Customer reviews: Guided walking 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 walking 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 walking 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 walking 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 Plimmer on 14/09/2016
The Azores are just wonderful; superb sights and experiences. The accommodation was very good and the travelling well planned (though two flights were delayed). In my opinion though too many islands are visited in just one week and the inter-island travelling is significant. There is enough to do and see on Faial and Sao Miguel for a month let alone a week.
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 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 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 Ms Pitt on 06/05/2016
This was a wonderful week in a magical place - very remote in the beautiful hills of the Alentejo. Frank and Daniela made us so welcome and comfortable. They really put themselves out to make our stay a success. It was like staying with old friends. This is the perfect holiday for those who like to get away from it all and learn more about birds, with good company, good food and a truly beautiful spot. The early starts [eg 5am] were tough but well worth it, as dawn is the best time to see the greatest number of birds. I definitely plan to return. Many of our fellow guests have been back several times.
By Mrs Corris on 04/05/2016
The walking was varied and enjoyable although the weather could have been better.
By Mrs King on 27/04/2016
An excellent holiday with exceptionally helpful guides.a good variety of accommodation
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 Mrs Brennan on 21/07/2015
The Azores Triangle trip was full on, non stop, apart from the free day on the Tuesday. We joined the Exodus group, who were International with mixed activity abilities. Very challenging walking. The itinerary was changed according to the weather conditions, to accommodate us holiday walkers. It became a joke ' wonder what Bruno will change today ' It was a friendly group who gelled very well, looking out for each other. Could have done with extra days stay to recover. Loved the holiday, thank you.
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 Mrs Reynolds on 29/04/2015
An extremely enjoyable and informative birding experience, enhanced by the warm hospitality of our hosts, Frank and Daniela . I would thoroughly recommend this holiday for 'old hands' and new birders alike!
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 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 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 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 Williams on 23/10/2014
This holiday is suitable only for keen birdwatchers or, maybe in the spring ,for those interested in flowers. There are kayaks and a sailing dinghy available. Local walking is limited. There is no opportunity to leave the hotel to visit local towns. No television or DVD service. Bring a book or use extensive library. The bird watch trips involve leaving very early , 5.30am , and driving on very rough ( and deserted) dirt roads. It is not comfortable and nervous passengers will not be relaxed. That said , the quality of the guiding and information received about the bird life is superlative. The hotel itself has character and the ambiance is one of a house party. Meals are communal around a large table although individual tables will be available if preferred. My wife and I loved it.
By Mrs Jackson on 23/10/2014
The prime activity of the holiday (birdwatching) was very good and Frank actually included additional opportunities (e.g. close to Faro Airport after he picked us up). However, the subsidiary activities were somewhat uninspiring. The walks offered were not very interesting and the water activities were minimal. We would have been prepared to pay for a visit to an historic site, if this were possible (realising that the location made this difficult). However, we did enjoy the holiday overall and we were well looked after by Frank, Daniela and the staff.
By Mrs McMahon on 27/08/2014
The Azores are beautiful and unspoilt islands and walking is one of the best way of seeing them.
By Mr Child on 03/06/2014
Unfortunately it was the tour leader's first tour in the Azores as a leader and the handover from the last guide did not appear to have been carried out in a polished and full way. Although Kristaps grew in confidence through the week the practical arrngements for the Monday for the holiday were not terribly customer friendly - I will be writing a short note about this to you for you to share with Exodus.
Otherwise both hotels were very good and the islands are a delight as are the Azorean people.
By Mr Joseph on 08/05/2014
This is a unique holiday. You are welcomed to the Quinta like a family guest. It is a place of tranquillity and peace, where you can relax in their beautifully landscaped garden and enjoy the views and the lakes, or take local walks. Meals show the benefits of locally sourced produce and Daniella's home cooking.
I went for the bird watching. Here you get the benefit of Frank's 25+ years of study of the wildlife of the Alentejo. Not only does he have amazing knowledge he has an infectious enthusiasm that he so much wants to share with you. He doesn't rest until you have had not just a view, but the best possible, of the huge variety of species that are in this little-known, and quite unspoilt, region. The care he took over planning each excursion was outstanding. I returned refreshed in body and spirit and recommend this holiday as strongly as possible to all bird lovers
By Mrs Lugg on 24/04/2014
Perfect location for birding with knowledgable guides who tailor trips according to individuals needs.
Excellent accommodation and meals.
By Mrs Piggott on 18/09/2013
The grading of the holiday made it sound easier than it actually was. The actual package was delivered by Exodus and there was not enough information about the level of difficulty presented by the terrain. Also there was very little information about what was actually involved in some of the optional activities.
The last day's activity included a substantial lunch and a farewell dinner which most people felt was too much. It would have been better to have this programme the previous day so that the farewell dinner could be properly enjoyed on the last evening!
By Mr Smith on 04/09/2013
An enjoyable introduction to the Azores
By Mrs Eginton on 24/07/2013
After a two year wait to visit the Azores I was not disappointed. The islands are stunning, everyone is friendly and help to make the most of your stay there. The walks were of interest and not too long or arduous and the vistits to local attractions added an extra insight to the life there. For anyone wanting to go somewhere a little bit different, away from the crowds, the Azores are the perfect place.
By Mrs Naylor on 20/06/2013
fantastic! it really was paradise in Portugal! And Frank was a wonderful guide and took us to places we would never have visited on our own. All staff were so friendly and welcoming, including the dogs!
By Ms Horner on 17/06/2013
I have had many Headwater holidays and never been disappointed.
By Mrs Probett on 13/06/2013
Frank was brilliant, extremely knowledgeable and able to help us improve our bird id skills. We really felt part of the family in a beautiful setting.
By Ms Owsley on 07/06/2013
The location was fantastic for a place out of the way and quiet. Superb for bird watching and the owners professional knowledge in that area.
By Mrs Riley on 06/06/2013
The holiday was excellent but a bit of a shock for novice bird watchers when some morning starts are 4.30am!! Frank was an excellent guide and very knowledgeable. We were made very welcome by everyone at the Quinta and nothing was too much trouble.
By Mis Smith on 05/06/2013
Enjoyable way to explore the Azores, however if I had known it was an Exodus trip I would have booked direct to gain more certainty on booking details.
By Mr Joseph on 05/06/2013
This was the first time that the trip had run. In general it was another excellent Headwater holiday; the link up with Exodus worked much better than I had anticipated. There was no cutting back on Headwater's standards. The Azores present a challenge; 4 islands in a week means many complex transfers. Inevitably there are some aspects of the programme that could, and perhaps should, be changed for the future. This includes the basic question of whether to try and reach 4 islands in a week and the detail of some of the days. I'm sure your agents are already discussing this.
By Mr Pittam on 30/04/2013
The Quinta is an excellent base for anyone wanting to get away from it all! Peace quiet beautiful surroundings friendly people relaxing etc walking great & spring v good time for flowers & birds.
By Mrs Hardie-hammond on 00/00/0000
Beautiful landscapes especially in early July when every lane and road, every hillside and field margin is decked in hydrangeas. The local guide went over and above the call of duty and introduced us to the best of Azorean hospitality and local fresh food in little cafes and restaurants or family homes that we would never have found ourselves. The two boot grading suggests tougher walking than it really is. The walking was quite easy but the travelling between islands by plane and boat was exhausting and in the first half of the week most of us were shattered and couldn't even remember what island we were on! Exodus who run this holiday, rate it at 3/10 for walking difficulty which is a more accurate reflection of difficulty levels.
By Mrs Harper on 00/00/0000
A varied and memorable experience of some of the spectacular Azores, aided by an enthusiastic and well informed guide, Walking with good company was very enjoyable, and just the right level of exertion for us. My only slight reservation was the amount of time spent to do with air travel, given that this was only 7 days in total