Customer reviews: Cycling in Italy
Here at Headwater we thrive on feedback from our customers. It's the only way we can continue to develop and, where necessary, improve our services and ensure our cycling holidays continue to be the best they can be.
Eveyone who travels with Headwater will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assesment of all aspects of their cycling holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus, of course, an overall rating and comments about their cycling holiday.
Any feedback collected is posted straight to our website - totally unedited. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.
By 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because signs have fallen down or gone altogether and new roads have been built with new layouts so the notes are out of date.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 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 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 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 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 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 Mrs Collins on 09/11/2016
See Review of taste of Sicily
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 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 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 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 Mr Leggett on 14/10/2016
Your booking service was efficient and professional. The holiday itself was only average, particularly given the cost
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 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 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 Mrs Lamont on 04/10/2016
Lovely place to stay, great food. Wine a little expensive at the farm.
By Mr Orrett on 04/10/2016
Holiday made best of local area, well planned with good quality hotels and restaurants chosen
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 Mr Twiss on 25/07/2016
Well planned and organised, good routes accurately described, very helpful staff.
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 Mr Powell on 20/10/2015
An excellent trip all round.
By Mr Witts on 19/10/2015
Interesting cycle tour with plenty to visit.
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 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 Johnston on 09/10/2015
Good accommodation, clear instructions and good cycling. Met interesting people. Guides were very friendly and helpful.
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 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 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 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 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 McGinn on 23/09/2015
This is our 7th cycling holiday with Headwater and once again we have had a really enjoyable holiday.
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 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 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 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 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 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 Elliott-jones on 14/09/2015
A fantastic package, great value for money in superb, friendly & family-run hotels. Great cycling routes through some challenging terrain, very good, sensibly built bikes. Reps & Headwater office staff were very helpful, couldn't do enough to make sure we were sorted.
By Mr Quick on 02/09/2015
Our most scenic Headwater cycling holiday to date and well worth the physical effort!
By 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 Mrs Brown on 17/08/2015
I have found Headwater holidays to be consistently excellent over the three occasions that I've used them. You find some amazing places for us to stay in and provide really useful information on local places to visit. It's lovely to get off the usual tourist tracks and really get to see the countries in more detail, experiencing far more of the areas we visit. The views were spectacular which made up for the challenging sections of the rides, and we were entertained by a golden eagle only metres away from us on the first and last cycle days.
By Mrs Stockton on 17/08/2015
An excellent first holiday with Headwater. We chose a 2+ cycle standard which was tougher than we expected, however the heart had a large effect on our ability. All the hotels were beautiful my only complaint was the air conditioning could of been a lot more powerful. The scenery was just breathtaking on the rides and over all i would highly recommend this trip.
By 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 Dr May on 30/06/2015
Great food and accommodation. Tough cycling but scenic. Thoroughly enjoyable.
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 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 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 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 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 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 Mis Barrie on 11/06/2015
A fun way to exercise in a beautiful location
By Mr Day on 09/06/2015
Well organised , enjoyable and healthy
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 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 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 Carson on 07/05/2015
Good with one serious caveat below
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 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 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 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 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 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 Mr Harper on 15/10/2014
Great dinners, basic breakfasts (although there were always delicious cakes).
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 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 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 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 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 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 Mr MacE on 07/10/2014
A chance to see parts of countries that fixed destinations can not compete with.
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 Mrs Wall on 12/09/2014
Excellent! Not a cheap holiday, but worth every penny. Good hotels, excellent food. Bikes were good. Friendly helpful service from the reps who went out of their way to meet the needs of individual guests.
By Mr 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 White on 08/07/2014
The perfect holiday for the more active.
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 Mr Henniker-major on 15/05/2014
Easy biking, good food, great historic cities and cultural sites...lucky with the weather
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 Emms on 02/10/2013
nice hotels, gentle cycling and wonderful surroundings....all makes for an enjoyable and relaxing break
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 Hunt on 02/09/2013
Just what we wanted!
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 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 Smyth on 15/08/2013
A marvellous combination of exercise, high class food, excellent accomodation in an unspoilt part of the world.
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 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 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 Mrs Morris on 22/07/2013
Sarah was fantastic- all credit to her. Funny, kind, thoughtful and a wealth of knowledge!
By Mr Donnelly on 15/07/2013
The chosen holiday was beautiful, easy cycling, great towns to visit, good Food!!
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 Thomas on 17/10/2012
Poor bikes. Heavy frames and too highly geared. Skinny tyres no good on broken tarmac surfaces. Broken spoke. Puncture.
Why not mountain bikes?!
We are sorry that you found the bikes to be such an issue, this is genuinely not something we have come across before in this area. We will be speaking with our local agent about your experience and can assure you that we will be monitoring future feedback closely. If we do feel that a different style bike would be beneficial, we will certainly consider making this change.
By Mrs Herd on 10/10/2012
Sarah was a terrific Rep: really friendly and helpful, giving us lots of tips for our particular circumstances.
My less than perfect score for the 'waymarking and routenotes' was taking into account the building of the new road which had meant that local signs had been changed. Sarah was doing her best to change the master notes in the hotel to keep up with these.
A fantastic holiday for us all and we would definitely love to do it again with Headwater.
By Mrs Small on 06/10/2012
We had a brilliant holiday, a superb rep in Assisi, good food and great fun. This was our fourth cycling holiday with Headwater and we will definitely be going again!
By Ms Meadows on 06/10/2012
We could write pages about a lovely combination of cycling and walking but the best recommendation that we can give is that at the end of the holiday we were thinking about how we could just stay in Tuscany and do the holiday all over again
By Mrs Wann on 06/10/2012
Headwater are a reliable company who deliver what they advertise in the brochure.
By Mrs Mayhew on 01/10/2012
This is our 16th holiday with Headwater and we have to say it works well. Minor problems are sorted out quickly and the overall holiday experience leaves you wanting more.
Borola gastronomic was one of the best, wonderful views, good food and hotels. the local wines were really good and the wine tasting experiences excellent with no pressure to buy.
By Mr Malia on 29/09/2012
Well-organised holiday, with good,nicely thought-out routes, although some maps/instructions were a little inaccurate.Lovely area, generally good food, comfortable hotels and nice people. Our rep,Xavier, was excellent and looked after us superbly.
By Mrs Spriggs on 29/09/2012
Generally accurate description in the brochure in terms of difficulty and accommodation. The only point I would like to make is that on occasions the roads were quite busy compared to previous Headwater holidays. Especially the ride to the abbey on our rest day at commachio.
By Ms Heard on 24/09/2012
Puglia is very different to Tuscany more rugged than beautiful but a lovely coast line with super sandy beaches.
A good mixture of easy and hilly cycling which we felt was accurately graded.
All the hotels had their own character but we especially enjoyed the Masseria Salamina and wish we had had an upgrade. Alberobello is very touristic and commercialised with lots of cheap souveniers but staying in a trulli was a novelty!
We especially enjoyed the company of the other Headwater cyclists.
Another successful Headwater Cycling Holiday.
By Mrs Webb on 24/09/2012
It was great. Warm weather, great company with the people we met up with in the evenings (and chose to go cycling with on the final day, and lovely places to stay.
Where the notes could have been better, we have already given feedback to the people on the ground and we recognise that signs change!
Our one recomendation for change that we would give to future visitors is to take the train from Conservano to Arborobello - this would avoid cycling through the industrial wasteland of the first town visited (big lorries, lots of dust) and the rubbish in the countyside between there and Noce. It would also give time for a morning in the old town of Conservano and a 1.30 pm train onwards; a cheap and easy option. We took the following day off cycling (needed a rest and a long lunch) but have been told (via the blue book) that it was one of the best days cycling - we visited the town of Locotorando by train and it was indeed beautiful.
Other than that, we had a great time and are planning our next holiday already.
By Mr Munn on 24/09/2012
This was our 11th cycling holiday with Headwater in consecutive years and at our present ages of 72yrs and 69yrs we intend to continue. We have considered other companies but have adopted the principle "if it ain't broke don't fix it!" so it will be Headwater again next year.
This was probably the easiest Headwater tour that we have undertaken.The total of 295km was, as indicated in the brochure, on pan flat roads. The scenery was lovely and all the hotels were ones that we were happy to stay at.
The quality of the bikes and other equipment was good. We are raising one localised issue with Headwater separately and are confident that the reaction will be positive.
By Mrs Cochrane on 24/09/2012
In general all our expectations were met or exceeded but there are details (see below) that require attention
By Mrs Melhuish on 24/09/2012
we thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of our holiday.
By Mrs Tatton on 13/09/2012
We would have appreciated bar facilities at Agriturismo L’Albara for drinks in the afternoon when lazing by the pool after our cycle rides and before dinner. We were surprised that no cheese or cold meats were offered for breakfast – we even noted some saved cheese from dinner for breakfast on the next day.
The dinner was a set menu of four courses with no alternatives. We liked, in particular, the pasta dishes, but there is no system for advising guests of the set dinner menu beforehand in case any dish was not liked and so have the chance to ask for an alternative. The Headwater rep advised that alternatives could be requested but we suggest that the dinner menu could be displayed in the morning at breakfast time
By Mrs Dunn on 05/09/2012
It was a wonderful holiday combining fitness, beautiful scenery and superb food and service . We would recommend this combination to anyone.
By Mr Hearn on 05/09/2012
Both rep and hotel made our stay enjoyable. The food was delicious and sufficient for hungry cyclists. The bikes provided were very comfortable to ride and had appropriate gearing and efficient brakes (both essential for our favourite hill climb). The route instructions were very clear and the maps allowed us to construct our own routes.
By Mrs Gunderson on 03/09/2012
This was our first cycling holiday and I as a novice cyclist was a bit apprehensive, but it turned out to be one of the best holidays we have had. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The only negative was the extremely hot temperatures during the first week - 42 degrees most afternoons. The routes were all a good length for me, especially, and the directions were very easy to follow. We received a warm welcome everywhere we stayed and enjoyed very much the excellent food and wine.
By Mis Newton on 01/09/2012
This is the first time we have used headwater and would definitely use them again. The support provided by our rep was a lovely surprise and made the whole experience very easy and enjoyable.
Location amazing, weather fantastic, scenery breathtaking and the overall experience beyond expectation.
Roll on next year!
By Mrs Joekes on 29/08/2012
We had a brilliant time. The local Headwater agent, Javier, was helpful and friendly and provided us with local knowledge and insights. This is not the cheapest holiday, but worth every penny. All the important elements of this kind of trip (bikes, routes, baggage transfers, hotel bookings) were of excellent quality and well organised. Thanks.
By Mr Luck on 29/08/2012
We have now taken 9 Headwater holidays and very much enjoy this type of vacation. It worked well to stay in one place as in this instance there were enough cycle routes and places to visit to occupy the whole time. Other places we have stayed in the past would not have worked so well.
By Mrs Kenn on 29/08/2012
We really enjoyed this holiday, lots of cycle paths and quiet roads, hotel relaxed and friendly yet efficient care and good home cooked food, so ideal for a week's stay; pool lovely as was weather. Bikes and support were excellent.
By Mis Lording on 29/08/2012
The Secrets of San Gimignano is definitely an upper two bike holiday! There were plenty of hills going up but the rewards were the breath taking scenery, excellent hotels and lovely places that could be visited. Thank you Headwater for another great holiday. I can't wait until 2013 to book the next one!
By Mrs Ryan on 18/08/2012
great holiday, not as pretty as Piemonte but a lot flatter, Cristina in Runco was a superb host and we were only let done by the service in the last hotel.
By Mrs Tulloch on 13/08/2012
A great holiday, cycling routes were perfect length and level to allow me to feel I had exercised well in the fresh air in beautiful scenery. This made time for relaxing in the peaceful environment of the Agriturismo and feel justified in eating the plentiful food. Would definitely recommend Sarah the rep who was quietly efficient,friendly and knowledgable.
By Mr Barrow on 07/08/2012
The hotels and restaurants could not be faulted for the warmth of their welcomes and their service - everyone was happy to go the extra mile to make sure we were totally comfortable. The region itself was very beautiful and afforded stunning views on every side. However there were less things of interest to visit if you are keen on art, history, etc. On the other hand, this is the place to go if you are a wine buff or seek to increase your knowledge - you will learn much!
By Mr Lane on 07/08/2012
Lovely rural family hotel, growing much of the food and producing their own wine, excellent pool. Need to plan the rides carefully to catch opening times. Extra nights in Venice well worth it, great hotel and location.
By Mrs Bradley on 07/08/2012
This was our first arranged cycling
holiday, and we were pleasantly surprised
with warmth and expertise of Sarah the rep. Also of the efficient organisation of the holiday and the way it worked out for us.
We were very pleased with the hotels and the service that they offered, nothing being too much trouble for them.
One thing we would ask for next time is that you arrange for the heat to be turned
down a little please!!
By Mr White on 28/07/2012
We thoroughly enjoyed our cycling holiday, it combined our favourite things, activity, culture and food. We have been recommending Headwater to all our friends since we returned home and will certainly book another trip.
By Mrs Ripley on 28/07/2012
We had a great holiday but temps were in the high 30s and touching 40C, so the need for an early start must be emphasised. The hotels obliged by allowing us to have an early breakfast. Our progress was delayed by a faulty inner tube on the first day, so not a good start, especially as this resulted in doing the steep climb to Trevi in the midday heat. Other cyclists had the same problem, so obviously a bad batch. Perhaps a way round 'teething troubles' could be devised? Without personal knowledge, adjustments to gear and brake cables could have been a problem on new bikes.
La Bastiglia and Ripa Relais couldn't be faulted and set a high standard for the rest of the holiday. La Macchia was so different, and once the initial shock of the 500m climb was over, we enjoyed it just as much. This was a good place to spend extra days as there is such a lot to see in Spoleto. The food was wonderful and the staff so friendly. Hotel Poggio dei Pettirossi was not of the same quality. There was no air conditioning but fans were provided on request. The food and service were not 3 * and the rooms needed a thorough clean.
I would highly recommend Hotel Fortuna in Perugia, but not room 208 where we stayed unless the stench of dirty water has been eradicated from the bathroom. Hotel Astoria Garden is to be recommended, but watch out for the bitng insects in the garden! Ruth Grundy
By Mr Wall on 28/07/2012
This is an amazing area of Italy which we would not otherwise have visited, were it not for our travelling friends with family who wanted a one-centre stay. There are so many things to see and do we could easily have had another week! In particular the cities of Vicenza and Padua were real gems. not to mention the surrounding beautiful countryside. It was just the "heat wave" when we visited in July that slowed us down a bit!
By Mrs Pritchard on 28/07/2012
A perfect holiday, great cycling, delicious food, lovely pool, beautiful scenery.
By Mrs O'Rourke on 23/07/2012
This was a wonderful 'relaxing active' holiday in a glorious part of the Italian countryside.
The Aspects of Assisi cycling holiday allowed us to actively explore the countryside, historical centres and combine it with time to relax by beautiful pools and enjoy great food. Having a programme of alternate days cycling between hotel locations gave plenty of time to relax and explore the various towns.
The rides between locations were not over challenging and perfect for leisure cycling, particularly given the very hot weather we experienced. The programme gave a good selection of optional extensions to journeys and extra/alternative rides on the days off.
Food and hotels were of a good standard.
By Mrs McIlhinney on 23/07/2012
We had a brilliant holiday in a part of Italy we had never visited before – with so many olive trees!
By Mis Jameson on 23/07/2012
We can thoroughy recommend both the Agriturismo L'Albara in Villaganzerla as well as the cycling holiday taken from the venue. It was a pleasure to receive an excellant stay in a lovely setting and feel part of the family.
Thankfully Federicos English is better than our Italian but there was never really a language barrier. Food and accommodation was great, we can recommend the Prosecco, although to really enjoy it you need to bring some back with you, self drive, (long way but better carrying capacity than budget air line).
Very hot whilst we were there so make sure you can cycle the distances relatively easily, practice before you come out!
Andrew and Fiona.
By Mrs Munro on 23/07/2012
A great week in the sun.Bike was excellent and routes easy and interesting even at 32 cetigrade. Garden and pool lovely to come back to and eating outside every night a real pleasure.
By Mrs Roe on 11/07/2012
Beautiful scenery, lovely pools in hotels
By Dr Williams on 11/07/2012
It was a very relaxing holiday. The cycling was generally easy to complete within 4-5 hours giving time to relax by the pool. L'Albara is very welcoming, scrupulously clean and the food quite superb. We thoroughly enjoyed it.
By Mrs Aspden on 30/06/2012
Great opportunity to discover the Italian countryside and food (and wine). Great rep in Nuno, very obliging and hardworking. Fantastic choice for honeymoon
By Mrs Hancock on 23/06/2012
We loved this holiday: our enjoyment was very much helped by the weather which was excellent. The bikes were very good quality and the cycling easy. The hotels were well chosen and in or close to 3 very interesting cities.
By Mrs Bull on 23/06/2012
Another heavenly, Headwater holiday! I would do it all again tomorrow if I could!
By Mr Park on 23/06/2012
Great hotels, lovely scenery
By Mis Maxfield on 23/06/2012
Great experience - lovely area and good notes for the cycling. Excellent food in all locations.
By Mr Parmenter on 16/06/2012
Puglia is a wonderful area in which to cycle and we enjoyed every day of our holiday.
By Mrs Rodely on 16/06/2012
Enjoyable, very friendly and helpful staff and people who we came into contact with. The hotels were all very comfortable, the routes easy to follow and the suggested visits on the non moving day were good. A holiday much enjoyed.
By Mr Quine on 16/06/2012
A throroughly well-organised and enjoyable holiday with one notable exception.
Thanks for your comments. What a shame that the quality of the food was undermined by the service on this occasion. I have spoken to the manager at Da Felicin and I have his assurances that this was an unfortunate 'one-off' and that a repetition of this poor service won't happen again. Obviously, with the assistance of our local rep, Nuno, I'll be keeping an eye out that they are true to their word!
By Mis Woodall on 16/06/2012
Great food and hotels. Lived up to if not exceeded the brochure and our expectation
By Mrs King on 16/06/2012
It was a great holiday and lived up to our expectations. The countryside was beautiful with good hotels and food, we thoroughly enjoyed it.
By Mrs Turner on 16/06/2012
Very positive family holiday experience
By Mr Scott on 11/06/2012
fabulous....thanks very much
By Mrs Hornsby on 25/05/2012
Very enjoyable despite the appalling weather.
By Mr Dunn on 25/05/2012
Our first cycling vacation and we will definatley use Headwater as our primary agent on the next trip.
By Mrs Baylies on 09/05/2012
By Ms Beesley on 09/05/2012
Please refer to email to follow
By Dr Sheldon on 00/00/0000
Nice balance of luxury, activity and historical interest. We like the alternate days of rest/ cycling, and the independence of travelling on our own.
By Mr Bellion on 00/00/0000
A fascinating and varied area - great flat cycling, good hotels and great food.
By Mrs Quick on 00/00/0000
Le Langhe in Piedmont - one of Italy's best kept secrets - a mecca for food and wine lovers, with breathtaking scenery.
By Mrs Hill on 00/00/0000
Overall we really enjoyed the holiday and will be looking to book again. We chose the holiday for the gastro experience and really enjoyed the mix of restaurants from Michelin starred to more local / rustic. However we felt that the guide notes could have provided a brief summary of the restaurants to assist with expectations as some were really upmarket requiring smarter dress and had expensive wine, while others were more local where casual dress was acceptable and had reasonable wine prices. We also found some of the gradients challenging and thought that this holiday should have been graded 2 x bicycles+. Finally, we learnt by experience that shops shut on different days and afternoons. Unfortunately, we found ourselves without water on occasions despite reading the notes. For example, on route to Monteforte we did not stock up on water as the guide notes said that there were bars and shops. Unfortunately on arrival on Wednesday all shops were all shut meaning that we had to buy water from a bar at inflated prices. A line in each town description to show shop closing day would have assisted greatly. Hopefully, these points will be taken as constructive to help others as we really did have a great time.
By Mr Brandao on 00/00/0000
This is the second holiday package organized by Headwater and both experiences have been simply great. We love you guys! Thank you so very much!
We've noticed Headwater doesn't have a package for Greece, please do so! Let us know about it.
By Mis Dekan on 00/00/0000
Great cycling holday for those that want plenty of excellent scenery without too much effort - routes were easy to follow and a good 1 bike holiday. The only slight downside is the accomodation is quite remote so after the evening meal there is no where to go, but of course lots of chatter about the days experiences with fellow guests.
By Mrs Chambers on 00/00/0000
Great holiday overall. L'Albara lovely place to stay, family very welcoming and evening meals and wine delicious. Hannah also very delighted to have cake for breakfast every morning!
Transfer from MarcoPolo to Venice mestre and then train to Vincenza quite tiring and a bit stressful.
Probably worth suggesting at booking the option for a taxi transfer ( I know this is mentioned in the brochure)
By Mr Padfield on 00/00/0000
Very disappointing. The poor route notes - sufficiently bad that we abandoned them and found our own way using our own map and Mobile Phone mapping services for 3 days of cycling. A shock since on 4 previous holidays with Headwater there was no such problem.
By Mr Precious on 00/00/0000
This was our first Headwater Cycling Holiday and our first visit to Tuscany, we felt that we were able to get up close and personal with the beautiful countryside. We would recommend this type of activity to anyone, we had a wonderful time and we look forward to booking another trip soon.
By Mrs Craig on 00/00/0000
I was initially somewhat trepidatious about attempting a' two and a half cycle' difficulty holiday with my younger, fitter, regular cyclist husband and so ,probably, was he. I am dog walking fit and that's about it. Some of the hills were fairly challenging but the bikes supplied have plenty of gears and the views from the top and the downhills are well worth the effort involved getting up and I was never that far behind him in the end! We went in September during the grape harvest, a lovely time of year. I'm not sure I would have coped with the cycling quite so well in July or August! The reps were very helpful but not intrusive and the hotels were all good. My husband is a map man and thought the quality of maps supplied was poor so we used the written instructions which were accurate and detailed. You don't need to be an olympic athlete to get the most out of this holiday, you have all day to complete the 40k between hotels, just take your time and enjoy those views!
By Mrs Scott on 00/00/0000
The holiday was fine - exactly what we have come to expect of a Headwater holiday - we've done about 7. Every day turns up something different, the accommodation individual, sometimes quirky but always interesting and always something to do.
The Sicily cycling holiday lived up to expectation except for the quality of the electric bikes - the reason why we chose the holiday. The equipment was old and on one particular day not up to the distance for the day's journey - the batteries were collected off the bikes and we had to continue with the bikes battery free - something they are not designed for ! My battery alone weighed 12kg !
PS We didn't stay at the Agritorisimo Arcudaci - disregard the rating above - I can't delete it....
By Mrs White on 00/00/0000
Cycling from Slovenia was a great experience. Dependent on flight times though, I would suggest just one night in Ljubljana and an extra night in Bled. I agree with other reviewers, that it would have been good to spend more time in Slovenia. The local agent was very helpful and gave us a full briefing using his computer which was very helpful. This was the best briefing we have had from a Headwater 'agent'.
The cycling spectacular and easily the best scenery we have had on any Headwater trip although the cycling was generally easy (this was good!) - even on the long days. The parts of the cycle on old railway lines were particularly good - and easy, due to shade despite it being hot. I would actually grade the hotel as 1 not 1+
The Veneto cycling was not as spectacular as our previous week. We enjoyed it though. A good opportunity to see a different less touristy part of Italy. We particularly enjoyed staying in the agriturismo which are friendly and welcoming.
By Mr Craven on 00/00/0000
The only thing that really concerned us was the use by the taxi driver of his mobile phone (reading texts, not calling) at 80 mph on the motorway returning to the airport. I suggest Sarah should have a word with him. I am sure there is a Headwater policy on this.
Apart from this, we had a good time, Sarah was a good rep and her notes were excellent. The Veneto is a good area for people like us (60 plus) and we found the local services offered good value for money, better than we expected for Italy.
Il Feudo is rather a disappointing place to start and finish the holiday; it was below the par of the other places in terms of food and accommodation.........and ice is a problem there.
Dear Mr Craven,
Thank you for taking the time to complete your post-holiday questionnaire. We do review all of the feedback we receive and use this to help us improve and develop our holidays for the future.
With this in mind, we were sorry to read of your concerns regarding your return transfer. Please be assured our customer’s safety and well-being is a top priority and we expect the same priority from our local suppliers, therefore, the type of behaviour you have highlighted is completely unacceptable; please be assured we will discontinue using this supplier with immediate effect. Please accept our sincere apology for the upset or anxiety this may have caused.
We were also disappointed to read of your dissatisfaction with the Il Feudo, ordinarily, this hotel scores well and receives positive feedback. However, please be assured, we do realise the importance of maintaining our high standards of accommodation and service and appreciate we cannot afford to let these standards slip. We will continue to work with our Hotelier to ensure they are delivering the kind of accommodation and meals our customers expect.
Despite these issues, we were pleased to read you enjoyed your holiday overall and rated the service provided by Sarah and the routes notes we provide as a valued addition to your holiday.
In closing, we would like to thank you for your constructive feedback. We look forward to welcoming you on another of our holidays in the future.
Headwater Customer Service team