Stay in a delightful agriturismo:friendly and family-run with private swimming pool - a Headwater favourite!
Gentle circular routes with more challenging options available
Tranquil lakes, pretty villages, ancient villas, beautifully green countryside
Olive groves, vineyards and cherry orchards
Varied day-trip options: Venice, Verona, Padua and Vicenza
At a glance...
7 nights, single centre
Departs Saturdays from 9 May '15 to 26 Sep '15
Continental breakfast and evening meals
Managed locally by Headwater employed representative
Sustainability rating: 83%
Headwater wine service
Route notes and maps provided
High quality bikes provided
Holidays with wine-tasting opportunities.
Discover stunning historic sites en-route.
Lots of swimming opportunities.
Great vegetarian meal options.
Especailly good for solo travellers.
Good choice for families.
Heart of Venetia Cycling
This single centre self-guided cycling holiday offers a real insight into rural Venetia. It's hard not to become enchanted with the idyllic, back to nature lifestyle, without compromising on comfort or style that genuine Italian country living boasts.
The area is excellent for cycling as the valley floor here is criss-crossed with lots of quiet country lanes. We've put together a selection of circular routes of varying lengths, so you can be as active or relaxed as you choose. Further afield, the 'must see' regional highlights, such as Venice, Vicenza and Padua, can all be reached on a full day out. Or, of course, you can just laze by the pool (typically open June - early Sept only) and soak up the warm Italian sun!
Your base for the week is the 3-acorn charming thirteen room farm-hotel, Agriturismo l'Albara, nestled just outside the tiny village of Villaganzerla, in the heart of the Venetian countryside. Run by the affable Valfrido and Angelina, their daughter, Romina, and son, Federico, this is one of the friendliest places we've encountered. Don't be surprised if you are invited to take part in fruit picking or whisked away to the local grappa distillery just down the road!
The bedrooms here are cheerfully decorated with wrought iron bedsteads, brightly coloured throws and polished wooden floors. The dining room's light and airy and serves fresh, regional cuisine according to what's in season. Everything, even the wine, comes from the farm!
Our rep meets you at Vicenza and takes you (30 mins) to your friendly agriturismo farm-hotel in Villaganzerla where you will be kitted out with a bike and go through the various cycling choices before dinner (time permitting).
Day 2 - Bastia Market 23km/14mi
Sunday is market day (morning only) in Bastia, so we've built in an easy cycle along quiet country lanes criss-crossing the Paduan plain to get you in your stride. Stroll around the stalls before heading off to the tiny village of Lovolo, a charming village square with its ancient lime kiln, for lunch. Your return route takes you through the delightful hamlet of Monticello as you wind your way back to Villaganzerla.
Day 3 - Lake Fimon 33km/20.5mi or 38km/23.5mi
Today's route takes you along wonderfully tranquil valley lanes and on to Lake Fimon, a totally undiscovered gem surrounded by shaded woodland. There are lots of little spots for picnicking by the water's edge, or you can take lunch at one of the lakeside trattorie. It's a lovely 5km circular cycle around the lake, before you meander back amidst the green backdrop of lush valleys and rolling hills to your agriturismo.
Day 4 - Villas and Vineyards 25km/15.5mi
Heading north this morning, your first stop is the lovely village of Costozza, named after the network of caves in the cliffs above, with its impressive campanile, beautiful villas and extensive formal gardens lined with statues. Ice cream lovers should call in at the locally renowned gelateria before looping south and on to Lumignano, famous locally for its annual pea festival! Your route then follows the Strada del Vino as you wind your way through rows of immaculately tended vineyards, against the rolling backdrop of the Berici hills. This is the only area outside Hungary where the red Tocai Rosso grape is grown. Stop off for some tasting, perhaps in Castegnero or Nanto, with its striking Venetian bell tower, before pedalling east and back in time for a dip before dinner.
Day 5 - Vicenza and the Villa Rotonda 33km/20.5mi
A cycle path (those feeling lazy can catch the bus) takes you to UNESCO recognised Vicenza, nicknamed 'Venice of the Terra Firma' for its marvellous architecture. Palladio designed dozens of the city's buildings from the Basilica Palladiana in the main square to the Teatro Olimpico so there's plenty to explore. On the way home you can visit the famous Villa Rotonda and its surrounding gardens.
Day 6 - Free day exploring
Why not give the bike a rest today and head off to one of the great Italian cities? Venice, Verona and Padua are all easily accessible by train from Vicenza (short bus or cycle ride). Alternatively, if you prefer to avoid the crowds, perhaps take the bus to Bassano, home to the region's famous grappa; there is even a museum here in its honour!
Day 7 - The Abbey of La Praglia 37km/23mi
In the morning, your rep will give you a lift (with your bike) to Teolo, in the heart of the Euganean Hills national Park. A former Roman settlement, Teolo's heyday was in the C15 when it became the summer home of Venice's Doges escaping the heat of the coast. Many palazzi and formal gardens from the period remain. Your cycling starts with an exciting freewheel down through the Euganean hills and on to the Renaissance Abbey of La Praglia, still home to an order of Benedictine monks. You then cycle to 'Castello di San Martino', a popular spot for a shady picnic, and then back along quiet country lanes by the Baccaglione River to l'Albara.
This single-centre holiday is based at the following hotel. If you'd like to extend your stay here, or upgrade your room, just let us know at the time of booking.
Agriturismo L’Albara, Villaganzerla (3 acorn)
The Agriturismo L'Albara is situated about 1km from the centre of the tiny village of Villaganzerla in the middle of rural farming land. The area is known for its olive and cherry trees.
L'Albara is run by Valfrido, Angelina and their family. They are keen for you to discover the very best that this delightful region has to offer - from must sees around Venetia, to the local cuisine! Everything here comes freshly prepared according to what's in season and the wines come straight from their own vineyards!
The bedrooms here are cheerfully decorated with wrought iron bedsteads, bright coloured throws and polished wooden floors. They are all ensuite. The dining room is light and airy, with exposed wooden beams and dark wooden tables with views over the surrounding fields - the perfect setting for your evening meal.
If you'd like to extend your trip with extra nights at the start or end, or if you'd like to arrange a stop off point en-route, then we recommend the following hotels.
Locanda di Orsaria, Venice (3 star)
The Locanda di Orsaria is found next to Venice Santa Lucia train station and close to Piazzale Roma (useful if you are arriving by bus). Set down a quiet alleyway, the Locanda has been a hotel since 1850.
The hotel only has 15 en suite rooms, so it is small enough to ensure a personal welcome and a cosy atmosphere. The rooms are spacious and immaculate, as they have all been recently renovated.
You can pay to use the hotel's Internet facilities, which are located in the reception.
The Giulietta e Romeo hotel, named after the town's most famous lovers, lies in a quiet side street just yards from the Arena. The hotel is fairly modern in style and very comfortable. There is a large lobby area, which leads onto the breakfast room, which is decorated in white with subtle lighting and art deco friezes on the windows.
The rooms are all carpeted and traditionally decorated in blue and red décor with cherry wood furniture. They are all en-suite and have double-glazing so there is little noise from the street. A couple of rooms even have the famous Juliet style balcony if you fancy a re-inaction!
The Hotel Kette is set in the heart of Venice, a short distance from Teatro La Fenice, from via XXII marzo, the elegant shopping street, 2 minutes from piazza San Marco and only 10 minutes from Ponte di Rialto. So this is an excellent base for exploring the many delights Venice has in store.
The 63 en suite rooms are immaculately furnished and are fully worthy of the four-star rating.
It is possible to reserve a non-smoking room (please contact us and we will request this for you).
Transfers included from Vicenza train station at 15:33, and back to Vicenza train station at 13:15. Please call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange connecting flights.
Everyone who goes on a Headwater holiday will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assessment of all aspects of their 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 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.
Reviewed by Mr Harper on 14/10/2014
Great dinners, basic breakfasts (although there were always delicious cakes).
Reviewed by Ms Robson on 13/10/2014
A great area with varied cycling and a relaxing base. Sarah was very helpful with advice on alternative routes.
Reviewed by Mr Raven on 19/08/2014
Wonderful - just what we were after
Reviewed by Mr Ayech on 31/07/2014
it was very interesting, enjoyed the countryside, the people especial. the l' Albara family met some very good people and cycled with some . Pleasantly different
Reviewed by Mrs Charnley on 14/07/2014
People can book with confidence as the description in the Headwater booklet is an accurate description of the experience on offer. Sarah, our holiday rep, was very friendly and helpful. Our accommodation was very good, lovely location and great food. However, as a family group of between ages 10 and 67, we did feel that eating our dinner at 8.00 pm was far too late and we would have appreciated the availability of tea-making facilities in our rooms.
Reviewed by Ms White on 08/07/2014
The perfect holiday for the more active.
Reviewed by Mr Edwards on 27/06/2014
A very well organised holiday with excellent travel arrangements and a warm welcome from rep and hosts.
Reviewed by Mrs McKay on 03/06/2014
L'Albara was wonderful and accommodated our dietary requirements (vegan) very well - every course had a vegan version and the quality of the food was the best we've had.
Reviewed by Mrs O'Hanlon on 19/09/2013
The outgoing travel was poor as we waited 5hours in Venice for out train as our rep did not have the time to meet us earlier.
We were all very tired having been up since 3 a.m and not arriving at our destination until 5.30p.m. On our return we were offered a coach to take us directly to the airport for an extra cost of 10 euros each forfeiting our return train tickets. Why could this not have been done on the outward journey ad we could have spent a pleasant afternoon around the pool instead of waiting on a station. We used the main Station in Venice not the one of your choice as this one had left luggage facilities and restaurants.
Reviewed by Mr Birtwhistle on 18/09/2013
As a holiday it represented poor value for money with poor communication skills on behalf of the hosts ad the area had little variety. The food was fair at best and nothing like we had expected or experienced on previous headwater holidays. Overall not good value.
Reviewed by Mr Kersley on 30/07/2013
Our holiday with Headwater was a real pleasure , everyone we dealt with , from the girls in the office to our rep Sarah were very professional , friendly and helpful , taking all the worry out of the planning . Okay , so we feel that we have maybe paid a bit more than we would have if we had done all the organizing ourselves , but hey , it was worth it !! Thank you.
Reviewed by Mr Hails on 25/07/2013
Excellent communication prior to departure - during the stay - and arriving home!! A great service which gives clients confidence that nothing has been left forgotten !!
Reviewed by Mr McLaren on 11/07/2013
It was well organised, trouble free, and thoroughly enjoyable with the added comfort of an excellent superb locally based english-speaking rep (Sarah) who was only a phone call away in case of any issue, big or small, and who provided excellent route notes and a fountain of local knowledge about the area we were cycling in.
the holiday was just what we needed and was 'up there' with the best package holidays we have done!
Reviewed by Mrs Shiel on 19/06/2013
We found the combination of cycling till 2 or 3 and then swimming in and relaxing by the pool ideal ! The food and welcome at the Villa Ganzerla were excellent.
Reviewed by Mis Furber on 29/05/2013
We really enjoyed this holiday, the thing that made it was the friendliness of the people in the hotel! They would do anything for you! the food is lovely and they did a great job of catering for a vegetarian. it was very cosy but we did feel that previous holidays have been better value for money where we had more facilities! The rep is wonderful and the scenery is very pretty! We had some lovely weather and great cycles!
Reviewed by Mrs Herd on 10/10/2012
Sarah was a terrific Rep: really friendly and helpful, giving us lots of tips for our particular circumstances.
My less than perfect score for the 'waymarking and routenotes' was taking into account the building of the new road which had meant that local signs had been changed. Sarah was doing her best to change the master notes in the hotel to keep up with these.
A fantastic holiday for us all and we would definitely love to do it again with Headwater.
Reviewed by Mrs Tatton on 13/09/2012
We would have appreciated bar facilities at Agriturismo L’Albara for drinks in the afternoon when lazing by the pool after our cycle rides and before dinner. We were surprised that no cheese or cold meats were offered for breakfast – we even noted some saved cheese from dinner for breakfast on the next day.
The dinner was a set menu of four courses with no alternatives. We liked, in particular, the pasta dishes, but there is no system for advising guests of the set dinner menu beforehand in case any dish was not liked and so have the chance to ask for an alternative. The Headwater rep advised that alternatives could be requested but we suggest that the dinner menu could be displayed in the morning at breakfast time
Reviewed by Mr Hearn on 05/09/2012
Both rep and hotel made our stay enjoyable. The food was delicious and sufficient for hungry cyclists. The bikes provided were very comfortable to ride and had appropriate gearing and efficient brakes (both essential for our favourite hill climb). The route instructions were very clear and the maps allowed us to construct our own routes.
Reviewed by Mis Newton on 01/09/2012
This is the first time we have used headwater and would definitely use them again. The support provided by our rep was a lovely surprise and made the whole experience very easy and enjoyable.
Location amazing, weather fantastic, scenery breathtaking and the overall experience beyond expectation.
Roll on next year!
Reviewed by Mrs Kenn on 29/08/2012
We really enjoyed this holiday, lots of cycle paths and quiet roads, hotel relaxed and friendly yet efficient care and good home cooked food, so ideal for a week's stay; pool lovely as was weather. Bikes and support were excellent.
Reviewed by Mr Luck on 29/08/2012
We have now taken 9 Headwater holidays and very much enjoy this type of vacation. It worked well to stay in one place as in this instance there were enough cycle routes and places to visit to occupy the whole time. Other places we have stayed in the past would not have worked so well.
Reviewed by Mrs Tulloch on 13/08/2012
A great holiday, cycling routes were perfect length and level to allow me to feel I had exercised well in the fresh air in beautiful scenery. This made time for relaxing in the peaceful environment of the Agriturismo and feel justified in eating the plentiful food. Would definitely recommend Sarah the rep who was quietly efficient,friendly and knowledgable.
Reviewed by Mr Lane on 07/08/2012
Lovely rural family hotel, growing much of the food and producing their own wine, excellent pool. Need to plan the rides carefully to catch opening times. Extra nights in Venice well worth it, great hotel and location.
Reviewed by Mrs Pritchard on 28/07/2012
A perfect holiday, great cycling, delicious food, lovely pool, beautiful scenery.
Reviewed by Mr Wall on 28/07/2012
This is an amazing area of Italy which we would not otherwise have visited, were it not for our travelling friends with family who wanted a one-centre stay. There are so many things to see and do we could easily have had another week! In particular the cities of Vicenza and Padua were real gems. not to mention the surrounding beautiful countryside. It was just the "heat wave" when we visited in July that slowed us down a bit!
Reviewed by Mrs Munro on 23/07/2012
A great week in the sun.Bike was excellent and routes easy and interesting even at 32 cetigrade. Garden and pool lovely to come back to and eating outside every night a real pleasure.
Reviewed by Mis Jameson on 23/07/2012
We can thoroughy recommend both the Agriturismo L'Albara in Villaganzerla as well as the cycling holiday taken from the venue. It was a pleasure to receive an excellant stay in a lovely setting and feel part of the family.
Thankfully Federicos English is better than our Italian but there was never really a language barrier. Food and accommodation was great, we can recommend the Prosecco, although to really enjoy it you need to bring some back with you, self drive, (long way but better carrying capacity than budget air line).
Very hot whilst we were there so make sure you can cycle the distances relatively easily, practice before you come out!
Andrew and Fiona.
Reviewed by Dr Williams on 11/07/2012
It was a very relaxing holiday. The cycling was generally easy to complete within 4-5 hours giving time to relax by the pool. L'Albara is very welcoming, scrupulously clean and the food quite superb. We thoroughly enjoyed it.
Reviewed by Mrs Turner on 16/06/2012
Very positive family holiday experience
Reviewed by Dr Livesey on 06/10/2011
Reviewed by Mr Buchanan on 05/09/2011
Reviewed by Mr Tomlinson on 05/09/2011
Brilliant, loved it.
Reviewed by Mrs Ironside on 30/08/2011
lived up to high expectations.
Reviewed by Mrs Hebden on 23/08/2011
A wonderful holiday, only marred by 4 1/2 hour flight delay with Jet2 on the way home, but we will definitely be booking again.
Reviewed by Mrs Cox on 23/08/2011
Fantastic - helped by the great weather and delicious food
Reviewed by Mr Rhys-Davies on 14/07/2011
Reviewed by Mis North on 09/07/2011
great loved it would do it again
Reviewed by Mr Turnbull on 11/06/2011
Altogether satisfactory, but we question what would happen if one were at L'Albara for a week in bad weather? We certainly would not have been equipped to cope. Perhaps prolonged rain is never anticipated?!