tourist centre to another. This was a nice change for us. They are all lovely places and you cycle along miles of rocky coastline. Great opportunities for swimming in the sea throughout the holiday and a beautiful coastline to admire each day. This area of Croatia doesn't seem to have many small, quiet lanes that you may find in other countries, in high season it's either busier tarmaced roads or rough tracks.
By Mr Pickering on 29/08/2012
An amazing way to see the real country, rather than the tourist traps.
By Mrs Tanham on 18/08/2012
We had a fabulous week, the weather was great - not too hot but lovely to see the sun after our UK summer. All locations were great and the quality of the food and wine amazed us (We did not know that Istria was a wine producing area - M&S apparently have Croatian wines in stock but we have yet to find them).
The cycling was fine, some of it was harder than we thought but we managed (take plenty of water). We struggled with the initial directions from Rovinj to Porec but we were fine once we found the cycle path which runs parallel to the railway line.
Lovely holiday and would definitely book with Headwater again.
By Mr Whalley on 13/08/2012
This was an excellent holiday in a really beautiful area. The hotels were superb and the was a lot of choice of restaurants for dinner. We did find the day cycling in the Fjord quite difficult but it was extremely hot and we faced the up-hill section at midday. We would recommend taking extra water that day and also food as there is no convenient cafe at the top. It was our first visit to Croatia and we will certainly go back.
By Mr Hopps on 07/08/2012
We enjoyed the hotels and locations very much. The hotel staff in Villas Faisana and in Tuttorotto in particular were delightful - friendly, pleasant and helpful at all times. The Croatian coastline is beautiful and the village/towns where we stayed are old, quaint and very impressive in their own ways, with beautiful marinas. And we could not fault the weather - blue skies and sunshine every day. However, we did not really enjoy the cycling.
By Mr Wall on 07/08/2012
We hit the "heat wave" and the busy holiday period, otherwise a great holiday, with some wonderful towns and villages, and amazing historic places.
By Mr Healey on 23/07/2012
very enjoyable, excellent choices of hotels and locations.
By Mrs Scott on 30/06/2012
Cycling was at times more challenging than we had expected. Wonderful hotels with friendly helpful staff.Very beautiful countryside and coast.Perfect June weather.Our 7th cycling holiday with you and as good as ever.
By Mr Bellion on 30/06/2012
An excellent route with lovely hotels
Thank you for the information provided re the route notes - clarifications have been added to the notes. Thrilled that you enjoyed the region and the hotels.
By Mrs Gittins on 23/06/2012
good but more hilly than lead to believe
By Mrs Greenbank on 16/06/2012
One of your best holidays yet!
By Mr Atkinson on 16/06/2012
A very good new area for a holiday. We enjoyed it very much.
By Ms Nilssen on 19/05/2012
By Mr Stevens on 12/05/2012
Excellent. Much enjoyed by us all. We were made to feel very welcome.
By Mr Wignall on 12/05/2012
Absolutely perfect, no doubt helped by brilliant weather, superb accommodation and delighful staff and agents
By Mrs Hoare on 00/00/0000
It was a very enjoyable holiday, the cycling was as expected in lovely countryside & the accommodation was of good quality with friendly service.
The office staff & rep on the ground in Croatia were very helpful but the literature sent out to customers needs attention. Receiving a map in the past & being expected to print your own notes is not great - it is a nonsense to say it is saving paper because in the end someone has to print them. IThere needs to be more linkage between the route notes & the country notes with more helpful hints on things to see & availability of shops/bars/restaurants. We were given a larger print version of the notes by the local rep - much easier to read while cycling.
By Mrs Ratcliffe on 00/00/0000
As occasional cyclists we found the cycling very manageable on a mixture of Tarmac and gravel tracked routes. The coastal scenery was stunning and the three different locations provided a good variety of places/shops/ancient sites to explore.The standard and location of the hotels was very good enabling easy foot access to a reasonable range of restaurants for which Tripadvisor proved useful. Everyone was friendly and our holiday aided by good weather was a great success.
By Mrs Mitchell on 00/00/0000
Everything went very smoothly, no hitches, excellent hotels and some good cycling.
By Mrs Hayden on 00/00/0000
Croatia is a lovely country but the cycling routes were not good. A lot of the routes were on busy main roads up-hill with lots of heavy traffic. The cycle paths were mainly shingle and quite dangerous and very dusty. One cycle path (shingle) had a quarry in the middle of it and heavy quarry lorries were using the cycle paths - nowhere to escape - and dust everywhere. The hotels were good. Some of the cycling was through popular beach side areas and therefore one had to beware of pedestrians/children, etc. All in all, although there were some lovely villages en route, cycling on the roads with no views was not worth it.