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.
My mum and I (60 and 28 years old) just completed the Cycling the Real Algarve five day tour (three days cycling). The Headwater reps on the ground in Sagres were fantastic, knowledgable and helpful. The GPS app was easy to use and the routes each day were variable and always beautiful in their own way. We especially enjoyed the excellent food at each hotel and the uniqueness of Pedralva village. We were so glad to see the quieter parts of Portugal and always felt safe and welcomed.
Lovely way to visit the real Portugal and experience the incredible friendliness of the local people.
Stunning beaches, great hotels, generous, helpful people, the unseen Portugal
Excellent service from Headwater throughout, representatives Tony and Ludmilla most helpful and ensure that everything is organised and correct for a great experience and a holiday with no worries. Ideal hotels, lovely countryside and coast with options for routes to suit the individual, and with the GPS app you can't go wrong. Highly recommend.
Wonderful area to cycle in - varied terrain and scenery. Made harder by winds but did anticipate this. Very relaxing few days. Was great to know we had support from Tony and Ludmilla if needed. A lovely way to discover this area of Portugal
The holidays and accommodation are very good
Great hotels. Very good food,easy cycling and we had magnificent weather. Met very friendly locals.
A well-organised holiday with generally good 4-star accommodation (one specific difficulty was dealt with promptly and efficiently) . The grading system was very accurate for first-time cyclists. Equipment provided, the local support and the initial briefing were also excellent.
This was our first Headwater cycling holiday and it was excellent in every way: choice of routes, route guidance (especially Ride with GPS), type and quality of bikes, location and quality of hotels, and transfers to/from the airport and luggage between hotels. Special mention of the local reps, Tony and Ludmilla, who were always friendly, helpful and efficient, with the right amount of advice at the right time. We are both over 70 but had no difficulty with this grade 2 holiday in the 'real' Algarve. We were lucky with the weather in mid October: 20C and sunny during the day but heavy rain at night. Waterproofs essential at that time of year. All in all, a memorable holiday.
We had a very good time and were very happy with the planning, accommodation, itinerary etc.
Following the maps provided for the days trips was hard as there was insufficient information on them. The places signposted on the route did not appear marked on the maps. That is the only grumble we have otherwise it was very well studied and planned. Good.
Very enjoyable , good accommodation except for the hotel Porto Christal. This was a last minute change to the original tour. The location was not ideal and the food was terrible. There were a few hiccups starting with the meet and greet at the airport, which did not happen until we made several phone calls to the emergency contact but all problems were dealt with very courteously and all members of staff were extremely caring and helpful.
The Porto cycling trip was a brilliant holiday for the 4 of us - easy cycling through interesting countryside alongside the coast, great food and good accommodation. We were really lucky with the weather - blue skies all the way although the evenings were a little chilly and it was pretty windy at Costa Nova. As a bonus we saw flamingos and storks along the way! The only disappointment was building work going on next door to our last hotel which made sitting on the balcony a less than relaxing experience. But Headwater responded promptly to our concerns and we were treated to a couple of free bottles of wine to help make up for it, which was appreciated.
A great (mainly flat) ride with wonderful cycling past the Atlantic Ocean and, as always, interesting hotels and meals.
A very good holiday ,well organised and covering an interesting area of Portugal. Bikes were very good and we appreciated the port wine tour and the wine tasting sessions that had been arranged.
Headwater offer a quality experience, using excellent hotels, good bikes and gauge the difficulty of the cycling very well...well done Headwater!
lovely trip cycling mainly on flat coastal cycle paths visiting interesting places on the way Porto, Aveiro and Coimbra, a real relatively undiscovered part of Portugal overall a great holiday would highly recomend
A good description of a one wheel cycle holiday for those not normally cycling. Lovely hotels. There could have been more 'human' contact from a rep. We received one phone call asking if we were ok but saw no-one from the Introduction until pick up time at the end. Had a good time though.
Wonderfully tranquil cycling by the lagoons, and through forests. A great holiday from start to finish - very relaxing!
Slightly tarnished by the poor weather (which obviously you have absolutely no control over!) but felt we couldn't fully appreciate the scenery/picnic opportunities etc
Very enjoyable holiday
We loved cycling this part of Portugal. At this time of year wild flowers were everywhere, enhancing our coastal and country rides The 2 headwater reps were really helpful and considerate in ensuring that we 2 technophobe senior citizens were able to fully enjoy the benefits of the Ride with GPS system. ( We had been provided with paper route guidance as back up but thanks to the reps this was not really needed) The rides were slightly challenging for us but we loved the coastal views and villages as well as the countryside - staying in the reclaimed village at Pedralva was a great experience, including the local bread stew We have enjoyed several Headwater cycling holidays in the past and we feel the standard has just continued to improve.
This is an interesting journey with some urban routes in Porto and fairly flat and varied tracks along the coast. The pace is relaxed with well spaced optional rest days. The local reps. were very efficient and helpful if you have any problems. We would strongly recommend adding an extra night at Coimbra, which is a most interesting city, and a visit to the old University there. The Sat Nav was very useful.
Excellent holiday. Easy cycling. Lovely scenery.Garmin makes a huge difference and avoids regular stops to review maps. Very good standard of hotels. Food in general excellent especially Restaurant in furadura. Furadoura and Praia de Miras bit busy and touristy but can easily escape on bikes. Aveiro is atmospheric with lots of good restaurants and cafes. All in all, great holiday
Exploring a region by bike is a great way to get to know a small part of a country better. We enjoy the exercise too!
Our rep was exceptional in knowledge, enthusiasm and helpfulness. Also, we found Ride with GPS a great innovation. We loved our mini-break, which included both peaceful and challenging pedalling, interesting sights, sea and pool swims, lovely meals and as a bonus, we made new friends from amongst fellow cyclists. Thanks Headwater!
Fabulous cycling amongst Spring meadows. Fabulous flowers, rugged coastline and interesting villages.
perfect cycling holiday for newcomers/occasional cyclists
All agency staff were terrific giving good tips for eating out and places to visit. The trips were well organised and the bikes were fine. Everything promised was delivered. It was nice to meet other people on the same trip and a good balance between your privacy and some interaction.
This was our third self guided cycling holiday with Headwater and the easiest to navigate using GPS. The bikes have 24 gears and are very well maintained with good support if required from local agents. The hotels are all fabulous with amazing food, we lost count of the number of Portuguese custard tarts we ate! The itinerary was well designed with a great start in Porto (Port tasting arranged) and a break mid week if desired in very scenic Aveiro. The cycle paths are amazing, very well maintained and mostly far away from roads and the route around the numerous lagoons and pine forests were uplifting. We would definitely recommend this trip, the cycling is easy giving time to admire the surrounding scenery with the Atlantic Ocean waves in the background.
Great holiday - excellent cycling on cycle tracks along the coast and inland around lagoons teeming with birdlife. The hotels were all of a very high standard and a great choice of local restaurants when we weren't eating in the hotel. A full briefing by the agency rep before we set off and maps, directions and Garmin all provided, including suggestions for coffee stops and lunches. the best cycling holiday we've ever been on.
An excellent introduction to a cycling holiday abroad. Everything was made simple and the bikes provided were superb. Easy to follow notes and fantastic accommodation at the end of each day. Would definitely recommend to others.
Our 4th holiday with headwater and in 4th country . Cycle routes provide interest and choice of accommodation always is excellent as generally is the food - both in the half board hotels and the reps local recommendations . Reps are always friendly , knowledgable and helpful . Would recommend Ride with GPS . Tony was excellent in his pre holiday briefing keeping it brief simple but informative ( re bike,GPS , Route etc )
Fabulous locations, cycling mainly flat through breathtaking scenery, varied and unspoilt landscapes.
An excellent way for parents to holiday with teenagers: the right balance of activity, being together and opportunities for a feeling of solitude.
This was an excellent holiday, easy cycling and great hotels. Local rep were very good.
The routes were excellent; a mix of terrain and stunning scenery. We enjoyed the off-road sections particularly the optional coast and river valley route on our free day at Pedralva. We went in January and whilst the roads were very quiet it did mean that many cafes and restaurants were closed and the hotels were quiet. The weather is changeable at this time of year. We had one day of wind and steady rain but we went prepared for variable weather so this didn't spoil an enjoyable day cycling. We would like to do this route again in the Spring when the flora is in bloom and the birds are migrating.
Portugal is an amazing country for cycling, lots of dedicated cycle paths, incredibly friendly people, quiet roads, beautiful scenery. The Porto to Coimbra trip had varied cycling, most of it very easy on flat surfaces. It was a nice mix of coastal cycling and countryside cycling, and every day was different. A couple of days the cycling was on roads, but these roads were never too busy, and in general the motorists were polite and aware of cyclists.
We found Nuno, the local operator from A to Z bike tours especially helpful, but we've also had a good experience with Headwater in Italy. The riding was mostly very flat and easy, but we hit a heatwave at the end, so maybe that was just as well. Porto is fantastic and Aveiro is nice, but the rest day in Praia de Mira isn't needed and it's not a very beautiful or interesting place. Neither is Furadouro. In fact we enjoyed riding through villages and nature reserves much more than along the coast, which is quite developed. We loved the hotel in Curia most of all, because the building is so unbelievably beautiful, it's like stepping back in time. Coimbra is also interesting and worth spending an extra night. We dealt with the heat by starting early and arriving at our destination for lunch.
very enjoyable. standard of hotels excellent. scenery beautiful. We learned a lot about undiscovered parts of Portugal.
We really enjoyed the trip and were completely satisfied.
Thoroughly enjoyed our trip.Especially the wildlife and scenery along the way.We also appreciated the food-the lovely fresh fish.We always felt welcomed by the hoteliers and local people.
We were very pleased to meet up with fellow Headwater travellers too.
A lovely part of Portugal to visit and a great holiday.
from the time we landed we were looked after until we got back to the airport.all went very well.welldone headwater
An excellent cycling holiday which brings you the delights of the western Algarve coast and hills behind Lagos. Fantastic scenery, super hotels with the delights of local food. The sardines in Salema were wonderful. Pedralva is a real find. All well delivered by the Headwater team.
This was our first cycling holiday and we will certainly travel with Headwater again. The GPS and route notes worked well together.
We thoroughly enjoyed our Porto Coastal cycling holiday and thought the organisation and planning was excellent throughout. The hotel accommodation was very good and the varied itinerary enabled us to explore both the interesting towns and delightful countryside of the region.
Fantastic holiday, great service from Headwater at home and at destination.
Hotels were all superb
Cycling was good although couple of the routes were bumpy and hard going (saddle wise!)
The wine tasting was a highlight!
The bikes were very robust and trustworthy.
A small group of us have been taking a cycling holiday together for 15 years, This was by far and away the best, the food, the hotels, the people, the cycling and the scenery combined it to make it a wonderful experience. We will be recommending to our friends.
weather--service--hotels--people--could not ask for any better..this last ride we had gps on the bikes.but sometimes lost signal
'Wonderful holiday! Delightful (and very) varied accommodation, excellent food and terrific sights and smells in some wonderful countryside. But this can be a physically demanding cycle tour, so do ensure you are prepared to cycle - or push - your bike up some stiff hills.
Thanks to all at Headwater and, in particular, to Ludmilla.'
Quite simply the best holiday we have had in several years. Great food, great scenery, helpful staff, activity and brilliant weather. Just what we needed. Thank you
The toughest Headwater cycling holiday I have been on, due to the preponderance of off road some of which was quite rough and steep, plus the fact that for two and a half days of the three days cycling there was a strong cold headwind, therefore I think the grading should be changed.
I was fortunate to have absolutely perfect weather and low wind levels for my cycling trip to southern portugal.. a very enjoyable experience and would definitely do a repeat.
The website does not make it clear that a lot of the cycling is in built up areas ,which was disappointing and unlike our many previous Headwater holidays.Although all the hotels ,apart from the one in Curia ,were outstanding, I would not recommend this area for cycling.
Very positive experience.
Interesting series of landscapes/urbanscapes travelled.
Excellent birdwatching along the way.
Very good hotels selected.
Our 9 days on the Porto to Coimbra cycling holiday was overall a very enjoyable experience. For those who are not regular cyclists, the first 4 or 5 days, the cycling is along very quiet cycle tracks and mainly flat. The weather was not especially favourable for the first half of our stay, but good cycling temperature. On the other hand, it only rained on the day off and not for long, or at night. We were near the Atlantic coast most of the time, so we didnt get to see the beaches bathed in warmth and sunshine. We cycled along a lot of lagoons and saw flamingos which was exciting and one of the other couples doing the same holiday, was an avid birder and apparently crossed off most of the birds on his list.
Porto is a charming town and the first restaurant that Headwater booked us in for our first evening meal was terrific. Furodouro, the 2nd night's accommodation, hasnt that much to offer, apart from a nice beach and a most welcoming Manager and a lovely indoor pool. The accommodation itself is very
light and spacious.
Aveiro is also a pleasant town, a miniature Venice. The reception recommended a fantastic fish restaurant on the opposite side of the canal, called Mare Cheia, very regional. Excellent hotel, and next door to the Art Nouveau Museum, which is a bit quirky.
The Macarico Hotel in Praia de Mira has a lovely pool on the rooftop. The restaurant, for which you are given Vouchers is good, once you know how and what to order. Not many of the waiters speak English.
The Curia Palace Hotel is extremely grand though not quite as luxurious in its features as we have become accustomed. However there is a huge pool and on the other side of the pool wall, a field with fairly tame fallow deer. The hotel dates back to 1926 and is very much a heritage hotel, with swing music playing in the background at breakfast which is held in a vast ballroom or banqueting hall.
The last hotel in Coimbra is very modern, and you virtually have your own personalised lift. We encountered the only mosquito of the whole trip there! Lovely pool, and it is about a 20 minute walk to the train station, and probably less up to the main part of Coimbra.
The weather and the scenery improved vastly once we headed away from Mira. There are some quite steep hills on the last leg to Coimbra, but we saw electricity pylons layered with nesting White Storks.
Good .Poor room in the hotel Carrie Porto small room small window looking across a narrow ally straight into a derelict building.This room should not be let in this state.
Dear Mr Mathias,
Thank you for taking the time to complete your post-holiday questionnaire. We were pleased to see you had a good holiday, although, we were sorry to read of your disappointment with the standard of room you were allocated at Carris Porto Ribeira. Since receiving your feedback, we have asked the hotelier to ensure they do not allocate this room to future Headwater customers. Whilst we realise this does not affect your holiday, we do hope it goes some way to show we take our customers feedback seriously. We would like to thank you for your continued loyalty and look forward to welcoming you on another of our holidays in the future.
Headwater Customer Service team
Lovely holiday - the northern Portuguese seemed very friendly and welcoming of tourists.
The cycle tracks in Portugal were good and holiday would suit people new to cycling holidays
Excellent hotels, and food .
Extremely well organised .
Reps very helpful.
Cycling tough !
Cycling is a great way to experience a country
quite challenging cycling on day one for the over70s - entirely our choice made enjoyable by rescue and advice from Tony and Ludmilla - absolute gems throughout - electric bikes would be a good option on this holiday - easy enough to avoid the offroad stuff if that is a worry with them - overall an excellent holiday with spectacular beaches and coastal views
Everything was well thought though, GPS, local mobile and bike equipment. Very relaxing and enjoyable holiday
We have always found Headwater to be a most professional company in their approach and this holiday proved to be the same. However, due to both of us coming down with a nasty cold virus virtually from day one, we also found a caring and flexible company in the Local Agent who offered helpful suggestion's and bike transfers on bad days. Now in our September, years this was important and will bring us back to Headwater in the future.
Cycling was mainly along flat cycle ways and quiet roads although some of the cycle track surfaces were a little bumpy. The hotels were a very good standard, meals, whether taken within or outside the hotels, were very good, especially the fresh fish dishes. Porto was well worth seeing and an interesting city. A bus trip to Costa Nova from Aveiro is worth doing to see the pretty painted houses. The cycle along the estuary and nature reserve was very enjoyable watching out for flamingoes and other seabirds and we were lucky to be doing this at low to half tide when the wading birds and lots of local fisherman, digging for cockles and clams, can be seen. On the beach at Praia de Mira we were lucky enough to see the local fishermen hauling in their nets full of sardines. The final cycle from Praia de Mira along the water canals was a lovely cycle too.
Wonderful way to see a country on a bike, real sense of achievement when you arrive at a new destination by bike. A fair amount of exercise - not too strenuous, but much better than sitting on a sunbed all week.
We've done several similar cycling holidays in Europe and this was up there with the best.
We cycled 5 out of 7 days. Joanna met us on arrival and got us on track. The trails were very easy to manage - the GPS was a superb tool. The scenery was magnificent, and we really saw the hidden Portugal. The cycle lanes were completely segregated from the roads and this made for a relaxed and peaceful experience. Each evening we arrived at our hotel to a warm welcome and our luggage in our room. The standard of all the hotels was extremely high and they were all in beautiful locations. The printed maps and route descriptions were also helpful, and the level of difficulty ultimate ascribed to the cycle was accurate.
An unforgettable experience travelling in rural Portugal, getting to see sights other holidays don't offer, off the beaten track, just the right amount of effort for cycling. Excellent choice of hotels, although not the best views! Very good help from rep and good support offered. Nice to know the baggage was taken care of although we arrived before it at one location and it was 5.30pm before they arrived! We could cycle the route at our own pace and felt secure in the knowledge that we were being taken care of and knew where we were going with very good instructions and maps.
Very well organised holiday - excellent helpful Portuguese reps looked after us well throughout. GPS was a very successful means of not getting lost en route. Hotels all good, although 2 out of 4 gave us rooms looking at blank walls. Some time is spent riding on roads, though we used footpaths where available, and there are dedicated cycle paths for the majority of the route. Some interesting coastal scenery. Riding through the lagoon wasn't as spectacular as we'd hoped as much of the the cycle path was rocky and potholed and you had to concentrate on the path surface immediately ahead to avoid falling, rather than enjoying the scenery and wildlife. All in all though, a very enjoyable holiday.
Excellent holiday. The bikes were quite heavy but the cycling was flat and the electric bike was modern and excellent.
Thoroughly enjoyed my holiday on my first visit to Portugal. Excellent service from local reps. Great hotels. Ebikes fun. Delicious food, wine and port. Loved the routes.
Excellent cycling along the Atlantic coast, lovely hotels, interesting area to explore. The Furadouro Hotel was outstanding - welcome, food, swimming pool, rooms all superb.
A very well organised holiday giving us the chance to visit places we would not have otherwise seen.
First visit to the Algarve and first cycling holiday. Hard work for a couple of days but the rewards matched the effort. Lovely locations and hotels had top quality staff. Our two reps were lovely and incredibly helpful. We have used Headwater only a few times over 20 or so years, but every time the holiday has been special. That is why we have always looked them up when considering a trip overseas.
We enjoyed our cycling holiday but the weather was terrible which marred our experience. We also thought some of the cycling was a bit monotonous, going through residential areas, particularly at the beginning and would have preferred not to have had to get the train, although it proved invaluable in the end due to weather. The lagoon part was generally nice however towards the end, the path had completely disintegrated and the little bridge had been washed away. It certainly needed two people to carry the bikes down and across. We informed the guide at the end of the holiday. I dont think this holiday would be suitable for families in summertime as the roads get very busy and there were more roads than we had expectred. We thought the route tracking on the garmin was an excellent idea and the best part of following the route. Totally reliable. The hotels were all good though not all were properly equipped to accept bikes, namely the one in Porto and the Hotel Moliciero.
Extremely well organised , with excellent local representative (Tony) who provided additional information and support without hesitation. Also provided local maps and timetables for my time in Faro which allowed me to enjoy that day, he also informed me about the industrial action at the airport which allowed me to make appropriate arrangements.
This was an excellent holiday. The cycling was along very flat routes down the beautiful Atlantic Coast and around the pretty lagoons. Porto and Aveiro were great places to have days off. The hotels were good or very good. We ate some delicious fish and everyone was very friendly and welcoming.
It was excellent from start to finish. Our reps Tony & Ludmila Lewis made our holiday experience special with their friendliness, humour and knowledge. Please pass on our thanks.I am hoping to book a walking holiday with Headwater next year with my friend please send me a brochure
The pleasure of Headwater is that they do everything to make ensure your experience is exceptional - so it is!
A very nice holiday. The cycling was generally very good. It is a little hilly so is certainly a grade 2. There was a little bit more off road than we expected and one part of this was a particularly bad track which was slow going. Everything else was fine. The accommodation was good.
This was a lovely holiday.The wild flowers were magnificent and the scents of orange blossom and fresh herbs will long remain with us.We enjoyed the variety of different tracks and the headland loop at Amado beach was stunning.The bikes were excellent with especially low gears for those hills,and the tour notes were pretty good. The welcome at all three hotels was genuinely warm and the accommodation very comfortable, except at Pedralva,where the bed felt like a marble slab, and gave us a restless 2 nights. The food and wine was fresh, wholesome and very well prepared.We thoroughly enjoyed this break and came back feeling refreshed and invigorated. We will definitely consider Headwater when choosing our next holiday.
Fun. We enjoyed our visit to Portugal.
Excellent cycling on wonderful bikes. Tony and Ludmilla were fantastically helpful and we were especially grateful that Tony picked us up from not the usual collection point. The notes were perfect and we were very lucky with the weather. The suggestions for rest days were also very good. Hotels all fine, especially Memmo. Pedralva rooms could do with better heating and much better lighting but the bar and restaurant areas were very good . Food at Pedralva was excellent. Would definitely recommend the holiday and commend highly Tony and Ludmilla who definitely had a 'nothing is too much trouble' attitude and who clearly enjoy their roles. Thank you very much.
Seamless from start to finish with excellent opportunities to explore and relax in equal measure.
An absolutely fantastic holiday - you see things on a bike that you wouldn't normally see - birds, flora and fauna and of course local villages with delightful local Portuguese people
Surprisingly quiet routes, wonderful scenery and sunshine, excellent food. Pacing suited us with a day's cycling followed by hiking on our rest days. Pedralva was a highlight in all respects from accommodation and surroundings to food.
Excellent Holiday and very knowledgeable and helpful Representative.
A great place for a cycling holiday. The routes were good and varied.
Cycling through fantastic scenery in mimosa eucalyptus pine scented warm air within a day of leaving flood & storm ravaged UK - wonderful. Tony & Ludmilla are great hosts. Their warm welcome quickly overcame the effects of a long laborious day long journey via Lisbon - Faro & taxi halves the travel time at little if any overall extra cost. The 2 hotels we stayed in are 2 of the best we've had in 20yrs of Headwater holidays. However Pedralva - it no doubt has it's charms but is basically self catering units more suited to summer use. Compared to our 2 previous stops the welcome here was 'grumpy' & our room was cold gloomy & oppressive - more like a cell with 2 v small windows looking straight out at other houses across narrow streets at eye level so no privacy in the bedroom or sitting area without closing little shutters making it even gloomier. The shower room was unheated & there was no hair dryer. A Youth Hostel style kitchen dominated our sitting area - a dirty hot plate, a dustpan & brush in full view as also a slop bucket (ugh) & the upmarket 'coffee making facilities' were of no practical use as no pods - a simple kettle would be much better & more welcoming. The swimming pool is outdoors & was not available so no 'relaxing by the pool' & given the cold location of Pedralva I doubt would be for many of the Headwater months. I was unable to access wifi on my iPad at the designated spot in Reception - I did on the 2nd night with some perseverance find a tiny area in the Bar where I could get a signal. Ah - the Bar! & it's tender & the food he serves in the evenings are the outstanding highlight of Pedralva - make the most of it - the breakfasts are fairly meagre. We felt Pedralva fell short on many of the facilities promised in the Headwater description.
We were pleasantly surprised by the professional way everything was handled by office staff. The reps who were new to the area were so helpful and were even working on new tracks as alternatives the night before we would use them. It was a lovely relaxing holiday with just the right amount of activity,also the pleasant weather for time of the year helped.
Lovely holiday. Headwater made all it very easy. Leisurely cycling - nice mixture of exercise and relaxation. Excellent food and accommodation.
Excellent organisation and welcome / support from local Headwater reps. Interesting terrain and wildlife.