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Customer reviews: Portugal walking holidays

Everyone who goes on a Headwater holiday will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assessment of all aspects of their holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus an overall rating and comments about their holiday.

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

An excellent holiday. Weather good too. The walks gave us a chance to see the coast and inland areas. the length and routes were fine. As always, we'd prefer it if you gave us more information about the places we pass on our walks.

Memmo is the perfect hotel to start and end a holiday. The staff, food, service and accommodation were all first class. Pedralva is a one-off and it was a great place to visit. It would not be suitable for us for a longer stay as the only place open there was the hotel. The hotel at Vila de Bispo was adequate but not much more. Found an excellent restaurant there - Eiro.

Mr Sampson
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
14/02/2020

We were lucky with the weather. No real complaints

Ms Black
Walking Portugal's Land's End
16/01/2020

Lovely location for hiking with excellent directions. Our 3rd Headwater holiday and we will definitely be booking another.

Mrs GALLAGHER
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
27/11/2019

Excellent walking and food in an unspoilt area. Felt very welcome everywhere and reps were extremely friendly and helpful.

Prof Williams
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
25/11/2019

Generally good. Some stretches of walks boring but necessary to get to destination. I loved Pedalva but didnt like sharing track with motor bikes around Pedalva. November not best month for flowers. and outdoor pools and sea too cold for swimming. Jude and Tim were really welcoming and helpful

Mrs Tattersall
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
19/11/2019

Once again we have had a wonderful holiday through Headwater

Mr Brearley
Walking the Algarve's South West
18/11/2019

Walking in SW Algarve in November gave us wonderful sunny weather, great temperatures, but be prepared for wind. The hotels we used were all top class or unusual; great locations and food. Routes were clear- made much more sense when you were actually doing them, as a lot of the routes were more straight forward than the instructions seemed. The 10 miles per day on the moving days were at the upper end of my range; plus the walk suggestions were good- but again, at my age (70, and not a regular walker), I found the holiday rather tiring. Tim & Jude were superb hosts for the holiday, & we wouldn't have hesitated to call on them if we'd had any problems- which we didn't.

Robinson
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
23/10/2019

It was our first organised walking holiday and it was fantastic. We especially appreciated the excellent notes and enjoyed the coastal walks.

Mrs Henderson
Marvels of Madeira Walk
07/10/2019

A very well balanced walking holiday on a beautiful island with genuinely friendly and flexible taxi drivers!

Ms Cross
Marvels of Madeira Walk
28/08/2019

I loved it! Walking was varied and spectacular. Madeira a stunning holiday destination. Will definitely book with Headwater again. Quality of hotel accommodation was great.

Mr Catterall
Marvels of Madeira Walk
14/06/2019

Seeing the countryside you can never see in a car or coach

Mr Thompson-Ashby
Walking the Algarve's South West
10/06/2019

Quality of walking not quite as good as previous years, but we still had an enjoyable holiday. Grading of the walking was closer to a 2 rather than a 1.

Headwater response:
Thank you for your feedback; it is always a great help to understand how we can improve and whilst it is not always possible to be precise about how easy or difficult an activity will be, our activity ratings have been carefully designed to give you a practical guide as to what you can expect. When assigning an activity level to a holiday we consider factors such as gradient, length of walk or ride, and also the terrain or road conditions.

Miss Browne
Walking Portugal's Land's End
03/06/2019

We really enjoyed our walking holiday. The scenery, especially on the coastal walks, was lovely and we found all of the walks enjoyable and about the right length. The route notes were accurate and we didn't get lost at all. We particularly enjoyed the Hotel Memmo Baleeira - lovely rooms, great location (and views) and a well heated outdoor pool. The only disappointment was the breakfast in the Hotel Mira Sagres, which had very limited choice and the food was poor quality. Otherwise, we had a very enjoyable, relaxing holiday. Thank you to Ludmilla and Tony for making us feel so welcome and being so helpful throughout the holiday.

Mrs Jones
Marvels of Madeira Walk
28/05/2019

We had a great holiday in Madeira- the walks were varied and well planned, allowing us to see different parts of the island. The accommodation provided was excellent too- very comfortable, and good food. We would definitely recommend this trip with Headwater.

A fantastic area in which to walk. Tony and Ludmilla have gone to great lengths to make this a good trip and are both extremely welcoming and helpful. I would say that they are some of the best reps we have come across in many years of travelling. For us the distances were just right. All the arrangements worked like clockwork.

The breakfast in the hotel Mira Sagres was not the greatest with no hot choice and the croissants were rather stale. However, the staff were welcoming and the hotel provided the best shower of the hoiday. The food in Pedralva and in Lagos was really good and the breakfast in Lagos was superb. The staff in Pedralva were great fun. At the Pousada hotel, the staff gave me a gorgeous piece of cake to celebrate my birthday, which was excellent and really helped to make the day special. We didn't find the staff at the Memmo Baleeira very friendly and the service at the evening meal on the first evening was poor.

Mr Stowell
Walking Portugal's Land's End
03/05/2019

Excellent walking, with just one or two tricky short ascents/descents at beach gulleys. Very detailed and helpful walking notes. Splendid reps whose great asset was their flexibility with transport. Lots of excellent eating establishments available throughout. A great experience.

Mr Goscomb
Walking the Algarve's South West
03/05/2019

Another fantastic holiday with Headwater



We completed the ‘Walking the Argarve’s South West’ holiday in late April/early May. The weather was mostly perfect for walking and we had a wonderful holiday, well supported by Tony and Ludmilla the local Headwater reps. Tony’s walking notes were clear and easy to follow with helpful suggested options and the hotels were well located and well chosen. Such a beautiful landscape with so many picturesque sights and views. We also saw a fantastic selection of wild flowers, including orchids, and the area proved excellent for bird spotting too.



Our two hotels in Sagres were really lovely, but the outstanding place to stay for us was the Aldeia de Pedralva where we had a super one bedroom little character house to ourselves for two days in this beautiful tiny village. Breakfast and dinners at the hotels were mostly excellent, the sole exception being the most meagre of breakfasts in the hotel at Vila Do Bispo. The breakfasts at the Costa d’Oiro were truly exceptional with an amazing selection. We also had some yummy fish and seafood dishes as various restaurants during our stay in this wonderful south west corner of Portugal. Overall another fantastic holiday with Headwater.



Martin and Sandy, Sidmouth, Devon

Mrs Reid
Marvels of Madeira Walk
25/04/2019

Our trip to Madeira allowed us to experience the beauty of the island through the diverse walking trips and sightseeing days. Our accommodation was superb at all three hotels and staff were friendly and knowledgeable. The local firm used to transport us to and from our daily walks are to be complimented as the drivers were wonderful. Headwater helped us have an unforgettable holiday to mark our silver wedding.

Mrs Edmondson
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
17/04/2019

We had a lovely 5 day walking holiday, no problems and would like to say a special thank you to Ludmilla and Tony and the staff at Pedralva.

The product did exactly what it said on the tin. All the support was first class (and with a dental emergency - above and beyond). The hotel choices were fine. The walks were not tough in themselves but packed together on a short break made the trip more of an endurance test than a relaxing holiday. Headwater were excellent.

Very efficient in booking holiday and follow up. Tony and Ludmilla were very welcoming and provided excellent support. Explanations of routes and waymarks were fully explained. Hotels were good and helpful in dealing with any queries. A thoroughly enjoyable break though for my age should have chosen a longer period to include "rest" days for shorter walks and exploration.

Mr Moore
Walking Portugal's Land's End
01/04/2019

Route notes were easy to follow and accurate. The walks suggested for the 'rest days' were worthwhile in their own right. The walking was not 'exciting', being mostly on rough vehicle tracks, but was very pleasant and enjoyable and the views along the coastal cliff sections, in particular, were spectacular. The hotel at Pedralva is a great concept and we loved it. We enjoyed the whole holiday greatly.

We had a very good holiday being well looked after from the moment we arrived. Ludmilla and Tony are a credit to Headwater and looked after us really well. Walk notes were well written and easy to follow. Time distance of each walk were accurate. We passed on a couple of updates to Tony who dealt with them immediately. All pick ups and tranfers were on time.

We would definitely recommend this holiday to anyone wanting to viist the Algarve.

Mr Grierson
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
15/03/2019

A relaxing walking holiday in attractive and unspoiled coastal scenery. The detailed route maps and waymarking were superb. The Atlantic cliff views and wild flowers provided numerous photo opportunities.

Mrs Sodring
Walking Portugal's Land's End
04/03/2019

Our recent holiday was the 8th we have enjoyed with Headwater. As usual, the hotels, food and care from the reps, or hoteliers was excellent. The Algarve in February is wonderful! Perfect, warm and sunny weather, plenty of flowers and the colour of the heath/moorland areas was stunning, as were the beaches with rolling waves and surf arriving from the Atlantic. We look forward to returning!

A relaxing break, with all the administrative hassle taken away.

Very well organised. Local guides very helpful.

Mr Mathieson
Marvels of Madeira Walk
22/11/2018

Some walks on this holiday were slightly more challenging than anticipated, but perhaps that reflects our age and fitness. The fact that most walks require a taxi pick up at the end does add a little pressure and reduces the time available to stand and appreciate the surroundings. We learned that we prefer open-ended walks that end at hotels so that we can walk at our own pace. When walking in an area for the first time you don't really know how long a walk is likely to take so having to pre-arrange taxi pick ups was an added anxiety for us.

Mr Gaskell
Marvels of Madeira Walk
22/11/2018

A compact week of relatively straightforward walking of moderate difficulty. The itinerary was accurate, as were all pickup/transfer timings.

Mrs Garrett
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
14/11/2018

We were very impressed with the service provided by Headwater from start to finish. Ludmilla, the local rep, was very helpful and gave us lots of advice about each days walking. We got the bus into Lagos on our rest day, which was also very enjoyable.

We have never been on an organised holiday like this before, but wouldn't hesitate to book with Headwater again.

Mr Hamilton
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
13/11/2018

The general topography of this holiday was less interesting and exciting than experienced on previous headwater walks, but we did thoroughly enjoy the holiday.

Mrs Davenport
Marvels of Madeira Walk
09/11/2018

If you are actively fit and prepared for physical challenges then Headwater has well documented self-guided walks with well organised hotel accomodation and transfers to support your hiking holiday.

Mrs Coulson
Walking the Algarve's South West
08/11/2018

The stunning south-west coast of Portugal is an excellent choice for a walking holiday, with the best accompanying notes we have come across in all the Headwater holidays we have taken! Brilliant that different length holidays are available, making the area attractive to more people.

Short but very enjoyable. Good walking through varied country with some outstanding coastal sections. The instructions were very clear and accurate. And the hotels were fine. A very good short break.

Just returned from walking the Algarve's south west coast, beautiful walks on the west and south coast, and we stayed in lovely hotels. Views stunning. Good food. Tony and Ludmilla were great reps, lots of support if needed, and met up with us at the beginning and the end of our holiday. Most walks do not have much shade, we had good weather for walking, warm but overcast. We felt it was a well planned holiday, even returning to Sagres during the week, gives you a different perspective of the coast. Thank you, Headwater, once again, a lovely holiday!

Miss Jelley
Walking the Algarve's South West
01/11/2018

Lovely walks, any uphill sections were well rewarded by fabulous views. The reps were wonderful and hotel staff all very helpful and friendly.

Mrs Chua
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
29/10/2018

This was a most enjoyable walking holiday. The walking was stretching without being gruelling. The three hotels used were really good. And the Portugues were very accommodating and the food delicious. We made some new friends and felt well looked after from start to finish.

Mrs Simpson
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
29/10/2018

In a beautiful area of Portugal, with walking each day enough to be testing but not exhausting. The hotels were all good and we enjoyed the company of other walkers. A very enjoyable holiday.

My wife and I have just returned from a 10 day self-guided walking holiday in the Algarve. From start to finish, the organisation and support from our two local reps Tony and Ludmilla was first class and we stayed in five different hotels during our stay all of which were good value. The walking was generally quite easy and usually covered about 10 to 14 miles per day with optional rest days at each location if desired. Several days were spent walking along the coastline which was never less than spectacular.

Mr Morrison
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
26/10/2018

Really enjoyed the holiday but felt some of the walks didn't quite match the holiday description of "Algarve's Wild West".

Mr Newmarch
Walking the Algarve's South West
11/09/2018

Walking routes were about right distance. Temperatures were ideal for walking. On a few routes the paths were very rocky so a bit hard for a while.but generally quite comfortable. On balance 10 days with 3 stays in Sagres was probably a bit long in one place. I would recommend 8 days as length for this holiday.

Miss Browne
Marvels of Madeira Walk
07/09/2018

We had a lovely holiday in Madeira. The walking was very enjoyable, if a little hilly at times, but worth it for the fantastic scenery and views. All the hotels were excellent with good food. We really enjoyed our rest day in Funchal at the end of the holiday, especially the toboggan ride down from Monte!

Mr Coe
Marvels of Madeira Walk
07/09/2018

Madeira is a fantasy island, with outstanding scenery and interesting walking. Some of the walking is challenging: almost the only flat routes are the levadas, and the hills are steep. The levadas themselves have spectacular views, and whilst level are sometimes testing as they can be narrow and uneven, but ultimately extremely rewarding. In May the weather is mild but some rain can be expected, so a waterproof jacket is essential. The Headwater hotels are all excellent, and people in general are friendly and helpful. Thoroughly recommended.

Mr Hopps
Marvels of Madeira Walk
07/09/2018

Didn't really like Madeira - we knew it was an elderly destination but not quite so starkly. This should be advised. Funchal has little to commend it. Conclusions partly influenced by poor weather and a fall on a levada which laid me up for most of the week but have tried to take that into consideration.

Great walking in a beautiful part of Portugal. Stunning beaches and a landscape carpeted in an array of colourful wild flowers. The most enjoyable walking holiday we've been on! The route notes were excellent. Tony and Ludmilla were perfect reps, happy to accomodate any changes we wanted, were very attentive and a great source of local information, couldn't have been more helpful.

Mrs Beighton
Marvels of Madeira Walk
06/09/2018

We enjoyed good weather, varied interesting levada walks, friendly staff and very good hotels

Ms Herkess
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
05/09/2018

We had a lovely time, there were 8 of us that booked together and we loved the walk! The scenery was gorgeous with the most beautiful wild flowers everywhere.



Mr Everett
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
05/09/2018

We had a good holiday somewhat marred by poor direction notes, that were unclear and didn’t contain enough distance references. Also the choice of accommodation and scheduled rest days wasn’t given much thought and could have been much better.

Mr Valentine
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
05/09/2018

A good walking experience in a scenic environment.

Mrs Edwards
Marvels of Madeira Walk
05/09/2018

We were very well looked after and everything happened as we expected it too.

Mr Fowler
Walking Portugal's Land's End
05/09/2018

Other than the wind and cold during my particular week we had a great time. this was despite being hospitalised on my first night. Tony and Ludmilla could not have been more helpful and helped me make the best of a difficult situation. In the end they re-jigged the walk days so that I did the lot.

Beautiful countryside, outstanding walking, very kind and hospitable people. Staying in such a variety of places enhanced our enjoyment. Tony & Ludmilla were excellent reps, always there when we needed them but never intrusive. Tony’s walking notes were superb and the additional optional walks for the free days really added to the enjoyment of our holiday. We totally fell in love with Portugal and would do this same trip again as we enjoyed this holiday so much.

A great well organised walking holiday, challenging but not too tiring.

Arrangements were expertly taken care of and we simply relaxed and enjoyed our holiday.

Mr Mitchell
Walking the Algarve's South West
05/09/2018

Excellent package, walking one day, then day free. Good walks with excellent instructions. Delightful part of Europe to walk in.

Hotel Costa D'Oiri, Lagos was disappinting. Your information said "spacious rooms", ours was the least spacious of any of the hotels. Also "outdoor and covered pools allow swimming throughout the year. The covered pool had its cover pushed back, so it was too cold to use. Choice of food very limited.

Mrs Petrie
Walking the Algarve's South West
05/09/2018

This was a great holiday - diverse for walking and accommodation with beautiful countryside, woodland and coastal walking.

Walking not too strenuous but plenty of scope to do more if you wanted to. It was a little windy & cool at times, worth bearing in mind for clothing.

All of the accommodation offered something different and they were a pleasure to stay in.

All of the arrangements worked really well (which was in part due to the hard work of Ludmilla and Tony who were both helpful and friendly and very knowledgable) and we both thoroughly enjoyed it. Up there as one of our best Headwater holidays (and we have done quite a few!).

Mrs Croucher
Marvels of Madeira Walk
03/09/2018

We travelled as a group of 6 friends . Unable to get first hotel as booked. Very well organised transport. Very surprised Porto Bay Serra Golf had no air con. Helpful staff but over stretched.

Mrs Smith
The Algarve from West to East
21/08/2018

We really enjoyed our holiday, contrasting hotels and walks in the 2 centres made it feel like longer than a week. It was a shame that the swimming pool and spa weren't open at the first hotel as we were looking forward to using those facilities.

Mr Robinson
Marvels of Madeira Walk
21/08/2018

A very well-thought-out mix of locations and walks, showing us a lot of what beautiful Madeira has to offer. All three hotels were excellent; our favourite was Quinta do Furao, the first one, with its fantastic view along the NE coast.

Mrs Harding
Marvels of Madeira Walk
21/08/2018

The holiday met all our expectations. It was well-organised and allowed us to enjoy the island in all its beauty. We look forward to our next adventure.

Mr Miller
Marvels of Madeira Walk
23/07/2018

Was a first-timer both to Headwater and Madeira. Thought walking would be the best way to get to know the island. There wasn`t a small group holiday so decided to go for self-guided holiday. Apart from the issue of the single-supplement there were no problems. Everything went smoothly throughout the holiday and I was in a position to contact Eduardo the local rep at any time if I needed too. Hotels were excellent in terms of location and food, and service. Especially enjoyed Madeiran specialities such as scabbard fish with bananas! Route notes and maps made the walks simple to negotiate. Good variety in the walks, though three levada walks was enough and glad I took the St Lawrence Peninsula walk as my optional walk as this covered very different terrain. Although I travelled on my own met up with other Headwater walkers on both the walks and in the hotels and enjoyed their company. Of course, the excellent weather helped immensely and walking in the clouds on one of the levada trails was a welcome break from the sun. Last 24 hours in Funchal was great way to end the holiday with sightseeing in the old town, and cable cars to the Tropical Gardens and Botanical Garden. Can recommend the holiday both to single travellers and others. Thoroughly enjoyed it and will be back for more with Headwater.

Mrs Geddes
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
10/07/2018

Fantastic walking in a peaceful part of Portugal, but then we were there in April not the peak summer season. Tony and Ludmilla provided the perfect start to the holiday and the reassurance that they could be contacted if we needed support. The suites in Hotel Memmo Baleeria were worth the extra because the standard room we had on the first night was rather small.

Mrs Barraclough
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
04/07/2018

A dramatic and varied coastal walk with superb bird watching opportunities. An excellent way to savour the culture, food and history of the region.

Ms Leach
Marvels of Madeira Walk
13/06/2018

As other reviewers have stated, the levadas are interesting walks but often you cannot see the views due to high vegetation or needing to keep a close eye on your footing due to being on the edge of a steep drop - so after a while some parts felt somewhat tedious. There were quite a lot of long steep ascents & descents.



We only stayed in two hotels. Hotel Porto Bay Serra Golf was really lovely - the room, the food & service were excellent. The final hotel, Quinta da Bela Vista, is set in a good location overlooking Funchal. It has a lovely pool & bar area that is nice to sit in the evening. This hotel is on a half board status - the evening meal is a 5 course set menu with no choice offered at all. We found the food very average. Whilst we were there, people who used the hotel restaurant in the evening were of a very much older age group (we are not young - in our late 50s) & the ambiance was really very quiet & subdued. We decided that on our second & final evening we would not eat in the restaurant & preferred to go somewhere with a bit more atmosphere. Breakfast was not subdued, more of a mixed age group with people chatting etc.

Unfortunately we did experienced some frustrations with the local agent Headwater use. Briefly, these were some of the issues: being dropped off in the wrong location for the start of a walk & not knowing were we were & needing to walk an extra 2k to reach the start; a driver trying to take us to a levada that was closed even though we were advised by the local rep at the start of the holiday that it was closed - we advised the driver it was closed but he told us it was not, however, it was closed; agreeing a time of pick up with the local rep but the driver not being advised of this so arrived 30 minutes late.



Mrs Coghill
Walking Portugal's Land's End
23/05/2018

Lovely quiet area of Alvarez, amazing wild flowers and good walks.

Mr Ingram
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
03/05/2018

A complete break, involving some challenges but much relaxation. A new part of Europe to us, we were welcomed.

Mr Christy
The Algarve from West to East
03/05/2018

Well-designed and highly enjoyable introduction to the delights of an Algarve Spring, with plenty of opportunities to sample the excellent food of the region

Mr Collins
Walking Portugal's Land's End
16/04/2018

A good selection of walking through varied scenery from coast, woodland valleys to empty plateaux with always something of interest in the vicinity. Wonderful flowers everywhere. We were very fortunate with the weather of high teen sunny temperatures, with the only rain being upon boarding the flight home! A very warm welcome was received from the reps Tony & Ludmilla and also from all of the staff in the hotels stayed in. Accommodation was good throughout and a good choice of local restaurants on hand to pick from for evening meals when not included. We had arranged a couple of extra nights in Faro at the end of the holiday ourselves, and the city is well worth exploring. An enjoyable holiday for both of us.

A really pleasant short break from winter! The three hotels were so different, yet each one was a pleasure to stay in. The walks were a good length, without being exhausting, and varied from exhilarating cliff top paths to delightful country tracks meandering through flower-filled meadows surrounded by gentle wooded hills - we had great fun taking off our boots and wading across the stream several times! We returned home wonderfully refreshed, only wishing we could have stayed longer.

Mr Blackwell
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
03/04/2018

We had 5 days of varied and interesting walking. The route notes were easy to follow. The walks at the overnight stops were well worth doing especially the fabulous walk from Pedralva back to the beach. It was easy walking, nothing too taxing. It was worth having my woolly hat though, for protection against the wind, which was quite strong at times. We think that the combination of a linear walk with a 2 night stop in one place is a great model.

Mr Butler
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
06/03/2018

Easy walking. The coast was spectacular, the inland areas pleasant though much of the walking was along broad tracks that were not particularly interesting. We enjoyed staying at Pedralva - a very imaginative concept, and picturesque village. Ludmilla, the Headwater rep, was very helpful and knowledgeable. Thanks also for making the .gpx files available prior to leaving; navigation was easy enough, but they provided a useful check on occasions.

Mrs Kane
Marvels of Madeira Walk
20/02/2018

This was our first experience of an organised holiday. It was great to be collected/met at the airport and to have the overseas team always on hand, as far as making life easy getting around. There was certainly an older demographic than we expected, which although we were comfortable with, didn't make for such a great time at the bar, or dinner.

Mr Perry
Marvels of Madeira Walk
02/02/2018

Good locations, excellent hotels and very relaxing.

Mrs Cox
Marvels of Madeira Walk
02/01/2018

A holiday should be restful with the minimum stress and this holiday ticked all of the boxes.

The only sour note came when we ate at the restaurant attached to the Hotel Bela Vista and the head waiter seemed surprised that we required a dairy free meal although we had mentioned this to reception when checking in. His response was that there was only one dish on the a la carte menu that was dairy free, which was disappointing and did not reflect the positive and more flexible approach of the other places that we ate, notably the hotel's other restaurant!

Some great walks along Portugal's beautiful, unspoiled and dramatic coastline with an excellent choice of hotels for good food and comfort.

Mr Devey
The Algarve from West to East
23/11/2017

A very enjoyable holiday

Mr Bateman
Walking Portugal's Land's End
16/11/2017

It was beautifully quiet in every way. Many flowers and birds. Excellent food. Friendly people.

Mr Baird
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
15/11/2017

A great experience of authentic Portugal with great views and easy walking

Mrs Muir
Marvels of Madeira Walk
15/11/2017

Really enjoyed our walking experience in Madeira. Good variety of walks in good weather and magnificent scenery. Enjoyed staying in three locations in three very different hotels. Good choice of hotels and they all had good facilities.

Mrs Greenway
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
06/11/2017

This was our first holiday with Headwater, and would have no hesitation in using again all staff were extremely helpful and efficient. It was lovely to be met at the airport and have all our hotel and luggage transfers organised. Selected hotels were excellent.

Couldn't fault the arrangements, all worked very smoothly. Our rep Ludmilla was superb, walking notes were very good and easy to follow, accommodation was excellent. Even the weather stayed good. Couldn't have been better.

This was an excellent holiday, such a stunning coastline. Really relaxing and enjoyable, good walking with great views. Great hotels and wonderful food, the trip was organised so well. This short break was the perfect combination of exercise and relaxation and I would love to come back to this part of Portugal again.

Mr Kilburn
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
23/10/2017

Three days' varied walking and three totally contrasting hotels, each with its own particular attraction. Couldn't ask for a better introduction to the Algarve.

Mrs Preece
Marvels of Madeira Walk
23/10/2017

This holiday lived up to our expectations - although it was not cheap.

Mr Weston
Marvels of Madeira Walk
21/07/2017

Invigorating trip, great organisation, will use Headwater again.

Mrs Pritchett
Marvels of Madeira Walk
21/07/2017

Beautiful island, very welcoming people, excellent standard of hotels.

Mrs Littler
Walking the Algarve's South West
17/05/2017

A lovely holiday, we enjoyed every moment. The coastal scenery was spectacular, the countryside lovely - full of wild flowers. The accommodation was excellent and the stay in Pedralva was a great experience. We enjoyed the food and the local people we met were all very friendly. Our Rep ,Ludmila, was very friendly and efficient.

Mr Russell
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
16/05/2017

Algarve Wild West walking exceeded expectation. Floral environment on all walks was dazzling. All walks easy to follow as marked and described in written guide. Two boots was just about correct.

Mrs Locker
Marvels of Madeira Walk
09/05/2017

At times the walks through the levadas were rather tedious because the vegetations blocked all the views. All the transfers worked really well.

Mr Williams
Marvels of Madeira Walk
09/05/2017

Easy walking, good hotels, mixed weather.

Mr Swingler
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
26/04/2017

A thoroughly enjoyable and relaxing holiday. We booked for the beginning of April hoping for good walking weather and lots of spring flowers - it turned out to be an excellent choice.

Mr Kimber
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
11/04/2017

Superb views when walking as well as lots of spring flowers and wildlife to enjoy. Excellent hotels and informative reps to help with local knowledge.

Mr Bumfrey
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
10/04/2017

An ideal time to visit this area and enjoy the spring flowers and butterflies which are abundant on all the walks. The weather was perfect for this type of holiday and the hotels very good. The GPX tracks supplied were very useful.

Mrs Griffiths
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
28/03/2017

We could relax because everything ran like clockwork. We were very lucky with our walking companions, we enjoyed thier company and navigated and ate together every day.

Mr Norris
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
20/03/2017

Good but if we followed the walks exactly , they were not long enough for us given that the terrain was not at all demanding. However we did manage to add on extras each day which made the walking better.

Mrs Lancaster
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
17/03/2017

Lovely walks with lots of variety. We particularly enjoyed the coastline. Our rep, Ludmilla, was very welcoming, personable and helpful.

Mr Richards
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
07/03/2017

Portugal in February - quiet but not deserted, good walking and perfect temperature and conditions.

Mr Kent
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
29/11/2016

The coastline in South West Portugal is stunning and the national park unspoiled .Most days we only saw other walkers and surfers The walks were well planned and came with easy to follow instructions.The way-mark signs were also good. Ludmilla and Tony, the Headwater representatives were excellent.and we felt as though they were there just for us ,even though we knew that they had other guests to look after. .The food and accommodation was ,on the whole ,of a high standard. We wouldn't hesitate to recommend this holiday to other walkers. They wont be disappointed. It far exceeded our expectations!

Dr Johnson
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
29/11/2016

The local guides were extremely helpful and well informed. Their walking routes and descriptions were excellent and full of interest. The whole area was very scenic and with a good variety of wildlife.

Mrs Barnes
Walking the Algarve's South West
29/11/2016

This is a most enjoyable walking holiday. You see some spectacular scenery and stay in some lovely places. In September the weather was hotter than we had expected which made the walks quite demanding, but the excellent notes provided by the guides meant that we never got lost. Most of the hotels were excellent, but while the breakfasts at Costa d'Oiro were good, the dinners were not. There was little choice and the main courses were of poor quality.

Mrs Lancaster
Marvels of Madeira Walk
14/11/2016

This was our first holiday to Madeira and fortunately enjoyed perfect walking weather.

We enjoyed the Levada experience very much but the Sao Lourenco Peninsula walk was definitely a highlight. Our last walk into Funchal was disappointing but appreciate it had been changed because of the summer fires.

The hotels were delightfully varied. At the Quinta do Furao we enjoyed live music and an outdoor hotel buffet/barbecue on our last night. At the Serra Golf we found ourselves upgraded to a lovely suite! Staying at The Bela Vista is like stepping back in time to 'Colonial days'. Silver service is a fun experience. The waiters were a little surprised when my husband asked for beer rather than wine! But they soon got used to him. We cannot fault the food and service at this hotel. Although the hotel is out of Funchal we did find the local bus service and hotel minibus service worked well.

Overall a wonderful holiday.

Mrs Mulder
Marvels of Madeira Walk
11/11/2016

Fantastic experience walking Madeira. Even on a cloudy day it is an amazing place. Headwater arranged everything effortless. Amazing how the drivers were always there on the dot! Very reliable at all times. The levada walks were easy walks - except if you haven't got a head for heights...Good variety in walks and great that Headwater could provide more walks if you wanted to walk more. For example on your free days.

Will book with Headwater again - a no brainer!

Mr Toms
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
09/11/2016

Easy walking over gentle countryside with spectacular coast

Mis Buttrick
Marvels of Madeira Walk
08/11/2016

A wonderful walking holiday in Madeira. A great insight of the island. Headwater took all the work out of the travel and holiday arrangements and left us to enjoy ourselves!

Ms Van Bentum
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
31/10/2016

Lovely views, lovely walks (accurate maps and grading), lovely hotels and a lovely rep (Ludmilla). It was a great holiday with the two nights in Pedralva and the walk to the lighthouse on the last day as the absolute highlights.

Mrs Cerny
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
31/10/2016

We had our first holiday with Headwater this October in Portugal. We had never been on an organised walking holiday before, but any concerns we might have had , e.g. getting lost,were soon abated. The route maps were excellent and easy to follow. The timing of each walk was accurate, so we were able to pace ourselves accordingly. We often walked the whole day without meeting a soul except at the beach, where we could watch surfers in crashing waves. The range of accommodation was excellent. We enjoyed our stay in Pedralva and were lucky to have a a cottage with a large patio.The hotels were in great locations and all very comfortable. Ludmilla and Tony were very helpful and knowledgeable about the area. We had not been to Portugal on holiday before. We will be back!

A good, enjoyable and trouble-free holiday. The walks themselves were easy, but unremarkable and at times dull.

Mr Kelly
Marvels of Madeira Walk
13/10/2016

Once again, we had a thoroughly enjoyable holiday! Great walking, wonderful locations for our accommodation, excellent food and drink, and as a bonus the company of other like-minded walkers at various points during the week. Excellent route notes and planning - it is definitely what we have come to expect from our Headwater holidays (this was our 10th).

Mr Shelton
Marvels of Madeira Walk
04/10/2016

Quinta do Furao was lovely, very welcoming staff, a stunning location. The walk along the coast from the hotel was amazing. The local representative, Eduardo from MB Travel, met us to discuss the week's walks and was very helpful, knowledgeable and enthusiastic.

Serra Golf was a beautiful building, but the staff took two days to sort out our lack of hot water (we had a room in the old house) and had forgotten to provide a packed lunch on our morning of departure.

The levada walks were splendid - breathtaking views around every corner. The guide notes were good, but we could have done with a few more arrows or signs on the path. On the last walking day we had an alternative walk due to the forest fires of previous weeks. This was not nearly as good as the previous walks - I am sure there are other walks available.

Quinta da Bela Vista was a a lovely hotel set in beautiful grounds - a long way from the centre of Funchal and the hotel shuttle bus does not run on Saturday afternoon and Sunday. There are local buses into town. Five course dinners served every evening, but after a day's walking you just want a big bowl of something on the table.

Many thanks to Headwater staff for their efforts to arrange our holiday around our preferred dates.

Mis Rodgers
Marvels of Madeira Walk
19/07/2016

Madeira was a beautiful location. Weather in June was pleasant. Hotels and food good.

Walks varied and interesting. Overall a good experience.

Mrs Hewitt
Marvels of Madeira Walk
02/07/2016

This holiday was good and the temperature for walking was very comfortable, but it would have been lovely to see the sun more, and the spectacular views, which were sometimes covered by mist and low cloud. I was not very fit at the beginning and felt exhausted and sore after two days, so chose to miss the walk on day 3 and go with the bags to the next hotel and have a day resting, and reading by the pool. (The Porto Bay Serra Golf has a spa with treatments, and it is possible to book a leg and foot massage!). The walks were dominated by levada routes, so less varied than our previous walking holidays with Headwater, so it was really worth going on the San Lourentco peninsula walk which was wonderful.

Mrs Loch
Marvels of Madeira Walk
07/06/2016

Madeira is an excellent year-round easy walking destination. The custard tarts are to die for.

Mrs Hansen
Marvels of Madeira Walk
06/06/2016

Fantastic walking, great variety. Very enjoyable holiday. One of our best Headwater holidays.

Mrs Macleod
Marvels of Madeira Walk
06/06/2016

Very well organised trip. Varied walking; enjoyed walking along the levadas but views often restricted by trees. Misty on some days so some high level walks would have been good.

Mr Grant
Marvels of Madeira Walk
18/05/2016

The holiday was excellent and the walks sufficiently challenging without being too onerous, although some of the climbs are pretty severe and you need a head for heights on some short stretches of the levada walls. If you want superb views this holiday is great but if you suffer any degree of vertigo this is not the holiday for you.

Mr Cottam
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
16/05/2016

A great way to see different areas of a country and meet new people.

Mr Story
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
03/05/2016

The standard of the holiday was as good as expected - what really made this holiday so enjoyable was Tony and Ludmilla - their warm welcome, personal touch, and their knowledge of the area was second to none.

Mr Stevens
Marvels of Madeira Walk
03/05/2016

Very enjoyable, well-organised and good general standard of accommodation.

Mrs Webster
Walking Portugal's Land's End
03/05/2016

We felt we were in very good hands with Tony and Ludmilla who could not have done more to make our overall experience so good. They really are so good at the job and it makes such a difference to have friendly and approachable people to enhance the experience. They helped us with train and bus times when we left Sagres at the end of the Headwater holiday - they have been the best agents we have come across!

Mr Curwen
Marvels of Madeira Walk
26/04/2016

A superb holiday. The walks are out of this world - such a beautiful place, quite magical. The hotels had excellent facilities which is just what you need after a day's walking. Well done Headwater!

Ms Elliott
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
25/04/2016

The walks were excellent and very accurately described and graded. Excellent options presented for the rest days. Ludmilla, our rep, was really helpful and had very good personal knowledge of the area and all the walks. Views were spectacular, especially on the coastal sections of the walks, and the wildflowers and bird-life were both wonderful. The slow-food restaurant at Vila do Bispo (A Eira do Mel) provided the outstanding meal of our trip. Hotel meals were generally pretty good, though the breakfast at Vila do Bispo was rather limited both in variety and quality. The weather was pleasantly cool for walking but, if you want to swim in the sea, you should probably go late April or May!

Ms King-Smith
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
18/04/2016

A delightful few days' walking in lovely, remote, unspoilt countryside. I enjoyed the birdlife and spring flowers particularly. The Portuguese we encountered were personable and friendly and spoke excellent English. My friend and I loved the food and wine - our reward after a day of walking! We got a lot out of what was, objectively, quite a short holiday.

Mr Faulkner
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
18/04/2016

Hiring a car gave more flexibility and allowed us both to walk following some of the route, especially the Fisherman's Trail and so to see the coastline, as well as having more time to explore other parts of the region. Ludmilla was outstanding in giving helpful, discrete and unintrusive advice

Mr Taylor
Marvels of Madeira Walk
18/04/2016

Madeira is a beautiful, friendly and welcoming island, ideal for gentle exercise and relaxation.

Pro Beevers
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
06/04/2016

Great.......good walking , excellent notes and maps , good weather and good support. Requests for extra historical information promptly supplied by Ludmilla. Wonderful flowers, butterflies and birds, ! Food was excellent both in hotels and in the towns and Ludmilla advised us about local perceves speciality...and how to eat them. A good variety of places to eat.

Only suggestion is handrail or handrope in Pedralva cottage ( long flight of thirteen stone steps down to loo.....)

Wonder if L and T might keep a reference book of Flowers and Birds of Portugal in the van they could lend out... or we could consult?

Mr Beal
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
06/04/2016

Our third holiday with Headwater came up to usual high standards. Our representative Ludmilla was excellent and efficient. Although we had no problems we were confident that, had there been, she would have dealt with them promptly. We particularly enjoyed the delightful village at Pedralva - something out of the ordinary.

Mr Ball
Marvels of Madeira Walk
04/04/2016

Enjoyable notwithstanding some poor weather.

Ms Hood
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
30/03/2016

Friendly, well-organised and exactly as described.

Mr Kershaw
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
29/03/2016

Excellent first holiday with Headwater. Nothing was too much trouble. They even arranged for me to see England win the Grand Slam on TV in Pedralva!

Walks were beautiful and the guides were easy to follow.

Dr Harris
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
04/03/2016

A holiday in which you get away from the crowds and experience the country intimately, complemented by good food & accomodation

Mr Wildsmith
Marvels of Madeira Walk
03/03/2016

Excellent varied walking on the coast and on the Levada system. Good variety of hotel.

Mr Pomfrett
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
25/02/2016

Probably the best walking holiday we have had in Europe. A decent walk each day but you could do other things if you wanted. 3 of the five walks were really beautiful and the other two were good. Accommodation was fine and the reps were helpful. The notes were clear and easy to follow.

Mr Worsley
Marvels of Madeira Walk
25/02/2016

Met our expectations exactly - no hitches throughout.

Ms Swiecicka
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
17/02/2016

Can't really comment on standard of accommodation normally offered by Headwater as we upgraded wherever possible. At Costa D'Oiro (where we paid for superior room) we were put in room 3016 (I think) which, we later realised, has to have been the worst of all the superior rooms in that building (ground floor, in the back left-hand corner of the building) - the bathroom facilities were modern but the room itself was very dark and cramped (had a 3rd bed in it so nowhere inside to sit or even to put our cases). The patio was dark & dingy and only got the sun for about an hour or so around breakfast time (which wasn't much use to us as the room was not 'ready' for us to go into until after 1pm). The superior rooms on the other side of the building (i.e. facing the small road) were much brighter and bigger but we were not given the option of changing. We wouldn't have minded a room at the back of the building had it been on the 1st floor level as this would have been much lighter but we very much got the impression that we were put in that room to make it easier for cleaning - i.e. all the rooms to be cleaned were together on the ground floor. The restaurant was closed in the evening so comment re food relates to breakfast only, which was good. I would not stay in this hotel again.



Headwater response:
Dear Ms Swiecicka, Thank you for taking the time to complete your post-holiday feedback, we were pleased to see you had an enjoyable holiday overall, however were sorry to read of your dissatisfaction with your room at Hotel Costa d Oiro. We have discussed your comments with the Hotelier; he was also disappointed to receive your feedback and is sorry this issue was not resolved during your stay. This hotel is not one we normally use for our walking holiday, however we do use it on our cycling holiday and the overall feedback received is good. However, we do appreciate we cannot afford to let our standards slip, so will continue to monitor all feedback received and will work closely with our hotelier to ensure they are delivering the standard of accommodation our customers have come to expect. In closing, we would like to thank you for your constructive feedback and look forward to welcoming you on another of our holidays in the future. Yours sincerely, Headwater customer service team

Mr Huddlestone
Marvels of Madeira Walk
17/02/2016

An enjoyable winter break in milder weather with an interesting variety of walking, without being too challenging! The hotels provided excellent facilities for rest and recuperation with good dining and comfortable surroundings and some stunning views in places.

Mis Heath
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
03/12/2015

Memmo Baleeira was lovely to stay at and it would have been good to have stayed there longer. Mira Sagres was alright and Pedralva was very basic (food in evening was adequate but you had to be careful what you chose). Walking along coast and in wooded valleys was lovely but could be tedious inland (flat and featureless scrubland at times). Ludmilla was great and very helpful - we like her a lot!

Ms Lang
Marvels of Madeira Walk
27/11/2015

It was a good holiday. Just too much rain.

Mrs Chaplin
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
18/11/2015

Thoroughly enjoyed our holiday, Tony and Ludmilla were very helpful, the route notes accurate and the walks were lovely especially the walk from Vila do Bispo to Sagres-the coastal views were fantastic! All the hotels were very welcoming, but we especially liked Pedralva it is a real gem and the food was great too! There was plenty of choice of restaurants on the days when we had bed and breakfast at the hotels and we found all to be very good value for money.

Mr Green
Marvels of Madeira Walk
09/11/2015

Good combination of interesting but not too taxing walks, four or five hours a day, and pleasant pampering by staying at good hotels with pools and saunas, (very important to soothe any aching muscles!) Local people that we encountered seemed uniformly friendly and helpful and the landscape, whether we were being driven or walking through it, was never less than fascinating and often simply amazing, a combination of peruvian highlands and alpine villages!

Mr Stather
Marvels of Madeira Walk
08/10/2015

1. We felt that the Quinta do Furao hotel was ahead of the others because the staff were genuinely helpful/friendly, the restaurant served excellent locally grown food and typically Madeiran cuisine.



2. One flaw in the route notes was on Day 6 - the 2nd line on the 2nd Paragraph on page 22 - starts with 'At the T-junction of paths, turn right.....' We think it should say 'turn left!' Another (more minor) point is on Page 16 (last but one paragraph) mentioning the Tofa Mini Mercato - which we didn't find but suspect that the name has changed (they were in the process of re-vamping the shop with another name and coloured purple.



3. I would especially like to express my thanks to Donna Webber for her close attention to detail and patience when exploring the flight/accommodation options that made our holiday enjoyable during the period we had available. And also for Emma Glasgow for making exceptional steps in a very tight timescale to ensure that we received the route notes/maps etc through the post that were essential to our holiday. Thank you both.

Mrs Heard
Marvels of Madeira Walk
06/10/2015

Wonderful, all walks easy instructions to follow with small useful details personally put in by Lucy the Rep who was full of good and helpful advice. Locations all good. All hotel staff spoke good English which really helped as we do not speak a word of Portuguese. Food good. All transfers spot on, nice friendly drivers who gave local history as we traveled. Although a walking holiday, found it very relaxing as we walked at our own pace and all the walks different so plenty of scenery to stop and take in. This was our 1st walking holiday and regard it as a total success, extremely happy with Headwater and would book with them again.

Mr Hurst
Marvels of Madeira Walk
06/10/2015

The walking exactly as described in the itinerary. For the intrepid, on the Caldeirão Verde Levada walk it is worth exploring beyond Caldeirão Verde towards Caldeirão do Inferno. The first 1.3k is easy, then there is an ambiguous option of continuing along levada or climbing steeply on well-maintained steps signposted 'Caldeirão do Inferno 0.8km'. We chose the latter. The steps take you up to a much higher level levada and a maze of tunnels and bits of old railway track. There is a yellow and red way marker here that seems to indicate this is the official route. Unfortunately we didn't have time to explore further.

On day 5 we would highly recommend the São Lourenço walk - but do go early before it gets busy.

On days where transfers are provided, it is worth verifying that the driver knows where he should be taking you. On the Caldeirão Verde Levada day we were half way to Funchal before we realised the driver had mistaken our destination.

Quinta da Bela Vista is not a 5 star hotel. It has an air of faded luxury, but they need to focus on the basics like cleanliness and service to earn their 5 stars. The bedroom wing needs a freshen-up - e.g. the faded/stained carpets replaced. The 5-course meal and service in the half-board restaurant was ok, but didn't really live up to expectations. The 'production line' catering was obvious and service perfunctory. Having said that, there are some interesting public areas - the pool/bar, old house and gardens. Having after-dinner drinks and coffee by the pool with views over Funchal was memorable.

The Quinta do Furao and Serra Golf were fine hotels in their different ways.

Mr Hurrell
Marvels of Madeira Walk
17/07/2015

Overall we really enjoyed it. However we were not quite prepared for the steepness of some of the walks. This is not down to Headwater but rather our own lack of research. The views were spectacular. We also felt that the times given for the length of each walk was rather optimistic even for us who enjoy walking in all terrains.

Mr Whitehurst
Marvels of Madeira Walk
22/06/2015

The key to my holiday was the flexibility in booking the travel arrangements via Birmingham. This allowed me access to an excellent holiday using a local airport.

Mr Davis
Marvels of Madeira Walk
17/06/2015

A walking holiday visiting several locations in one area. All the planning, hotels, transport etc is done for you so you can concentrate on the walks and enjoying yourself. Hotels and food very good.

The one problem we had was some glass on the floor in the bathroom at the Quinta de Bela Vista. Eventually this was cleared up thoroughly.

Minibus driver (lady) at Quinta de Furao was particularly helpful and friendly.

Mr Robinson
Marvels of Madeira Walk
17/06/2015

We both found this trip very enjoyable. The walking is relatively easy but very rewarding, and remarkably varied. The accommodation was top rate with good quality meals and excellent service. The location of Quinta do Furao is really great. Taxi collections and drop offs were faultless. In fact the whole trip from leaving home to returning was just perfect. One of our favourite trips.

Ms Glass
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
08/05/2015

Our walking holiday in Portugal was a delight. Everything worked so well and the area is outstandingly beautiful particularly in April with so many spring flowers in bloom. I would highly recommend this region/ holiday.

Mrs Corrie
Marvels of Madeira Walk
17/04/2015

It was a great holiday as we were a group of 7, made up from friends for a 70th birthday celebration.The walking was the hardest I have ever done (I am 72 and fit) but it was great fun and a real sense of achievement at the end of each day.

Mr Stephens
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
13/04/2015

Ideal for walking in more natural and unspoilt areas with good standard of accommodation. Warm and mainly dry weather made the walking very enjoyable although be prepared for windy spells. The importance of tourism to the area came across in the warm welcome we received from most of the Portuguese. Our introduction to the area by the Headwater rep. Tony Lewis was invaluable and his walking notes made navigation easy. Both Tony and Ludmilla made the holiday appear seamless in its organisation and they were very friendly and supportive.

Mrs Peniket
Marvels of Madeira Walk
13/04/2015

We felt the walks were well-planned and the hotels well-chosen. We thought Eduardo Dias should have been more informative. On day 6 directions were inaccurate. Second para on Day 6 Camacha to Funchal at a 'T-junction of paths' we should have turned left, not right as indicated in the notes. Also other inaccuracies. At Serra Golf we booked a double room and were given a twin.

Mr Menzies
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
10/04/2015

This is the third holiday we have had with Headwater and was the best yet. Tony could not have been more helpful and is clearly a man who loves his work. The walks were all superb with a huge variety of scenery. The notes were very clear and made it is easy to find our way. The accommodation was all to a high standard. Pedralva is a real gem and we were sorry to leave such an away from it all location. Choice of food for dinner at Memmo Baleeira was a bit limited unless you like pizza but they made up for this with the most superb breakfast choice. We also had the restaurant virtually to ourselves on the first night but on our return on Good Friday it was packed out with families. Quite a contrast.



Mis Pearson
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
30/03/2015

We felt that the reps Tony and Ludmilla were excellent and helpful at all times. They are great ambassadors for Headwater.

We were disappointed with the evening meal offered at the Hotel Memmo Baleeira. The service was slow, the food cold and over seasoned for our tastes. We found an excellent alternative restaurant in the town and went there on our last night. We would have preferred to have had an 'eat out' option in Sagres rather than having the evening meal included.

Mr Sledge
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
13/03/2015

Good news !

Dr Foley
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
03/03/2015

Walking the Algarve's Wild West is a lovely break in the dull winter months of Northern Europe. Wild flowers, blue skies, dramatic coastal walks, great food and wine make this an ideal, well-planned short holiday.

Mr Jones
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
03/02/2015

Although weather in Portugal is unpredictable in January, it is warmer than UK and has more daylight hours. However the wild atlantic was wonderful to see in strong winds. The trails were wonderfully peaceful, and the coastal scenery stunning, fishermans trail was probably the most spectacular coastal walk we have ever seen. The 6 day walk was very well put together, with a variety of countryside terraines, ridge walks, cliffs and beaches. Pedralva was a fascinating place to stay, and as there were so few people there we were entertained and educated in local cuisine by their very amusing 'French' waiter. As an add on we had a 2/3 day stay in Lisbon, lovely city, and it is a must to sample the patische do nata, available in most cafes.

Mr Deacon
Marvels of Madeira Walk
07/11/2014

Overall we enjoyed the holiday, and especially liked the first hotel. But we did not think that Quinta da Bela Vista was five star. Some features are excellent but the room we were shown first was poor: no balcony, faded fittings and an unpleasant musty smell. In the event we had to pay an additional 30 Euros a night to get the sort of room we expected. This was negotiated for us by the MB Travel office, who were very helpful.

Looking on Trip Advisor, the hotel seems to offer two standards depending on the building one is in, one excellent and the other adequate at best.

Headwater response:
Dear Mr Deacon, Thank you for taking the time to complete your post-holiday questionnaire. We were delighted to see that you had an enjoyable holiday overall. Although, were sorry to hear of your disappointment with the Quinta da Bela Vista. Ordinarily, this hotel receives positive feedback from our customers. However, please be assured that we realise we cannot afford to let our standards of accommodation slip, Therefore, with this in mind, we have passed on your feedback to the hotelier and we will closely monitor the new feedback we receive for this hotel over the coming season.
Thank you for your constructive comments; we look forward to welcoming you on another of our holidays in the future.
Yours sincerely,
Lisa

Mrs Williams
Marvels of Madeira Walk
12/06/2014

MB Travel were superb everything ran like clockwork, never late unless advised in advance and always friendly. We knew they were available on the end of the phone if we needed them for anything at all. Would certainly recommend this holiday. We are hoping to book an Italian walking trip next year. Thank you Headwater we wish we'd done it years ago.

Ms Weber
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
17/05/2014

Beautiful walks and great hotels - particularly liked Pedralva.

Mr Brady
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
21/04/2014

We understand that Portuguese Railways will not accept corporate bookings so you need to make it absolutely clear at the outset that travellers need to arrange their own rail travel from Lisbon to Tunes and give them clear guidance on how to do that. Their web site is not too easy to follow. You should also make it clear that it is possible to fly to Faro and take the local train from there.

If your guests are arriving in Vila do Bispo on a Saturday, they need to know that the shops noted in your guide book are closed from 1300 and all day on Sunday. However, all is not lost because there is a Lidl supermarket that is 'open all hours' providing freshly baked bread and pastries and a range of other picnic items.

Finally, the lighthouse at Cape St Vincent is not open on Mondays.

Dr Daniell
Marvels of Madeira Walk
15/04/2014

Good walks, excellent hotels but the food was disappointing and was a bit of a downer. Not sure you know about the substitute walk on day 4 but it was hazardous in places and in the UK the footpath would have been closed to the public. There were sheer drops below narrow footpaths on the levadas with no hand rails. Our overall score would be 6 out of ten for this one.

Ms Murton
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
14/04/2014

Ludmilla and Tony were both efficient and enthusiastic. April is an ideal time to go to Portugal - longer days and not too hot for walking. It's worth pre-arranging a day to cater to your special interests - we chose birdwatching and wild orchid hunting. We also pre-booked our train from Lisbon to Tunes and got a good discount for seniors.

Mrs Payne
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
06/04/2014

A good holiday, fun accommodation in village houses and one very good hotel at each end, though sadly the weather was really poor for walking on this occasion. The tour reps were absolutely excellent, knowledgeable,helpful and thoughtful.

We would certainly want to go again, though perhaps a one boot+ was too much for me.

Mr Valerio
Marvels of Madeira Walk
01/04/2014

Excellent holiday though somewhat marred by some wet weather. At 79 years I did find some of the very steep long gradients tough on the knees and without trekking poles would have found one 500m descent on wet clay almost impossible.

MB Travel were first class and promptly found us an alternative walk when the original route was washed out.

The staff at the Porto Bay Serra Golf Hotel were very quick to find a lost mobile phone and immediately delivered it by car to the next hotel that we had moved to - great service.

Mrs King
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
19/03/2014

I would thoroughly recommend the holiday but perhaps making own travel arrangements.The connection times between Lisbon airport and rain station were over generous. I can only think tis is a failsafe because the trains are not very frequent.One couple had made own arrangements of flight to Faro The train journey to Tunes was much shorter., and connections much more satisfactory

Mr Shadwell
Marvels of Madeira Walk
13/03/2014

We thoroughly enjoyed the holiday and thought it was very good value for the money. For us it was only marred by our experience on our second night at the Porto Bay Serra Golf Hotel. The hotel dining room was full on this night, but there were only two staff to serve about 40 people. Consequently, the service was very slow. After our main course we requested a menu to choose a dessert, but after waiting for 20 minutes for the menu we gave up and went back to our room. Also, we should have been given a packed lunch the following day, but this did not happen. We should have reminded them the night before, but because they were so short staffed, we could not find anyone to mention it to. Otherwise this was a lovely hotel, perhaps we just caught them on an off day.

The packed lunch we received from the Quintar do Furao, was excellent.

The overall experience was very enjoyable and exceeded our expectations.

Dr Griffiths
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
23/01/2014

Excellent, especially as we experienced very stormy weather on one day but Tony and Ludmilla kept in touch with us and advised us not to walk; instead they collected us in the van and took us to one of the major sites we would otherwise not have seen. They were outstanding reps, and ambassadors for Headwater.

Mr Riddaway
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
23/01/2014

Tony and Ludmilla were the best reps we have ever had in our extensive experience of Headwater holidays. They went to a great deal of trouble to make the walks more interesting and had produced laminated maps with the walks highlighted. These were far more useful than those originally supplied. Their initial briefing (and the associated written material) and walking notes were really well researched with lots of useful information on the likelihood of shops etc being open. Very useful in mid- January!

The hotels were really excellent .Very good breakfasts in all except one. The free hotel in Lisbon [Plaza Lisboa] at the end of the holiday even supplied us with a complimentary bottle of Portugese fizzy wine on Bob's birthday.

Mr Setchim
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
07/01/2014

Particularly good waymarking made this an undemanding experience.

Luggage transport was by the same team each time which was helpful

Mrs Kelly
Walk the Algarve's Wild West
29/11/2013

This was our 8th Holiday with you and as ever we really enjoyed our break. We especially enjoyed our stay in Pedralva (took our 2 free nights there). Beautiful area, great walking. All staff at hotels were friendly and helpful. Your reps - Tony and Ludmilla were welcoming and really helpful. Tony's route notes were the best we have come across. Lovely food, quality wines. Good mix of accommodation. Only downside were the number of barking dogs - thankfully mostly on leashes but a bit scary at times (farm dogs and dogs on the properties kind of out of the way) Probably not a lot more that you can do about that though!

Dr Mather
Marvels of Madeira Walk
14/10/2013

We enjoyed this holiday as we went with friends but the area itself is of only moderate interest although the vegetation is of great interest. The walking was quite easy and did not fill the whole day and is of limited interest as the views are limited. Some more demanding and high level walking would have been good and the last day's walk was very dull and urban and a different day should be subsituted. Also the first day would have been boring if we had just returned the same way that we came. Instead we just went one way and took a taxi to port Moniz to swim. Overall I don't think the walks were very well planned to provide variety and interest.

On the plus side the directions were impeccable and when we had views they were wonderful and some of the walks were very peaceful.

Mr Collier
Marvels of Madeira Walk
06/10/2013

The holiday was up to the good standard that we have come to expect from Headwater holidays and would recommend it. A comment for improvement would relate to the third hotel Quinta Da Bella Vista where although the food, facilities and service were up to a 5 star rating, we thought the room of the hotel in which we stayed was a bit tired and needed upgrading to warrant 5 stars.

Mr More
Marvels of Madeira Walk
30/09/2013

We were slightly nervous that a very successful and enjoyable independent holiday - Catalan Coastal Walk last year could be matched by this one in Madeira. We thoroughly enjoyed it. It was very different in topography, but also pretty demanding for our ages (65 and 72), which we like. We think 2-boot is good for us. There is a big contrast between the levada walks and the demanding up and downs, but the mix is good. The hotels were all good, but we prefer hotels 'in places' so you can walk with interest around where you are. Like all of the four except one on the Catalan walk. None of the Madeira hotels were in this category. Not a major complaint. Just personal choice.

Mr Morrison
Marvels of Madeira Walk
24/09/2013

Something different every day. From coast to mountains - enjoyable and occasionally challenging walks that gave us a glimpse of all the fabulous views Madeira has to offer. And at the end of the day - hotels with a warm welcome and touch of luxury.

Mrs Bird
Marvels of Madeira Walk
23/09/2013

A really good holiday. Some of the walks were slightly more dangerous than we imagined and the Porto Bay Serra Golf would benefit from a lift as we had to carry our cases up a narrow winding staircase with no help. As we had upgraded the room you should perhaps warn clients this may happen.

Mrs Gualtieri
Marvels of Madeira Walk
12/07/2013

The Headwater attention to detail was brilliant but would want them to change the second hotel. We did meet a family who had previously enjoyed a Headwater canoeing holiday so we all sang your praises together and may look at that another year. Thank you for giving us a holiday that made us feel special.

Mrs Poole
Marvels of Madeira Walk
08/07/2013

A beautiful, breathtaking experience.

Ms Kennedy
Marvels of Madeira Walk
14/05/2013

A few minor details aside, everything worked like clockwork and we had a relaxing and enjoyable holiday in a beautiful location which offers an unusual walking experience through the unique levada system. We were pleasantly surprised by the second hotel (Serra Golf), which was much better than previous comments had led us to expect. It has joined a hotel group and had a refurb last year, so it has a smart boutique feel. All the facilities were clean and fresh, including a new swimming pool and lawned sunbathing area. The dining room was lovely, the breakfasts excellent, and the dinners very tasty. The picnic was substandard though, someone needs to follow up on that! Also, the reception desk is not manned the whole time and the welcome you get can be a bit brusque, depending who comes when you ring the bell.

Mr Townsend
Marvels of Madeira Walk
24/04/2013

We had a superb week away with Headwater. There was a great balance of challenging walking with luxury at the end of the day. We will certainly be booking through you again.

Dr Mason
Marvels of Madeira Walk
13/04/2013

Madeira is an interesting and picturesque island. The walking is pleasant, but you need a head for heights. The walks are mainly along 'levadas' (narrow water channels) which often cling to the sides of steep gorges. On our holiday there was a mixture of sunshine and downpours of rain. Waterproofs are a must, and also walking poles, since the paths can often become slippy when wet. The food is excellent with an abundance of fruit and vegetables. The hotels we stayed in were very comfortable and luxurious. Funchal is a large town, with interesting architecture, but currently the whole of the seafront is being re-built, a major construction operation which is likely to take a long time. We had a very enjoyable holiday in a place we had never previously visited.

Mrs Barbour
Marvels of Madeira Walk
13/04/2013

We've travelled with ATG on similar holidays and the materials, guides etc you receive are far more robust - hard back bound ring folders - and far more detailed with good maps and topography profiles. The maps from Headwater were pretty poor, small scale and not very useable. The instructions come on stapled A4 pieces of paper printed double-side. By the end of a wet walk, they were in tatters even though we had them in a plastic map carrier. The whole package in fact was cheap compared with competitors' packages.

In terms of the accommodation, that was better than our recent ATG experience, higher quality, however without a car you were somewhat isolated in the villages/towns that two out of the three were located in and there was little to do. The half board was very variable; the first was a set menu poor quality and the traditional element never changed for any of the three nights, also you couldn't eat off the a la carte. The second was excellent and you could eat off the a la carte but it was complicated at billing to understand the adjustments, and the third you only got a 5-course a la carte which was excellent and if you ate a la carte had to tell the hotel by 3pm and then only got a 30% discount, meaning for the same value you would have had to spend c �120. It didn't make sense. The hotels weren't all geared for walkers either. Quinta Bela Vista in Funchal knew we were walkers and presented our picnic in a wicker basket. Just don't think Headwater briefed the hotels well. Finally the walks were ok, but the better walks weren't in the schedule. The classic High Peak walk was spectacular, not a hard walk although at c 1800m, but not even mentioned until we asked the local guide. Two to the four walks actually returned by the same route. Haing looked at the website, a guest had mentioned a number of years ago that the Levada Nova was a poor walk, mostly on a road and just walked back the same way as you go. Clearly nobody had listened and it was a waste of a day when there were far better walks in the area.

Headwater response:
Thank you for your comments. We're sorry our maps and walking instructions did not meet your expectations. We do everything we can to keep our literature as up-to-date, informative and user-friendly as possible. We do now print all route notes double-sided - responsible tourism is a strong part of our Headwater ethos and where we can save paper, we do. We choose not to provide ring-binders and such, again, in line with our environmental policies (they can also be a bit bulky to carry in luggage/rucksacks). We do however monitor all feedback, and if we feel changes are necessary, we will certainly take action. The last thing we want is for people to struggle with maps and notes during their holiday.
We are also sorry there appears to have been some confusion at the hotels with regard to your menu choices. We have been working with these hotels for a number of years and upgrading your menu should be no trouble at all. We will take this up with our local agent and ensure that the meal arrangements are clarified at each hotel.
Thank you again for contacting us.

Mrs Lay
Marvels of Madeira Walk
13/04/2013

Quinta do Furao was a great hotel and the staff were particularly helpful when my husband's tooth broke on the first night (just before they supplied him with a surprise birthday cake). They went out of their way to find a local English-speaking dentist so we didn't have to pay for a taxi to Funchal. The dentist was efficient and cheap, so we were extremely happy with the service.

Do take poles for the walks and good clothing, especially if it is a rainy month like March. Also remember that in two of the hotels you may have to go outside to access the restaurant.

Our main disappointment was that the levada walks seemed to be mainly among trees, so you didn't often get a view despite being hundreds of feet up.

Mr Lascelles
Marvels of Madeira Walk
13/04/2013

Although not thrown together with the other walkers one of the pleasures of the holiday was meeting other people. Some of those walks were rather long and to be able to chat to somebody new helped to pass the time.

We enjoyed getting to know Madeira, was impressed and certainly would like to visit again when the weather was more settled. Out of our four walking days two were a wash out because of torrential weather, which we have to admit we were not totally prepared for.

Dr Rayner
Marvels of Madeira Walk
23/03/2013

We needed to find somewhere to go in early March, which was a challenge! The weather was fine, apart from the last day, when it rained heavily.

The flowers were out in some areas, but not yet at their best. We enjoyed particularly the walk from Queimadas to the waterfall, and the parts in laurel forests. Some of the other walks in eucalyptus forests were rather dry and boring. We saw a few birds, but not many. Could not find a suitable bird book.

We took a taxi from Funchal up to the peaks on the Wednesday, which cost about 60 euros and stayed two hours while we walked along the summit footpath. This is definitely worth recommending if the weather is fine.