By Mrs Simpson on 17/08/2017
Well organised, easy cycling through great scenery. Good hotels and great transfers
By Mr Struthers on 14/08/2017
Lovely flat cycling which is essential in an Italian mid summer heat
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 Tarry on 14/08/2017
An amazing holiday. We've visited Italy many times but Puglia was quite different to what we'd seen before. The colours, olive grove, vineyards, hilltop towns, architecture and the rest make this area a hidden gem.
By Mrs Love-fordham on 09/08/2017
The Barolo is an amazing place with beautiful scenery and excellent food. The locals are very friendly and helpful. The hikes are easy and short compared to other 2 boot holidays we have been on. I think this is necessary because the days start out cool and get very hot by late afternoon. Go in the early spring or late fall if you can, but July wasn't too bad either. Three of us traveling together were from the deep South (USA) and had no problem with the weather or hills. Two of us were from the Midwest (USA) and weren't quite ready for the heat and hills, but had a truly fabulous time being together any way.
There is a huge music festival called 'Collisioni' every July. Sadly we booked during this time without knowing it. It affected which hotels we could stay at and our enjoyment of the village of Barolo. 12,000 people descend on the area during this time. Don't book during the festival! One can expect a hiccup in plans from time to time, but by booking through Headwater, you can rest knowing they will do whatever is possible to take care of you! And they did! Thank you Headwater!! Headwater is the best! For this reason, I look forward to booking our 8th Headwater vacation soon.
Our reps, Greg and Laura, were outstanding giving us lifts as requested from our substitutionary hotels (which were quite nice) into the villages where we would have stayed. Not quite the same experience, but they made it a lovely one. In driving us to and fro, they took us to extra sights and offered to stop and let us take pictures as desired. They were awesome!
By Mrs Ergatoudis on 08/08/2017
Wonderful again!! Our fifth holiday with you & again it was perfect. Perfectly organised routes so that we didn't need to see our great reps from start to finish! Beautiful, well considered hotels which all had really positive things to say about Headwater guests!
By Mr O'Driscoll on 07/08/2017
The cycling routes were excellent on the whole, though the frequency with which we passed through large areas of plastic covered tomato fields spoiled the views somewhat. The local cycling rep was on holiday when we arrived and another rep, Filippo, had had to travel down from Palermo to Ragusa. Filippo was helpful but his English was poor. He did however manage to change our return journey to Catania from Syracuse, so that we travelled to a hotel in Catania rather than the airport.
By Mr Owens on 04/08/2017
It was great to stay in one place all week and not have to move on to different hotels. Also we liked the accommodation with swimming pool and the food was fantastic
The cycling was easy and enjoyable. We will probably hire electric bikes next trip which will open up a bigger choice of cycle rides
By Mrs Trogstad on 04/08/2017
We have just had a wonderful holiday in Trentino. We took our 18year old daughter and we all really enjoyed ourselves. There is only one hotel with a swimming pool at Haus am Hang but there are opportunities at the spa in Moran ( go in the evening when it is less packed and beware the German definition of sauna!), and at Lake Garda. You can take a boat out and swim up to a cave where you can stand under a waterfall- gorgeous. Our vegan daughter struggled a bit as you might expect but we found ice cream in Riva and a great restaurant in Trento. Trento- wonderful. Visit the castle. all in all if you chose this holiday you will have a lovely time with a few exhilaration rides and a couple of climbs. fault- the rep was not good and keen to get away. the bikes are very efficient and comfortable but a bit heavy. The meals are set and at Haus am Hang we were all sat together as the Headwater party, which we weren't. Eve's single width door on her single room in Meran was so cute and hilarious! Go.
We have just had a wonderful holiday in Trentino. We took our 18-year-old daughter and we all really enjoyed ourselves. There is only one hotel with a swimming pool at Haus am Hang, but there are opportunities at the spa in Meran (go in the evening when it is less packed and beware of the German definition of a sauna!), and at Lake Garda. You can take a boat out and swim up to a cave where you can stand under a waterfall- gorgeous. Our vegan daughter struggled a bit as you might expect, but we found ice cream in Riva and a great restaurant in Trento. Trento- Is wonderful, visit the castle. All in all, if you choose this holiday, you will have a lovely time with a few exhilarating rides and a couple of climbs. Fault- the rep was not good and keen to get away. The bikes are very efficient and comfortable but a bit heavy. The meals are set and at Haus am Hang we were all sat together as the Headwater party, which we weren't. Eve's single width door on her single room in Meran was so cute and hilarious! Go
By Mrs Carrington-bro on 03/08/2017
This was an excellent holiday - just like our previous 3 Headwater holidays. The staff at the Bellevue were friendly and helpful and the meals were of a very high standard. As well as having a mountain view our room also overlooked the railway but this was not an issue, the trains were very quiet and we were not disturbed by them. The walks were varied and the scenery was outstanding- some stunning 360 degree panaromas and some delightful meadows and pastures complete with some very gentle cattle and their melodic bells. We could easily have spent a few more days here, there was at least one walk we did not have time to do. We took this holiday in late July and we were grateful that we had packed several layers, we needed them as we climbed up to the views and on a couple occassions I regretted not having brought my gloves! Our previous Headwater holidays have been rated as 2 boot and we can see why this holiday was rated as a 2+ boot, however the extra effort was well worth it as the views were exceptional.
Ann and Nigel Carrington Brook
By Mrs Wigham on 21/07/2017
After three outstanding trips with Headwater previously (twice to Italy, and once to Spain), we were wondering whether our 4th excursion, 'Venetian Villas and Vineyards Cycling' could possibly live up to our high expectations. We were looking for an interesting and relaxing break that would immerse us in the Italian culture and suit the mixed cycling abilities of our group (two couples). This holiday managed to satisfy us all. While most of the routes were relatively flat, there were a few more challenging hills and options along the way. Highlights (just to list a few) included exploring the neighborhoods and museums of Vicenza and Padua, getting lost in the maze at Valsanzibio gardens, taking in the view from Villa Lussana after an exhilarating cycle up to Teolo, and the welcoming family atmosphere at L'Albara agriturismo (not to mention delicious meals they conjured up from homegrown produce). To surprise one of our party, we requested a birthday cake along the way. Our rep Sarah wisely chose Villa Lussana as the place for the surprise, and their experienced chef produced an amazing fruit flan right on cue, which helped make the event very special and memorable. There were a couple of slight disappointments - a room 'upgrade' that was of a lower specification than a standard room, and as seasoned Headwater fans we missed the detailed route notes that we've had every other time - but these are only minor niggles that did not detract from what was otherwise an excellent holiday, and great value for money. Thank you, Headwater, and we look forward to our next trip with you - wherever that may be!
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 Chase on 21/07/2017
Toblach was a pleasant little town and a great location base for walking in those spectacular Dolomites. Hotel Belvue fitted the bill well, with charming , helpful management and staff - though they occasionally seemed a little overstretched at mealtimes; but this is a minor quibble. our 3rd floor room (a suite with balcony and a view up the valley) was excellent. i would go again.
By Mrs Donnelly on 21/07/2017
Wonderful walking week (despite the weather on some days!) in a fabulous part of the world.
By Mrs Briddick on 07/07/2017
We thoroughly enjoyed our holiday in Puglia. We were very pleased with all the accommodation. The route took us through beautiful and vary varied countryside from olive groves and cherry orchards to coastal villages - in other words truly 'contrasts of Puglia'. The people we met were very friendly and helpful and the drivers considerate giving us a warning beep before overtaking. The food and wine on offer was generally locally produced and we felt it was an important part of the Puglia experience. Travelling mid-May meant, however, that the weather was much warmer than was currently the case in England and therefore we found cycling the uphill stretches in 24 degree or higher full sun quite challenging and it gets warm early in the day. We cycled last year in the Veneto - level 1 - and found the Puglia holiday - 1+ - much more difficult with some very steep hills and some very hilly sections. We are all year cyclists not averse to hills but we are over 65. The people we met were very friendly and helpful and the drivers considerate giving us a warning beep before overtaking. Overall it was an enjoyable adventure with lot to see and learn which is what we look for in a cycling holiday. .
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 Mrs Moyse on 28/06/2017
Headwater always find real gems of hotels and locations. The service on the phone is excellent. It's rather like having your own private travel agent. They are incredibly flexible and helpful listening hard to what you want. So much less stressful and better value than fighting with trip advisor etc. I would heartily recommend them.
By Dr Logan on 28/06/2017
Of our 3 Headwater cycling holidays this was the best. The accommodation was better and the cycling was the right amount although we skipped the circular route around Alberobello. The hard copy route guides were better than previous ones and the GPS app with the handle bar bracket worked brilliantly once one had sussed it out. We were fortunate that the bracket was just big enough to hold our phones; it was not big enough to hold the larger smart phones.
By Ms Hardwick on 20/06/2017
Attractive baroque towns and some lovely hotels
By Mrs Pattison on 20/06/2017
Less hilly overall than expected with long very flat rides in between long climbs and some big steep hills. Challenging in the heat. Stunning scenery all the way with beautiful picturesque hill top towns. Wonderful region to visit with friendly locals, great food and wines.
By Mrs Herron on 20/06/2017
This holiday is well organised with reliable backup available if needed. Although we were initially sceptical we found the Ride with GPS system was good when the printed out notes were ambiguous! It would be nice to have more descriptive notes on points of interest on the itinerary. The cycling was varied and on interesting and not too hilly routes often with lovely views to enjoy. We were slightly disappointed with the quality of food, apart from at the Villa Lussana, as it didn't live up to our expectations of what we have enjoyed previously with Headwater. Also breakfasts could be a bit variable in what was offered e.g. in the Belvedere Resort ai Colli there was a 5 Euro extra charge if you wished cheese or cold meat or eggs while in other hotels these were included. On the whole we were made to feel very welcome but I would certainly recommend bringing a travel kettle if like us you enjoy a cup of tea as they clearly do not understand how to make decent tea and also charge a lot for it! Air conditioning is an absolute necessity and it was also of variable efficiency in the different accommodations, actually blowing the lights in the L'Albara Agriturismo when we tried to turn it up a little. However each place had different pros and cons e.g. L.'Albara had wonderful baking and fruit and the freshest lettuce straight from the vegetable garden even thought the main courses were pretty dire! We also had the best Tira Misu I have ever tasted and the pool was a real bonus! In summary a great holiday so long as you are prepared for a variety of accommodation and standards of food,
By Mrs Elliott on 16/06/2017
We were disappointed not to be met by a guide on the first day as we had that on previous occasions. She claimed that she had tried to call us but most of the time messages were not passed on. Why was she not given our mobile number? The walks were generally very good and clearly described - it was useful to know about eating places along the route. Though we were disappointed with the one that ended up at Marina del Cantone. Too much road and we kept getting lost because the directions were not always clear.
By Mr Schafer on 16/06/2017
Overview: This was our 8th Headwater trip over the past three years. The walks had very scenic views of the Amalfi Coast. We had an extremely knowledgble local guide. We were, however, disappointing with location of hotel near Sorrento and our short Pompeii visit (and that day, in general).
There were large cruise ships in ports and towns were very touristy.
The Garden Hotel in Ravello had nice rooms with a great view of the coast from the balcony/patio and just outside the main square of Ravello. The dinners at the hotel were all very good. Breakfast was OK and the seating in the breakfast area was odd. Tables were set for two to look out at sea view but not enough for all guests to sit in this area; we had to sit in another dining area alone.
The Bellavista Hotel was a 15 min bus ride outside Sorrento. The room was nice awith a view of sea and Capri but it was right on a noisy busy road. There was nothing in walking distance from the hotel. The local bus stops outside the hotel but the buses can be crowded with standing room only. Dinners were good but the acoustics in the hotel restaurant were terrible and there was a large group dining at the same time. We would have much preferred a centrally located Sorrento hotel and opportunity for other dining options, especially on 'free day'. Cannot recommend this hotel. While looking at the self-guided Amalfi walk, we see that the hotels are all centrally located in towns, even Sorrento.
Our guide, Lucia, is from Positano and was engaging and very knowledgeable about the trails, history of the region.
The hikes were accurately rated as 2 boots, varied, with great views of the coast. The 'Path of the Gods' hike was somewhat crowded.
The views up and down the coast while on the hikes were amazing
We had guided visits to both Villa Cimbrone and Rufolo in Ravello but wished we'd returned on our own to linger and have more time for photos.
There were cruise ships in port every day so the towns were packed with tourists. The local buses used to return to Ravello were standing room only. On one day our group opted to take a taxi (at our expense) to return to the hotel after lunch.
Trip to Pompeii:
This was a poorly planned day. It took ~1.5 hrs to get to Pompeii. The site was mobbed. Our local guide was good but the crowds made it difficult to stay with her and we were rushed through. We only spent about two hours at the site and had no free time. It was then 1 hr 45 min ride to a pizza restaurant where the owner gave a pizza crust making demo(and we ate lunch). Afterwards, we had a short walk. The itinerary for this day needs to be reorganized as it is was an extremely poor use of time given heavy traffic at this time. A centrally located hotel in Sorrento might have helped, perhaps a late afternoon visit to Pompeii, or combining Pompeii visit with a different hike and visiting the pizza restaurant another day.
By Mr Allan on 13/06/2017
This possibly the most enjoyable and rewarding Headwater Holiday of many involving city breaks (Manchester, Catania and Syracuse) and adventure (walks on volcanos and travel (by train, plane, ferry and taxi) Take care to check travel arrangements. Travelling from Edinburgh to Manchester airport we were tempted to stay in City Centre Manchester but opted for the Airport Hotel for an early flight but still managed an early evening visit to Manchester City Art Gallery and a meal out in town.
Mandala Travel act for Headwater in Sicily. They were excellent arranging pickups, transfers and Hotels.because of the G7 Syracuse was arranged as non-standard alternative to Taormina. The extra expense proved worthwhile. Syracuse is delightful, compact and interesting. The Royal Maniace Hotel is well located for walks and restaurants. The briefing provided at the start of the holiday was one of the best ever, giving a clear indication of what to expect on walks and providing detailed information on the weather, transfers, and ferry and bus times. These were important to make the most of options available â€“ it is worth checking breakfast times against early starts. For example on Lipari this can allow a visit to the serious museum after the days walk along the coast.
The success of the Stromboli night walk largely due to our excellent guide Manuel (and his very young assistant Ryan!) We found preparation and concentration helped getting into a rhythm more important than taking pictures on way up. we left the hotel at 4 pm and returned at 1215 am exhausted but elated! That was special. Etna is also bit but of a but again it was well lead by our guide Pepe (he features in a you tube video with the BBC team who got caught out by an unexpected eruption). Pepe shared his lunch with another hugely enjoyable day out meeting more great people. All the drivers were excellent. We spent most time with Roberto who provided much information and Italian conversation classes for my better half with simultaneous translation for me!
Hotel Mediterraneo in Catania is well located, efficient and functional. When we decided to bring forward the airport pickup time on our last day (anticipating travel disruption because of the G7) the hotel contacted Mandala Travel on our behalf and an earlier pick up was arranged. The island hotels also did their job well and made us welcome. We had some concerns with the Royal Maniace Hotel in Syracuse. They were unable to switch off the air extractor in the bathroom for our stay. The room information stated that breakfast was available from 7 am (we had a 7.30 am pickup) but one member of staff advised breakfast did not start until 7.30 am. (A polite and helpful female member of staff did in fact save the day by ensuring we did get breakfast.) When we raised this with the Hotel management we were told that the room information referred to the Winter breakfast time Strangely all the hot food was on the serving table at 7 am! We still consider this hotel to be worthwhile and hope Headwater can offer this as a great alternative to Taormina!
Can I mention one place to eat try: Scirocco Fish Lab in both Catania and Syracusa both near the fish markets and perfect for a snack.
Mandala Travel kept the level of communication to a perfect level once phoning me on Robertos phone while travelling to Etna just to make sure everything was going to plan! On our flight over we met a man who had dedicated his life to providing outdoor activities for Manchester school kids now retired (but still climbing) he attached equal importance to the instructors and the staff responsible for the accommodation and food. He believed all were essential to a successful outcome.sound familiar?
By Ms Schoenfeld on 24/05/2017
The hiking was great, although more hills than we expected. Our bags were always in our rooms when we arrived at our next destination, which was always a nice treat to be able to take a shower immediately. The itinerary was great, and allowed us to travel on our own, but with all the details worked out for us.
By Mrs Ede on 24/05/2017
This holiday is not walking every day. It includes travelling between islands and walking at each destination. It is all very interesting and the highlight is climbing Stromboli which is just amazing. It was an expensive holiday in that you have to buy all lunches, evening meals, drinks and pay for ferries on top of the basic cost.
By Mrs Pursey on 24/05/2017
Stayed in some delightful places, especially Baglio La Luna where the location was magnificent, views, relaxing areas and we were so well looked after. Changes in arrangement occasioned by bad weather were efficiently and effectively carried out. All arrangements for meeting and dropping us off worked well, pleasantly and without fuss.
By Mr Goscomb on 24/05/2017
We thoroughly enjoyed the Secrets of Sicily Walking holiday in early May 2017 which certainly reached all our expectations. The hotels we stayed at were all very well chosen and we particularly enjoyed the Marettimo Residence and the Baglio Luna at San Vito lo Capo which was fantastic. All the arrangements went well and the walks we did were lovely and easy to follow using the excellent detailed notes provided. We saw so many lovely wild flowers and birds and the views were wonderful. Overall we would have no hesitation recommending Headwater walking holidays and we are looking forward to choosing another of their walking holidays next year.
By Mrs Skellorn on 24/05/2017
Beautiful views, helpful, concerned and highly qualified guide, well-planned walks, delicious food and new friends.
By Mr Davis on 24/05/2017
An excellent guided walking holiday. Beautiful scenery, well planned walks, delicious food and comfortable hotels. A great holiday was made into a fantastic holiday thanks to our superb guide Lucia, who was friendly, knowledgeable and helpful beyond the call of duty throughout the entire week. The multinational group of nine from Australia, United States and UK were really friendly and welcoming. Any concerns I had as a single traveller evaporated within minutes of joining the group, and our day trip to Capri will reside in my memory for a long time. I haven't laughed so much in a long time! The walking was accurately described by the website, about 4-6 hours per day. A few sections of some paths required walking poles and extra care, but for a reasonably fit and healthy person used to walking 6-7 miles per day were no problem. The visits to Villa Cimbrone, Villa Ruffolo, Pompeii and a local pizza restaurant were excellent. The worst part of the holiday was saying goodbye to everyone and having to come home! Can I go back please?
By Mr Saxton on 17/05/2017
Hotel Acquaviva is an idyllic place to spend a week. Its a good job the weather was slightly cool for the time of year or very little walking would have been done. The scenery was breathtaking and the hilltop villages of Sovana, Sorano and Pitigliano were breathtaking and the church in Monetmerano is a gem. We knew very little about Etruscans before this holiday... very interesting.
Can also recommend a stop over on the way there, to visit Tivoli and the Villa D'Este gardens and then Villa Adriana. We stayed at Hotel Flora in Frascati which was also excellent.
A day in Siena is also a must.
By Mrs Harrison on 17/05/2017
We have used Headwater before and always found the hotels good and the guides excellent.
I think the boot system is tricky - we were on a two boot holiday, and we had some real scrambling, so check before booking.
By Mrs Turner on 16/05/2017
Although challenging at times, we really felt as though we had had a good relaxing. holiday. Sardinia is beautiful. The food at the Hotel Sa Muvara was wonderful but red meat at every meal. It was cold when we were there at the beginning of May so be prepared. The bar and restaurant had wonderful fires but the rooms were chilly. Fantastic staff. The Hotel Costa Durada was more noisy with dog barking, bottle collection early mornings so if this bothers you, ask for a quiet room. If you are following a gluten free diet ask Alberto to get you some bread as that supplied by the hotels was not very nice. Alberto is the best guide we have had, knowledgeable, kind and a wonderful sense of humour.
By Mrs Parsley on 03/05/2017
A most enjoyable holiday with varied, mostly flat walking in the spring countryside, covered with beautiful flowers. Although this was an Exodus holiday and we expected the hotels to be of a lower standard than the usual Headwater type, we were pleasantly surprised. Our guide, Marinella, loves her job and it shows! Matera and Alberobello were fascinating, we ate in some delightful restaurants at Marinella's recommendation, the food was delicious and the wine tasting, dinner in a farmhouse and picnics all added to the enjoyment. We had a great group too!
By Mrs Patel on 03/05/2017
It was wonderful experience with a fantastic guide and walks
By Mrs North on 10/03/2017
Puglia is a fabulous area of Italy. A great variety of terrain with scenic routes.
By Mrs Kings on 07/12/2016
Great holiday. The cycling was easy with the odd tougher bits but they were short lived. Varied scenery with coast and countryside. The notes/directions were at times diddicult to follow and really need updating because signs have fallen down or gone altogether and new roads have been built with new layouts so the notes are out of date. Monopoli is really lovely Palazzo Indelli is well situated right in the pretty main square. The rooms vary so if you are booking a standard room ask for the larger ones at the back of the hotel because the one we were given at the end of our trip was tiny and noisy being on the side at the front. Corte Altavilla is nice too but the staff on reception were unhelpful and grumpy. I am a coeliac and despite telling them in advance it was the only hotel that did not provide anything for me at breakfast other than fruit. The restaurant in the hotel for the evening was very good. Alberobella unfortunately has rather sold its soul and is very over commercialised. The Trulli are nice but we would have preferred some outside space as they are rather dark. Masseria Salamina is fabulous we had a huge room and you really feel like you are staying in a castle. The swimming pool was lovely and we really enjoyed our stay here. Overall a thoroughly enjoyable trip and we are now looking for another one!
By Dr May on 07/12/2016
We did have a good holiday but experience could have been much better for reasons stated above and below.
By Mr Lomax on 07/12/2016
A wonderful holiday in a beautiful region of Italy. The walks were challenging and the guide notes very occasionally confusing or inaccurate but we got through! The hotel was lovely and very comfortable, the owner Ercole was helpful and kind. Two small gripes! Each night at dinner we were asked if we want mineral water but we were not advised that it cost â‚¬3 a bottle until the end of the holiday. A small thing but it would have been nice to know. Also, the picnic lunch was a little disappointing. I would have expected a small bottle of water and perhaps some chocolate or biscuit but then then breakfast and dinner were extremely substantial.
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 McIlraith on 29/11/2016
This was the very best cycling holiday we have had. Sicily was a fantastic venue with lots to wonder at.
By Mr Tennant on 29/11/2016
Great experience but slightly inconsistent and ambiguous route instructions which are very difficult to relate to the overall large maps
By Mr Aung on 29/11/2016
Cycling in Umbria- need to review road going down from Gualdo Cattaneo down the hill to Torre del colle. Steep 15% average with turns .High risk even for reasonably experienced cyclist.Could an alternative route be looked at even if the roads are busier?
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 Lor Butler on 29/11/2016
Headwater had found an excellent base in a lovely region of Italy and the walks were just right for us
By Mr Runciman on 29/11/2016
The holiday certainly lived up to its name: Contrasts of Puglia. We enjoyed beautiful places both in town and in country. Weather conditions ranged from bright sunshine and blue skies to thunder-storm deluges --- but with the offer of alternative transport on the wettest days. Italian food was wonderful. Overall, it was a memorable week, and we are looking forward to a next time.
By Mrs Billington on 29/11/2016
Alberto made the holiday and went over and above the call of duty.
By Mrs Greenland on 29/11/2016
I found the walking varied and challenging at times but the outstanding scenery and peace and location of hotels made the effort worth while. An unforgettable experience.
By Mr Hughes on 29/11/2016
We had a great week touring Piedmont on our pushbikes Most of the days rides were quite challenging with some steep climbs but fortunately the distances we travelled were quite short We were blessed with fantastic weather in September so the secret was to set off promptly after a great breakfast each day to get to your destination before mid-afternoon and the hottest part of the day
The standard of hotels is very good although the air conditioning in a couple of them was not really very effective The hosts & locals were all very friendly whenever we stopped or needed directions The pre-arranged meals were all of a high standard and there are plenty of excellent places for lunch on the routes
The roads were always pretty much traffic free with occasional tractors & trailers passing laden with grapes
The guest exclusive secluded pool at the Albergo Castiglione deserves a special mention & I will remember our picnic lunch by the pool brought down by the hotel owner & two beautiful daughters on a baking hot day for a long time
All the route plans were accurate & realistic with several options on some days The bikes themselves worked well and the support team Dan & Cat were discreet but attentive
Finally the food, every meal was enjoyable ranging from a delightful local trattoria in the village to the award winning castle. No matter how hard you try I suspect you will eat too much of it! All the hosts seemed happy to advise you & would often let you drink it by the glass rather than the whole bottle if you wanted
This was an excellent holiday & I think reflects Headwaters long experience in organising these sort of trips Well Done
By Mr Graham on 29/11/2016
Great hotels, exquisite dinners, well-described walks
By Ms Pye on 29/11/2016
Perfect. What far better than we could have imagined. The accommodation, food and quality of the cycles were all excellent.
By Dr MacFarlane on 29/11/2016
The key is the bikes : they were a little 'tired' and end of season. The support from Mimmo was though excellent
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 Vakil on 29/11/2016
This was our first experience with Headwater. We were extremely impressed and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Our local Rep Sarah was helpful and informative. She knew the area extremely well and had clearly worked hard to develop helpful contacts and provide useful and interesting information about the area we were cycling in. She provided excellent notes and maps and obviously had good relationships with the hotel owners which helped us to feel cared for and welcomed. Sarah is literally the best holiday rep that we have ever encountered. We are full of admiration and gratitude and will definitely book with Headwater again.
By Ms Bowden on 29/11/2016
A very enjoyable cycling holiday exploring the less known areas west of Venice.
By Mr Davies on 29/11/2016
A splendid holiday well organised with a great group of people, lots of laughter,good weather,good walking,good food & drink.
We recomend it.
By Ms Evans on 17/11/2016
This was our second cycling holiday with Headwater and again we really enjoyed it. One of the reason we went back to Headwater was the helpful guidance and personal recommendation when booking the first holiday. Unfortunately this was absent with the second booking. We were constantly referred to the brochure and website which we had already studied prior to contacting the office and we're looking for something more than just a booking service. As a result, we changed our minds several times after getting into the detail of each trip and eventually settled on the right one for us. This wasted both our time and also that of the booking agents who made several provisional reservations which were than cancelled. The agents need to be better informed regarding the trips on offer.
The organisation was very good and efficient on the whole, but because we booked our own flights and chose to return on a different flight on a different day they would not book the return train transfer which resulted in unnecessary hassle.
The local agent was very poor. Whilst she spent time with us going through all the necessary information, she demonstrated no interest whatsoever in whether or not we had a good time and provided no personal input. Anything that fell outwits her immediate knowledge was referred the local office and then on to the UK hence the issue with the train transfer which could easily have been dealt with locally. She made it very. Lear that she would not be available once we left the first hotel as she had another job as a teacher!
Once underway everything was fine. All the hotels were as expected, comfortable with reasonable service and food. Most were B&B and we enjoyed the option of choosing when, where and what to eat. The bikes were in good order, comfortable and provided with panniers, good practical locks and cycle computers which were great. guidance notes were fine and it was good to have the maps as well as notes.
For this trip, we would have liked another night at Caldara lake. The hotel was the best of those in which we stayed, the only one with decent outside space and a pool and we would have liked to do more at the lake.
In Merano we had one of our best 'rest days', cycling up to the cable car and spending the day on the mountain and would encourage this rather than a day in the town.
Riva del Garda was disappointing in that it a real holiday tourist destination with accompanying tack yards and shops. However, we found a mountain trail for which our bikes were suitable and spent most of the day out of town.
The Headwater Blue Books were disappointing - most completely empty and those in which people had written were just the comments you might find in a visitors book. On our previous trip, the books contained really useful and practical information on where to go, what to see, where to eat etc and I would encourage people to provide this sort of information whenever possible.
Finally, this was graded as a 2 bike trip, but it really was only a one. Much of the cycling was downhill or flat with only a couple of mandatory hills, plus a few optional detours. Also worth noting that for the first 5 days there was a heavy German influence - everyone spoke German, food was German and it was only when we got to Lake Garda that Italian was the first language.
Had a couple of nights in Verona at the end and went to the Opera which we would thoroughly recommend.
By Mr Chesters on 11/11/2016
Fantastic holiday. Walking and talking with friends in spectacular scenery is a truly great experience. The whole trip was seamlessly organised and and executed by Nicola and his local team.
By Mr Tobbell on 11/11/2016
Very good indeed and very well organised but as we're we're the last week of the season many restaurants and bars were shut particularly on marritimo- I think we should have been told about this. Other than that an excellent holiday.
By Mrs Timbrell on 11/11/2016
Accommodation varied.... food in restaurant in Scopello great. Food at La Luna great.
As was very end of the season nothing was open on Marretimo. There were 2 restaurants which only sold fish so not much choice.
Walks were fantastic. Apartment basic but functional...good breakfasts.
The 2 taxi drivers were first rate, very good English, helpful and informative.
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 Mr Glass on 09/11/2016
The key to this successful holiday was the welcome and hospitality and helfulness of staff at Acquaviva. And the fact that we were travelling with two other couples and good friends. So planning each day and experimenting with walks and different trip was great fun.
By Mrs Campion on 09/11/2016
Fantastic views, relaxing cycling and some good hotels. Days off in Merano and Trento were very enjoyable with lots to do and see. We were really surprised by how few people spoke Italian until we got as far south as Trento - most people speak German in the north.
By Mrs Hales on 09/11/2016
We thoroughly enjoyed this holiday. The walking was fantastic and our guide Louigi absolutely made it for us. His local knowledge and his stories of past and present were fascinating. We were really lucky to be with a lovely group of like minded walkers which all added to a memorable time.
Our one niggle is that we were disappointed with the Hotel Bellavista. We did not think the food was very special and objected to having to choose your meal for the evening at breakfast time. Surely this should not be necessary!
Two extra nights staying in Naples was interesting! Miles away from the tranquility of the Amalfi coast but well worth doing.
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 Garnett on 02/11/2016
A good week in the north-west corner of Sicily. The holiday cleverly combined walking (and swimming) in the Zingaro nature reserve and on the island of Marettimo with visits to the archaeological site at Segesta and the hill-top town of Erice. Transfers for our group of six were provided by our helpful and informative taxi driver, who made sure that we enjoyed our visit to the area.
By Dr Wheeler on 31/10/2016
Excellent, but a couple of mistakes on instructions this time. At Villa Favorita the food needs to be sorted out. Truly poor. Noticed that the owner does not eat the same food as the guests- this speaks volumes. The staff were pleasant and they were very helpful, but the evening meals were inedible. The pasta with tomatoes - which anyone can cook was ruined by the addition of vast amounts of sugar!@! Tuna turned to rubber, and they only had 4 of us to feed that night. Quite the most dreadful meal in 9 trips with Headwater.
Meal at Torre Dantona was brilliant as was their breakfast.
Must just thank Sonia at the Portapalo suites. What a lovely lady. Best breakfast of the trip, and so warm and friendly. The rooms were extremely clean too.
By Mr Beaumontthomas on 31/10/2016
Our first Headwater holiday and we can really recommend Umbria as a destination. We worried about whether the bikes would be up to scratch and the potential restrictions of half-board, but on both counts we were pleasantly surprised. The week's route circling the valley meant that the long views often included hill towns we'd visited or would be visiting. This created a real sense of achievement! And most of all, the fantastic cycling meant we could indulge in all that amazing food and wine and still come home only a couple of pounds heavier!
By Ms Elliott on 31/10/2016
This was a really terrific week. We were lucky in that the weather was absolutely perfect - no rain (until we were on the plane out!), 25C days, constant sunshine. The base, Villa Acquaviva, is just beautiful, surrounded by its own vineyards and a fine garden dotted with fruit trees. Our room was in the villa, was spacious enough and had a nice view back towards Montemerano. The food was outstanding. At dinner there's a wide choice for you three courses and we tried most of the options. The food is mostly locally sourced, really fresh and the cooking is first rate. They only sell the wines they themselves make, but they too were very good. Breakfast was also excellent, though you won't find a full English on offer. The staff were charming and helpful, and very quick to sort out a couple of minor glitches (safe batteries, hot water, wifi)
The walking was nicely varied, with plenty of options. There's a bit more on offer than you can easily cover in a week, and we didn't get to the Maremma walk.
The others ranged from fairly short and easy (Vitozza and Vulci) to fairly strenuous (Sorano, Argentaria). Argentaria in particular was, as advertised, quite a big hike. The notes were highly reliable, and there's quite a lot of Etruscan history as a bonus. There's a certain amount of driving involved, some of it on winding roads, but the scenery is lovely, and we didn't find it too onerous.
Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable trip.
By Mrs Mitchell on 31/10/2016
Easy pedalling in the sun with local cuisine and a great chance to be somewhere where English is hardly spoken!
By Mr Ridley on 31/10/2016
Excellent holiday but, perhaps, not so much n the shoulder season.
By Mrs Godsall on 31/10/2016
We really enjoyed this holiday which introduced us to a beautiful and interesting part of Italy. The cycling is mainly on cycle paths so traffic free and not much uphill. It was lovely to visit Lake Garda but it was busy and we would have preferred to have an extra night at Lake Caldaro instead. We also thought if we repeated this holiday we would prefer to cycle from Caldaro to Trento ourselves.
By Mr Laxen on 31/10/2016
We really enjoyed our holiday, but because we chose the 10 day option, which included 4 nights in the hotel we liked least, Albergo La Macchia (all other hotels were 2 nights) we ended up being disappointed with this part of the trip. On one of our days off we took a train from Spoleto (very easy, but remember to validate tickets) to do a one day visit to Assisi (get the bus from the station to the last stop then walk down through Assisi), rather than stopping off for a short time on the last leg of the cycling. It was better to have a relaxing time to wander through Assisi. We will will certainly be thinking about another Headwater holiday.
By Mr Hodgson on 31/10/2016
Enjoyable relaxing holiday, with good mix of activites, beautiful scenery,great food and comfortable hotels, highly recommended!
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 Dr Garwood on 31/10/2016
Very enjoyable holiday in a lovely part of Sicily. Perhaps we should have gone in April/May rather than October to see the wild flowers particularly the orchids on Marettimo. Several days were rather hot for the walking! Not such a variety of bird life as expected but there were a very large numberof robins on Mareettimo - not sure why! Good hotels and, in particular, Daniela was very welcoming and looked after us well, with good food, at the Baglio La Luna. Flights via Rome meant leaving at 3am on the way out and 4am on the way back. Good service from the local reps and Niccolo was a very careful and attentive driver who gave us good advice and made sure we had the right instructions and departure gate for the hydrofoil to Marettimo.
By Mr Higginson on 31/10/2016
Great to see a less explored side of Sicily.
By Ms Hawkes on 31/10/2016
Lucia was an excellent guide .She was enthusiastic and informative and looked after us very well. The hotels were in good locations and the views were excellent.
The Hotel Garden was in a lovely location but there were some niggles which could so easily be put right. Breakfast wasn't very good - for very little extra they could have produced fruit salad, better quality cereal and fresh milk. Also the breakfast tables were in such strong sunlight you couldn't enjoy breakfast and, when asked they wouldn't move the tables- they just suggested that we eat outside but it was too cold to do so. Hotel Garden's garden and swimming pool needed a bit of TLC. All little things but could have made a difference as it was in a great location.
At the second hotel I would recommend that Headwater reserves rooms that are not on the ground floor because these are straight onto a busy road.
Overall the holiday was very good indeed and met our expectations. Thank you
By Mr Bulmer on 31/10/2016
Elizabetta is an outstanding leader and this holiday fully lived up to the description given to us by the Headwater office. It was an interesting and varied combination of walking and sightseeing in at least six towns, there were good walks on several days which on the whole were pleasant , and the use of the van was of key importance in providing this variety. In many ways it was unique and difficult to reproduce with a different leader. The CinqTerra walk at the start of the holiday was more challenging than we expected, with a long and very steep descent, but Elisabetta helped us get through it.
By Mr Craig on 31/10/2016
Our guide was outstanding and helped to make the holiday memorable, but note she will no longer be the guide for this holiday next year.
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 Ms Rodgers on 31/10/2016
This was a great way to explore the Euganean Hills , we travelled in late September and the weather was perfect for walking. The holiday is a great combination of walking and rest days and our rep ,Sarah, had plenty of good advice on what to see and do.
By Mr Pocknell on 25/10/2016
We have had a wonderful holiday with Headwater. Everything was well organised and thought out. We have cycled through gorgeous countryside, with great scenery and the majority on quiet country roads. Perfect as always somewhere nice to stop and have lunch on route and cheaply, eaten miles too much but then have cycled it off ðŸ™‚
By Mrs Ruthen on 25/10/2016
Nothing to worry about, great accommodation in wonderful locations,excellent walks
By Mr Leggett on 14/10/2016
Your booking service was efficient and professional. The holiday itself was only average, particularly given the cost
By Mr Peat on 14/10/2016
Good value for money. Lovely walking. Beautiful island.
By Mrs Cook on 14/10/2016
We really enjoyed the holiday, the scenery was amazing. Our hotel the Bellevue was comfortablle and clean, the staff friendly and helpful but not a lot to do on an evening, we sought out a couple of places in the town towards the end of the week but as we were on holiday right at the end of the season it was very quiet. The menu choice didn't have a great deal of variety/choice and did forgo the evening meal on some nights or went out beforehand as we has walked all day and we're quite hungry! (We are slightly buillt but did feel on some nights that we were stilll hungry).
The spa in the hotel was lovely and we did use the pool and steam rooms but only on one evening when we returned early enough to use the facilities before dinner.
The walking guides and maps were very helpful an on the whole accurate, some of the gradings for the difficulty of the walkes were not accurate some walkes described as Two boots had long or steep inclines and descents on rough ground and I did feel a little mis guided on one or two occasions but the views from the top soon made you forget asbout the effort it had taken.
The arrangements made at our request worked really well and the flights and transfers were efficient and convenient.
A lovely holiday just a little too quiet on an evening.
By Mrs Bali on 13/10/2016
This was our second time with Headwater. We really enjoyed our holiday. The walks were well chosen and so were the towns where we stayed. The Amalfi coast is stunningly beautuful. Some of the popular walks can get a bit busy - there seemed to be a lot of Americans everywhere. We stayed in 4 different hotels and they were all different in character. The highlight was La Conca del Sogno, a family run hotel in a cove with a beach. Would certainly recommend this holiday.
By Mrs Elfick-wood on 13/10/2016
The itinerary and Alberto the guide were excellent, the hotels a bit of a mixed experience. The Sa Muvara would probably been really nice with better weather, but getting hot water for a shower was a bit hit and miss, and a lot of other members of the group found their rooms very cold. The food was sometimes really good but generally a bit salty and far too much of it. Comparing our experience with a previous holiday (walk in the florentine hills), perhaps we expect too much for basic rustic italian food. The Hotel Dorada was in an excellent position, but I didn't find the rooms that comfortable, and the food rather disappointing although the soups were excellent.
For all the above, it wouldn't put me off having another Italian holiday with you.
By Mrs Bowling on 13/10/2016
My first time in Sardinia, our guide Alberto really brought the island alive. His extensive knowledge of nature, culture and history far exceeded my expectations, a brilliant holiday, highly recommend it.
By Ms Barbour on 13/10/2016
The Heart of Veneto cycling tour was a very positive experience for us. The rides were interesting, the distances appropriate and the cycling notes were very clear. Sarah, our Headwater rep, was very helpful and approachable. Lâ€™Albara, our Agriturisimo accommodation, was perfectly fine, the farm interesting and the meals delicious but there wasnâ€™t a lot to do in the evenings. Happily, we became acquainted with 3 friendly, fellow cyclists from Britain and at our dinners every evening we shared the dayâ€™s experiences amid laughter and lively conversation. We would definitely choose Headwater again but would choose a tour on which we would stay in a different place every evening,
By Ms Linsell on 13/10/2016
Good healthy weeks holiday
By Mr Brown on 13/10/2016
a great way to see a region ,on the back of a well organised itinerary and high quality accomodation
By Mrs Stoneham on 13/10/2016
Lovely break, great scenery and quiet routes, good food and wine, well organised.
By Mrs McGill on 13/10/2016
In general the holiday was very good, no complaints. What made the holiday for us was Elisabetta, the guide. She was energetic, informative, great fun and nothing was too much trouble. If I was Headwater I would give her a pay rise and hang onto her for dear life. Ann McGill
By Dr Brech on 13/10/2016
Despite being in a National Park, this was a less rural holiday than we were expecting. While some of the routes are rural in nature, you are never out of sight of a dwelling and you are on, or next to, or crossing, busy roads quite a lot of the time. Italy is also home to a plague of noisy motor bikes and scooters but I guess this is part of the culture! That said, the hotels and the food were mostly very good. We did an extra two days in Teolo which worked well and gave us two days in Padua (easy bus ride) as well as a pleasant local hike. Rep Sarah was as good as we had been led to believe and gave us a most detailed briefing. Her route notes were also excellent.
By Mrs Loyd on 13/10/2016
A week of discovery! Beautiful towns and landscapes, interesting walking , a great local guide who was tireless in helping us to understand so many different aspects of Puglia - it's history, food, contemporary issues - as well as making it fun. A great group too all added up to a brilliant holiday, thank you.
By Ms Small on 13/10/2016
Our holiday experience was fantastic! We loved walking in the mountains and hearing the sound of cow bells everywhere we went. It was easy to get around on the buses and trains, and the mountain trails were varied and interesting. The lakes were a beautiful colour, and the scenery was stunning wherever we went. The food in the hotel was outstanding, with a 5 course dinner offered on each night of our stay. The hotel's spa facilities were also excellent. I had anticipated a busy hotel with lots of Headwater customers, but apart from me and my friend there were only a few other hotel guests. This meant that the dining room was very quiet and lacked a bit of atmosphere, but the staff were very attentive and looked after us really well. I would definitely recommend the Dolomites to anyone who loves to walk amongst stunning scenery. The most popular trails are obviously busy with other visitors, but it is easy to find quiet routes and paths as there are so many walks to choose from.
By Mr Kennedy on 13/10/2016
The scenery at the destination was absolutely spectacular and will remain in our minds for a very long time - starting with the view from our hotel room!
An absolute must holiday for anyone who likes to have just the right amount of exhaustion, excitement and adrenalin in one day, with the facilities to relax and recoup overnight at the hotel, ready to do it all again the next day!
Being provided with maps and suggested walks before our holiday started meant we made the very best use of our time. Definitely had a WOW factor holiday
By Mr Mathieson on 04/10/2016
Very enjoyable holiday overall, staying in good quality hotels. We did find some of the walking a bit more challenging than we had anticipated. It rained on the day we did the Path of the Gods which made it slippery and therefore extra care needed to be taken. We were warned about the 1,000 plus steps down to Positano but maybe more warning about the descent to Marina del Cantone would be helpful for future walkers.
The guidance notes were very accurate on the whole with one or two minor errors. We didn't get lost.
The taxi drivers were all very pleasant and punctual and we had no problems. Our only criticism is that we were not contacted by a local rep. at all. This may have been because we were slightly delayed on arrival ( only half an hour). We also had to confirm our final taxi pick-up ourselves (via the hotel) as this hadn't been communicated to us in advance- a slight worry on the day before we were leaving.
By Ms Evans on 04/10/2016
Tuscany for connessesours puts us in the heart of the southern Tuscany countryside and the family-run, well-appointed hotel (excellent service and food) was set amongst sweeping vineyards and cornfields. The walking notes provided never let us down and afforded the best views and experiences of the area.
By Mr Napier on 04/10/2016
Mostly excellent, but disappointed there were more main roads than on previous cycling trips with Headwater.
In our opinion Alberobello should be dropped - too much of a tourist trap and not a 'Headwater' type destination.
By Mr Bayliss on 04/10/2016
On arriving in our first hotel in Spello the views from our bedroom window took our breathe away. The whole Holiday was full of wonderful views, great food,and lovely accommodation. This alongside some challenging walks which made us feel alive and happy to be in such an unspoilt place like Umbria. Definitely recommend this walking holiday in the Footsteps of Saint Francis of Assisi.
By Mrs Lamont on 04/10/2016
Lovely place to stay, great food. Wine a little expensive at the farm.
By Mrs Chapman on 04/10/2016
A guided trip with only 4 people could be difficult if the travellers didn't get on. The ferry/sea transfers were difficult as there were fewer than in the summer timetable which meant we had to waste holiday time waiting around. The main guide wasn't allowed to show us round towns and we could have had another local guide in each town to make the experience more reliable. Stromboli climb was done by the other couple who found the downhill really tough. They took 6.5 hours which was more than advertised. We opted for a boat trip to see the volcanic display This could be advertised a an option in the brochure.
The holiday was enjoyable, weather not always fine and sunny as expected. Etna in September apparently is often unsafe to walk to the top. We got up 3000m. Walk to the top of Vulcano ggod, Genny an excellent Geological guide.
By Mr Orrett on 04/10/2016
Holiday made best of local area, well planned with good quality hotels and restaurants chosen
By Mr Reilly on 04/10/2016
Great Amalfi Coast experience, with friendly local guide Luigi to ensure that the very best of the area is experienced. His guided walks were superb, and the Garden Hotel in Ravello was particularly friendly and delightful with scenic views. Walking is a great way to enjoy the delights of this superb coastline, with not too many exertions, but a level of general fitness is needed. The trip to Pompeii was very good, Libby our guide ensured we saw the ' must see' parts and navigated us expertly through the sometimes busy parts. The other included excursions to the local Pizza making rural restaurant near Sorrento was very enjoyable, while the visits to the two lovely villas In Ravello were a brief cultural bonus. Overall a very worthwhile 7 day Amalfitana experience. Thanks for a lovely week.
By Mr Hutchison on 04/10/2016
Exercise, fresh air, excellent food and drink and, as ever with Headwater, getting to know a new area pretty well.
By Mrs Freedman on 28/09/2016
A healthy way to explore a new part of the world, if you want it to be! Very easy to reward oneself after a cycle with fine wine and food, but after all it is a holiday! Travelling self guided allows one to be completely flexible, but others might prefer to have a leader to avoid unnecessary cycling, should one take the wrong route.
Would certainly recommend this type of holiday for a group of friends.
By Ms Skinner on 28/09/2016
They said we were mad- ' too hot!', ' too hilly!' ' too far' - they were wrong! We went in August and we are both only moderately fit and over 60. We have never enjoyed a holiday so much. Because you are cycling there is always a breeze. I would recommend taking ' camelpacks' ; these helped us to drink enough water and kept the water cool. Together with factor 50 liberally applied in the morning we never burned nor were we uncomfortable.
There was always a place to grab a juicy nectarine, cheese and bread en route and a swim at the end of the day before delicious evening meals in all the hotels.
We were greeted like royalty and slept like babies. I am officially in love with Italy.
So , any improvements? Yes, we went awol from Torgiano so that we could spend a whole day in Assisi. Assisi is so beautiful that it deserves more than a quick exhausted ramble in the middle of a cycle so, personally I would have preferred to stay closer to the this wonderful town rather than in Torgiano which was rather small and a little uninteresting.
Spoleto is also stunning and we extended our holiday both here and in Rome. Can't wait for the next one.... Now to choose.
By Mr Hodgetts on 23/09/2016
The walks were well described and excellently waymarked, though we thought that certain sections were 2 boot+ especially with high humidity in hot weather. This is true of the continuous climb out of Spello on the high level route to Assisi, and the ascent to the Rifugio on the last day,which is ludicrously timed in the walk notes at 45 minutes. The CAI estimate is 70 and we did it in 80.
The accommodation in Assisi is out of town but this allows for a truly super pool. Sadly the Tavola may not survive as the need for small investment was clear but not forthcoming. Victor and Filippo are lovely and super helpful but 3 power cuts in one day could have been avoided by investing in a small back-up generator. Also there are only the two of them - we heard that the day we left Filippo was stung on the mouth by a hornet - which meant no chef. It is worth noting also that without a car you are stuck at La Tavola with nothing to do if it rains - and boy can it rain!
La Bastiglia and Le Silve are great, the latter is out of this world for views and food.
We would seriously recommend an extra day at the start of the holiday to acclimatise and also to spend a day in Spello which is spectacularly beautiful and otherwise largely missed on the normal schedule.
We fell in love with Umbria, which is Italy as you really don't expect - green, lush and verdant. The craft beers are superb - who knew the Italians were so into it. One range called Monasterio di San Biagio is brewed by the Agriturismo which runs La Tavola. Finally the Umbrian people were friendly, helpful and endlessly welcoming.
By Mrs Liebster on 21/09/2016
While this walk was quite challenging in places, partly because of the high temperatures in early September, it was thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying. It was very well planned and the gastronomic aspects were excellent and exceeded our expectations. This is a much under-rated part of Italy and very well worth exploring. The views, the wine and the food are outstanding.
By Mis Horkan on 21/09/2016
Beautiful verdant area to walk in. Fantastic views. Lots of options for rest days.
By Dr Duthie on 15/09/2016
All good. If the receptionists at Palazzo Galletti Abb would ever remove the telephone receiver from their ear and make eye contact it would have been excellent.
By Mr Miller on 15/09/2016
Simply stunning scenery and a really lovely daily cycle!
By Mrs Wege on 15/09/2016
Very good, but next time would try a higher grade of route
By Ms Marshall on 14/09/2016
This cycling holiday was an excellent way to visit the relatively unknown region of Emilia Romagna. The cycling was relatively easy - if hot (in August/September) and the stopover places were really varied and interesting. The accommodation at Le Occare was particularly good, with Cristina's excellent cooking, warm welcome and attention to detail. The old house is beautiful, spacious and comfortable. Our stay there was just very very special.
By Mr Nicol on 09/09/2016
everythink is so planned so well . from the minute you land to the minute you leave
By Mrs McKay on 07/09/2016
Beautiful scenery. Cycling hard at times - some demanding hills. Hotels very good with individual attractions. Pools a great asset at end of a hard day cycling or on day off. Lots of good (and cheap) cafes on route. Interesting places to visit including Montefalco. Assisi very busy and expensive.
Overall a great holiday.
By Ms Cockshott on 07/09/2016
Easy cycle, a lot of free-wheeling, well signed routes and amazing views. Great hotels in good locations. We enjoy the included meals & were not disappointed with those on this trip but would have liked more. Would certainly recommend even though the first cycle day was very rainy. Paid for an upgrade in Merano and ended up with the penthouse loft suite - very nice, shame we were only there 2 nights.
By Mrs Cox on 06/09/2016
Beautiful quiet region of Italy. Family at L'Albara are very welcoming. The food is excellent. A real get away from it all experience. This is our second visit and it was just as good the second time. Would happily go back again.
By Mrs Mercer on 30/08/2016
Amazing food, a warm welcome and wonderful hill top towns and rolling scenery worthy of an Unesco designation.
By Mr Davies on 30/08/2016
This was our first cycling holiday abroad so we were looking for a central base from which we could explore on a daily basis rather than living out of suitcases. With hindsight I'm not sure we could have chosen better. The accommodation was superb (in particular Angelina's cooking!), the cycle routes of the right length (such that we had time to ride the mornings and relax in the afternoons) and there were opportunities to visit Vicenza or go further afield.
By Mr Andrews on 23/08/2016
This was our second holiday with Headwater. The first was a group walk about 7 years ago in Tuscany which was outstanding. The hotels, the reps and the food were just as good this time, but the walking was disappointing. The walks were very isolated and much of the time either through boring woodland which all looks the same or vineyards, which also all look the same. I am a teacher and therefore have to holiday during School holidays. Unfortunately we could not find group walks to suit during this period.
One complaint is that in all the hotels we stayed at we were allocated the worst rooms in the hotel by any standards. In Villa Beccaris, for example, we were the nearest room to the tradesmen's entrance. At Hotel Le Torri there was no air conditioning so needed windows open all night. We were given a room facing the street and were woken up very early by traffic noise. No balcony either.
By Mr Jackson on 23/08/2016
A superb holiday, tailored exactly to our needs and specifications. Our reception from our reps, Luke and Eleanor, was outstanding: nothing was too much. Very personable and up-beat - exactly what you want on holiday. Headwater's hotels are second to none, in perfect locations and with wonderful facilities. I can not recommend Headwater holidays high enough.
By Mrs Latchford on 23/08/2016
Would thoroughly recommend this excellent holiday combining wonderful views, varied cycling, but predominantly downhill, welcoming hotels and lovely food.
By Mr Davies on 23/08/2016
This was my fourth holiday with Headwaters and have enjoyed them all
By Mr Crockett on 23/08/2016
Great way to explore Italy.
By Mr Timothy on 23/08/2016
Great holiday. Our rep Sarah was really helpful and ensured everything ran smoothly. Was sick on first day of arrival. Sarah and the people running the hotel helped me straight away so that I was able to get better and enjoy a great holiday. The scenery is stunning and people so friendly and helpful. Also the food was delicious in every place we stayed. You would pay an awful lot for that standard of food in the UK. We went in July so the weather was really hot in the afternoon so make sure you take lots of shade and water breaks.Was a fun holiday.
By Mrs Anderson on 23/08/2016
We had a very good relaxed holiday, with Sarah giving alternative choices and lifts on days that were too hot to walk the whole distance
Sarah is an exceptionally good rep
By Ms Heard on 19/08/2016
Of the seven cycling holidays we have done with Headwater this was by far the most scenic and varied. Very enjoyable cycling along the excellent cycle paths. Meeting other cyclists and having plenty of good picnic spots and/or small refreshment opportunities on route was delightful. An extra day in Merano was well worth it. We spent the day going up in the cable car to Merano 2000 for a walk on the mountains before a delicious lunch in an Alpine restaurant. We thought the grading of 2 bikes was a bit high compared to previous Headwater holidays and, apart from a couple of hills, was fairly easy cycling. This, of course, maybe that on cycle paths one doesn't have to content with traffic therefore it appears easier. One word of caution. Taking ones bike on the train to Trento was an ordeal. Lifting bikes on and off Italian trains requires super human strength, not to mention trying to negotiate getting two bikes into the lifts to access the appropriate platform! As two over 60 year old ladies this was not a plesant experience. Our final highlight of the holiday was the extra two nights in Verona and seeing Aida at the Arena di Verona - superb and well worth it.
Overall this was an excellent holiday and if it was not for the train journey one we would repeat.
By Ms Kidney on 17/08/2016
A wonderfully well planned holiday in the most beautiful surroundings with quality accommodation.
By Ms Pilgrim on 17/08/2016
We felt the weather played an important part in the conditions we experienced which made the walks more challenging. It is a beautiful area and the second half of the holiday was particularly beautiful and quite isolated. This holiday offers a mixed experience of history, nature and good food and wine. Any problems we encountered were minor and I felt that St Francis must have been a tough guy with his Forbes and sandals!
By Mr Benner on 17/08/2016
the provision of laundry local laundry services would be much appreciated.
By Mrs Provan on 17/08/2016
A beautiful area to visit
By Mrs Myles on 17/08/2016
A great experience!
By Mr Nichols on 17/08/2016
The cycle paths in August were very busy. Much of the cycle is alongside main roads and railways so can be noisy. Some fantastic scenery but many kilometres of orchards and vineyards to cycle through. Most of the route is downhill or flat; if you are a cyclist you may miss the challenge of a few hills. Great hotels, good locations.
By Mr Dudley on 17/08/2016
Generally, very enjoyable - superb part of the world to explore; ideal time of year (our trip was not peak season); great to burn some calories during the day, then enjoy some fine food and drink in the evening; good mix of like-minded people.
By Mrs McDonough on 16/08/2016
Well organised and great routes. Accommodation usually gives more of a local flavour than big anonymous chains.
By Mrs Honeywood on 16/08/2016
Our first experience with Headwater and chosen with our teenage daughter in mind as well as our enjoyment of cycling. Wonderful views and an interesting area to cycle in. The cycling was mainly all on tarmaced paths with only a couple of slight climbs. We enjoyed the variety of scenery and places to stop off at. We tended to make our own picnics as there were such lovely places to stop, but there are numerous cafes for drinks and food. We found the time spent in Merano a little long, but walked up to Dorf Tirol and spent the afternoon at the local swimming pool with the most stunning views - possibly the coldest pool I have swum in! We enjoyed the opportunity for stops en route , particularly having time to visit the modern art gallery in Rivereto. All in all a very enjoyable holiday and we hope to do another one next year.
By Mrs Maddison on 16/08/2016
we were disappointed, Some of the walking was below expectations, there seemed to be a lack of continuity and some of the food left much to be desired. The catalogue entry was a bit ambiguous.
By Mrs Walker on 16/08/2016
The scenery was quite spectacular. The footpaths were quiet and on most days we did not see a sole whilst walking. I was disappointed not to see more villages, We did walk from Marradi but the start of the walk was on the outskirts so we were unable to have a walk around the town. Our guild did arrange for us to visit Ravenna on the Wednesday by bus and train, we enjoyed the visit and were happy to have a break from the walks for a day. The hotel was good, our bedroom had just been decorated and refurbished. Ercole and Roberta were very friendly and went out of their way for us. Ercole invited me into the kitchen to watch him and his chef cook, which was a lovely extra touch. James the Guide lived close to the hotel so we saw him everyday.
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 Robson on 16/08/2016
Superb holiday that we thoroughly enjoyed! It rained quite a bit - but don't let that put you off. The scenery is marvellous; out of this world in some places - especially the Dolomites with their marvellously jagged mountains and stunning turquoise lakes. The Drei Zimmen/Tre Cime trail is magnificent and certainly worth saving to last! The hotel accommodation was truly superb with a leisurely 5-course meal routinely included. Too good for us, I have to say! Not many British families in this area. Keep it quiet... do they know what they are missing?
By Mr Wark on 16/08/2016
Dobbiaco was a super location as a base for walking. The walks were well detailed and accurate and the views during the walks were quite stunning.
By Mr Farrell on 08/08/2016
This was my 3rd holiday with you -- but the first in over a decade. I preferred the way you used to do this with local operatives who would meet us each morning to update us on the route, check the bikes, etc. The problem with the current system is that we were left a bit too much to our own devices. There were a few too many occasions when we encountered routes that were patently out of date or detours that would have bene picked up if there were someone checking the route more regularly, And in one instance we were left to fend for ourselves in finding our hotel, which resulted is us cycling down a very dangerous hill heavy with traffic desperately looking for ANY kind of sign before a thunder storm hit. That was not a moment I'd like to repeat!
By Mrs Bailey on 04/08/2016
A lovely week of gentle rides on quiet roads through beautiful countryside. At the end of the day we could look forward to a few hours relaxing by the pool at the wonderful agriturismo L'Albara, before a truly magnificent evening meal. We loved every minute.
By Mr Pearce on 25/07/2016
A marvellous combination of: exercise and relaxation in wonderful locations, staying in top hotels with everything superbly organised.
By Mrs Cartwright on 25/07/2016
Really good bikes.
As ti was very hot (end of June and 32 degrees ) we were pleased that the cycling was very easy.
By Mis Ward on 25/07/2016
If you want a mix of history, art and good food with cycling along flat routes then this holiday is for you. But be aware that there is no shade on the first day's cycling, so if the weather is hot it might be a bit of a struggle! Not the most interesting scenery, which is perhaps to be expected in this type of flat agricultural landscape. However, this is made up for by visits to Ravenna, Ferrara, Comacchio and Bologna - and some welcoming hotels.
By Mrs Shilton on 25/07/2016
It is worth it! Take up all the advice provided by your reps and live a little!
By Mr Twiss on 25/07/2016
Well planned and organised, good routes accurately described, very helpful staff.
By Ms Culshaw on 21/07/2016
An excellent holiday. The small group size meant it felt very much like a private guided holiday but with the advantage of company.
By Mr Smith on 20/07/2016
Stunning countryside and food. Best reps we've ever had.
By Dr Young on 20/07/2016
This is a beautiful part of the world. some of the nicest scenery we have cycled through. I think possibly the nicest hotels and food [apart from 2 nights see below] we have enjoyed. BUT it is hard!! There is more climbing on this route than we have experienced before on other 2 bike routes. I think this does need flagged up. The 2 women in their mid 60s found the going very tough on the first day - over 900metres of climbing. BUT our excellent reps jumped to the rescue and produced e- bikes for the 2 elderly ladies! What a transformation - we could enjoy the rides- the views- and our husbands did not have the worry about us! Highly to be recommended on [in our opinion]this 3 bike holiday.On 2 nights we had to travel to a restaurant . this meant we had the same menu 2 nights running -for a non meat eater- the fish was poor. It was not a great ambience. We did speak to the reps about it. the food elsewhere was largely extraordinary and the hotels that only did breakfasts gave excellent breakfasts.
We did not find your new map system helpful. the route notes mentioned names of places that were not on your new maps. Thankfully our reps provided proper maps at our request.
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 Mr Tarr on 15/07/2016
This was our first cycling holiday, we are both reasonably fit but not regular cyclists so this was an excellent introduction.we found the routes fairly straight forward and enjoyable with the route notes easy to follow as long as we didn't read too far ahead (short term memory problems!). All the hotels were very good in their different ways , we ate well everywhere but the stand out food was at the Villa Lussana in Teolo. unfortunately we missed the ride to Teolo because of an extremely heavy thunder storm but Sarah our Rep picked us up and transfered us. The day wasn't wasted though, we were able to do a lovely circular walk later on in the afternoon to set us up for the first of our fabulous evening meals there. We took a bus into Padua on the rest day, well worth doing, we visited the Scrovegni Chapel and the the University to see the anatomy theatre. The two nights at the Agritourismo L' Albara were very convivial and the pool was lovely. To sum up, we had a great time, Sarah our rep was extremely helpful and helped make our holiday .
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 Titley on 15/07/2016
The guided Puglia walking holiday was fabulous. We had heard about Matera before out travels and we had time to explore the town and surroundings.It was an amazing place.Luigina, our leader on this holiday, was very knowledgeable and helpful. The 3 centres and scenery on the walk were quite varied. The free day was a good idea as it gave us the opportunity to visit Lecce.The holiday was a fascinating mix of history, geoography, culture and of course, food!
By Mr Fairweather on 15/07/2016
Wonderful high level walking with dramatic views and an amazing variety of wild flowers during the day, and a very comfortable hotel with superb food in the evening.
By Mr Moyes on 13/07/2016
If you want a very fine single-centre walking holiday in stunning mountain scenery then Headwater's Dolomites experience in the Southern Tyrol is perfect: varied, stimulating, hard work and very satisfying. As well as the glory of the mountains, the flower-strewn alpine pastures are a botanist's heaven.
By Mr Whitton on 06/07/2016
Generally an excellent service but based on past experience will only go for future holidays with you where a Headwater rep is involved rather than an agent
By Mr Brooks on 06/07/2016
Bikes excellent. Lunches en route excellent. Accommodation a bit mixed.
By Mr Cooper on 06/07/2016
A lovely green area, with super footpaths and great views within natural unspoilt countryside
By Mr Foster on 06/07/2016
The walk notes were very good, although some local information with them would have improved the experience. There was 1 mistake we found for the Strudelkopf walk where after leaving the Hotel Hohe Gaisl you reach a stream '...after just 350m' should read '...after just 35m'. This caused confusion as the official path has been diverted - correct per the notes (but the old one/route being shown on the map) and the old one/junction is 350m from this point!!
By Mrs Thomas on 02/07/2016
Loved this little known area, which was perfect for easy cycling. Good variety of cycling ; quiet roads, alongside canals and dedicated cycle paths. Sarah our rep couldn't have been better and was always working hard for us to get the most out of our holiday. Loved Albara, which had a pool which was a bonus in our hot weather (30s). There is another holiday option to stay here as a base for week, I would think this would work well , as it was our favourite stopover out of the four we stayed at. Food and wine excellent all the way round and plenty of places to stop enroute.
By Mr Maxwelljackson on 30/06/2016
A very enjoyable, easy (flat) cycle through a beautiful and interesting part of Italy. Apart from one 4-5 mile stretch on a busy road, all the rest of the cycling was on cycle tracks or quiet country roads. The accommodation/meals were varied and of a good standard, and our hosts were all friendly and welcoming. The route descriptions were very clear, accurate and easy to follow - so we didn't get lost!
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 Conaghan on 29/06/2016
This was a good mix of hiking and city . We enjoyed the beautiful Tuscan countryside and the guided tours of the wonderful cities of Florence and Sienna. The tour guide was helpful and completely knowledgeable. We also had a lot of fun!
By Mr Johnson on 28/06/2016
The holiday delivered everything we were hoping for and more. This was mainly due to the excellent tour leader, who went above and beyond the call of duty. As expected, she was very knowledgeable with regard to the actual locations and the walks, but she was also very helpful in her suggestions for places to eat, as not so many meals were included on this particular holiday. She is one of the best tour guides we have encountered and her sense of humour added to the enjoyment of the whole group.
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 Mis Galliers on 17/06/2016
Interesting but not our most enjoyable Headwater trip. Hotels were isolated with little buzz in the immediate vicinity. No steer on places of interest/ visits etc what to do ( other than fix your puncture! ) from rep.
Found cycling country rather barren and shame about fly tipping.
New Palace Hotel was good but rather bizarre and probably only a quarter occupancy.
Bristol/Milan/Palermo resulted in arrival @ 11 therefore no evening meal ( just a cold plate).
Return journey leaving at 3am .....no breakfast.
By Mr Morrison on 16/06/2016
A perfect way to enjoy the splendours of the Amalfi Coast from a perspective impossible for holidaymakers tied to the roads. The routes were planned so that each day's walking was different - from rugged cliff paths and breathtaking coastal scenery to peaceful lemon and olive groves and friendly villages. While this holiday does not have the same amount of walking we have had previously, we welcomed the days off as an opportunity to catch the ferry over to Capri and visit Pompeii and Herculaneum. All our 'standard' rooms at Amalfi, Positano and Marina del Cantone had wonderful sea views. We upgraded to be sure of a sea view in Sorrento and were booked in to the fabulous Belair Hotel - would really recommend this - and indeed the whole holiday.
By Mis Barrie on 16/06/2016
Many unspoilt cycle routes with stunning views
Hotel pools all very welcome after a hard day's cycling
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 Kendrick on 16/06/2016
Brochure slightly misleading about Hotel Costa Dorada; the idyllic location portrayed was not accurate - next to a busy public car park, not an isolated location. We had upgraded rooms so they were fine. Others in the group were very disappointed with their rooms. Walks were good and our guide Alberto was superb. He really made the holiday.
By Mrs Baker on 14/06/2016
We enjoyed the challenges of walking in a beautiful landscape. The walks were varied and interesting. We also enjoyed time to relax returning home feeling refreshed
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 Mr Duggleby on 14/06/2016
Another excellent self-guided walking holiday from Headwater. Everything was up to the very high standards we expect from them. The entire 8-day holiday was a delight including the visits we chose (Padova, Monselice) on our days off. We chose to walk the suggested options for our last day off. The weather was poor but we had a fabulous 'extra' day of walking.
This area of the Vento is so beautiful and the walking around the Euganean Hills was terrific. Sarah our lovely rep was superb. Thank you Headwater.
By Mrs Sparshott on 13/06/2016
don't under-estimate how hilly/undulating Tuscany is.
By Mr Rodgers on 13/06/2016
No comment - the unseasonal weather curtailed cycling on one day (thunderstorms) so this did affect the overall holiday experience with another day that was also wet.
By Mrs Keeley on 13/06/2016
Very enjoyable week in a lovely part of Italy. We found the walks varied and interesting, though more challenging overall than the 2 boot rating - particularly the first and last day's walking, which involved some long and fairly steep ascents and some difficult descents (not just because of the rain - a lot of sustained scrabbling down loose chippings which was very tough on the knees). The walking instructions were overall accurate and easy to follow, though part of one route - from Assissa - was closed, and obviously had been for some time (we were not told about this before setting off) and on the final day at several points on the walk to Spello we got briefly lost due to the lack of clarity in the instructions. The hotels varied - Le Silve was oustanding in terms of location, accomodation, food and service, with La Tavola not far behind. Le Terazza is a bit far out of town - we would have liked to have stayed in Assissi - but we found the restaurant, food and service there fine. The food (particularly for vegetarians) and service at La Bastiglia was poor - fortunately when we returned to spend an extra night in Spello the restaurant was closed so were were booked into another much better restaurant - 'The Wine Drinker'. Late May is a good time to walk in Umbria, lots of wild flowers and new growth and not too hot.
By Ms D'arcy on 13/06/2016
The holiday, although accurately described etc,, the reality exceeded my expectations! Thoroughly enjoyed every moment. The meals, wines, and accommodation were all of a consistently high standard - without pretension or ostentation - a testament to the Italians respect and belief in the quality of their products. The countryside and people were also amazing, acts of kindness from strangers showed me several times what it means 'to go the extra mile'. The cycle routes are well designed, as is the holiday that alternates cycle days with rest days.
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 Mrs Price on 13/06/2016
This was an interesting area of Italy and our holiday passed all too quickly with the usual Headwater mix of cultural visits and, of course cycling. The routes were well selected and mostly on cycle paths. Food was great. We didnt visit Padua, Vincenza or Venice as we preferred to explore the countryside. Otherwise the holiday was pretty much as described in the brochure.
By Mrs Butterworth on 13/06/2016
The walks are strenuus enough that we felt a glow of achievement on finishing each one, but not so difficult that we sruggled as occasional hikers. The mix of agriculture and woodland walking surrounded by birdsong is wonderful.
Adding an extra 3 nights in Venice staying at the Hotel Kette made the whole holiday one to remember for many years.
By Mr Grierson on 07/06/2016
A very well organised holiday with superb Sardinian hospitality and comfortable accommodation. Alberto's extensive knowledge of the history, flora, fauna and geology of the island added to a wonderful week's experience as did his 'surprises and adventures'!
By Mrs Parsons on 07/06/2016
A friendly guide,very good knowledge of area,fantastic lunches. Great walking,a lovely group of people,will book another trip next year. Thank you Headwater.
By Mrs Greenbank on 07/06/2016
We had tried to book this particular holiday in previous years but the dates didn't work out. It was well worth the wait as it has to be one of our best Headwater holidays - and we've had quite a few. Piedmont is a wonderful place to visit, the walking was as expected - it's a hilly place! The hotels were all good and all had their own special elements. We enjoyed eating in different places each night- and what an excellent standard of food was on offer.
By Dr Roberts on 07/06/2016
We had an amazing trip cycling secrets of Sicily .Great combination of lovely scenery,interesting history ,well organised and good choice of hotels. Cycling is a great way to see a country. The people were friendly and welcoming .Would love to try another trip.
By Mrs Randall on 07/06/2016
Overall very good - excellent walks with very often a choice to extend or reduce length/difficulty. We found most of the walks easier than we expected but maybe that is our own walking experience here in the UK (Dartmoor)
Accommodation good although the beds were cold and seemed damp at our last stop - maybe a problem with being at the beginning of the season while temperatures were still low.
Out taxi driver was excellent, courteous, helpful and always on time.
By Mrs Officer on 07/06/2016
Excellent holiday all round. Information provided in the brochure was accurate. Headwater team very helpful and efficient in booking and administering the holiday.
By Ms Allen on 06/06/2016
Good mix of cycling and days off sightseeing around lovely Baroque towns-some of which feature in Montalbano.
We liked eating out in restaurants where we could eat typically Sicilian food.
Accommodation generally very good.
We went at the end of May which was hot enough during the day,especially when cycling, with much cooler evenings.
By Mr Hewson on 06/06/2016
What a great way to see the Amalfi/Sorrento peninsula. The walks take you through stunning scenery away from the roads - areas that you would definitely not see from a car or a bus. The Walk along the Path of the Gods is breath taking. You also get the opportunity to see a wonderful array of colourful wild flowers. Don't miss Ravello and the two villas with their stunning gardens. The walk back to Amalfi from Ravello is very interesting for its industrial archaeology.
The Capodimonte and Luna Convento Hotels were particularly luxurious and we had great sea views. The food in both was very good with plenty of choices.
We had booked 2 extra nights in the Capodimonte and were told before leaving the UK that we had half board on one of the nights so we were delighted to find that in fact the price we had paid included dinner on all four nights.
Pompei and Heraculeum are very interesting and a must. If you are going to see them by train from Sorrento, it is a good idea to go early afternoon rather than morning as the trains and the sites are less busy then.
Headwater take note:that we did see a snake crossing the path before Massa Lubrense. My husband said it was only about 2 feet long but I think it was more like 6 feet!! It was jet black. The internet says that this type is completely harmless and in fact is a good garden aid as they eat pests.
If visiting Massa Lubrense on your way to Sorrento, it is worth walking right down from the main square to the terrace overlooking the sea and going down the steps to the restaurant 'Il Cantuccio'. It serves great food in a shaded terrace adorned with colourful flowers and with wonderful views of the sea and Capri.
All in all - what a great holiday!
Janet Hewson 31 May 2016
By Mr Loughlin on 06/06/2016
We expected 4 star hotels but got small 2 star rooms . Food was mostly not impressive and service poor . Staff were friendly and cycle agents excellent . Umbria lovely but route would have been very demanding without the power assist cycles which were excellent for ladies but ran out of steam for gents towards the end of each day
By Mrs Morgan on 06/06/2016
Southern Tuscany is beautiful and the food fabulous. Villa Acquaviva is a beautiful place to stay with much of its produce organically home grown.
By Mrs Moulton on 06/06/2016
We went for our honeymoon and the holiday was a perfect mixture of challenging cycling with beautiful views, lovely hotels and fantastic food.
By Mr Boyce on 06/06/2016
Great holiday with truly excellent food and accommodation! You really should take the detour to Novello Junction on day 6.
By Mrs Briddick on 06/06/2016
We were very lucky with the weather and this is important when on a cycling holiday! The accommodation was varied and highly suited to starting and ending a days cycling. We loved the routes which were through beautiful countryside ( isn't this lovely! I kept saying) and which provided us with convenient coffee and lunch stops. The cycling was spot on for a 1 cycle ride but it also offered more hilly routes is we wished to challenge ourselves. We soon found we had total confidence in the route notes and once when we went wrong I said - Sarah would never send us down this road! And I was right. You have to be a little flexible - one of our routes was blocked off by a motorcycling event but we were able to use the notes to rejoin the trail. We thoroughly enjoyed the food and the delicious local wine. I made friends with my bike and always looked forward to the next day's expedition. Great holiday!
By Ms Poole on 06/06/2016
It was great to have such a complete break and while we didn't it the support available from the rep it was reassuring to know that assistance was only a call away. We particularly enjoyed moving on from town to town and having the rest day in between walkis created a great deal of variety as we got to see other towns. We particularly liked Villa Lussana and the food was really good there - it was also the first walk we didn't get lost on so there was a great sense of achievement in arriving there!
By Mr Jaffe on 03/06/2016
Thoroughly enjoyable holiday in a beautiful unspoilt part of Southern Italy. The people here are incredibly friendly, not just in the hotels but everywhere. The cycling wasn't too strenuous and the 7km descent into Capitolo was exhilarating ! All the hotels were of a very good standard. Enjoyed staying in the Trulli house even though Alberobello can become very busy with day trippers but our favourite place was the Masseria Salamina, (keep some space in the luggage to stock up on their excellent home produced extra virgin olive oil) ! The food in this region is wonderful with a good choice of restaurants at all the locations except Prezze di Greco where the evening meal is included. This was our 12th Headwater cycling holiday and it lived up to expectations.
By Ms Henry on 03/06/2016
Our first cycling holiday and we had a great time - lovely countryside and towns which were also fun to cycle around. Instructions easy to follow so we never got lost! Already thinking of another trip!
By Mr Christy on 03/06/2016
Splendid trip - delightful area, some very well-selected places to stay and eat and excellent logistics from our two guides, who were great fun to be with. This holiday really delivered what was promised on the website and is a great way to explore the area.
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 Mr Renshaw on 03/06/2016
Cycling is a wonderful way to see a country and, particularly in Sicily, appreciate the abundance of wild flowers that line the roads we cycled. The accommodation and food were very enjoyable as were the receptions we got in both hotels and restaurants. Cycling is more enjoyable when your fit and we are but the pace of the holiday was good with interspersed non cycling days. We were able to enjoy some historical sites as well en route.
By Ms Lewis on 03/06/2016
A really interesting week in beautiful locations. On the walks we enjoyed the wonderful wildflowers, birds and butterflies and beautiful coastal views. We much appreciated the visits that had been arranged to Segesta and Erice - full of interest. Nicola, our taxi driver, was really excellent - friendly, offering information and always on time and very well organised. The walking was great, well off the beaten track but on reasonable footpaths - all in all, a very good week.
By Mr Watson on 03/06/2016
A good holiday with excellent walks, but bear in mind this is run by Exodus, so hotels not up to the usual Headwater standard.
By Mr Hay on 26/05/2016
A varied week with an excellent guide
By Mrs Jackson on 26/05/2016
This was a well designed holiday with a good balance of walking and sightseeing . The group size was just right.
I doubt we could have had a better leader. Elisabetta was a delight to be with. She was charming, witty, knowledgeable , interesting and keen to ensure we were involved in decision making wherever it was possible . Her recommendations for places to eat were excellent.
By Mr Exell on 18/05/2016
A wonderful guide lead us through a fascinating part of Italy and along the way we enjoyed superb local cuisine and wines.
By Mrs Roundtree on 16/05/2016
Puglia is a fantastic part of Italy to visit - a real hidden gem - and a perfect location for cycling. We were lucky with the weather and got a good week but the weather in April can be variable (i.e. cooler and wetter than we had). Beautiful countryside and lovely coastline with proper beaches. Excellent food and friendly people, We would go back again.
By Mr Floyd on 11/05/2016
VERY well organised. HIGHLY efficient. Excellent hotels. Hard to beat
By Mr Allan on 06/05/2016
Hotels selected were superb (a higher standard than we would normally select for ourselves - that is one of the real pleasures of travelling with Headwater). Pick ups and tranfers were seamless and enjoyable - it was a delight to hear the drivers laugh! Food through out was excellent. Check out board arrangements - Grand Hotel Capodimonte actually provided half board for the duration of the stay (and not just the first night!) and this included a free salad buffet every evenning. Towards the end of the first day walk from Ravello to Amalfi (after the ruined foundry) there is a restored warehouse called Agricola Fore Porte converted to a restaurant/cafe where you can drink fresh lemon juice - a delightful family run business witha multi lingual daughter. Well done Headwater another excellent holiday!
By Mis Brooks on 03/05/2016
It was really great because we made it so. Headwater played very little part. The last walk was inadequately replaced with no warning or alternative. The second hotel was silly. You did not get a proper breakfast you had to pay extra. It was not to the standard of the other hotels was a strange choice. At the 3rd hotel there was nothing to do. We could not walk due to the weather. So this too was a strange choice. There were no reps what so ever. It did seem very expensive for what was provided. The taxi company used was excellent we were lucky to have the same driver 3 times. He really was wonderful with lots of recommendations for us. His name was neillo please pass on our regards.
By Mr Hemsley on 03/05/2016
we upgraded most of your rooms as what was on offer was fairly basic. some of the cycle routes were on busy roads and the Italian drivers are not respectful of cyclists. however, the experience was a good one.
By Mrs Dean on 29/04/2016
An excellent holiday if you are interested in spring flowers and migrant birds. The island of Marettimo was the highlight as was the stay in the tranquil and delightful Baglio La Luna. Our Taxi driver was particularly helpful,flexible, informative and friendly, and always came on time. The flight times could have been better - we had a 4 hour wait in Rome. However I think this could not be avoided. Our highlight was 3 new orchids we had not come across before. All the walks took us much longer than the notes indicated as we spent so much time looking at the amazing flora or this lovely island.
By Mr Witts on 27/04/2016
We are both fit and keen cyclists and enjoyed covering quite a large area in one trip.
The weather in late April was superb, most days 25 degrees with some windy rides which could prove to be tough going. It was a very varied trip with cultural interest in most of the destinations along with coastal scenic views mixed with agricultural landscapes. The wild flowers were in bloom but Sicilians have a habit of dumping roadside litter, which was a bit ugly at times. Montalbano was filming on location at Punta Secca, which was a stunning seaside location.
A lot of the absolute seaside bars and restaurants were seasonally closed in late April, so would advise to take picnics and pre purchase drinks before you set off.
By Mr Jones on 26/04/2016
Great holiday if you like volcanos
By Mr Saunders on 25/04/2016
We very much enjoyed our holiday. The walking part was not as good as many we've experienced with other companies. This was partly because of its discontinuous nature - walking the Vermillion Coast with Sherpa gave us a full, continuous walk from the start in Colliure to the end at Cadaques. And apart from the 'Path of the Gods' and the walk from Ravello through the valley with the old iron works and paper mills, it was, in parts fairly mundane, particularly the last section to Sorrento. Our extension enabled us to see Herculaneum and Pompeii, and climb to the top of Vesuvius. We also took trips to Capri and to Napoli. So, all-in-all, the holiday was a great success. However, we would have been prepared to pay more for something that was slightly more interesting - better walks and better hotels. Having said that, the Luna Conventa was magnificent! Although the Capodimonte was very good in most areas, many English people we spoke to thought the quality of the dinner very disappointing.
By Mrs Smith on 25/04/2016
If you go to Sicily with Headwater
You will find they have done all they oughter
You can swim, you can walk
You can eat or just talk
Your holiday will be just what you boughter.
By Mrs Brewster on 18/04/2016
April was a beautiful time of year to travel to Puglia; lovely weather for cycling and the fields were full of wildflowers, cherry blossom, flowering mimosas etc. Although the cycling was all on roads, they were mainly very quiet, country lanes and we found the Italian drivers surprisingly patient and respectful of cyclists. The route deserved its 1 1/2 bike rating; it certainly seemed a bit more strenuous than the previous '1 bike' holiday we had done and we were very glad not to be tackling it in the heat of summer. This was our second Headwater holiday as a family and we think the formula works well for both us and the children (aged 11 and 13). They particularly embraced the Italian love of gelati!
By Mr Poole on 04/12/2015
Hidden Tuscany is in an interesting, quiet area. It is necessary to travel significant distances to get the best out of the holiday and the area, as is probably true of Western Europe in general, will be at its best in Spring/Early Summer.
By Mr Simpson on 17/11/2015
An excellent holiday with a like minded group of people.
Our guide Nino went out of his way to ensure everyone got what they wanted out of the holiday. He changed arrangements to suit the weather and ensured that everyone was happy with what was happening each day.
Pleasant walking( despite slightly inclement weather at times) through lovely countryside and interesting historic sites. Unfortunately it was too cold for our swim in the Adriatic .
Alberobello is a very pretty town with its large concentration of Trulli. Matera is a fascinating city with its ancient settlements and interesting history.
By Ms Spencer on 06/11/2015
we had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves though the level of the first walk (the longer route) seemed to be harder tan 2 boots especially given the temperature. In view of the steep ascents/descents on parts of this walk it might be helpful to suggest sticks as essential.
We spent 4 nights in total at the hotel in Spello and for 2 of those nights we were unhappy with one of the beds which was a sofa bed and not really suitable for an adult. We were very tired on our first night so put up with it but when we asked for this to be changed on our return there were no staff able to change the bedding until the following day. This wasn't satisfactory. Two of the nights we spent at this hotel were on wednesdays which meant we ate at a different restaurant; this may have been just as well as the menu(which was short) didn't alter on the 2 nights we ate there.
By Mr Grant on 04/11/2015
An excellent mix of walking ( none of which is too taxing at least in the cooler October weather ) and sightseeing . The trip will give a good exposure to several of the main must see places in Tuscany. and also shows some of those places less visited by tourists. We were very fortunate in having a great guide in Elizabetta . It was perhaps a mark of how good she is that she was warmly welcomed in each new place we visited . My main tip for future travelers is to go to the Uffizi as early as you can as it can be crowded . Booking in advance is to be recommended and it is best to phone ( you go through the options by pushing the telephone key pad - it is all in English and then you have a very brief discussion with an English speaking member of staff . The advantage is that you will get a wider availability of times to visit than you do booking online and some people according to tripadvisor don`t get their confirmation email ( TripAdvisor has a section on booking for the Uffizi which is v helpful ) . You can book up once you are in Florence for the next day if you go late in the afternoon the day before ( a couple of people did this and got early slots ) but i don`t know how many slots will be available for those going along the day before and many people will want to see the Uffizi and may not want to wait and see if they can get in and when . The last thing you want to do is to queue up on the day - people were being told it would be a 2 hour wait to get in at 10am on the Saturday we were there !!!
By Mr May on 02/11/2015
A beautiful part of the world made even more special by great hotels, great food and great cycling
By Mr Horsfall on 02/11/2015
We thought this was upper two boot level, but very enjoyable walking
By Mrs Shore on 31/10/2015
A really good trip.With a good blend of self directed walks and guided up Stromboli and Etna.
By Mrs Jones on 27/10/2015
Can't speak too highly of Sarah - Headwater is fortunate to have someone with such high standards, thoughtfulness and warm personality.. She was very attentive and concerned about a couple on the cycling holiday,one of whom had sustained an eye injury while cycling.
Villa Lusanna was particularly good in terms of welcome, food and friendliness.
Some years ago we did the walking in the Loire valley holiday. The standard of food, accomodation and route notes were much better in the Venetian Hills holiday. .
By Mis Harper on 27/10/2015
A brilliant holiday, our guide Antonino was excellent, he looked after us very well and went out of his way to make sure we were always well looked after and very well fed. Transfers during the walk went like clockwork.
An incredibly interesting part of Italy; as it was cold and wet we all agreed to visit local caves instead of the beach and they were magnificent.
One boot was the right classification, there was some 'scrambling' over rocks and through vegetation, the rest mainly rocky/stony tracks with minor ascents and descents.
By Mrs Beddow on 26/10/2015
The travel arrangements were good. The information supplied for the walks and local places of interest was very good. The directions to the hotel were clear.
The hotel was in a lovely location and it was family run. It was very clean. There was no bar and no refreshment facilities in the form of a bar or restaurant available during the day, but if asked for specific items, staff would provide drinks and snacks and it was possible for guests to make their own hot drinks at any time.
The dinner menu was varied and the standard of food in the restaurant in the evening was excellent.
By Ms Bevan on 26/10/2015
A busy holiday but a great introduction to Tuscany and the Cinque Terra. The mixture of sightseeing and walking was what I wanted and left me feeling I'd like to return to see more of the region in the future. We were a full group of 8 from diverse backgrounds and locations but we gelled well. Much of the success of our trip was due to our guide Elisabetta, who was wonderful throughout - from her excellent driving skills to the endless humour and patience she showed guiding us through menus and sharing her invaluable local knowledge! Our official city guides in Florence and Siena were also excellent and gave us interesting and thorough introductions to their cities.
By Mrs Copeland on 22/10/2015
Excellent our escort Elizbetta was wonderful she made our holiday helpful witty charming
By Mr Bell on 21/10/2015
A lovely rural part of northern Italy with a number of quiet country roads, largely traffic free, to enjoy. The relative closeness of Vicenza and Padua gives the opportunity also to experience a number of cultural and architectural delights. Add to this the wonderful food prepared at The L'Albara Agriturismo and this is a holiday to savour.
By Ms Vipond on 21/10/2015
Beautiful cycling! Great route and some excellent hotels.
By Mrs Griffiths-pear on 21/10/2015
A good holiday with great scenery and enjoyable walks. A notable absence of birds in the Zingaro Nature Reserve (October) but the vegetation was still very green, despite the heat .
By Mr Tonner on 20/10/2015
Transfers were seamless - friendly drivers and always on time. Good variety of locations and hotels. We feel that we saw most of the Amalfi and Sorrentine peninsular because of the walks organised for us. And probably saw a lot of places normally not seen. We were a little disappointed that we were the only Headwater clients that week but it was apparently at the end of the holiday season. The weather although warm was unpredictable at times and we had one very wet day on which we had to abandon our walk halfway and catch a bus to our next hotel. The food arranged was varied and delicious. Sorrento was an ideal base from which to visit Capri and explore the historical sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum amongst others. We had an and extra couple of days at the Grand Capidimonte hotel which was in a good location to walk down to Sorrento and was the perfect place to end our holiday, it was excellent in every respect.
By Mrs Steggles on 20/10/2015
Overall we enjoyed our holiday - it was an extremely peaceful location and the service at the hotel was always excellent and friendly. We have a few suggestions for improvements, mostly on the food side. Breakfasts were a bit disappointing - few healthy options available and limited choice. The evening meals in the restaurant were of a high standard and again the service was excellent. The only slight downside from our perspective was that we thought there might have been a different fixed (market) menu every day instead of a standard restaurant menu which offered only limited daily specials (and not every day). Over the course of a week we found ourselves struggling for choice a bit and often had to repeat meals or ask the chef to omit certain ingredients (which they were happy to accommodate) to find something we liked. This is really only an issue if you are staying for a longer period or are less fond of a what was a predominantly meat-based menu.
I would also highly recommend upgrading the hire car as we had a very basic Fiat Panda with an underpowered engine which struggled on the numerous hills and hairpin bends - definitely worth considering an upgrade.
By Mr Powell on 20/10/2015
An excellent trip all round.
By Mrs Moseley on 20/10/2015
Lovely area, very peaceful with enjoyable walking. Great to visit Padua on our rest day. Added on a day and night in Venice at the end of the holiday which would highly recommend.
By Mr Witts on 19/10/2015
Interesting cycle tour with plenty to visit.
By Ms Olson-williams on 16/10/2015
By Mr Procter on 16/10/2015
We were well looked after in all aspects of the holiday, from the comprehensive introductory talk, which was both entertaining and full of useful bits of information, through the well-planned and comprehensive route notes, to the excellent accommodation and surroundings of the rides.
By Mr Sanderson on 16/10/2015
Most enjoyable holiday which was well organised. Hotels were just right for our requirements. Our minibus driver Nicola was superb - always on time and nothing was too much trouble.
Temperatures up to 39 degrees were a bit of a shock in mid September which meant some of the walks were very testing when there was a lack of shade.
By Mrs Compton on 16/10/2015
The Amalfi CoAst was beautiful and the walking challenging at times. There were a lot of steps on all of the walks. Our guide Lucia was extremely informative about everything and catered well with some who did struggle. Lucia was with us from breakfast all day and took the evening meal with the group.The coach drivers were very good, not fast and furious like most Italian drivers. Suggestions were given for our day off and a group of us went off to Heraculeum for the day by bus and train, a beautiful place to visit. The hotels were a very good standard with lovely views. The Bellavista had a busy road outside which was quiet at night, but the food was above standard and a wonderful choice every day. It was away from nearest village.The Hotel Garden had the best view and near to the centre of Ravello.
By Mrs Jones on 16/10/2015
It was a thoroughly enjoyable holiday. The walks were varied and beautiful, sometimes challenging, but we coped. It was especially nice to have a local guide with insider knowledge of the region. The food was authentic and delicious at the hotels, and Lucia took us to very good local delicatessens to buy sandwiches or to excellent restaurants at lunchtime. We especially enjoyed the international group of lovely people.
By Mrs Robertson on 15/10/2015
Easy to book and everything arranged well. Headwater always have interesting hotels in lovely locations. A guided holiday adds so many interesting features to the trip and no worries about getting lost !
By Mrs Harbottle on 12/10/2015
Pleasant cycling through mix of peaceful rural landscapes and historic coastal and plateau towns. Although experienced cycle tourists we found the cycling more tiring than expected due to the heat, even in early October, so were glad that the distances were relatively short. Puglian food lived up to its reputation and the local wines recommended by the rep were enjoyable. All the hotels had spacious and well equipped rooms - though we did benefit from an upgrade for the base hotel as the normal one was full. Detailed route notes a great relief after getting minimal and inaccurate ones last year with another company. Unplanned highlight was doing the 7km downhill run while road closed to cars as a proper cycle race came up.! Although not mentioned in the brochure, Monopoli is well connected to the rest of Italy by train, and the station is within walking distance (20 min) of hotel. So we negotiated a reduction in package cost as not needing a transfer to Bari, and made the cycling week the centre of an Italian / French train tour.
By Mr Cunningham on 12/10/2015
I reckon a good deal of planning and research has gone into preparing this holiday. It was a perfect balance of walking, sightseeing and doing what you wanted to do. It was also flexible enough to be able to change plans on one occasion to take in an unexpected, extra trip. Tuscany is my favourite holiday destination, so it would be difficult for me not to enjoy myself, but the incomparable Elisabetta Piseddu, our guide, took my enjoyment to another level. I really enjoyed her company. Among her many accomplishments - apart form managing a disparate gang of Aussies, Yanks and a lone Brit - was to knock up a classic vinaigrette salad dressing during one of our lunches that would have added Â£10 to a UK restaurant bill. And our immaculate guides in Sienna and Florence, whose names unforgivably I haven't noted, were passionate and entertaining. Always an attractive mixture. Passionate and entertaining. What more could I want? Grazie mille, Elisabetta.
By Ms Melliship on 12/10/2015
Our holiday was the perfect combination of supported and independent: you do have to be prepared to sort out a lot of things for yourself, which we really like. Yet, Sarah was always available if we needed help. The itinerary was thoughtful and had great variety every day. We got a lot of satisfaction from completing all the suggested walks. Our rest days were extremely busy days as there is lots to do in the region - we enjoyed the chance to have these days to explore and do something different.
By Mr Johnston on 09/10/2015
Good accommodation, clear instructions and good cycling. Met interesting people. Guides were very friendly and helpful.
By Mrs Williams on 08/10/2015
We had a wonderful stay in Hotel Acquaviva. The location is beautiful and the hotel is within reasonable walking distance of the nearest village, Montemerano, as well as the thermal springs and village at Saturnia. There are many other ancient villages and historical sites within 1 to 1.5 hours drive, along winding but un-busy roads. The coast is well worth a visit, as is the truly beautiful city of Orvieto. Our holiday was a wonderful introduction to the beauty of Southern Tuscany.
By Mr Richens on 08/10/2015
Great holiday. Everything just worked. Reps were helpful and knowledgable. Hotels and food were amazing. Cycling up the hills was hard work but all worth it when you reached the view at the top.
By Mr Clark on 08/10/2015
We greatly enjoyed our holiday and got to experience a wonderful part of Sicily, including the beautiful Marettimo Island. The only problem we encountered was that for the first 4 days there was a strong Sirocco wind which meant that the Zingaro reserve was closed, so that we couldn't do the suggested walk on our first day. It would have been nice to have had an alternative offered to us either by your local agent or the hotel. We were also worried what would happen if the ferry back from Marettimo was cancelled (we weren't given any info on this, yet it seems to be a common occurrence) - but in the event this wasn't needed.
By Mrs Harris on 08/10/2015
Our walking holiday on the Amalfi coast was wonderful. Our guide Luigi knew the area incredibly well and his knowledge and expertise was central to our enjoyment of every walk. He paced the walks well and there was always enough time to enjoy lunch or a coffee on the way! The 2 hotels had wonderful views and the food each night was excellent as was the company in the group. Overall it was a a great way to see the area and very relaxing as everything was so well organised. We would certainly choose a similar holiday again.
By Mr Payne on 06/10/2015
Very good holiday overall, in a very interesting area. Route notes were at times inaccurate and ambiguous, which made the ride more like a treasure hunt!
All the hotels and accommodation were of a high standard and staff very friendly and helpful. Bikes were ok but not as good as the Headwater branded ones that we had in Burgundy last year. We would strongly recommend a Headwater holiday.
By Mr Duncan on 06/10/2015
Excellent holiday. Arrangements made by H.O. much appreciated. Taxi company gave first class service.Agency used by Headwater should also be complimented.with special mention to Sarah who spent time & patience when meeting us at base hotel with our bikes etc.
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 Mr Broome on 30/09/2015
This holiday does 'what it says on the tin' - provides accomodation, meals & cycling with a rep available as required.
The accomodation was a bit too far out of town for my liking - once dinner was over at 9:30 - 10.00 there was not much else to do.
s a solo traveller, I had several days when there were no other guests to talk to, despite Headwater implying there was limited space avilable when I booked..
Finally, as a non-drinker, I was disappointed in the lack of alternative drinks at dinner: water or water.
Apart from these small gripes I had a great time and loved cycling in the countryside. The food at the accomodation was generally very good and certainly ample quantities.
By Mrs Dimond on 30/09/2015
A wonderful opportunity to have a 'safe adventure!'. Euganian Hills are a beautiful, unspoilt area to explore, the vineyards and olive groves were a delight, and the views amazing.
By Mrs Dietz on 29/09/2015
A delightful area for cycling, mostly great locations for hotels, overall an excellent holiday. Our only reservation is Torgiano, where the hotel was anonymous and the little town uninteresting and the Tourist Office useless in our queries about buses.
By Dr Foo on 29/09/2015
It was well organised, the reps were great and we had a great time. The hotels were terrific, very comfortable, a great selection.
By Mr Harris on 29/09/2015
Very well organised lovely places to visit !!!!
By Mrs Potts on 29/09/2015
Excellent walking , wonderful food and welcoming host
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 Walker on 29/09/2015
Superb - staff & food at Hotel unsurpassable. Italian Maps not up to OS Standard (no surprise there!). You should have noted the new (2014) skilift available to take walkers down from Klammbachhutte (or a 20 min walk from Klammbachhutte) saving 4km of descent out of 5.6km.
Mountain Hut food was way higher in standard than we expected
By Dr Emerson on 29/09/2015
Headwater Holidays always provide excellent care and services, and value for money vacaions is well chosen resorts and hotels. The only thing left to chance is the weather.
By Dr Cullen on 25/09/2015
Really enjoyable, few small comments, maps were hard to read, water bottles ideally insulated, stands of bikes needed, lovely holiday, expensive especially because of euro/sterling exchange
By Mrs Green on 25/09/2015
This was a wonderful holiday. We have done a number of cycling holidays in Italy with different tour operators and this was by far and away the best. Such beautiful landscape, food and wine and so un touristy. We didn't meet a single Brit. The hotels were simply fabulous and Headwater organisation faultless. We are a 70 and 65 year old who for various reasons had not managed do as much cycling this summer as we had intended and the cycling was challenging but we managed it. Hills meant wonderful views at every turn and then a downhill glide, and most hills were very manageable in lowest gear, slow steady pedalling and plenty of stops to admire the views. The distances aren't huge so you can afford to take your time, and with 2 nights at every hotel, you can break up the cycling with a rest day. We enjoyed this aspect, especially as the hotels were so lovely, and it was nice not to be re packing the suitcase each morning. We will definitely choose Headwater again, but this holiday has spoilt me and I shall be looking for another gastronomic trip!!!
By Mr Murison on 25/09/2015
The undiscovered Tuscany walks were very enjoyable and the Locanda Senio in Palazzuolo was superb with a wonderful atmosphere created by Ercole and superb food created by Roberta. We'd love to return!
By Mr Bowie on 25/09/2015
Excellent with wide range of walks accurately described and graded. Very good hotel with delicious food and very helpful staff.
By Mr Black on 24/09/2015
well organised travel. route descriptions were accurate and easy to follow. beautiful scenery and well away from the crowds
By Mr McGinn on 23/09/2015
This is our 7th cycling holiday with Headwater and once again we have had a really enjoyable holiday.
By Ms Butterworth on 23/09/2015
Excellent, wonderful area and wildlife. Archaeology and geology easy to see and museums excellent. We hope to go agin to see the spring flowers.
By Dr Ruscoe on 22/09/2015
Puglia is a great destination for a cycling holiday. Hotels were welcoming, helpful and of good standard.But you definitely need better arrangements for route checking/updating and translation of self-guiding instructions, which misrepresented a number of key instructions, resuling in errors and distress. You continue to give paper instructions which don't fit the holders. Other companies provide mileometers and satnavigation
By Mrs Charlett on 22/09/2015
Well planned holidays which offer something different to the traveller who wants to experience the country in more detail.
By Mr Masters on 22/09/2015
Beautiful area with well chosen hotels that have excellent cuisine and wines. The Italian signposting system for footpaths is not consistently good, so walkers need to be alert.
By Mr Banham on 22/09/2015
We thoroughly enjoyed our holiday, albeit the weather was a little disappointing. The accommodation was excellent, and the food outstanding. We did not feel that the walking route instructions were as clear or as accurate as those on our 2 previous holidays with Headwater, but no harm done! Would definitely recommend to like minded friends.
By Mrs Tremayne-smith on 22/09/2015
It was the first time for us with Headwater so we were slightly apprehensive but everything was excellent but mostly the choice of hotel. We are now looking forward to our next Headwater holiday to Gozo which is already booked.
By Mr Unsworth on 21/09/2015
A good holiday we both enjoyed. The hotels were in great locations, most with fantastic balcony views. Transfer between hotels was prompt in clean modern vehicles. The walks came with good route plans, occasional misleading directions, but no great dramas. Went through some fantastic small villages and great views, especially the walk of the gods.
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 Mr MacMillan on 21/09/2015
Lovely cycling trip, local agents, hotels and bikes were very good. The Trulli hotel was interesting, but dark and lacking in facilities.
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 Fisher on 21/09/2015
You enabled us to visit a part of Sicily we could not have done on our own. The area was beautiful, the walks good and we enjoyed the company of fellow travellers. Thank you
By Ms Best on 21/09/2015
The trip was very enjoyable, and was made more so because of out great guide. Luigi was helpful, knowledgable, well informed, and good company. The walking was interesting and varied, and, although the group had a range of abilities, it worked out well. It would be good to have some free time at Pompeii - I heard this mentioned by several people in the group. The food in the 2 hotels varied in that the evening meals in Ravello were excellent, but the breakfasts weren't great. The staff there were very helpful. The breakfasts at Massa Lubrense were really good, but the evening meals weren't good, and were sometimes almost inedible because they were so salty. Some of the staff were very unhelpful also.
By Mr Harrison on 21/09/2015
Undiscovered Tuscany, was as it says, undiscovered and unspoilt. The walks each day showed a different aspect of the local hills and valleys of this region. The food and wine were unbeatable. The hospitality of the hotelier Ercole and staff was excellent.
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 Knight on 18/09/2015
Wonderful range of walks. Alberto was the best guide we have ever encountered in our many walking holidays. His knowledge of the history, geology, flora and fauna of Sardinia was extremely wide and very well presented. He was very kind, friendly, efficient, sensitive to our needs and flexible in adapting the itinerary to best meet the weather conditions. We cannot praise him too highly.
By Mrs Geddes on 18/09/2015
Excellent holiday. The holiday representatives are a credit to the company. We would certainly book another holiday with Headwater!
By Mrs Beard on 18/09/2015
Excellent experience - very well organised and delivered. All the walking notes were accurate and easy to follow. The hotel is ideally located to access a wide range of excellent and beautiful walks
By Mr Hancock on 17/09/2015
The Italians could be encouraged to look after their surroundings better .The amount of rubbish by the sides of the roads is awful .It's such a shame and detracts from the unspoilt countryside.The historic centres of the town's are really interesting and not crowded.
By Ms Friswell on 17/09/2015
Had a great holiday overall with good food and interesting walks. Loved the visit to Pompeii. Very much enoyed our stay at the first hotel, although found the second one too noisy as our bedroom was on the ground floor and had a busy road directly in front of the hotel. My experience with a guide (my first holiday with Headwater was self guided) was excellent. Luigi was full of really interesting information about an area he clearly loves. He was helpful, considerate and with a great sense of humour. He made every walk into something special and cant recommend him highly enough.
By Mr Brooks on 16/09/2015
An Italian adventure. Excellent bikes, fabulous food. Sometimes the instructions were a challenge but generally ok. Accommodation was varied which added to the overall experience, The Masseria Salamina was exceptional. Our rep Dave was a joy .
By Mrs Hollis on 16/09/2015
An excellent week in Sardinia. Our guide, Alberta was responsible for making the holiday so memorable with his fantastic knowledge of the history, geology, plants and animals of this beautiful island. He has a lovely manner and was greatly liked by the group. I was disappointed initially that the group was so small, being only five but we all got on well so it became a luxury with plenty of space in the vehicle and a very personal service. The boat trip on our free day was exciting and showed us the magnificent coastline and caves.
By Mrs Bullock on 16/09/2015
This was our first experience of an activity holiday and none of us are experienced cyclists so we chose a grade one single centre holiday, whilst a little apprehensive after a hefty breakfast and a briefing from our excellent rep Sarah we set off on our first ride. The cycling was well graded and the route description very easy to follow, we did not get lost or go wrong at all during our weeks stay, best of all we were able to go at our own pace and explore some lovely countryside. Returning to our accommodation we were able to share experiences with the other groups over a glass or two of the local wines. We never thought we would find a cycling holiday relaxing but have returned home very chilled and despite the exercise about 5lbs heavier than when we started, which is a testament to the quality and quantity of the food. Thank you to all.
By Mrs George on 16/09/2015
This was our 5th Headwater holiday. We like the attention to detail and the fact that we can rely on the equipment and the rep. We feel we are in good hands and that we can be sure of everything running smoothly. We enjoy meeting other Headwater customers.
(I have put myself in the 'over 64' bracket, but my son now age 31 has been coming on these holidays with me since he was in his teens, and continues to enjoy them)
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 Mrs Smyth on 15/09/2015
Alberto - our guide was fantastic - knowledgeable - kind - patient - fun - punctual - and always smiling ! The highlight of our trip. Not to mention his delicious picnics !
By Mis Davis on 15/09/2015
Brilliant all we wanted
By Mrs Harris on 15/09/2015
We usually travel independently but found that Headwater offered a hotel package more cheaply than we could buy ourselves and there was the additional benefit of the route notes which were excellent. My husband is the navigator of our team, but having tried Headwater, if I ever needed to travel on my own, I would be confident about using their notes and routes which were exceptional. We went to the Dolomites and had superb weather which made for a stunning holiday with plenty of walks to choose from. I would certainly use Headwater again.
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 Mrs Tait on 14/09/2015
Excellent except for Marco Polo, slightly long transfer. The area was beautiful walking very good for all abilities.
By Mrs McDonagh on 10/09/2015
difficult to fault,made by extreme helpfulness from local agent,Liberata
By Mr Varley on 09/09/2015
The Park Bellevue hotel was an excellent walking and cycling base in terms of its location, the options available and the standard and service of the hotel and its team. The local bus and rail transport and connections were frequent and very reliable and the provided Mobil card was fully utilised. The walks suggested in the holiday pack provided ample options for all abilities and the enclosed maps coupled with the standard of signing in the Dolomites showed there was much more to try if needed. A great holiday, helped by wall to wall sunshine for the first 4 days!
By Mr Fraser on 08/09/2015
Excellent holiday; fantastic hotel - which would it seems would be hard to book into directly (unless doing so a couple of years ahead). Used Headwater 3 times now which I would not have done if I did not regard them as a good company.
By Ms Read on 04/09/2015
Really enjoyed the location, and the food etc at Locando Senio.
We very much appreciated the catering for our strict vegetarian diet. They took it very seriously and offered a good range of veggie food.
Walking notes were good, and it was a pleasure to relax into the whole few days of walking with confidence in the notes.
Liked hotel touring very much. Clean and very central to Bologna. Helpful staff.
By Mr Collins on 03/09/2015
Dolomites and Venice were spectacular
By Mr Quick on 02/09/2015
Our most scenic Headwater cycling holiday to date and well worth the physical effort!
By Mrs Hoile on 01/09/2015
A great place to tour on cycles, local people and hospitality are excellent
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 Walker on 19/08/2015
A fantastic holiday in a beautiful area of Italy. So great to look forward to a refreshing swim in the hotel pool at the end of each day's walking, and feeling we have earned our glass of Prosecco and delicious meal. Always lovely to receive a warm welcome at the hotels and find our room and luggage ready and waiting for us.
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 Mr Frew on 17/08/2015
Great Holiday. Some amazing Italian meals.
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 Taverner on 17/08/2015
Lovely location with excellent walks. Plenty of shade so, although 35 degrees in the first week of August, not too hot to walk (just). Not at all touristy ðŸ˜„Breakfast was a bit of a let down but the evening (all vegetarian) meals were very nice.... although my husband was craving a burger by the middle of the week! No courses were repeated during the week and the food freshly prepared and well presented. We enjoyed the pasta making demonstration. Do check your bill on leaving - an extra bottle of wine had mysteriously appeared on ours.
By Ms Halliday on 13/08/2015
Very relaxing holiday. Loved Maremma, interesting and varied walks, stunning unspoilt locations. Villa Aqua Viva was set in beautiful gardens surrounded by picturesque countryside, elegantly furnished and impeccably clean. Wonderful views from the swimming pool and the restaraunt. Staff were friendly and helpful. Was a little disappointed by the food. Some dishes were delicious but others were poor. Shower cubicle in deluxe room was tiny and the other room, although comfortable, did not meet the advertised deluxe criteria. 5 hour delay and missing connection marred return journey. Treated poorly by BA staff at Rome airport, lots of queuing and no information about where we would spend the night or new flight times. When we arrived at Heathrow, BA staff there had booked us into a hotel and booked new flights but there was no consultation about flight times. We arrived home very tired as we did not get to hotel until 12.45 am and were up again at 5.45 am to get an early connecting flight.
By Mr Jenkinson on 13/08/2015
We have enjoyed many Headwater holidays. However, we have to say that the welcome and advice provided by the representative was the poorest we have experienced. Little guidance on where to buy provisions, drinks, snacks en route, had no knowledge of the likely impact of a public holiday, provided little or no advice on places of interest en route. No wrap-up meeting at end of holiday, and no handover of bikes. We had one damaged bike stand and one lost key, but it was not possible to provide feedback.
By Mr Howarth on 13/08/2015
Having taken 6 walking holidays through yourselves and Inntravel in the French Alps, Swiss Alps, Pyrenees and Dolomites, this holiday is the favourite of them all for both my wife and I.
This was a new region for us which offered a good variety of terrain and landscapes. The unexpectedness and beauty revealed as each walk progressed made this a gem of a holiday. Would definitely recommend whole heartedly.
By Mr Burke on 12/08/2015
Our location was excellent and we were well looked after but your currency pricing policy for Euro residents is unfair and uncompetitive. I estimate it doubled the cost of our holiday.
By Mrs Hart on 12/08/2015
We had a simply brilliant and superbly relaxing week at Locanda Senio. Everything about the hotel was faultless (great vegetarian food, friendly and helpful people, and a gorgeous location). It is perfectly possible to enjoy a break here without doing any serious walking and whether you want to hike 20km+ each day or just potter around the village and environs you should find something to suit!
The travel arrangements also worked seamlessly.
By Mrs MacEnri on 11/08/2015
We were a group of 9, who were made to feel most welcome. L'alhambra is in a beautiful setting, and the pool was most welcome after a hot days cycling. The evening meals were always delightful, using produce from the farm, breakfast was however a little un imaginative and we had to ask for eggs-which were then available every morning.
Sarah is very knowledgeable, whether your asking about pumping the tyres, local wine or the times of trains! She quickly found answers to our queries and made calls on our behalf. The wine tour and tasting at Catalunga was the highlight of the week- bigger saddle bags required!!
By Mr Biddlestone on 11/08/2015
It was our first cycling holiday and both of us enjoyed the experience. The pool was excellent, the bikes excellent, the weather superb, and our hosts Valfrido and Angelina, their daughter Romina and son Frederico certainly made us welcome. If circumstances allowed, for we are both skiers, i think we would certainly entertain repeating the holiday. As we never cycled after 2 pm, we both thought the pool was an essential requirement. As for the food and drink. I can certainly believe it all comes from the farm, as it tasted so fresh, but this means only wine and water are served with the evening meal. Finally the rep, Sarah was organised and helpfull.
By Mrs Seville on 11/08/2015
This was a fantastic holiday mixing activity through cycling with culture by visiting Vicenza, Padua and Venice. It is great if you want an authentic holiday experience getting the feel of a country independently by cycling along country lanes and canal banks undisturbed by traffic and stopping at local markets or cafes for lunch with the security of knowing that a comfortable bed and good food awaits you at the end of a day. You feel you have earned the glass of wine and the lovely food using fresh local ingredients . The hotels were all different but individual and whilst not needed it is good to know that there is a local rep on hand to sort out any problems. It was 10 years since our last headwater cycling holiday but we were pleased that we still easily coped with the cycling and this holiday was the best mix of scenery, cycle routes, hotels and food out of the other 4 I have had over a 25 year period. Thank you for a great time.
By Ms Hawking on 10/08/2015
An extremely positive experience, wonderful accommodation and cuisine, superb support from the rep, gorgeous rides offered suitable to our experience, great fun and relaxing holiday had by all!
By Mrs Young on 10/08/2015
An excellent holiday that exceeded our expectations in a fabulous mountainous environment. Accommodation was superb.
By Mr Wade on 05/08/2015
People see the phrase 'cycling holiday' as a contradiction in terms. However this type of holiday affords one the opportunity to see things that are impossible to see or even smell when one is in a car. The carefully thought out routes are a joy to follow as they are so incredibly safe , as well as being stunningly picturesque. The distances prescribed meant that a journey completed at your own leisurely pace enabled one to sample the local delights of the town or village later on in the day. The different types of accommodation is one of the beauties of the holiday. Needless to say I can hand on heart swear that the meals in each of the venues where exquisitely delicious. To finish off I can point to the holiday experience of my wife as evidence of the sheer pleasure of the cycling component. She is reasonably fit but does not cycle at home. She was worried before we went about the distances to be covered and the fear of saddle soreness. Our friends were apprehensive for her as they know that I cycle regularly but my wife does not at all. After six days cycling through beautiful Italian countryside under unremittingly clear blue skies, covering about 350 km, my wife turned to me and said, 'I am going to miss cycling when I return to England.' This is a brilliant concept and I can honestly say that this was one of the most relaxing and interesting holidays that I have ever experienced. Thank you.
By Mr Thomas on 03/08/2015
We were a family group of four. Mum ,Dad and two grown up children, son aged 27 and daughter aged 30. We had a really enjoyable trip, exploring all the towns and villages along the route. We really enjoyed a totally relaxing and stay put day at the Grand Relais Laurenti. We had the place to ourselves! Wonderful setting, fantastic views. The 'city centre' Hotel Al Grappolo was our least favourite and it was not the sort of place that you would want to spend the entire day (like Grand Relais Laurenti). The food was excellent especially for vegetarians. Four courses was to much! And the wine was very good and very reasonably priced.
By Mr Clare on 03/08/2015
This was such a memorable holiday that we will always remember. The countryside is stunning and the walks allow you to take in some superb views of the hilltop villages and vines. Each hotel was excellent, with either amazing views at breakfast, or a welcoming pool or superb menus. The evening meals were an experience in themselves. We are not food buffs in any shape or form but I don't think we have ever eaten so well before in our lives. The walks can be challenging at times although in late July we were setting off with the temperature in the mid 20s which reached the mid to high 30s in the afternoon (take plenty of water bottles!). If you like walking, fine wine and superb food this is the holiday for you.
By Ms Toward on 30/07/2015
Enjoyed the holiday. Not many tourists in the area- good.
Quiet and relaxing. Very much left to your own devices.
By Mr Rogers on 29/07/2015
you get to some amazing places using well marked parks and good public transport one of the best walking experiences in Europe
By Mr Creighton on 27/07/2015
Easy cycling through flat but attractive countryside with the added advantage of being able to visit a number of larger towns (Ravenna, Ferrara and Bologna). Plenty of restaurant options in Ravenna but we would recommend Osteria dei Battibecchi for outdoor dining and regional cooking, just a short walk from the hotel. As the cycling is close to the Po delta, there are mosquitos, so make sure to take insect repellent.
By Dr Young on 27/07/2015
Booking was not entirely straight forward. I appreciate that we had different members of the party coming from different places - and indeed staying for different lengths of time -and with some dietary requests - but for me there is not the attention to detail that i would expect. I picked up several errors during the booking and invoicing procedures - that were just frustrating. Everything was eventually resolved but not without my going through every detail carefully. Unfortunately when one error arises one has to look even more closely at all the documentation- all of which was exceptionally time consuming.At all times I was dealt with politely, and am grateful for the written apology I received on this occasion .
However if one can push through this - your holidays are just superb.Recognising that we were fairly energetic, Sarah provided us with 2 extensions on the given routes which were just what some members needed. Also, a previous guest, had written an alternative route back on the visit to the lake. That was wonderful but certainly in the 2 to 3 cycle realm - but we loved it.- so there is room to offer this as a more than one cycle if wished.
The hotel pool was wonderful and much used in the very hot conditions! The family at the hotel could not have been more helpful and the atmosphere there was just lovely- marvellous to relax there after the cycling.
For future customers you may like to add that if you have an inordinate wait at venice station there is a great restaurant opposite called Soul Kitchen - who allowed us to sit for 2 and a half hours over a lovely easy meal.
By Dr Dewar on 22/07/2015
Great holiday - cycling was wonderful through a picture perfect valley; a few climbs to hill-top towns but views compensate enormously. Well chosen hotels. Only minor gripe was that two hotels had a full menu (one with minor 2 euro mark-up for some dishes), while two have a very fixed menu with 2 and 3 choices respectively. On return to Bastiglia we had the same menu which had rabbit which we don't eat (just a promise we made as we keep rabbits !). This would have been just OK but we stayed two more nights and had the same menu given to us. To be fair we negotiated a slight change although our starter was still based on parma ham each night. The hotel was lovely but it did make us feel like we were second class diners who couldn't afford the full menu, which I am sure is unintentional but the created effect. We nearly dined elsewhere on the last night to get some variety of choice but this is probably our fault for staying 4 nights here - wonderful hotel but wouldn't half board in future if stay extra nights.
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 Craik on 20/07/2015
We almost always travel independently and avoid package holidays. However, we wanted to do a cycling holiday and were attracted by the idea of being able to cycle from place to place with our luggage transported. Headwater did not let us down - we felt we had all the advantages of independent travel (getting off the well-worn tourist routes, meeting local people and eating regional food) yet had backup if we wanted or needed it. Our rep, Sarah, was outstanding, friendly and knowledgeable and generous with her time. Cycle routes were clear and had plenty of suggestions for detours to places of interest, or to make the day's trip more or less taxing. We liked all the places where we stayed - the two hotels were polished and comfortable, a lovely complement to the country cooking and warm family atmosphere of the two agritourismi.
By Mrs Priest on 16/07/2015
Elizebtta helps make Italy magical, she looks after you and helps you get the most out of your holiday. The places visited, the food and the people you meet are excellent.
By Mis Lloyd on 14/07/2015
This is an excellent and very relaxing holiday. The walks were well planned and very well led - picnics were wonderful! Unsurprisingly, in early July, it was hot but setting off early made the most of the cooler hours and enabled us to explore the towns and villages at leisure. Our guide, Salvitore, was really excellent - attentive, charming, efficient and knowledgeable.
By Mr Shread on 14/07/2015
Excellent holiday based in a perfect location for walking. Local transport facilities (bus/train) were first class
By Ms Andrychowska on 14/07/2015
Hotel staff excellent. Train noise bad in rooms.
By Mrs Gee on 13/07/2015
A great way to see and experience the parts of a country that other travel companies often don't reach.
By Pro Campbell on 13/07/2015
Walking in the Footsteps of St Francis was a gem of a walking holiday and we felt thoroughly refreshed by it . The walking was well paced and the guide notes excellent. The National Park was stunning with a variety of scenery and the two places we stayed in the park were absolutely gorgeous. Assisi was also a lovely city to visit. It was our first time holidaying with Headwater and we are already planning our next.
By Mr Wood on 13/07/2015
We like the freedom of walking independently with excellent meals at the end of the day and the convenience of the luggage being transported between hotels.
By Mrs Griffiths on 13/07/2015
Excellent from start to finish as usual!
By Mr Crockett on 13/07/2015
Super holiday, loved the area, and all the hotels. Our rep, Sarah, was absolutely wonderful. She found us a taxi at a good price, she knew all about the area, the bag transfer was done most efficiently, what a lovely lady. She even recognised that we felt more comfortable eating as just a couple, and not in a larger group, and without us asking she organised a table for just us two. How perceptive!! Thank you Sarah.
By Ms Allison on 10/07/2015
I feel that the room we were offered was definitely not delux. We paid an extra Â£54 per night for a room that I would struggle to call standard. You could hardly move in the shower as the cubicle was so small. We took a cross country skiing holiday with Headwater a couple of years ago in Dobbiaco and the room we had was far superior and we had no extra money to pay. I was really disappointed. The hotel we stayed at was in an amazing setting. The food was good but I am vegetarian and had to have the same thing 3 times as there aren't that many alternatives.
By Mr Lewis on 08/07/2015
A beautiful but very popular and busy part of Italy. Seeing it by means of a walking holiday is an excellent way of minimising the experience of crowds and seeing parts that most tourists do not see. Many of the views are spectacular and some of the foot paths are not to be missed. The end of June is a hot time and walkers need to be able to cope with that. All of the hotels provided typically friendly Italian service.
By Mr Ford on 08/07/2015
Footsteps of St Francis (Self-Guided)
This was our first holiday with Headwater having previously used other well-known leading walking tours companies.
We couldnâ€™t fault the organization of Headwater both in the UK and the local rep Vlad. The walk notes were clear and precise without being to wordy. The amendment that Vlad recommended for the last day following the Roman Aqueduct was superb and good finish to the walking programme
The hotels were excellent the only slight downside was the Assisi hotel La Terraza where it was a 1Km outside of the town, the food there was good but certainly not up to the same standards as the other 3 hotels.
La Tavola dei Cavali at Satriano was an absolute delight it was welcoming, peaceful and gave us a most relaxing stay. the only noise was the sound of bees and birds.
Le Silve di Armenzano was also a delight with a most welcoming drink of cold water immediately on arrival after a very hot day of walking, a wonderful location to watch the setting sun whilst having dinner
La Bastiglia at Spello our hotel for the start and finish nights met the same standard as the previous two hotels with wonderful views from the Terrace.
We are already looking at other possible Headwater Holidays
Mike & Jean Ford
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 Mr Johnston on 07/07/2015
Excellent holiday. All arrangements worked well except initial briefing - see below. Local transfers were excellent.
By Mrs Richardson on 07/07/2015
It was unfortunate that, having made the booking for this holiday, when the maps and walking guides were forwarded to us, they had been incorrectly copied so that every even page was missing. It took a couple of phone calls to sort this out. Also took a bit of time to clarify travel arrangements to and from the airport. This made us feel a little vulnerable though, actually, the arrangements were absolutely spot on - all the taxis arrived on time and were of a very high standard. The representatives in Italy were exceptionally charming and helpful.
The description of the walks was a little misleading as some sections involved quite a lot of climbing and, in one case, scrambling down a rather precipitous, overgrown gully with loose rocks and stones presenting quite a challenge. The evening meal at the Capodimonte was dire, especially in comparison with the Punta Campanella, which was absolutely lovely. Breakfasts at the Casa Albertina were poor and I have marked the location as 'poor' because I thought it was harsh to expect your customers to climb all those steps to he hotel after the most challenging walk of the holiday involving, potentially, the descent of 1,000 steps through Positana at its conclusion.
You will note, however, that I would book with your company again, and am considering the cycle ride along the Danube for our next adventure! Your staff in the UK are, without exception, very charming. It was unfortunate that our walking guides were not complete at the outset but it was a wonderful holiday so thanks to everyone involved.
By Dr Patel on 07/07/2015
A tranquil location with panoramic scenery in the heart of rural Tuscany that is an excellent hub for some beautiful hikes. Deserted trails and an opportunity to walk back in time along Etruscan trails, vie cave, tombs and grottos. The hedgerows and fields are abundant with wild flowers under clear blue skies. Vivid images of the familiar profile of hilltop hamlets with their red tiles and iconic church towers and valleys green with vines and Cyprus trees will provide happy memories for years to come.
By Mr Lumsden on 07/07/2015
It seems that overall the employees and agents of Headwater have forgotten who is the guest and who is the host
By Mrs Allen on 07/07/2015
A really enjoyable holiday,in a beautiful area. Take note of the weather forecast in the Veneto - it seems it is often stormy in June. Great cycling but take your own saddle - I have a ladies saddle on my own bike and I never made friends with the one on the bike that was supplied, which, despite being a gel saddle was a generic one rather than a saddle for a women. The bike itself was excellent apart from the saddle problem. Another warning is take high strength anti-mosquito solution, I was bitten badly even though I was using what I thought was a good quality solution - I bought some high strength from the local supermarket and that worked well but I had to make sure I put it on every exposed bit!!
By Mr Hutton on 07/07/2015
This is an excellent hikers holiday with well described routes and terrific scenery. On return the hotel and its chef is first class in providing the ideal evening.
By Ms Hopkins on 03/07/2015
It was a brilliant holiday - everything was well organised and went according to plan. The scenery was superb, the walks were more challenging than expected because of the extremely hot weather (38F one day!) but loads of shade and wonderful views helped us through. Our local rep was brilliant and there was more than enough information from Headwater for us to find interesting things to do on our rest days. All the accommodation was good but Villa Lussana was a holiday highlight. Thoroughly memorable. Thank you!
By Mr Murray on 03/07/2015
A really relaxing and enjoyable holiday giving us the opportunity to visit some lovely areas of Italy.
The Headwater representative was well informed and really helpful allowing us to enjoy our holiday to the full.
By Mrs Duncan on 02/07/2015
Welcome at La Macchia by the older couple felt off hand. Staff, however, were helpful and appeared over worked in the dining room. Food was good at Grapolo d pro but service was slow and we left before being offered a last course. Cycle routes good and notes clear Only got lost once.
By Mrs Aitken on 02/07/2015
We walked through a beautiful quiet unknown part of Italy meeting friendly people in small hotels and rural towns and felt welcomed everywhere.
By Dr Cobner on 02/07/2015
The walking and travelling around the Dolomites was excellent. Unfortunately neither hotel was situated in a quiet location and mosy
y nights we were disturbed. In Toblach there were open air rock music festivals opposite the hotel on the first two nights and on the third night the railway company decided to carry out maintenance till 5am outside our room. We also had two days of gunfire from the nearby military firing range. The hotel room and service/food were,however, excellent.
Our room in Venice was situated overlooking the alleyway leading to the hotel. This was full of people all night and we did not get much sleep. The room itself was very comfortable and the staff very helpful.
By Mrs Hayward on 02/07/2015
Easy to use and inviting
By Dr May on 30/06/2015
Great food and accommodation. Tough cycling but scenic. Thoroughly enjoyable.
By Mr Price on 30/06/2015
Excellent walking area with a wide variety of routes. We made great use of the local travel card included in our holiday which allowed us unlimited travel on both buses and trains anywhere throughout the Bolzano province.
By Mr Kendrick on 30/06/2015
Very good indeed. Great location; walks sufficiently (but not too) challenging. Great food. Sometimes bus service arrangements to walk start end points a bit fiddly (we were put off from one of them by this). Easyjet baggage drop and general service at Venice airport (as distinct from the flights themselves which were fine) very poor.
By Mrs Alsop on 29/06/2015
It is an excellent format - two nights in each place is just right and the distances and terrain were sufficiently challenging for us to feel we deserved the increasingly good food as we progressed through the walk.
By Mr Buckenham on 29/06/2015
I seem to have ticked 'excellent' just about every question; the reason being that we have rated this holiday amongst the best FIVE we have done in the last 18 or so years. The description 'Gastronomic Walk' just does not do the holiday justice....'MICHELIN' should be added!
By Mrs Mollett on 24/06/2015
The welcome briefing was far too long, we expected it to last for about 15 minutes and it went for over 2 hours. We could have read the notes ourselves, rather than having the rep read them to us. The route notes were excellent and easy to follow. Puglia is a varied part of Italy, some parts are stunningly beautiful, other bits less picturesque. Alberobello has been spoilt by the number of tourists and souvenir shops, we would have preferred to stay in Locorotondo, which is a far more beautiful town without the hoards of cruise ship tourists, although staying in a Trullo was a great experience. The people of Puglia that we came in contact with were incredibly friendly, helpful and kind, and the food and wine were amazing. All in all it was a good cycling holiday with lots to see and varied cycling.
By Mr Lamb on 24/06/2015
The day after we got back we were on the Headwater website looking for another cycling holiday with you! This was our first time travelling with Headwater, and going on such a cycling holiday, and we were extremely impressed with the organisation and arrangements, the detail and accuracy of the cycling routes and itineraries and all the hotels. We had a fantastic time!
By Mr Denton on 24/06/2015
A first class package in terms of organisation, accommodation and quality of food. The cycling was a challenge in that the temperatures were in the mid thirties and the route notes could be improved.
By Mrs Chessum on 24/06/2015
We had a very good time. It was a lovely holiday marred only by the directions being a little bit unreliable.
By Mr Shaw on 24/06/2015
This was our first visit to Sicily and we thought the Secrets of Sicily programme gave a fantastic introduction to the relatively unknown northwest of the island. We very much appreciated the inclusion of visits to Segesta and Erice en route to our second and third destinations.The great highlight was the walk, on the final full day, around Monte Cofano.
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 Mr Barraclough on 23/06/2015
Marvellous scenery, excellent hotel, notes and route signing very good.
By Mr Berzak on 23/06/2015
Excellent location and region for walking. Maps and route notes provided were really useful and accurate. Hotel was comfortable and clean with excellent food and a good wellness area which was not used at all by other guests at the time we were there. This was a bonus for us. As we were early in the season, suggested walks were not crowded but we are sure at peak times things could be different. Overall we had a great holiday and will use Headwater again for another similar trip.
By Mr Quinn on 22/06/2015
It was our first cycling holiday - we both really enjoyed it. Just the right amount of cycling. The suggestions of what to do on the non cycling days were very helpful. Unfortunately we got lost in Potigano - maybe you should recheck the route notes for leaving the old town. One of the highlights of our holiday was a boat trip on the final day on the Yasemin Sultan.
By Mr Blades on 22/06/2015
A well chosen route with easy cycling
By Mis Riley on 22/06/2015
We decided not to do the guided walk up Stromboli as we didn't feel we were fit enough to cope with the steepness, the ground conditions and the dark and it wouldn't be fair on the guide or other tourists. I felt this could be an excursion which could be optional as we couldn't really decide until we got there and saw the conditions. We did book an evening boat trip round the island instead, but this got cancelled because of the weather conditions. None of this spoiled our holiday - we just spent a day relaxing instead. The guide walk up Etna was fantastic and we felt quite proud that accomplished it without mishap and that we were probably the oldest couple in the group. Our guide, Salvo, was brilliant - please mention him in any correspondence.
The transportation from place to place was excellent as were the hotels. We didn't actually stay in Hotel Rocce Azzure but in their sister hotel nearby which was beautiful. Thank you Headwater for another wonderful holiday.
By Mrs Roberts on 22/06/2015
The holiday was well organised and gave us what was promised in the brochure. When we did run into problems ( minor and not the fault of Headwater) they were sorted out with the minimum of fuss and delay ( eg puncture as above and then BA cancelled our flight home from Rome with 48 hours notice! We contacted Vlad in resort and he immediately contacted Michelle Roberts in UK who sorted out alternative flight for us. Without such prompt and efficient service we would have had an anxious and stressful 2 days- not what you want on holiday!
The hotels were great- obviously hand picked- lovely rooms ,pools , food - everything. The routes were great although on occasion the notes were unclear. Also as one person wrote in the blue book- Italy- wonderful country- shame about the maps!! But a great holiday and only minor nit picks!
By Mr Bryant on 18/06/2015
Great holiday very much as described, good hotel, great food, nice walks.
By Mr Carter on 17/06/2015
This was our first holiday of this type and was not sure what to expect, the route notes given were easy to follow we were collected on time at airports/ train stations /hotels. The agents were excellent with a full briefing one in person and one over the phone and both came back to me with requests that I made for additional information.
The accommodation throughout the holiday was of a very high standard, all very clean and with excellent quality of food.
Well done Headwater we will have no problems in booking through you again.
Nick & Sue Carter
By Mrs Jenner on 17/06/2015
We enjoyed the walking, loved the hotel in Amalfi which was exclusive and liked the hotel in Positano.
However we were the only English amongst a large tour party of Germans in Marina del Cantone and the Hotel Capodimonte was ghastly, appalling, dreadful and full of low cost package holiday tourists and the dinner in the evening at the hotel made me feel closer to my grave.
By Mrs Blay on 17/06/2015
Very enjoyable. You don't feel that you are part of a crowd but have the reassurance of the back up provided by a local representative, if required.
The routes were well put together but you need to be reasonably fit before you go.
Although you are travelling to a warmer country you need to be prepared. We had one very wet day and would have been lost without decent waterproof tops and trousers..
By Mrs Shann on 17/06/2015
The cycling was more challenging than expected from the description mainly because of the many climbs involved. One of our party struggled with this, the fitter members of the party found it hard at times but more manageable
Puglia is a lovely uncommercial area of Italy and I would like to visit it again. The people are very friendly and helpful.
The bikes are very good but would benefit from the water bottles more easily accessible instead of having to be stored in the panniers. This is not allowed because of some ridiculous health and safety rule. There is a worry that you will try and drink from your water bottle when cycling.
By Mrs Greenwood on 17/06/2015
Accommodation and transfer/transport arrangements were good and enjoyed. We thought a Grading of 2 would be more appropriate ; the first two days were difficult. However the route directions were disappointing and in one place wrong. Although the directions were recently revised, I suggest they are reviewed, in particular:
Page 9: the ERG petrol station has been replaced by a building site. On the same page, the 2 electric poles are on a right turn and the Via Marascelli sign is not there. The directions in and out of Noci were confusing and need clarity, probably by removing choice of routes around the town.
Page 28. Conchia to monopoli at the junction with the give way sign , it should say turn left! At present no direction is given. There were other minor errors along the whole route but as you say, signs change !
By Mrs Phillips on 17/06/2015
Everything ran smoothly, with no problems with the transportation of luggage or airport pickup and drop off. The initial briefing by Davide was very thorough and informative. We found the route notes straightforward on the whole but there were a few inaccuracies. Hotels were of a good standard, but we were glad to have taken the option to upgrade, particularly at the Palazzo Indelli where our junior suite had a large terrace overlooking the lively piazza. Having outdoor space at the Trullo was also beneficial. Alberobello is interesting but very touristy and on the leisure day there, we opted to take the train to nearby Martina Franca, via Locorotundo and would recommend this. Italian trains are cheap and easy to use - just don't forget to validate your ticket before boarding! The cycling generally was perfectly manageable, although there was the odd challenging climb. On the last day, we chose to go our own way and followed the coastal route back to Monopoli, rather than go inland. This gave us an enjoyable but shorter ride, allowing us to enjoy the rest of the day in Monopoli.
By Mr Watt on 17/06/2015
This was our 13th holiday out of 15 with Headwater and the best yet! You are ahead of your competitors that we have tried.
The location of the trip was ideal.
By Mis Perry on 17/06/2015
A beautiful area unspoilt by development. Fabulous food and wine. Loved it.
By Mrs McRill on 17/06/2015
I have been travelling regularly with Headwater for many years. This holiday certainly came up to expectations and I can recommend it wholeheartedly, it was one of the best. Rachel and Peter (our reps) were extremely helpful, always positive and cheerful, a great bonus; the temperature was higher than we had expected for the first week in June, hovering around 30'C and we were able to shorten our walks thanks to their efforts. The hotels were very spacious and comfortable and the food and wine were excellent, truly a gastronomic feast, apart from one restaurant which didn't match the high standard set by the rest of this holiday. Overall this was a great holiday.
By Mrs Owen-jones on 17/06/2015
Beautiful area for walking and excellent food and wine.
By Mr Hobbs on 17/06/2015
The advertised holiday - gastronomic Barolo walk - sounded rather grand, but appealed as a special birthday present - a walk between nice restaurants in a pleasant part of the world with decent hotels in which to stay over. We were a little unsure about dress code and level of difficulty in the walks before we set off.
Upon being met by our tour guides, Peter and Rachel, we were soon reassured that the holiday would be informal and enjoyable. Our first hotel - Villa d'Amelia - was absolutely fantastic in every way starting with the welcome by the reception staff, the standard of the room and the facilities (including an outdoor heated pool, sauna and steam rooms). The restaurant was on another level - a Michelin 1 star - that delivered great food with special service with an emphasis on the customer as star of the show. This standard set the bar high for the rest of the holiday and our next port of call, after our first walking day, was in Grinzane Cavour staying for 2 nights at an excellent bed and breakfast with outstanding views and eating within the castle at another Michelin standard restaurant (although not yet awarded the coveted star); service here was brilliant - the chef and his wife ran the show with the help of 2 more serving staff and a kitchen brigade. At the end of an exquisite tasting menu with paired wines, the chef introduced himself to each table. His wife was charm itself and chatted and responded to our questions and comments throughout the 2 meals in a very engaging manner.
The rest of the holiday comprised 2 nights in Castiglione Falletto and 2 nights in Monforte d'Alba - both at excellent hotels in brilliant locations - and a final night returned to the Casa d'Ameila. Food could not generally compare with the first three nights, although the restaurant l'Argaj in Castiglione Falletto produced wonderful food in a setting looking out towards Barolo that would be hard to better.
Overall this was a brilliant holiday. The walking was just enough to make one ready for another (!) fine dining experience but not enough to be physically draining. Staying 2 nights in 3 of the locations proved to be a great idea - preventing the need to pack everything up every day and allowing time to appreciate the locality as well as giving an option for a circular walk or resting on the second day.
If you are reasonably fit and active and you like good wine and fine food then this would be a great holiday and my wife and I would thoroughly recommend it. Some of the walking instructions were ambiguous - resulting in a few additional miles being walked - and the terrain would be challenging underfoot in places if wet. We walked at the end of May and the heat on some days was strong; in July or August I can imagine walking being hard work and thirst inducing..
By Mis Monteith on 17/06/2015
Very enjoyable introduction to North West Sicily and the Egadi islands. Each location was full of character and accommodation was attractive and comfortable. Particularly enjoyed accommodation near San Vito where owner Daniela is a charming and very welcoming host and gave us a great introduction to Sicilian food. Beautiful views on the walks, especially in Zingaro nature reserve and on Marettimo. High temperature and very strong wind made walk around Monte Cofano a bit of an endurance walk at the end. However, lemon granitas in cafÃ© at the pick up point and paddle in sea helped recovery.
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 Mrs Main on 17/06/2015
This holiday took us to a lovely area that we'd never have known about if we'd not come across it through the Headwater website.We wondered how we'd cope with our first mobile holiday, but it all went so smoothly that we had no problems; rather, we found it interesting to stay in 6 very different hotels in 9 nights! Having read other comments and seen the weather forecast, we went prepared for all conditions. Yes, it rained a bit, but it was warm rain without wind - nothing like the Scottish variety and we were lent a giant Italian umbrella in Este for our visit to the market and the rest of this lovely wee town. Because of the Giro d'Italia our first [non walking] day was a bit disrupted but Sarah was able to drop us off in TÃ©olo to see the race [and it's vast entourage] go by. As my husband is a very keen cyclist who normally watches this on TV at home, this was a real treat and much appreciated. We also appreciated that one of her first acts on collecting us from Vicenza station was to offer us each a bottle of chilled water.
By Mr Raffay on 17/06/2015
The holiday exceeded our expectations. Our rep, Sarah, was extremely helpful and friendly. We enjoyed discovering this beautiful part of Italy.
By Mrs Iredale on 17/06/2015
I did enjoy the holiday as that particular area of Italy is very interesting also our guide Adrianne did his utmost to make it so. I felt it should be described more as a sightseeing holiday as the walking was not very challenging or exciting. I was disappointed that a lot of the walking was on minor roads rather than paths.
By Mrs Golds on 16/06/2015
An enjoyable and interesting holiday with gentle cycling through flat countryside and a friendly welcome from hotel staff and locals. The wonderful Renaissance cities provided an interesting dose of culture and added interest. The hotels were varied, from former palazzos to agriturismos and provided a flavour of the region offering good food with a variety of regional dishes .
By Dr Bungay on 15/06/2015
Wonderful countryside, good cycling, plenty to see and stop at, so the routes filled the days with lots of interest. It was 30oC in the first week of May, and would be best when temperature was 25ish, which is what we had hoped by booking an early holiday. I don't know how it could be enjoyable in August.
By Mr Price on 15/06/2015
A well planned and run cycle tour through a beautiful part of Italy with good accommodation.
By Ms Bernard on 15/06/2015
We were delighted to find Italian drivers more bike aware and patient than in the south of England, which made cycling a pleasure
By Mr Brown on 15/06/2015
Walking around Assisi there is great countryside with wonderful views in a very quiet area. Eating a picnic at about 1000m at Refugio Maddonna della Spella with great views all around was a wonderful reward for the strenuous walk to get there.
By Mr McLeod on 15/06/2015
Accommodation etc extremely good. Hilltop villages attractive although deserted.
The walking through vineyards does become a little repetitive, but last day walking through woods was more interesting.
By Mr Dunbar on 15/06/2015
Good holiday which did exactly as stated. Good food, good wines and walks mainly through vines. Lovely area and villages.
By Mr Masterman on 11/06/2015
This was a varied and fairly novel trip which took us up three volcanoes and introduced us to the delightful Aeolian islands. The only things that marred it were the delay at Milazzo (referred to above), the food at Hotel Giardino sul Mare - which reminded me of boarding school meals in the 1950s and simply wasn't good enough - and the fact that the Hotel del Corso in Taormina, whilst run by a delightful and helpful family, is in the Main Street and very noisy at night meaning we were frequently woken by late night revellers. We suggest you offer an upgrade at the Excelsior Hotel, which is in a superb position and not that much more expensive. And has a pool!
We also wish to point out that there is no need to be picked up at 8 am for the Etna trip as we then had to wait for one and a half hours at the Rifugio as the guided climb didn't leave until 10.30 - and,we were told, always has done. Your local reps did not appear to have any experience of our itinerary or of the Etna tour and were not really able to answer our questions satisfactorily.
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 Mrs Senior on 09/06/2015
All the arrangements worked well, the route guides were, with one or two minor wrinkles, very clear and accurate, the maps and information were good, the drivers always turned up on time. The hotel in Sorrento was very centrally placed and convenient for the train station and the ferry terminal, which was important to us.
By Mr Day on 09/06/2015
Well organised , enjoyable and healthy
By Mrs Carrington-bro on 09/06/2015
We had a wonderful week away, we enjoyed being able to sightsee in Assisi and then to escape into the beautiful countryside where we saw hardly any walkers and few cars. We thought that the 2 boot grading was accurate, there were some uphills that made us feel that we had deserved our dinner - there were only a couple of stretches of steepish downhill. This was our first self guided walking holiday and we found the notes and map provided excellent - we were glad that we took our rep's advice of an alternative route on the last day - going to Collapino and having lunch at the Taverna di Silvestro and then following the path of the Roman aqueduct back to Spello - a really good end to the walk. The scenery along all of the route was pretty but the last morning was spectacular with a wonderful panoramic view. The hotels were well chosen and we enjoyed the variety between them. La Terraza was not in the same league as the other 3, but the staff were very friendly and whilst the food was not 'gormet' it felt 'honest', we would have preferred to stay right in Assisi but appreciate the appeal of a swimming pool and also delivering suitcases to the middle of Assisi would probably pose a challenge for the Headwater rep. We dined extremely well at our other 3 hotels and particularly enjoyed our stay at Le Silve with its tranquil setting and lovely views. Our top tip for packed lunches is the Bottega dei Sapori in Assisi's main square where our sandwiches were made to order with delicious ingredients from the owner's farm. Our only regret was that we didn't have time to add on a day to the holiday and visit Perugia.
Ann and Nigel Carrington Brook
By Mr Bradburn on 09/06/2015
Fabulous combination of hard exercise, exploration, good food and wine.
By Mr Burton on 08/06/2015
Be aware of possible High wind disruption on Island
By Mr Duggleby on 05/06/2015
An excellent walking holiday in an undiscovered and little known part of Italy.The village of Palazzuolo is a delight and the hotel wonderful.Walks are fairly tough and you need to be prepared. Walking poles were essential.
By Mr Yellen on 03/06/2015
trouble free and relaxing
By Mr Robb on 03/06/2015
This was the fifth holiday for our group of eight people with Headwater - we just keep on returning! Might try Spain next year.
By Mr Dane on 29/05/2015
We were lucky with the weather. This area of Tuscany is a delight, unspoilt with hardly a tourist insight. The walks took us through some spectacular scenery and the route directions ( apart from those from the airport) were accurate and easy to follow.
By Mr Mellowsfacer on 29/05/2015
We all thoroughly enjoyed this well constructed, luxurious walking holiday. Piedmont is a stunning region with few tourists and the best food and wine we have ever tasted throughout Italy. The hotels, restaurants and walks selected exemplified the high quality of the area and overall was excellent value for money.
Thank you so much to Pete and Rachel - they couldn't do enough to make sure our holiday went smoothly and were so enthusiastic and friendly.
By Mr Sinclair on 29/05/2015
Headwater holiday was well organised using good hotels, a totally superb guide and lovely walking routes - couldn't really ask for better. We enjoyed the walking, the guide, the food and will certainly have another holiday with Headwater
By Ms Peevers on 29/05/2015
If you're a regular walker then this holiday is a lovely way to see a glorious coastline and visit Pompeii and Capri, all in 8 days but we never felt rushed. If you've never been on a walking holiday this would be an ideal first-time trip; good exercise but not strenuous and after your walk you can sit in a bar and enjoy a beer and that 'good tired' feeling. In Ravello and Massa Lubrense there are local buses which will take you back to your hotel if you've had enough for the day.
By Ms Sternshine on 29/05/2015
As ever, well organised, well thought out. Reps taking time to 'read' the group and provide appropriate guidance. If you like to walk , a great idea as you will always be shown routes/trails that you would be unlikely to find otherwise. No wasted time on the holiday planning the next day/days. Really good food.Other people in group friendly & convivial. Would suggest anyone considering this holiday should be sure they are happy to spend a lot of time walking up and down deep stepped inclines as this describes most of the terrain.
By Mr Lewis on 28/05/2015
Very good accommodation in interesting buildings; friendly people; interesting towns; remarkable ancient olive trees; some days are very hilly.
By Mr Wignall on 28/05/2015
Excellent and varied selection of Hotels , majority of routes on very quiet roads, lovely rolling scenery( very Tuscan ) Blessed with sunny warm weather .. The first cycling day for those who haven't cycled much prior to the holiday it could be a little challenging, however it is well worth it if only for the food welcome given by Antonio at the Agro Turismo at Bruca, what a treasure he is. Thereafter the cycling just gets easier each day. The location at Nubia is unique, with a stroll across the salt pans for the evening meal. If you don't do anything else at Nubia, take the cableway to Erice , best site of the holiday .
By Ms Teevan on 26/05/2015
Our guide, Angelo, really lived up to his name. He went more than the extra mile for us: organising picnic feasts which were inexpensive, and negotiating terrific and generous group meals at bargain prices with a huge range of antipasti. He is a wonderful standard setter for other guides. I particularly liked our stay in Matera which is fascinating. A swim in the Adriatic en route was a treat too and I found the archaeological site near Ostuni very interesting. Overall the walking on this holiday was just the right level for my expectations, as advertised, and the weather was good for walking, despite the forecasts.
By Mr Braide on 20/05/2015
Well organised trip, excellent guides and friendly group. Lots of interesting activities and enough space to go our own way from time to time.
By Mr Adler on 14/05/2015
Wonderful walks and spectacular views.
By Mr Gibson on 14/05/2015
Excellent guide volume of ,steps hard going . Appreciate hills have to be climbed but a variation of routes to the top where practical ... Luigi did try to address as best he could. Prefer not to have dinners in hotels every night ... would have been nice to sample local restaurants in that evening.
Second hotel was poor (food aside) . Broken mirror in the first room allocated . Broken shower head in the second, roof terrace grubby... bar not staffed..
beer warm . Out of town location by busy road was disappointing. Luigi made the holiday
By Mr Jones on 13/05/2015
This experience allowed us to see the delights of Puglia at our leisure. The route took us through the most beautiful countryside and was made perfect with the excellent food, wine and accommodation
By Ms Gillespie on 13/05/2015
Loved Puglia and everything about the region - scenery, cycle rides, food and especially the negro amaro wine we discovered. The accommodation was brilliant especially the Masseria although we did also really like the vibe of the main square in Monopoli.
There were just 3 slight disappointments
1. The spa at the Corte Altavilla in Conversano was all style over substance and was over-priced
2. The food at the Corte Altavilla was also slightly disappointing after our experience in Monopoli
3. The town and local maps provided by the local agent were utterly useless. Google was much better! They also didn't sometimes tally with the Headwater accurate directions
By Dr Padfield on 12/05/2015
Marvellous trip. Good that you arranged no rain and temperatures of 32 degrees
By Mr Toombs on 12/05/2015
Alberto was an outstandingly good guide, whose knowledge and enthusiasm added substantially to my enjoyment of this holiday. The picnic lunches that appeared from his rucksack were fantastic, and his concern form our well being and enjoyment genuine and appreciated.
By Mr Carson on 07/05/2015
Good with one serious caveat below
By Mr Jones on 05/05/2015
Very good holiday, lots to see and well guided. Good value for money and very companiable group of people on walks.
By Mrs Cullum on 29/04/2015
Headwater were very poor on administration I had to request both confirmation invoices and twice request travel documents which had to be courried to us 9 days before we left which was poor considering we had to book our seats with Easyjet.
The hotels were not as comfortable as they should have been as we were cold in them.
By Mr Allan on 29/04/2015
Puglia and Basilicata a truly inspiring choice. We were inspired by Andrew Graham-Dixon and Giorgio Locatelli in 'Italy Unpacked' and this holiday fully met our expectations...........though the food not always quite so great- needed more green vegetables! Our Guide was delightful and charming. We learned that living in a cave has draw backs - high humidity - but still worth staying in the Sassi ! We also loved walking around hill top towns.......delightful!
By Dr Goldberg on 25/04/2015
We have just had a wonderful week cycling in Puglia with Headwater. We would highly recommend going in late April/May as the countryside was covered in wild flowers and the weather was perfect for cycling at around 18C. The bikes were just right for the routes which are all on roads. Most roads are quiet but some were busier than I was expecting especially coming into the towns but the Italian drivers were surprisingly deferential and careful around cyclists. The hotels chosen by Headwater were all excellent. All the evening meals we had were delicious, both those provided and those we found ourselves. Not one disappointing lunch or dinner in the whole week! Some of the route instructions need clarification and personally I would have preferred them to be a bit shorter but overall an excellent weeks holiday. I'm sure we will be booking again with Headwater next year.
By Mrs Lay on 21/04/2015
The weather was unusually cold and very windy, and there was no heating in the Marettimo Residence, but a heater was supplied at Baglio la Luna. Even so, we sat in bed in the evenings in our fleeces to keep warm, playing scrabble.
After the final walk,which took less time than expected, no facilities were open in the village of Cornino (not even the public conveniences). When he arrived, our lovely taxi driver Nicola drove us straight to San Vito Lo Capo so we could find a coffee and a desperately-needed loo. Full marks to Nicola for help and service throughout the trip; he even carried our bags up to the 2nd floor B&B in Trapani. (The amazing emergency B&B was like being on a set in an episode of Inspector Montalbano - a surprise addition to the holiday.)
The walks were enjoyable, but some of the paths on Marettimo and at Monte Cofano had been eroded by water over the winter and consisted mainly of loose fallen rocks of random sizes. Sticks are very much needed, especially for descents.
There are many dogs wandering around in this area of Sicily; we were not attacked at all, and one followed us all day on our walk to the Semaforo. We could only reward him with a drink of water, poured into a plastic carrier bag, in a hole in the ground at the picnic site. However, the dogs leave poo everywhere, so you need to watch your step!
Dear Mrs Lay,
Thank you for taking the time to complete your post-holiday questionnaire and for your constructive feedback. 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.
Firstly, I was sorry to see the weather was unseasonable cooler than you had expected, although, despite the colder temperatures, we were happy to see this did not deter you from making the most of your holiday overall.
We were also pleased to see you found the walks enjoyable, and would like to thank you for your feedback regarding the winter erosion on a couple of the paths, this feedback has been passed on to our local agent, they are in the process of checking all of the routes, so will make this area a priority. We have also passed on your complimentary feedback regarding Nicola, our agent will ensure this is passed on, I am sure Nicola will be delighted to hear you appreciated his efforts.
Thank you also for your feedback regarding the local dogs. Whilst we appreciate, they did not cause you any bother, it would be useful to ascertain which area this occurred in, so we can report it to the local comune. (I will telephone you directly for this information).
In closing, we would like to thank you for choosing Headwater and look forward to welcoming you on another of our holidays in the future.
Headwater Customer Service team
By Mrs Jarvis on 20/04/2015
Despite initial concerns with hydrofoil sailing we had an excellent holiday. The highlights of which were the Stromboli evening walk and the Mount Etna walk too. On both of these walks our guides were knowledgeable and friendly. I am not keen on heights but the Stromboli walk is fine and very safe so please don't be put off by the warning in the brochure as I nearly was! I would also recommend doing the first Stromboli walk on the day you arrive as there is a bit of climbing and you may not want to do both on the same day if it is very hot, unless you are super fit of course! The Esso petrol station on Lipari no longer exists in the main harbour, it has been replaced by a tarmac triangle on which sits a pretty orange and white boat, the bus stop is opposite this. When we were in Taormina one of the paths up to Castelmola was also closed because the cliff face was being netted to make it safe, we had to retrace our steps and go via the road, not sure how long this will be the case though as there was a lot of netting in place already on our visit. it was however well worth the detour for the amazing views.
By Mr Trivedi on 17/04/2015
We loved this holiday. Dave provided comprehensive information on the routes and accommodation at our initial briefing, and could not have been more helpful. He also gave us lots of background information to help us make the most out of our holiday. Puglia is a beautiful area ideal for cycling, and the hotels (which were all excellent) all had very different characters, which added extra interest to the holiday.
By Mr Dent on 28/11/2014
Excellent hotels with 4 evenings enjoying a la carte Michelin one star dinners. Great food and wine throughout. Map directions adrift on a couple of occasions but overall ok.
By Mr Brock on 17/11/2014
Great holiday, brilliant walks, great food and superb way to increase your knowledge and taste of italian wines. Unfortunately the journey home (and originally before it was changed the outward journey) was a total pain. This left us both with a bad taste in our mouth and spoiled the overall holiday experience. When we were dragging our suitcases around Milan train station wandering where the airport was we were cursing Headwater. At this stage we had already been on the road for over 4 hours, 2 hours from hotel to Turin and 2 hours by train to Milan. When we eventually came across a coach that was going to Milan Malpaso Airport we had to fork out 20 Euros for another 1 hour 10 minute coach journey to the airport. Coach stops first at the terminal we dont want and everyone gets off. We dont speak Italian and have no idea whats going on, Luckily a helpful stranger told us to stay on coach. The irony of course is Headwater give you all these walking directions/cycling directions but leave you to guess your way home.
By Mis Devlin on 12/11/2014
It wasn't the relaxing biking holiday I was hoping for. Some parts were, but the published route involved too many busy main roads. There were a lot of mistakes in the notes, which added stress. I do wonder if anyone had actually rode it from Headwater? It could have been a lot better - for instance leaving La Macchia, instead of going down the busy main road, we went into town on the back roads, over the railway, then along a parallel road, then onto a cycle track - easy to do and much less traffic.
The hotels were not brilliant. We didn't eat the four courses offered at meal times, as it was just too much. I would have rather paid a bit less and just had two courses.
I may sound churlish, about the birthday cake, but the reason we went on this week was because we had a family tragedy the year before on my birthday, and I specifically wanted a totally un-birthday normal day. It worked fine, and I had genuinely forgotten about it, so was very angry and embarrassed about what happened. They should not have been looking at my passport - the only reason they had it was for legal reasons.
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 Mr Mitchell on 29/10/2014
A most enjoyable week, blessed with good weather and walking of a well-chosen standard. Good accommodation.
By Mrs Mendham on 27/10/2014
We enjoyed the holiday but the directions were probably the worst we have ever had. They are not clear and some directions referred to signs/cafes etc that no longer seemed to be there. In Gualdo Catanneo the instructions sent us all round the village back to where we started but the road had collapsed and we had to go back. In fact we could have pushed the bikes 50m down the hill back to where we started! Often directions are given in distances but when you have no means of judging distance it is hard to know if you are in the correct place. There should be more information on how to get to places on the off days. We went to Perugia but found out how to get there on our own. It was simple and this information could be made available on your website. The bikes are very heavy and poorly maintained. I could only use 18 of the 21 gears until my husband fixed it after 3 days - not great on the Umbrian hills.
By Mrs Constantine on 27/10/2014
overall most enjoyable .
hotels certainly adequate but food could have been better . possibly wine & certainly water should be inclusive with meals .
walking good but too much roadwork cf. trails/tracks off road .
guide good .
travel arrangements good .
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 Mrs Barker on 24/10/2014
Overall the holiday was as expected, we have been with you before. We do enjoy the holiday. Having said that, the hotel in Assisi was poor, the basement restaurant was soulless. I appreciate that it was probably chosen because it had a swimming pool. We would rather have stayed in a more upmarket hotel in the centre of Assisi rather than the outskirts with the swimming pool, and our 18 year old is in agreement. We could've looked around Assisi in the evening, and the rest day was spent looking around the churches, so not much time to lie by a pool. A more comfortable hotel with nicer food would've been appreciated! A choice would be nice.
The pool at La Tavola was impossible to sit by due to the flies, not sure whether that was due to pigs close by or the earlier summer weather causing an increase in fly population.
By Mr Collins on 24/10/2014
Headwater offers a very efficient and reliable service. The equipment was very good, the hotels were on the whole very agreeable, at a price. We travelled off season, but even so, the hotel restaurants were extremely busy and there were occasions when we had to wait so long, we gave up on the puddings!
Overall the cycling was most pleasant on quiet roads, very often for cyclists and walkers only. There were some demanding climbs into any town worth its salt in tourism, but then there was the added bonus of the long descent back down to terra firma. The weather was amazingly good and the lovely tranquil scenery.
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 Dick on 22/10/2014
Well organised holiday. Lots of places to visit and experience as a result of thoughtful planning. Good, comfortable accommodation and food.
By Mrs Tindall on 21/10/2014
Aeolian islands and their volcanoes are sensational and therefore we thoroughly enjoyed our holiday. The hotels were fine but did not justify the high price paid for the holiday especially as we were self guided (apart from the Etna trip) and had to pay and make our own arrangements for transport to the islands. The weak link was the Sicilian Agents who never kept in touch especially as we found out that nobody had walked up Stromboli since August and we had to ring for info on this on the morning of our walk! We wasted time here and could have been given alternative suggestions.
We will travel to the islands again but independently, staying on Lipari and travelling between the islands on a daily basis. it definitely would have been cheaper.
By Mrs George on 21/10/2014
The Dolomites are stunning and the walking was varied and challenging. The route notes were excellent and the self guiding was easy. The hotel was exceptional, with delicious food. The village of Dobbiacco was very well placed with good bus connections which made walking in different areas easy and enjoyable.
By Mrs Stratford on 20/10/2014
Holiday is accurately described in the brochure and most of the feedback is useful, we done all of the ride's covering 327km bikes were good it was our first experience of hub gears the Shimano version of the Rolhoff type work well, the Cateye was a useful addition for measuring distances on route first time we have had one on any cycling holiday. Ravenna was typical town/city Hotel, we did struggle a little finding somewhere to eat, the one recommended by the Rep was closed for a wedding, where we did eat we got in a bit of a muddle our expected courses never came out together. Comacchio Hotel was excellent the 13km rough straight road as mentioned by others was a bit of a chore, La Occare was different we can understand some peoples views, but we loved it!! La Dondina we had a few problems namely getting in, good job the cook came along. The food and the waitress were brilliant. In summary a good holiday and we enjoyed it.
By Mrs Sodring on 20/10/2014
This holiday involves not only walking but a lot of travelling (not fully described in the brochure) by boat and minibus. The necessary boat journeys require extra cash as fares are not included in the cost of the holiday. Also food, though of high quality, is expensive in Stromboli and Taoramina. Studying books on the history, geology, flora and fauna of eastern Sicily and the Aeolian Isles made this trip particularly interesting.
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 Barnes on 17/10/2014
Walks were fairly strenuous but scenery magnificent - lovely unspoilt village - excellent food.
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 Mr Harper on 15/10/2014
Great dinners, basic breakfasts (although there were always delicious cakes).
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 Joslin on 14/10/2014
This was our first time with Headwater and the impressive, friendly and efficient service, together with very good hotels in a variety of beautuful locations, ensured our total enjoyment. The routes suggested were good and we had the option of extending our rides (in particular an extension to the coastal ride on Day 1). A slight criticism would be that the directions could be clearer and presented in specific instructional order rather than paragraph narratives; we were not sure that anyone had actually cycled these routes 'blind' and thus we made some mistakes. neverthelessall rides were completed successfully. Puglia is something of a gem and the programme ensure that we enjoyed a full flavour of its varied geography and history. We would have no hesitation in booking another of your holidays and thank you for such a pleasureable experience.
By Mr Lambert on 14/10/2014
It was an exceptionally enjoyable, stress-free holiday. Exactly as described in the Headwater brochure and all aspects were efficient and well executed.
We were very lucky to be with a great group of like minded people (7 in total). Maggie, our guide, was amazing. Her contributions to the group dynamic, her local knowledge and incredible enthusiasm for Sardinia made our holiday. She was a lovely person to spend our time with and we were delighted when she chose to join us on her day off for a boat trip!
All the other staff we came into contact with be it at the hotels or on our days out (the river picnic for example) contributed to a wonderful experience.
The hotels were fantastic. The Hotel Sa Muvara in the mountains was wonderful - great accommodation, attentive staff, lovely food and the views were amazing. The Hotel Costa Dorada on the coast was perfectly located by the sea; again good accommodation, delicious cuisine, great staff and a lovely outlook. Both hotels made you feel you were staying somewhere special, immersed in the local culture and that you were not staying in some bland building presented with international cuisine. We felt we completed our holiday having had a taste of the real Sardinia.
Having never previously taken a holiday with a group and guide, we are sorely tempted to take a similar trip.
By Mr Sillett on 14/10/2014
Wonderful holiday, with fantastic food and wine and one absolutely amazing hotel (Le Silve). Good two boot walking, especially on the first and last days.
If you like walking in Italy you will love this holiday.
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 Pro Beevers on 14/10/2014
Good walking, good accommodation , food and wine. Interesting cities and towns to visit.
By Mrs Higgins on 13/10/2014
Could not fault Headwater for their excellent customer service and organisation. I'm not even going to look at other companies now for any future walking holidays.
By Mrs Love-fordham on 13/10/2014
This is our fourth Headwater trip. Our favorite trips in order are: 1) Alps 2) Dordogne 3) Amalfi Coast and 4) this one. All of the others have been 5 star plus. I don't even know how to rate this one. There were so many highs and lows that it is hard to average them. The hotels, Le Silve and Le Case, are spectacular and took care of every need. I can't say enough good about them. The food was exceptional in all hotels except the Assisi hotel where you eat in a nondescript big undecorated basement room. The hiking was perfect and challenging, but the trip notes were unenthusiastic and lacked the usual Headwater info bites and optional side trips - so we made our own side trips. The trip notes need some important updates - we did not get lost, but others did multiple times and their confusion was understandable. We had awesome trip mates that we had not met prior to the trip. The highlights of the trip were: 1) Being in Assisi for the Feast of St. Francis and being present for the parade and seeing the Prime Minister of Italy, 2) Vistas from the Rifuggio de Madonna (they rival what we saw in the Alps), 3) Le Silve and Le Case hotels were amazing places of rest and solitude. I think this trip had the potential of being my very favorite, but needs the kind of attention that Headwater is so great at on other vacations.
By Mrs Cattaneo on 13/10/2014
A beautiful place to visit and explore. The accommodation of a very good standard and in lovely locations.
We did find the walks very interesting, challenging at times but about the right length, however we did use an app on a smart phone, which indicated we walked a few K further than the instructions stated. We also felt some of the walks did need to be re-done, especially the walk on day 4 from Diano D'Alba which we found very confusing to get out of and were told by the rep to take a different path at one point, which totally threw us off route, although we did find our way with the help of some locals.Although we understood why there was a walk on Day 7 back to Benevello, it was rather tedious.
Our restaurant selection for the evening meals was on the whole very good, but we did find it difficult to find something we could eat at the Villa D'Amelia, mainly because of our own diet of not eating red meat. The Locanda del Centro in Castiglone Falletto was really not very good.
Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable holiday.
By Ms Robson on 13/10/2014
A great area with varied cycling and a relaxing base. Sarah was very helpful with advice on alternative routes.
By Ms Tomkins on 13/10/2014
The islands of Sicily walk was a very varied holiday, the highlight being the visits to the volcano at Vulcano, Stromboli and Etna.
By Ms Lewis on 10/10/2014
The holiday was extremely well organised, the accommodation was varied, interesting, unusual - and excellent. The bikes were in very good order, comfortable and ideal for the terrain. The electric bike was superb! The route notes were a bit tricky - not easy to read going along (we had better ones with Exodus biking in Puglia) but they were accurate and we didn't lose our way. Local information was v good and accurate. The holiday allowed plenty of time to explore: Ferrara and Ravenna were wonderful, Comaccio a charming surprise.
Last, but by no means least, the staff who dealt with our last minute holiday plans in the Headwater office could not have been more helpful, efficient and friendly.
By Mrs Edwards on 10/10/2014
Thought the walks were a bit tame. The best walking was on Capri where I stayed for 4 nights after this holiday. Suggest splitting the holiday between main land and island. Lots of trouble with bites.
Luigi was a great guide. I would like to do more intensive walking with him.
By Mrs Butler on 10/10/2014
An excellent holiday which gave us a wonderful introduction to Tuscany. Great combination of sightseeing and walking. Elisabetta is a real asset and looked after us all well. We particularly enjoyed the meals she organised and our group of 8 gelled well. The Puccini concert in Lucca followed by our group meal in a slightly alternative restaurant was one of the highlights.
By Dr Easton on 09/10/2014
As novice cyclists we were pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable and varied the trip was. The food in the region lived up to its reputation. We were particularly impressed by the food at Agriturismo LeOccare and by Christina's wonderful hospitality. The Hotel Touring in Bologna is a lovely hotel. The staff very helpful in recommending a couple of excellent restaurants .
Our only complaint is about the accommodation at La Dondina. We killed over 15 flies in our room on the first day and many more after that. It is a real problem which is a shame because the food is excellent and the waiting staff very helpful. Also, it was not clear that we were expected to phone to be let in and ended up waiting outside the gate for 30 minutes with no one in sight.
By Mis Saunders on 09/10/2014
We have been on many Headwater walking holidays - both guided and independent walking, but felt Islands of Sicily (nicknamed by us ' Volcanoes of Sicily') was a different experience, and by and large a good one. Hotels are all of a good standard and are in good locations. Breakfasts are fine - not exceptional, but fine. Dinners in the hotel in Lipari are good and there are lots of restaurants for when you dine out. The walks are interesting, the views great and the volcano walking a real experience. Be warned though the trips to see Stromboli and Etna are weather/ volcanic activity dependant. We were not able to do to the night walk on Stromboli. However you can do the day walk independently in the late afternoon and get to see the lava flow (from a safe distance of course) at night. The path down is easy - but don't forget your head torch! We did do Etna, which was a real experience. The slightly frustrating element of the holiday is the amount of time and effort we spent on getting the Hydrofoil tickets and checking timetables - the times in the notes and the advertised time at the ticket office are not always the time the boat with actually leave and it wasn't always clear when the ticket office would be open to check/ buy tickets. Having said that, if you are OK will that little bit of uncertainty/ adventure you'll have a great time!
By Mr Smillie on 08/10/2014
We are not regular cyclists and this was our group's (6 of us) first experience of a cycling holiday and of using Headwater.
The organisation was very good and the suggestion of Puglia for this adventure was first class.
We had excellent weather to enjoy lovely countryside and well chosen locations and accommodation.
By Mrs Lodge on 08/10/2014
A most enjoyable holiday.However I think that it should be graded as a 3 bike holiday or 2++ at least. the cycling on the last day was extremely challenging-- we chose to go via Dogliani.
By Mrs Ovenden on 08/10/2014
Headwater take the headache out of arranging your holiday all you have to do is turn up and enjoy.
By Mrs Lee on 08/10/2014
The holiday was fantastic, better than expected. Hotels, food, wine, weather all perfect, with great cycling routes on very quiet roads.
The views were to die for, and the hills a challenge but rewarded with the downward ride on the other side.
Would love to do it all again.
By Mrs Davies on 08/10/2014
This Headwater holiday is definitely a cut above other European holidays that we have enjoyed with you. Villa d'Amelia and Villa Beccaris were exceptional in every way, and throughout we enjoyed excellent local cuisine and wines. We would happily do it all over again!
By Dr Mason on 08/10/2014
The holiday was very enjoyable, the location was great, but the walks were challenging in the heat, even in September. The local food was delicious.
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 Deane on 08/10/2014
Excellent location for seeing the Dolomites.
Friendly, family run hotel.
Instructions for the walking routs and the use of bus/train were very good
By Mrs Ames on 07/10/2014
The hotel was excellent - food wonderful, service could not have been better and a great location. The walks were interesting and varied with the advantage of being able to do longer or shorter versions. This is our third holiday with Headwater and we can highly recommend the company. If there is a choice we would suggest flying to Rome rather than Pisa as we found it a long drive (3 hours) after already travelling to gatwick and flight to Pisa.
By Mr MacE on 07/10/2014
A chance to see parts of countries that fixed destinations can not compete with.
By Mrs Makin on 06/10/2014
Travel arrangements were good, hotels were easy to find and all but one was well maintained. Walks were very well described, distances were not accurate and the number of steps was a joke but the walks were clearly described an the views were wonderful. We saw many rural areas of the Amalfi Peninsular that most people will never see, they don't know what they are missing! are missing
The rest days are a very good idea and gave us chance to do several things we wanted to do, ie go to Pompeii and Capri, without the break I think that the last few days would have felt like hard work.
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 Mrs Clark on 01/10/2014
Headwater holidays are ones where you can count on the arrangements made and simply enjoy the holiday you have chosen to take.
By Mr Caffyn on 29/09/2014
Efficient but lacks character..
By Dr Miller on 27/09/2014
I found cycling in Piemonte quite challenging. I did the Undiscovered Provence and also the Umbria cycling trips last year, and I would say I found Piemonte a notch more difficult, at least subjectively (I reviewed my cycling computer data, and Provence was actually much more climbing). It may be because there were very few flat spots, the hills were quite relentless and the warmth and humidity were quite high on several days.
Piemonte had the best food and hotels of the three itineraries I mentioned, while Provence had the better scenery and riding terrain variety (but much poorer hotels and food). Umbria was probably the best compromise of food and hotel quality and terrain variety.
By Mr Abrahams on 26/09/2014
Well thought through and excellent administration meant we could concentrate on our walking
By Mr Kitchen on 26/09/2014
Thoroughly enjoyable - just as we expected - save only for the above average temperatures (35C +). I'm sure it would be a lot more comfortable in the Spring!
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 Martin on 25/09/2014
Definately worth a try and nice varied holiday. It was good to experience a different part of Italy. Whilst for us it doesn't quite match up to the scenary of home and other parts of Italy such asTuscany and Umbria, it has its own charm. Our cycling route took in a good mix of the coast, the coastal planes and the plateau and some lovely little towns. The cycle down from Alberobello was lush. As we live in God's own countyclose to the Yorkshitre Dales all the miles of dry stone walling made us feel quite at home. Luckily we don't have anywhere near the problems the Italian's have with roadside litter and fly tipping. It's a real shame. However, it's not all like that by any means. It certainly isn't something in Headwater's control as isn't the weather, which was indifferent but we managed not to get wet whilst riding, which was good and we did see some sun - just thought it might have been a bit better in early September, but your in the lap of the gods . There's some fantastic old olive vines throwing up some weird and wonderful trunk shapes to feast your eyes on. We saw very few animals despite there been a plentiful array of meat on the evening meal menus. The people we met from Southern Visions your local agent were all very friendly and they provided an excellent service. Manopoli was a wonderful place to start and the Palazzo Indelli a nice little hotel right in the thick of the old historic quarter in a lovely little square, which came alive at night, and close to the waterfront with its fortifications and castle. Worth doing the extra short loop on the first day if you want a bit of fish for lunch. Corte Altavilla was a nice little hotel also and well located just off the square by the cathedral and near the castle in Conservano. I just thought the hotel restaurant on the top floor lacked a bit of atmosphere, but we were only there for one night, so no great shakes. This hotel looked to have a good spa, but it was fully booked, so if you want to partake best to book in advance. Staying in the Truli house was an experience, as were the bangs on the head I gave myself on the low doorways! However, previous reviews on your website weren't wrong that you had saved the best until last - the Masseria Salamina. I dont think I've ever felt so relaxed so quickly on arrival at a hotel and I've stayed at many. We were so pleased that after reading the other reviews we'd opted for another night. In fact if we went back and did this trip again I'd be looking to rejig things to stay in Arerobello and the Trulli House for just 1 night instead of 2 and have a further night at Masseria Salamina. What a lovely place. There's opportunities for those who want to mix cycling with a bit of train travel with the bikes, such as the round journey from Alberobello where we actually chose in the end to take the train back from Marta Franca. Be aware Italian drivers seem to like to honk their horns I guess to tell you they are coming even though you've already heard them. Overall a very pleasurable experience well worth a go.
By Ms Hodges on 25/09/2014
This was an absolutely superb holiday. The guide and both hotels were excellent. It was good to have the contrast of staying 3 nights inland and the rest of the holiday on the coast. Maggie, the guide, was exceptionally well informed and helped make this a great holiday. The food was varied and freshly prepared in both hotels. The walking took us to beautiful locations with superb views from high points. The group gelled and it was one of my best ever holidays. Enormous fun!
By Mr Stanley on 25/09/2014
good varied hotels, good walks with interesting details on the way. Excellent service when booking the holiday, yes we would certainly go with Headwater again.
By Mr Cobbold on 25/09/2014
The cycling can be very challenging in this area.
By Mrs Baylies on 25/09/2014
A great holiday but the hills ARE hills! So you do need to be fairly fit. And be prepared for a headwind! A real sense of achievement at the end of the day and we felt we had earned all the amazing food!
By Dr Kipps on 25/09/2014
Very good overall.
Would like Headwater to provide interesting holidays for their aged faithful customers ... we have had about 12 holidays with you, but are now feeling that we can no longer do strenuous walking.
By Mrs Moran on 24/09/2014
Fascinating holiday with an excellent mix of walking, archaeology and food! We actually put on a tiny bit of weight the food was so good. Excellent group and we all got on really we'll from the first evening.
By Mr Mitchell on 24/09/2014
Very flat, easy cycling. Less to see en route, but fantastic towns to visit with wonderful food.
By Mr Haines on 24/09/2014
Travel arrangements and accommodation were excellent. Cycling on Day 3 from Scopello was very demanding with many hills! The written instructions for cycling route into Marsala could be improved- just follow the waterfront. Alitalia flight meals were poor so an arrival snack at hotel 1 would be helpful. A thoroughly enjoyable holiday. Thanks.
By Dr Dewar on 23/09/2014
Really excellent trip. Cycling was great and not too strenuous although cycling every day a reasonable distance. Beautiful scenery passing through coastal areas with shimmering sea and quiet coves, on to endless olive groves with not a person in sight. The Puglia towns are delightful in character. Hotels are undoubtedly excellent especially Masseria Salamina (a gem - what a location, luxurious pool area, fabulous dinners) and Trulli stay was also a delight, with very friendly but not intrusive staff. The cycling is all on surfaced roads which means that the provided bikes were more sporty and made cycling easier (lighter frame, thinner tyres, gearing better, no mudguards or bell). Southern visions, your local partners, were really helpful - we were travelling on to Dubrovnik by ferry and the transfer driver spent quite some time locating the left luggage for us, which would have been impossible for us without good Italian. Thus was really appreciated as we were able to relax in Bari for the day. Finally the Spa in a Corte Altavilla was a great bonus - each of us had a well-earned massage from Andreas after steam room and soaking in the hot tub. Weather was excellent (iPhone weather suggests cloudy and thunder storms but neither was accurate - sunshine daily in mid to late September.
By Mr Boyd on 22/09/2014
Although not far from the bustling city of Padova, the Euganean hills seem to be an undiscovered gem and we saw far more butterflies than walkers! We enjoyed all of the walks and there were plenty easily accessible attractive places to visit on our rest days. Our holiday was enhanced by a night in Venice at the start and at the finish.
By Mrs Potthurst on 22/09/2014
The welcome & help we encountered from local people was phenomenal.
By Mr Hall on 19/09/2014
Excellent hotels and food in lovely locations. Italian roads lack signage and the camber on some roads is bad especially when trying to ride and navigate in heavy thunder storms. The maps issued are of too small a scale and our trip involved two maps. It would be preferable to order special maps based on a 30 mile radius of Spello with a bigger scale. From the Headwater book in each hotel, it is clear that most people get lost. We did on each of our transits but perhaps that is the fun of it.
By Mr Furze on 17/09/2014
Whilst very flat made for easy cycling the lack of hills made for a somewhat uninteresting landscape. A straight 13km road gets a little tedious.
Roads were quiet in terms of traffic volumes but what traffic there was, which included large articulated lorries, drove past at some considerable speed.
The holiday location was a good alternative to Holland. Next time we shall be looking for some hills!!
By Mrs Davies on 17/09/2014
Excellent area for a holiday
By Mr McLenachan on 17/09/2014
Overall a good holiday but one or two issues:
1. The minibus driver on arrival did not know where he was going and tried to drop us at the wrong hotel. Fortunately, we realised this before he had left and got him to take us to the correct hotel.
2. Not much to do on the last day in Marsala, so this was a bit of a dead day. I'd prefer the option to move on each day.
3. When you do have 2 nights in one place, I'd prefer that dinner in the hotel was included for one night onlyp on the dinner on the second night (eve
By Mrs Buckham on 17/09/2014
Beautiful area of Sicily, which took us by surprise. It is very hot though as there's little shade on the walks so a slightly later departure in the year may have been better for us. A good variety of walks available though so when it was at its hottest we just did slightly less strenuous ones.. Also the walking ability of our group of 6 was mixed so we could split up at times but all enjoy a walk then meet for dinner together which worked well.. The sightseeing trips were well chosen and really interesting.
By Mr Jones on 17/09/2014
This is an excellent place for a single centre holiday, offering many good trails with stunning views if you have good weather, but bear in mind that the conditions in high mountain areas such as this can be unpredictable, even in summer.
By Mr Bingham on 17/09/2014
First rate. Hotel, hotel staff, the range of walks, and headwater staff were excellent
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 Elmer on 16/09/2014
Puglia as a region is over-hyped. You will mainly be cycling along dusty roads through olive trees. The southern Italian towns have very messy litter strewn outskirts with disused factories and omnipresent graffiti but once you get to the centres you will find lovely old walled towns with stone pavements - completely closed as you are most likely to arrive in the middle of the afternoon siesta!
you did ask!!
By Mrs Watts on 16/09/2014
We celebrated our wedding anniversary with this holiday. Overall we had a wonderful experience despite the unseasonably wet weather in Apuglia this September. We flew independently and organised ourselves 2 days in Lecce which we would recommend. We arrived in Monopoli by train and walked to the hotel - from there on we were welcomed and looked after by Southern Vision rep Davide who was extremely informative. We were a bit concerned that we would end up on a group tour but the other headwater guests were lovely and everyone had their own plans and did their own thing. The cycling was just the right level for us, the hotels great! The inclusive food was very good standard and elsewhere we did not have one course of food that was not delicious! Highlights were the pretty town squares, the Esspressini, the Vongole, the Negramero wine, the sea food at Savelletri, the afternoons lazily cycling through olive groves, the quiet routes and the friendly people of Southern Italy. When we arrived at Bari airport with the wrong passports with 50 minutes before the gate closed, Southern Vision contacted Salamina, and then the young Boss Phillipo (apologies for spelling) broke the land speed record, and every level of service and commitment to get our passports to us! while the Southern Vision team worked on a backup plan the accommodate us and rearrange flights - All in under 45 minutes! We made our flight, sweating, tired, but very happy that we had chosen Headwater for a great fun way to celebrate.
By Mrs Conway on 16/09/2014
What a wonderful holiday! We thoroughly enjoyed it. Regarding the hills - yes, they're steep, but the bikes were perfectly maintained (thanks, Esme!) and the overall distances aren't that long, so I (reasonably fit but not a great cyclist, had probably been out 10 times this year previously and in Hertfordshire so hardly hilly) found them perfectly doable, and certainly easier than I had feared from reading earlier reviews. We did all the tougher options and the amount of cycling was just hard enough to give a sense of achievement/work up an appetite for the next feast! Personally, I enjoyed the challenge of the hills and the wonderful views at the tops! Having said that, if you haven't been on a bike in years/aren't generally active, this might not be the holiday for you.
Hotels were all lovely; restaurants all very good and the majority truly excellent. Spa facilities at Villa d'Amelia were particularly good.
We found plenty to fill the non-cycling days, sometimes on foot and sometimes by bike. Almost always there were local walks (e.g. on noticeboards in the town centre and signposted from there) which we enjoyed.
Overall a hugely enjoyable and memorable holiday!
By Mr Shaw on 16/09/2014
Magnificent walking in the Dolomites, with very good local transport links. Tuscan walking an enjoyable contrast, gentler and relaxing.
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 Mrs Wall on 11/09/2014
This was an absolutely stunning holiday in every way. The hotels were all of a high standard and each was lovely in its own individual way. The restaurants were a nice treat after the day's walking and working up an appetite! There was stiff competition for our favourite restaurant and Il Castello and Villa D'Amelia had to share the prize for sheer wow factor! That said La Locanda del Centro was our favourite 'non-Michelin' restaurant. The waiter couldn't do enough to make us feel welcome, it had a lovely relaxed atmosphere and the food was really tasty.
The route notes for each of the walks was spot on and went wrong once (our fault, not Headwater's!). We'd recommend the circular walk to La Morra. It's a pretty strenuous walk through the vineyards but the sense of achievement and the stunning views are definitely worth any aching calf muscles!
Lastly, Marsha and Esme (the Headwater Reps) made our holiday what it was. They were always cheerful and full of tips for the places we were due to walk to. They were also on the end of a phone with any queries we had.
Thanks for a brilliant holiday, Sarah & Mark Wall
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 Mrs Robinson on 08/09/2014
Ask more questions regarding the walks prior to booking.e.g places to take refreshment.
Ensure that you understand the walking levels, as although we were able to complete the walks fairly easily we noticed a number of people having to be transported due to the physical demands.
Be prepared for isolation at two of the hotels as they were in remote situations.
If you like walking in forests and almost total solitude this is the holiday for you. We hardly met anyone on all walks.
By Mr O'Driscoll on 03/09/2014
A great holiday for cycling enthusiasts who like good food and wine, a few historical and cultural sites to visit, and time to relax after getting off your bike.
By Ms Hall on 28/08/2014
We had a marvellous holiday and really enjoyed the variety of walks and hotels, and the suggestions for days off. The area was so beautiful and arriving on foot in each town was magical.
Minor gripes were: not hearing from the rep (we phoned her on day 2). She told us of a landslide and said she would send us an alternative route, but this didn't happen. We found the alternative route without difficulty. The maps for the Amalfi coast were not helpful (and one was missing). The route notes were sometimes difficult to follow (we had to learn to concentrate!). We became proud of our navigation skills.
Thank you! Where next?
By Mr Alderman on 28/08/2014
Overall very good holiday but off to a bad start waiting for hire car. 2 hours was an unacceptable time to have to wait without any pre warning that this could be a problem.
Dear Mr Alderman,
Thank you for your feedback; it was a pleasure to read you had an enjoyable holiday. I am sure you have brought back some great memories to treasure.
We were sorry to read of your longer than expected wait to collect your hire car. We have passed on your feedback to Europcar.
We will also add a note to our know before you go booklet, to advise of the longer than average waits which may apply during the busy summer periods, thank you for bringing this to our attention.
Headwater Customer Service
By Mrs Lewis on 28/08/2014
The holiday was good. The cycling was on flat roads . Sometimes the long straight, flat roads made the cycling a bit tedious especially if it was into the wind.
The final hotel Ag St M Magdelena was not good. Meals were taken in a place across the road, wonderful location but the food was poor. Pool closed. We did not receive an itemised bill and found the wine and drinks in the 'restaurant' expensive.
By Mrs Bolton on 28/08/2014
This was our first cycling holiday and one that we thoroughly enjoyed. The only problem we had was following the instructions to find Bagno Massimo n.84
in Punta Marina, which we subsequently found did not refer to a specific 'Bagno' but the whole area. It did waste rather a lot of beach time.
By Ms Sobczyk on 28/08/2014
Not sure - with 6 of us booking together (ie a lot of custom for Headwater) it would have been much more helpful if someone in head office had thought through our travelling requirements more carefully. The girl who took the booking always said that we could fly on Friday or Sunday, but did not explain the implications of choosing the Friday in terms of extra travel problems to and from Munich, nor at the outset of the cost implications. The extra costs crept in as the booking progressed - as full time workers it was easier to just carry on with the booking than say hang on, why weren't all these extra costs explained before we started this process (room supplements, transfers, extra prices for flight because a busy weekend (did the UK sales rep explore whether the Sunday departure would have been cheaper for us, for instance - I think not). We also thought that Headwater should have had another rep out there in Piedmont - Martha and Esme could not help us out on non cycling days as they were on airport runs .... but with a holiday of this quality, there should be someone available at all times.. I would also add that I have been on a number of other holidays with cycling companies - more down market - but the experience and knowledge of the rep and mechanic has far outweighed the knowledge and experience of Esme and Martha; they did nothing wrong, but did not add the type of spark to the holiday a good rep can.
The daily notes explaining the route would have benefitted enormously from a proper map - with other companies we have been given laminated copies of the map giving all the local details - your sketches together with the provided maps were not easy to interpret. We suspected they needed a bit of an update - gradient outlines for example would help - we knew it would not be easy but the hills did seem to dominate!
We probably will go with Headwater again on account of the quality of the hotels, but will ask a lot more questions next time about exactly what is involved and what help will be available.
We did have a good time, but a lot of niggles that ought to have been sorted. I have never complained before about a holiday .....
By Mr Davis on 28/08/2014
The itinerary is excellent and the islands are beautiful and well worth visitng. The highlight for us was the night-time climb up the Stromboli volcano. Howver the walking notes were scanty, and in some cases positvely misleading. In particular there needs to be more accurate and detailed information about the Mount Etna day, with a clear warning that it may not be possible to do the walk and information about what customers are supposed to do if this is the case. It would also be more useful if the driver dropping you off at least knew some very basic information about the itinerary eg that he needed to drop you off by the Guides' hut, not the cable car station. Some of the walks are very demanding, with long steep climbs, and in our view the walk sould be graded 2+ boots. There should also be clearer warnings in the holiday description that the number of extras which custormers have to pay for (bus fares, ferry fares, most dinners) is much higher than is the norm for Headwater holidays (this is the eighth that we have been on). All in all, we felt that the customer care element of this holiday (which, for us, has always been one of Headwater's strengths) was of a much lower standard than we have experienced before - enough to make us think twice before booking another holiday with you, which is a shame.
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 Ripley on 27/08/2014
We combined the Secrets of Tuscany Walk and the Exploring Emilia Romagna Cycling. This option worked extremely well. We arranged extra nights at Hotel Touring, Bologna at beginning and end of the holiday. Transfer from first to second holiday was seamless with a lift to Castel Bolognese and short train journey to Ravenna.
The village of Palazzuolo, Locanda Senio and Bar Gentilini provided perfect respite between walks.
It is well worth seeing the mosaics at various sites in Ravenna. Locanda La Comacina and Comacchio provide an idyllic destination. Agriturismo Le Occare is a little isolated and lacks atmosphere, especially if you are the only guests, although Cristina is a very kind hostess and excellent cook. Santa Maria Maddalena is disappointing. The bar is expensive, extra payment was expected for pool towels and loungers, breakfast fare was dismal with awful coffee and no home baking, as promised. Contrary to the current brochure dinner is not taken in the agriturismo's leafy gardens. We were provided with a lift, by the owner, from Bagnarola to a restaurant in Budrio. Ristorante del Mulino was very good but the fact that you have to be taken and picked up curbs your freedom ( we would have considered cycling the few kilometers but there are no lights on bikes)
As noted by some previous Headwater guests some of the stretches of roads were ,on occasion, fairly busy and/or with heavy, large lorries.
We walked or cycled every kilometer which Headwater suggested in the route notes and enjoyed having two holidays rolled into one!
By Mrs Gapper on 27/08/2014
The cycling was good with varied scenery and interesting villages and towns. The route notes sometimes need careful interpretation using the area maps and a degree of common sense. however it is easy to go wrong which we did on a couple of occasions.One of the hotels, unfortunately the one we had opted to stay four nights, we thought was sub standard in terms of service and quality and choice of food. Generally the hotels were well located, clean and comfortable. We had a little trouble with two of our four bikes which either required urgent attention by the rep or we managed to borrow a tool from a garage. On previous holidays our Headwater bikes have been trouble free.
By Mrs Todd on 27/08/2014
Sarah is an excellent asset to Headwater, knowledgeable and friendly.She was thorough in going through the briefing notes and was on hand if we needed. The walking notes were accurate, at times it felt like a higher grade walk than billed, but that just added to the achievement after each one. Views spectacular, hotels and food excellent. Rest day in Padua to see Giotto Frescoes and then the Anatomy Theatre at the University was fantastic. Sarah gave us opening times and suggestions, so that was really time saving and useful. This was our first HW holiday, and we are already looking where our next one could be.
Dear Mrs Todd, Thank you for your lovely comments regarding our rep Sarah, we have passed your feedback on to her and she was delighted. We were also pleased to see that you had an enjoyable 1st holiday with Headwater it sounds like you took in all of the sights and sounds that this region has to offer. We look forward to welcoming you on your next holiday with us in the future.
Headwater Customer Service team
By Mr Raven on 19/08/2014
Wonderful - just what we were after
By Mrs Hulme on 18/08/2014
We enjoyed another quality holiday with Headwater. This area of Italy is very pretty, ideal for gentle cycling and sightseeing. All of the hotels provided excellent food, wine and accomodation.
By Ms Wenner on 15/08/2014
As we ended up being only 2 plus our Guide Paola it was a different and interesting experience. I think that both I and my fellow traveller would praise Paola to the hilt! She made the holiday really with her enduring patience, humour, fun, real ness!, openness, her suggestions for activities, her flexibility, her absolute care for us and our well being, her helpfulness. All in all she was terrific!! Also my Italian has improved hugely!!
I think again that I and my fellow traveller would say, as we did discuss this, that there are too many hotel changes. I believe the time in Florence could be left out especially in mid August as it is so hot and full of other tourists! More time in Cinque Terre would be great so either a hotel in the Cinque Terre or more time in La Spezia? The La Spezia hotel was excellent. So more time by the sea and possibly extra night/s in Sienna or Lucca rather than Florence.
For me personally more walking would be fantastic. I totally loved the Via Francigena walk and possibly another day on it would be good or another, similar longer days walk elsewhere.
Overall however a really fabulous holiday so well managed by our guide as just having 2 people could be tricky but Paola was incredibly sensitive and my fellow traveller and I got on well so all was good!
By Mr Broughall on 15/08/2014
Excellent accomodation, food, walks and scenery.
By Mrs Alexander on 13/08/2014
our third Headwater holiday. Set dinners in the hotels often poor and we are really fed up with this. It is not a cheap holiday but we seem to get the dregs of the food. Our best meals were out in independent restaurants. On the first night when Pallatzo Indelli couldn't feed us they sent us out for a wonderful simple fresh supper at a restaurant. Dinner with them the second night was DISGUSTING. We felt like the poor relations.
Dear Mrs Alexander, Thank you for your constructive feedback, We were sorry to see that you were disappointed with the standard of meals served at some of the restaurants on this holiday . We have discussed your comments with our local suppliers and from this some new menus have been put into place with more choices available. Whilst the overall feedback for this holiday is positive, we realise we cannot afford to let our standard slip and thank you for bringing these points to our attention. We hope that by making these small changes our customers will continue to enjoy this lovely area of Italy.
Headwater Customer Service team
By Mrs Day on 13/08/2014
This was a super flat cycling itinerary, attractive to novices. However a good percentage of the route was fairly uninspiring and some of it was on very busy roads. There were some lovely routes to savour and some very special accommodation highlights ( Cristina Tosti's hospitality in particular, was outstanding) but overall we thought our last trip around Lake Constance was better value for money and offered more variety and a better quality ride.
By Mrs Walker on 13/08/2014
Headwater thinks of everything - right down to offering us a lovely cold bottle of water when we emerged from a long, hot journey to our pick up point. You select fabulous hotels in brilliant locations, which takes all the hard work out of planning a holiday. Taxis turn up when they're supposed to, hotels and restaurants are expecting us. You are wonderfully efficient. This was our sixth booking with you and we'll be back for more next year. Bravo, Headwater.
By Mr Hill on 11/08/2014
We had a wonderful holiday (our second with Headwater) and consistently hot weather in July; although it was too hot really and quite debilitating at the end of each travel day when having to cycle up hill to reach the next hotel. Each hotel was of a high standard with a pleasant welcome and the food was amazing. We look forward to trying another Headwater cycling holiday but will take more consideration of the cycle rating and likely weather conditions next time.
By Mr Eagles on 11/08/2014
The Villa Aquavivia was a beautifully designed and comfortable hotel; our room was furnished with Tuscan furniture with a view of Montemerano; it was spotlessly clean and the air conditioning was quiet and efficient. The garden is gorgeous and melts naturally into the surrounding vineyards and olive groves. The restaurant is in a converted barn next to the pool; it has panoramic views of the country side, is air conditioned and midge free (and child free!); the menu had both Tuscan and Maremma dishes â€“ we had difficulty choosing!
Our hire car, a Fiat Panda, had the centre of gravity of an Argentinian footballer and the gripping power of a Gecko, so spinning around the quite roads visiting the local hill top towns was easy.
The â€˜Connoisseurs Tuscanyâ€™ Booklet was informative, and the walking notes contained lots of interesting historical cultural information. We enjoyed the local walks and had a day out to Orvieto and its stunning cathedral. If you want to go to Mass in Montemerano, follow Fabrizioâ€™s Way walking notes to Chiesa di San Giorgio (by the northern archway): Saturday at 18.30 or Sunday 11.45.
If you like domestic and ecclesiastical architecture, really good food and wine, and just enjoy being in Tuscany, you will enjoy this holiday.
By Mrs Wilson on 11/08/2014
We had a wonderful holiday with Headwater. The hotels and food were excellent. The scenery is stunning because the area is hilly. (You definitely need to have done some recent cycling and be reasonably fit.) A great holiday for food and wine enthusiasts. We were planning our next Headwater trip on the flight back!
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 Mr Page on 07/08/2014
An excellent walking trip with the added extra of a few days in the superb city of Venice. Excellent support from headwater Rep and good to be 'off the beaten track' in a lesser known and unspoilt area of Italy.
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 Mr Smith on 04/08/2014
Should have been advised that the hotel is located next to the railway station and level crossing with trains passing through from from 5.30 am. Our upgraded room overlooked the railway station and crossing. No air conditioning in rooms meant we had to leave open the windows during the night and heard announcements, warning bells and the trains themselves every half hour.
By Mr Somers on 31/07/2014
Cycling was fabulous along mainly quiet beatiful roads with some climbs which were all rewarding and enhanced the riding. Hotels were great, all small family run and so friendly. Food and wine was fantastic. Our 2 teenage girls (ages 16 and 15) hardly complained at all for the duration! Great family holiday!
By Mr Billing on 31/07/2014
This was a wonderful holiday, full of small surprises and little luxuries. Each hotel was charmingly different. The food was spectacular, the people lovely, and the scenery green, beautiful and quiet. Thank you very much
By Mr Ayech on 31/07/2014
it was very interesting, enjoyed the countryside, the people especial. the l' Albara family met some very good people and cycled with some . Pleasantly different
By Mr Humphreys on 30/07/2014
We topped and tailed the walking with two nights in Verona and two nights in Venice which gave a nice contrast. The walking was enjoyable with a variety of terrain and the route descriptors good. We were lucky with the weather but it can be unpredictable so you need waterproofs and/or a brolly just in case. Good insect repellent is worth the investment. The area is unspoilt and there seem to be very few tourists. Accommodation was good though air-con is either poor or doesn't exist so it is hot at night. On our rest days were able to visit Montagnana and Padua which were both very enjoyable. However, if you can try to organise the holiday so that you are walking on a Sunday you will avoid being marooned on a rest day - no buses run on Sundays! We found the locals to be friendly though most had as much English as we had Italian - very little! The rep - Sarah - was charming and very helpful! Italian beer is good but expensive - local wine is good and good value! Overall a great experience. We enjoyed the holiday and would recommend it.
By Mrs Grosschmidt on 29/07/2014
Not to be missed well done Headwater
By Mrs Price on 29/07/2014
Dobbiaco is an excellent centre for a walking holiday with superb scenery and good choice of walks. Transfers were efficient, hotel very good and we enjoyed our first experience of a Headwater holiday very much.
By Mr MacE on 25/07/2014
You really get to know a country on a bike - the real people, the flora and fauna, food and customs. Eat like a king and not feel guilty!
You have to accept some discomfort - mosquitos, missing/faulty air conditioning, rain showers, bikes with no suspension at all, miss the odd lunch, but it's got to be better than plonked next to a pool reading a book, and cramming another meal in.
Not sure you'd want to publish these comments though!
Seriously, we enjoyed our holiday, and look forward to our next one - maybe Denmark?
By Mr Moss on 23/07/2014
Really excellent. Do think that the first walk was more than two boots. The narratives seemed to have been written by different people sometimes. One would give specific distances whilst another would tell you you'd 'soon' come across the next landmark.
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 Scheer on 14/07/2014
We had a fabulous cycling trip in this beautiful part of Italy. The accommodations were lovely and the dinners ranged from very good to excellent. The cycling was challenging at times, but not unmanageable. As usual, the Headwater bikes were great and the local reps were very helpful. The people in this region are very friendly and there were lots of opportunities to do wine and grappa tastings. This was our 4th Headwater trip and we are already planning the next one.
By Mrs Charnley on 14/07/2014
People can book with confidence as the description in the Headwater booklet is an accurate description of the experience on offer. Sarah, our holiday rep, was very friendly and helpful. Our accommodation was very good, lovely location and great food. However, as a family group of between ages 10 and 67, we did feel that eating our dinner at 8.00 pm was far too late and we would have appreciated the availability of tea-making facilities in our rooms.
By Mr Prior on 13/07/2014
Excellent comfortable friendly hotels with unforgettable views .
By Mrs Hodgskinson on 12/07/2014
Great location to be based for walking in the Dolomites, Bellevue Park hotel food is very good, their baths big and very welcome after a long day in tthe and the mountains themselves are magnificent. Walking notes are comprehensive, would just suggest you add a couple of routes which start out in one location and finish up elsewhere on the bus network - Tres Chime early bus is ideal - this offers some fantastic route options and minimises the amount of up. Only regret we didn't get a bit of Via Ferrata training whilst out there, would have vastly increased what we could do. Loved every minute. Tagged on three days in Verona and four days in Venice. Probably one of the best and most varied holidays we've ever done
By Mis Nicholls on 10/07/2014
The holiday surpassed expectations in terms of location, food and hotels. All in all, excellent value for money!
By Mr Waters on 10/07/2014
Overall a superb holiday, occasional cyclist managed route, good accommodation, good route and other notes. Good access to other locations for tourist visiting.
Excellent local rep.
By Ms Harris on 09/07/2014
Excellent service, tailored to us at very last minute. Wonderful hotels (with exception of the Assissi hotel which was nowhere near the quality of the others).terrific walks. We had fewer rests days which suited us - a days rest on day 2 felt too soon so we didn't and assiss is very very touristy though beautiful. We are already looking at our next holiday with you (and we always travel independetly so that's a big sign of our enjoyment).
By Ms White on 08/07/2014
The perfect holiday for the more active.
By Mrs Compton on 08/07/2014
We have been on many Headwater Holidays and this was one of the best. A wonderful mix of walking and sight seeing. We experienced great walks, breathtaking views, and the history and culture of beautiful cities. Our guide, Elisabetta Piseddu, contributed greatly to our enjoyment of all this. Her knowledge, organisation, driving and friendliness were exceptional. - this women is an absolute princess! Look forward to seeing her on future Headwater Holidays.
By Mr Evans on 07/07/2014
We chose this holiday because of the flatness of the terrain - we can't manage some of the strenuous rides we have in the past. However this inevitably meant that there were some times on the holiday when we were faced with long roads stretching out into the distance with not much change of outlook. This wasn't true of the whole of the holiday however and there were many other days when the environment was varied and interesting. Virtually everyone we met was warm and welcoming and the food was very good. The towns of Ravenna and Bologna have lots to interest not just those who want to spend their time in old churches. We really enjoyed the holiday and would visit the area again.
By Mrs Robertson on 07/07/2014
A stress free walking holiday knowing that hotels are well chosen , routes are well documented and local tour operator is easily contactable.
By Dr Lyttelton on 05/07/2014
The holiday was a lovely mixture of fabulous scenery, challenging cycling and good food and wine. Your website does have some comments about the grading of the cycling, we did all the longest routes and although there were some steep hills the overall length of the routes was quite short so we agreed with the grading.
By Mrs Royle on 05/07/2014
We thoroughly enjoyed walking in the Dolomites staying in Dobiacco/Toblach at Park Bellevue Hotel. The food was superb and beautifully presented and served. The hotel staff were extremely friendly and helpful.The hotel and swimming facilities etc were fantastic. We found the walks brilliant, did not expect to be walking in snow in June! but the notes on the whole were easy to follow, just got lost once and sometimes it took us longer due to snow and several fallen trees over the path on one walk. The bus ticket which was included could be used on the train and provided excellent value for exploring the region and the nearby towns. Best of all we met really interesting people in the hotel who had come with Headwater or Exodus and we all got on very well.Have already recommended Headwater to friends.
By Mrs Wass on 04/07/2014
Excellent representative. Belvedere hotel a gem. Our overall perception is coloured by the fact that we hit a heatwave of mid-thirties degrees in the shade which, given the steepness of the hills, was exhausting. Excellent suggestions for the days off from walking.
By Mrs Lynch on 03/07/2014
This is a good mix of sightseeing and walking (but see below). Our guide, Elisabetta Piseddu, was exceptional. Her local knowledge and expertise contributed substantially to our enjoyment of the holiday.
By Mrs Cosford on 02/07/2014
Very enjoyable overall. Excellent guide , very informative about the country which was interesting. Hotels varied a lot - some good , one excellent and one not so good . Being only 4 of us in the group was too small - better with more numbers for variety.
By Mr Phillips on 01/07/2014
Thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish, directions for walks / routes easy to understand and very accurate, excellent mix of walking companions in our group, superb location and scenery, the week went too fast!
By Mr Mason on 28/06/2014
Very leisurely walking combined with varied cultural sightseeing opportunities. A very beautiful part of Tuscany away from the hoards of tourists. Very enjoyable.
Villa Acquaviva is a wonderful place to stay. Very relaxing. Fabrizio and his team were very attentive and helpful at all times. Good vegetarian food options available.
An extremely well- organised holiday by Headwater.
By Mr Thompson-ashby on 28/06/2014
This was our first holiday with Headwater so we had no expectations on the grade of walk. As it turned out we coped very well, although our first day's walk to Assisi (the longer option) was tough, but we managed! The route notes were generally good, although they do need regular revision, as some signs etc. had been changed or removed. We did not lose our way, but less experienced walkers could have done so. The hotels were all good and some excellent. We particularly loved La Taviola for the way the staff went that extra mile to make us welcome and gave us a packed lunch without us asking for it, although the room we were given could hardly be describe as 'superior'. Our tour guide by his own admission seemed ready for a change. His briefing was perfunctory, but he was kind enough to lend us his walking poles. The walks were well designed - absolutely beautiful wildflowers and we didn't meet a single other traveller. Overall, a splendid holiday with good weather, a fabulous sense of history and pilgrimage plus great accommodation.
By Mr Edwards on 27/06/2014
A very well organised holiday with excellent travel arrangements and a warm welcome from rep and hosts.
By Mrs Shelley on 26/06/2014
Accurately graded,excellent accommodation: all but one providing food of a very good standard. Excellent bikes and guidance notes.
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 Mr Oldham on 26/06/2014
Of all the Headwater holidays we have done, this is perhaps the most difficult to sum up in a few words! The bikes and cycling were really good - probably one of the best experiences on that score. However, even then the scenery was somewhat less than great for the most part, with little opportunity to see a great deal of interest along the way.
The hotels were great - although in the two cases where we had to eat at outside reatsurants the service was laughably poor - really felt as if we were being served under sufferage. That did not happen where the hotels provided the food, nor at other external restaurants and cafes we used along the way - far from it. So whether they felt they didn't have to bother too much hard to say.
Dogs were an issue in parts - unlike most other rural areas we have cycled in throughout Europe, where dogs are used to protect properties but are generally tied up or confined to the property, here they could nearly all get out on the road, and in one particular case we were very glad that we could 'outpace' the rather vicious looking brutes as we were going downhill at the time.
Dear Mr Oldham, Thank you for your feedback, it was great to see that you enjoyed the cycling and the hotels on your holiday. Although, it was disappointing to see that some parts of your holiday did not meet with your expectations. We have discussed your feedback with our local agent. They have taken steps to ensure a more professional service is provided by the restaurateur’s we currently use, this will be closely monitored during the following tours and if an improvement is not achieved alternative restaurants will be used. We were also sorry to see that you encountered issues with free roaming dogs in the area, whilst this is the first report we have received of this kind. Our agent has reported the issue to the local council for their immediate attention. We would like to thank you for your constructive feedback and look forward to welcoming you on another of our holidays in the future.
Headwater Customer Service
By Mr Freeman on 26/06/2014
Fantastic combination of great scenery, good walks, superb hotel made a wonderful 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 Mr Williams on 25/06/2014
Good range of walks in outstanding scenery.Surprising lack of facilities in Dobbiaco considering time of year e.g. Most shops closed- almost no bars or alternate restaurants!
By Mr Pantridge on 24/06/2014
Well up to our expectations. The provision of a car was a necessity, given the varied locations of the daily walks, and allowed the schedule to be varied according to weather, and personal inclination. The hotel itself was a haven of hospitality and comfort in a peaceful part of Tuscany, with obliging staff and a good standard of facilities.
By Mr Valdes on 24/06/2014
The holiday was very enjoyable and the suggested places to visit/eat and short town guides were very helpful. The food in this part of Italy was amazing and there was a lovely mix of Coast and hills.
By Mrs Deeley on 24/06/2014
Very memorable. Great scenery, great food, great companions and an excellent guide in Maggie. Haven't laughed so much in a long time!
By Mrs Bailey on 24/06/2014
We had a super week with like-minded people. Although we were all initially wary of socialising as a group, during the week we became closer and enjoyed each other's company. The hotel was fun - comfortable and friendly with multi-course meals of excellent quality that were welcome after a day's hiking. It was the antithesis of an impersonal chain hotel. The only thing it lacked was wifi outside of the reception area. And some reference books - for example for wild flowers - would have been useful.
The walks were spectacular, probably made more so by the fact that we were early in the season - mid June. Tre Cime and Mount Elmo were decidedly scary first thing in the morning before someone else had kicked foothills in the snow. We learned to catch the buses around 10am not 9am. The notes were not entirely accurate and read as if the walks had not been checked for some time. In fact it didn't matter as the local trails are well signposted. Every member of the group who did the Mount Elmo walk got lost and changed from the notes to the maps or signposts. The 'Churches and Chapels' walk was unexpectedly interesting and quite energetic despite being on quiet lanes (very quiet - we were passed by one car and two tractors in 4 hours). It was a good contrast to the other walks and well worth doing.
We appreciated the notes on eating places - or the lack of them. It was useful to know when a packed lunch was necessary.
The travel card was convenient. Buses ran regularly to the walk starting-points and were not crowded at this time of year. On one day we caught the train (next to the hotel) and explored Brunico. Every stop had something to look at (see the poster on the platform).
A number of people went on to Venice afterwards, an easy trip given the minibus to the airport and then a bus to the station or a water bus to St Mark's Square.
By Mrs Moss on 23/06/2014
We have just returned from another very enjoyable holiday, all the hotels were very good, in amazing locations with fantastic views. I would definitely upgrade to a sea view room at Grand Hotel Capodimonte, especially if staying on longer in Sorrento. The walks were varied and we had no real problem with the notes. Could be challenging to some as there are defiantly plenty of steps, both up and down, in many places! Walking poles very helpful. But you are rewarded with the views and the hotels.
All our pick ups where excellent by the local agent, and the rep phoned us on the first evening as promised. We know she was easy to contact if we needed her. So, overall, an good holiday exploring this part of Italy, Thank you again, Headwater.
By Ms Stearn on 23/06/2014
Having travelled and holidayed with headwater before we were pleased with this Holiday in Italy in Palazzuolo. This was a one centre holiday with very good food and friendly staff, and loved the 2 dogs. We found the walks very challenging particularly in the heat (beginning of June).
It is a very quiet village so in the evening once you have had the evening meal there isn't anything to do. Although there is a local bus service to Maradi (the local train station) it is not vey frequent. Would recommend hiring a car in future for this holiday.
By Mrs Van praag on 22/06/2014
Very enjoyable and relaxing. Lived upto expectations
By Mrs Oram on 20/06/2014
Mt Subasio is a wonderful area in which to walk and the routes ensure good variety of walking. Spello is a lovely town (and Albergo Bastiglia a comfortable hotel with excellent food) to use as a base for further local travel (e.g. Perugia) and for relaxing pre/post the holiday.
The hotel at Assisi was very welcoming, but location is not great (neither in town nor out & on a busy road).
By Mrs Gregson on 19/06/2014
The holiday was a fantastic way to enjoy this beautiful area. An Italian feast!
By Mr Payne on 17/06/2014
Excellent route through the countryside beautiful but the cycling can be very challenging at times particularly if it is very hot.
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 Mr Ploszajski on 17/06/2014
Overall very enjoyable, with Zingaro, Erice and Mozia particular favorites. The welcome at Baglio Fontana was outstanding - we were the only guests that night and they cooked us an amazing meal!
The least pleasant element was the base in Nubia. The salt pan landscape there was far less attractive than the one visited subsequently at Mozia, the staff in the local Trattoria were very off-hand, the food was poor and we were overcharged by a taxi arranged by the hotel, which cost 20 Euros for a 4-mile trip one way.
The location of the hotel in Marsala (described in the notes as 'enviable') was not great, fronted by a busy road, surrounded by industrial buildings and our room (at the back) overlooked a railway line. If your descriptions raise expectations, it leaves an unnecessary sense of disappointment.
Dear Mr Ploszajski, Thank you for taking the time to complete your post-holiday questionnaire, it was great to see that you enjoyed your holiday overall. We have passed on your feedback to the team at Baglio Fontana they were delighted to receive such lovely comments and enjoyed your company too. I was however sorry to read of your poor experience at the local Trattoria, again we have passed on these comments and the owner would like to offer his sincere apologies for the poor service you feel you received; they pride themselves on delivering good service and tasty meals and will highlight your feedback to their staff for their immediate attention. We were also sorry to see that you felt you were overcharged for your return taxi, the hotel use licensed taxi's only with fares set by the local council. The hotel suggested that the taxi you returned in may not have been licensed and therefore charge less. We would always recommend the use of a licensed taxi wherever possible. We thank you once again for your constructive feedback and for travelling with Headwater this summer.
Headwater Customer Service team
By Mrs Campbell-kelly on 17/06/2014
This was an absolutely fanastic holiday - it did everything it said on the tin and more. The guide was second to none, she was amazing, from picking us up at Pisa to dropping us off again. Se made it all special by taking us to local restaraunts and haunts, places we would never have found ourselves. Her attention to detail was brilliant be it driving the mini bus or in sourcing really good guides in Florence and Siena. We really liked her!
By Mrs Welham on 16/06/2014
We had a fantastic holiday with Headwater and loved every minute of the walks which were well planned, with clear instructions. Everything worked as expected and it was a very easy way to walk the best of the area without any worries. Thank you.
By Mr Holway on 16/06/2014
Cycling quite tough; should be rated Two-Bike +. Landscape lovely but little variation. Rest days can be hard to fill. Accommodation good, breakfasts mostly wonderful.
By Mr Joyce on 15/06/2014
Update the walk notes, they are very out of date and unusually for Headwater quite irritating
Dear Mr Joyce, Thank you for your feedback. I have passed on your comments to the programme manger for the region,she is currently in the process of updating the route notes, unfortunately, there have been a number of amendments needed due to the unusually poor weather experienced in this area over the winter. Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused. We hope that despite this issue, you had an enjoyable holiday overall.
Headwater Customer Service team
By Mr Munn on 13/06/2014
This was our 13th consecutive year of cycling holidays with Headwater and was one of the best. This was partly because the weather was so good but mainly because the Veneto is such a lovely area for cycling and hoidaying. The food at all hotels was excellent and the local wines are not only excellent but cheap.
By Mrs Young on 12/06/2014
Terrific holiday in with superb views, excellent food and wine with delightful walks.
By Dr Goodman on 12/06/2014
Challenging walking, as described, in a beautiful area. Interesting countryside and attractive towns and villages. Excellent local guide with intimate knowledge of area, history and way of life.
By Mr Tyler on 11/06/2014
Flight connections from Birminham via Germany had clearly been well thought out.
All concerns about accuracy of directions were dispelled. Although the bikes were very heavy, they were robust and the gears easy to use. We did not take the 52km loop ride on our fourth day because it seemed over-long. In terms of accommodation and food, Ravenna scored highly with a palatial room and extensive choice at breakfast. Local guide's recommendation of Ca' de Ven as a good restaurant was spot on. Comacchio had the best location and the evening meals were excellent, with friendly staff.
At Runco, the hostess, Cristina, was pleased to share her home and truffle wood. The many small luxuries were a delight.
At Budrio, management were a little impersonal. Food was taken across the road at Accademia Dei Notturni, there were no written menus and the steward, although very friendly, had no English. We think the main course of our meal may have been missed on the first night. No wine prices given. Courtesy bus was appreciated.
By Mr Goodfellow on 10/06/2014
Perfect for the discerning holidaymaker wanting small group companionship, trouble free guiding, most meals included, not too many extra expenses and bettter standard of accommodation than offered by lower cost operators.
By Mr Gibson on 10/06/2014
Maggie was a superb guide. The walks were varied and spectacular , but much more challenging than the brochure implied... That said , because of Maggie's experience ,whilst challenging , they were very enjoyable.
Transport was poorer than expected . Picnics , with the exception of the roast suckling pig event , were essentially the same each day which was a tad disappointing.
Overall, a terrific break and I look forward to the next...
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 Mr Cross on 07/06/2014
Good first experience with friends who have been with you before.
By Mrs Elliott on 06/06/2014
The Venetian Hills holiday was a truly enjoyble experience. This is a little-known, unspoiled part of the country and ideal for walking. The welcome and service at all the hotels was second to none.
By Mr Curwen on 05/06/2014
The holiday at Aquaviva was wonderful, the facilities offered there are excellent. There's lots to do - breathtakingly beautiful walks through varied terrain and fascinating historical sites to visit. There's also plenty of wildlife in the area. We were serenaded by scops owls each eveing and saw fireflies for the first time - a magical experience.
By Mr Griffiths on 03/06/2014
Good fun helped by good weather, hotels, food and wine.
Our stay in Monopoli was wonderful and the hotel was ideal - got a little lost on our way back on the first cycle ride as we mis-counted some of the 'Y' turns. Enjoyed the cycle rides along the side roads - pretty wild flowers in May.
By Mrs McKay on 03/06/2014
L'Albara was wonderful and accommodated our dietary requirements (vegan) very well - every course had a vegan version and the quality of the food was the best we've had.
By Mr Potter on 03/06/2014
Having a trip manager native to the country, who also lives in London and understands her guests, really made the trip. Elisabetta's enthusiasm, knowledge of local food and wine specialities, and recommendations on genuine, non-touristy places to see and experience (especially restaurants), were outstanding.
By Mr Palmer on 03/06/2014
Very enjoyable and varied introduction to Tuscany.
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 Mr Duncan on 31/05/2014
There was 5 in our family party. 2 x over 65 1 x over 40 & 2 x 36 to 39
All enjoyed the trip very much. However I have sent an e mail to Lisa regarding the representative.
The hotels , staff & food were excellent & we were made most welcome.
By Mr Ray-johnson on 30/05/2014
Stimulating and sufficiently challenging to arrive home with a sense of achievement as well as enjoying the local culture, history and scenery. Whilst we are still fit, we will consider taking another Headwater Cycling trip again.
By Mis Lloyd on 30/05/2014
It was an enjoyable holiday and the company was good. The first hotel is particularly well placed for Ravello and was friendly and comfortable. The second is a bit inconveniently sited and Lisa could have given more helpful information about public bus regime re tickets etc. However, she was a knowledgeable and interesting leader especially at Pompei. Walks were very gentle and Lisa chose routes with plenty of variety and interest.
By Mis Perry on 29/05/2014
This is a lovely area of Italy and all the places we stayed were good. The travel arrangements worked like clockwork and the walks were lovely. My favourite Headwater holiday, so far.
By Mrs Hughes on 29/05/2014
Stunning hotel and food in a little known part of Tuscany with fascinating range of walking/history/scenery/towns/coast.
By Mr Taylor on 29/05/2014
The weather was not too good (mostly cloudy) so mountain-top views were out. But our guide Alberto was so good. he made up for the lack of sun! His knowledge of trees, plants (medicinal uses) and history was extraordinary, and he was good company. The historical sites on the island were fascinating. As it's such a large island a lot of time was spent getting to places but the roads were good and Alberto was a good driver.
Sometimes the walking was quite rough as the landscape is very stoney so two walking sticks is recommended, Tiscali was definitely the highlight: both a dramatic walk and a uniquely interesting site..
By Ms Swinburne on 29/05/2014
Secrets o Sicily was probably one of the best holidays ever. The walking was great, the routes good, the accommodation (with one exception) excellent with good food. Everything you could want for comfort and enjoyment, but not at all fussy. Domenica at Baglio La Luna was great in letting us keep the room for the whole day before we flew back in the evening, and in offering us food in a location where there is nothing else. The help given in choosing appropriate accommodation for our two extra (lazy) days before we started the walking holiday was much appreciated. Thank you.
By Mr Harrison on 29/05/2014
Excellent trip and guide
By Mr Robinson on 29/05/2014
The Amalfi walking trip was spectacular . Our guide was local and knew all the areas we visited inside out. She was on first name terms with people we met along the way and kept holiday hassle free , no queuing or waiting for buses. Italian 3* hotels are of a very high standard , well located and friendly
By Mrs Cushion on 29/05/2014
Probably not for 'casual' walkers as the walks seemed appropriate for experienced ones.
By Mr Bevan on 28/05/2014
This was our first experience with Headwater although we have previously toured and trekked with a number of other companies. We were overall impressed, and would certainly consider Headwater for other walking or cycling holidays.
By Mrs Sherren on 28/05/2014
The unexpected cold,wet.windy weather in Sardinia in mid-May required a change to the advertised programme.We actually had three organised walks instead of five (plus one of our own),but our knowledgeable guide substituted archeological visits instead. A very enjoyable week despite the weather.
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 Ballantyne on 27/05/2014
il feudo is rather basic and rustic .Steep stairs no lift.Shower unit in bathroom fell off wall.,not a lot of pressure. Welcome was good though.
Villa Lussana all confection ---no lift Headwater customers on second floor. shower unit cracked and water only just warm enough.
For walkers some paths i found quite tough walking over tumbling rocks in the hills which could easily have been dangerous so you had to be vigilant. Having done a fair few walking hols i found this one quite tough . but may be age had something to do with it . i would have graded it a little higher i think.
But enjoyable all the same .Well its Italy ---whats not to like!!!!!!!
By Mrs O'Connor on 26/05/2014
We both really enjoyed our Piedmont Holiday. All of the hotels we stayed at were very good, all quite different in character from one another which we liked. The Piedmont countryside is beautiful and the local people were so friendly. The walks were quite challenging, lots of hills, the steepest usually as you try to reach your hotel at the end of the day, but a great feeling when you do arrive.
The distances quoted on the route notes were much shorter than those that registered on my pedometer, I think perhaps these should be reviewed.
The local Headwater reps. Marsha and Esme were fantastic, very helpful, friendly and punctual.
The meals in the evening were usually taken in local restaurants, our favourites Osteria dei Catari and Locanda del Centro, the more rustic of the bunch. Only negative for us was The Ristarante il Castello, beautiful building, shame about the atmosphere, formality taken to the limit, neither diners nor staff seemed to be having a good time. We were due to dine there twice, but decided to give the second visit a miss.
Apart from that a brilliant holiday. Pat O'Connor
By Mr Savage on 26/05/2014
Well organised and enjoyable holiday
By Mr Propert on 25/05/2014
Before you book, it would be useful to know the days when meals are not available. For example, at Spello the food is highly rated (an attraction for us) but we had two Wednesdays there, had had to walk the entire length of the town, returning in rain one evening, to get our alternative meal. It was good - but frankly, it is too far. At Assissi, it would be better to make it more clear that while you enjoy a brief tour of the town on the high route, you then have quite a trek out to the hotel. And the food here, is simply poor - but I guess choices are limited. We upgrade everything - and at la Tavola the food was excellent, but our upgrade room (10) was dire - it was not an upgrade! And it is really time to update the notes - we did not get lost, but bits are horrendous - ruts and mud, and things like benches 'from which to contemplate' - but broken down.
Our next holiday with you is in Germany - why oh why do you not do more there??
Dear Mr Propert,
Thank you for taking the time to complete your post-holiday questionnaire and for your constructive comments. Your feedback has been passed on to the programme manager and our local rep. Following on from your comments improvement have been put into place. We now provide a taxi to transfer customers to and from dinner in Spello when required. Unfortunately due to the unusually poor weather over the winter some of the routes were still quite muddy when you travelled out in early May. However this will remedy itself as the weather improves over spring. All route notes have now been checked and are up to date. We would like to apologise that you were given the incorrect room on arrival to the La Tavola the reservation team are sorry for this oversight and have assured us that this was a one off incident. A refund will be issued immediately. We would like to thank you for travelling with Headwater this summer and look forward to welcoming you on another of our holidays in the future.
Headwater Customer Service team
By Mrs Marchant on 24/05/2014
Overall a good holiday with (mostly) good weather and great eruptions on Stromboli. Some parts are excellent (the walks are good and the Stromboli climb is excellent). Some parts just don't work. It's utter madness to include dinner on all 3 nights on Lipari - the food at the Rocce Azzurre is poor (edible, but certainly not any sort of local specialities) and there are lots of far better eating options nearby. Please also ask all the hotels to stop serving tinned fruit at breakfast - the markets are heaving with the most fantastic fresh fruit and every hotel just provided tinned peaches, pears and prunes. The Etna day also needs reviewing. There were 4 separate couples doing the same non-guided trip, so Headwater made significant savings on all the transfers by putting us into one group (which was fine). However, on arrival at Etna we had to wait to find out if the trip was going to run as the weather was poor, but the driver was unable to wait for us as he had another appointment. We knew the weather was going to be poor so we emailed the local rep the day before but no-one responded. Surely there must be a better process than having to get up early, arrange early breakfast, drive for an hour to Etna, find out that the trip isn't running, wait around for a few hours to get the driver back and then drive another hour back to Taormina. It feels very much as though you're on your own.
I would recommend that the onus be put on the local rep to find out what is likely to happen on Etna the day before the trip is due to happen, and then leave info for Headwater guests at the Corso/Continental with an idea of what the itinerary is likely to be. Guests would then have a more informed choice of whether to go along with the trip (potentially in wind/fog/rain etc) or whether to stay in Taormina.
More info on alternative hydrofoil/ferry options would also have been useful. On our Vulcano day all the ferries stopped due to high winds, but we were able to get a private boat - this would have been easier to find if it was mentioned in the notes. We also did the walks in the order suggested in the notes whereas if it was suggested to look at the weather first it would have been more sensible to do the Vulcano trip on the first day on Lipari and the Quattropani walk on the second.
Dear Mrs Marchant, Thank you for taking the time to complete your post-holiday questionnaire. Please be assured that all of the feedback we receive is useful in assisting us to continue to improve and develop our holidays for future customers and is always well received. It was great to see that you enjoyed your holiday to Sicily and were lucky enough to witness the eruptions on Stromboli, I am sure it was an amazing sight. We would also like to thank you for your constructive feedback, I have discussed your comments with the Programme manager for the region and we have since put measures in to place where improvements are required. These include insisting the hoteliers serve fresh fruit at breakfast. We are also decreasing the amount of dinners included in Lipari to allow our customers to sample the local restaurants and are working closely with our local agent to improve the information and service provided on the Etna day, unfortunately, due to the very fast changing weather conditions on the volcano it is sometimes necessary to delay or cancel the trip. Although as this is a highlight to most peoples holiday, from past customer feedback, whilst it is sometimes frustrating waiting around depending on the weather, most customers say they would have preferred this option, however, we appreciate some people would rather not go if the weather is poor beforehand therefore, we will give our customers the option to stay at the hotel in future.
Our route notes are updated seasonally and then throughout the season as required, we will consider your suggestions when the next update is due. Whilst I realise these amendments do not help you personally. I do hope that it goes some way to show we take your feedback seriously.
Yours sincerely, Headwater Customer Service team.
By Mr Crozier on 22/05/2014
Excellent holiday which was well designed and lead by a truly exceptional local rep/leader/driver! Travel distances not too great and well driven. The location of the hotels were all excellent and in very pleasant towns and locations. The sightseeing was varied and most interesting as was the walking which was interesting and scenic although somewhat limited due to the time available. The local restaurants were very good and our guide had already discovered some excellent venues for lunch and/ or dinner where she was usually well known. This made a big difference and increased our enjoyment. The group of 6 was ideal and everyone pulled together well with the encouragement and help of the guide.
By Mrs Dodds on 21/05/2014
I enjoyed the variety of this holiday, beautiful walks and interesting cities, but above all, it was our tour leader who made the holiday such a success. She was knowledgable, considerate and fun to be with.
By Mr Hill on 19/05/2014
Sardinia is a very beautiful island with an interesting history and culture. Headwater enabled us to gain a real insight into the island and the holiday took us to some very stunning locations. Our trip was very ably led by Alberto who was one of the best guides we have had, very considerate, knowledgeable and excellent company.
By Ms Philliben on 19/05/2014
Great company to deal with. We were looked after very well indeed!
By Mr Munson on 19/05/2014
Our holiday was both wonderfully active and relaxing. Paola (our guide) was superb throughout facilitating bonding within the group and providing us with a good level of information about the places we visited. Paola ate with us on 6 out of the 7 evenings giving us 24/7 care and attention. The walks took us through dramatic scenery and were pleasantly challenging and yet achievable for our age and physical ability. We enjoyed the friendly family ran 'back street' pizza places and restaurants that we were taken to. Pompeii was of considerable interest and was well explained to us by Paola, although we could have, perhaps, spent slightly longer there than the 2 hours we did, perhaps an hour at the end to wander by ourselves to visit the amphitheatre or the café. Both Ravello and the Garden Hotel were superb.
By Mr Wyatt on 18/05/2014
Overall holiday was good. Never saw rep, although not really necessary. Big hotels at punta campanella and sorrento not great as they cater for the mass coach trip market and lose personal touch. We met inntravel (or possibly atg) walkers in punta campanella staying in small hotel which was idyllic. Luna convento excellent and set a high bar others did not come close to. Sorrento particularly disappointing as it was in chaos and couldn't handle the number of guests . It was the first time in 50 years travelling i have had to queue (30 minutes) for a dinner table. Food also left much to be desired. A smaller hotel in town might be a better bet and certainly more our preference
Dear Mr Wyatt, Thank you for your feedback. We were pleased to see that you enjoyed your holiday overall. We were however sorry to see that you did not receive your welcome brief on arrival, this is usually carried out via telephone. We will ensure this is made clearer in our documentation for future customers. We were also sorry to see you were disappointed with some of the hotels you stayed in due to the size and lack of personal touch, wherever possible we try to use small and friendly hotels. I have passed on your feedback to our programme manager for their consideration. We would like to thank you for travelling with Headwater this summer and look forward to welcoming you on another of our holidays in the future.
By Mrs Parsons on 16/05/2014
Had one of the best holidays,but Paola was the icing on the cake.
By Mr Townsley on 16/05/2014
Very well organised, beautiful scenery, good family run hotels wit authentic cuisine.
By Mr Goodchild on 16/05/2014
Great scenery, fantastic local rep, wonderful views of the surrounding landscape and of course food in the lunchtime trattorias. Lots of walking down steps to the coastal towns though!
By Mr Henniker-major on 15/05/2014
Easy biking, good food, great historic cities and cultural sites...lucky with the weather
By Mrs Cameron on 15/05/2014
Idyllic setting but some disappointments. See below
By Mr Previte on 14/05/2014
Because of our ages (I am 80, my wife is 78) we decided not to do the Puglia trip on bikes but by car. This worked very well. The only problem was the very narrow streets and difficulty in finding the way in Monopoli. Doing it by car meant we had more time to explore the places where we stayed and time to drive to Lecce. We thought that Masseria Salamina would be a very good base for anyone wishing to explore Puglia by car. It is a lovely hotel, easy to find and in a good location for visiting other interesting places in that area. The sea food restaurants on the coast are excellent, especially one at La Forcatella. The remains of the Roman town and port at Egnazia and the museum are very intersting.
By Dr Simpson on 14/05/2014
This was an excellent guided holiday which provided good contrast between the two hotels and areas visited. The flowers and birds were excellent too. Our guide, Alberto, who was 'standing in' for the normal guide, Maggie, was outstanding and couldn't have looked after us better. As a local, his knowledge of Sardinia, its customs and culture, together with his botanical meant he was the best Headwater guide we have had.
By Mrs Davies on 14/05/2014
The holiday was excellent. Each days walk was so different from high mountain tracks with stunning views to pleasant pathways banked with wild flowers which meandered down to a river plus the last walk which ended at a lovely white sandy beach. The lunches provided were great - suckling pig cooked over a charcoal fire and local produce including wine at Tiscali. The picnic at Cala Luna was excellent too and all carried by Alberto - no problemo for him!
By Mrs Harris on 14/05/2014
Beautiful scenery, varied walking, wonderful guide!
By Mr Martin on 09/05/2014
On our arrival we were welcomed by our driver Señor Russo who we found to be both entertaining and informative. Throughout our stay he was always punctual and reliable. Although we never actually met the resort agent she rang us to advise about adverse weather condition, diversions and alternative routes. Unfortunately we experienced poor weather but it did not interfere with our enjoyment of the holiday and we managed to complete the planned itinery. Overall all the htels were good and we were delighted to find our accommodation had been upgraded at the Pumta Campanelle where we had the benefit of a suite and a large sun terrace. We have only two observations to make to improve the holiday:
(1) The cost of porterage at 3 euros per bag on arrival and departure should either be included in the holiday cost or guests advised of this in the holiday information.
(2) the time of departure for the airport should be included in the holiday informattion to avoid guests having to make an educated guess based on flight times.
By Mrs Arlett on 07/05/2014
This was a very enjoyable holiday. The walks, locations, itinerary and choice of hotels were all well thought out. We enjoyed the variety of walks and the wild flowers were stunning. Spotting a Bonelli Eagle was one of the highlights. Our local reps looked after us well, leaving us to be independent but stepping in when required - for example, sorting out a hotel in Trapani when our boat trip to Marettimo was delayed due to high winds. We found some of the walks quite tough but rewarding. The hotels were varied and our favourite was the self catering on Marettimo.
By Mr Ainger on 07/05/2014
We thoroughly enjoyed the holiday. The walking mix was good, and flowers, birds, sea and sun were a great combination. Marettimo was special.
By Mr Ausden on 25/04/2014
Could not be faulted to be perfectly honest, excellent accomodation throughout,well balanced walking itinerary, first class route notes and maps.The Amalfi coast was everything we hoped it would be and more, a great holiday.
By Ms Parks on 25/04/2014
Fantastic locations with carefully selected routes and hotels. Descriptions of the walks for for self guided tour where very easy to follow and very accurate.
By Mr Woolstone on 23/04/2014
A wonderfully authentic Puglian expeience -great locations, countryside, food, wine & cycling
By Mr Arena on 23/04/2014
This was a very well arranged holiday and headwater proved faultless in its arrangements. As a region, however, it is neither especially beautiful, nor especially interesting. The hills were very steep in the initial stages- far steeper than anticipated. The accommodation was fair but not exceptional and often not especially comfortable. The food was by and large mediocre given that there were set menus which seldom changed and which were repeated at nearly every hotel/restaurant. Notwithstanding the efforts of headwater, this was a disappointing holiday.
By Mrs Boram on 20/04/2014
The dusk hike on Stromboli was incredible and was the highlight of our holiday.
By Mr Dear on 18/04/2014
We decided to book our own direct flights with BA instead of using the advertised Alitalia via Milan flights. The timings don't differ significantly and Headwater were happy to arrange non standard transfers at no extra cost. The standard of accommodation throughout the trip was of a high standard. We really enjoyed the stay in the Trulli house and were pleasantly surprised to be given a Trulli suite with a small patio garden! The highlight however was our stay in the Masseria Salamina. On booking we upgraded to a garden suite but on arrival we were delighted to be allocated the luxury suite complete with private balcony and sea views. We were made to feel really welcome by the family and the food was excellent. Simple, fresh and plentiful with much of it coming from their own farm.
The map of the area is only good for an overview but the route notes and briefing were excellent and at no point did we stray off route. Some of the roads (as has been mentioned before) are in a poor condition but this did not detract from the enjoyment of the cycling.
Another enjoyable, well organised and well supported holiday from Headwater. The next one is already booked!
By Mrs Organ on 17/04/2014
The overall holiday was very enjoyable, well planned with a good mix of site seeing and excellent walking in a little known but beautiful part of Sicily, all local
Agents were on time and efficient, Carlos in particular was well informed and helpful, others were less so.. We opted to pay extra to have some time sight seeing in Palermo on the last day. This caused quite a lot of arranging and could have been offered to us before we went, The last hotel was not good. The food was very poor, bit like school dinners and as it was in such an isolated location it was not possible to walk to any where else as another choice to eat, it was a long distance from the planned walks in the reserve so it entailed long taxi rides to and for , which seemed pointless and made the whole thing rather regulated rather than the freedom offered at the other hotels and locations. In addition I had been persuaded to pay 60 Euro extra by the U.K. Booking agent from Headwater for a room with a sea view and little patio when in fact all it was was an ordinary room with rather a small window which did look over the sea, a rip off.
By Mrs Bruce on 31/01/2014
We cycled every day and enjoyed being in the area; our trip had some changeable weather, including warm sun, heavy rain and strong winds. If you had another cycle route in the area, we'd certainly like to consider returning!
By Mrs Ripley on 25/11/2013
An excellent holiday with the usual high standards of food, accommodation and planning.
By Mr Whittaker on 03/11/2013
This area of Italy proved to be lovely for cycling. Most of the routes were along very quiet lanes lined with dry stone walls, along side olive groves and vineyards. Staying in a Trulli in Alberrobello was a delightful experience, so much so that we wish we had been able to book an extra night: we didn't cycle on the middle day as we wanted to look round the town.
By Mr Waddell on 26/10/2013
Thoroughly enjoyed my first visit to Sardinia, second walking holiday with Headwater. Got a real feel of the countryside and the variety of terrain. So mountainous! Wonderful coastline and coral sands, clear sea water, glorious. Actually swam in late September with 'old wives' fishes nibbling on my legs! Good walking, excellent guiding, not an endurance test, but still challenging. Great views.
By Mr Wright on 22/10/2013
Javier is an excellent rep. September is a great month for this sort of holiday - warm but mostly manageable temperatures for cycling. There is a great variety of places to visit and some delightful landscapes. From Il Poggio we had an excellent ride up to Gualdo Cattaneo but it's a bit of a slog - the view from the tower is good. From Relais de Ripa it's worth visiting Perugia on the 'day off' by bus after an early breakfast - don't even think of cycling there unless you are super fit. We also enjoyed visiting Montefalco and the olive and wine museums at Torgiano. We loved the variety of hotels and the meals and warm welcomes from the staff. Headwater have helped us to fall in love with Italy.
By Mrs Dolan on 21/10/2013
Holiday was around three centres and we didn't walk between them. Taxi transfers ere very reliable and efficient. Our taxi driver Daniella, was keen to practice his English. Our three night on Marettimo where we ate in Il Veliero where the anto pasto was marvellous. We got a really great welcome at La Luna and we were lucky to be able to stay in our room until late on the last day when we were flying home late so we could have a shower after a day on the beach at San Vito Lo Capo. We enjoyed the visits to Segesta and Enrice. It was a really good mox of walking and seeing a few of the sights.
By Mrs Scott on 21/10/2013
We had a lovely holiday on the beautiful Amalfi coast. Our guide Paula went out of her way to look after us and help us enjoy our holiday.Good walks. Ravello was a beautiful location and hotel with a newly opened swimming pool. The hotel in Massa Lubrensa was good and had alovely pool. Beautiful viewss over to Capri but very near a busy road with quite a lot of traffic.Thank you.
By Mrs Bailey on 19/10/2013
This was one of the best holidays we have taken with Headwater (this was our 5th). The hotels were both of a good standard which is not always what we have found previously (Jordan, Turkey, some of Croatia in Trogir and Bol). There was a bonus that Ravello hotel had just had a pool installed and this was excellent. The mix of walks / swimming and interest was perfect and the guide particularly helpful.
One issue that was raised by everyone was the number of down steps there were on some of the walks. This was not good and affected the knees of us and many other folk....this should have been mentioned.
By Mr Robertson on 17/10/2013
Piedmont is a very attractive area and not at all 'touristy'. It is, however, much hillier than we expected from brochure description, and though the climbs were interesting at times, the rewards were the views from the top and the descents!
The accommodation was excellent in every respect, the hotel and restaurant staff almost invariably very welcoming and helpful and the food and wines were generally very good. Special mention to the Osteria Dai Cateri in Monforte d'Alba for the best dinner of the holiday but most of the others were extremely good. Moda again in Monforte d'Alba was only average and Verde Rama in Castiglione Tinella was a bit disappointing; they gave us a restricted '?Headwater' menu and several of the dishes served were poor. I think all the other restaurants gave us a choice from their a la carte menus.
This is our third Headwater holiday and the bikes provided were the worst. The bikes were fairly basic and slightly heavy hybrids compared with what the Chain Gang gave us last year but they were poorly maintained and my bike was unsafe. My wife's bike's handlebars weren't straight and she couldn't get into the lowest gear (not handy in hilly terrain!). My bike's gears were also not set up corrrectly but I was able to sort that myself, but the bike felt unsteady on corners. Eventually it started creaking loudly going up hills and my wife observed the rear wheel wobble especially on corners. I've a little experience in bike maintenance and the problem seemed to be due to slack spokes that needed tensioned. Marc brought out, the following morning, a replacement wheel taken from another bike and this seemed ok during a quick test in the hotel's garage but after a few yards with panniers on, ball bearings started falling out of the rear wheel bearing. Unfortunately the reps had gone and as they'd forgotten their mobile, it was some time before I got a replacement bike. This was a Giant and much better than my original Headwater bike, thankfully. If both our bikes had been of this quality, we would have definitely considered another Headwater holiday and recommended you to our friends and family.
During the booking process, Headwater arranged the train tickets from Nice to Cuneo and informed me on the phone and in the original invoice, the train departure times and that we would change trains at Breil Sur Roya. When the final invoice arrived, train depature time and station to switch trains at (now Ventimiglia), had been changed. Fortunately I noticed the alterations but I think Headwater should have drawn our attention, specifically, to this, as we might have missed it.
By Mrs Marshall on 14/10/2013
Your local agent organised a great tour through Puglia, linking key sights of interest via lovely quiet back roads where we observed rural life.
By Mr O'Hara on 14/10/2013
The island hopping, with 3/2/3 night stays to break up the travelling, worked very well, and all the transits were well handled. We felt the challenge of the walks was well reflected in the brochure and built up effectively through the holiday. We were fortunate to be able to do all the walks in good (and not too hot!) weather, but realised how weather-dependent the Stromboli and Etna walks are and thought the brochure might mention this.
By Mr Collman on 14/10/2013
A cycling holiday is an adventure. We started in summer weather and ended in cold and rain which did somewhat marr this experience. This was our 6th cycling holiday, and we felt that the route was somewhat artificial. [Our favourite was the Danube, Passau to Vienna, which was a real journey.]
By Mr Healey on 13/10/2013
An excellently put together holiday. Hotels good and food generally so too,where provided. We booked double rooms for single occupancy and,with the exception of the hotel del corso my suspicion is that we were given the worst double rooms.....eg at the rocco azure every room seemed to have a balcony except mine,and my friends did have a balcony but was the one situated immediately above the hotel entrance,with no view and with noise from early deprting german guests .My suspicion is that German groups at the hotel had the better rooms,for whatever reason.
By Mr Waite on 12/10/2013
Headwater provides an excellently organised walking experience - choosing breathtaking routes which are brilliantly and minutely mapped out.
Quite the best walking holiday operator I have ever used.
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 Weipers on 11/10/2013
Beautiful vistas of the Heart of Italy are your reward for the few 'lung busters' en route. Umbria is less developed than its neighbours but all the more perfect for it.
By Mrs Harland on 11/10/2013
We had an excellent holiday with everything very well sorted by Headwater. Our only real complaint was with the hotel in Spello who were not helpful. We were tired from travelling and there was no one really to welcome us or to tell us when dinner was served or give us a drink until 20.00hrs when the staff had finished their dinner. Head waiter was rude and off hand after he discovered we were Headwater guests but the food was good. La Tavola and La Silve were wonderful and couldn't have been better, at both hotels we were so well looked after and the food was delicious. We would have liked to have a had a 3rd night at La Silve as there was no room at Spello on our return so we had to go on to Perugia but this wasn't suggested by your agent.
By Ms Osborne on 10/10/2013
I loved the holiday. Some elements were to do with the weather and the beautiful location. However, other elements were thanks to Headwater. The guide was excellent and that was very important. I enjoyed the hotels and thought they were very good choices. The Massa Lubrense hotel wasnt as nice as the hotel in Ravello, but having observed the other hotels in the area, i thought it was probably the best available. i have had a quick look at the itineraries offered by other companies for the Sorrento peninsular and Amalfi coastline and didnt think they offered such an attractive itinerary. I was travelling as a single person (and was the only one on the tour) but found that it was very easy to integrate with the others as they were like-minded.
By Mr Jackson on 10/10/2013
The holiday itinerary was well-planned and took us through a delightful and unfamiliar part of northern Italy. The cycling was leisurely but varied, with opportunities to visit a range of very interesting and attractive places and sights. Sarah's advice and suggestions were excellent, and she dealt promptly with a problem with one of the bikes. Accommodation was very good: we particularly enjoyed our stays at Belvedere Resort ai Colle and at Agriturismo l'Albara (where dining alongside the family made for a great atmosphere). Everyone we met was friendly and helpful, the weather was excellent at this time of year, and the local wine a revelation (unfortunately we were only able to bring back 2 bottles from Gabriella at Agriturismo Il Feudo)!
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 Morgan on 09/10/2013
Great combination of exercise, exploration and recreation.
By Mr Compton on 07/10/2013
Excellent meet and greet, great walking and good food.
By Mrs Reeves on 07/10/2013
Excellent in every way and the food was amazing!
By Mr Hamilton on 06/10/2013
This was one of our best Headwater holidays to date despite inclement weather preventing the Mt Etna trek. Stromboli evening climb was spectacular and the Hotels in Lipari and Taormina were very well chosen for location and the personal service. Views from both were lovely.
By Ms Tonge on 06/10/2013
A good trip around the Aeolian Islands-we had good weather and it was possible to do all the walks which were generally easy to follow. The 2 hotels on the islands were good particularly the Rocce Azzure right on the sea front.
Unfortunately we did not get to do the Etna ascent from Taormina. There was a lot of cloud on Etna on the morning of our transfer up to the refuge and when we arrived there we were told the ascent was not possible due to poor weather conditions. Fortunately we were able to get the taxi driver back in time otherwise we would have been stuck there all day until his scheduled return at 4pm. We did wonder whether this couldn't have been ascertained earlier by the rep and there was no further contact from her regarding a possible refund on the trip or the possibility of doing the trip another day(we had extended our stay so could have gone the next day) so a bit unsatisfactory.
The trip is expensive particularly with the extra costs required for ferries and meals out. However Sicily is an expensive place to visit particularly when in the very touristed towns like Taormina- eating out /drinks/entry to museums etc. was very expensive so this should be taken into account when calculating a budget.
Overall we enjoyed the trip particularly the hike up to Stromboli at sun set to see the eruptions.
By Mrs Kinmonth on 04/10/2013
Harder cycling than expected, mainly due to wind.
By Mrs Gentle on 04/10/2013
We were unprepared for the heat or the severity of the hills
By Dr Murphy on 04/10/2013
A lovely way to be relatively guilt free enjoying great food and fine wine, and working off the calories by day! Most cycling is relatively flat, but all the fantastic views come at a price - either a short steep climb or a long slow climb!
By Mr Lacey on 03/10/2013
Very good food in a welcoming hotel in a lovely location with interesting walks.
By Mr Bennett on 02/10/2013
This is a beautiful area and we loved it! Our experience was greatly enhanced by the hotel and particularly the hotel staff who were always most friendly and helpful. The food was excellent, the best we have enjoyed over a number of Headwater holidays.
By Mr Emms on 02/10/2013
nice hotels, gentle cycling and wonderful surroundings....all makes for an enjoyable and relaxing break
By Mr Greef on 02/10/2013
Excellent walking, really good hotels and food
By Mr Eamer on 01/10/2013
Pleased with the way Headwater arranged the holiday to our personal requirements at short notice.
By Mr Collins on 01/10/2013
On the whole all the hotels exceeded our expectations as did the bikes, which were very good, though I would recommend extra padded cycling shorts.
If you arent going to have lunch at a restaurant en route, buy your provisions early, because everything closes for lunch, we never did work out the closing times, as we always seemed to be on the road. Many of the roads are awful, so those padded shorts will serve you doubly!
The dinners are plentiful and wonderful food. The routes are delightful, mainly on small roads with little traffic. There was only one day which proved to be rather taxing with a lot of ups and downs from Alberobello to Martina Franca. Luggage transportation went without any hiccups and all in all it was a really enjoyable destination to catch the last of the summer warmth.
By Mr Williams on 01/10/2013
An excellent holiday in an outstanding area. Local history combined with fantastic scenery, and walks. Some of the walks were at the upper end of the grading - made worse by unusually high temperatures. The organisation of the transfers and visits to historic sites was first rate.
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 Mrs Ketteringham on 30/09/2013
All the arrangements worked well, even driving from Rome as the directions were faultless. The walks were paced just right for us and the food at the hotel was excellent.
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 Dr Bungay on 27/09/2013
Wonderful cycling holiday with varied days and experiences. The cycling could be easy or more challenging according to the options. The scenery and architecture was amazing, but very few tourists (except Venice)
By Ms Livesey on 26/09/2013
By Mrs Rouse on 25/09/2013
An excellant Holiday company for all the local knowledge it incorporates. The reps were great.
By Mr Brown on 25/09/2013
have spoken to joanne prior to your e mail but conform we thought the holiday was excellent in every respect. bikes were brilliant hotels and food better than expected. the area was fascinating and very unspoilt and great cycling routes.We were dismayed to hear of Ali accident just after our our meeting and hope she recovers quickly and fully because she was really great and helpful and knowledgeable and sensible. One set of directions per cyclist would have been better and advance warning of city taxes in two of the hotels might be wise. Otherwise a really great holiday.
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 Dr Banyard on 23/09/2013
This was one of our all time favourite holidays owing to the stunning scenery & the very high standard of accommodation offered. The walking schedule was relatively relaxed but the amount of step climbing might be daunting to some, though it would be easy to slow the pace if necessary and to take full advantage of the alternate 'rest days'. It was well worth the time and expense in adding a couple of extra days during which we explored Pompeii and Herculaneum and took a trip up to the summit of Vesuvius. The local bus & train services (although a little basic & crowded) were easy to use and efficient. Our dietary restrictions were catered for very competently and without fuss.
By Mr Stern on 22/09/2013
The comments on food above refer to breakfast only. Restaurant comments:
Villa d'Amelia: First meal a little disappointing regarding service and food. Second much better in both respects. Just about worth a Michelin star.
Il Castello: A little formal but excellent food. Worth a Michelin star.
Le Torri: Really friendly, interesting well cooked food, a nice contrast to Il Castello. Two excellent evenings. Pity the owners are moving to La Morra.
Osteria dei Catari: Nice people. Starters good but the 4 of us had 3 different main courses and all were poor.
Osteria La Salita: Friendly service and an excellent dinner, better cooked and more interesting than dei Catari.
By Mrs Brown on 22/09/2013
We (and others) felt that the 1st day of walking was merely pleasant - not up to the billing - but from our arrival at Casa Pavesi the holiday took off and justified the comment we had had that it was the jewel in your crown. It was, however, marred somewhat by the poor wording of the script walking guide, which caused all 4 couples to go wrong (independently of each other) at least once. Fortunately the map enabled recovery of the route.
By Mrs Dickinson on 22/09/2013
Some demanding hills but mostly flat cycling. Hotels very varied but all had wonderful views and good food.
By Mis Low on 21/09/2013
Excellent week, stunning scenery, friendly people. Fantastic local food and drink. Couldn't fault Maggie the guide, terrific. Some really good walks but could have been tested a bit more and walked further on some days. Would travel with Headwater again.
By Mrs Pyke on 21/09/2013
Park Hotel staff and service outstanding. The walking guide notes were a good way to get the feel of the available routes in an all too brief week..they were accurate and very detailed. The Locanda staff were a delight, as well..so cheery and helpful. The Ferrovia area is a bit of a nightmare people crush, but, amazingly, down our little alley, all was very peaceful. The small Trattoria next to the hotel was a nice place too..staffed by pleasant and hospitable couple.
By Mrs McLynn on 20/09/2013
Javier, the rep, was excellent! He had so much local knowledge, he knew and updated the routes, and he gave much useful advice on safe cycling and
cycle maintenance. He also made it clear that if we had any problem he was only a phone call away! Well done!
By Mr Harris on 20/09/2013
We enjoyed the cycling route, althoughit was not particularly scenic compared with other Italy holidays, but we knew the Po delta area would be flat.
Disappointed not to be met at Bologna airport which meant our party had to phone Headwater and the Taxi transfer company and wait over one and a half hours on a very hot day. The anxiety that this gave was a bad start to what was supposed to be a nice break, and no one seemed to accept the responsibilty or even cared that we were thoroughly let down.
On day 3 the road up to S Alberto was very busy with very large lorries overtaking us, quite dangerous, then just before S.Alberto the road was being completely resurfaced, so we had to ride over the grit for about half a mile.We ended up with a puncture in the rear wheel. I repaired it, which was difficult as the hole was near the valve. but one hour later the tyre deflated again. The tube had split so I decided to change the inner tube. However the spare tube provided in my kit was of the wrong type, wider, and with a schrader valve, rather than the racing style valve. Clearly it was for another type of wheel. Fortunately my wife's kit had the right sort of tube. Changing the tube meant removing the rear wheel, but my kit had no spanner, again fortunately my wife's kit did.
When we got to the hotel, I phoned Bike RentalPlus and asked them to supply another tube in case we had another problem. They denied that they would have supplied the wrong inner tube and thta they were not oblged to prove inner tubes anyway! Then said I should buy another from the bike Shop in Comacchio (until then we did not know there was one) She said the hotel would refund the cost. Bike Rental did phone back next day to see if all was now OK and said the htel would refund the 9 Euro. On departure however. The hotel refused to!
Fortunately we had no more punctures. and we enjoyed the rest of the cycling.
Generally we felt that there were too many people involved in supporting customers, with no one person being a local contact point or overall holiday coordinator. Who was responsible for booking the transfers?
We felt the food at the 2 agroturismos was not what we would have expected. Le Occare owner was very pleasant, but food small quantities and menu poor.
Having cycled 28 miles we needed more than a small plate of spagetti and what looked like a poached/baked egg in breadcrumbs! The next evening was better. At S.m. Maddelena we were clearly on a low price and quality menu compared with non cycling guests.
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 Mr Ross on 19/09/2013
Very good holiday with interesting and varied walks. The whole experience benefitted from the knowledge, enthusiasm and encouragement of our guide Maggie.
By Mr Mellish on 19/09/2013
We used Headwater last year for the Alsace walking holiday. We were so impressed we booked for the Barolo Gastronomic walking holiday. We were not disappointed. All aspects of the holiday were well planned and we felt very well supported by Headwater's local representatives. Have already recommended Headwater to friends and we will definitely use them again.
By Mrs O'Hanlon on 19/09/2013
The outgoing travel was poor as we waited 5hours in Venice for out train as our rep did not have the time to meet us earlier.
We were all very tired having been up since 3 a.m and not arriving at our destination until 5.30p.m. On our return we were offered a coach to take us directly to the airport for an extra cost of 10 euros each forfeiting our return train tickets. Why could this not have been done on the outward journey ad we could have spent a pleasant afternoon around the pool instead of waiting on a station. We used the main Station in Venice not the one of your choice as this one had left luggage facilities and restaurants.
By Mrs Meadows on 19/09/2013
A delightful area with a large range of walks.
By Mr Kerr on 18/09/2013
A great way to explore Umbria, including the interesting towns of Spello, Spoletto, Motefalco, Bevagna and Assisi. The cycling is challenging enough and the well chosen hotels provide welcome refuge and refreshment at the end of the day. On the stay-put days it's good to have the opportunity to sight-see or relax, depending on your mood. We enjoyed the regional food and wine and our dinner at the Trattoria di Oscar in Bavagna was a particular highlight.
By Mrs Johnson on 18/09/2013
Walks were longer than stated in your brochure, but this was not a problem, Maggie our guide was excellent, very helpful, adaptable to individual needs, she went 'the extra mile' A very interesting and enjoyable week, which not only involved the beautiful walks, but information about local customs, history and plants, trees and the terrain.
By Mr Birtwhistle on 18/09/2013
As a holiday it represented poor value for money with poor communication skills on behalf of the hosts ad the area had little variety. The food was fair at best and nothing like we had expected or experienced on previous headwater holidays. Overall not good value.
By Mrs Huddart on 18/09/2013
Headwater provided some lovely, quiet, cycling routes in what is perhaps not the most sparsely populated area of Italy. Montefalco, Bevagna and Assisi were the highlights. Definitely the easiest cycling we have done with Headwater. Knowledgeable rep. The food in all the hotels is excellent (I think more of me came back than arrived!). Hotel at Ripa is the best (but not much to do around it), rooms at Il Poggio are not of the same standard as appear on their website (raised separately with Headwater), views from this hotel are marvellous.
We did feel that the 8 day version of this holiday might have been better as the 4 night break at Spoleto was a little too soon in the holiday (directly after Spello), but this is personal preference.
Altogether an enjoyable holiday with some excellent food.
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 Mrs Alessandro on 18/09/2013
The holiday was a wonderful experience with really beautiful views to reward us as we tackled the walks. Instructions and timings were excellent. The hotel was lovely too.
By Mr Lane-ryan on 17/09/2013
Negatives first: Somewhat expensive for the type of holiday which will cause us to carefully evaluate 'rival' companies for next year. The countryside was too similar and the beaches poor unlike the Alsace tour we went on previously which was pleasantly varied with overall better hotels. The trulli experience was not to be recommended, no working air conditioning, light bulbs missing etc... On pointing this out told the air conditioning had been switched off as weather getting cooler ! In fact it could be switched on but did not work. Our friend next door discovered the air conditioning in his house had no plug. The plumber was to be told about the problem and we had a fan so clearly problem was longer standing.
Positives: the hotels were all good and staff helpful in most, the organisation of the tour by Southern Visions was excellent and the Salamina was to be particularly recommended. Weather perfect.
Overall we were happy with holiday but will be more careful over selecting the area we go to next year to ensure variety/interest. That is not the fault of Headwater!
By Mr Whitton on 16/09/2013
Very well organised. Excellent reps on site. Excellent choice of hotels
By Mr Fowler on 16/09/2013
We had a really good holiday, would say you need to be a reasonable walker as it is a fairly strenuous trail, but well worth the effort. Looking forward to doing something similar
By Mrs Brown on 14/09/2013
The major walks were excellent, views were superb and the route notes very well put together. The heat and lack of shade was the main problem, especially in the afternoon when the long 'downs' and many steps made for hard work. Your choice of bases for hotels was excellent as at all places there were plenty of opportunities to see the local sites using local transport which was very cheap. Our visits to Pompeii and Herculaneum from Sorrento were made even better by the fact that it comes free for over 65 EU citizens making for cheap days out when you consider that the return rail fair was at it's most expensive just over 8 Euros for the 2 of us! Extending our stay in Sorrento at the end gave us the opportunity to chill out at the excellent Hotel Favorita ( the icing on the cake in terms of facilities, service and comfort) and fit in the trips we wanted without being rushed at other times. Well done for putting together such an excellent package.
By Mrs Mowll on 14/09/2013
Headwater were friendly, efficient and the holiday was well organised throughout with comprehensive directions. Rest days offered the opportunity to put the bikes on the train for part of the tours, or just cycle part of the routes and the hotels were well placed for this and other sightseeing. All in all, a very good holiday was had by all!
By Mrs Hoptroff on 14/09/2013
This holiday was excellent. Marc and Marcia were very friendly and extremely helpful.
Marcia ran through the instructions for each of the walks with us and pointed out areas where we needed to be extra careful so that we did not get lost.
Marc always arrived exactly on time to pick us up in a morning to take us to the start of the day's walk.
I have a number of food allergies and Marcia had contacted each of the restaurants where we ate our evening meals to advise them of my requirements. They were all fully aware before we arrived and the waiters were extremely helpful in ensuring that meals were suitable for me. The hotels, restaurants and food, and infact everything about this holiday was excellent and ran incredibly smoothly.
By Mrs Gatward on 14/09/2013
I've had 13 Headwater Holidays guided walking holidays now, and they have always been really enjoyable. I like the small hotels and groups of like-minded people, and although I travel alone I am always made to feel welcome. This was no exception, as Ulisse is an excellent and sympathetic guide, and the group of 5 English and 5 Australians was straightaway a 'team' for the week. The walks along the coast are beautiful. My only complaint might have been that the visit to Pompeii was not long enough (but then you really need a whole day), and the weather was too hot!
By Mr Howell on 14/09/2013
Excellent holiday! The office staff were very helpful and patient and helped us choose the right holiday. We greatly enjoyed the walks, they were varied and interesting, with lots to see on the way. All the hotels were lovely and welcoming with great Italian food. On our days off we did a bit of 'culture'
we visited Padua and Monselice. At the end of our holiday we tagged on a few days in Venice, as it was virtually on the way back anyway and that was great as well. We just would like to add our sincere thanks to Sarah our rep. She gave us lots of interesting information about the region, and seemed to know all the walks in great detail because she gave us very good advice about finding our way. It gave us a good start to our holiday!
We are looking forward to our next holiday with Headwater.
By Mr Ballantyne on 13/09/2013
Lovely holiday but too hot in last week of August for walking. we aimed to be finished by late lunchtime to avoid the heat of the day.Which was not the aim.
Would avoid the Nice transit as it is too long a wait in Nice for a train and the transit up country is tedious.
By Mrs Henton on 13/09/2013
Our guide Ulysis was excellent in every way - cannot recommend him highly enough. It was our first walking holiday and thought we had booked an easy walking one. On checking after we found it was easy/moderate. For all that we managed and as my husband is 74 he found it challenging but so enjoyable. We would use your company again but would only go on guided holidays. One of the ladies in our group had been on 13 Headwater holidays but said the choice of guided holidays was less now.
By Mrs Goodall on 13/09/2013
This was our third walking holiday with Headwater and our first to Italy. Our hotels had fantastic views over the Almalfi Coast line and Capris as well as excellent food. Our guide Ulisse was very knowledgable on the history of the local area and looked after us all very well. A thoroughly enjoyable holiday.
By Mrs Melhuish on 12/09/2013
We enjoyed our holiday in Piedmonte a great deal. Accommodation and food etc were excellent. Backup was good too. However, we felt that the cycling difficulty rating as stated (moderate/leisurely) was a little on the optimistic side Having cycled the 'Secrets of San Gemiagno' route last year (moderate), we thought 'Gastronomic Barolo' was significantly more difficult, despite selecting the 'easier' options when there was a choice of route.
Future travellers heading for this holiday via Nice (Easyjet) should note that you will have a 5 hour wait in Nice following the 6 a.m.departure from Gatwick The Castle Hill to the east of the city is pleasant place to spend a few peaceful hours, but had we known that we could have dumped our cases at the station this would have improved the experience.
By Mrs Fuller on 10/09/2013
Really lovely holiday. We loved Il feudo especially, but variety in the hotels was a positive feature. Would avoid temperatures in high 30s next time by going earlier. Sarah was helpful and knowledgeable. Ideal for family with children, including chance to visit Venice and Vicenza.
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 Ferguson on 09/09/2013
A fantastic holiday. Great cycling routes and all the accommodation was of a high standard, beautiful scenery and fabulous food!
By Mrs Turner on 07/09/2013
All the arrangements, transfers and pick-ups worked well with the drivers being friendly, helpful and always on time. All the hotels were of a very high standard with large rooms and excellent bathrooms. We had no contact with the representative over there but did not need any help anyway.
All the walk instructions were very detailed and accurate and the only times we made errors was because we were talking and not concentrating on the instructions!
By Mrs Hole on 07/09/2013
Wonderful holiday excellent accomodation and walking. Some walks quite challenging but managable. One of the best food in any hotel I have stayed in. Good quality wine at reasonable prices.
By Mrs Walker on 06/09/2013
A fantastic holiday with excellent organisation, well-chosen hotels and superb walking route notes. Nothing ever goes wrong on a Headwater Holiday. Can't wait to see next year's brochure.
By Ms Bolter on 04/09/2013
A very varied and interesting holiday, with beautiful scenery, fascinating local towns, good guided walks and plenty of opportunities for shopping, discovering history and looking at Italian architecture. Wide range of places to eat and chances to explore on one's own - if wished.
By Mrs Hunt on 02/09/2013
Just what we wanted!
By Mrs Brown on 02/09/2013
We challenged ourselves- walking every day even in August in Italy... Mostly, the hotels were a great reward for our efforts. We think we would do it again.. Maybe try the cycling.
By Mr Beale on 02/09/2013
Enjoyable walking in beautiful scenery combined with very comfortable hotels.
By Mrs Campbell on 01/09/2013
We had a fantastic holiday! The food was fabulous and the hotels were perfect. Villa Beccaris is particularly stunning. It is a beautiful part of Italy which is very lush - even in August. The reason for this is that it sometimes rains, so take some waterproofs for you and your valuables. We had 2 rainy days - the showers were short but heavy. The panniers supplied seemed watertight but some extra protection did not go amiss.
Grading a cycling holiday is difficult as it is subjective and depends and on what you are used to. We are in our mid-fifties, reasonably fit and do most of our cycling in Scotland or occasionally Yorkshire so are used to hills. We can happily cycle 50 - 60 miles/day. All of the towns in this region are on the tops of hills but you are often given the option of shorter/easier routes longer/more challenging ones. We always took the 'challenging' option as they are usually very scenic and didn't find them too difficult. However, so if you have not cycled for a while you will enjoy it more if you try to improve your fitness before you go. The bikes are good, with lots of gears and the distance between the hotels is not excessive so you can take your time and enjoy the scenery which is stunning. It is not really leisurely, however, and a novice might find it tough going at times.
The bikes also come with comfy gel saddles but we can recommend wearing proper cycle shorts. The extra padding helps and the seams in normal shorts can cause uncomfortable friction. The water bottles supplied by Headwater only contain 750 ml and there is no way of securing them to the bike so you have to keep them in the panniers.Bottles cages are not supplied for safety reasons but we took Camelback rucksacks which are very useful. They hold 1500 ml and the tubing means water is always readily available to drink on the move rather than having to stop half way up a hill. There are lots of public drinking fountains to top up so you don't need to worry about buying water in shops.
If you are thinking about an August holiday, be aware that this is peak holiday time in Italy so some shops and restaurants will be closed. As a result, we ate at the same restaurant on 2 consecutive nights but that was no hardship.
By Mr Hambleton on 01/09/2013
Fantastic week - can't think of anything we could/would change to improve it. Hotel was excellent and staff very friendly & accomodating (e.g. agreeing to change day for walk that required hotel transportation). Food incredible (and lots of it). Scenery spectacular and walking routes very well planned, with good variety of options (and potential to extend) depending on weather and legs (although we had generally good weather)! Transfer to/from airport very efficient. We've already recommended this holiday to friends and family! Only problem is whether another holiday will live up to this one.....
By Dr Lucas on 31/08/2013
An excellent holiday with easy cycling along quiet back roads through beautiful fertile countryside. The hotels were all of a good quality, with individual features which made them memorable. We saw very few tourists and felt immersed in 'real' Italy.
By Mr Morris on 30/08/2013
The holiday offers a good choice of walks for all levels and we weren't disappointed with any of them. The first two walks we undertook started from the hotel. A number of the walks start a bus ride away and we soon got into the swing of catching the bus and the drivers were always very helpful and patient.
The hotel was really lovely and exceptionally friendly. We travelled by train and the hotel is very near to the train station.
The views were truly excellent.
All in all, a delightful holiday in the Dolomites.
By Mr Learmont on 28/08/2013
Excellent combination of choice accommodation; natural scenary for walking and opportunities for cultural visits.
By Mr Broughall on 28/08/2013
A relaxing weeks walking in quiet and beautiful scenery with guaranteed excellent food and service every day.
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 Mr Murdoch on 19/08/2013
We have just returned from a walking holiday in Umbria, having had an amazing experience, which has left us feeling revitalised and relaxed. The walks were all really beautiful and off the beaten track and despite the August heat many of the tracks were through shaded woodland. The notes and maps were clear and easy to follow and the only time we managed to lose our way was through our own misunderstanding. The hotels were in great locations, very welcoming and friendly, comfortable and the food was delicious. Our local rep Javier was always smiling, supportive and helpful. He knows the area like the back of his hand and is always there with interesting information. His motto should be Nothing is too much trouble.
We are both well travelled and have booked through other similar companies previously and would highly recommend Headwater. We are already wondering which one of their walking or activity holidays we will book next. Thank you Headwater and especially Javier. Steve and Andrea Murdoch
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 Mr Smyth on 15/08/2013
A marvellous combination of exercise, high class food, excellent accomodation in an unspoilt part of the world.
By Mr Fairweather on 14/08/2013
The walking was tougher than I expected because of the above average temperatures (often around 95 F). The area is very picturesque and the route is well planned to give a feeling of doing the round of all the major Barolo producing villages, with good views from each of the hill towns. I was glad, however, that the last day's walk was a complete change from walking through vineyards. The standard of accommodation and food was excellent throughout the week, and represented superb value for money. I would have welcomed air conditioning in Hotel Le Torri rather than a cooling fan, but at other times of year it would have been fine. The cooking in all the restaurants was very good, particularly in Il Castelli at Grinzane Cavour and at Villa D'Amelia where we gladly paid the supplement for their superb full tasting menu on our final evening. I would have welcomed a change of restaurant on the second evening in Monforte D'Alba, not because there was anything wrong with the food but because the menu (the same each evening) was rather limited - especially the secundi. The local people were all very welcoming, and it is a trip that I would happily do again, but preferably in the autumn.
By Dr Baynton on 14/08/2013
This was our fifth holiday with Headwater and our best to date. We are always happy with the holidays booked with Headwater and the support provided by your staff. The Dolomites is a superb location for a walking holiday and we wondered why we had never considered this holiday before - we will definitely be visiting again. We liked the fact that all of the walks were easily accessed by the local buses and cable cars or gondolas. The Bellevue Hotel provided a very high standard of accommodation and the food was fantastic. A good selection every day, beautifully prepared and presented. One of the friends we travelled with requires a gluten free diet, Headwater had advised the hotel in advance, and the hotel went out of its way to provide delicious gluten free rolls and adapted the menu accordingly so our friend felt she was well looked after. The hotel staff were always welcoming and helpful. A holiday that we will be considering re-booking as there are so many trails we still want to explore.
By Mrs Remnant on 14/08/2013
We thoroughly enjoyed our Headwater holiday in the Dolomites. The walking directions were excellent (maps were redundant) and the walks themselves inspiring. Mid-August is probably not the best time to go - the weather was glorious, but really difficult to escape the crowds of people. We only had ourselves to blame! The staff at the Bellevue hotel were delightful (full marks to Rita and Andrea in the dining room - and to Andreas for his overall supervision) - but beware if you're in a room facing the railway tracks.....the early morning announcements of train arrivals / departures wore a bit thin by the end of the week.
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 Rutter on 08/08/2013
We really enjoyed our cycling holiday. The route instructions were excellent and easy to follow. The Rep Javier was great, welcoming friendly and extremely helpful. He knew all the routes really well and checked them daily with some revisions where roads were closed or signs changed.At the start of the holiday he would turn up on a route ,unexpectedly, to check if we were alright so this was very reassuring when we were getting into the swing of things. The routes were on quiet roads or cycle paths and we felt we saw the real Italy with picturesque medieval towns and villages. We liked all the hotels, each with a different character and with lovely local food. The towns were full of Italian culture and we enjoyed exploring the narrow streets and tasting local food and wine. Well done Headwater, we can't wait for our next holiday.
By Ms Drabble on 04/08/2013
Our guide was fantastic and really made the holiday. Excellent itinerary which managed to cram a huge range of experiences into 10 days. The first walk was rather more challenging than I expected but that was probably partly due to the heat. The accommodation was generally good but the single rooms at La Spezia and Lucca were very small and dark. They would not have represented good value if the single room supplement had been applied to them
By Ms Slade on 02/08/2013
Friendly and helpful locals (with one exception). Very easy cycling (though very hot in July and shortage of shade). Three beautiful cities within easy reach. Lovely food. Le Occare was particularly charming. Main downside was very troublesome midges/mosquitoes!
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 Mr Kersley on 30/07/2013
Our holiday with Headwater was a real pleasure , everyone we dealt with , from the girls in the office to our rep Sarah were very professional , friendly and helpful , taking all the worry out of the planning . Okay , so we feel that we have maybe paid a bit more than we would have if we had done all the organizing ourselves , but hey , it was worth it !! Thank you.
By Mr Finn on 28/07/2013
An enjoyable trip deep in the Umbrian countryside with some fine local food and wine amidst some spectacular views.If you do decide to go walking in Italy in July and August make sure you start your walks early i.e 8.30 am - take plenty of water 2.5 litres a day at least IMO - adequate sunscreen ,insect repellent as the weather will get very hot from 10-11 am.
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 Dr Madhvani on 25/07/2013
Well organised rural cycling holiday
By Mr Hails on 25/07/2013
Excellent communication prior to departure - during the stay - and arriving home!! A great service which gives clients confidence that nothing has been left forgotten !!
By Mis McAfee on 24/07/2013
This holiday is a wonderful blend of the cultural highlights of Tuscany with opportunities to explore the beautiful countryside.
By Mr Gagnon on 22/07/2013
First time with Headwater, first time on a walking holiday. Tuscany was great. One the best holidays we've had and will cetainly book again.
By Ms Peters on 22/07/2013
good for a first time walking holiday as the walks are easy with optional extra sections if you feel like it, plus you'll have a car
scenery in the region is lovely, it's quiet compared with Northern Tuscany
all the family and staff at Villa Acquaviva are genuinely friendly and welcoming, plus the food and wine there are outstanding
By Mrs Morris on 22/07/2013
Sarah was fantastic- all credit to her. Funny, kind, thoughtful and a wealth of knowledge!
By Mis McWilliam on 19/07/2013
accommodation, food and service exceeded our expectation. Using Headwater makes planning a lot easier
By Mr Grant on 18/07/2013
Outstanding cuisine, wines and service in all places. a very quiet region with friendly locals. Beautiful landscapes and a great way to eat lots and then burn the calories off in the walk. one of the very best holidays I have ever had.
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 Mrs Hancock on 17/07/2013
We would recommend this area of Italy .It's such a shame that the hotel was so quiet . The wild flowers and butterflies are amazing . It was very easy to get to Florence by train . Ercole and Roberta made us so welcome and Sissi ,the dog , is a star in her own right .During the week we only met one other couple on our walks .You have to be confident about navigation but apart from a few things the notes were good .All the food was home made and organic -not for those on a diet.
By Mr Donnelly on 15/07/2013
The chosen holiday was beautiful, easy cycling, great towns to visit, good Food!!
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 Mrs Wilton on 12/07/2013
A wonderful region for walking at almost any level. Every area we walked was beautiful and we did a mixture of moderate (with a little bit of challenging) and leisurely.
Hotel was excellent, very friendly and helpful and good food.
By Mr McAlpine on 12/07/2013
All travel arrangements on the flights and the transfer to and from the hotel went well. The food and accommodation at Park Hotel Belleview in Dobbiaco were very good and the staff were very helpful. We got on well with other Headwater clients through the week we stayed there. The weather in mid-June was warm with little rain. Due to a recent knee problem my wife and I were unable to walk on as many routes we would have liked to but the Tre Cime and Lago de Braies walks that we did manage to complete were stunning. The 7 day travel pass was a real bonus and one day we travelled to Villnoss by train and bus to take pictures of the view of the Odler mountain range from St Magdelena. We plan to return another year.
By Mr McLaren on 11/07/2013
It was well organised, trouble free, and thoroughly enjoyable with the added comfort of an excellent superb locally based english-speaking rep (Sarah) who was only a phone call away in case of any issue, big or small, and who provided excellent route notes and a fountain of local knowledge about the area we were cycling in.
the holiday was just what we needed and was 'up there' with the best package holidays we have done!
By Mrs Everson-davis on 10/07/2013
This is a really excellent choice for any guests wanting a truly gastronomic experience amongst wonderful countryside. We enjoyed the walking very much, although at first we wondered whether it might be challenging enough with alternate rest days. However, Headwater provided good suggestions on how to spend the available time and we were pleased that we had the time to explore more widely. Our days were all the more enjoyable for being able to look forward to some of the best cuisine which Italy has to offer anywhere. Headwater's has done well to enable guests to experience a range of Piedmont's restaurant cooking, from the world class to the more rustic, but all served to an extremely high standard.
We were impressed too with the attentive support given by our local reps, Marc and Marsha, for whom nothing was too much trouble.
As we self drove to Italy, we stayed in two Headwater arranged hotels en route, Hotel Normandie in Auxerre, and Hotel Alpina in Les Gets, both of which represented very good value for money.
By Mis Triggs on 10/07/2013
A great venue except for the overcrowding on the buses.
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 Ms Biagini on 08/07/2013
We were very disappointed that our walking itinerary was missing from the package sent to us, and we received it only at The end of our second day. We were also expecting to be welcomed by a headwater rep upon our arrival at Luna Convento Hotel, instead we had to call the help line to figure out what to do. Our rep Liberata, told us very bluntly that due to costs cut our briefing could only take place over the phone, with the line being cut every 3 minutes from her end. As a result ot this delay, we missed the visit to Ravello (supposed to be among the must see of the Amalfi coast) and nearly got lost on our first walk. In The hotel in Sorrento I had to sleep on a sofa dressed as bed for two nights, as we were given a double room instead of a twin. As a result I ended up with a bad back for the rest of the week! I would expect a bit more for the price I have paid!!!!
By Mrs Eynon on 05/07/2013
Very enjoyable, although the walking was quite challenging due to length, terrain and lingering snow. We often adapted / cut short from the recommended routes, but this was feasible and equally enjoyable. Fantastic scenery.
By Mr Ogden on 04/07/2013
All good. Particular thanks and compliments to Mark and Marsha who are lovely people and excellent reps.Also admired their efforts to speak Italian and to integrate with local people.
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 Wildsmith on 03/07/2013
A beautiful area of the Dolomites with spectacular scenery and added historical interest. An excellent choice of varied walks to suit all abilities. A very good hotel base, well situated.
By Dr Curry on 03/07/2013
Dolomites outstanding area
By Mrs Watts on 02/07/2013
We had a very enjoyable but quite energetic holiday in a comfortable hotel in the Dolomites. The early season flowers and scenery were spectacular.
By Mr Barrow on 30/06/2013
In the heat, which reached 38C, the terrain was often too flat and monotonous to be truly enjoyable.
By Mrs Gittins on 28/06/2013
A very enjoyable and relaxing cycling hooiday for leisure cyclists who do not want a too demanding route. Beautiful soft scenery and lovely hotels.
By Mrs Brand-hardy on 26/06/2013
Although I have indicated that we would book a holiday with you again I would have strong reservations as to whether the holidays that you provide are really catering for our interests. Before booking the holiday I raised the query as to whether or not it was suitable for us given that we walk to see wildlife and landscape rather than just to walk. Unfortunately the worry that the holiday was a walking holiday with little or no emphasis on wildlife came to fruition. At the start of the holiday in Dobbiaco we found it virtually impossible to find out information on where to go to get the best chance of seeing wildlife or to get information needed to identify the flowers that we were seeing. The hotel did not know nor did the tourist information centre. Half way through the holiday we managed to get to the nature centre at the Grand Hotel who were very helpful but by that time the opportunity to visit the areas suggested had largely passed. We also found the large numbers of walkers on the routes suggested to be offputting for us. We are used to walking in areas where you often do not see footprints let alone people so we were amazed to see so many people on all the routes that we followed. Perhaps it would be possible to include routes that are quieter for those that want to escape the crowds.
Having said all that the holiday was well organised the hotels were excellent and if all you want is a walking holiday then I doubt that the service that you provide can be beaten. I am just not sure that it is for us.
By Ms Butler on 22/06/2013
Unfortunately I'm a single traveller and the rooms were pretty poor, particularly in Florence, relative to the cost of the holiday. I realise that using traditional hotels, which I like, often means that single rooms are disappointing. However I do feel that this should be reflected in the charges applied....after all there is a hefty single supplement to pay.
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 Shiel on 19/06/2013
We found the combination of cycling till 2 or 3 and then swimming in and relaxing by the pool ideal ! The food and welcome at the Villa Ganzerla were excellent.
By Mr Castell on 18/06/2013
The itinerary was well structured and well organised. Pick up and transfers were punctual and efficient. Hotels were excellent - great locations, wonderful views, comfortable and with a high level of service. The upgrade to the Excelsior Vittoria in Sorrento - due to the Favorita being overbooked - was very much appreciated. We were also grateful that a transfer to Sorrento port was organised for us on the last morning.
By Mr Stather on 18/06/2013
We stayed at the Royal Prisco in Positano (not the hotel on the questionnaire) and I cannot change the hotel name - but all comments on the Royal Prisco are 'good'.
Neither did we stay at the Favourita in Sorrento - biut we did stay at the Excelsior Vittoria which was excellent in all respects.
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 Sansbury on 18/06/2013
Very enjoyable, beautiful region, mostly gentle cycling which I loved, historically very interesting.
The only problem was the bike. Though very sturdy, it is the second time with Headwater that I could not fully elevate the handlebar because the brake cables were TOO SHORT. As I am 6' foot tall with long legs the saddle was on the same height as the handlebar which pitched me forward and caused certain anatomical areas to be in discomfort!
This happened on my last holiday with Headwater and although I asked them to prepare a bike with a REALLY adjustable handlebar I still had the SAME problem. Please assemble bikes with LONGER brake cables!!!!!!!!!!
Otherwise what is the purpose of having an adjustable handlebar which CANNOT be raised to requirement!
By Ms Priday on 17/06/2013
We had a lovely time marred only by the fact that 3 of the 4 hotels provided a double bed when we as 2 female friends sharing a room needed our booked twin beds!
By Mr Hinds on 16/06/2013
SShhsh! Don't tell anyone about Puglia ! After many years of travel in Italy , We have a new favorite region ! Wonderful food and wine,peaceful rural and coastal lanes, and each town is more beautiful than the last ! A real treat of a holiday - and few tourists ! Let's keep it like that !!!
By Mr Wilson on 16/06/2013
An interesting and varied holiday but a level of basic fitness would be needed to climb all the volcanoes in the tour.
By Mrs Chessum on 14/06/2013
This is our second Headwater cycling holiday in Italy. On both occasions we had a thoroughly good time. Arrangemenrts worked like clockwork; directions were accurate and easy to follow; bikes good quality; hotels lovely. A special thank you to Sarah in the admin team for being unfailingly helpful. Very different from our Headwater cycle trip to the Loire last year when I had cause to complain both about the quality of the directions and about the cleanliness of the hotels. This trip has restored my faith in Headwater, although I still feel wary of booking another of the France trips!
By Mr Strong on 13/06/2013
This wasn't in our opinion, a walking holiday. More of a test of endurance. Hard to believe the paths had been walked out by yourselves as were very overgrown in places. Trip up Stromboli arranged on the same day as a trip up Mount Etna was ridiculous. We managed to change it ourselves. Hotel at Catania was awful - the lift didn't even stop at reception and there was no assistance with luggage and reception staff were rude and unhelpful. Nowhere to get a drink at hotel. Hydrofoil trips were laborious and took up too much time when we would have preferred to have been walking. There was NO contact from your rep to see if were still alive and there was confusion over the transfer back to the airport on the last day. Too many hidden extras - hydrofoil fares too expensive and we think some of these things should have been included in the holiday price. We were disappointed with the walks organised from Taormina and felt we could have put these together these ourselves. The 'inclusive' evening meal was at a restaurant a long way from the hotel and we had a very limited menu. The trip up Mount Etna was chaotic - lots of waiting around for a guide who was only interested in increasing the numbers in his group - only to find they were mostly French. Impossible to hear/understand what he was saying once up the top as it was windy and there were far too many people. We had to pay extra to get a jeep back down. First Headwater holiday where we've had to cart our own luggage everywhere. Our 6th holiday with yourselves, probably won't book again.
By Mrs Maffre on 05/06/2013
This is our third Headwater holiday, and each one gets better. The Piedmont is a beautiful area, the hotels and restaurants are first class, and the staff friendly and efficient. It is a very hilly area, hence the wonderful views (and also the long steep climbs on the bikes). The cycling directions were good overall, but a bit confusing in parts. Our reps were extremely friendly and helpful, and as I sprained my ankle on the 3rd day they had to move me on with the baggage! Nothing was too much trouble for them. I have already recommended this holiday to our friends!
No-one should expect to lose weight on this cycling holiday - the food and wine is superb!
By Dr Foley on 04/06/2013
A little-known corner of Italy with some of the most captivating scenery, best food and wine and least touristy small cities the country has to offer. The holiday is definitely a grade 2 when it comes to the cycling as every village is perched on top of a hill but the food and wine are more than compensation for the effort of getting there. May seem expensive at first sight but the standard of accommodation and food are second to none. We've been on many Headwater holidays and this was one of the best.
By Mrs Markson on 03/06/2013
Some amazing experiences ie climbing Mt Etna but also some upsets ie - taken to wrong dreadful hotel on arrival, poor standard in some hotels, ,poor food in hotels, mistakes in itinerary ,but excellent agent and organisation abroad apart from arrival disaster.
By Mrs Norris on 03/06/2013
A great introduction to this little known area of Italy. The itinerary meant that we could easily combine walking with sight-seeing.
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 Ms Jones on 30/05/2013
Heavy rain in Nov 2012 has caused a lot of damage to some of the trails - Pitigliano optional return 3A impassable due to a landslide - Maremma Park A2 has been re-routed (shortened & less varied) - Strolling to Saturnia track taped off to stop vehicles, passable on foot - Sorano, Via Cava di San Rocco officially closed - Monte Argentario, suggested driving tour of island not advisable due to a large section of dirt road south of Porto Ercole.
La Cascia restaurant in Montemerano changed ownership in March - menu only in Italian, no English spoken, quality of food a poor substitute for Villa Acquaviva.
Route notes could include directions to the free Saturnia thermal river cascade.
By Mr Barnett on 30/05/2013
Excellent holiday, first class directions, poor arrangements for bikes if you wish to take the train to Ferrara or Bologna let the whole experience down.
By Mr Wilson on 30/05/2013
Fantastic experience, particularly Stromboli night climb and Mt. Etna. These walks deserve much more publicity as great walks of the world!
By Mis Furber on 29/05/2013
We really enjoyed this holiday, the thing that made it was the friendliness of the people in the hotel! They would do anything for you! the food is lovely and they did a great job of catering for a vegetarian. it was very cosy but we did feel that previous holidays have been better value for money where we had more facilities! The rep is wonderful and the scenery is very pretty! We had some lovely weather and great cycles!
By Mr Williams on 29/05/2013
Good variety of walking and interest on the transfer days. Traveled in late May which seemingly is low season in Sicily consequently some of the restaurants on Marettimo were closed leaving a very limited choice, however the accommodation has a good kitchenette giving the option to self cater for 1 or 2 nights. Marettimo was very windy the days we were there making the coastal path to the Castello challenging, you certainly need a head for heights in windy conditions.
By Mr Arnatt on 29/05/2013
We were most impressed with the welcome and hospitality at all the hotels, as well as the great service offered by Sarah, our rep. However, we were surprised at the challenging terrain of the walking, especially on the last day (Teolo to Il Feudo) and our overall enjoyment was spoiled by having to cope with shinning up rocks, then traversing knee-deep mud, then a slide down a rock strewn path. It was not the enjoyable countryside walking with views we had envisaged.
By Mr Isles on 27/05/2013
This was our eighth Headwater holiday over 20 years and they have all been very enjoyable. Yet again, Headwater and their agents were very efficient throughout. We were particularly impressed by the Masseria Salamina which exceeded our expectations and was a perfect place to finish our holiday.
By Mrs Turner on 24/05/2013
Wonderful location, stunning walks and scenery. Had a great time with others in the group.
Slightly disappointed that guide knew less about the local Flora than we did but she was very knowledgeable about history and architecture.
By Mr Balaam on 22/05/2013
We had a great week, the weather certainly helped us to make the most of our stay in Tuscany.
By Mr Cant on 22/05/2013
A set back because the guide(Maggie) was ill. After initial problems and changes to plans the local reps rallied round and both Robin and Flavio were excellent . I think that the grading of some of the walks was affected by these inevitable changes. ( Flavio was suffering from broken ribs) . It is to your credit that such a difficult situation was got over so well.
I have been helped both at the time and since we got home in trying to retrieve lost glasses
By Mr Fotherby on 21/05/2013
The unavailabilty of Maggie due to illness did cause problems mainly in the area of not communicating with the group exactly what the situation was. On the first night one of the owners of the hotel came up to tell us our guide would not be appearing that evening as expected but would appear next morning. He added not to worry if a guide did not turn up the hotel would arrange something. We sat there a group of largely strangers in a strange place at the beginning of a holiday which may or may not happen as planned - not a good start.
Robin did appear next morning but we got the impression no body knew at that point whether Maggie would appear or not later in the week. When Flavio appeared on the Thursday morning and told us he would be with us for the rest of the holiday we were delighted, he is an exceptional guide.
I have every sympathy for Maggie having a condition that results in sudden devastating episodes and we were sorry we did not meet her having seen many very positive comments in clients reviews. She seems to be the lynch pin of this tour but you do need a firm plan B in place to cover for her unavailability. We had the impression of fingers crossed and hope for the best and fortunately you were lucky.
By Mr Davies on 21/05/2013
Beautiful and varied walks in unspoilt mountain and coastal locations. The guides were very knowledgeable and ensured a group of mixed abilities got the best out of each walk. The hotels offered the best of the two regions - good food and wonderful settings. The staff were were friendly and helpful.
By Mr Moss on 20/05/2013
Wonderful opportunity to see some of the lovely Veneto plain, whilst getting exercise, and building up appetite for the evening meals. We have used Headwater twice now and would not consider using another cycling tour company as the variable start dates, knowledgeable and helpful reps, and welcoming hosts make the entire experience enjoyable.
By Mr Jackson on 19/05/2013
A wonderful holiday - we wished that it could have been longer, offering more walking days. Our rep (Javier) was particularly good, with an impressive knowledge of the area & checking the routes daily during bad weather.
By Mr Cannon on 16/05/2013
We enjoyed our stay with Ercole and Roberta at Locanda Senio where the food and wine was excellent. We completed all the walks except for day 5 when instead we walked halfway up the road to Lozzle. On day 2 in a heavy thunderstorm we failed to turn back at the slabs to cross the ridge down to the Piane valley and continued on the ridge for a much longer walk mainly due to protecting papers from rain. On day 3 we turn off the ridge early at the Eco village Campanara due to not reading clear instructions. On day 4 we continued straight down past the front gate at Gruffieto instead of turning left due to not reading clear instructions and climbed over a large tree trunk to rejoin the walk later on the ridge.
By Mrs Bainton on 14/05/2013
A wonderful opportunity to get to know this corner of Sicily. We would never have found these nature reserves ourselves. The wild flowers were a spectacle, and the local cuisine excellent.
By Mrs Blake on 14/05/2013
Loved Western Sicily, looking extra beautiful covered in spring flowers. And how well we ate!
Independent walking with the confident backup of Crilu's expertise. Seeing those parts of a place not normally on the tourist routes and enjoying beautiful scenery and interesting locations away from the masses.
By Mr Hollander on 07/05/2013
Puglia tourist people very welcoming and can be very helpful but be careful of gross overcharging.
Look at your bills and dispute perceived unfairness on the spot.
By Mr Plumb on 24/04/2013
A very enjoyable holiday. we were particularly impressed by the taxi transfers and their good driving on difficult roads. Always hugely reassuring to be welcomed at the airport, and when the taxi arrives on time, indeed early! The hotels were far more luxurious than we expected, so a real treat.
By Mrs Sutherland on 24/04/2013
This is a lovely and relaxing holiday with no strenuous walking. You do have to drive to all but two of the walks, but we found this a lovely way of seeing more of the area and we really enjoyed exploring the delightful hilltop towns. As you don't move on, you have the flexibility of choosing what to do when. The accommodation (we had an upgrade with balcony looking over the vineyards towards Montemerano), food and wine are all excellent and the family and their staff very warm, friendly and knowledgeable of the area.
By Mr Scharer on 24/04/2013
Well thought out and stress -free holiday but not cheap.
By Dr Johns on 07/01/2013
We've been on a headwater holiday once before (to Switzerland) and it was amazing - in fact it was the best holiday we'd ever had! However we were very disappointed this time. Although the scenery, accommodation and food were lovely the cycling was not enjoyable, it was punishing! Since this is the most important element of a cycling holiday it completely ruined our stay.
The difficulty rating was totally wrong. We're a couple in our 30's (not unfit) but not regular cyclists- the description suggested this would suit us fine and included descriptions of 'softly rolling hills'. This was certainly NOT our experience. The hills were steep and long and never ending.I'm aware that since we returned the difficulty rating has changed. Furthermore, the various stop-offs on the way (cafes etc) to refill water were closed due to the time of year (which we were not forewarned about) - considering the heat this made the cycling even more intolerable.
All in all very disappointing. We paid £5000 and were expecting another dream holiday. Instead we needed a week to recover once we got home.
By Mr McCloud on 03/11/2012
As you can tell from my ratings, my wife and I were extremely pleased with Headwater on all counts. We found the staff to be extremely responsive, particularly when there was a problem, such as with our late arrival in Cuneo due to the late flight and Italian trains. Also, we were unhappy with one of the restaurants, Moda, in Monforte, and again, the staff were very helpful in arranging an excellent alternative.
Our local representative Nuno was wonderful - always on time, well informed, and very attentive.
We were especially pleased - and a bit surprised, and the quality of the accommodations and food. The meals were just outstanding - thank goodness for the walks so we could keep our weight from ballooning.
My wife and I are already looking forward to another walking tour and will definitely contact Headwater when we're ready to proceed. Many thanks for your great service.
By Mr Wright on 03/11/2012
An expensive holiday with lots of extras to pay for, but fantastic,,
By Mr Buttanshaw on 03/11/2012
Stunning scenery particularly from the top of the island of Marritimo (Pizzo Falconi)which was a good climb! A pity the Zingara Reserve was closed due to a fire since early August, which knocked out the whole first day's walking; a much inferior road walk was suggested instead. We feel we should have been advised of this by Headwater when booking.
We were on the last trip of the season and we had the feeling everything was winding down. Service was a bit hit and miss in places. The extra day in Palermo was probably not a good idea as there's not much to do compared to other Italian cities.
Still, another memorable Headwater holiday as we have come to expect.
By Mrs Sym on 30/10/2012
We enjoyed the holiday but not as much as we thought we would! We all enjoy good food sadly on this holiday we were let down we had 3 good meals out of 7
By Mr Townsend on 30/10/2012
The Puglia cycling tour was well organised, and well supported by local staff. We had excellent weather in mid October wth temp 22-25 deg C. The only significant criticism (not within your control) was the appalling state of the litter at the side of many many roads especially on the coastal plains. It is not at all relaxing to be cycling through lovely countryside and regularly come face to face with the WHOLE range of domestic litter strewn along the edges of fields. For that reason alone, I would not recommend this particular trip to anyone else. This is not a reflection on Headwater.
Unfortunately, there have been a couple of occasions where we have been informed of some littering on this particular tour. It is such a shame and very frustrating, as Puglia really is a beautiful region. It does not however, seem to be a continual problem and we do our utmost to avoid these areas on the routes we take. Our local agent continues to raise the matter with the local authorities, in an effort to eradicate this problem for the future. Thank you for sharing your experience with us so we can continue to monitor the situation.
By Mr Bayly on 30/10/2012
Wonderful. One of our best ever holidays. Challenging and relaxing in equal measure - a fabulous break.
By Mrs Mendham on 30/10/2012
We thoroughly enjoyed our cycling holiday. We cycled every day and visited most of the towns and villages in the handbook. The food was excellent everywhere and everyone was helpful and friendly. The accommodation was mainly good but some of the hotels were noisy - either from traffic, church bells that rang every 30 minutes 24 hours a day, or poor soundproofing between rooms.
We were particularly surprised at the amount of snacks that were served at nearly every bar where we had a beer. There was no need to buy lunch when we were given larges amounts of ham, cheese and bread whenever we stopped!
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 Mr Whitehurst on 17/10/2012