By Mr Bates on 05/10/2017
This was our first cycling holiday and we will certainly travel with Headwater again. The GPS and route notes worked well together.
By Mr Perry on 02/10/2017
Good locations, excellent hotels and very relaxing
By Mrs Sims on 13/09/2017
We thoroughly enjoyed our Porto Coastal cycling holiday and thought the organisation and planning was excellent throughout. The hotel accommodation was very good and the varied itinerary enabled us to explore both the interesting towns and delightful countryside of the region.
By Mr Hoffman on 13/09/2017
Fantastic holiday, great service from Headwater at home and at destination.
Hotels were all superb
Cycling was good although couple of the routes were bumpy and hard going (saddle wise!)
The wine tasting was a highlight!
The bikes were very robust and trustworthy.
By Mrs Rudd on 14/08/2017
A lovely part of Portugal to visit and a great holiday.
By Mr Bateman on 14/08/2017
It was beautifully quiet in every way. Many flowers and birds. Excellent food. Friendly people.
By Ms Scholes on 03/08/2017
A small group of us have been taking a cycling holiday together for 15 years, This was by far and away the best, the food, the hotels, the people, the cycling and the scenery combined it to make it a wonderful experience. We will be recommending to our friends.
By Mr Weston on 21/07/2017
invigorating trip, great organisation, will use Headwater again
By Mrs Pritchett on 21/07/2017
Beautiful island, very welcoming people, excellent standard of hotels.
By Mr Jones on 24/05/2017
Some great walks along Portugal's beautiful, unspoiled and dramatic coastline with an excellent choice of hotels for good food and comfort.
By Mrs Littler on 17/05/2017
A lovely holiday, we enjoyed every moment. The coastal scenery was spectacular, the countryside lovely - full of wild flowers. The accommodation was excellent and the stay in Pedralva was a great experience. We enjoyed the food and the local people we met were all very friendly. Our Rep ,Ludmila, was very friendly and efficient.
By Mr Nicol on 16/05/2017
weather--service--hotels--people--could not ask for any better..this last ride we had gps on the bikes.but sometimes lost signal
By Mr Russell on 16/05/2017
Algarve Wild West walking exceeded expectation. Floral environment on all walks was dazzling. All walks easy to follow as marked and described in written guide. Two boots was just about correct.
By Mrs Locker on 09/05/2017
At times the walks through the levadas were rather tedious because the vegetations blocked all the views.All the transfers worked really well.
By Mr Williams on 09/05/2017
Easy walking, good hotels, mixed weather.
By Mr Merryweather on 08/05/2017
'Wonderful holiday! Delightful (and very) varied accommodation, excellent food and terrific sights and smells in some wonderful countryside. But this can be a physically demanding cycle tour, so do ensure you are prepared to cycle - or push - your bike up some stiff hills.
Thanks to all at Headwater and, in particular, to Ludmilla.'
By Mr Gibson on 02/05/2017
Spring time provided marvellous walking weather and a wonderful spread of colour across the countryside. Tavira is a delightful town (try Tavira Lounge - left by bridge; lovely small balcony overlooking river); and the Pousada provides cool style and quality. The walks vary in intensity (not quite as flat as expected) and scenery. Found the Monchique walks somewhat dull; the hotel dreary and rundown (the attached tapas bar across the road appeared to close at 6pm), indifferent food but some redemption in an excellent pool and sundeck - just right after a day's walk. Our two hard working guides Ricardo and Gabriel ensured our walks went smoothly (especially at the family run Medronho distillery with an excellent lunch and a souvenir bottle that proved marvellous joint lubrication! A holiday that allows the traveller to gain some experience and insight into Algarve scenery and life; go for it.
By Mr Burrell on 27/04/2017
Quite simply the best holiday we have had in several years. Great food, great scenery, helpful staff, activity and brilliant weather. Just what we needed. Thank you
By Mr Swingler on 26/04/2017
A thoroughly enjoyable and relaxing holiday. We booked for the beginning of April hoping for good walking weather and lots of spring flowers - it turned out to be an excellent choice.
By Mr Kimber on 11/04/2017
Superb views when walking as well as lots of spring flowers and wildlife to enjoy. Excellent hotels and informative reps to help with local knowledge.
By Mr Newberry on 10/04/2017
An excellent overview of the whole of the Algarve, helped immensely by a superb guide.
By Mr Bumfrey on 10/04/2017
An ideal time to visit this area and enjoy the spring flowers and butterflies which are abundant on all the walks. The weather was perfect for this type of holiday and the hotels very good. The GPX tracks supplied were very useful.
By Mr Turner on 04/04/2017
The toughest Headwater cycling holiday I have been on, due to the preponderance of off road some of which was quite rough and steep, plus the fact that for two and a half days of the three days cycling there was a strong cold headwind, therefore I think the grading should be changed.
By Mrs Griffiths on 28/03/2017
We could relax because everything ran like clockwork. We were very lucky with our walking companions, we enjoyed thier company and navigated and ate together every day.
By Mr Norris on 20/03/2017
Good but if we followed the walks exactly , they were not long enough for us given that the terrain was not at all demanding. However we did manage to add on extras each day which made the walking better.
By Mrs Lancaster on 17/03/2017
Lovely walks with lots of variety. We particularly enjoyed the coastline. Our rep, Ludmilla, was very welcoming, personable and helpful.
By Mr Richards on 07/03/2017
Portugal in February - quiet but not deserted, good walking and perfect temperature and conditions.
By Mr Corlett on 03/01/2017
I was fortunate to have absolutely perfect weather and low wind levels for my cycling trip to southern portugal.. a very enjoyable experience and would definitely do a repeat.
By Mrs Barr on 29/11/2016
The website does not make it clear that a lot of the cycling is in built up areas ,which was disappointing and unlike our many previous Headwater holidays.Although all the hotels ,apart from the one in Curia ,were outstanding, I would not recommend this area for cycling.
By Mr Plant on 29/11/2016
Very positive experience.
Interesting series of landscapes/urbanscapes travelled.
Excellent birdwatching along the way.
Very good hotels selected.
By Mrs Collins on 29/11/2016
Our 9 days on the Porto to Coimbra cycling holiday was overall a very enjoyable experience. For those who are not regular cyclists, the first 4 or 5 days, the cycling is along very quiet cycle tracks and mainly flat. The weather was not especially favourable for the first half of our stay, but good cycling temperature. On the other hand, it only rained on the day off and not for long, or at night. We were near the Atlantic coast most of the time, so we didnt get to see the beaches bathed in warmth and sunshine. We cycled along a lot of lagoons and saw flamingos which was exciting and one of the other couples doing the same holiday, was an avid birder and apparently crossed off most of the birds on his list.
Porto is a charming town and the first restaurant that Headwater booked us in for our first evening meal was terrific. Furodouro, the 2nd night's accommodation, hasnt that much to offer, apart from a nice beach and a most welcoming Manager and a lovely indoor pool. The accommodation itself is very
light and spacious.
Aveiro is also a pleasant town, a miniature Venice. The reception recommended a fantastic fish restaurant on the opposite side of the canal, called Mare Cheia, very regional. Excellent hotel, and next door to the Art Nouveau Museum, which is a bit quirky.
The Macarico Hotel in Praia de Mira has a lovely pool on the rooftop. The restaurant, for which you are given Vouchers is good, once you know how and what to order. Not many of the waiters speak English.
The Curia Palace Hotel is extremely grand though not quite as luxurious in its features as we have become accustomed. However there is a huge pool and on the other side of the pool wall, a field with fairly tame fallow deer. The hotel dates back to 1926 and is very much a heritage hotel, with swing music playing in the background at breakfast which is held in a vast ballroom or banqueting hall.
The last hotel in Coimbra is very modern, and you virtually have your own personalised lift. We encountered the only mosquito of the whole trip there! Lovely pool, and it is about a 20 minute walk to the train station, and probably less up to the main part of Coimbra.
The weather and the scenery improved vastly once we headed away from Mira. There are some quite steep hills on the last leg to Coimbra, but we saw electricity pylons layered with nesting White Storks.
By Mr Kent on 29/11/2016
The coastline in South West Portugal is stunning and the national park unspoiled .Most days we only saw other walkers and surfers The walks were well planned and came with easy to follow instructions.The way-mark signs were also good. Ludmilla and Tony, the Headwater representatives were excellent.and we felt as though they were there just for us ,even though we knew that they had other guests to look after. .The food and accommodation was ,on the whole ,of a high standard. We wouldn't hesitate to recommend this holiday to other walkers. They wont be disappointed. It far exceeded our expectations!
By Dr Johnson on 29/11/2016
The local guides were extremely helpful and well informed. Their walking routes and descriptions were excellent and full of interest. The whole area was very scenic and with a good variety of wildlife.
By Mrs Barnes on 29/11/2016
This is a most enjoyable walking holiday. You see some spectacular scenery and stay in some lovely places. In September the weather was hotter than we had expected which made the walks quite demanding, but the excellent notes provided by the guides meant that we never got lost. Most of the hotels were excellent, but while the breakfasts at Costa d'Oiro were good, the dinners were not. There was little choice and the main courses were of poor quality.
By Mrs Lancaster on 14/11/2016
This was our first holiday to Madeira and fortunately enjoyed perfect walking weather.
We enjoyed the Levada experience very much but the Sao Lourenco Peninsula walk was definitely a highlight. Our last walk into Funchal was disappointing but appreciate it had been changed because of the summer fires.
The hotels were delightfully varied. At the Quinta do Furao we enjoyed live music and an outdoor hotel buffet/ barbecue on our last night. At the Serra Golf we found our selves upgraded to a lovel suite! Staying at The Bela Vista is like stepping back in time to ' Colonial days '. Silver service is a fun experience. The waiters were a little surprised when my husband asked for beer rather than wine! But they soon got used to him. We cannot fault the food and service at this hotel. Although the hotel is out of Funchal we did find the local bus service and hotel minibus service worked well.
Overall a wonderful holiday.
By Mrs Mulder on 11/11/2016
Fantastic experience walking Madeira. Even on a cloudy day it is an amazing place. Headwater arranged everything effortless. Amazing how the drivers were always there on the dot! Very reliable at all times. The levada walks were easy walks - except if you haven't got a head for heights...Good variety in walks and great that Headwater could provide more walks if you wanted to walk more. For example on your free days.
Will book with Headwater again - a no brainer!
By Mr Mathias on 11/11/2016
Good .Poor room in the hotel Carrie Porto small room small window looking across a narrow ally straight into a derelict building.This room should not be let in this state.
Dear Mr Mathias,
Thank you for taking the time to complete your post-holiday questionnaire. We were pleased to see you had a good holiday, although, we were sorry to read of your disappointment with the standard of room you were allocated at Carris Porto Ribeira. Since receiving your feedback, we have asked the hotelier to ensure they do not allocate this room to future Headwater customers. Whilst we realise this does not affect your holiday, we do hope it goes some way to show we take our customers feedback seriously. We would like to thank you for your continued loyalty and look forward to welcoming you on another of our holidays in the future.
Headwater Customer Service team
By Mr Aston on 11/11/2016
Lovely holiday - the northern Portuguese seemed very friendly and welcoming of tourists.
By Mrs Dillnutt on 09/11/2016
The cycle tracks in Portugal were good and holiday would suit people new to cycling holidays
By Mr Toms on 09/11/2016
Easy walking over gentle countryside with spectacular coast
By Mis Buttrick on 08/11/2016
A wonderful walking holiday in Maderia. A great insight of the island. Headwater took all the work out of the travel and holiday arrangements and left us to enjoy ourselves!
By Mrs Harraway on 31/10/2016
Excellent hotels, and food .
Extremely well organised .
Reps very helpful.
Cycling tough !
By Mr Morgan on 31/10/2016
Cycling is a great way to experience a country
By Mr Warren on 31/10/2016
quite challenging cycling on day one for the over70s - entirely our choice made enjoyable by rescue and advice from Tony and Ludmilla - absolute gems throughout - electric bikes would be a good option on this holiday - easy enough to avoid the offroad stuff if that is a worry with them - overall an excellent holiday with spectacular beaches and coastal views
By Mr Marsh on 31/10/2016
Everything was well thought though, GPS, local mobile and bike equipment. Very relaxing and enjoyable holiday
By Mr Levitch on 31/10/2016
We have always found Headwater to be a most professional company in their approach and this holiday proved to be the same. However, due to both of us coming down with a nasty cold virus virtually from day one, we also found a caring and flexible company in the Local Agent who offered helpful suggestion's and bike transfers on bad days. Now in our September, years this was important and will bring us back to Headwater in the future.
By Ms Van bentum on 31/10/2016
Lovely views, lovely walks (accurate maps and grading), lovely hotels and a lovely rep (Ludmilla). It was a great holiday with the two nights in Pedralva and the walk to the lighthouse on the last day as the absolute highlights.
By Mrs Cerny on 31/10/2016
We had our first holiday with Headwater this October in Portugal. We had never been on an organised walking holiday before, but any concerns we might have had , e.g. getting lost,were soon abated. The route maps were excellent and easy to follow. The timing of each walk was accurate, so we were able to pace ourselves accordingly. We often walked the whole day without meeting a soul except at the beach, where we could watch surfers in crashing waves. The range of accommodation was excellent. We enjoyed our stay in Pedralva and were lucky to have a a cottage with a large patio.The hotels were in great locations and all very comfortable. Ludmilla and Tony were very helpful and knowledgeable about the area. We had not been to Portugal on holiday before. We will be back!
By Mr Bird on 31/10/2016
A good, enjoyable and trouble-free holiday. The walks themselves were easy, but unremarkable and at times dull.
By Mr Kelly on 13/10/2016
Once again, we had a thoroughly enjoyable holiday! Great walking, wonderful locations for our accommodation, excellent food and drink, and as a bonus the company of other like-minded walkers at various points during the week. Excellent route notes and planning - it is definitely what we have come to expect from our Headwater holidays (this was our 10th)
By Mr Shelton on 04/10/2016
Quinta do Furao was lovely, very welcoming staff, a stunning location. The walk along the coast from the hotel was amazing. The local representative, Eduardo from MB Travel, met us to discuss the week's walks and was very helpful, knowledgeable and enthusiastic.
Serra Golf was a beautiful building, but the staff took two days to sort out our lack of hot water (we had a room in the old house) and had forgotten to provide a packed lunch on our morning of departure.
The levada walks were splendid - breathtaking views around every corner. The guide notes were good, but we could have done with a few more arrows or signs on the path. On the last walking day we had an alternative walk due to the forest fires of previous weeks. This was not nearly as good as the previous walks - I am sure there are other walks available.
Quinta da Bella Vista was a a lovely hotel set in beautiful grounds - a long way from the centre of Funchal and the hotel shuttle bus does not run on Saturday afternoon and Sunday. There are local buses into town. Five course dinners served every evening, but after a day's walking you just want a big bowl of something on the table.
Many thanks to Headwater staff for their efforts to arrange our holiday around our preferred dates.
By Mrs Jones on 12/09/2016
Cycling was mainly along flat cycle ways and quiet roads although some of the cycle track surfaces were a little bumpy. The hotels were a very good standard, meals, whether taken within or outside the hotels, were very good, especially the fresh fish dishes. Porto was well worth seeing and an interesting city. A bus trip to Costa Nova from Aveiro is worth doing to see the pretty painted houses. The cycle along the estuary and nature reserve was very enjoyable watching out for flamingoes and other seabirds and we were lucky to be doing this at low to half tide when the wading birds and lots of local fisherman, digging for cockles and clams, can be seen. On the beach at Praia de Mira we were lucky enough to see the local fishermen hauling in their nets full of sardines. The final cycle from Praia de Mira along the water canals was a lovely cycle too.
By Mrs Clark on 30/08/2016
Wonderful way to see a country on a bike, real sense of achievement when you arrive at a new destination by bike. A fair amount of exercise - not too strenuous, but much better than sitting on a sunbed all week.
By Mr York on 30/08/2016
We've done several similar cycling holidays in Europe and this was up there with the best.
By Mrs Malone on 17/08/2016
We cycled 5 out of 7 days. Joanna met us on arrival and got us on track. The trails were very easy to manage - the GPS was a superb tool. The scenery was magnificent, and we really saw the hidden Portugal. The cycle lanes were completely segregated from the roads and this made for a relaxed and peaceful experience. Each evening we arrived at our hotel to a warm welcome and our luggage in our room. The standard of all the hotels was extremely high and they were all in beautiful locations. The printed maps and route descriptions were also helpful, and the level of difficulty ultimate ascribed to the cycle was accurate.
By Mrs Hoskins on 17/08/2016
An unforgettable experience travelling in rural Portugal, getting to see sights other holidays don't offer, off the beaten track, just the right amount of effort for cycling. Excellent choice of hotels, although not the best views! Very good help from rep and good support offered. Nice to know the baggage was taken care of although we arrived before it at one location and it was 5.30pm before they arrived! We could cycle the route at our own pace and felt secure in the knowledge that we were being taken care of and knew where we were going with very good instructions and maps.
By Mrs Whiteley on 25/07/2016
Very well organised holiday - excellent helpful Portuguese reps looked after us well throughout. GPS was a very successful means of not getting lost en route. Hotels all good, although 2 out of 4 gave us rooms looking at blank walls. Some time is spent riding on roads, though we used footpaths where available, and there are dedicated cycle paths for the majority of the route. Some interesting coastal scenery. Riding through the lagoon wasn't as spectacular as we'd hoped as much of the the cycle path was rocky and potholed and you had to concentrate on the path surface immediately ahead to avoid falling, rather than enjoying the scenery and wildlife. All in all though, a very enjoyable holiday.
By Mr Allin on 22/07/2016
Excellent holiday. The bikes were quite heavy but the cycling was flat and the electric bike was modern and excellent.
By Mis Rodgers on 19/07/2016
Maderia was a beautiful location. Weather in June was pleasant. Hotels and food good.
Walks varied and interesting. Overall a good experience.
By Mrs Garth on 15/07/2016
Thoroughly enjoyed my holiday on my first visit to Portugal. Excellent service from local reps. Great hotels. Ebikes fun. Delicious food, wine and port. Loved the routes.
By Mrs Hewitt on 02/07/2016
This holiday was good and the temperature for walking was very comfortable, but it would have been lovely to see the sun more, and the spectacular views, which were sometimes covered by mist and low cloud. I was not very fit at the beginning and felt exhausted and sore after two days, so chose to miss the walk on day 3 and go with the bags to the next hotel and have a day resting, and reading by the pool. (The Porto Bay Serra Golf has a spa with treatments, and it is possible to book a leg and foot massage!). The walks were dominated by levada routes, so less varied than our previous walking holidays with Headwater, so it was really worth going on the San Lourentco peninsula walk which was wonderful
By Mrs Griffiths on 16/06/2016
Excellent cycling along the Atlantic coast, lovely hotels, interesting area to explore. The Furadouro Hotel was outstanding - welcome, food, swimming pool, rooms all superb.
By Mr Sedgwick on 14/06/2016
A good variety of walks with a good local guide through enchanting country side with magnificent wild flowers ( May is a good month for this holiday
By Mrs Cronin on 14/06/2016
A very well organised holiday giving us the chance to visit places we would not have otherwise seen.
By Mrs O'Brian on 13/06/2016
Overall the holiday was thoroughly enjoyable. The walks were varied and a good length and covered some beautiful scenery. I think the 1+ rating was quite accurate - the walks were usually around 4 hours with some up and downhill sections but nothing particularly difficult. The accommodation was good as were most of the meals. Our guide, Tiago, was brilliant! He was knowledgeable, organised, flexible and just a really nice guy to hang out with. My only advice for future travellers would be to make sure to take insect repellent or a zapper for Tavira. The mozzies were like helicopters there.
By Mr Daniel on 13/06/2016
First visit to the Algarve and first cycling holiday. Hard work for a couple of days but the rewards matched the effort. Lovely locations and hotels had top quality staff. Our two reps were lovely and incredibly helpful. We have used Headwater only a few times over 20 or so years, but every time the holiday has been special. That is why we have always looked them up when considering a trip overseas.
By Mrs Loch on 07/06/2016
Madeira is an excellent year-round easy walking destination. The custard tarts are to die for
By Mr Kilby on 07/06/2016
We enjoyed our cycling holiday but the weather was terrible which marred our experience. We also thought some of the cycling was a bit monotonous, going through residential areas, particularly at the beginning and would have preferred not to have had to get the train, although it proved invaluable in the end due to weather. The lagoon part was generally nice however towards the end, the path had completely disintegrated and the little bridge had been washed away. It certainly needed two people to carry the bikes down and across. We informed the guide at the end of the holiday. I dont think this holiday would be suitable for families in summertime as the roads get very busy and there were more roads than we had expectred. We thought the route tracking on the garmin was an excellent idea and the best part of following the route. Totally reliable. The hotels were all good though not all were properly equipped to accept bikes, namely the one in Porto and the Hotel Moliciero.
By Mrs MacLeod on 06/06/2016
Very well organised trip. Varied walking; enjoyed walking along the levadas but views often restricted by trees. Misty on some days so some high level walks would have been good.
By Mrs Hansen on 06/06/2016
Fantastic walking, great variety. Very enjoyable holiday. One of our best headwater holidays
By Mrs Pattinson on 26/05/2016
Tiago and Hugo were excellent guides using very well planned routes. They were very friendly and flexible in their approach. Everyone in the walking group was very friendly and sociable. Tiago was a fount of knowledge of birds and plants and was keen to pass on this knowledge.
By Mr Milward on 26/05/2016
Extremely well organised , with excellent local representative (Tony) who provided additional information and support without hesitation. Also provided local maps and timetables for my time in Faro which allowed me to enjoy that day, he also informed me about the industrial action at the airport which allowed me to make appropriate arrangements.
By Mr Grant on 18/05/2016
The holiday was excellent and the walks sufficiently challenging without being too onerous although some of the climbs are pretty severe and you need a head for heights on some short stretches of the levada walls. If you want superb views this holiday is great but if you suffer any degree of vertigo this is not the holiday for you.
By Mr Cottam on 16/05/2016
A great way to see different areas of a country and meet new people.
By Dr Goldberg on 10/05/2016
This was an excellent holiday. The cycling was along very flat routes down the beautiful Atlantic Coast and around the pretty lagoons. Porto and Aveiro were great places to have days off. The hotels were good or very good. We ate some delicious fish and everyone was very friendly and welcoming.
By Mrs Gibson on 09/05/2016
It was excellent from start to finish. Our reps Tony & Ludmila Lewis made our holiday experience special with their friendliness, humour and knowledge. Please pass on our thanks.I am hoping to book a walking holiday with Headwater next year with my friend please send me a brochure
By Mr Spiller on 09/05/2016
The pleasure of Headwater is that they do everything to make ensure your experience is exceptional - so it is!
By Mrs Corris on 04/05/2016
The walking was varied and enjoyable although the weather could have been better.
By Mr Stevens on 03/05/2016
Very enjoyable, well organised and good general standard of accomodation.
By Mr Story on 03/05/2016
The standard of the holiday was as good as expected - what really made this holiday so enjoyable was Tony and Ludmilla - their warm welcome, personal touch, and their knowledge of the area was second to none.
By Mrs Webster on 03/05/2016
We felt we were in very good hands with Tony and Ludmilla who could not have done more to make our overall experience so good. They really are so good at the job and it makes such a difference to have friendly and approachable people to enhance the experience. They helped us with train and bus times when we left Sagres at the end of the Headwater holiday - they have been the best agents we have come across!
By Mrs King on 27/04/2016
An excellent holiday with exceptionally helpful guides.a good variety of accommodation
By Mr Curwen on 26/04/2016
A superb holiday. The walks are out of this world - such a beautiful place, quite magical. The hotels had excellent facilities which is just what you need after a day's walking. Well done Headwater!
By Mr Holmes on 25/04/2016
An excellent holiday with an interesting and varied range of walks and activities. Well structured to give a decent impression of the Algarve region as a whole. The website and brochure provide a pretty accurate description of the holiday. The local guides were informative, helpful, friendly and very considerate of capabilities of different group members. My first experience of such a holiday, would happily do something similar again!
By Mis Whittaker on 25/04/2016
I have been on many Headwater holidays, mostly guided when traveling on my own or with one friend but some self guided when with a group of friends.
When travelling on my own Headwater provide accurate information about what to expect and provide a safe environment for me. I know enough about how they operate to anticipate accurately what the holiday will be like. Of course the other members of the group are a main factor but I have always found that they work well together. This is often helped by the guide understanding group dynamics.
By Dr Davies on 25/04/2016
A very nice holiday. The cycling was generally very good. It is a little hilly so is certainly a grade 2. There was a little bit more off road than we expected and one part of this was a particularly bad track which was slow going. Everything else was fine. The accommodation was good.
By Ms Elliott on 25/04/2016
The walks were excellent and very accurately described and graded. Excellent options presented for the rest days. Ludmilla, our rep, was really helpful and had very good personal knowledge of the area and all the walks. Views were spectacular, especially on the coastal sections of the walks, and the wildflowers and bird-life were both wonderful. The slow-food restaurant at Vila do Bispo (A Eira do Mel) provided the outstanding meal of our trip. Hotel meals were generally pretty good, though the breakfast at Vila do Bispo was rather limited both in variety and quality. The weather was pleasantly cool for walking but, if you want to swim in the sea, you should probably go late April or May!
By Mrs Smale on 18/04/2016
Enjoyable relaxed holiday with an excellent guide, Tiago, who introduced us to the lovely and varied countryside which was enhanced by the magnificent show of wild flowers. The walking was considerably harder than on other 1boot holidays, and deserved to be labelled as 1+ boot.
By Mrs Roper on 18/04/2016
This was a lovely holiday.The wild flowers were magnificent and the scents of orange blossom and fresh herbs will long remain with us.We enjoyed the variety of different tracks and the headland loop at Amado beach was stunning.The bikes were excellent with especially low gears for those hills,and the tour notes were pretty good. The welcome at all three hotels was genuinely warm and the accommodation very comfortable, except at Pedralva,where the bed felt like a marble slab, and gave us a restless 2 nights. The food and wine was fresh, wholesome and very well prepared.We thoroughly enjoyed this break and came back feeling refreshed and invigorated. We will definitely consider Headwater when choosing our next holiday.
By Mr Taylor on 18/04/2016
Madeira is a beautiful, friendly and welcoming island, ideal for gentle exercise and relaxation.
By Ms King-smith on 18/04/2016
A delightful few days' walking in lovely, remote, unspoilt countryside. I enjoyed the birdlife and spring flowers particularly. The Portuguese we encountered were personable and friendly and spoke excellent English. My friend and I loved the food and wine - our reward after a day of walking! We got a lot out of what was, objectively, quite a short holiday.
By Mr Faulkner on 18/04/2016
Hiring a car gave more flexibility and allowed us both to walk following some of the route, especially the Fisherman's Trail and so to see the coastline, as well as having more time to explore other parts of the region. Ludmilla was outstanding in giving helpful, discrete and unintrusive advice
By Ms Bronger on 06/04/2016
Fun. We enjoyed our visit to Portugal.
By Pro Beevers on 06/04/2016
Great.......good walking , excellent notes and maps , good weather and good support. Requests for extra historical information promptly supplied by Ludmilla. Wonderful flowers, butterflies and birds, ! Food was excellent both in hotels and in the towns and Ludmilla advised us about local perceves speciality...and how to eat them. A good variety of places to eat.
Only suggestion is handrail or handrope in Pedralva cottage ( long flight of thirteen stone steps down to loo.....)
Wonder if L and T might keep a reference book of Flowers and Birds of Portugal in the van they could lend out... or we could consult?
By Mr Beal on 06/04/2016
Our third holiday with Headwater came up to usual high standards. Our representative Ludmilla was excellent and efficient. Although we had no problems we were confident that, had there been, she would have dealt with them promptly. We particularly enjoyed the delightful village at Pedralva - something out of the ordinary.
By Mr Ball on 04/04/2016
Enjoyable notwithstanding some poor weather.
By Dr Loken on 30/03/2016
As usual with Headwater Holidays, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves on this holiday. The locations were varied and interesting, the local guides did an excellent job, and the walking was very enjoyable.
By Ms Hood on 30/03/2016
Friendly, well-organised and exactly as described.
By Mrs Lamb on 29/03/2016
This was our first guided walk, after many years of self guided holidays. We enjoyed the relaxation which came from not having to worry about anything at any time.Our guide Tiago was expert at assessing the capabilities and personalities of the group. We were able to go at our own pace, taking as much time as anyone needed to appreciate the wild flowers, birds and scenery. His passion for his country was inspirational and educational.
By Mr Kershaw on 29/03/2016
Excellent first holiday with Headwater. Nothing was too much trouble. They even arranged for me to see England win the Grand Slam on TV in Pedralva!
Walks were beautiful and the guides were easy to follow.
By Mr Sinanoglou on 14/03/2016
Though the rating (one boot+) is accurate, I would have preferred longer walks on most days. The use of three locations in three very different settings is an attractive feature as is the superb seafood. The village of Pedralva is an unusual and well-chosen base from which to explore Portugal's west coast. The use of a Portuguese partner organization (A to Z Adventures) and local guides works extremely well. This is an ideal holiday for those who enjoy half-day walks in a variety of landscapes covering a region that stretches from the river border with Spain in the east to the Atlantic beaches and sea cliffs in the west. The guides are well-informed and very attentive.
By Mr Harris on 14/03/2016
A good strenuous holiday for an elderly single traveller. The guides and the other travellers were good organisers and excellent companions. No complaints.
By Dr Harris on 04/03/2016
A holiday in which you get away from the crowds and experience the country intimately, complemented by good food & accomodation
By Mr Wildsmith on 03/03/2016
Excellent varied walking on the coast and on the Levada system. Good variety of hotel.
By Mr Worsley on 25/02/2016
Met our expectations exactly- no hitches throughout.
By Mr Pomfrett on 25/02/2016
Probably the best walking holiday we have had in Europe. A decent walk each day but you could do other things if you wanted. 3 of the five walks were really beautiful and the other two were good. Accommodation was fine and the reps were helpful. The notes were clear and easy to follow.
By Mr Huddlestone on 17/02/2016
An enjoyable winter break in milder weather with an interesting variety of walking, without being too challenging! The hotels provided excellent facilities for rest and recuperation with good dining and comfortable surroundings and some stunning views in places.
By Ms Swiecicka on 17/02/2016
Can't really comment on standard of accommodation normally offered by Headwater as we upgraded wherever possible. At Costa D'Oiro (where we paid for superior room) we were put in room 3016 (I think) which, we later realised, has to have been the worst of all the superior rooms in that building (ground floor, in the back left-hand corner of the building) - the bathroom facilities were modern but the room itself was very dark and cramped (had a 3rd bed in it so nowhere inside to sit or even to put our cases). The patio was dark & dingy and only got the sun for about an hour or so around breakfast time (which wasn't much use to us as the room was not 'ready' for us to go into until after 1pm). The superior rooms on the other side of the building (i.e. facing the small road) were much brighter and bigger but we were not given the option of changing. We wouldn't have minded a room at the back of the building had it been on the 1st floor level as this would have been much lighter but we very much got the impression that we were put in that room to make it easier for cleaning - i.e. all the rooms to be cleaned were together on the ground floor. The restaurant was closed in the evening so comment re food relates to breakfast only, which was good. I would not stay in this hotel again.
Dear Ms Swiecicka, Thank you for taking the time to complete your post-holiday feedback, we were pleased to see you had an enjoyable holiday overall, however were sorry to read of your dissatisfaction with your room at Hotel Costa d ‘Oiro. We have discussed your comments with the Hotelier; he was also disappointed to receive your feedback and is sorry this issue was not resolved during your stay. This hotel is not one we normally use for our walking holiday, however we do use it on our cycling holiday and the overall feedback received is good. However, we do appreciate we cannot afford to let our standards slip, so will continue to monitor all feedback received and will work closely with our hotelier to ensure they are delivering the standard of accommodation our customers have come to expect. In closing, we would like to thank you for your constructive feedback and look forward to welcoming you on another of our holidays in the future. Yours sincerely, Headwater customer service team
By Mis Heath on 03/12/2015
Memmo Baleeira was lovely to stay at and it would have been good to have stayed there longer. Mira Sagres was alright and Pedralva was very basic (food in evening was adequate but you had to be careful what you chose). Walking along coast and in wooded valleys was lovely but could be tedious inland (flat and featureless scrubland at times). Ludmilla was great and very helpful - we like her a lot!
By Mis Haill on 27/11/2015
Truly memorable holiday with excellent guides leading us. We saw a huge amount of the Algarve and the walks were varied and interesting, though perhaps a little bit harder than I was prepared for. My first visit to Portugal and I hope not my last.
By Ms Lang on 27/11/2015
It was a good holiday. Just too much rain.
By Mrs Chaplin on 18/11/2015
Thoroughly enjoyed our holiday, Tony and Ludmilla were very helpful, the route notes accurate and the walks were lovely especially the walk from Vila do Bispo to Sagres-the coastal views were fantastic! All the hotels were very welcoming, but we especially liked Pedralva it is a real gem and the food was great too! There was plenty of choice of restaurants on the days when we had bed and breakfast at the hotels and we found all to be very good value for money.
By Mr Green on 09/11/2015
Good combination of interesting but not too taxing walks, four or five hours a day, and pleasant pampering by staying at good hotels with pools and saunas,(very important to soothe any aching muscles !) Local people that we encountered seemed uniformly friendly and helpful and the landscape, whether we were being driven or walking through it, was never less than fascinating and often simply amazing, a combination of peruvian highlands and alpine villages !
By Mis Jameson on 26/10/2015
This was a new holiday and the Guides were excellent. The walks were varied and interesting. A mix of capabilities were catered for by using two vehicles but only because our group size allowed it. The hotels were varied as were the areas. I knew of the Poussada at Tavira and have stayed in the area before, We were particularly pleased to be able to return to a favorite restaurant in Santa Luzia. Although the weather wasn't at it's finest for our holiday we completed all the walks.
The complex at Petralva was very interesting and had the best showers and hot water. However, the room was damp, others requested to be moved, this should be sorted out because the overall resort,concept and area was lovely. Our last morning's breakfast appeared to have them short handed but was fine. The bartender was knowledgeable and made our stay very enjoyable.
The Hotel at Monchique was made up of a number of buildings some older than others. Our room although old was spacious but the hot water and decor was struggling a bit. Food for the first two evenings was a set menu and not very good nor was the service. This was the first time I have had difficulty with language in the Algarve. The bartender was particularly out of his depth. The last night the food was offered at A La Carte and was much improved as was the young lady taking orders and serving ( the kitchen too was much improved). The visit to the local distillery was fantastic and although the food in the hotel could have been better we thoroughly enjoyed the holiday.
We did not receive walking notes or a detailed walk itinerary ( I assume because it was guided) but this left us never really sure of plans and routes for the next day. We were given the holiday briefing but ten days in one go was too much to take in.
This was our fifth Headwater Holiday and perhaps quality did not quite match up to others but I think with some assistance from the hotels it could easily achieve the expected level. There were nine of us on the tour and think we all enjoyed the experience.
By Mrs Stevens on 26/10/2015
This had the potential to be an outstanding holiday with excellent guides but they were let down by two of the hotels. It would have been helpful to have details of the spa treatments in advance and to book in advance as the Spa was often fully booked. It was also pretty shabby although the treatments good. More information about the area and history of the are would be a good idea too.
By Mr Jones on 26/10/2015
Good holiday and very good walking, well organised and good fun.
By Mr Stather on 08/10/2015
1. We felt that the Quinta do Furao hotel was ahead of the others because the staff were genuinely helpful / friendly, the restaurant served excellent locally grown food and typically Madeiran cuisine.
2. One flaw in the route notes was on Day 6 - the 2nd line on the 2nd Paragraph on page 22 - starts with 'At the T-junction of paths, turn right.....' We think it should say 'turn left!' Another (more minor) point is on Page 16 (last but one paragraph) mentioning the Tofa Mini Mercato - which we didn't find but suspect that the name has changed (they were in the process of re-vamping the shop with another name and coloured purple.
3. I would especially like to express my thanks to Donna Webber for her close attention to detail and patience when exploring the flight / accommodation options that made our holiday enjoyable during the period we had available. And also for Emma Glasgow for making exceptional steps in a very tight timescale to ensure that we received the route notes / maps etc through the post that were essential to our holiday. Thank you both
By Mrs Heard on 06/10/2015
Wonderful,all walks easy instructions to follow with small useful details personally put in buy Lucy the Rep who was full of good and helpful advice. Locations all good. All hotel staff spoke good English which really helped as we do not speak a word of Portuguese. Food good. All transfers spot on nice friendly drivers who gave local history as we traveled. Although a walking holiday found it very relaxing as we walked at our own pase and all the walks different so plenty of scenery to stop and take in. This was our 1st walking holiday and regard it as a total success exstreamly happy with Headwater and would book with them again.
By Mr Hurst on 06/10/2015
The walking exactly as described in the itinerary. For the intrepid, on the CaldeirÃ£o Verde Levada walk it is worth exploring beyond CaldeirÃ£o Verde towards CaldeirÃ£o do Inferno. The first 1.3k is easy, then their is an ambiguous option of continuing along levada or climbing steeply on well maintained steps signposted 'CaldeirÃ£o do Inferno 0.8km'. We chose the latter. The step take you up to a much higher level levada and a maze of tunnels and bits of old railway track. There is a yellow and red way marker here that seems to indicate this is the official route. Unfortunately we didn't have time to explore further.
On day 5 we would highly recommend the SÃ£o LourenÃ§o walk - but do go early before it gets busy.
On days where transfers are provided, it is worth verifying that the driver knows where he should be taking you. On the CaldeirÃ£o Verde Levada day we were half way to Funchal before we realised the driver had mistaken our destination.
Quinta da Bella Vista is not a 5 star hotel. It has an air of faded luxury, but they need to focus on the basics like cleanliness and service to earn their 5 stars. The bedroom wing needs a freshen-up - e.g. the faded / stained carpets replaced. The 5 course meal and service in the half-board restaurant was ok, but didn't really live up to expectations. The 'production line' catering was obvious and service perfunctory. Having said that, there are some interesting public areas - the pool / bar, old house and gardens. Having after-dinner drinks and coffee by the pool with views over Funchal was memorable.
The Quinta do Furao and Serra Golf were fine hotels in their different ways.
By Mr Hurrell on 17/07/2015
Overall we really enjoyed it. However we were not quite prepared for the steepness of some of the walks. This is not down to Headwater but rather our own lack of research. The views were spectacular. We also felt that the times given for the length of each walk was rather optimistic even for us who enjoy walking in all terrains.
By Mr Whitehurst on 22/06/2015
The key to my holiday was the flexibility in booking the travel arrangements via Birmingham. This allowed me access to an excellent holiday using a local airport
By Mr Prior on 17/06/2015
Good variety of walks, with our excellent guide (Tiago), enabling various enjoyable views/experiences of the Algarve. Tavira especially attractive (although we had the best weather there), with plenty of excellent restaurants and scenic/architectural attractions and sights. We particularly liked the coastal/cliff walking at this time of year (early April) with such a varied range of beautiful flowers. All-in-all a great mix of sights and experiences in the Algarve.
By Mr Davis on 17/06/2015
A walking holiday visiting several locations in one area. All the planning, hotels, transport etc is done for you so you can concentrate on the walks and enjoying yourself. Hotels and food very good.
The one problem we had was some glass on the floor in the bathroom at the Quinta de Belle Vist. Eventually this was cleared up thoroughly.
Minibus driver (lady) at Quinta de Furao was particularly helpful and friendly.
By Mr Robinson on 17/06/2015
We both found this trip very enjoyable. The walking is relatively easy but very rewarding, and remarkably varied. The accommodation was top rate with good quality meals and excellent service. The location of Quinta do Furao is really great. Taxi collections and drop offs were faultless. In fact the whole trip from leaving home to returning was just perfect. One of our favourite trips.
By Ms Glass on 08/05/2015
Our walking holiday in Portugal was a delight. Everything worked so well and the area is outstandingly beautiful particularly in April with so many spring flowers in bloom. I would highly recommend this region/ holiday.
By Mr Ward on 28/04/2015
Excellent mix of walks, scenery and wildflowers made this holiday wonderful. Certainly 10 days is needed to cover such a wide range. The food was generally excellent in the hotels, and in Tavira the restaurants O Castello (arrive early or book) and the Tavira Lounge (by the river) are well worth a visit and just a stroll from the hotel. We found the village hotel of Pedralva unique and very friendly and a super contrast to the first hotel. Monchique hotel is less special, but the restaurant was again excellent. A particular commendation to our guide Tiago for all his cheerful assistance and smooth driving: thanks for the birthday cakes.
By Mrs McTurk on 28/04/2015
Fantastic way to see the real Algarve. Well organised walks with experienced local guide and comfortable hotels and good food at the end of the day!
By Mrs Corrie on 17/04/2015
It was a great holiday as we were a group of 7,made up from friends for a 70th birthday celebration.The walking was the hardest I have ever done(I am 72 and fit) but it was great fun and a real sense of achievement at the end of each day.
By Mis Chappell on 13/04/2015
From the moment we arrived our guide Tiago made us feel at home and made our holiday an enjoyable experience. Thoroughly enjoyed the varied walks and the wildflowers were spectacular, especially on the Fisherman's Trail. By the end of the holiday, we felt we had seen many aspects of the Algarve, from the Spanish border all the way to the west coast, and from the seaside at Tavira to the mountainous village of Monchique.
By Mrs Peniket on 13/04/2015
We felt the walks were well planned and the hotels well chosen. We thought Eduardo Dias should have been more informative. On day 6 directions were inaccurate. Second para on Day 6 Camacha to Funchal at a ' T-junction of paths' we should have turned left, not right as indicated in the notes. Also other inaccuracies. At Serra Golf we booked a double room and were given a twin.
By Mr Stephens on 13/04/2015
Ideal for walking in more natural and unspoilt areas with good standard of accommodation. Warm and mainly dry weather made the walking very enjoyable although be prepared for windy spells. The importance of tourism to the area came across in the warm welcome we received from most of the Portuguese. Our introduction to the area by the Headwater rep. Tony Lewis was invaluable and his walking notes made navigation easy. Both Tony and Ludmilla made the holiday appear seamless in its organisation and they were very friendly and supportive.
By Mr Menzies on 10/04/2015
This is the third holiday we have had with Headwater and was the best yet. Tony could not have been more helpful and is clearly a man who loves his work. The walks were all superb with a huge variety of scenery. The notes were very clear and made it is easy to find our way. The accommodation was all to a high standard. Pedralva is a real gem and we were sorry to leave such an away from it all location. Choice of food for dinner at Memmo Baleeira was a bit limited unless you like pizza but they made up for this with the most superb breakfast choice. We also had the restaurant virtually to ourselves on the first night but on our return on Good Friday it was packed out with families. Quite a contrast.
By Mis Pearson on 30/03/2015
We felt that the reps Tony and Ludmilla were excellent and helpful at all times. They are great ambassadors for Headwater.
We were disappointed with the evening meal offered at the Hotel Memmo Baleeira. The service was slow, the food cold and over seasoned for our tastes. We found an excellent alternative restaurant in the town and went there on our last night. We would have preferred to have had an 'eat out' option in Sagres rather than having the evening meal included.
By Mrs MacLehose on 26/03/2015
Excellent cycling on wonderful bikes. Tony and Ludmilla were fantastically helpful and we were especially grateful that Tony picked us up from not the usual collection point. The notes were perfect and we were very lucky with the weather. The suggestions for rest days were also very good. Hotels all fine, especially Memmo. Pedralva rooms could do with better heating and much better lighting but the bar and restaurant areas were very good . Food at Pedralva was excellent. Would definitely recommend the holiday and commend highly Tony and Ludmilla who definitely had a 'nothing is too much trouble' attitude and who clearly enjoy their roles. Thank you very much.
By Mr Pattison on 23/03/2015
Another great Headwater holiday. Varied walking, good and interesting hotels, good guides. Some thought it merited 2 boot status, but it was fine for us.
By Dr Jones on 16/03/2015
Well organised, great places that we would not find on our own, excellent rep who gave us a 5 star experience . We felt completely relaxed and enjoyed every minute of our holiday .
By Mr Tweed on 16/03/2015
Seamless from start to finish with excellent opportunities to explore and relax in equal measure.
By Mr Sledge on 13/03/2015
Good news !
By Dr Foley on 03/03/2015
Walking the Algarve's Wild West is a lovely break in the dull winter months of Northern Europe. Wild flowers, blue skies, dramatic coastal walks, great food and wine make this an ideal, well-planned short holiday.
By Mr Jones on 03/02/2015
Although weather in Portugal is unpredictable in January, it is warmer than UK and has more daylight hours. However the wild atlantic was wonderful to see in strong winds. The trails were wonderfully peaceful, and the coastal scenery stunning, fishermans trail was probably the most spectacular coastal walk we have ever seen. The 6 day walk was very well put together, with a variety of countryside terraines, ridge walks, cliffs and beaches. Pedralva was a fascinating place to stay, and as there were so few people there we were entertained and educated in local cuisine by their very amusing 'French' waiter. As an add on we had a 2/3 day stay in Lisbon, lovely city, and it is a must to sample the patische do nata, available in most cafes.
By Mrs Corns on 24/11/2014
Good variety of walks, some site seeing. Our guide was knowledgeable and was keen to show us as much of his country as poosible.
By Mr Schafer on 21/11/2014
The Walking the Algarve trip offers participants a wonderful variety of of walks, accommodations and food. With walks that include the beautifully rugged coast and the mountain region of Monchique, one has an opportunity to experience much of what the Algarve has to offer. Our guide Tiago was excellent. The hikes were interesting and varied with the coastal portions being our favorite. The regional cuisine served at the hotels was very good with our favorites being the picnic at the Distillery and the dinners at Pedralva. All in all a wonderful Holiday!
By Mr Deacon on 07/11/2014
Overall we enjoyed the holiday, and especially liked the first hotel. But we did not think that Quinta da Bella Vista was five star. Some features are excellent but the room we were shown first was poor: no balcony, faded fittings and an unpleasant musty smell. In the event we had to pay an additional 30 Euros a night to get the sort of room we expected. This was negotiated for us by the MB Travel office, who were very helpful.
Looking on Trip Advisor, the hotel seems to offer two standards depending on the building one is in, one excellent and the other adequate at best.
Dear Mr Deacon, Thank you for taking the time to complete your post-holiday questionnaire. We were delighted to see that you had an enjoyable holiday overall. Although, were sorry to hear of your disappointment with the Quinta da Bela Vista. Ordinarily, this hotel receives positive feedback from our customers. However, Please be assured that we realise we cannot afford to let our standards of accommodation slip, therefore. With this in mind, we have passed on your feedback to the hotelier and we will closely monitor the new feedback we receive for this hotel over the coming season.
Thank you for your constructive comments; we look forward to welcoming you on another of our holidays in the future.
By Mr Shrubsole on 05/11/2014
An absolutely fantastic holiday - you see things on a bike that you wouldn't normally see - birds, flora and fauna and of course local villages with delightful local Portuguese people
By Mrs Williams on 12/06/2014
MB Travel were superb everything ran like clockwork, never late unless advised in advance and always friendly. We knew they were available on the end of the phone if we needed them for anything at all. Would certainly recommend this holiday. We are hoping to book an Italian walking trip next year. Thank you Headwater we wish we'd done it years ago.
By Ms Weber on 17/05/2014
Beautiful walks and great hotels - particularly liked Pedralva.
By Mr Brady on 21/04/2014
We understand that Portuguese Railways will not accept corporate bookings so you need to make it absolutely clear at the outset that travellers need to arrange their own rail travel from Lisbon to Tunes and give them clear guidance on how to do that. Their web site is not too easy to follow. You should also make it clear that it is possible to fly to Faro and take the local train from there.
If your guests are arriving in Vila do Bispo on a Saturday, they need to know that the shops noted in your guide book are closed from 1300 and all day on Sunday. However, all is not lost because there is a Lidl supermarket that is 'open all hours' providing freshly baked bread and pastries and a range of other picnic items.
Finally, the lighthouse at Cape St Vincent is not open on Mondays.
By Dr Daniell on 15/04/2014
Good walks, excellent hotels but the food was disappointing and was a bit of a downer. Not sure you know about the substitute walk on day 4 but it was a hazardous in places and in the UK the footpath would have been closed to the public. There were sheer drops below narrow footpaths on the levadas with no hand rails. Our overall score would be 6 out of ten for this one.
By Ms Murton on 14/04/2014
Ludmilla and Tony were both efficient and enthusiastic. April is an ideal time to go to Portugal - longer days and not too hot for walking. It's worth pre-arranging a day to cater to your special interests - we chose birdwatching and wild orchid hunting. We also pre-booked our train from Lisbon to Tunes and got a good discount for seniors.
By Mrs Payne on 06/04/2014
A good holiday, fun accommodation in village houses and one very good hotel at each end, though sadly the weather was really poor for walking on this occasion. The tour reps were absolutely excellent, knowledgeable,helpful and thoughtful.
We would certainly want to go again, though perhaps a one boot+ was too much for me.
By Mr Valerio on 01/04/2014
Excellent holiday though somewhat marred by some wet weather. At 79 years I did find some of the very steep long gradients tough on the knees and without trekking poles would have found one 500m descent on wet clay almost impossible.
MB Travel were first class and promptly found us an alternative walk when the original route was washed out.
The staff at the Porto Bay Serra Golf Hotel were very quick to find a lost mobile phone and immediately delivered it by car to the next hotel that we had moved to - great service.
By Ms MacEachern on 25/03/2014
Surprisingly quiet routes, wonderful scenery and sunshine, excellent food. Pacing suited us with a day's cycling followed by hiking on our rest days. Pedralva was a highlight in all respects from accommodation and surroundings to food.
By Mrs King on 19/03/2014
I would thoroughly recommend the holiday but perhaps making own travel arrangements.The connection times between Lisbon airport and rain station were over generous. I can only think tis is a failsafe because the trains are not very frequent.One couple had made own arrangements of flight to Faro The train journey to Tunes was much shorter., and connections much more satisfactory
By Mrs Stratford on 17/03/2014
Excellent Holiday and very knowledgeable and helpful Representative.
By mr Shadwell on 13/03/2014
We thoroughly enjoyed the holiday and thought it was very good value for the money. For us it was only marred by our experience on our second night at the Porto Bay Serra Golf Hotel. The hotel dining room was full on this night, but there were only two staff to serve about 40 people. Consequently the service was very slow. After our main course we requested a menu to choose a dessert, but after waiting for 20 minutes for the menu we gave up and went back to our room. Also, we should have been given a packed lunch the following day, but this did not happen. We should have reminded them the night before, but because they were so short staffed, we could not find anyone to mention it to. Otherwise this was a lovely hotel, perhaps we just caught them on an off day.
The packed lunch we received from the Quintar do Furao, was excellent.
The overall experience was very enjoyable and exceeded our expectations.
By Mr Rudd on 10/03/2014
A great place for a cycling holiday. The routes were good and varied.
By Mrs Pogson on 25/02/2014
Cycling through fantastic scenery in mimosa eucalyptus pine scented warm air within a day of leaving flood & storm ravaged UK - wonderful. Tony & Ludmilla are great hosts. Their warm welcome quickly overcame the effects of a long laborious day long journey via Lisbon - Faro & taxi halves the travel time at little if any overall extra cost. The 2 hotels we stayed in are 2 of the best we've had in 20yrs of Headwater holidays. However Pedralva - it no doubt has it's charms but is basically self catering units more suited to summer use. Compared to our 2 previous stops the welcome here was 'grumpy' & our room was cold gloomy & oppressive - more like a cell with 2 v small windows looking straight out at other houses across narrow streets at eye level so no privacy in the bedroom or sitting area without closing little shutters making it even gloomier. The shower room was unheated & there was no hair dryer. A Youth Hostel style kitchen dominated our sitting area - a dirty hot plate, a dustpan & brush in full view as also a slop bucket (ugh) & the upmarket 'coffee making facilities' were of no practical use as no pods - a simple kettle would be much better & more welcoming. The swimming pool is outdoors & was not available so no 'relaxing by the pool' & given the cold location of Pedralva I doubt would be for many of the Headwater months. I was unable to access wifi on my iPad at the designated spot in Reception - I did on the 2nd night with some perseverance find a tiny area in the Bar where I could get a signal. Ah - the Bar! & it's tender & the food he serves in the evenings are the outstanding highlight of Pedralva - make the most of it - the breakfasts are fairly meagre. We felt Pedralva fell short on many of the facilities promised in the Headwater description.
By Dr Griffiths on 23/01/2014
Excellent, especially as we experienced very stormy weather on one day but Tony and Ludmilla kept in touch with us and advised us not to walk; instead they collected us in the van and took us to one of the major sites we would otherwise not have seen. They were outstanding reps, and ambassadors for Headwater.
By Mr Riddaway on 23/01/2014
Tony and Ludmilla were the best reps we have ever had in our extensive experience of Headwater holidays. They went to a great deal of trouble to make the walks more interesting and had produced laminated maps with the walks highlighted. These were far more useful than those originally supplied. Their initial briefing (and the associated written material) and walking notes were really well researched with lots of useful information on the likelihood of shops etc being open. Very useful in mid- January!
The hotels were really excellent .Very good breakfasts in all except one. The free hotel in Lisbon [Plaza Lisboa] at the end of the holiday even supplied us with a complimentary bottle of Portugese fizzy wine on Bob's birthday.
By Mr Setchim on 07/01/2014
Particularly good waymarking made this an undemanding experience.
Luggage transport was by the same team each time which was helpful
By Mr Edwards on 03/12/2013
We were pleasantly surprised by the professional way everything was handled by office staff. The reps who were new to the area were so helpful and were even working on new tracks as alternatives the night before we would use them. It was a lovely relaxing holiday with just the right amount of activity,also the pleasant weather for time of the year helped.
By Mrs Kelly on 29/11/2013
This was our 8th Holiday with you and as ever we really enjoyed our break. We especially enjoyed our stay in Pedralva (took our 2 free nights there). Beautiful area, great walking. All staff at hotels were friendly and helpful. Your reps - Tony and Ludmilla were welcoming and really helpful. Tony's route notes were the best we have come across. Lovely food, quality wines. Good mix of accommodation. Only downside were the number of barking dogs - thankfully mostly on leashes but a bit scary at times (farm dogs and dogs on the properties kind of out of the way) Probably not a lot more that you can do about that though!
By Mis Polkey on 20/11/2013
Lovely holiday. Headwater made all it very easy. Leisurely cycling - nice mixture of exercise and relaxation. Excellent food and accommodation.
By Mr Beaven on 12/11/2013
Excellent organisation and welcome / support from local Headwater reps. Interesting terrain and wildlife.
By Dr Mather on 14/10/2013
We enjoyed this holiday as we went with friends but the area itself is of only moderate interest although the vegetation is of great interest. The walking was quite easy and did not fill the whole day and is of limited interest as the views are limited. Some more demanding and high level walking would have been good and the last day's walk was very dull and urban and a different day should be subsituted Also the first day would have been boring if we had just returned the same way that we came. Instead we just went one way and took a taxi to port Moniz to swim. Overall I don't think the walks were very well planned to provide variety and interest
On the plus side the directions were impeccable and when we had views they were wonderful and some of the walks were very peaceful
By Mr Collier on 06/10/2013
The holiday was up to the good standard that we have come to expect from headwater holidays and would recommend it. A comment for improvement would relate to the third hotel Quinta Da Bella Vista where although the food, facilities and service were up to a 5star rating we thought the room of the hotel in which we stayed was a bit tired and needed upgrading to warrant 5stars.
By Mr More on 30/09/2013
We were slightly nervous that a very successful and enjoyable independent holiday - Catalan Coastal Walk last year could be matched by this one in Madeira. We thoroughly enjoyed it. It was very different in topography, but also pretty demanding for our ages (65 and 72), which we like. We think 2-boot is good for us. There is a big contrast between the levada walks and the demanding up and downs, but the mix is good. The hotels were all good, but we prefer hotels 'in places' so you can walk with interest around where you are. Like all of the four except one on the Catalan walk. None of the Madeira hotels were in this category. Not a major complaint. Just personal choice.
By Mr Morrison on 24/09/2013
Something different every day. From coast to mountains - enjoyable, and occasionally challenging, walks that gave us a glimpse of all the fabulous views Madeira has to offer. And at the end of the day - hotels with a warm welcome and touch of luxury.
By Mrs Bird on 23/09/2013
A really good holiday. Some of the walks were slightly more dangerous than we imagined and the Porto Bay Serra Golf would benefit from a lift as we had to carry our cases up a narrow winding staircase with no help. As we had upgraded the room you should perhaps warn clients this may happen.
By Mrs Gualtieri on 12/07/2013
The Headwater attention to detail was brilliant but would want them to change the second hotel. We did meet a family who had previously enjoyed a headwater canoeing holiday so we all sang your praises together and may look at that another year. Thank you for giving us a holiday that made us feel special.
By Mrs Poole on 08/07/2013
A beautiful, breathtaking experience.
By Ms Kennedy on 14/05/2013
A few minor details aside, everything worked like clockwork and we had a relaxing and enjoyable holiday in a beautiful location which offers an unusual walking experience through the unique levada system. We were pleasantly surprised by the second hotel (Serra Golf), which was much better than previous comments had led us to expect. It has joined a hotel group and had a refurb last year, so it has a smart boutique feel. All the facilities were clean and fresh, including a new swimming pool and lawned sunbathing area. The dining room was lovely, the breakfasts excellent, and the dinners very tasty. The picnic was substandard though, someone needs to follow up on that! Also, the reception desk is not manned the whole time and the welcome you get can be a bit brusque, depending who comes when you ring the bell.
By Mr Townsend on 24/04/2013
We had a superb week away with Headwater. There was a great balance of challenging walking with luxury at the end of the day. We will certainly be booking through you again.
By Dr Mason on 13/04/2013
Madiera is an interesting and picturesque island. The walking is pleasant, but you need a head for heights. The walks are mainly along 'levadas' (narrow water channels) which often cling to the sides of steep gorges. On our holiday there was a mixture of sunshine and downpours of rain. Waterproofs are a must, and also walking poles, since the paths can often become slippy when wet. The food is excellent with an abundance of fruit and vegetables. the hotels we stayed in were very comfortable and luxurious. Funchal is a large town, with interesting architecture, but currently the whole of the seafront is being re-built, a major construction operation which is likely to take a long time. We had a very enjoyable holiday in a place we had never previously visited.
By Mrs Barbour on 13/04/2013
We've travelled with ATG on similar holidays and and the materials, guides etc yIu receive are far more robust - hard back bound ring folders - and far more detailed with good maps and topography profiles. The maps from head water were pretty poor, small scale and not very useable. The instructions come on stapled A4pieces of paper printed double side. By the end of a wet walk, they were in tatters even though we had them in aplastic map carrier. The whole package in fact was cheap compared with competitors packages.
In terms of the accommodation, that was better than our recent ATG experience, higher quality however without a car you were somewhat isolated in the villages/towns two out of the three were located in and there was little to do the half board was very variable the first was a set menu poor quality and the traditional element never changed for any of the three nights, also you couldn't eat off the a la carte., the second was excellent and you could eat of the a la carte but it was complicated at billing to understand the adjustments and the third you only got a 5 course a la carte which was excellent and if you ate a la carte had to tell the hotel by 3 pm and them only got a 30% discount, meaning for the same value you would have had to send c €120. It didn't make sense. The hotels weren't all geared for walkers either. Quinta Bela Vista in Funchal knew we were walkers and presented our picnic in a wicker basket. Just don't think Headwater briefed the hotels well. Finally the walks were ok, but the better walks weren't in the schedule, the classic High Peak walk was spectacular, not a hRd walk although at c 1800m but not even mentioned until we asked the local guide. Two to the four walks actually returned by the same route. Haing looked at the website,a guest had mentioned a number of years ago that the Levada Nova was a poor walk, mostly on a road and just walked back the same way as you go. Clearly nobody had listened and it was a waste of a day when there were far better walks in the area.
Thank you for your comments. We're sorry our maps and walking instructions did not meet your expectations. We do everything we can to keep our literature as upto-date, informative and user-friendly as possible. We do now print all route notes double-sided - responsible tourism is a strong part of our Headwater ethos and where we can save paper, we do. We choose not to provide ring-binders and such, again, in line with our environmental policies (they can also be a bit bulky to carry in luggage/rucksacks). We do however monitor all feedback, and if we feel changes are necessary, we will certainly take action. The last thing we want is for people to struggle with maps and notes during their holiday.
We are also sorry there appears to have been some confusion at the hotels with regard to your menu choices. We have been working with these hotels for a number of years and upgrading your menu should be no trouble at all. We will take this up with our local agent and ensure that the meal arrangements are clarified at each hotel.
Thank you again for contacting us.
By Mrs Lay on 13/04/2013
Quinta do Furao was a great hotel and the staff were particularly helpful when my husband's tooth broke on the first night (just before they supplied him with a surprise birthday cake). They went out of their way to find a local English-speaking dentist so we didn't have to pay for a taxi to Funchal. The dentist was efficient and cheap, so we were extremely happy with the service.
Do take poles for the walks and good clothing, especially if it is a rainy month like March. Also remember that in 2 of the hotels you may have to go outside to access the restaurant.
Our main disappointment was that the levada walks seemed to be mainly among trees, so you didn't often get a view despite being hundreds of feet up.
By Mr Lascelles on 13/04/2013
Although not thrown together with the other walker,s one of the pleasures of the holiday was meeting other people. Some of those walks were rather long and to be able to chat to somebody new helped to pass the time.
We enjoyed getting to know Madeira, was impressed and certainly would like to visit again whent he weather was more settled. out of our 4 walking days 2 were a wash out because of torrential weather, which we have to admit we were not totally prepared for.
By Dr Rayner on 23/03/2013
We needed to find somewhere to go in early March, which was a challenge! The weather was fine, apart from the last day, when it rained heavily.
The flowers were out in some areas, but not yet at their best. We enjoyed particularly the walk from Queimadas to the waterfall, and the parts in laurel forests. Some of the other walks in eucalyptus forests were rather dry and boring. We saw a few birds, but not many. Could not find a suitable bird book.
We took a taxi from Funchal up to the peaks on the Wednesday, which cost about 60 euros and stayed 2 hours while we walked along the summit footpath. This is definitely worth recommending if the weather is fine.
By Mr Givens on 10/10/2012
Well organised and excellent accomodation. Weather on our third day was torrential rain and the walk to Caldeirao Verde had to be cut short. We returned to Queimadas as everyone recommended this for safety, our taxi driver had given us his number to call for being picked up so were not stranded. We were soaked through and drying facilities at the hotel for wet clothes was sorely missed. All in all we did however enjoy our weeks walking.
By Dr Cooper on 07/08/2012
Madeira was a great destination for a walking holiday, the levadas are just amazing. The Madeirans are also incredibly friendly and helpful.
By Mr Meads on 28/07/2012
Walking Levadas excellent - just don't look down!!! July tooo hot - would recommend Apr/May - Jul=Forest/village fires - some diversions needed but makes it more interesting avoiding smoke! -Hotels Excellent especially in Santana with walks along the coast.
Would definately go back in Springtime (next time :-))
By Mr Newell on 23/07/2012
Very enjoyable, probably the best Headwater Holiday to date.
By Mr Lay on 23/06/2012
Hotel itinery was altered from the standard which led to some initial delays with transfers and welcome meeting with MB travel. After first day everthing went smoothly and holiday went as planned. Quality of hotels was good with the Quinta Bella Vista making a excellent and luxurious end to the holiday.
By Mrs Hill on 16/06/2012
Very enjoyable. We had a beautiful and relaxing break.
By Mr Smith on 11/06/2012
Very good although local rep was not great.
By Mrs Waterfall on 25/05/2012
Very enjoyable, but it was let down by food at serra golf, but at least it was only 2 nights,
By Mrs Harvey on 25/05/2012
A very rewarding all round excellent holiday.
By Mrs McDyre on 25/05/2012
A well organised holiday with excellent hotels.
By Mrs Howells on 09/05/2012
Great experience - we liked the variety of locations and activities, from remote villages to Funchal. Hotels were good - but we must remember that five star in other countries isn't the same as five star in the UK! Had a superb afternoon tea at Reid's (glad we pre-booked). We were lucky with the weather - not too hot, too cold or too wet.
By Mis Ashworth on 09/05/2012
GOOD.A QUIET ISLAND BUT LITTLE CULTURAL OR RURAL CHARM.THOUGHT THE FLORA WOULD BE MORE COLOURFUL AND VARIED.STILL HAD A GOOD TIME.
By Mr Dorey on 28/04/2012
Visiting Madeira at this time of year is too early to experience the floral spectacle that is expected. I am not sure that we saw the best the island has to offer.
By Mr Woolstone on 17/04/2012
Excellent in every way. We haven't used Headwater before, but would certainly consider doing so in the future.
By Mrs Douglas on 26/03/2012
Quite a testing experience as some of the ascents and descents were a bit precarious but we managed ok and had plenty of time to complete the walks.
By Mrs Payne on 17/03/2012
Best headwatere holiday we have had, hotel golf not included.
By Mr Ballinger on 17/03/2012
A great introduction to the island - our first visit. Walks were varied and most enjoyable. Lovely hotels
By Ms Bernard on 00/00/0000
A challenging cycle experience in variable weather, with far reaching views at the end of Europe.
By Mrs Rose on 00/00/0000
Had a great weeks walking in Madeira, the walks were very clear and the transport well organised. The first walk of the week was the hardest a lot of up and steeply down but fantastic scenery and glad we did it. The lavada walks were lovely and really enjoyed the tunnels. The hotel in Funchel not a five star, the allocated rooms have no balcony which you need to access Wifi or like us you have to stand by window, not ideal after a long walk. The first two hotels were great very friendly with great service. Overall an enjoyable holiday
By Mr Black on 00/00/0000
very enjoyable. standard of hotels excellent. scenery beautiful. We learned a lot about undiscovered parts of Portugal.
By Mr Mitchell on 00/00/0000
We enjoyed our holiday, hotels and food were good, people very friendly and helpful, not a particularly scenic route but pretty good for non-cyclist as very flat.
By Hills on 00/00/0000
We really enjoyed the trip and were completely satisfied.