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Customer reviews: Croatia independent walking holidays

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 an overall rating and comments about their holiday.

Any feedback collected is posted to our website, so that people can make an informed decision based on past experiences before heading off on holiday. We don’t edit the reviews, the only thing we do is proofread them and alter any typos, where necessary, to ensure they are easy to read for everyone. All reviews will be published (except in certain extreme circumstances), and a member of the Headwater team will respond to any constructive criticisms/comments under the reviews, at their discretion. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.

Mr Flower
Castles to Coast Walk

This was a very good and varied holiday, mostly based in the interior of Istria but with two nights on the coast as well. The walking in the hills was through a range of landscapes, including vineyards and hilltop towns, and there were great views from the escarpment above Buzet and from the heights of Mount Učka. The two-night stay in Opatija involved much less exertion and was a chance to relax after the other days of walking. The transfers were very well organised and the local support and guidance was excellent, as were the hotels, with particularly good breakfasts in Buzet and Opatija. There were also very good restaurants in all three locations. We added a short stay in Pula onto the holiday, providing a chance to see some of the Roman sites there, especially the impressive amphitheatre. It was quite hot at the end of June, but there was a good amount of shade on the walks and so this didn't cause us any problems.

Mr Peters
Castles to Coast Walk

Lovely walks in an area we would not have thought of if we hadn’t seen it in the catalogue.

Mr Lumsden
Castles to Coast Walk

Walking was very challenging but we felt real achievement completing the routes - especially up the escarpment! Overall it was excellent walking - scenery - lack of other walkers - very good instructions (as the maps were not recommended). Hotels were very suitable but the Jakov restaurant was extremely expensive (it was pouring with rain so we had to eat in). Overall it was another successful Headwater holiday and we are already planning our next one!

Mr Huddlestone
Castles to Coast Walk

Despite the record June temperatures for Croatia, which proved very challenging to complete the walks, the holiday proved to be a great success with some lovely relaxed evenings after such strenuous exercise with excellent meals in these great hotel locations in this lovely country.

Mrs Pizzoni
Castles to Coast Walk

Istrian Peninsula in Croatia is like stepping back in time. Friendly people, unspoilt countryside and abundance of flora and fauna. Beautiful contrasts of hills and coastal walks and well worth visiting.

Mrs Togher
Castles to Coast Walk

Istria was a wonderfully unspoiled area, excellent for walking or cycling. Headwater’s walking instructions were clear and easy to follow. Would definitely holiday with Headwater again.

Dr Smith
Castles to Coast Walk

Glorious holiday

Mr Unwin
Castles to Coast Walk

Holiday was excellent. Hotels well chosen and sited. Some walking was quite challenging for a group with 5 out of 6 members over 70 ! but, nevertheless, accurately described except for a stretch on the Day 5, Buzet Loop walk ( paragraph 3, page 14 ). Luka and Romina were excellent reps, charming and helpful. We teamed up with another delightful couple, Mr and Mrs Blair.

Mr Blair
Castles to Coast Walk

The first walk was the longest and most arduous in the heat and would have been better on Day 2. Those in our group who had previous experience of your holidays would have rated the walks as 2 and a half boot standard rather than 2 boot. Overall it proved to be a very enjoyable holiday and we should like to receive your brochure for future possible holidays..

Mr Cheater
Castles to Coast Walk

Avoid July August -too hot for walking

Mr Allen
Castles to Coast Walk

We had perfect walking weather at the end of June; a mixture of cloudy and sunny days and not too hot temperatures. The three hotels were of a very high standard and each was in a good location for the walks, albeit the first two are at the top of steep hills which could be a challenge at the end of a day’s walk. The Hotel Kastel in Motovun had superb views and facilities. The packed lunch from here could have fed a family! Its star rating does not really do it justice. Buzet as a town has little to offer apart from the lovely Vela Vrata Hotel and the Melody bar and terrace next door. In addition to the indoor pool you can privately reserve a time in a separate jacuzzi which was bliss after a walk! The Sveti Jakob Hotel in Opatija was in the heart of the town, next to a pretty garden. Breakfast on its terrace was lovely. It has little outdoor space to relax in though apart from the terrace. You can however use all the facilities- pool, sun beds and parasols etc at its sister hotel, the Milenji 100 yards down the road and we were made welcome there. Notes for the holiday were excellent; the best we’ve had in our nine Headwater holidays. Romina the local agent was superb; we could not fault her at all. The taxi company used for transfers to and from the airport was of a very high standard; both drivers were friendly and welcoming. They became part of our holiday and we enjoyed our conversations with them....

Mr Easingwood
Castles to Coast Walk

Excellent holiday, helped greatly by the local guide customising the walks to suit the needs of the slower walkers.

Mr Lovibond
Castles to Coast Walk

Great little towns and villages perched on hills, connected by excellent walks. We enjoyed the whole experience.

Mrs Garner
Castles to Coast Walk

Fantastic walking holiday in beautiful locations, on top of hillsides and by the sea. The food was excellent and didn't disappoint, but I do like truffles! The hotels were excellent from the rooms, services and cleanliness. The packed lunches were very generous with plenty of variety from the Hostel Kastel. We took extra water on the walks and drank the tap water with no issues. Just leave some energy at the end of the walks to walk back up the hills to 2 of the hotels.

Mr Spooner
Castles to Coast Walk

Fantastic hiking trip, Croatia is beautiful. It can be extremely hot in summer, we were lucky though.

Mrs Laing
Castles to Coast Walk

A well organised trip staying picture postcard pretty hilltop villages.

Mr Fairweather
Castles to Coast Walk

Istria is a beautiful area and the local people are both friendly and helpful. The routes provided were well described and the instructions were easy to follow, but the walking was not as exciting or demanding as I expected. For example, the walk along the disused railway became rather monotonous and the ascent of Mount Ucka was made too easy by giving us a ride to such a high point on the mountain. We were disappointed to find that several of the walks were over too quickly because we followed advice to begin early and avoid the heat of mid-day. While this was sensible advice, there weren't places like bars, cafes, churches or castles available to spend the hottest hours in and so we just completed the walks early. One thing that did surprise me was that the food and wine of the area was of a higher standard than I expected.

Dr Haberman
Castles to Coast Walk

Beautiful and varied walks. Good level of stamina required. Istria is very quiet but local people are very friendly eg a farmer gave us some apples when we resting (and obviously) tired.

In the first walk, there was no shade. Walk 2 is longer but a little easier. It would make more sense to swap over walks 1 and 2 to allow travellers to acclimatise.

We had a problem with the packed lunches. We mentioned on the application form that we do not eat meat. I rang Headwater the week before the holiday to make sure that this was known and had been passed on to the 2 hotels providing packed lunches. I was told that this would be done. On arrival, we found out that neither hotel knew of our requirements. Clearly, there is communication breakdown.

Mr Mitchison
Castles to Coast Walk

Excellent and varied walks in attractive countryside, comfortable friendly hotels and interesting local cuisine with plenty of truffles. Our very helpful local guide, Romina, advised us about possible issues and added to our enjoyment of the holiday.

Mr Butterfield
Castles to Coast Walk

Vegan vrata hotel had no hot water in our room on first day and only warmish on second day. Ate there and staff seemed stressed and this did not make for a relaxing evening. Not impressed with this hotel.

Mrs Wakefield
Castles to Coast Walk

An enjoyable holiday.

Mrs Beaney
Castles to Coast Walk

Excellent hotels, really good walking notes (best we've had!), good food available locally. very knowlegable rep.

Mr Wootton
Castles to Coast Walk

Our journeys on the Castle to Coast Walk took us through some of the most beautiful hill countryside in this relatively unknown region of Croatia. The walks were well-designed, well-described and very enjoyable, and the hotels welcoming and comfortable. Opatija is a gem of a resort and provided an excellent and relaxing conclusion to our trip.

Mr Erdal
Castles to Coast Walk

The design of the week was very well balanced; the directions astonishingly detailed and accurate; the accommodation superb; Romina the rep absolutely outstandingly excellent. They even got good weather for us. After 22 years of never having an organised holiday we are converts. Could not recommend this more highly.

Mrs Conroy
Castles to Coast Walk

Croatia is a beautiful country and we enjoyed the contrast between hilltop hotels and two nights on the coast. We did however find the walking tough going at times due to the heat at the beginning of September - 30+ degrees. Maybe that is why there were only 4 of us on the trip, others chose a cooler time of year! The organisation was excellent as we transferred hotels, our Rep and drivers were friendly and very helpful. The food was slightly disappointing as there was little fish on offer until we got to Opatije. The meal at Hotel Vela Vrata was very good, we wished we'd eaten there both nights.

We shall await the new season's brochure and plan next year's holiday after checking the expected temperatures.

Mr Mellish
Castles to Coast Walk

We loved Croatia and in particular the Adriatic riviera which was stunningly beautiful and relatively unspoiled. All the hotels were good and in excellent locations and Romina the rep was fantastic - extremely helpful, friendly and accommodating. The walking was more challenging than we have experienced on other Headwater holidays and not quite as interesting or inspiring. It was very hot walking in July and there were lots of mosquitos - it would probably be a better choice in May or September. We will definitely return to Croatia to explore this beautiful country further.

Mrs Caves
Castles to Coast Walk

Some long ascents made for tough walking in parts but with the reward of good views. The spring flowers were wonderful. The stay at Motovun was enjoyable and the last 2 nights in Opatija a delight - pity there wasn't an opportunity to stay longer here since there was a lot to do and some great restaurants. We found Buzet disappointing. Romina (the local rep) was very efficient.

Mrs Coulson
Castles to Coast Walk

This is one of the best walking holidays we have had with Headwater. Excellent walking notes guided us through a lovely and varied landscape. And the accommodation in all three hotels was of the highest standard; perfect locations too.

Ms Escott
Castles to Coast Walk

I am undecided as to booking with Headwater again, as there were some issues throughout the holiday which marred the experience. These were not things that Romina could have resolved as they were booking issues. I plan on submitting an email to Headwater shortly detailing these.

Mr Henderson
Castles to Coast Walk

Headwater take care of planning process of a walking holiday. They provide efficient and reliable travel arrangements, excellent and interesting accommodation and a superb variety of walks with comprehensive notes. Our guide had walked the routes shortly before to double check their accuracy, attention to detail that reinforced our confidence. Evening meals are arranged for the first night at each location, giving us opportunity to explore, if we wished, on other evenings. In fact, our greatest concern was which wine to drink.

Mr Cranmer
Castles to Coast Walk

Tougher walking than expected. Most days finished with steep climb. Hotels variable, rep. super. Countryside lovely. We decided to have a rest from walking on Day 3 and hired bikes which was a pleasant change.

Mr Galleymore
Castles to Coast Walk

Romina was a fantastic representative, both very professional and friendly.

When my suitcase failed to arrive from Gatwick, and I had to wait 2 days for it to catch me up, she lent me a waterproof walking jacket and walking sticks.

Mr Clayton
Castles to Coast Walk

This was our first holiday with Headwater and we really enjoyed the whole thing. The walks were just what we wanted (helped by excellent weather) with varied terrain and views, we had no problem following the route notes (so hardly bothered with the maps provided) and found the lunches provided by the hotels were more than enough for us.

Our rep (Romina) was friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. The hotels were all great and the local restaurants, especially in Motovun and Opatija were excellent and great value. There're plenty of local wines too, which were not expensive and really good!

The region is beautiful, the people we met were friendly and we can't wait to go back.

Mrs Price
Castles to Coast Walk

Some of the walks were challenging. The second day's walk was long at 12,5 miles. Buzet was not a good centre for tourism. The old town was beautiful but nothing there really as was the new town. Unless you wanted to walk back up many steps from the restaurant in the new town, you had onlt the one restaurant in the old town. Food was not brilliant. We ate there on the second night and and they started packing up at 9pm. They did not even ask us if we wanted a dessert or coffee. Just wanted us out. And this was a Saturday night!!!! The walk on the escarpment was beautiful but it was impossible to find the path down again. The notes said it was a hard to find path but it was IMPOSSIBLE. There were four of us and we failed. If the paragliding naturists want their privacy then they should put clear markers where we should go!!!! This was meant to be a 7.5 mile easy walk We used our OS maps to find an alternative roiute but it meant the walk was 11.5 in total.. In the blue book, others had written the same problem. and we did mention to the rep.

Mr Wehl
Castles to Coast Walk

Our Croatian walking holiday was a wonderful experience. The villages were picturesque and stunning in their location and ambience. The walks were through diverse terrain of natural beauty and the food was delicious. Highly enjoyable and thoroughly recommended by us both.

Mrs Riddaway
Castles to Coast Walk

A good holiday made especially interesting by Romina the local Rep. She is a lovely person, very helpful and very knowledgable and very willing to share her knowledge of the area. All the hotels were good and their locations very specacular . We wish we could have stayed longer in Hotel Sveti Jacob but had to return home. One night is not enough to enjoy the many attractions of this beautiful place.

Mrs McMillan
Castles to Coast Walk

This was our first holiday with Headwater and we were very impressed. It was a good balance between walking and relaxation. The programme was put together very well: no walking on the first day, a gentle first walk the following day and then the longest walk mid-holiday. By the time we tackled the mountain walk, we were feeling fitter and more able to take on the challenges. It was good to relax by the sea for the last two nights and we enjoyed the coastal walk. It was a great way to discover a new area and we really enjoyed the beautiful countryside in Istria.

The hotels were very good and the food was excellent.

We would like to single out Romina for particular attention, she was absolutely delightful, intelligent, responsive and very caring, she did a marvellous job.

Thank you Headwater, we are very keen to use you again in the future.

Ms Winch
Castles to Coast Walk

Lovely holiday with very welcoming local people

Mrs Truelove
Castles to Coast Walk

We had a really good week's walking, albeit in 40 degrees! Croatia was fabulous and we would return in the future.

Your representative Romina Brumnic was absolutely excellent and nothing was too much trouble for her to arrange - a real asset.

Mrs Turner
Castles to Coast Walk

Having enjoyed a previous Headwater walking holiday in Tuscany that was also rated '2 boot' our assessment is that this holiday to Croatia was much harder and a reasonable level of fitness is essential. The hotels are all OK although we were a little disappointed that the swimming pools were indoor. At the Hotel Vela Vrata you had better like truffles! Day 5 walking instructions could be better. As part of the packed lunches (variable quality!) you receive a single small bottle of water - this was wildly insufficient especially in the intense heat of July. Overall though a great holiday, Croatia is beautiful.

Dr Simpson
Castles to Coast Walk

One of the best Headwater holidays we have done. Croatia certainly more than lived up to our expectations. Everything about the holiday was excellent and the people there were universally warm and welcoming. A wonderful contrast between the hilltop towns of Motovun and Buzet and the classical seaside villas of Opatija. It will be difficult to better this holiday!

Ms Birch
Castles to Coast Walk

Beautiful countryside, it was lovely to see so many wild flowers and butterflies (we went at the end of May). There was a good range of walks, all challenging in their own way but with fantastic views as a reward. You do need a relatively good level of fitness as it is hilly and we,d recommend boots as suggested by Headwater as the tracks are very rocky in places. Our favourite location was Motovun, with it's cobbled streets and bars and restaurants overlooking the landscape below. There was little to do or see in Buzet, so make the most of the circular walk whilst you are there. We found all of the hotels to be of a very high standard and the service was good, the room we had in Hotel Sveti Jakov in Opatija was stunning and the hotel was in a lovely quiet part of the town.

Mr Curwen
Castles to Coast Walk

A superb holiday in stunningly beautiful countryside. Great walking conditions and routes through varied terrain, sometimes challenging and always rewarding. The hotels were first class and staff everywhere were friendly and helpful. The final days in Opatija were relaxing and the effect end to a great holiday. Thank you Headwater!

NB. We feel that the route notes for days 4 & 5 could do with adjustment as things appear to have changed on the ground. I would be happy to offer suggestions. Please advise how you would like these to be supplied.

Mrs Mace
Castles to Coast Walk

Good walking with excellent notes. Excellent accommodation. Helpful local rep. Perhaps overpriced.

Mr Morrison
Castles to Coast Walk

Challenging walking with a comfortable hotel at the end of the day.

Mr Whitehurst
Castles to Coast Walk

Very good walking holiday with excellent accomodation. Croatia is a lovely country to visit, the people are friendly, there is plenty to see and the prices are reasonable.

Mrs Elliott
Castles to Coast Walk

The Istrian peninsula felt like an undiscovered jewel for visitors. Beautiful countryside, great local food and wine and you can walk all day without seeing anyone else! As always with Headwater a lot of thought had been put into the arrangements for the hotel and the walks and the local guide Romina was brilliant.

Mr Hamilton
Castles to Coast Walk

This was one of most enjoyable and exciting Headwater walks we have experienced. Istria was unknown to us and we loved the hill-top towns where the 'truffle is king'! cuisine was superb and the hotel staff and local residents so friendly. The local rep was the most conscientious, helpful and friendly we have ever met. Please extend our thanks to her. The 'good' comment on Comfort at the last hotel related simply to the failure of the air conditioning system which was freezing. This was resolved by the staff. Fabulous holiday and the weather gave us ideal conditions.

Mrs Walker
Castles to Coast Walk

We chose a walking holiday because we enjoy walking and believe you get more of the atmosphere of where you are if you are on foot. After the airport we were driven to a gem of a hotel, with wonderful views and the sound and sight of swifts in the summer air. Our guide was very efficient and worked very hard to see that we got the most out of our stay. She was local and gave us sound information on what to expect. A couple of the days here saw quite high temperatures so we needed to make sure we had water or knew where we could get water on route.. The hotel at Buzet was also at the top of a peak so this is a holiday where you must be prepared to walk some high ups and downs. The third hotel at Opatija was very well situated and we had a very large room with a baloney. This hotel had a fish restaurant, the fish being caught locally the night before. On our final evening we had one of their superb fish meal on the terrace with the sound of soft live music in the background, which was a fitting closure to a very enjoyable holiday.

Mis Walters
Castles to Coast Walk

A thoroughly enjoyable experience. Croatia was a lovely country, the walks just right and the hotels great. The other couple on the walk were like minded and we got on really well.

Mrs Mitchell
Castles to Coast Walk


Ms Clarkson
Castles to Coast Walk

Superb location excellent guide really had an excellent break. Beautiful location would love to go again and again

Mr Thompson
Castles to Coast Walk

Could have been lovely but spoilt by many problems. Disappointed.

Headwater response:
Dear Mr Thompson, We were sorry to read of your disappointment with your holiday, I will contact you directly for more information and hope to reinstate your faith in Headwater. Yours sincerely, Headwater customer service

Mr Souster
Castles to Coast Walk

Must be our ninth or tenth holiday with you. A very well thought-out tour with the usual Headwater touch of finding interesting as well as luxurious places to stay and devising well-balanced walks to reveal the landscape. We were particularly impressed with the local agent and the two local taxi drivers who were always firendly and helpful.

Mr Davis
Castles to Coast Walk

We had a great experience, found all the maps and guides very accurate. The guide was very informative and gave us a good update on changes to the routes. All three hotels were very good and up to the expected standard, we were warned by the guide that the Hotel Bristol was not as good as the others, however we found the room very nice and the buffet particularly good and great value. We enjoyed Croatia and its people were warm and friendly throughout. This walk was not leisurely and required a reasonable level of fitness if it is to be enjoyed.

Mr Duesund
Castles to Coast Walk

we suggest a few changes to the walks. The walk up to the mountain Ucka would be much better if the trip to Vela Draga was included, also that being on the way. The walk up was fine but should be extended to a walk down the mountain, giving the day much more meaning. The first day,s walk included a long portion on an old railway path. A little weary and boring. The last two kilometres were hell for all who dislike mosquitoes. The representative was asked directly at the info meeting about the mosquitoes and did not give correct information. Many walkers were bitten badly and the walk finished at the same spot the next day. The walk to Buzet was the best walk. More walks like this are very positive. We found many other places Headwater could have had focus. Why not include trips to Roc and Hum? Walking in this area was sublime. We also would have liked more descriptions about the things to do around places, since the local tourist offices were not on the ball at all.
The biggest let down was the Hotel Bristol, inspite of the warning that the standard was lower. We expected a better welcome and expected a refrigerato in the room. Headwater would do better with a quality boutique hotel alternative, many of which we found attractive. We reccommend choosing a place away from Lovran, a town that was full of run down and ruined buildings. Volosko was a better alternative. Up in the hilltops were many OK places.
We joined this trip to walk with family who had used your services before and were impressed by the standard of hotels and restaurants. They were offended by the standard at the Bristol. We thought the whole place was tatty.
We hope our feedback will inspire improvements. We will certainly return to Croatia, but reccommend visits to other places as well.
Nice walking companions make a trip such as this ideal for up to 8 people.

Dr Hodgson
Castles to Coast Walk

As a new holiday this year it all worked very well indeed. Istria is a lovely area and at the very beginning of July we were treated to abundant wild flowers, butterflies by the thousands, gorgeous views and stunning weather (though hotter then we had expected). Most days though we did have shaded sections to walk through. Loved the two hilltop towns we stayed in (Motovun and Buzet) and after leaving Buzet we did do a small (half hour) detour to visit the Vela Draga before starting our walk up Mount Ucka.

Mr Shortman
Castles to Coast Walk

We really enjoyed our walks through unspoilt countryside, the wild flowers and butterflies in particular were delightful.The hotels in Motovun and Buzet were both excellent, and we enjoyed the food and wine.