Customer reviews: Cycling Holidays in Portugal
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 Ms Bronger on 06/04/2016
Fun. We enjoyed our visit to Portugal.
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 Tweed on 16/03/2015
Seamless from start to finish with excellent opportunities to explore and relax in equal measure.
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 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 Stratford on 17/03/2014
Excellent Holiday and very knowledgeable and helpful Representative.
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 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 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 Ms Bernard on 00/00/0000
A challenging cycle experience in variable weather, with far reaching views at the end of Europe.
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.