Gastronomic Barolo Cycling

From $2384 per person

****# Based on 46 customer reviews
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  • Beautifully scenic cycling in the UNESCO vineyards of Piedmont
  • Luxury hotels with panoramic pools, elegant lounges and gourmet cuisine; outstanding wines
  • A mecca for foodies: atmospheric enoteche and two nights at a Michelin-starred restaurant
  • Sun-drenched hamlets and stunning, far-reaching views
  • Historic castles, frescoed chapels, pretty medieval villages

What's included?

  • 8 nights, hotel-to-hotel
  • Departs Every two days from 11 May '17 to 14 Oct '17
  • All buffet breakfasts and gastronomic evening meals included
  • Managed locally by Headwater employed representative
  • Sustainability rating: 80%
  • Headwater wine service
  • Route notes and maps provided
  • High quality bikes provided
  • Optional electric bikes
  • Luggage transfers between hotels

Excellent for...

Gastronomic Barolo Cycling

Tucked away in northern Italy, Piedmont is a region brimming with vineyard covered, softly rolling hills, sun-drenched hamlets, world-class wines and incredible hotels.

Your cycling holiday is varied and mainly follows quiet, traffic-free country roads. Starting in the lush hazelnut hills, you'll wind through terraces of swaying vines, verdant pine forests and rippling rivers to discover pretty hilltop hamlets and ancient castles. The region boasts an incredible array of fine wine towns, including Barbaresco and Barolo, both ideal lunch stops on your cycling days. Other highlights include Alba's crimson, cobbled streets (where you can sample the local chocolate), the alpine views as you freewheel towards Treiso, and strolling amongst the tangle of streets and geranium-decked houses of Monforte d'Alba's wonderful centre.

The hotels we've chosen are, quite simply, fabulous! In Benevello your 4-star hotel is a stunningly restored C19 family villa, with a Michelin-starred restaurant; in Castiglione Tinella you're the guest of Claudia and Roberto at their 15 room country house with a breathtaking panoramic pool; and in Monforte d'Alba private tastings can be organised in the hotel's vast wine cellar. You'll enjoy gastronomic menus everywhere, either dining at your hotel, or at a specially selected restaurant close by.

Day-by-day itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive at Benevello

Arrive at your stunning hotel just below Benevello. The chef here trained under Marco Pierre White so you're in for a real treat!

Day 2 - Benevello to Castiglione Tinella 35km/22mi

You'll start today with a gentle ride along an open road, with hawks soaring high above the breathtaking Langhe countryside. You visit lovely Treiso, formerly a summer retreat for Alba's noble families, before reaching Barbaresco for lunch and cheese-tasting in the piazza. Try some wine too in the enoteca, housed in a C19 church built by the locals in thanks for a good grape harvest! There's time to visit Neive, officially one of Italy's prettiest villages and home of Romano Levi, a renowned grappa maker, before a climb through Moscato vines to Claudia's lovely hotel in Castiglione Tinella.

Day 3 - At Castiglione Tinella

Castiglione is a great place to spend a lazy day, especially by our hotel's panoramic pool. Alternatively, a short journey away is Acqui Terme, a spa town since Roman times, with two major thermal centres. Or head across to the spumante capital of Asti, with its quaint cobbled centre. Each September the main piazza is home to a crazy palio horse race to rival Siena's!

Day 4 - Castiglione Tinella to Grinzane Cavour 38km/24mi or 42km/26.5mi

The day starts with an exhilarating whizz through vineyards to Castagnole Lanze. There's time to explore the cobbled streets and bustling piazze of chocolate-perfumed Alba (the home of Ferrero Rocher). Then it's on to Grinzane Cavour where a warm welcome awaits at the elegant Casa Pavesi.

Day 5 - At Grinzane Cavour

Explore the UNESCO-recognised castle and indulge in a spot of wine tasting. Then perhaps visit nearby Bra, a gastronomic treasure trove where the Slow Food movement was initiated - there's plenty of choice for a long, lazy lunch! There's lots to explore in the town too, including the C18 Rococo church and the strange octagonal Zizzola, where local witches held their meetings. For the best views in the region, walk or cycle to La Morra, 'Balcony of the Langhe', spread out along a panoramic ridge above the vineyards.

Day 6 - Grinzane Cavour to Monforte d'Alba 26km/16.5mi or 34km/21.5mi

You'll cycle first through sunflower fields to Roddi, then on to Barolo, an ochre-hued village perched above its world-famous vineyards. The tangle of mediaeval streets are dominated by the Marchesi Falletti's C11 castle. Pedal on through archetypal Langhe countryside to Monforte d'Alba, whose lovely honey-coloured old town clings enchantingly to the hillside. Your hotel here is special too.

Day 7 - At Monforte d'Alba

You might not want to leave your gorgeous C18 villa hotel with private swimming pool, but it'd be a shame not to explore mediaeval Monforte. It's a lively town with attractive buildings grouped around an atmospheric cobbled piazza. Maybe strike out a little further to Dogliani, dominated by its beautiful onion-domed church and famous for being at the heart of Dolcetto wine production.

Day 8 - Monforte d'Alba to Benevello 21km/13,5mi or 35km/22mi

Your final cycling day starts with a gentle coast along the Rea valley before a steady climb takes you to a stunning panoramic ridge. Weave through fields of wildflowers and sleepy hamlets to Serravalle Langhe, a great lunch spot with belvedere views. You pedal onwards alongside chestnut-carpeted hills with delightful vistas once more to reach your beautiful country hotel at Benevello. It's time to enjoy the pool and jacuzzi before dinner.

Day 9 - Leave Benevello

Where you stay

During your holiday you stay at the following hotels. If you'd like to extend your time at any of these or, if you'd like to enhance your stay with an upgraded room, just let us know at the time of booking. You can call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 to discuss accommodation options.

If you'd like to keep your bikes with you for any extra nights we can arrange this for you for just £25 per adult per day and £18 per child per day. Please contact us on 1-800-567-6286 for further details.

Relais Villa d’Amelia, Benevello   (4 Star)

Relais Villa d’Amelia, Benevello

The Relais Villa d'Amelia is a luxuriously restored 19C family villa (and a member of the 'Small Luxury Hotels of the World'), just outside the Alta Langa village of Benevello.

The Villa d'Amelia has 37 ensuite rooms including three suites (one of which is located within the old chapel!) decorated in a modern style with neutral paints and dark leather and beech furnishings.

The hotel also boasts a central courtyard with sofas and chairs for relaxing outside, and a stunning lounge area complete with a grand piano!

Facilities at the hotel include a sauna, jacuzzi, Turkish bath, and lovely outdoor swimming pool.

Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.

Local facilities:

  • Shops
  • Mastercard accepted
  • American Express accepted
  • Swimming pool
  • Hairdryer
  • Wifi hotspot
  • Internet access
  • Television
  • Minibar
  • Air conditioning
  • Safe

Albergo Castiglione, Castiglione Tinella   (3 star)

Albergo Castiglione, Castiglione Tinella

The lovely Albergo Castiglione is located in the hilltop wine town of Castiglione Tinella. It has just 11 rooms and has been lovingly restored by Roberto and Claudia Saracco, who are some of the friendliest, most helpful people we've met!

Each of the rooms is individually decorated in pastel colours and all feature ensuite bathrooms.

A short walk from the hotel, you'll find the hotel's panoramic pool located in stunning countryside - and with fantastic 360 degree views of the Langhe vineyards, with the Alps in the distance. There is also a Turkish bath and sauna here.

Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.

Local facilities:

  • Shops
  • Banking / cheques cashed
  • Mastercard accepted
  • American Express accepted
  • Swimming pool
  • Hairdryer
  • Wifi hotspot
  • Internet access
  • Television
  • Minibar
  • Air conditioning
  • Safe
  • Tea/coffee facilities

Casa Pavesi, Grinzane Cavour   (4 star)

Casa Pavesi, Grinzane Cavour

Casa Pavesi is located in the heart of the hamlet of Grinzane Cavour - located just 5km away from Alba - and directly opposite the village's elegant 11C castle.

The hotel is a stylishly restored town house with 12 ensuite, individually decorated rooms, which are quite large and opulent.

There are two cosy public rooms with comfy sofas as well as a small bar in the same area. There is a lovely terrace to the rear of the hotel, affording gorgeous views of the Langhe countryside.

Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.

Local facilities:

  • Mastercard accepted
  • American Express accepted
  • Hairdryer
  • Wifi hotspot
  • Internet access
  • Television
  • Minibar
  • Air conditioning
  • Safe

Nearby facilities:

  • Shops
  • Market
  • Banking / cheques cashed

Villa Beccaris, Monforte d’Alba   (4 star)

Villa Beccaris, Monforte d’Alba

Hotel Villa Beccaris is a gorgeous 18C villa overlooking the beautiful town of Monforte d'Alba.

The Villa has 23 rooms, which are divided into categories; Headwater guests will be allocated classic rooms. All rooms, however, are beautifully furnished in an individual, traditional style often with antique furniture but with modern touches.

The Villa is located within beautiful gardens and has a panoramic swimming pool which overlooks the honey-coloured town, surrounding countryside and mountains beyond.

The hotel also boasts several elegant sitting rooms, its own enoteca and a very charming bar.

Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.

Local facilities:

  • Shops
  • Market
  • Banking / cheques cashed
  • Mastercard accepted
  • American Express accepted
  • Swimming pool
  • Hairdryer
  • Wifi hotspot
  • Internet access
  • Television
  • Minibar
  • Air conditioning



Extra nights and stop over hotels

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.

Andreola Central Hotel, Milan   (4 star)

Andreola Central Hotel, Milan

The Andreola Hotel in Milan is ideally located for a stopover hotel. It is only 300m from the central station, from where shuttle buses run to Malpensa and Linate airports. The building is in the financial district - it is around a 20 minute walk into the renowned cathedral. The early 1900s building is more impressive inside than out - the marble columns, floors and gilt furniture in the lobby makes the interior very plush and elegant, and the 84 bedrooms are decorated with rich fabrics, paintings and marble en suite bathrooms.

Please contact us for prices.

Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.

Local facilities:

  • Shops
  • Banking / cheques cashed
  • ATM / Cash machine
  • Mastercard accepted
  • Hairdryer
  • Wifi hotspot
  • Internet access
  • Television
  • Minibar
  • Air conditioning
  • Safe

Grand Hotel Sitea, Turin   (4*)

Elegant sitting rooms at the Grand Hotel Sitea, Turin

Boasting a prime location in Turin’s stunning centro storico, just a short walk from Piazza Castello, the Grand Hotel Sitea certainly lives up to its name, with its elegant entrance hall and opulent yet traditional sitting rooms. Bedrooms are similarly stylish, with marble ensuite bathrooms and all the comforts you’d expect from a 4* hotel.

The Hotel Sitea has been accommodating travellers for over 90 years and perfectly blends the modern with the traditional. Previous guests at the hotel include the musician, Louis Armstrong.

Unusually for a city centre hotel, the Sitea also benefits from a quiet garden – perfect for a relaxing drink after a day’s sightseeing.

Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.

Local facilities:

  • Shops
  • Banking / cheques cashed
  • ATM / Cash machine
  • Mastercard accepted
  • American Express accepted
  • Hairdryer
  • Wifi hotspot
  • Internet access
  • Television
  • Minibar
  • Air conditioning
  • Safe

Travel options

Transfers included from Turin airport at 16:15 Sun-Thurs, 13:50 Fri & Sat. Back to Turin airport at 13:00 Sun-Thurs, 10:25 Fri & Sat.

Please call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 or email info@breakaway-adventures.com to arrange connecting flights.

Customer reviews

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 Hughes on 20/09/2016

*****
We had a great week touring Piedmont on our pushbikes Most of the days rides were quite challenging with some steep climbs but fortunately the distances we travelled were quite short We were blessed with fantastic weather in September so the secret was to set off promptly after a great breakfast each day to get to your destination before mid-afternoon and the hottest part of the day The standard of hotels is very good although the air conditioning in a couple of them was not really very effective The hosts & locals were all very friendly whenever we stopped or needed directions The pre-arranged meals were all of a high standard and there are plenty of excellent places for lunch on the routes The roads were always pretty much traffic free with occasional tractors & trailers passing laden with grapes The guest exclusive secluded pool at the Albergo Castiglione deserves a special mention & I will remember our picnic lunch by the pool brought down by the hotel owner & two beautiful daughters on a baking hot day for a long time All the route plans were accurate & realistic with several options on some days The bikes themselves worked well and the support team Dan & Cat were discreet but attentive Finally the food, every meal was enjoyable ranging from a delightful local trattoria in the village to the award winning castle. No matter how hard you try I suspect you will eat too much of it! All the hosts seemed happy to advise you & would often let you drink it by the glass rather than the whole bottle if you wanted This was an excellent holiday & I think reflects Headwaters long experience in organising these sort of trips Well Done

Reviewed by Mrs Quick on 06/09/2016

*****
Le Langhe in Piedmont - one of Italy's best kept secrets - a mecca for food and wine lovers, with breathtaking scenery.

Reviewed by Mrs Hill on 25/07/2016

*****
Overall we really enjoyed the holiday and will be looking to book again. We chose the holiday for the gastro experience and really enjoyed the mix of restaurants from Michelin starred to more local / rustic. However we felt that the guide notes could have provided a brief summary of the restaurants to assist with expectations as some were really upmarket requiring smarter dress and had expensive wine, while others were more local where casual dress was acceptable and had reasonable wine prices. We also found some of the gradients challenging and thought that this holiday should have been graded 2 x bicycles+. Finally, we learnt by experience that shops shut on different days and afternoons. Unfortunately, we found ourselves without water on occasions despite reading the notes. For example, on route to Monteforte we did not stock up on water as the guide notes said that there were bars and shops. Unfortunately on arrival on Wednesday all shops were all shut meaning that we had to buy water from a bar at inflated prices. A line in each town description to show shop closing day would have assisted greatly. Hopefully, these points will be taken as constructive to help others as we really did have a great time.

Reviewed by Dr Young on 19/07/2016

***#.
This is a beautiful part of the world. some of the nicest scenery we have cycled through. I think possibly the nicest hotels and food [apart from 2 nights see below] we have enjoyed. BUT it is hard!! There is more climbing on this route than we have experienced before on other 2 bike routes. I think this does need flagged up. The 2 women in their mid 60s found the going very tough on the first day - over 900metres of climbing. BUT our excellent reps jumped to the rescue and produced e- bikes for the 2 elderly ladies! What a transformation - we could enjoy the rides- the views- and our husbands did not have the worry about us! Highly to be recommended on [in our opinion]this 3 bike holiday.On 2 nights we had to travel to a restaurant . this meant we had the same menu 2 nights running -for a non meat eater- the fish was poor. It was not a great ambience. We did speak to the reps about it. the food elsewhere was largely extraordinary and the hotels that only did breakfasts gave excellent breakfasts. We did not find your new map system helpful. the route notes mentioned names of places that were not on your new maps. Thankfully our reps provided proper maps at our request.

Reviewed by Mr Brandao on 24/06/2016

*****
This is the second holiday package organized by Headwater and both experiences have been simply great. We love you guys! Thank you so very much! We've noticed Headwater doesn't have a package for Greece, please do so! Let us know about it.

Reviewed by Ms D'Arcy on 07/06/2016

*****
The holiday, although accurately described etc,, the reality exceeded my expectations! Thoroughly enjoyed every moment. The meals, wines, and accommodation were all of a consistently high standard - without pretension or ostentation - a testament to the Italians respect and belief in the quality of their products. The countryside and people were also amazing, acts of kindness from strangers showed me several times what it means 'to go the extra mile'. The cycle routes are well designed, as is the holiday that alternates cycle days with rest days.

Reviewed by Mrs Moulton on 29/05/2016

*****
We went for our honeymoon and the holiday was a perfect mixture of challenging cycling with beautiful views, lovely hotels and fantastic food.

Reviewed by Mr Richens on 07/10/2015

***#.
Great holiday. Everything just worked. Reps were helpful and knowledgable. Hotels and food were amazing. Cycling up the hills was hard work but all worth it when you reached the view at the top.

Reviewed by Mrs Green on 25/09/2015

*****
This was a wonderful holiday. We have done a number of cycling holidays in Italy with different tour operators and this was by far and away the best. Such beautiful landscape, food and wine and so un touristy. We didn't meet a single Brit. The hotels were simply fabulous and Headwater organisation faultless. We are a 70 and 65 year old who for various reasons had not managed do as much cycling this summer as we had intended and the cycling was challenging but we managed it. Hills meant wonderful views at every turn and then a downhill glide, and most hills were very manageable in lowest gear, slow steady pedalling and plenty of stops to admire the views. The distances aren't huge so you can afford to take your time, and with 2 nights at every hotel, you can break up the cycling with a rest day. We enjoyed this aspect, especially as the hotels were so lovely, and it was nice not to be re packing the suitcase each morning. We will definitely choose Headwater again, but this holiday has spoilt me and I shall be looking for another gastronomic trip!!!

Reviewed by Dr Foo on 25/09/2015

*****
It was well organised, the reps were great and we had a great time. The hotels were terrific, very comfortable, a great selection.

Reviewed by Mrs Geddes on 17/09/2015

*****
Excellent holiday. The holiday representatives are a credit to the company. We would certainly book another holiday with Headwater!

Reviewed by Dr May on 29/06/2015

*****
Great food and accommodation. Tough cycling but scenic. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Reviewed by Mr Denton on 19/06/2015

*****
A first class package in terms of organisation, accommodation and quality of food. The cycling was a challenge in that the temperatures were in the mid thirties and the route notes could be improved.

Reviewed by Mis Perry on 29/05/2015

*****
A beautiful area unspoilt by development. Fabulous food and wine. Loved it.

Reviewed by Mrs Ovenden on 07/10/2014

*****
Headwater take the headache out of arranging your holiday all you have to do is turn up and enjoy.

Reviewed by Mrs Lee on 07/10/2014

*****
The holiday was fantastic, better than expected. Hotels, food, wine, weather all perfect, with great cycling routes on very quiet roads. The views were to die for, and the hills a challenge but rewarded with the downward ride on the other side. Would love to do it all again.

Reviewed by Mrs Lodge on 06/10/2014

*****
A most enjoyable holiday.However I think that it should be graded as a 3 bike holiday or 2++ at least. the cycling on the last day was extremely challenging-- we chose to go via Dogliani.

Reviewed by Dr Miller on 27/09/2014

*****
I found cycling in Piemonte quite challenging. I did the Undiscovered Provence and also the Umbria cycling trips last year, and I would say I found Piemonte a notch more difficult, at least subjectively (I reviewed my cycling computer data, and Provence was actually much more climbing). It may be because there were very few flat spots, the hills were quite relentless and the warmth and humidity were quite high on several days. Piemonte had the best food and hotels of the three itineraries I mentioned, while Provence had the better scenery and riding terrain variety (but much poorer hotels and food). Umbria was probably the best compromise of food and hotel quality and terrain variety.

Reviewed by Mrs Conway on 14/09/2014

*****
What a wonderful holiday! We thoroughly enjoyed it. Regarding the hills - yes, they're steep, but the bikes were perfectly maintained (thanks, Esme!) and the overall distances aren't that long, so I (reasonably fit but not a great cyclist, had probably been out 10 times this year previously and in Hertfordshire so hardly hilly) found them perfectly doable, and certainly easier than I had feared from reading earlier reviews. We did all the tougher options and the amount of cycling was just hard enough to give a sense of achievement/work up an appetite for the next feast! Personally, I enjoyed the challenge of the hills and the wonderful views at the tops! Having said that, if you haven't been on a bike in years/aren't generally active, this might not be the holiday for you. Hotels were all lovely; restaurants all very good and the majority truly excellent. Spa facilities at Villa d'Amelia were particularly good. We found plenty to fill the non-cycling days, sometimes on foot and sometimes by bike. Almost always there were local walks (e.g. on noticeboards in the town centre and signposted from there) which we enjoyed. Overall a hugely enjoyable and memorable holiday!

Reviewed by Ms Sobczyk on 26/08/2014

***#.
Not sure - with 6 of us booking together (ie a lot of custom for Headwater) it would have been much more helpful if someone in head office had thought through our travelling requirements more carefully. The girl who took the booking always said that we could fly on Friday or Sunday, but did not explain the implications of choosing the Friday in terms of extra travel problems to and from Munich, nor at the outset of the cost implications. The extra costs crept in as the booking progressed - as full time workers it was easier to just carry on with the booking than say hang on, why weren't all these extra costs explained before we started this process (room supplements, transfers, extra prices for flight because a busy weekend (did the UK sales rep explore whether the Sunday departure would have been cheaper for us, for instance - I think not). We also thought that Headwater should have had another rep out there in Piedmont - Martha and Esme could not help us out on non cycling days as they were on airport runs .... but with a holiday of this quality, there should be someone available at all times.. I would also add that I have been on a number of other holidays with cycling companies - more down market - but the experience and knowledge of the rep and mechanic has far outweighed the knowledge and experience of Esme and Martha; they did nothing wrong, but did not add the type of spark to the holiday a good rep can. The daily notes explaining the route would have benefitted enormously from a proper map - with other companies we have been given laminated copies of the map giving all the local details - your sketches together with the provided maps were not easy to interpret. We suspected they needed a bit of an update - gradient outlines for example would help - we knew it would not be easy but the hills did seem to dominate! We probably will go with Headwater again on account of the quality of the hotels, but will ask a lot more questions next time about exactly what is involved and what help will be available. We did have a good time, but a lot of niggles that ought to have been sorted. I have never complained before about a holiday .....

Reviewed by Mrs Wilson on 10/08/2014

*****
We had a wonderful holiday with Headwater. The hotels and food were excellent. The scenery is stunning because the area is hilly. (You definitely need to have done some recent cycling and be reasonably fit.) A great holiday for food and wine enthusiasts. We were planning our next Headwater trip on the flight back!

Reviewed by Mrs Scheer on 14/07/2014

*****
We had a fabulous cycling trip in this beautiful part of Italy. The accommodations were lovely and the dinners ranged from very good to excellent. The cycling was challenging at times, but not unmanageable. As usual, the Headwater bikes were great and the local reps were very helpful. The people in this region are very friendly and there were lots of opportunities to do wine and grappa tastings. This was our 4th Headwater trip and we are already planning the next one.

Reviewed by Dr Lyttelton on 05/07/2014

*****
The holiday was a lovely mixture of fabulous scenery, challenging cycling and good food and wine. Your website does have some comments about the grading of the cycling, we did all the longest routes and although there were some steep hills the overall length of the routes was quite short so we agreed with the grading.

Reviewed by Mr Payne on 17/06/2014

*****
Excellent route through the countryside beautiful but the cycling can be very challenging at times particularly if it is very hot.

Reviewed by Mr Holway on 16/06/2014

**#..
Cycling quite tough; should be rated Two-Bike +. Landscape lovely but little variation. Rest days can be hard to fill. Accommodation good, breakfasts mostly wonderful.

Reviewed by Mr Robertson on 17/10/2013

***#.
Piedmont is a very attractive area and not at all 'touristy'. It is, however, much hillier than we expected from brochure description, and though the climbs were interesting at times, the rewards were the views from the top and the descents! The accommodation was excellent in every respect, the hotel and restaurant staff almost invariably very welcoming and helpful and the food and wines were generally very good. Special mention to the Osteria Dai Cateri in Monforte d'Alba for the best dinner of the holiday but most of the others were extremely good. Moda again in Monforte d'Alba was only average and Verde Rama in Castiglione Tinella was a bit disappointing; they gave us a restricted '?Headwater' menu and several of the dishes served were poor. I think all the other restaurants gave us a choice from their a la carte menus. This is our third Headwater holiday and the bikes provided were the worst. The bikes were fairly basic and slightly heavy hybrids compared with what the Chain Gang gave us last year but they were poorly maintained and my bike was unsafe. My wife's bike's handlebars weren't straight and she couldn't get into the lowest gear (not handy in hilly terrain!). My bike's gears were also not set up corrrectly but I was able to sort that myself, but the bike felt unsteady on corners. Eventually it started creaking loudly going up hills and my wife observed the rear wheel wobble especially on corners. I've a little experience in bike maintenance and the problem seemed to be due to slack spokes that needed tensioned. Marc brought out, the following morning, a replacement wheel taken from another bike and this seemed ok during a quick test in the hotel's garage but after a few yards with panniers on, ball bearings started falling out of the rear wheel bearing. Unfortunately the reps had gone and as they'd forgotten their mobile, it was some time before I got a replacement bike. This was a Giant and much better than my original Headwater bike, thankfully. If both our bikes had been of this quality, we would have definitely considered another Headwater holiday and recommended you to our friends and family. During the booking process, Headwater arranged the train tickets from Nice to Cuneo and informed me on the phone and in the original invoice, the train departure times and that we would change trains at Breil Sur Roya. When the final invoice arrived, train depature time and station to switch trains at (now Ventimiglia), had been changed. Fortunately I noticed the alterations but I think Headwater should have drawn our attention, specifically, to this, as we might have missed it.

Reviewed by Mrs Gentle on 04/10/2013

*****
We were unprepared for the heat or the severity of the hills

Reviewed by Mrs Melhuish on 12/09/2013

***#.
We enjoyed our holiday in Piedmonte a great deal. Accommodation and food etc were excellent. Backup was good too. However, we felt that the cycling difficulty rating as stated (moderate/leisurely) was a little on the optimistic side Having cycled the 'Secrets of San Gemiagno' route last year (moderate), we thought 'Gastronomic Barolo' was significantly more difficult, despite selecting the 'easier' options when there was a choice of route. Future travellers heading for this holiday via Nice (Easyjet) should note that you will have a 5 hour wait in Nice following the 6 a.m.departure from Gatwick The Castle Hill to the east of the city is pleasant place to spend a few peaceful hours, but had we known that we could have dumped our cases at the station this would have improved the experience.

Reviewed by Mrs Ferguson on 09/09/2013

*****
A fantastic holiday. Great cycling routes and all the accommodation was of a high standard, beautiful scenery and fabulous food!

Reviewed by Mrs Hunt on 02/09/2013

*****
Just what we wanted!

Reviewed by Mrs Campbell on 01/09/2013

*****
We had a fantastic holiday! The food was fabulous and the hotels were perfect. Villa Beccaris is particularly stunning. It is a beautiful part of Italy which is very lush - even in August. The reason for this is that it sometimes rains, so take some waterproofs for you and your valuables. We had 2 rainy days - the showers were short but heavy. The panniers supplied seemed watertight but some extra protection did not go amiss. Grading a cycling holiday is difficult as it is subjective and depends and on what you are used to. We are in our mid-fifties, reasonably fit and do most of our cycling in Scotland or occasionally Yorkshire so are used to hills. We can happily cycle 50 - 60 miles/day. All of the towns in this region are on the tops of hills but you are often given the option of shorter/easier routes longer/more challenging ones. We always took the 'challenging' option as they are usually very scenic and didn't find them too difficult. However, so if you have not cycled for a while you will enjoy it more if you try to improve your fitness before you go. The bikes are good, with lots of gears and the distance between the hotels is not excessive so you can take your time and enjoy the scenery which is stunning. It is not really leisurely, however, and a novice might find it tough going at times. The bikes also come with comfy gel saddles but we can recommend wearing proper cycle shorts. The extra padding helps and the seams in normal shorts can cause uncomfortable friction. The water bottles supplied by Headwater only contain 750 ml and there is no way of securing them to the bike so you have to keep them in the panniers.Bottles cages are not supplied for safety reasons but we took Camelback rucksacks which are very useful. They hold 1500 ml and the tubing means water is always readily available to drink on the move rather than having to stop half way up a hill. There are lots of public drinking fountains to top up so you don't need to worry about buying water in shops. If you are thinking about an August holiday, be aware that this is peak holiday time in Italy so some shops and restaurants will be closed. As a result, we ate at the same restaurant on 2 consecutive nights but that was no hardship.

Reviewed by Mr Smyth on 15/08/2013

*****
A marvellous combination of exercise, high class food, excellent accomodation in an unspoilt part of the world.

Reviewed by Mr Ogden on 04/07/2013

*****
All good. Particular thanks and compliments to Mark and Marsha who are lovely people and excellent reps.Also admired their efforts to speak Italian and to integrate with local people.

Reviewed by Mrs Maffre on 05/06/2013

*****
This is our third Headwater holiday, and each one gets better. The Piedmont is a beautiful area, the hotels and restaurants are first class, and the staff friendly and efficient. It is a very hilly area, hence the wonderful views (and also the long steep climbs on the bikes). The cycling directions were good overall, but a bit confusing in parts. Our reps were extremely friendly and helpful, and as I sprained my ankle on the 3rd day they had to move me on with the baggage! Nothing was too much trouble for them. I have already recommended this holiday to our friends! No-one should expect to lose weight on this cycling holiday - the food and wine is superb!

Reviewed by Dr Foley on 04/06/2013

*****
A little-known corner of Italy with some of the most captivating scenery, best food and wine and least touristy small cities the country has to offer. The holiday is definitely a grade 2 when it comes to the cycling as every village is perched on top of a hill but the food and wine are more than compensation for the effort of getting there. May seem expensive at first sight but the standard of accommodation and food are second to none. We've been on many Headwater holidays and this was one of the best.

Reviewed by Dr Johns on 07/01/2013

*....
We've been on a headwater holiday once before (to Switzerland) and it was amazing - in fact it was the best holiday we'd ever had! However we were very disappointed this time. Although the scenery, accommodation and food were lovely the cycling was not enjoyable, it was punishing! Since this is the most important element of a cycling holiday it completely ruined our stay. The difficulty rating was totally wrong. We're a couple in our 30's (not unfit) but not regular cyclists- the description suggested this would suit us fine and included descriptions of 'softly rolling hills'. This was certainly NOT our experience. The hills were steep and long and never ending.I'm aware that since we returned the difficulty rating has changed. Furthermore, the various stop-offs on the way (cafes etc) to refill water were closed due to the time of year (which we were not forewarned about) - considering the heat this made the cycling even more intolerable. All in all very disappointing. We paid £5000 and were expecting another dream holiday. Instead we needed a week to recover once we got home.

Reviewed by Mrs Mendham on 30/10/2012

*****
We thoroughly enjoyed our cycling holiday. We cycled every day and visited most of the towns and villages in the handbook. The food was excellent everywhere and everyone was helpful and friendly. The accommodation was mainly good but some of the hotels were noisy - either from traffic, church bells that rang every 30 minutes 24 hours a day, or poor soundproofing between rooms. We were particularly surprised at the amount of snacks that were served at nearly every bar where we had a beer. There was no need to buy lunch when we were given larges amounts of ham, cheese and bread whenever we stopped!

Reviewed by Mrs Mayhew on 01/10/2012

*****
This is our 16th holiday with Headwater and we have to say it works well. Minor problems are sorted out quickly and the overall holiday experience leaves you wanting more. Borola gastronomic was one of the best, wonderful views, good food and hotels. the local wines were really good and the wine tasting experiences excellent with no pressure to buy.

Reviewed by Mrs Cochrane on 24/09/2012

*****
In general all our expectations were met or exceeded but there are details (see below) that require attention

Reviewed by Mr Barrow on 07/08/2012

***#.
The hotels and restaurants could not be faulted for the warmth of their welcomes and their service - everyone was happy to go the extra mile to make sure we were totally comfortable. The region itself was very beautiful and afforded stunning views on every side. However there were less things of interest to visit if you are keen on art, history, etc. On the other hand, this is the place to go if you are a wine buff or seek to increase your knowledge - you will learn much!

Reviewed by Mrs Aspden on 30/06/2012

*****
Great opportunity to discover the Italian countryside and food (and wine). Great rep in Nuno, very obliging and hardworking. Fantastic choice for honeymoon

Reviewed by Mrs Bull on 23/06/2012

*****
Another heavenly, Headwater holiday! I would do it all again tomorrow if I could!

Reviewed by Mis Woodall on 16/06/2012

*****
Great food and hotels. Lived up to if not exceeded the brochure and our expectation

Reviewed by Mrs King on 16/06/2012

*****
It was a great holiday and lived up to our expectations. The countryside was beautiful with good hotels and food, we thoroughly enjoyed it.

Reviewed by Mr Quine on 16/06/2012

*****
A throroughly well-organised and enjoyable holiday with one notable exception.
Headwater response:
Thanks for your comments. What a shame that the quality of the food was undermined by the service on this occasion. I have spoken to the manager at Da Felicin and I have his assurances that this was an unfortunate 'one-off' and that a repetition of this poor service won't happen again. Obviously, with the assistance of our local rep, Nuno, I'll be keeping an eye out that they are true to their word! Best wishes, Heather

Reviewed by Mr Dunn on 25/05/2012

*****
Our first cycling vacation and we will definatley use Headwater as our primary agent on the next trip.

Departure dates & prices

May 2017 departuresTour only 
May 11$2480
May 13$2480
May 15$2480
May 17$2480
May 19$2480
May 21$2480
May 23$2480
May 25$2480
May 27$2480
May 29$2480
May 31$2480
June 2017 departuresTour only 
Jun 2$2600
Jun 4$2600
Jun 6$2600
Jun 8$2600
Jun 10$2600
Jun 12$2600
Jun 14$2600
Jun 16$2600
Jun 18$2600
Jun 20$2600
Jun 22$2600
Jun 24$2600
Jun 26$2600
Jun 28$2600
Jun 30$2600
July 2017 departuresTour only 
Jul 2$2725
Jul 4$2725
Jul 6$2725
Jul 8$2725
Jul 10$2725
Jul 12$2725
Jul 14$2725
Jul 16$2725
Jul 18$2725
Jul 20$2725
Jul 22$2725
Jul 24$2725
Jul 26$2725
Jul 28$2725
Jul 30$2725
August 2017 departuresTour only 
Aug 1$2725
Aug 3$2725
Aug 5$2725
Aug 7$2725
Aug 9$2725
Aug 11$2725
Aug 13$2725
Aug 15$2725
Aug 17$2725
Aug 19$2725
Aug 21$2725
Aug 23$2725
Aug 25$2725
Aug 27$2725
Aug 29$2725
Aug 31$2725
September 2017 departuresTour only 
Sep 2$2790
Sep 4$2790
Sep 6$2790
Sep 8$2790
Sep 10$2790
Sep 12$2790
Sep 14$2790
Sep 16$2790
Sep 18$2790
Sep 20$2790
Sep 22$2790
Sep 24$2790
Sep 26$2790
Sep 28$2790
Sep 30$2790
October 2017 departuresTour only 
Oct 2$2790
Oct 4$2790
Oct 6$2790
Oct 8$2790
Oct 10$2790
Oct 12$2790
Oct 14$2790

Holiday details

Holiday type

Self-guided cycling, hotel-to-hotel. Managed locally by Headwater employed rep.

Departures

Every two days from 11 May '17 to 14 Oct '17, for 9 days (8 nights). This holiday departs every 2 days, however non-standard arrivals and altered itineraries may be possible - please call for prices.

Meals

All buffet breakfasts and gastronomic evening meals included.

Other details

Please see our Planning your holiday and What's included in the price? pages for additional information. Please call us for single room supplements, room upgrade options and child prices.

Starting your tour

Transfers included from Turin airport at 16:15 Sun-Thurs, 13:50 Fri & Sat. Back to Turin airport at 13:00 Sun-Thurs, 10:25 Fri & Sat.

Enquire about this holiday

Simply complete the form below and a member of our sales team will contact you (when it's most convenient for you) to provide availability information, travel options and additional information.

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We can call you when it's most convenient for you, or contact you by email if you'd prefer. Morning calls will be between 9:00-13:00, afternoon calls between 13:00-17:00, and evening calls after 17:00.
Let us know any queries you might have about departure dates, similar holidays or tailor-made options.

 

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  • ABTA Member (No. W1593)
  • Relaxed activity holidays since 1985

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