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Customer reviews: Cycling in Italy

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 Inglis
Medieval Umbrian Cycling
18/06/2019

We have now had four holidays with Headwater and this was probably the best. Umbria is still relatively unspoiled and the roads were quiet if not always well surfaced. The holiday took us to several picturesque villages but unfortunately they were often at the top of steep hills so unless you are young and fit be prepared to get off and push occasionally. One of us was happy with four days in Spoleto whereas the other would have preferred more time in any of the other hotels which were clearly better. We took advantage of the extra time in Spoleto by taking the train to Assisi. This seemed to be a better option than visiting it on the final day when we would have been encumbered by bikes. A special mention should be made of the warm welcome and stunning views at he Grand Relais Laurenti

Mr Worsdall
Heart of Veneto Cycling
17/06/2019

Food excellent. James very helpful.

An excellent holiday and itinerary, embracing 5 fascinating baroque towns and 2 pleasant coastal resorts. The cycling is not particularly demanding and passes through some lovely countryside. Usually, there are a fair number of cafes/refreshment places on the route. Most of the roads are reasonably quiet although there is the occasional fairly busy road for short periods. The hotels chosen are very good, especially The Stephano Palace and Villa Favorita. Claudio, our representative, was charming, informative and very helpful. He came out to rectify a mechanical problem within an hour of being called. The whole trip worked seamlessly including the audio app and transport to and from the airport.

Absolutely brilliant

Mrs Holloway
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
13/06/2019

Beautiful countryside, friendly, full of culture and excellent food and wine. Cycling not too onerous but there are some hills which are well worth it for the view.

Mr Price
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
12/06/2019

We wouldn't have done this type of holiday if it hadn't been packaged by some one else. It felt like good value for money. I can't think of anything that I would have wanted to be different.

Mr Mcgeoch
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
07/06/2019

The holiday was about as good as it gets, especially the accommodation and food, which was often provided in nearby restaurants. The only worrying glitch was a vey late cancellation of our flight from Gatwick to Turin. Morgan at Headwater dealt with this efficiently and quickly arranged an alternative flight from London City to Milan.

Mr Shoemaker
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
22/05/2019

Puglia is a great place for cycling, and the food and accommodation were excellent. We used ebikes, which were revelatory for us, opening up the possibility of resuming cycle touring which it seemed our knees had put beyond reach. The GPS navigating system, while not perfect, did allow much easier navigation than with paper maps and written instructions, making for a more relaxing holiday.

Mrs Walden
Secrets of San Gimignano Cycling
16/05/2019

Fantastic rep who couldn't have been more helpful. Helpful office staff in the UK. Mixed bag of accommodation. Most was very good. One definitely let everything down. Same with food - some truly excellent some distinctly average. Route information very good but could have done with slightly longer routes. If you happen to have bad weather as we did for a couple of days you can end up quite stranded with very little to do - especially in Pancole. Taxis are very expensive but often no alternative form of transport. This was very nearly a truly excellent holiday. Just needs a couple of tweaks with some of the accommodation and meal options to have given it full marks.

Mr Stephens
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
07/05/2019

My wife and I holidayed in Puglia in April, and are fair-weather cyclists. The grading we believe is more akin to 2 rather than 1+. The weather was sunny and warm; cycling in the higher temperatures expected later on in summer would have been tiring. Although there was one hiccup with a bike, the matter was resolved and the rep. helpful and attentive. Accommodation good throughout and at times pleasantly quirky.

Mr Catchpole
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
07/05/2019

The towns in this region are welcoming, interesting and attractive (especially Alberobello), all the accommodation was excellent, and we thoroughly enjoyed the cuisine and the wines. However, as the scenery is mostly olive groves and dry-stone walls, and the area is sparsely populated, the rides from place to place are less varied and hence slightly less interesting than other locations offered by Headwater. The most enjoyable ride was the "loop" from Alberobello through Locorotondo and Martina Franca.

Dr File
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
01/04/2019

Our trip was excellent. We have taken many enjoyable Headwater holidays and this is one of our favourites. We cycled through beatuful Spring countryside with flowering orchards and wildflowers. The accommodation was delightful and made the most of the historical features. The food at the Masseria was amazing. The local people were friendly and spoke a lot of English.

Mr Jennings
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
23/11/2018

Excellent but a bit hillier than expected.

Mrs Stanley
A Taste of Tuscany Cycling
22/11/2018



We had a wonderful holiday. Tuscany is beautiful and La Pietriccia a little gem. Stefano (the owner) runs a highly efficient setup with his helpful and friendly staff. He is one of those rare men who can multi-task (!) whether it’s reorganizing our cycle routes, finding new routes for others, briefing groups, getting bicycles mended, cooking and so on and all with a smile and quick wit. We were impressed that groups were given GPS locators in case they got lost and so clearly a lot of thought had gone into making the best experience for guests. I would thoroughly recommend this holiday.

Mr Pritchard
Cycling the Wine Trails of Umbria
22/11/2018

A generally very enjoyable activity holiday in a beautiful part of Italy. The cycling was generally flat with occasional steep gradients which as two cyclists in their mid 60s used to cycle tracks at home we would have been unable to complete without the e-bikes, this is particularly true of the optional route to Bevanga which my wife was unable to complete even with e-bike (gradient up to 15%). All the hotels as you might expect had their strengths and weaknesses, La Bastiglia best food,Relais Laurentia warmest welcome, al Grappolo best room, but overall they were all acceptable. Headwater organization was excellent and our local reps Luke and Eleanor, who were also with us in Piedmont in May, were once again outstanding.

Mr Hodgson
Heart of Veneto Cycling
06/11/2018

The holiday did exactly as described. This is an easy but highly enjoyable cycle.

This was our first single centre cycling holiday and was chosen because I have been troubled with a leg injury and we felt my wife could cycle if I could no. As it worked out we cycled every day! Our reservations about a single centre were quickly dispelled. The accommodation is run by a marvellous family who have created a wonderful ambience. After the cycling we relaxed in the grounds, cooled off in the pool, and finally dined on the full Italian evening meal. We are both vegetarian s and one gluten intolerance. The food was the best we have had in Europe.

The presence of a local rep was reassuring and James was always available but never intrusive.

If you want a Tour de France this holiday is not for you, if you want enjoyable cycling with time to soak up the local environment go for it.

Well done Headwater.

Ms Velarde
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
06/11/2018

Excellent routes and good hotels, good reps

We were fortunate to have fantastic weather to go with the amazing scenery. First couple of days most scenic and interesting cycling. A varied holiday with several potential walking options including using several cable cars for high level walks - most free with local card. The area is really set up for cyclists and the route follows a popular long distance path. As others have said there are some long flat stretches which are less interesting and at times you are close to the road but it did not detract from the beauty of the area. Well recommended.

Wonderful change of scenery as we travelled from the German speaking area into the Italian area.

Mrs Newstead
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
01/11/2018

Brilliant hotels, great food, wine and beer. fabulous scenery good weather (could have done without the mosquitoes), fine bikes, excellent rep BUT you are let down by the quality of the paper cycling directions which were in places totally inaccurate. If the holiday is going to be based around an app on a smart phone then make that clear. We have been on several cycling holidays in Europe and are experienced at following directions but on each of the first four days we had instances where the directions made no sense. By the fifth day we had lost confidence in them and didn't go on the last round trip. Some of the inaccuracies were just irritating but at least two were very concerning! I have details of the main inaccuracies if you are interested. It's a shame because we both enjoyed the holiday and with better directions would certainly have gone with your company again.

In all good holiday if you enjoy cycling.

Mrs Driver
Secrets of San Gimignano Cycling
01/11/2018

Great cycling - some challenging- in a beautiful area. Fabulous reps - Paul and Phaedra who were helpful, informative and assisted in every way they could. Siena and San Gimignano were good places to explore on the rest days.

Mr Robertson
Heart of Veneto Cycling
31/10/2018

This is a brilliant location for cycling. We chose it because we have both had hip replacements in the past year, but even so, we would have liked one or two more challenging days on the bike. We doubled up some days and went “off piste” a couple of times. Italian cities, other than Venice, are very cycle friendly. James Robertson is a superb rep for Headwater, hands on in his teaching us to use the bike Satnav. He did not crowd us and was always there when he promised. Good guy.

Great itinerary in a beautiful part of Italy.

Mrs Sheldon
Cycling through Baroque Sicily
24/10/2018

See previous e mail

Mrs Tanner
Classic Chianti Cycling
24/10/2018

A leisurely end of season break

Mr Sewell
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
10/10/2018

Well organised and interesting range of accommodation. Interesting routes and good navigation aids.

Mr Wykes
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
10/10/2018

GPS application for navigation is excellent. But ensure you have backup battery

Mrs Smith
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
10/10/2018

A wonderful adventure. Challenging cycling through stunningly beautiful countryside. Ending each day with fantastic food and wine in very comfortable hotels.

Mrs Johnson
Cycling the Wine Trails of Umbria
10/10/2018

Cycling the Wine Trails of Umbria was a great holiday for us. The mix of easy cycling on the flat plain and a few challenging climbs was just right, in particular the ride up to Assisi was worth every hard fought breath. We travelled in late September/early October when the weather was cooler , but I may have found the climbs more uncomfortable in the heat of summer. On the 'rest' days we adapted the suggested routes as they often involved big climbs; in particular our excellent local reps, Luke and Eleanor (one of the main reasons we use Headwater) suggested we visit Bavagna en-route to Spoleto instead of on the later day cycle ride, this proved to be really good advice. The evenings were quite cool and we didn't have the opportunity to eat outside, except for one breakfast in Marcellano. We also made little use of the outdoor pools owing to the cooler weather( the one in Spello couldn't be used as it wasn't clean). The welcome in Marcellano was fantastic and as we were more or less the only guests for the weekend it felt quite special.

Mr Dayton
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
05/10/2018

This is our second holiday with Headwater and both have been excellent. We enjoyed cycling Piedmond and the high standard of accommodation and food that was on offer. The two nights spent in every stop over is a great format giving one time to explore the area. Some of the cycling was challenging which we expected but were able to complete it successfully. However we feel the grading could possibly be reviewed and changed to a 2.5 We went in the third week of September and the weather was wonderful. Thanks to Headwater and also to Greg and Laura for all their advice and information on each village that we stayed in. Jim/Anne Sandy/Janet

Mrs Craig
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
04/10/2018

We thoroughly enjoyed our gourmet cycling holiday in Piedmont. Everything was well organised. The scenery, the food and wine were all excellent. The Hotels were all different and very comfortable . All the hotels and meals were of a high standard. We were very glad that we had electric bilkes. We would have struggled on the very challenging hills in the beautiful weather, and would not have enjoyed our holiday so well. Unless very young or fit I would recommend e bikes. You will still have plenty exercise to earn your dinner! Although quite an expensive holiday it was good value for money.

Mrs Sergeant
A Taste of Tuscany Cycling
03/10/2018

This was a wonderful holiday in all respects. We loved the family atmosphere at La Pietriccia, everyone was very friendly and helpful and the food was delicious. Stefano is passionate about the food he serves and was very happy to share his knowledge and expertise. He also helped us to amend the cycling routes to avoid some of the more difficult terrain, which was greatly appreciated. We expected hills but steep gravel tracks were challenging until we swapped to electric bikes for the last two days and it was a completely different experience. We would wholeheartedly recommend this holiday.

Dr Galpine
Cycling through Baroque Sicily
03/10/2018

Pleasant rides, but a fair amount on relatively busy roads. Good and varied styles of hotels.

This was our first cycling holiday with Headwater where there was no Headwater rep. (a local agent was used instead). Our expectations were therefore based on our previous experience with local Headwater reps. and, as such, we were not prepared for a very different experience with a local agent (detailed comments on this provided directly to Headwater). Having said that, this is a terrific cycling holiday which takes you through some lovely towns and countryside. We chose not to do the optional side trip to Merano from Bolzano – instead, we took a cable car to Soprabolzano and hiked to the “Earth pyramids”.

Beautiful countryside of Germanic Italy!

Mr Thomas
Heart of Veneto Cycling
18/09/2018

Absolutely lovely, easy cycling through the beautiful Veneto countryside.

Staying at L’Albara was a real treat especially the invigorating swim after each day’s cycling.

James was very pleasant & obliging.

Please tell future clients to pack water bottles & a variety of snacks as there are no shops & very few cafes en route. Local supermarkets are +1.5km away from L’Albara.

GPS cycling worked well.

Enjoyable, well organised

Mrs Kenn
A Taste of Tuscany Cycling
13/09/2018

This was a really good holiday, the cycling was challenging in the heat so we would recommend early morning starts or later in the day cycling! Stefano the agritourismo owner could not have been more helpful and informative, the hotel was charming and all the staff very good and helpful. The food was really excellent and we would definitely recommend taking up the option of the wine and food event in the local town. Have already recommended this holiday to friends.

Mrs Clucas
Classic Chianti Cycling
13/09/2018

Very well organised holiday, local reps were excellent, and great hotels. Good quality bikes and easy to follow route instructions (Ride GPS worked well). This is a stunning area, with beautiful views and interesting historic towns. The cycling is challenging in places as Tuscany is hilly!! However, the views, hotels and food/wine availbale compensate for the effort required.

Mrs Williamson
Cycling the Wine Trails of Umbria
12/09/2018

Umbria offered great routes and food options, accommodation could have been stronger.

James was the best Headwater representative that we have ever encountered. His knowledge & summary of the area was excellent. The bikes, bag collection & transfer excellent. He could run the company! Thank you for one of the best holidays ever. We will be back for another Headwater holiday.

Endless immaculate cycle tracks following rushing rivers downstream, with pretty villages to provide torta (cakes) and gelato (ice cream), and mountains all around. Apart from a few steep climbs and descents, very easy cycling.

Fantastically well organised and great hotels. Interesting and sometime a little challenging cycle routes with some of the best view you will see. Routes pass many land marks with detour options as well. Will be using headwater again .

Good route - beautiful landscapes, pleasant cycling through a mix of agricultural scenery and hilltop villages. A few tough climbs, - timing them around lunchtime means you are rewarded with an opportunity to explore and eat in a great spot! Usual mix of individual hotels, although one fell far short of expectation and was substandard. Bikes brand new and easy to use.

Well planned holiday. Cultural notes and cycling instructions excellent. Picture book countryside, very high standard food offerings everywhere. Our rep James was lovely and helpful.

Memorable holiday. Will definitely travel with Headwater again if still able to . Had a splendid holiday with HW also about 15 years ago cycling through Umbria.

Mrs Mcintyre
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
10/09/2018

Excellent experience, so many lovely places and the accommodation was really good. Some of the hills were tougher than expected, but not impossible. The service from Donna when booking was outstanding. Great way to see Puglia which is largely unspoilt by tourism and the wine is fabulous. So many more memories than just a beach holiday,

Mrs Hill
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
10/09/2018

We went on the PIedmont Gastronomic cycling 2 years ago so had a good idea what to expect this time. The accommodation was all of a very good standard and well chosen. All the accommodation had bags of character and made a fantastic change from staying in standard generic branded hotels. The cycling was easier than Piedmont but still a challenge in 30 - 32 degrees. Although, the bikes are fitted with non puncture tyres, we unfortunately suffered a puncture! We were unable to complete a roadside repair due to a combination of the extra thick tyre walls and flimsy tyre leavers supplied. However, Antonio from the support team quickly came to our rescue and we were soon back on the road. Overall, a very stress free, enjoyable holiday, cycling through beautiful countryside one moment and along side the Adriatic the next. Also great wine, superb food and lovely sunshine.

Mrs Hoare
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
10/09/2018

Our first time to Puglia and we loved the rural relatively undeveloped charm of this part of Italy! Acres of cherry, fig and olive orchards, a pretty coastline and towns with narrow streets and ancient buildings that have been there for centuries.

Mrs Reynard
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
10/09/2018

An adventure and yes, it certainly provided "contrasts" of Puglia. We found Italian people (including drivers) friendly and very accommodating, they made us feel very welcome, especially the farmer who brought us 2 ice cold bottles of water and offered us a shaded bench in his garden to eat our lunch!

Mr Palsson
Cycling through Baroque Sicily
10/09/2018

Headwater came through as a very ambitious counterparty. The planning and execution of our tour was professional, excellent route notes and good accommodation.

Mr Payne
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
10/09/2018

This is our third holiday with Headwater and we very much enjoyed our experience. The Barolo Gastronomic cycling trip in Piedmont was excellent with amazing countryside.

Mr O'Keeffe
Secrets of San Gimignano Cycling
10/09/2018

We had a fantastic trip, a great mix of cycling in spectacular surroundings and relaxation, sightseeing and indulging in the local food and wine. For people of average fitness, the cycling is challenging in parts, not because of the distances involved, but because of the hills in some sections. The lovely reps, Phaedra and Paul, were friendly, helpful, professional, available and unobtrusive. The bikes were sparkling clean/new and well equipped with water cage, phone holder and panniers. Remember to bring a helmet as these are not supplied. GPS worked well. The accommodation was varied and generally good and we really appreciated having a pool at every stop. We did not meet any other Headwater holiday makers on the trip, so it very much felt like an intimate private holiday.

A good introduction to cycling holiday easy going but with a few challenging climbs. Good hotels,food and wine

Dr Lombard
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
07/09/2018

Cycle route is definitely more than 1 bike

Mrs Williamson
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
07/09/2018

We found the Trulli house rather dark, cold and uncomfortable but an experience. i would suggest that the tour only offers one night there. Eating well at night proved difficult, everywhere was booked the first night and the we did not know that Tuesday evenings is the night restaurants close there, so that night we has almost no choice along with most of the other tourists there.

Mrs Russell
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
07/09/2018

Contrast of Puglia - just as it says - contrast in accommodation, cycling inland and to the coast, food different in each area - perfect mixed holiday

Mr Milward
Heart of Veneto Cycling
07/09/2018

What was advertised

Mrs Baker
Heart of Veneto Cycling
07/09/2018

A delightful holiday in the Veneto. L’Albara provides comfortable, relaxing and welcoming farmhouse accommodation and the food is excellent. The region offers plenty of opportunities for interesting visits and the cycling is predominantly flat and on very quiet roads or cycle tracks. We cycled to Este and Padova, which although long rides were worth the effort. If you go to Padova a visit to the Scrovegni Chapel is highly recommended - book in advance on line to be sure of getting in. The Palazzo Bo is also fascinating. James our holiday rep was very helpful, especially in helping with the App for the rides. We made our own way to Mestre railway station having spent a few days in Venice and the travel arrangements arranged by Headwater all worked perfectly. A lovely holiday.

Mr Salter
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
07/09/2018

Great food, beautiful scenery, cycling level wrong it is tough, some routes not good. not enough choice, but overall enjoyable holiday.

Mr Liddell
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
07/09/2018

Excellent holiday. Very helpful and friendly Headwater staff. Be honest with yourself with regards your fitness for long uphill rides

Mrs Roundtree
Cycling the Wine Trails of Umbria
07/09/2018

We had an excellent cycling holiday in Umbria. The cycling was a bit tougher than we had expected but this is probably a factor or our age and the general geography of Umbria where destinations are generally on top of hills. The hotels were generally good and well located and our on the ground representative was very helpful.

Mr Mcgeoch
Cycling the Wine Trails of Umbria
07/09/2018

To get away from the crowds (especially those that like to sit on a coach for hours on end) and to enjoy the natural countryside and historic villages. The exercise in cycling helps to justify our enjoyment of the amazing food on offer in the evening.

This was a very relaxed holiday, all the hotels were in the countryside where the views were lovely, the air clean and the environment quiet and peaceful.

Although graded as "easy", there was a particularly "challenging" prolonged uphill stretch to reach Teolo, where I had to get off and push but Teolo was so worth it. The Villa Lussana provided the best accommodation and vegetarian food on the trip. It was good to have a variety of individual styles of accommodation.

We are not into Apps and downloads, so our Rep provided us with excellent detailed written route instructions, having just recently cycled the route himself. We enjoyed meeting up with other cyclists for the 2 nights spent at Villaganzerla and with 2 walkers at Galzignano. I am not a competent cyclist and it had been some time since I was on a bike, so there was a certain sense of achievement at having completed the route unscathed!

This is a fabulous holiday, especially as the route was almost entirely on cycle paths and easy to navigate. Having two days in most towns was also a boon.

Overall very good (although not our best ever Headwater holiday). There are pros and cons:

Pros: excellent hotels; excellent cycle tracks (very well signposted, we hardly needed the notes); super scenery (Dolomites); interesting towns en route (beautiful old centres, museums etc); good stops/restaurants for lunches/dinners.

Cons: some long monotonous straight stretches of cycle track where the (beautiful) scenery hardly changes; some of the track is very close to busy roads; on day 7 the 66km into a strong headwind was too much; the return transfer arrangement could easily be a 65km direct minibus to Verona - but isn't; be aware that lunches and dinners out (none included) can add £300 per head to the already quite high holiday cost.

Mr Stevens
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
05/09/2018

Our party of 10 really enjoyed the Puglia cycling trip. The route is well chosen and delivered comprehensively by the GPS app. Logistics re luggage and bike support were excellent. Accommodation choices were spot on. We felt privileged to stay at these impressive locations and found a very warm welcome at each.

Mrs Graham
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
05/09/2018

Well organised, reps were lovely and very helpful.

The overnight stays are in very interesting and attractive towns. The cycling includes some beautiful and unspoilt scenery, especially the first couple of days.

Excellent scenic ride from Dolomites to Lake Garda in Springtime, with very good accommodation, and local bike providers and couriers. Fascinating historic towns to discover en route. Good cycle paths. May be much busier and hotter later in the season.

Avoid taking this holiday in August. We loved the holiday but it was too hot.

The Dolomite biking trip was a fabulous experience. Well organized, the local provider was very efficient, the bikes were excellent and the hotels chosen were of very high quality.

Mrs O'Donnell
Secrets of San Gimignano Cycling
17/08/2018

Phaedra and Paul made us so welcome, and were very helpful (returning our key one day when we rode off with it). They gave us some very useful tips about the routes and hotels, and they set the tone for a lovely week right from the start. The bikes are easy to ride, good quality and very smooth. We were provided with water bottles and a cage each, so we could drink on the go. That helped a lot - do not underestimate the heat and the hills - those rest days are needed! We're reasonably fit, regular road cyclists and we found the hills quite challenging in the heat.



We saw some beautiful countryside in Tuscany, met some very friendly people and ate some good food. We will go back - but maybe not in June!

Mr Rosenfield
Heart of Veneto Cycling
31/07/2018

An fantastic way to see the region with a host that makes you feel like you're home

Mr Knight
Heart of Veneto Cycling
30/07/2018

Relaxing, peaceful cycling in the Italian sunshine; great home-made food and wine at the agriturismo.

This is a great trip!

The area and scenery is fabulous and breathtaking throughout.

The cycling is easy being flat or downhill most of the way, which is amazing considering you are in the mountains for most of the time. The cycle paths are very safe, indeed to call them paths is a misnomer, most of the time they are as good as roads and extremely well kept and signposted.

The hotels on this trip were of a very good standard, and well located in towns with lots of character and interest.

This was our first time in the Sud-Tyrol and Trentino areas of Italy and found them a real revelation. They are both interesting in their own right but you can see the Austro/Germanic and Italian influence change as you travel southwards. This is especially visible in the food that is traditional in these area.

We would strongly recommend cyclists of all levels even outright beginners to take this holiday.

Our only reservation is that this holiday does not offer pre-arranged evening meals, so be sure to budget for this as eating out in this area can be expensive. Each town offered many eating opportunities and you can eat cheaply on pizza very easily if you wish. However if you are looking for the culinary experience of the region it will cost you a fair bit more.

Mrs Moffat
Classic Chianti Cycling
26/07/2018

Excellent holiday, lovely hotels and good food. Cycling was quite tough but we still enjoyed the routes and the countryside was beautiful. One problem we had was when going by bus to Siena no one told us that in Italy you need to validate your ticket on the bus. As a result we ended up with a €120 fine!

Overall an enjoyable experience. Underpinning the whole holiday was the comfort of knowing the good quality of each hotel. In particular the food and dining experience at Albergo La Bastiglia was outstanding, definitely the best food we had! All the hotels offered a different experience; a town centre -Hotel Charleston; a warm welcome at Grande Relais Laurenti (shame about the area it is in - nothing much there and slightly shabby on the approach); the lovely room and pool area at Al Grappolo d'Oro and the nice food at their restaurant down the road although there was some confusion over what we were allowed to eat; and it was great to return to Albergo La Bastiglia with its wonderful food and setting in the lovely town of Spelo.

The bikes are robust but quite heavy but do the job. RideGPS guided us well but would benefit from some refinement such as the ability to listen to a repeat of instruction as in traffic (especially in towns) it was often difficult to hear and sometimes information was missed.

Circumstances meant that we had a rep with little experience or knowledge of the area as she had been drafted in from Tuscany at late notice. This meant that we had no hints or tips about places to see/eat along the routes, or any guidance about the routes. We did the optional ride from Marcellano to Bevagne and it pushed my wife to her limits (and she is fit ) as the route was extremely steep. We felt that 'insider' knowledge may have prepared us for this. At each of the destinations she was there to meet us with our luggage which was good. She also quickly replaced a broken phone holder.

On the whole we enjoyed the routes we went on. most being on quiet country roads and cycling paths although some of the latter were difficult to ride on if they were stoney and downhill such as part of the route down from Trevi and one down from Eggi. The highlight was reaching Assisi which we really enjoyed despite a strenuous climb up coming at the end of a 33km ride.

A great experience all round.





A lovely holiday, nearly all the cycling is on dedicated cycle paths with a tarmac surface, relatively easy cycling with few hills. Beautiful scenery, and lovely towns. a fascinating mix of cultures which changes as you get further into Italy. It is worth adding an extra night or two at lake Garda to enjoy the lake or just relax the pool and gardens at the Astoria Park Hotel. There was plenty to do on days off from cycling. The information pack of maps etc from FunActiv tours was excellent. The Brixen card (included with the holiday) saved us a lot of money! The hotels were all good, excellent breakfasts throughout. We also spent a couple of nights in Verona where the hotel punched well above its weight for a three star. Overall one of the best Headwater holidays we have done.



Worth noting if you do this holiday that if you want to see Otzi the Iceman in Bolzano unless you are there in July or August the museum is closed on Mondays...so make sure you get there in time on Sunday. Entry is free with the Brixen card. On the day you cycle from Bolzano to Trento there is very little shade so take plenty of water. It is worth doing the detour to the the lake on this leg...and you can cut the distance you have to cycle short by taking the train from Salurno or Egna (free with the Brixen card) to Trento. Get the bus or a taxi if you want to go up the Plose cable car at Bressanone (worth doing for the views).

Mr Simpson
Heart of Veneto Cycling
16/07/2018

Very good but we took time to adjust to the mobile phone app instructions and the volume on the app was too low even with the phone on highest volume. We would prefer bike computers and detailed maps as this is what we are used to.

Mr Hardy
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
15/06/2018

Very good but you are not cheap.

This was our eighth Headwater holiday and, although the two and half hour drive from Venice airport is a bit of a drag on twisty roads, it was definitely one of the best. The Tyrolean scenery was beautiful, the Fun Active electric bikes were excellent (better than the Headwater ones we had in Burgundy which were ok, but not as good), although the one non electric bike in our party broke down twice. However, Fun Active arrived with a replacement within an hour or so. the second problem was a broken chain and happily a passing German couple had a joining link which did the job.

The cycling was mainly level or downhill on excellent surfaced cycle tracks, the best we've experienced. The hotels were pretty good too, The Grand in Trento being my favourite. Lots to do and see like cable cars, Otzi museum, train trip to Merano using our Free Brixen card, and plenty bar/cafe stops on the way.

Having done eight tours, not sure if we'll do any more, in which case this will have been a great holiday with which to finish.

This was a really lovely holiday experience. Beautiful countryside and wonderful views throughout our trip. This was our second Headwater holiday which lived up to our expectations.

Mrs Ferris
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
02/02/2018

Well-organised holiday, drawing on deep experience of the area, tried and well-tested, excellent hotels, supported by great staff.

Ms Pye
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
02/02/2018

Wonderful hotels, exquisite food and a friendly warm welcome from reps and hoteliers. The cycling was challenging at times but the uphills rewarded us with stunning views and we felt deserving of our gastronomic delights!

Ms Hollings
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
01/02/2018

Puglia is a beautiful région which, in September isn’t crowded with tourists. The food and wines are delicious and the locals are very welcoming.

Mrs Wickstead
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
01/02/2018

Headwater provide good all round holidays for active people. Their staff both in England and abroad are efficient, but I would suggest you be careful before you decide which level/grade of cycling holiday you chose. I have done 8 Headwater holidays and I think this one in Puglia should have been rated a 2 star, not lower. It was quite challenging in places - not too much so but this needs to be noted.

Mr Smyth
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
01/02/2018

A pleasurable experience cycling in Puglia

Mrs Price
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
01/02/2018

A truly gastronomic experience! An excellent introduction to the food, wines and culture of Piedmont. The cycling was sometimes frustratingly hilly but that is the nature of vineyards!

Stunning scenery, stunning locations - a holiday to remember! We weren't really sure what to expect with the 2+ rating for cycling - I would say on average the cycling ranged between enjoyable undulating roads & exhilarating descents which were interspersed with some really (really!) tough climbs - beware of the Strava Biancas & just enjoy the scenery on route - the pain is quickly forgotten & the achievement of arriving at each destination makes it all worthwhile! I truly memorable holiday - thank you Headwater!

Mr Bastone
Cycling the Wine Trails of Umbria
01/02/2018

Great combination of healthy exercise, excellent hotels and high quality food and wine!!

Venetian Villas and Vineyards Cycling lived up to its name as there is an opportunity to visit many villas in this area. We travelled during the grape harvest season and it was interesting to see both hand picking (especially around Cortela) and mechanical harvesting and to taste wine near Cortela. Sarah Hall is an excellent rep with 10 years experience and knowledge of the area and the routes. She keeps the bicycles in immaculate condition, and provided a comprehensive briefing and was always available if needed. The Villa Lussana Hotel was our favourite with wonderful views and delicious meals. We should have done more research on sights to see in Padua and Vicenza to make more use of the day trips. We added 3 nights at the Hotel Kette in Venice which was in a good location but very touristy compared to the relatively quiet and non-tourist cycling. Great trip overall and easy to add to the Coastal Croatia Cycling as we did that trip first and caught the ferry from Porec to Venice then on to Vicenza.

A very enjoyable cycling holiday , with time also to stop and enjoy the places we were staying with days off here and there.

A great holiday, virtually traffic free rides, excellent food and lovely scenery. A brilliant combination of cultural cities (if you wish to visit them) and rural isolation. However, consider the best time to go - the temperature hit 42 degrees & humidity was very high which made cycling difficult (4-13 July). We were the only guests at our first three holels and owners told us they consider July to be low season due to the heat. If you were expecting to meet other travellers you could be disappointed. On the other hand places of interest were not crowded & we didn't need to queue with the exception of Venice.

We left Manchester in pouring rain to spend a week climbing Tuscan hills at 34c. The theme of the accommodation is Tuscan hill towns so every morning was an easy start but you soon realise every days ride finishes with a picturesque uphill! The hotels were always a good standard and a couple of the swimming pools were simply amazing. Eating outside in the courtyard at the 'Relais della Rovere' was particularly special. We had researched eating out in San Gimignano beforehand which proved well worthwhile and it is definitely wiser to book ahead from UK if you can.

The first day is quite a challenge so carry plenty of water. We hadn't realised that Headwater don't supply the water bottles anymore but luckily our local reps found us a couple of spares from last year. Phaedra and Paul were kind and attentive keeping in touch by text if we needed them. The bikes were reliable and comfortable to ride. The routes do get easier after the first day and it is worth carrying a small picnic most days as the cafes tend to be towards the end of the ride. There are some good sights to see on the rest days or else there are the lovely pools just to lounge by instead.

It was a great holiday and the hills made sure you felt fitter coming home.

Thanks again Headwater

Mr Campbell
Secrets of San Gimignano Cycling
24/01/2018

The route was generally disappointing, lots of detours through small hamlets where there was nothing, very few places to stop for a coffee. May just be that the topography dictates the route but I would have hoped Chianti could have yielded more places of interest. This was our 3rd Headwater holiday and I'd place this route 3rd by some margin. The hotels were generally excellent, Le Fonti in Volterra was very professional with good views, La Renaie in Pancole was the highlight, excellent family run hotel with nice feel and really good food. Relais della Rovere was Ok but needs to employ some gardeners, the grass everywhere hadn't been cut for weeks, bushes badly trimmed etc all contributing to an unkempt appearance. The catering being separate from the hotel was unusal and contributed to the disjointed feel. This should be a fantastic hotel but needs a lot of work to get there. Pescille was really good with great views of San Gimignano.

The bikes were new so in perfect condition, should have had a bottle cage on each bike rather than 2 on one bike and none on the other. We would have brought our own water bottles if we'd known these were no longer provided, contrary to what your literature said.

Headwater response:
Dear Mr Campbell,
Thank you for taking the time to provide your post-holiday feedback. We were pleased to read you had an enjoyable holiday. We were however sorry to read there were areas of your holiday that you felt required improvement. Please be assured all of the feedback we receive, whether positive or constructive is valued and used to help improve our holidays for the future. With this in mind, we were sorry to read you felt the gardens at Relais della Rovere required maintenance. This is the first time we have received constructive feedback for this hotel. We have discussed your comments with the hotelier; we expect to see an immediate improvement. We are sorry for any disappointment this may have caused.
We were pleased to read you found the bikes in perfect condition; our Reps receive extensive training in this area and do pride themselves on providing well-serviced bikes. They do not provide water bottle cages to our low framed bikes; this is due to past customer feedback, where customers advised us they were banging their legs on the cages, our Reps will provide water bottle cages if requested. Again, due to customer feedback we discontinued providing our water bottles, customers advised they preferred to use their own. Our Reps may have a surplus if required. This information is included in our pre travel information booklets; we are sorry you were unaware and hope this did not cause you an inconvenience.
In closing, we would like to thank you for your continued loyalty and look forward to welcoming you on another of our holidays in the future.
Kind regards,
Headwater Customer Service team

Mrs Gourlay
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
18/01/2018

From the moment our agent Antonio picked us up from the airport we have been looked after so well. The cycle route and accommodation was carefully thought out. My only concern is that the cycling in my opinion was not for beginners as there were some quite challenging inclines on a few busy roads. Overall a tremendous experience.

Dr Sinclair
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
15/01/2018

A superb blend of countryside cycles and splendid evening meals. Our local representatives Greg and Laura were consistently helpful; rescuing our bikes when needed, and proactively working out a new route for us when they realised a car rally would make the original journey planned for that day impossible. The restaurants were varied but all delightful. The unanticipated June heatwave made some of the uphill stretches a little more challenging than might be expected from its grading

Great time, hills in Tuscany are not hills....So get in shape, but scenery worth the ride...amazing! We were able to meet the locals and enjoy ourselves without any pressure when and when not to ride...

Dr Logan
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
02/01/2018

Of our 3 Headwater cycling holidays this was the best. The accommodation was better and the cycling was the right amount although we skipped the circular route around Alberobello. The hard copy route guides were better than previous ones and the GPS app with the handle bar bracket worked brilliantly once one had sussed it out. We were fortunate that the bracket was just big enough to hold our phones; it was not big enough to hold the larger smart phones.

Mr Mcgeoch
Secrets of San Gimignano Cycling
02/01/2018

Great combination of challenging cycling, breathtaking views, a range of different hotels with excellent food and wine

The holiday provided a wonderful experience of cycling in this most scenic of Tuscan landscapes. Some of the cycling was tough in the hot weather but the excellent hotels were perfect for relaxing after the cycle rides

Mrs Pattison
Cycling the Wine Trails of Umbria
02/01/2018

Less hilly overall than expected with long very flat rides in between long climbs and some big steep hills. Challenging in the heat. Stunning scenery all the way with beautiful picturesque hill top towns. Wonderful region to visit with friendly locals, great food and wines.

Mr Lypka
Classic Chianti Cycling
02/01/2018

Cycling around the hills of Tuscany is challenging and you need to be in good shape to take them on. Its worth it though for the views and the downhill stretches. I particularly enjoyed the four night stop allowing for visits to Florence and Siena. The highlight though for me was San Gimignano.

Dr Vaughan
Heart of Veneto Cycling
29/12/2017

A gentle introduction to the Veneto Plain based at a very welcoming agriturismo.

Mr Powell
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
29/12/2017

Really pleased we chose this tour. Fantastic location, food and wine. We were lucky to have great weather and tour reps (Laura and Greg), that certainly helped. The cycling was tough at times in the heat, so glad we had water and could top up at fountains. Invariably there was a tough hill climb to the hotel destination, Peidmont is all about hill top locations, however the reward of a nice room, shower and dip in the pool made it worthwhile before dinner. Hotel staff were friendly and welcoming. We would do a similar tour again without question. Thanks Headwater!

Mr Catchpole
Cycling the Wine Trails of Umbria
29/12/2017

Umbria is a beautiful part of Italy and it is well worth visiting all of the hilltop towns as they each have their own unique atmosphere - but be aware that there is a lot of climbing! The hotels, especially the Grand Relais Laurenti, are very welcoming and the standard of accommodation in all of them is excellent.

Mrs Bennett
Secrets of San Gimignano Cycling
12/12/2017

Wonderful way to see Tuscany. The fitter you are though, the more you will enjoy it.

Sometimes challenging, but great fun,lovely wine and food.

Overall an excellent holiday in a region new to us .... Headwater Reps excellent ...

Interesting area to visit; good Italian food

Mr Beeby
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
03/11/2017

This was our fourth Headwater cycling holiday. All have been good, and this was at least as good, if not better, than the others. Contrasts of Puglia is an accurate description, and we feel we have got to know something of a previously unknown part of Italy. We enjoyed the routes, the accommodation and the food and wine of the area. We met some very friendly and courteous locals. We had a week of perfect cycling weather. It was a really good holiday.

Mrs Ghali
Heart of Veneto Cycling
23/10/2017

We all throughly enjoyed our cycling in the Veneto. The food and accommodation were excellent as was the pool at the end of the day! The family were extremely welcoming and we enjoyed out trip around the farm. Sarah couldn't have been more helpful and friendly. The routes were well planned and the gps talking to us made our journeys easy, without having to look at a map all of the time.

Mr Rishton
Heart of Veneto Cycling
23/10/2017

This was the first time that we've tried a single-centre cycling holiday and we're now hooked. The potential downsides would be if you don't like the accommodation you're stuck there for the whole week (but the accommodation on this holiday was perfect) and the cycling might be repetitive if there aren't enough different directions to go in (but on this holiday the cycle routes went in all directions with only a few short stretches repeated). The upsides are not having to pack and unpack every couple of days, you can pick and choose where to go each day (and in our case skip a day when the weather was against us, and then double-up on a later day to make sure we didn't miss anything) and you feel like you're really getting to know the area that you're in. The RWGPS phone app is a fantastic new addition; it didn't matter who was in front as we both heard the same instructions, and afterwards you can see exactly where you've cycled - even down to the detail of where one of us was chased by a wasp around a car park! To top things off, this was the best place we've ever stayed abroad for understanding vegetarianism - no need to worry that a bit of fish or chicken might creep onto the menu. Overall, a great holiday!

Cycling through the Veneto area allowed us to get a feel for rural Italy and the people who live there, as well as to experience the history of the area. The route takes you primarily through farmland and, since our trip was in October and after harvest time, many of the fields were plowed so we missed some of the greenery that probably characterizes the area in summer. We enjoyed visiting Vicenza on one of our non-cycling days and also had the opportunity to take a bus to Padova, a larger and more modern city than we thought. Sarah was attentive to our needs throughout the trip.

Mrs O'Hare
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
22/09/2017

We have enjoyed at least 10 Headwater holidays since our first ride in the Loire in 2002, and the Gastronomic Barolo would have to be one of the best.



We have enjoyed at least 10 Headwater holidays since our first time cycling in the Loire and as we have travelled all the way from Perth in Australia, we obviously love our Headwater experiences. Gastronomic Barolo Cycling is probably the best in terms of countryside, scenery, accommodation, fantastic cuisine and helpful rep. But I suggest that grading of 2 bike is misleading as countryside is very hilly indeed. Thank goodness that my husband and I who are fit but 70 and 72 chose ebikes! Another couple in their late 60s struggled each day with the steep terrain and had to spend much time pushing their bikes. The weather was perfect for riding but it would have been very difficult if the temperatures were high. Another couple on the ride who are serious cyclists who ride regularly found some sections very difficult. Overall it was a great ride for us as it showed how enjoyable ebikes can be as we still got plenty of exercise to justify eating the amazing 4 course meals; enjoying the famous local wines and enjoying the company of fellow Headwater travellers.

Miss Perry
Secrets of San Gimignano Cycling
22/09/2017

Lovely way to see the country and get fitter

Mrs Anderson
Secrets of San Gimignano Cycling
19/09/2017

This is the second holiday we have taken with Headwater and both have been excellent. Two years ago we did the Gastronomic Barollo cycling holiday. Both were really enjoyable. Tuscany was stunning, the hotels excellent and our reps really friendly and helpful. On balance we preferred the Barollo holiday, but only because the cycling is on less busy roads and it is slightly less touristy, but I don't think we could find fault with either holiday.

Mrs Corrigan
Heart of Veneto Cycling
12/09/2017

The holiday itself was great; Sarah the rep was amazing and very helpful, kind and always available. Agriturismo L’Albara was exceptional; the food and the people were like family and we had a brilliant time. We really felt like we experienced the area. The problem with the air-conditioning was resolved for us quickly and they couldn't do enough for us. The routes and riding with GPRS worked well, although not too challenging , but as we had a mixed group it was fine. Sarah suggested add ons for the cyclists and they were brilliant.



Our issues were with Head office.

Emails sent with queries and not responded to.

Told that pool towels were available but are charged for, so we took our own only to find out that there are plenty of free towels

Told no hairdryer - there were very powerful hairdryers in all rooms

Requested bike frames and sizes as asked for by head office. When we arrived the bikes are standard and only what are available

Told to take padded seats; the seats are too padded and very wide - we would have been better taking our own saddles rather than gel seats that weren't used.

Printed off a load of paper before going which was really heavy and not needed as it was in resort.

Issue over train tickets and pick ups - resolved but took time.



Would do another cycling holiday to this region and stay at Agriturismo L’Albara but not with you because of Head office -sorry



Headwater response:
Dear Mrs Corrigan,
Thank you for taking the time to complete your post-holiday questionnaire. It was great to see you had an enjoyable holiday overall. I have passed on your comments to Sarah; she was pleased to hear you rated her service highly. We were however sorry to read of your disappointment with the service you received pre-departure. Please be assured, we do take all of the feedback we receive seriously and do act upon this to ensure we are continuing to deliver the kind of quality holidays our customers have come to expect. With this in mind, I have passed on your comments to the relevant departmental managers. We would like to apologise for the less than expected service you received and are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused you.
In closing, we would like to thank you for choosing to travel with Headwater this summer and look forward to welcoming you on another of our holidays in the future.
Kind regards,
Lisa

Mr Goddard
Cycling the Wine Trails of Umbria
08/09/2017

Organisation and customer care was excellent. Our rep--Jen Toy--was brilliant and extremely helpful

Excellent routes through lovely rural Italy. First &I last accommodation very disappointing because we thought we would enjoy basic country accommodation &I enjoy the food & wine of the area - we felt this was not the case at this accommodation. Food &I wine at Il Feudo were very poor - accommodation not good - rooms hot &stuffy - noisy -bed not comfortable & very poor lighting.

Mr Isherwood
Cycling the Wine Trails of Umbria
05/09/2017

Headwater picked a fine selection of independently run hotels that were a joy to stay in. The cycle routes were well selected on safe quiet roads and the GPS made them easy to follow. We had a great time

Ms Clarke
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
18/08/2017

We thoroughly enjoyed the holiday and would recommend it to other travellers.

Mrs Ergatoudis
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
08/08/2017

Wonderful again!! Our fifth holiday with you & again it was perfect. Perfectly organised routes so that we didn't need to see our great reps from start to finish! Beautiful, well considered hotels which all had really positive things to say about Headwater guests!

Mr Owens
Heart of Veneto Cycling
04/08/2017

It was great to stay in one place all week and not have to move on to different hotels. Also we liked the accommodation with swimming pool and the food was fantastic

The cycling was easy and enjoyable. We will probably hire electric bikes next trip which will open up a bigger choice of cycle rides

After three outstanding trips with Headwater previously (twice to Italy, and once to Spain), we were wondering whether our 4th excursion, 'Venetian Villas and Vineyards Cycling' could possibly live up to our high expectations. We were looking for an interesting and relaxing break that would immerse us in the Italian culture and suit the mixed cycling abilities of our group (two couples). This holiday managed to satisfy us all. While most of the routes were relatively flat, there were a few more challenging hills and options along the way. Highlights (just to list a few) included exploring the neighborhoods and museums of Vicenza and Padua, getting lost in the maze at Valsanzibio gardens, taking in the view from Villa Lussana after an exhilarating cycle up to Teolo, and the welcoming family atmosphere at L'Albara agriturismo (not to mention delicious meals they conjured up from homegrown produce). To surprise one of our party, we requested a birthday cake along the way. Our rep Sarah wisely chose Villa Lussana as the place for the surprise, and their experienced chef produced an amazing fruit flan right on cue, which helped make the event very special and memorable. There were a couple of slight disappointments - a room 'upgrade' that was of a lower specification than a standard room, and as seasoned Headwater fans we missed the detailed route notes that we've had every other time - but these are only minor niggles that did not detract from what was otherwise an excellent holiday, and great value for money. Thank you, Headwater, and we look forward to our next trip with you - wherever that may be!

Mrs Briddick
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
07/07/2017

We thoroughly enjoyed our holiday in Puglia. We were very pleased with all the accommodation. The route took us through beautiful and vary varied countryside from olive groves and cherry orchards to coastal villages - in other words truly 'contrasts of Puglia'. The people we met were very friendly and helpful and the drivers considerate giving us a warning beep before overtaking. The food and wine on offer was generally locally produced and we felt it was an important part of the Puglia experience. Travelling mid-May meant, however, that the weather was much warmer than was currently the case in England and therefore we found cycling the uphill stretches in 24 degree or higher full sun quite challenging and it gets warm early in the day. We cycled last year in the Veneto - level 1 - and found the Puglia holiday - 1+ - much more difficult with some very steep hills and some very hilly sections. We are all year cyclists not averse to hills but we are over 65. The people we met were very friendly and helpful and the drivers considerate giving us a warning beep before overtaking. Overall it was an enjoyable adventure with lot to see and learn which is what we look for in a cycling holiday. .

This holiday is well organised with reliable backup available if needed. Although we were initially sceptical we found the Ride with GPS system was good when the printed out notes were ambiguous! It would be nice to have more descriptive notes on points of interest on the itinerary. The cycling was varied and on interesting and not too hilly routes often with lovely views to enjoy. We were slightly disappointed with the quality of food, apart from at the Villa Lussana, as it didn't live up to our expectations of what we have enjoyed previously with Headwater. Also breakfasts could be a bit variable in what was offered e.g. in the Belvedere Resort ai Colli there was a 5 Euro extra charge if you wished cheese or cold meat or eggs while in other hotels these were included. On the whole we were made to feel very welcome but I would certainly recommend bringing a travel kettle if like us you enjoy a cup of tea as they clearly do not understand how to make decent tea and also charge a lot for it! Air conditioning is an absolute necessity and it was also of variable efficiency in the different accommodations, actually blowing the lights in the L'Albara Agriturismo when we tried to turn it up a little. However each place had different pros and cons e.g. L.'Albara had wonderful baking and fruit and the freshest lettuce straight from the vegetable garden even thought the main courses were pretty dire! We also had the best Tira Misu I have ever tasted and the pool was a real bonus! In summary a great holiday so long as you are prepared for a variety of accommodation and standards of food,

Mrs North
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
10/03/2017

Puglia is a fabulous area of Italy. A great variety of terrain with scenic routes.

Mrs Kings
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
07/12/2016

Great holiday. The cycling was easy with the odd tougher bits but they were short lived. Varied scenery with coast and countryside. The notes/directions were at times diddicult to follow and really need updating because signs have fallen down or gone altogether and new roads have been built with new layouts so the notes are out of date. Monopoli is really lovely Palazzo Indelli is well situated right in the pretty main square. The rooms vary so if you are booking a standard room ask for the larger ones at the back of the hotel because the one we were given at the end of our trip was tiny and noisy being on the side at the front. Corte Altavilla is nice too but the staff on reception were unhelpful and grumpy. I am a coeliac and despite telling them in advance it was the only hotel that did not provide anything for me at breakfast other than fruit. The restaurant in the hotel for the evening was very good. Alberobella unfortunately has rather sold its soul and is very over commercialised. The Trulli are nice but we would have preferred some outside space as they are rather dark. Masseria Salamina is fabulous we had a huge room and you really feel like you are staying in a castle. The swimming pool was lovely and we really enjoyed our stay here. Overall a thoroughly enjoyable trip and we are now looking for another one!

Dr May
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
07/12/2016

We did have a good holiday but experience could have been much better for reasons stated above and below.

Mr Runciman
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
29/11/2016

The holiday certainly lived up to its name: Contrasts of Puglia. We enjoyed beautiful places both in town and in country. Weather conditions ranged from bright sunshine and blue skies to thunder-storm deluges --- but with the offer of alternative transport on the wettest days. Italian food was wonderful. Overall, it was a memorable week, and we are looking forward to a next time.

Ms Pye
Heart of Veneto Cycling
29/11/2016

Perfect. What far better than we could have imagined. The accommodation, food and quality of the cycles were all excellent.

Mr Hughes
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
29/11/2016

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

The cycling routes and notes were excellent, the food was gorgeous and the scenery beguiling. Luke & Eleanor were more than welcoming and helpful. When I reported a small technical issue with one of our bikes, it was changed within an hour. The restaurant suggestions were lovely for the nights not on half board.

The opportunity to take a day in Sienna or Florence should not be missed.

Mr Tennant
Cycling the Wine Trails of Umbria
29/11/2016

Great experience but slightly inconsistent and ambiguous route instructions which are very difficult to relate to the overall large maps

Cycling in Umbria- need to review road going down from Gualdo Cattaneo down the hill to Torre del colle. Steep 15% average with turns .High risk even for reasonably experienced cyclist.Could an alternative route be looked at even if the roads are busier?

This was our first experience with Headwater. We were extremely impressed and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Our local Rep Sarah was helpful and informative. She knew the area extremely well and had clearly worked hard to develop helpful contacts and provide useful and interesting information about the area we were cycling in. She provided excellent notes and maps and obviously had good relationships with the hotel owners which helped us to feel cared for and welcomed. Sarah is literally the best holiday rep that we have ever encountered. We are full of admiration and gratitude and will definitely book with Headwater again.

A very enjoyable cycling holiday exploring the less known areas west of Venice.

Mrs Mitchell
Heart of Veneto Cycling
31/10/2016

Easy pedalling in the sun with local cuisine and a great chance to be somewhere where English is hardly spoken!

Mr Ridley
Heart of Veneto Cycling
31/10/2016

Excellent holiday but, perhaps, not so much n the shoulder season.

Mrs Pincott
Secrets of San Gimignano Cycling
31/10/2016

The Secrets of San Gimignano holiday was fantastic. Eleanor and Luke, the reps, simply could not have been more helpful, the cycling was excellent (but hard work - Tuscany is hilly) and the hotels and food amazing.

Mr BeaumontThomas
Cycling the Wine Trails of Umbria
31/10/2016

Our first Headwater holiday and we can really recommend Umbria as a destination. We worried about whether the bikes would be up to scratch and the potential restrictions of half-board, but on both counts we were pleasantly surprised. The week's route circling the valley meant that the long views often included hill towns we'd visited or would be visiting. This created a real sense of achievement! And most of all, the fantastic cycling meant we could indulge in all that amazing food and wine and still come home only a couple of pounds heavier!

Mr Hodgson
Medieval Umbrian Cycling
31/10/2016

Enjoyable relaxing holiday, with good mix of activites, beautiful scenery,great food and comfortable hotels, highly recommended!

Mr Laxen
Medieval Umbrian Cycling
31/10/2016

We really enjoyed our holiday, but because we chose the 10 day option, which included 4 nights in the hotel we liked least, Albergo La Macchia (all other hotels were 2 nights) we ended up being disappointed with this part of the trip. On one of our days off we took a train from Spoleto (very easy, but remember to validate tickets) to do a one day visit to Assisi (get the bus from the station to the last stop then walk down through Assisi), rather than stopping off for a short time on the last leg of the cycling. It was better to have a relaxing time to wander through Assisi. We will will certainly be thinking about another Headwater holiday.

Mr Pocknell
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
25/10/2016

We have had a wonderful holiday with Headwater. Everything was well organised and thought out. We have cycled through gorgeous countryside, with great scenery and the majority on quiet country roads. Perfect as always somewhere nice to stop and have lunch on route and cheaply, eaten miles too much but then have cycled it off 🙂



Ms Linsell
Heart of Veneto Cycling
13/10/2016

Good healthy weeks holiday

Ms Barbour
Heart of Veneto Cycling
13/10/2016

The Heart of Veneto cycling tour was a very positive experience for us. The rides were interesting, the distances appropriate and the cycling notes were very clear. Sarah, our Headwater rep, was very helpful and approachable. L’Albara, our Agriturisimo accommodation, was perfectly fine, the farm interesting and the meals delicious but there wasn’t a lot to do in the evenings. Happily, we became acquainted with 3 friendly, fellow cyclists from Britain and at our dinners every evening we shared the day’s experiences amid laughter and lively conversation. We would definitely choose Headwater again but would choose a tour on which we would stay in a different place every evening,

Despite being in a National Park, this was a less rural holiday than we were expecting. While some of the routes are rural in nature, you are never out of sight of a dwelling and you are on, or next to, or crossing, busy roads quite a lot of the time. Italy is also home to a plague of noisy motor bikes and scooters but I guess this is part of the culture! That said, the hotels and the food were mostly very good. We did an extra two days in Teolo which worked well and gave us two days in Padua (easy bus ride) as well as a pleasant local hike. Rep Sarah was as good as we had been led to believe and gave us a most detailed briefing. Her route notes were also excellent.



Mr Napier
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
04/10/2016

Mostly excellent, but disappointed there were more main roads than on previous cycling trips with Headwater.

In our opinion Alberobello should be dropped - too much of a tourist trap and not a 'Headwater' type destination.

Mrs Lamont
Heart of Veneto Cycling
04/10/2016

Lovely place to stay, great food. Wine a little expensive at the farm.

Exercise, fresh air, excellent food and drink and, as ever with Headwater, getting to know a new area pretty well.

Mrs Freedman
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
28/09/2016

A healthy way to explore a new part of the world, if you want it to be! Very easy to reward oneself after a cycle with fine wine and food, but after all it is a holiday! Travelling self guided allows one to be completely flexible, but others might prefer to have a leader to avoid unnecessary cycling, should one take the wrong route.

Would certainly recommend this type of holiday for a group of friends.

Ms Skinner
Medieval Umbrian Cycling
28/09/2016

They said we were mad- ' too hot!', ' too hilly!' ' too far' - they were wrong! We went in August and we are both only moderately fit and over 60. We have never enjoyed a holiday so much. Because you are cycling there is always a breeze. I would recommend taking ' camelpacks' ; these helped us to drink enough water and kept the water cool. Together with factor 50 liberally applied in the morning we never burned nor were we uncomfortable.

There was always a place to grab a juicy nectarine, cheese and bread en route and a swim at the end of the day before delicious evening meals in all the hotels.

We were greeted like royalty and slept like babies. I am officially in love with Italy.

So , any improvements? Yes, we went awol from Torgiano so that we could spend a whole day in Assisi. Assisi is so beautiful that it deserves more than a quick exhausted ramble in the middle of a cycle so, personally I would have preferred to stay closer to the this wonderful town rather than in Torgiano which was rather small and a little uninteresting.

Spoleto is also stunning and we extended our holiday both here and in Rome. Can't wait for the next one.... Now to choose.

Very good, but next time would try a higher grade of route

Beautiful scenery. Cycling hard at times - some demanding hills. Hotels very good with individual attractions. Pools a great asset at end of a hard day cycling or on day off. Lots of good (and cheap) cafes on route. Interesting places to visit including Montefalco. Assisi very busy and expensive.

Overall a great holiday.

Mrs Cox
Heart of Veneto Cycling
06/09/2016

Beautiful quiet region of Italy. Family at L'Albara are very welcoming. The food is excellent. A real get away from it all experience. This is our second visit and it was just as good the second time. Would happily go back again.

Mr Davies
Heart of Veneto Cycling
30/08/2016

This was our first cycling holiday abroad so we were looking for a central base from which we could explore on a daily basis rather than living out of suitcases. With hindsight I'm not sure we could have chosen better. The accommodation was superb (in particular Angelina's cooking!), the cycle routes of the right length (such that we had time to ride the mornings and relax in the afternoons) and there were opportunities to visit Vicenza or go further afield.

Thoroughly recommended.







Mr Jackson
Heart of Veneto Cycling
23/08/2016

A superb holiday, tailored exactly to our needs and specifications. Our reception from our reps, Luke and Eleanor, was outstanding: nothing was too much. Very personable and up-beat - exactly what you want on holiday. Headwater's hotels are second to none, in perfect locations and with wonderful facilities. I can not recommend Headwater holidays high enough.

This was my fourth holiday with Headwaters and have enjoyed them all

Great way to explore Italy.

Great holiday. Our rep Sarah was really helpful and ensured everything ran smoothly. Was sick on first day of arrival. Sarah and the people running the hotel helped me straight away so that I was able to get better and enjoy a great holiday. The scenery is stunning and people so friendly and helpful. Also the food was delicious in every place we stayed. You would pay an awful lot for that standard of food in the UK. We went in July so the weather was really hot in the afternoon so make sure you take lots of shade and water breaks.Was a fun holiday.

Mr Benner
Heart of Veneto Cycling
17/08/2016

the provision of laundry local laundry services would be much appreciated.

A wonderfully well planned holiday in the most beautiful surroundings with quality accommodation.

Mrs Bailey
Heart of Veneto Cycling
04/08/2016

A lovely week of gentle rides on quiet roads through beautiful countryside. At the end of the day we could look forward to a few hours relaxing by the pool at the wonderful agriturismo L'Albara, before a truly magnificent evening meal. We loved every minute.

Well planned and organised, good routes accurately described, very helpful staff.

Dr Young
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
20/07/2016

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.

This is a lovely cycling holiday but quite challenging with regard to the hills especially when its 34C! An early start is recommended to avoid the hottest part of the day. The hotels are all good and food at the Della Rovere is excellent. Nice pools at all the hotels. Plenty to do on the off days. The walled town of Monteriggioni is a relatively easy cycle from the Della Rovere. Worth booking an extra night at the end of the holiday in Volterra. Beautiful town with lots of little shops, cafes and alleyways. Thanks to Luke and Eleanor who were excellent reps.

This was our first cycling holiday, we are both reasonably fit but not regular cyclists so this was an excellent introduction.we found the routes fairly straight forward and enjoyable with the route notes easy to follow as long as we didn't read too far ahead (short term memory problems!). All the hotels were very good in their different ways , we ate well everywhere but the stand out food was at the Villa Lussana in Teolo. unfortunately we missed the ride to Teolo because of an extremely heavy thunder storm but Sarah our Rep picked us up and transfered us. The day wasn't wasted though, we were able to do a lovely circular walk later on in the afternoon to set us up for the first of our fabulous evening meals there. We took a bus into Padua on the rest day, well worth doing, we visited the Scrovegni Chapel and the the University to see the anatomy theatre. The two nights at the Agritourismo L' Albara were very convivial and the pool was lovely. To sum up, we had a great time, Sarah our rep was extremely helpful and helped make our holiday .

Mr Whitton
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
06/07/2016

Generally an excellent service but based on past experience will only go for future holidays with you where a Headwater rep is involved rather than an agent

Mr Brooks
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
06/07/2016

Bikes excellent. Lunches en route excellent. Accommodation a bit mixed.

Loved this little known area, which was perfect for easy cycling. Good variety of cycling ; quiet roads, alongside canals and dedicated cycle paths. Sarah our rep couldn't have been better and was always working hard for us to get the most out of our holiday. Loved Albara, which had a pool which was a bonus in our hot weather (30s). There is another holiday option to stay here as a base for week, I would think this would work well , as it was our favourite stopover out of the four we stayed at. Food and wine excellent all the way round and plenty of places to stop enroute.

We were surprised at how strenuous the cycling actually was! The distances were not long, and so we really expected to complete the routes much quicker than we did.Very big hills, but the bikes have good gears and we managed to cycle to the top of them all. The downs were brilliant. Roads were mainly very quiet.

The hotels were all lovely and we enjoyed having non cycling days to explore the interesting hill top towns.

Lots of great food and wine was had.

This holiday delivered on great food, amazing scenery, friendly staff along the route and comfortable hotels. We thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience

Mis Barrie
Cycling the Wine Trails of Umbria
16/06/2016

Many unspoilt cycle routes with stunning views

Hotel pools all very welcome after a hard day's cycling

Mr Wightman
Secrets of San Gimignano Cycling
14/06/2016

We really enjoyed this first cycling holiday, we loved the Tuscan countryside and the rustic food, delicious wine! We regularly enjoy our bicycles at home but are not 'cyclists'. So the 'undulating hills' and ' steady climbs' mentioned in the brochure were a lot more challenging than we expected. Having said this, we completed the route with a great sense of achievement and looked forward each day to a new adventure !

Mrs Prentis
Secrets of San Gimignano Cycling
14/06/2016

I was a little sniffy with the 40km every other day distance. However the hills more than make up for it. We are both very fit and did manage the hills but it was warm and quite a few are long and on the stranda bianca which are unmade up and with the wrong size of stones which makes cycling quite difficult at times. The area is lovely and the reps were delightful and extremely helpful.

Mr Rodgers
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
13/06/2016

No comment - the unseasonal weather curtailed cycling on one day (thunderstorms) so this did affect the overall holiday experience with another day that was also wet.

Ms D'Arcy
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
13/06/2016

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.

Mrs Thomas
Secrets of San Gimignano Cycling
13/06/2016

Don't be put off by the two and a half star rating of this holiday. We are two averagely fit 50+ couple that managed all the hills and they were well worth it for the fantastic views. Each hotel was unique and individual and the welcome you received at the end of a days cycling was lovely. The standard of food for most was good. We thoroughly enjoyed our holiday and have come back invigorated and amazingly pounds lighter! The reps Luke and Eleanor were very helpful and couldn't do enough for you - even texting us to see if we were alright on the only rainy day we had.

Ms Woodall
Secrets of San Gimignano Cycling
13/06/2016

Great holiday. Good challenging cycling days and a region with great food and wine for lunch and dinner. Headwater looked after us well again in Italy.

This was an interesting area of Italy and our holiday passed all too quickly with the usual Headwater mix of cultural visits and, of course cycling. The routes were well selected and mostly on cycle paths. Food was great. We didnt visit Padua, Vincenza or Venice as we preferred to explore the countryside. Otherwise the holiday was pretty much as described in the brochure.

Mrs Sparshott
Classic Chianti Cycling
13/06/2016

don't under-estimate how hilly/undulating Tuscany is.

Mrs Moulton
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
06/06/2016

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

Mr Loughlin
Cycling the Wine Trails of Umbria
06/06/2016

We expected 4 star hotels but got small 2 star rooms . Food was mostly not impressive and service poor . Staff were friendly and cycle agents excellent . Umbria lovely but route would have been very demanding without the power assist cycles which were excellent for ladies but ran out of steam for gents towards the end of each day

We were very lucky with the weather and this is important when on a cycling holiday! The accommodation was varied and highly suited to starting and ending a days cycling. We loved the routes which were through beautiful countryside ( isn't this lovely! I kept saying) and which provided us with convenient coffee and lunch stops. The cycling was spot on for a 1 cycle ride but it also offered more hilly routes is we wished to challenge ourselves. We soon found we had total confidence in the route notes and once when we went wrong I said - Sarah would never send us down this road! And I was right. You have to be a little flexible - one of our routes was blocked off by a motorcycling event but we were able to use the notes to rejoin the trail. We thoroughly enjoyed the food and the delicious local wine. I made friends with my bike and always looked forward to the next day's expedition. Great holiday!

Mr Jaffe
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
03/06/2016

Thoroughly enjoyable holiday in a beautiful unspoilt part of Southern Italy. The people here are incredibly friendly, not just in the hotels but everywhere. The cycling wasn't too strenuous and the 7km descent into Capitolo was exhilarating ! All the hotels were of a very good standard. Enjoyed staying in the Trulli house even though Alberobello can become very busy with day trippers but our favourite place was the Masseria Salamina, (keep some space in the luggage to stock up on their excellent home produced extra virgin olive oil) ! The food in this region is wonderful with a good choice of restaurants at all the locations except Prezze di Greco where the evening meal is included. This was our 12th Headwater cycling holiday and it lived up to expectations.

A fabulous way to explore the beauty of rural Italy. The exercise during the day is balanced by delightful food and wine in the evenings. Self-guided cycling with Headwater offers independence, but with the comfort and reassurance of excellent local Reps. This was our second holiday with Headwater and is unlikely to be our last.

Mrs Roundtree
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
16/05/2016

Puglia is a fantastic part of Italy to visit - a real hidden gem - and a perfect location for cycling. We were lucky with the weather and got a good week but the weather in April can be variable (i.e. cooler and wetter than we had). Beautiful countryside and lovely coastline with proper beaches. Excellent food and friendly people, We would go back again.

Mrs Brewster
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
18/04/2016

April was a beautiful time of year to travel to Puglia; lovely weather for cycling and the fields were full of wildflowers, cherry blossom, flowering mimosas etc. Although the cycling was all on roads, they were mainly very quiet, country lanes and we found the Italian drivers surprisingly patient and respectful of cyclists. The route deserved its 1 1/2 bike rating; it certainly seemed a bit more strenuous than the previous '1 bike' holiday we had done and we were very glad not to be tackling it in the heat of summer. This was our second Headwater holiday as a family and we think the formula works well for both us and the children (aged 11 and 13). They particularly embraced the Italian love of gelati!

Mr May
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
02/11/2015

A beautiful part of the world made even more special by great hotels, great food and great cycling

Mr Bell
Heart of Veneto Cycling
21/10/2015

A lovely rural part of northern Italy with a number of quiet country roads, largely traffic free, to enjoy. The relative closeness of Vicenza and Padua gives the opportunity also to experience a number of cultural and architectural delights. Add to this the wonderful food prepared at The L'Albara Agriturismo and this is a holiday to savour.

Beautiful cycling! Great route and some excellent hotels.

Interesting cycle tour with plenty to visit.

Mr Procter
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
16/10/2015

We were well looked after in all aspects of the holiday, from the comprehensive introductory talk, which was both entertaining and full of useful bits of information, through the well-planned and comprehensive route notes, to the excellent accommodation and surroundings of the rides.

Mrs Harbottle
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
12/10/2015

Pleasant cycling through mix of peaceful rural landscapes and historic coastal and plateau towns. Although experienced cycle tourists we found the cycling more tiring than expected due to the heat, even in early October, so were glad that the distances were relatively short. Puglian food lived up to its reputation and the local wines recommended by the rep were enjoyable. All the hotels had spacious and well equipped rooms - though we did benefit from an upgrade for the base hotel as the normal one was full. Detailed route notes a great relief after getting minimal and inaccurate ones last year with another company. Unplanned highlight was doing the 7km downhill run while road closed to cars as a proper cycle race came up.! Although not mentioned in the brochure, Monopoli is well connected to the rest of Italy by train, and the station is within walking distance (20 min) of hotel. So we negotiated a reduction in package cost as not needing a transfer to Bari, and made the cycling week the centre of an Italian / French train tour.

Mr Johnston
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
09/10/2015

Good accommodation, clear instructions and good cycling. Met interesting people. Guides were very friendly and helpful.

Mr Richens
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
08/10/2015

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.

Mr Payne
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
06/10/2015

Very good holiday overall, in a very interesting area. Route notes were at times inaccurate and ambiguous, which made the ride more like a treasure hunt!

All the hotels and accommodation were of a high standard and staff very friendly and helpful. Bikes were ok but not as good as the Headwater branded ones that we had in Burgundy last year. We would strongly recommend a Headwater holiday.

Mr Broome
Heart of Veneto Cycling
30/09/2015

This holiday does 'what it says on the tin' - provides accomodation, meals & cycling with a rep available as required.

The accomodation was a bit too far out of town for my liking - once dinner was over at 9:30 - 10.00 there was not much else to do.

s a solo traveller, I had several days when there were no other guests to talk to, despite Headwater implying there was limited space avilable when I booked..

Finally, as a non-drinker, I was disappointed in the lack of alternative drinks at dinner: water or water.



Apart from these small gripes I had a great time and loved cycling in the countryside. The food at the accomodation was generally very good and certainly ample quantities.



Mr Harris
Heart of Veneto Cycling
29/09/2015

Very well organised lovely places to visit !!!!

Dr Foo
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
29/09/2015

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

A delightful area for cycling, mostly great locations for hotels, overall an excellent holiday. Our only reservation is Torgiano, where the hotel was anonymous and the little town uninteresting and the Tourist Office useless in our queries about buses.

Dr Cullen
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
25/09/2015

Really enjoyable, few small comments, maps were hard to read, water bottles ideally insulated, stands of bikes needed, lovely holiday, expensive especially because of euro/sterling exchange

Mrs Green
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
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!!!

Mr McGinn
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
23/09/2015

This is our 7th cycling holiday with Headwater and once again we have had a really enjoyable holiday.

Dr Ruscoe
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
22/09/2015

Puglia is a great destination for a cycling holiday. Hotels were welcoming, helpful and of good standard.But you definitely need better arrangements for route checking/updating and translation of self-guiding instructions, which misrepresented a number of key instructions, resuling in errors and distress. You continue to give paper instructions which don't fit the holders. Other companies provide mileometers and satnavigation

Mr MacMillan
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
21/09/2015

Lovely cycling trip, local agents, hotels and bikes were very good. The Trulli hotel was interesting, but dark and lacking in facilities.

Everybody was so professional, friendly and helpful from our first phone call to the office to our final goodbye to the reps. The routes were great - enough cycling to feel we'd earned our lovely hotel, pool and dinner but not too much to feel disheartened. There was plenty of time built in to sight see with excellent suggestions for rest days. We visited some great places that we'd never have found on our own as well as some more main stream destinations. A lovely combination and so well organised.

Dr Winter
Classic Chianti Cycling
21/09/2015

Well organised and professional service - headwater deliver what they promise and the holidays are excellent. A reasonable degree of fitness is required for the cycling holidays - not suitable for beginners or irregular cyclists.

Mrs Geddes
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
18/09/2015

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

Mr Hancock
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
17/09/2015

The Italians could be encouraged to look after their surroundings better .The amount of rubbish by the sides of the roads is awful .It's such a shame and detracts from the unspoilt countryside.The historic centres of the town's are really interesting and not crowded.

Mr Brooks
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
16/09/2015

An Italian adventure. Excellent bikes, fabulous food. Sometimes the instructions were a challenge but generally ok. Accommodation was varied which added to the overall experience, The Masseria Salamina was exceptional. Our rep Dave was a joy .

Mrs George
Heart of Veneto Cycling
16/09/2015

This was our 5th Headwater holiday. We like the attention to detail and the fact that we can rely on the equipment and the rep. We feel we are in good hands and that we can be sure of everything running smoothly. We enjoy meeting other Headwater customers.



(I have put myself in the 'over 64' bracket, but my son now age 31 has been coming on these holidays with me since he was in his teens, and continues to enjoy them)

Mrs Bullock
Heart of Veneto Cycling
16/09/2015

This was our first experience of an activity holiday and none of us are experienced cyclists so we chose a grade one single centre holiday, whilst a little apprehensive after a hefty breakfast and a briefing from our excellent rep Sarah we set off on our first ride. The cycling was well graded and the route description very easy to follow, we did not get lost or go wrong at all during our weeks stay, best of all we were able to go at our own pace and explore some lovely countryside. Returning to our accommodation we were able to share experiences with the other groups over a glass or two of the local wines. We never thought we would find a cycling holiday relaxing but have returned home very chilled and despite the exercise about 5lbs heavier than when we started, which is a testament to the quality and quantity of the food. Thank you to all.

Mr Elliott-Jones
Secrets of San Gimignano Cycling
14/09/2015

A fantastic package, great value for money in superb, friendly & family-run hotels. Great cycling routes through some challenging terrain, very good, sensibly built bikes. Reps & Headwater office staff were very helpful, couldn't do enough to make sure we were sorted.

Our most scenic Headwater cycling holiday to date and well worth the physical effort!

Mrs Hoile
Heart of Veneto Cycling
01/09/2015

A great place to tour on cycles, local people and hospitality are excellent

Mr Pridmore
Classic Chianti Cycling
27/08/2015

A challenging holiday but thoroughly enjoyable. The views were amazing and the rides took you through beautiful places. The use of the word undulating in the notes was over used, hill was closer! Had such a sense of achievement at the end of the holiday! Would love to do this again.

We found the holiday provided a good mix of cycling and relaxation. The cycling in July was very hot and the hills quite challenging while the hotels were very comfortable and quiet. Enough choice of things to do from the hotels or simply relax by the pool.

Cycle routes were very well mapped, cycles were properly geared for the climbs and well maintained.

Transfers from the airport to the hotel were well organised and on cycling days our luggage was promptly transferred between hotels.

Mr Gilbert
Classic Chianti Cycling
24/08/2015

We were initially slightly worried by the directions and unknown roads etc, however the notes proved to be excellent and only got momentarily lost once during the whole holiday. Take plenty of food, water and sun cream on the rides as shops and shelter can be few and far between.

Mrs Stockton
Secrets of San Gimignano Cycling
17/08/2015

An excellent first holiday with Headwater. We chose a 2+ cycle standard which was tougher than we expected, however the heart had a large effect on our ability. All the hotels were beautiful my only complaint was the air conditioning could of been a lot more powerful. The scenery was just breathtaking on the rides and over all i would highly recommend this trip.

Mrs Brown
Classic Chianti Cycling
17/08/2015

I have found Headwater holidays to be consistently excellent over the three occasions that I've used them. You find some amazing places for us to stay in and provide really useful information on local places to visit. It's lovely to get off the usual tourist tracks and really get to see the countries in more detail, experiencing far more of the areas we visit. The views were spectacular which made up for the challenging sections of the rides, and we were entertained by a golden eagle only metres away from us on the first and last cycle days.

Mrs MacEnri
Heart of Veneto Cycling
11/08/2015

We were a group of 9, who were made to feel most welcome. L'alhambra is in a beautiful setting, and the pool was most welcome after a hot days cycling. The evening meals were always delightful, using produce from the farm, breakfast was however a little un imaginative and we had to ask for eggs-which were then available every morning.

Sarah is very knowledgeable, whether your asking about pumping the tyres, local wine or the times of trains! She quickly found answers to our queries and made calls on our behalf. The wine tour and tasting at Catalunga was the highlight of the week- bigger saddle bags required!!

Mr Biddlestone
Heart of Veneto Cycling
11/08/2015

It was our first cycling holiday and both of us enjoyed the experience. The pool was excellent, the bikes excellent, the weather superb, and our hosts Valfrido and Angelina, their daughter Romina and son Frederico certainly made us welcome. If circumstances allowed, for we are both skiers, i think we would certainly entertain repeating the holiday. As we never cycled after 2 pm, we both thought the pool was an essential requirement. As for the food and drink. I can certainly believe it all comes from the farm, as it tasted so fresh, but this means only wine and water are served with the evening meal. Finally the rep, Sarah was organised and helpfull.

This was a fantastic holiday mixing activity through cycling with culture by visiting Vicenza, Padua and Venice. It is great if you want an authentic holiday experience getting the feel of a country independently by cycling along country lanes and canal banks undisturbed by traffic and stopping at local markets or cafes for lunch with the security of knowing that a comfortable bed and good food awaits you at the end of a day. You feel you have earned the glass of wine and the lovely food using fresh local ingredients . The hotels were all different but individual and whilst not needed it is good to know that there is a local rep on hand to sort out any problems. It was 10 years since our last headwater cycling holiday but we were pleased that we still easily coped with the cycling and this holiday was the best mix of scenery, cycle routes, hotels and food out of the other 4 I have had over a 25 year period. Thank you for a great time.

Ms Hawking
Heart of Veneto Cycling
10/08/2015

An extremely positive experience, wonderful accommodation and cuisine, superb support from the rep, gorgeous rides offered suitable to our experience, great fun and relaxing holiday had by all!

We were a family group of four. Mum ,Dad and two grown up children, son aged 27 and daughter aged 30. We had a really enjoyable trip, exploring all the towns and villages along the route. We really enjoyed a totally relaxing and stay put day at the Grand Relais Laurenti. We had the place to ourselves! Wonderful setting, fantastic views. The 'city centre' Hotel Al Grappolo was our least favourite and it was not the sort of place that you would want to spend the entire day (like Grand Relais Laurenti). The food was excellent especially for vegetarians. Four courses was to much! And the wine was very good and very reasonably priced.

Dr Young
Heart of Veneto Cycling
27/07/2015

Booking was not entirely straight forward. I appreciate that we had different members of the party coming from different places - and indeed staying for different lengths of time -and with some dietary requests - but for me there is not the attention to detail that i would expect. I picked up several errors during the booking and invoicing procedures - that were just frustrating. Everything was eventually resolved but not without my going through every detail carefully. Unfortunately when one error arises one has to look even more closely at all the documentation- all of which was exceptionally time consuming.At all times I was dealt with politely, and am grateful for the written apology I received on this occasion .

However if one can push through this - your holidays are just superb.Recognising that we were fairly energetic, Sarah provided us with 2 extensions on the given routes which were just what some members needed. Also, a previous guest, had written an alternative route back on the visit to the lake. That was wonderful but certainly in the 2 to 3 cycle realm - but we loved it.- so there is room to offer this as a more than one cycle if wished.

The hotel pool was wonderful and much used in the very hot conditions! The family at the hotel could not have been more helpful and the atmosphere there was just lovely- marvellous to relax there after the cycling.

For future customers you may like to add that if you have an inordinate wait at venice station there is a great restaurant opposite called Soul Kitchen - who allowed us to sit for 2 and a half hours over a lovely easy meal.

Great holiday - cycling was wonderful through a picture perfect valley; a few climbs to hill-top towns but views compensate enormously. Well chosen hotels. Only minor gripe was that two hotels had a full menu (one with minor 2 euro mark-up for some dishes), while two have a very fixed menu with 2 and 3 choices respectively. On return to Bastiglia we had the same menu which had rabbit which we don't eat (just a promise we made as we keep rabbits !). This would have been just OK but we stayed two more nights and had the same menu given to us. To be fair we negotiated a slight change although our starter was still based on parma ham each night. The hotel was lovely but it did make us feel like we were second class diners who couldn't afford the full menu, which I am sure is unintentional but the created effect. We nearly dined elsewhere on the last night to get some variety of choice but this is probably our fault for staying 4 nights here - wonderful hotel but wouldn't half board in future if stay extra nights.

Mrs Downes
Classic Chianti Cycling
21/07/2015

This is a great way to explore Tuscany with a good physical challenge and lots of wonderful gastronomic experiences thrown in.

We almost always travel independently and avoid package holidays. However, we wanted to do a cycling holiday and were attracted by the idea of being able to cycle from place to place with our luggage transported. Headwater did not let us down - we felt we had all the advantages of independent travel (getting off the well-worn tourist routes, meeting local people and eating regional food) yet had backup if we wanted or needed it. Our rep, Sarah, was outstanding, friendly and knowledgeable and generous with her time. Cycle routes were clear and had plenty of suggestions for detours to places of interest, or to make the day's trip more or less taxing. We liked all the places where we stayed - the two hotels were polished and comfortable, a lovely complement to the country cooking and warm family atmosphere of the two agritourismi.

Mrs Griffiths
Heart of Veneto Cycling
13/07/2015

Excellent from start to finish as usual!

A great way to see and experience the parts of a country that other travel companies often don't reach.

Super holiday, loved the area, and all the hotels. Our rep, Sarah, was absolutely wonderful. She found us a taxi at a good price, she knew all about the area, the bag transfer was done most efficiently, what a lovely lady. She even recognised that we felt more comfortable eating as just a couple, and not in a larger group, and without us asking she organised a table for just us two. How perceptive!! Thank you Sarah.

Mr Lumsden
Heart of Veneto Cycling
07/07/2015

It seems that overall the employees and agents of Headwater have forgotten who is the guest and who is the host

Mrs Allen
Heart of Veneto Cycling
07/07/2015

A really enjoyable holiday,in a beautiful area. Take note of the weather forecast in the Veneto - it seems it is often stormy in June. Great cycling but take your own saddle - I have a ladies saddle on my own bike and I never made friends with the one on the bike that was supplied, which, despite being a gel saddle was a generic one rather than a saddle for a women. The bike itself was excellent apart from the saddle problem. Another warning is take high strength anti-mosquito solution, I was bitten badly even though I was using what I thought was a good quality solution - I bought some high strength from the local supermarket and that worked well but I had to make sure I put it on every exposed bit!!

Mrs Duncan
Cycling the Wine Trails of Umbria
02/07/2015

Welcome at La Macchia by the older couple felt off hand. Staff, however, were helpful and appeared over worked in the dining room. Food was good at Grapolo d pro but service was slow and we left before being offered a last course. Cycle routes good and notes clear Only got lost once.

Dr May
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
30/06/2015

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

Mrs Mollett
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
24/06/2015

The welcome briefing was far too long, we expected it to last for about 15 minutes and it went for over 2 hours. We could have read the notes ourselves, rather than having the rep read them to us. The route notes were excellent and easy to follow. Puglia is a varied part of Italy, some parts are stunningly beautiful, other bits less picturesque. Alberobello has been spoilt by the number of tourists and souvenir shops, we would have preferred to stay in Locorotondo, which is a far more beautiful town without the hoards of cruise ship tourists, although staying in a Trullo was a great experience. The people of Puglia that we came in contact with were incredibly friendly, helpful and kind, and the food and wine were amazing. All in all it was a good cycling holiday with lots to see and varied cycling.

Mr Denton
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
24/06/2015

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.

Mrs Chessum
Medieval Umbrian Cycling
24/06/2015

We had a very good time. It was a lovely holiday marred only by the directions being a little bit unreliable.

Ms Smart
Classic Chianti Cycling
23/06/2015

A challenging (take note) cycling tour taking you to some beautiful places in Tuscany. The bike was great and despite having to get off a few times in a few places I was mostly very happy with the km and the routes. If I could change any part of the route it would be the strada biancha on day 1 as that really is a bit tough with no views for most of it. The rest of the routes were fine and took you to beautiful scenery.



I was sorely disappointed with the hotel in Siena and would strongly recommend that Headwater change this option as it spoilt my trip a bit. The other hotels were great - my favourite was Pescile. Hotel Revere was good if the weather was ok but I can imagine this is a bit gloomy if its raining as there are limited places to sit inside.



The food was mostly good - breakfasts can be a bit 'Italian' but on the whole not too bad. The biggest let down for food was being sent to two Pizzerias two nights in a row in Certaldo. There is a huge choice of restaurants in Certaldo Alto and I would have preferred paying for my own meal and being given options.



A highlight was a tour of Montalcino (can be done from hotel Revere) and finding some amazing restaurants in San Gim (better at night to avoid the day trippers) and Siena.



For anyone wanting to know here are my restaurant highlights:



Siena - La taverna de San Giuseppe

San Gim - Cum Quibus

Certaldo Alto - Fonte Antica



Overall very happy and am missing the cycling now I am back in the UK

Mr Quinn
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
22/06/2015

It was our first cycling holiday - we both really enjoyed it. Just the right amount of cycling. The suggestions of what to do on the non cycling days were very helpful. Unfortunately we got lost in Potigano - maybe you should recheck the route notes for leaving the old town. One of the highlights of our holiday was a boat trip on the final day on the Yasemin Sultan.

Mrs Roberts
Medieval Umbrian Cycling
22/06/2015

The holiday was well organised and gave us what was promised in the brochure. When we did run into problems ( minor and not the fault of Headwater) they were sorted out with the minimum of fuss and delay ( eg puncture as above and then BA cancelled our flight home from Rome with 48 hours notice! We contacted Vlad in resort and he immediately contacted Michelle Roberts in UK who sorted out alternative flight for us. Without such prompt and efficient service we would have had an anxious and stressful 2 days- not what you want on holiday!

The hotels were great- obviously hand picked- lovely rooms ,pools , food - everything. The routes were great although on occasion the notes were unclear. Also as one person wrote in the blue book- Italy- wonderful country- shame about the maps!! But a great holiday and only minor nit picks!

Mrs Shann
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
17/06/2015

The cycling was more challenging than expected from the description mainly because of the many climbs involved. One of our party struggled with this, the fitter members of the party found it hard at times but more manageable

Puglia is a lovely uncommercial area of Italy and I would like to visit it again. The people are very friendly and helpful.

The bikes are very good but would benefit from the water bottles more easily accessible instead of having to be stored in the panniers. This is not allowed because of some ridiculous health and safety rule. There is a worry that you will try and drink from your water bottle when cycling.

Mrs Greenwood
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
17/06/2015

Accommodation and transfer/transport arrangements were good and enjoyed. We thought a Grading of 2 would be more appropriate ; the first two days were difficult. However the route directions were disappointing and in one place wrong. Although the directions were recently revised, I suggest they are reviewed, in particular:

Page 9: the ERG petrol station has been replaced by a building site. On the same page, the 2 electric poles are on a right turn and the Via Marascelli sign is not there. The directions in and out of Noci were confusing and need clarity, probably by removing choice of routes around the town.

Page 28. Conchia to monopoli at the junction with the give way sign , it should say turn left! At present no direction is given. There were other minor errors along the whole route but as you say, signs change !



Mrs Phillips
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
17/06/2015

Everything ran smoothly, with no problems with the transportation of luggage or airport pickup and drop off. The initial briefing by Davide was very thorough and informative. We found the route notes straightforward on the whole but there were a few inaccuracies. Hotels were of a good standard, but we were glad to have taken the option to upgrade, particularly at the Palazzo Indelli where our junior suite had a large terrace overlooking the lively piazza. Having outdoor space at the Trullo was also beneficial. Alberobello is interesting but very touristy and on the leisure day there, we opted to take the train to nearby Martina Franca, via Locorotundo and would recommend this. Italian trains are cheap and easy to use - just don't forget to validate your ticket before boarding! The cycling generally was perfectly manageable, although there was the odd challenging climb. On the last day, we chose to go our own way and followed the coastal route back to Monopoli, rather than go inland. This gave us an enjoyable but shorter ride, allowing us to enjoy the rest of the day in Monopoli.

Mr Watt
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
17/06/2015

This was our 13th holiday out of 15 with Headwater and the best yet! You are ahead of your competitors that we have tried.

The location of the trip was ideal.

Mis Perry
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
17/06/2015

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

Very enjoyable. You don't feel that you are part of a crowd but have the reassurance of the back up provided by a local representative, if required.



The routes were well put together but you need to be reasonably fit before you go.



Although you are travelling to a warmer country you need to be prepared. We had one very wet day and would have been lost without decent waterproof tops and trousers..

Mr Price
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
15/06/2015

A well planned and run cycle tour through a beautiful part of Italy with good accommodation.

Wonderful countryside, good cycling, plenty to see and stop at, so the routes filled the days with lots of interest. It was 30oC in the first week of May, and would be best when temperature was 25ish, which is what we had hoped by booking an early holiday. I don't know how it could be enjoyable in August.

Mis Barrie
Secrets of San Gimignano Cycling
11/06/2015

A fun way to exercise in a beautiful location

Mr Day
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
09/06/2015

Well organised , enjoyable and healthy

trouble free and relaxing

Mr Lewis
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
28/05/2015

Very good accommodation in interesting buildings; friendly people; interesting towns; remarkable ancient olive trees; some days are very hilly.

Ms Gillespie
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
13/05/2015

Loved Puglia and everything about the region - scenery, cycle rides, food and especially the negro amaro wine we discovered. The accommodation was brilliant especially the Masseria although we did also really like the vibe of the main square in Monopoli.



There were just 3 slight disappointments

1. The spa at the Corte Altavilla in Conversano was all style over substance and was over-priced

2. The food at the Corte Altavilla was also slightly disappointing after our experience in Monopoli

3. The town and local maps provided by the local agent were utterly useless. Google was much better! They also didn't sometimes tally with the Headwater accurate directions

Mr Jones
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
13/05/2015

This experience allowed us to see the delights of Puglia at our leisure. The route took us through the most beautiful countryside and was made perfect with the excellent food, wine and accommodation

Dr Padfield
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
12/05/2015

Marvellous trip. Good that you arranged no rain and temperatures of 32 degrees

Mr Carson
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
07/05/2015

Good with one serious caveat below

Dr Goldberg
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
25/04/2015

We have just had a wonderful week cycling in Puglia with Headwater. We would highly recommend going in late April/May as the countryside was covered in wild flowers and the weather was perfect for cycling at around 18C. The bikes were just right for the routes which are all on roads. Most roads are quiet but some were busier than I was expecting especially coming into the towns but the Italian drivers were surprisingly deferential and careful around cyclists. The hotels chosen by Headwater were all excellent. All the evening meals we had were delicious, both those provided and those we found ourselves. Not one disappointing lunch or dinner in the whole week! Some of the route instructions need clarification and personally I would have preferred them to be a bit shorter but overall an excellent weeks holiday. I'm sure we will be booking again with Headwater next year.

Mr Trivedi
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
17/04/2015

We loved this holiday. Dave provided comprehensive information on the routes and accommodation at our initial briefing, and could not have been more helpful. He also gave us lots of background information to help us make the most out of our holiday. Puglia is a beautiful area ideal for cycling, and the hotels (which were all excellent) all had very different characters, which added extra interest to the holiday.

Mis Devlin
Cycling the Wine Trails of Umbria
12/11/2014

It wasn't the relaxing biking holiday I was hoping for. Some parts were, but the published route involved too many busy main roads. There were a lot of mistakes in the notes, which added stress. I do wonder if anyone had actually rode it from Headwater? It could have been a lot better - for instance leaving La Macchia, instead of going down the busy main road, we went into town on the back roads, over the railway, then along a parallel road, then onto a cycle track - easy to do and much less traffic.



The hotels were not brilliant. We didn't eat the four courses offered at meal times, as it was just too much. I would have rather paid a bit less and just had two courses.



I may sound churlish, about the birthday cake, but the reason we went on this week was because we had a family tragedy the year before on my birthday, and I specifically wanted a totally un-birthday normal day. It worked fine, and I had genuinely forgotten about it, so was very angry and embarrassed about what happened. They should not have been looking at my passport - the only reason they had it was for legal reasons.

Mr McDowell
Classic Chianti Cycling
03/11/2014

We had a wonderful holiday and will have plenty of fond memories and photo's. It was a nice mix of exercise,visiting some lovely cities and villages and relaxation.The beauty about cycling is that you get time to appreciate the views, the Tuscan countryside is absolutely amazing. Our reps were extremely pleasant and helpful which went a long way towards our holiday enjoyment. We would definitely do another cycling holiday or even a walking one, but would not want to cycle on another Strada Bianca! It was a very well organised holiday from start to finish. Thank-you Headwater

Mrs Mendham
Cycling the Wine Trails of Umbria
27/10/2014

We enjoyed the holiday but the directions were probably the worst we have ever had. They are not clear and some directions referred to signs/cafes etc that no longer seemed to be there. In Gualdo Catanneo the instructions sent us all round the village back to where we started but the road had collapsed and we had to go back. In fact we could have pushed the bikes 50m down the hill back to where we started! Often directions are given in distances but when you have no means of judging distance it is hard to know if you are in the correct place. There should be more information on how to get to places on the off days. We went to Perugia but found out how to get there on our own. It was simple and this information could be made available on your website. The bikes are very heavy and poorly maintained. I could only use 18 of the 21 gears until my husband fixed it after 3 days - not great on the Umbrian hills.

Mr Collins
Medieval Umbrian Cycling
24/10/2014

Headwater offers a very efficient and reliable service. The equipment was very good, the hotels were on the whole very agreeable, at a price. We travelled off season, but even so, the hotel restaurants were extremely busy and there were occasions when we had to wait so long, we gave up on the puddings!



Overall the cycling was most pleasant on quiet roads, very often for cyclists and walkers only. There were some demanding climbs into any town worth its salt in tourism, but then there was the added bonus of the long descent back down to terra firma. The weather was amazingly good and the lovely tranquil scenery.

Mr Dick
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
22/10/2014

Well organised holiday. Lots of places to visit and experience as a result of thoughtful planning. Good, comfortable accommodation and food.

Mr Millican
Classic Chianti Cycling
22/10/2014

The cycling was challenging, much more difficult than we expected from the rating. We would not have made it without the help and assistance from the reps Katy and Jim. They were excellent. There were downhill parts of the route that were dangerous for moderate cyclists. I know the area is hilly, however some of the climbing was more akin to a cycling race than a holiday.

Mr Harper
Heart of Veneto Cycling
15/10/2014

Great dinners, basic breakfasts (although there were always delicious cakes).

Mr Joslin
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
14/10/2014

This was our first time with Headwater and the impressive, friendly and efficient service, together with very good hotels in a variety of beautuful locations, ensured our total enjoyment. The routes suggested were good and we had the option of extending our rides (in particular an extension to the coastal ride on Day 1). A slight criticism would be that the directions could be clearer and presented in specific instructional order rather than paragraph narratives; we were not sure that anyone had actually cycled these routes 'blind' and thus we made some mistakes. neverthelessall rides were completed successfully. Puglia is something of a gem and the programme ensure that we enjoyed a full flavour of its varied geography and history. We would have no hesitation in booking another of your holidays and thank you for such a pleasureable experience.

The scenery is spectacular - typical Tuscany -but beware the cycling is not for the inexperienced. The region is hilly and you do cycle on some busy roads. Good location for visits to Sienna and other famous hill top villages We very much enjoyed the holiday

Ms Robson
Heart of Veneto Cycling
13/10/2014

A great area with varied cycling and a relaxing base. Sarah was very helpful with advice on alternative routes.

Mr Smillie
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
08/10/2014

We are not regular cyclists and this was our group's (6 of us) first experience of a cycling holiday and of using Headwater.

The organisation was very good and the suggestion of Puglia for this adventure was first class.

We had excellent weather to enjoy lovely countryside and well chosen locations and accommodation.

Mrs Lodge
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
08/10/2014

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.

Mrs Ovenden
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
08/10/2014

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

Mrs Lee
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
08/10/2014

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.

Mrs Spriggs
Classic Chianti Cycling
01/10/2014

Beautiful countryside, tough cycling you would need to do some cycling at home prior to a 2 bike plus. We feel the hotels are much more cosmopolitan than in the past. Whilst they are of a very good standard we miss the more authentic accommodation with more local traditionally prepared food and eating together as a group.



My husband found the food at Relais della Rovere disappointing.

Dr Miller
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
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.

Mrs Martin
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
25/09/2014

Definately worth a try and nice varied holiday. It was good to experience a different part of Italy. Whilst for us it doesn't quite match up to the scenary of home and other parts of Italy such asTuscany and Umbria, it has its own charm. Our cycling route took in a good mix of the coast, the coastal planes and the plateau and some lovely little towns. The cycle down from Alberobello was lush. As we live in God's own countyclose to the Yorkshitre Dales all the miles of dry stone walling made us feel quite at home. Luckily we don't have anywhere near the problems the Italian's have with roadside litter and fly tipping. It's a real shame. However, it's not all like that by any means. It certainly isn't something in Headwater's control as isn't the weather, which was indifferent but we managed not to get wet whilst riding, which was good and we did see some sun - just thought it might have been a bit better in early September, but your in the lap of the gods . There's some fantastic old olive vines throwing up some weird and wonderful trunk shapes to feast your eyes on. We saw very few animals despite there been a plentiful array of meat on the evening meal menus. The people we met from Southern Visions your local agent were all very friendly and they provided an excellent service. Manopoli was a wonderful place to start and the Palazzo Indelli a nice little hotel right in the thick of the old historic quarter in a lovely little square, which came alive at night, and close to the waterfront with its fortifications and castle. Worth doing the extra short loop on the first day if you want a bit of fish for lunch. Corte Altavilla was a nice little hotel also and well located just off the square by the cathedral and near the castle in Conservano. I just thought the hotel restaurant on the top floor lacked a bit of atmosphere, but we were only there for one night, so no great shakes. This hotel looked to have a good spa, but it was fully booked, so if you want to partake best to book in advance. Staying in the Truli house was an experience, as were the bangs on the head I gave myself on the low doorways! However, previous reviews on your website weren't wrong that you had saved the best until last - the Masseria Salamina. I dont think I've ever felt so relaxed so quickly on arrival at a hotel and I've stayed at many. We were so pleased that after reading the other reviews we'd opted for another night. In fact if we went back and did this trip again I'd be looking to rejig things to stay in Arerobello and the Trulli House for just 1 night instead of 2 and have a further night at Masseria Salamina. What a lovely place. There's opportunities for those who want to mix cycling with a bit of train travel with the bikes, such as the round journey from Alberobello where we actually chose in the end to take the train back from Marta Franca. Be aware Italian drivers seem to like to honk their horns I guess to tell you they are coming even though you've already heard them. Overall a very pleasurable experience well worth a go.

Mr Cobbold
Medieval Umbrian Cycling
25/09/2014

The cycling can be very challenging in this area.

Dr Dewar
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
23/09/2014

Really excellent trip. Cycling was great and not too strenuous although cycling every day a reasonable distance. Beautiful scenery passing through coastal areas with shimmering sea and quiet coves, on to endless olive groves with not a person in sight. The Puglia towns are delightful in character. Hotels are undoubtedly excellent especially Masseria Salamina (a gem - what a location, luxurious pool area, fabulous dinners) and Trulli stay was also a delight, with very friendly but not intrusive staff. The cycling is all on surfaced roads which means that the provided bikes were more sporty and made cycling easier (lighter frame, thinner tyres, gearing better, no mudguards or bell). Southern visions, your local partners, were really helpful - we were travelling on to Dubrovnik by ferry and the transfer driver spent quite some time locating the left luggage for us, which would have been impossible for us without good Italian. Thus was really appreciated as we were able to relax in Bari for the day. Finally the Spa in a Corte Altavilla was a great bonus - each of us had a well-earned massage from Andreas after steam room and soaking in the hot tub. Weather was excellent (iPhone weather suggests cloudy and thunder storms but neither was accurate - sunshine daily in mid to late September.

Excellent hotels and food in lovely locations. Italian roads lack signage and the camber on some roads is bad especially when trying to ride and navigate in heavy thunder storms. The maps issued are of too small a scale and our trip involved two maps. It would be preferable to order special maps based on a 30 mile radius of Spello with a bigger scale. From the Headwater book in each hotel, it is clear that most people get lost. We did on each of our transits but perhaps that is the fun of it.

Mrs Elmer
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
16/09/2014

Puglia as a region is over-hyped. You will mainly be cycling along dusty roads through olive trees. The southern Italian towns have very messy litter strewn outskirts with disused factories and omnipresent graffiti but once you get to the centres you will find lovely old walled towns with stone pavements - completely closed as you are most likely to arrive in the middle of the afternoon siesta!



you did ask!!

Mrs Watts
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
16/09/2014

We celebrated our wedding anniversary with this holiday. Overall we had a wonderful experience despite the unseasonably wet weather in Apuglia this September. We flew independently and organised ourselves 2 days in Lecce which we would recommend. We arrived in Monopoli by train and walked to the hotel - from there on we were welcomed and looked after by Southern Vision rep Davide who was extremely informative. We were a bit concerned that we would end up on a group tour but the other headwater guests were lovely and everyone had their own plans and did their own thing. The cycling was just the right level for us, the hotels great! The inclusive food was very good standard and elsewhere we did not have one course of food that was not delicious! Highlights were the pretty town squares, the Esspressini, the Vongole, the Negramero wine, the sea food at Savelletri, the afternoons lazily cycling through olive groves, the quiet routes and the friendly people of Southern Italy. When we arrived at Bari airport with the wrong passports with 50 minutes before the gate closed, Southern Vision contacted Salamina, and then the young Boss Phillipo (apologies for spelling) broke the land speed record, and every level of service and commitment to get our passports to us! while the Southern Vision team worked on a backup plan the accommodate us and rearrange flights - All in under 45 minutes! We made our flight, sweating, tired, but very happy that we had chosen Headwater for a great fun way to celebrate.

Mrs Conway
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
16/09/2014

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!

Mrs Capper
Classic Chianti Cycling
16/09/2014

Excellent holiday, very well organised. Will definitely take another holiday with headwater

A special thank you to the reps Kate and Jim Illingworth who went far over and above there duty to make our holiday outstanding

A special thank you to headwater for the 2 bottles of wine we received for our 30th wedding anniversary



Thank you all

Mrs Wall
Classic Chianti Cycling
12/09/2014

Excellent! Not a cheap holiday, but worth every penny. Good hotels, excellent food. Bikes were good. Friendly helpful service from the reps who went out of their way to meet the needs of individual guests.

Mr O'Driscoll
Cycling the Wine Trails of Umbria
03/09/2014

A great holiday for cycling enthusiasts who like good food and wine, a few historical and cultural sites to visit, and time to relax after getting off your bike.

Ms Sobczyk
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
28/08/2014

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 .....

Mr Stead
Classic Chianti Cycling
27/08/2014

This was our first holiday with Headwater and we thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. The cycling was challenging and we would advised others choosing this holiday to be prepared for the 'undulations' also known as long, steep hills! However, saying that if you are of a competitive nature they only added to the enjoyment when you reach the top. On the whole the accommodation was fantastic especially the Relais della Rovere where nothing was too much trouble and Le Renaie whose family atmosphere was lovely. We're now looking forward to choosing from next year's brochure - roll on next summer!

Mrs Gapper
Medieval Umbrian Cycling
27/08/2014

The cycling was good with varied scenery and interesting villages and towns. The route notes sometimes need careful interpretation using the area maps and a degree of common sense. however it is easy to go wrong which we did on a couple of occasions.One of the hotels, unfortunately the one we had opted to stay four nights, we thought was sub standard in terms of service and quality and choice of food. Generally the hotels were well located, clean and comfortable. We had a little trouble with two of our four bikes which either required urgent attention by the rep or we managed to borrow a tool from a garage. On previous holidays our Headwater bikes have been trouble free.

Mr Raven
Heart of Veneto Cycling
19/08/2014

Wonderful - just what we were after

We enjoyed another quality holiday with Headwater. This area of Italy is very pretty, ideal for gentle cycling and sightseeing. All of the hotels provided excellent food, wine and accomodation.

Mrs Alexander
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
13/08/2014

our third Headwater holiday. Set dinners in the hotels often poor and we are really fed up with this. It is not a cheap holiday but we seem to get the dregs of the food. Our best meals were out in independent restaurants. On the first night when Pallatzo Indelli couldn't feed us they sent us out for a wonderful simple fresh supper at a restaurant. Dinner with them the second night was DISGUSTING. We felt like the poor relations.

Headwater response:
Dear Mrs Alexander, Thank you for your constructive feedback, We were sorry to see that you were disappointed with the standard of meals served at some of the restaurants on this holiday . We have discussed your comments with our local suppliers and from this some new menus have been put into place with more choices available. Whilst the overall feedback for this holiday is positive, we realise we cannot afford to let our standard slip and thank you for bringing these points to our attention. We hope that by making these small changes our customers will continue to enjoy this lovely area of Italy.
Yours sincerely,
Headwater Customer Service team

Mrs Wilson
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
11/08/2014

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!

We had a wonderful holiday (our second with Headwater) and consistently hot weather in July; although it was too hot really and quite debilitating at the end of each travel day when having to cycle up hill to reach the next hotel. Each hotel was of a high standard with a pleasant welcome and the food was amazing. We look forward to trying another Headwater cycling holiday but will take more consideration of the cycle rating and likely weather conditions next time.

Mrs Holman
Secrets of San Gimignano Cycling
05/08/2014

Excellent service from Kate and Jim starting with a postcard before hand saying that they were looking forward to meeting us. Excellent combination of sight seeing and cycling

Mr Ayech
Heart of Veneto Cycling
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

Cycling was fabulous along mainly quiet beatiful roads with some climbs which were all rewarding and enhanced the riding. Hotels were great, all small family run and so friendly. Food and wine was fantastic. Our 2 teenage girls (ages 16 and 15) hardly complained at all for the duration! Great family holiday!

You really get to know a country on a bike - the real people, the flora and fauna, food and customs. Eat like a king and not feel guilty!

You have to accept some discomfort - mosquitos, missing/faulty air conditioning, rain showers, bikes with no suspension at all, miss the odd lunch, but it's got to be better than plonked next to a pool reading a book, and cramming another meal in.

Not sure you'd want to publish these comments though!

Seriously, we enjoyed our holiday, and look forward to our next one - maybe Denmark?

Mrs Charnley
Heart of Veneto Cycling
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.

Mrs Scheer
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
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.

Overall a superb holiday, occasional cyclist managed route, good accommodation, good route and other notes. Good access to other locations for tourist visiting.

Excellent local rep.

Ms White
Heart of Veneto Cycling
08/07/2014

The perfect holiday for the more active.

Dr Lyttelton
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
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.

Mr Edwards
Heart of Veneto Cycling
27/06/2014

A very well organised holiday with excellent travel arrangements and a warm welcome from rep and hosts.

This was our third holiday with Headwater and as always everything was great, the guides, accommodation, trip routes, bikes, excellent and memorable holiday

Mrs Pickles
Classic Chianti Cycling
25/06/2014

Tuscany is wonderful. Beautiful countryside and enchanting hilltop towns. However the cycling routes are long and steep, and hard work in the very high temperatures we experienced. It's a glorious holiday if you're fit!

Mr Valdes
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
24/06/2014

The holiday was very enjoyable and the suggested places to visit/eat and short town guides were very helpful. The food in this part of Italy was amazing and there was a lovely mix of Coast and hills.

Mrs Gregson
Cycling the Wine Trails of Umbria
19/06/2014

The holiday was a fantastic way to enjoy this beautiful area. An Italian feast!

Mr Payne
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
17/06/2014

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

Mis Wilson
Secrets of San Gimignano Cycling
17/06/2014

A solitary bat swinging from the arched roof of an underground Marmini Etruscan tomb. Lizards posing on sun bleached steps or rustling through the undergrowth as you cycle past. The call of frogs, the flash of jays. An abundance of flowers, butterflies, insects and birds and stunning panoramic views. Loads of local colour and culture. Pasta, gnocchi, pecorino cheese with a honey and pine nut dip, ricotta cheesecake, pizza al taglio, gelato. Buongiornos and waves from Italian cyclists. Enjoy those downhill whizzes because there are also some climbs - but you will survive to tell the tale!

Mr Holway
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
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.

This was our 13th consecutive year of cycling holidays with Headwater and was one of the best. This was partly because the weather was so good but mainly because the Veneto is such a lovely area for cycling and hoidaying. The food at all hotels was excellent and the local wines are not only excellent but cheap.

Mr Griffiths
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
03/06/2014

Good fun helped by good weather, hotels, food and wine.

Our stay in Monopoli was wonderful and the hotel was ideal - got a little lost on our way back on the first cycle ride as we mis-counted some of the 'Y' turns. Enjoyed the cycle rides along the side roads - pretty wild flowers in May.

Mrs McKay
Heart of Veneto Cycling
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.

Mrs Bird
Classic Chianti Cycling
01/06/2014

Katie and Jim looked after all our needs and we are grateful to them for making our holiday work. We found the cycling very tough, but were able to switch to the walking holiday with their help. We probably over estimated our ability but the grading of the holiday was a little misleading to us. Some of the other guests agreed that they had found it tougher than they had expected. Overall, the holiday was enjoyable and we would use Headwater Holidays again.

There was 5 in our family party. 2 x over 65 1 x over 40 & 2 x 36 to 39

All enjoyed the trip very much. However I have sent an e mail to Lisa regarding the representative.

The hotels , staff & food were excellent & we were made most welcome.

Mr Ray-Johnson
Cycling the Wine Trails of Umbria
30/05/2014

Stimulating and sufficiently challenging to arrive home with a sense of achievement as well as enjoying the local culture, history and scenery. Whilst we are still fit, we will consider taking another Headwater Cycling trip again.

Mr Previte
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
14/05/2014

Because of our ages (I am 80, my wife is 78) we decided not to do the Puglia trip on bikes but by car. This worked very well. The only problem was the very narrow streets and difficulty in finding the way in Monopoli. Doing it by car meant we had more time to explore the places where we stayed and time to drive to Lecce. We thought that Masseria Salamina would be a very good base for anyone wishing to explore Puglia by car. It is a lovely hotel, easy to find and in a good location for visiting other interesting places in that area. The sea food restaurants on the coast are excellent, especially one at La Forcatella. The remains of the Roman town and port at Egnazia and the museum are very intersting.

Mr Woolstone
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
23/04/2014

A wonderfully authentic Puglian expeience -great locations, countryside, food, wine & cycling

Mr Dear
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
18/04/2014

We decided to book our own direct flights with BA instead of using the advertised Alitalia via Milan flights. The timings don't differ significantly and Headwater were happy to arrange non standard transfers at no extra cost. The standard of accommodation throughout the trip was of a high standard. We really enjoyed the stay in the Trulli house and were pleasantly surprised to be given a Trulli suite with a small patio garden! The highlight however was our stay in the Masseria Salamina. On booking we upgraded to a garden suite but on arrival we were delighted to be allocated the luxury suite complete with private balcony and sea views. We were made to feel really welcome by the family and the food was excellent. Simple, fresh and plentiful with much of it coming from their own farm.

The map of the area is only good for an overview but the route notes and briefing were excellent and at no point did we stray off route. Some of the roads (as has been mentioned before) are in a poor condition but this did not detract from the enjoyment of the cycling.

Another enjoyable, well organised and well supported holiday from Headwater. The next one is already booked!

We cycled every day and enjoyed being in the area; our trip had some changeable weather, including warm sun, heavy rain and strong winds. If you had another cycle route in the area, we'd certainly like to consider returning!

An excellent holiday with the usual high standards of food, accommodation and planning.

Mr Whittaker
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
03/11/2013

This area of Italy proved to be lovely for cycling. Most of the routes were along very quiet lanes lined with dry stone walls, along side olive groves and vineyards. Staying in a Trulli in Alberrobello was a delightful experience, so much so that we wish we had been able to book an extra night: we didn't cycle on the middle day as we wanted to look round the town.

Mr Wright
Medieval Umbrian Cycling
22/10/2013

Javier is an excellent rep. September is a great month for this sort of holiday - warm but mostly manageable temperatures for cycling. There is a great variety of places to visit and some delightful landscapes. From Il Poggio we had an excellent ride up to Gualdo Cattaneo but it's a bit of a slog - the view from the tower is good. From Relais de Ripa it's worth visiting Perugia on the 'day off' by bus after an early breakfast - don't even think of cycling there unless you are super fit. We also enjoyed visiting Montefalco and the olive and wine museums at Torgiano. We loved the variety of hotels and the meals and warm welcomes from the staff. Headwater have helped us to fall in love with Italy.

Mr Robertson
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
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.

Mrs Marshall
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
14/10/2013

Your local agent organised a great tour through Puglia, linking key sights of interest via lovely quiet back roads where we observed rural life.

A cycling holiday is an adventure. We started in summer weather and ended in cold and rain which did somewhat marr this experience. This was our 6th cycling holiday, and we felt that the route was somewhat artificial. [Our favourite was the Danube, Passau to Vienna, which was a real journey.]

The holiday itinerary was well-planned and took us through a delightful and unfamiliar part of northern Italy. The cycling was leisurely but varied, with opportunities to visit a range of very interesting and attractive places and sights. Sarah's advice and suggestions were excellent, and she dealt promptly with a problem with one of the bikes. Accommodation was very good: we particularly enjoyed our stays at Belvedere Resort ai Colle and at Agriturismo l'Albara (where dining alongside the family made for a great atmosphere). Everyone we met was friendly and helpful, the weather was excellent at this time of year, and the local wine a revelation (unfortunately we were only able to bring back 2 bottles from Gabriella at Agriturismo Il Feudo)!

Mr Morgan
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
09/10/2013

Great combination of exercise, exploration and recreation.

Mrs Duncan
Classic Chianti Cycling
09/10/2013

good mix of cycling and rest days. Profile maps giving an indication of the heights gained and lost would be of interest. We cycled an extra day whilst at H della Rovere, and some information about possible routes might have been useful. In fairness, we hadn't told the reps we intended to do this as it was a last moment decision. Hotel Rovere room 404 was noisy as it was opposite reception and trundling suitcases early and late were noisily intrusive. Don't book this room or ask the hotel to lay down a rubberised pathway... The room was also quite dark.

Reps were excellent and helpful setting up and checking the bikes.. Rattly rear mudguards over the via bianchi and uneven road surfaces needed a bit of first aid. A bike bottle holder on the bike frame would have been nice

Mrs Gentle
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
04/10/2013

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

Mrs Kinmonth
Cycling the Wine Trails of Umbria
04/10/2013

Harder cycling than expected, mainly due to wind.

Dr Murphy
Medieval Umbrian Cycling
04/10/2013

A lovely way to be relatively guilt free enjoying great food and fine wine, and working off the calories by day! Most cycling is relatively flat, but all the fantastic views come at a price - either a short steep climb or a long slow climb!

Mr Emms
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
02/10/2013

nice hotels, gentle cycling and wonderful surroundings....all makes for an enjoyable and relaxing break

Mr Collins
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
01/10/2013

On the whole all the hotels exceeded our expectations as did the bikes, which were very good, though I would recommend extra padded cycling shorts.



If you arent going to have lunch at a restaurant en route, buy your provisions early, because everything closes for lunch, we never did work out the closing times, as we always seemed to be on the road. Many of the roads are awful, so those padded shorts will serve you doubly!



The dinners are plentiful and wonderful food. The routes are delightful, mainly on small roads with little traffic. There was only one day which proved to be rather taxing with a lot of ups and downs from Alberobello to Martina Franca. Luggage transportation went without any hiccups and all in all it was a really enjoyable destination to catch the last of the summer warmth.

Mr Fletcher
Secrets of San Gimignano Cycling
29/09/2013

A very good holiday. All the hotels were good and the local reps were fantastic.

Ms McLellan
Secrets of San Gimignano Cycling
28/09/2013

Helpful reps and decent kit with good route notes but accommodation and food variable; slightly disappointing overall. 50 euro 'cash back' for dinner in San G when hotel restaurant closed was a bit tight based on what the hotel charged for a 3 course meal (but did mean that we had a good night out in San G and the best meal of the holiday by far!). Cycling tough at times, more road work than expected and would have struggled if it had been in the height of the summer heat but rewarding and some memorable views.

Wonderful cycling holiday with varied days and experiences. The cycling could be easy or more challenging according to the options. The scenery and architecture was amazing, but very few tourists (except Venice)

Mr Brown
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
25/09/2013

have spoken to joanne prior to your e mail but conform we thought the holiday was excellent in every respect. bikes were brilliant hotels and food better than expected. the area was fascinating and very unspoilt and great cycling routes.We were dismayed to hear of Ali accident just after our our meeting and hope she recovers quickly and fully because she was really great and helpful and knowledgeable and sensible. One set of directions per cyclist would have been better and advance warning of city taxes in two of the hotels might be wise. Otherwise a really great holiday.

Mrs Dickinson
Medieval Umbrian Cycling
22/09/2013

Some demanding hills but mostly flat cycling. Hotels very varied but all had wonderful views and good food.

Mrs McLynn
Cycling the Wine Trails of Umbria
20/09/2013

Javier, the rep, was excellent! He had so much local knowledge, he knew and updated the routes, and he gave much useful advice on safe cycling and

cycle maintenance. He also made it clear that if we had any problem he was only a phone call away! Well done!

Mrs O'Hanlon
Heart of Veneto Cycling
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.

Mr Birtwhistle
Heart of Veneto Cycling
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.

Overall, very enjoyable with delicious local food and beautiful scenery. The thrilling downhill sections made up for the uphill challenges. Volterra is a gem and a wonderful place to celebrate your cycling achievements on the final night.

A great way to explore Umbria, including the interesting towns of Spello, Spoletto, Motefalco, Bevagna and Assisi. The cycling is challenging enough and the well chosen hotels provide welcome refuge and refreshment at the end of the day. On the stay-put days it's good to have the opportunity to sight-see or relax, depending on your mood. We enjoyed the regional food and wine and our dinner at the Trattoria di Oscar in Bavagna was a particular highlight.

Mrs Huddart
Medieval Umbrian Cycling
18/09/2013

Headwater provided some lovely, quiet, cycling routes in what is perhaps not the most sparsely populated area of Italy. Montefalco, Bevagna and Assisi were the highlights. Definitely the easiest cycling we have done with Headwater. Knowledgeable rep. The food in all the hotels is excellent (I think more of me came back than arrived!). Hotel at Ripa is the best (but not much to do around it), rooms at Il Poggio are not of the same standard as appear on their website (raised separately with Headwater), views from this hotel are marvellous.

We did feel that the 8 day version of this holiday might have been better as the 4 night break at Spoleto was a little too soon in the holiday (directly after Spello), but this is personal preference.

Altogether an enjoyable holiday with some excellent food.

Mr Lane-Ryan
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
17/09/2013

Negatives first: Somewhat expensive for the type of holiday which will cause us to carefully evaluate 'rival' companies for next year. The countryside was too similar and the beaches poor unlike the Alsace tour we went on previously which was pleasantly varied with overall better hotels. The trulli experience was not to be recommended, no working air conditioning, light bulbs missing etc... On pointing this out told the air conditioning had been switched off as weather getting cooler ! In fact it could be switched on but did not work. Our friend next door discovered the air conditioning in his house had no plug. The plumber was to be told about the problem and we had a fan so clearly problem was longer standing.

Positives: the hotels were all good and staff helpful in most, the organisation of the tour by Southern Visions was excellent and the Salamina was to be particularly recommended. Weather perfect.

Overall we were happy with holiday but will be more careful over selecting the area we go to next year to ensure variety/interest. That is not the fault of Headwater!

Mr Whitton
Classic Chianti Cycling
16/09/2013

Very well organised. Excellent reps on site. Excellent choice of hotels

Mrs Mowll
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
14/09/2013

Headwater were friendly, efficient and the holiday was well organised throughout with comprehensive directions. Rest days offered the opportunity to put the bikes on the train for part of the tours, or just cycle part of the routes and the hotels were well placed for this and other sightseeing. All in all, a very good holiday was had by all!

Mrs Melhuish
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
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.

Really lovely holiday. We loved Il feudo especially, but variety in the hotels was a positive feature. Would avoid temperatures in high 30s next time by going earlier. Sarah was helpful and knowledgeable. Ideal for family with children, including chance to visit Venice and Vicenza.

Mrs Ferguson
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
09/09/2013

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

Mr Groom
Classic Chianti Cycling
09/09/2013

Very well organised allowing us the opportunity to have many splendid days to enjoy both countryside and town alike. Accommodation, with one notable exception, excellent. Scenery, sights and sounds will all remain locked in the memory for a long time to come - would happily recommend the holiday

Mrs Hunt
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
02/09/2013

Just what we wanted!

Mrs Campbell
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
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.

Mr Smyth
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
15/08/2013

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

We really enjoyed our cycling holiday. The route instructions were excellent and easy to follow. The Rep Javier was great, welcoming friendly and extremely helpful. He knew all the routes really well and checked them daily with some revisions where roads were closed or signs changed.At the start of the holiday he would turn up on a route ,unexpectedly, to check if we were alright so this was very reassuring when we were getting into the swing of things. The routes were on quiet roads or cycle paths and we felt we saw the real Italy with picturesque medieval towns and villages. We liked all the hotels, each with a different character and with lovely local food. The towns were full of Italian culture and we enjoyed exploring the narrow streets and tasting local food and wine. Well done Headwater, we can't wait for our next holiday.

Our Tuscany Holiday (Secrets of San Gimignano) was totally brilliant and was enjoyed by the whole family ( 6 of us) - age range 24 to fit 70!.Our reps made life very easy for us and were incredibly helpful. The hotels were varied and all really lovely and well chosen by Headwater. The food was excellent - and being Italy, there were plenty of options for my vegetarian daughter ( no meat or fish). There was plenty to do on our non-cycling days which is always important.

Mr Kersley
Heart of Veneto Cycling
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.

Mr Hails
Heart of Veneto Cycling
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 !!

Mrs Kimber
Classic Chianti Cycling
25/07/2013

Fabulous way to see Tuscany. Excellent service from the reps and they were reliable with delivrng luggage and had super local knowledge. All the hotels were friendly and had lovely pools which we needed when we arrived. A great holiday that I would thoroughly recommend.

Sarah was fantastic- all credit to her. Funny, kind, thoughtful and a wealth of knowledge!

Mr McLaren
Heart of Veneto Cycling
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!

Mr Alexander
Secrets of San Gimignano Cycling
09/07/2013

Beautiful countryside, gorgeous hilltop towns, good accommodation, superb reps; cuisine (in and out of hotels) generally somewhat disappointing - ordinary and predictable (except Relais della Rovere) - this is more a comment on the region than on the Headwater aspects.

Mr Ogden
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
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.

Mr Hart
Classic Chianti Cycling
20/06/2013

generally excellent holiday. I think however, we over estimated our capabilities on the bike ride in tuscany. But enjoyed it nevertheless, esp. the scenery. We would certainly book with headwater again but be more careful on the bike ride we choose in future

Mrs Shiel
Heart of Veneto Cycling
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.

Mrs Stonehouse
Classic Chianti Cycling
18/06/2013

we loved cycling in Chianti country - the climbs up to the hilltop towns were always rewarded with fantastic pistacchio gelati!

Mrs Sansbury
Medieval Umbrian Cycling
18/06/2013

Very enjoyable, beautiful region, mostly gentle cycling which I loved, historically very interesting.

The only problem was the bike. Though very sturdy, it is the second time with Headwater that I could not fully elevate the handlebar because the brake cables were TOO SHORT. As I am 6' foot tall with long legs the saddle was on the same height as the handlebar which pitched me forward and caused certain anatomical areas to be in discomfort!

This happened on my last holiday with Headwater and although I asked them to prepare a bike with a REALLY adjustable handlebar I still had the SAME problem. Please assemble bikes with LONGER brake cables!!!!!!!!!!

Otherwise what is the purpose of having an adjustable handlebar which CANNOT be raised to requirement!

Mr Hinds
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
16/06/2013

SShhsh! Don't tell anyone about Puglia ! After many years of travel in Italy , We have a new favorite region ! Wonderful food and wine,peaceful rural and coastal lanes, and each town is more beautiful than the last ! A real treat of a holiday - and few tourists ! Let's keep it like that !!!

Mrs Maffre
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
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!

Dr Foley
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
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.

Mrs Gillison
Secrets of San Gimignano Cycling
02/06/2013

A well organised holiday with very helpful reps onsite. We haven't needed them in past holidays but had saddle trouble this time which was fixed in a trice (with a lift up one of the VERY steep hills as well!). Although we discussed this holiday on the phone before booking we didn't get a clear picture of difficulty from the brochure, so be very clear about how good a cyclist your are!!!

Mis Furber
Heart of Veneto Cycling
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!

Mr Isles
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
27/05/2013

This was our eighth Headwater holiday over 20 years and they have all been very enjoyable. Yet again, Headwater and their agents were very efficient throughout. We were particularly impressed by the Masseria Salamina which exceeded our expectations and was a perfect place to finish our holiday.



Wonderful opportunity to see some of the lovely Veneto plain, whilst getting exercise, and building up appetite for the evening meals. We have used Headwater twice now and would not consider using another cycling tour company as the variable start dates, knowledgeable and helpful reps, and welcoming hosts make the entire experience enjoyable.

Mr Hollander
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
07/05/2013

Puglia tourist people very welcoming and can be very helpful but be careful of gross overcharging.



Look at your bills and dispute perceived unfairness on the spot.

Dr Johns
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
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.



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