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Gastronomic Barolo Cycling

Gastronomic Barolo Cycling

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  • Holiday typeSelf-guided cycling
  • Duration8 nights
  • Accommodationhotel-to-hotel
    and
  • Activity level
  • From $2905per person, tour only
  • Departures
    Every two days from 22 Sep '18 to 22 Oct '19
  • What your holiday price includes
  • 8 nights hotel-to-hotel accommodation in a mix of and hotels
  • All buffet breakfasts and gastronomic evening meals
  • Services of your local Headwater Representative
  • Headwater Wine Collection Service
  • GPS route directions and maps
  • RideWithGPS navigation app
  • High quality hybrid bikes
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • Optional Upgrades
  • Electric bikes available
  • Room upgrades and extra nights at selected hotels
  • Excellent choice for
  • Food lovers, wine lovers, art & history, swimming opportunities, vegetarian meals, solo travellers, couples
      from 48 reviews

Brown says...
Avoid taking this holiday in August. We loved the holiday but it was too hot.
Read reviews »

Gallery

Gastronomic Barolo Cycling

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

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

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

The hotels we've chosen are, quite simply, fabulous! In Benevello your **** hotel is a stunningly restored C19 family villa, with a Michelin-starred restaurant; in Neive you're the guest of Viviana at her 12-room country house with a breathtaking panoramic pool; and in Monforte d'Alba private tastings can be organised in the hotel's vast wine cellar. You'll enjoy gastronomic menus everywhere, either dining at your hotel, or at a specially selected restaurant close by.



We're here to help

If you have any questions about this holiday call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347, use our live webchat or email usa@exodustravels.com

Day-by-day itinerary



We're here to help

If you've any questions about this holiday call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 , or email usa@exodustravels.com

Day 1 Arrive at Benevello

Arrive at your stunning hotel just below Benevello. The chef here trained under Marco Pierre White so you're in for a real treat! (Staying in Villa d'Amelia, Half Board)

Day 2 Benevello to Neive 35km/22mi

You'll start today with a gentle ride along an open road, with hawks soaring high above the breathtaking Langhe countryside. You visit lovely Mango, with its beautiful castle rich in WW2 history. Then on to San Stefano Belbo, the birthplace of one Italy's greatest writers, Cesare Pavese; the pretty old town makes for a lovely lunch stop. On the way to Neive, your cycle ride takes you past the famous Moscato vineyards before you arrive at your *** hotel, which boasts wonderful views over the verdant hills with vineyards cascading down. (Staying at Hotel Villa Lauri, Breakfast at the hotel, evening meal at a local restaurant)

Day 3 At Neive

Neive is a great place to explore. Officially one of Italy's prettiest villages and home of Romano Levi, a renowned grappa maker, you can wander its cobbled streets that are lined with brightly-coloured flower boxes, or after a morning by the panoramic pool, cycle or take a local bus to nearby Barbaresco for lunch and cheese-tasting in the piazza. Enjoy some wine in the enoteca, housed in a C19 church built by the locals in thanks for a good grape harvest! Or head across to the spumante capital of Asti, with its quaint cobbled centre. Each September the main piazza is home to a crazy palio horse race to rival Siena's! (Staying at Hotel Villa Lauri, Breakfast at the hotel, evening meal at local a restaurant)

Day 4 Neive to Grinzane Cavour 42km/26.5mi

Leaving Neive behind, you undulate through the vineyards to Castagnole Lanze before heading downhill to the River Tanaro and enjoy a lovely gentle ride along the river to Alba. There's time to explore the cobbled streets and bustling piazze of chocolate-perfumed Alba (the home of Ferrero Rocher). Then it's on to Grinzane Cavour where a warm welcome awaits at the elegant Casa Pavesi. (Staying at Casa Pavesi, Breakfast at the hotel, evening meal at a local restaurant)

Day 5 At Grinzane Cavour

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

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

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

Day 7 At Monforte d'Alba

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

Day 8 Monforte d'Alba to Benevello 21km/13.5mi or 35km/22mi

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

Day 9 Leave Benevello

Please note that between the 2nd July and 8th July 2018 the Collisioni Festival will be held in the town of Barolo. The area will be busier and entrance fees (payable locally) may apply. Your holiday representative will provide further information locally.

Where you stay

During your holiday you stay at the following hotels. If you'd like to extend your time at any of these or, if you'd like to enhance your stay with an upgraded room, just let us know at the time of booking. If you'd like to keep your bikes with you for any extra nights we can arrange this for you for just £25 per adult per day and £18 per child per day.

To find out more call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347, use our live webchat or email usa@exodustravels.com

Relais Villa d'Amelia, Benevello

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

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

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

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

Find out more on the hotel website and read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.

DatesDeluxe RoomJunior SuiteSuite
11/05/2018 - 31/10/2018£21£38£72

All prices shown above are valid from 01/12/2017. Prices are per person per night, based on 2 people sharing.
Deluxe rooms - offer views onto the surrounding hills; some (not all) of the deluxe rooms have a 4 poster bed and are a little larger.
Junior Suites - much larger than the other room types. You will also benefit from a sitting area, with sofa, dressing gowns and larger bathrooms. There are just 2 junior suites - one overlooking the courtyard and the overlooking the hills. Please note that as these rooms have 4 poster beds, only double rooms are available.

Please contact us for extra night prices.

Hotel Villa Lauri, Neive

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The small yet cosy, family run Hotel Villa Lauri is situated on the fringes of the old walled town of Neive. Dating back to the 1800s, the villa has a panoramic terrace and pool with sweeping views over the Langhe hills and vineyards.

Each of the 12 rooms is individually decorated in bright colours and all feature ensuite bathrooms.

Find out more on the hotel website and read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.

DatesExecutive RoomSuperior RoomJunior suite
01/05/2018 - 31/10/2018£7£11£21

All prices shown above are valid from 18/11/2017. Prices are per person per night based on 2 people sharing a double room. Superior rooms are south facing, larger and have a terrace. The junior suites are larger and come with a large terrace and a view over the Langhe hills.

Please contact us for extra night prices.

A Casa di Maria, Grinzane Cavour

Located in Grinzane Cavour in the heart of the Langhe A Casa di Maria is a modern residence with a large garden and an excellent view. Quiet and cosy it is the perfect spot to relax at the end of a long day.

Find out more on the hotel website and read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.

Room upgrades are not available at this hotel.

Please contact us for extra night prices.

Casa Pavesi, Grinzane Cavour

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

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

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

Find out more on the hotel website and read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.

DatesSuperior RoomSuite 32Suite 25Suite 11
01/05/2018 - 31/10/2018£9£18£27£37

All prices shown above are valid from 18/11/2017. Please note: The suites are only available as double bedded rooms. Prices are per person per night, based on 2 people sharing. Superior rooms have a view of the Langhe countryside Suite 11 is larger with Jacuzzi bath, view of the Langhe countryside, a 4 poster bed and a small balcony (with chairs only) Suite 25 is larger, with a view of the Langhe countryside and large balcony with sun loungers Suite 32 is larger with a 4 poster bed

Please contact us for extra night prices.

Villa Beccaris, Monforte d'Alba

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

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

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

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

Find out more on the hotel website and read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.

DatesDeluxe RoomSuite Room
01/05/2018 - 31/08/2018£9£58
01/09/2018 - 31/10/2018£21£90

All prices shown above are valid from 01/12/2017. Prices are per person per night, based on 2 people sharing.
Deluxe rooms - have a ceiling decorated with frescoes and original floor and are located in the most ancient part of the house. The Deluxe rooms have some extras like: fresh fruits; room service is offered; 'pillow menu', so that you can choose the pillow you prefer; cotton slippers; tea making facilities

Please contact us for extra night prices.

Extending your stay

If you'd like to extend your trip with extra nights at the start or end, or if you'd like to arrange a stop off point en-route, then we recommend the following hotels.

Andreola Central Hotel, Milan

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

Please contact us for prices.

Find out more on the hotel website and read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.

Room upgrades are not available at this hotel.

Please contact us for extra night prices.

Grand Hotel Sitea, Turin

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

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

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

Find out more on the hotel website and read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.

Room upgrades are not available at this hotel.

Please contact us for extra night prices.

Travel

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

Please call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 or email usa@exodustravels.com to arrange connecting flights.

Reviews

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


Brown, 24/08/2018

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


Mr Payne, 18/06/2018

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


Mr Salter, 07/06/2018

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


Mr Liddell, 26/05/2018

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


Mrs Graham, 25/05/2018

Well organised, reps were lovely and very helpful.


Mrs Price, 25/09/2017

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


Ms Pye, 23/09/2017

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


Mrs O'Hare, 20/09/2017

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



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


Ms Clarke, 18/08/2017

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


Mrs Ergatoudis, 04/08/2017

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


Dr Sinclair, 28/06/2017

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


Mr Powell, 05/06/2017

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


Mr Hughes, 20/09/2016

We had a great week touring Piedmont on our pushbikes Most of the days rides were quite challenging with some steep climbs but fortunately the distances we travelled were quite short We were blessed with fantastic weather in September so the secret was to set off promptly after a great breakfast each day to get to your destination before mid-afternoon and the hottest part of the day

The standard of hotels is very good although the air conditioning in a couple of them was not really very effective The hosts & locals were all very friendly whenever we stopped or needed directions The pre-arranged meals were all of a high standard and there are plenty of excellent places for lunch on the routes

The roads were always pretty much traffic free with occasional tractors & trailers passing laden with grapes

The guest exclusive secluded pool at the Albergo Castiglione deserves a special mention & I will remember our picnic lunch by the pool brought down by the hotel owner & two beautiful daughters on a baking hot day for a long time

All the route plans were accurate & realistic with several options on some days The bikes themselves worked well and the support team Dan & Cat were discreet but attentive

Finally the food, every meal was enjoyable ranging from a delightful local trattoria in the village to the award winning castle. No matter how hard you try I suspect you will eat too much of it! All the hosts seemed happy to advise you & would often let you drink it by the glass rather than the whole bottle if you wanted

This was an excellent holiday & I think reflects Headwaters long experience in organising these sort of trips Well Done


Mrs Quick, 06/09/2016

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


Mrs Hill, 25/07/2016

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


Dr Young, 19/07/2016

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

We did not find your new map system helpful. the route notes mentioned names of places that were not on your new maps. Thankfully our reps provided proper maps at our request.


Mr Brandao, 24/06/2016

This is the second holiday package organized by Headwater and both experiences have been simply great. We love you guys! Thank you so very much!

We've noticed Headwater doesn't have a package for Greece, please do so! Let us know about it.


Ms D'Arcy, 07/06/2016

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


Mrs Moulton, 29/05/2016

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


Mr Richens, 07/10/2015

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


Dr Foo, 25/09/2015

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


Mrs Green, 25/09/2015

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


Mrs Geddes, 17/09/2015

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


Dr May, 29/06/2015

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


Mr Denton, 19/06/2015

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


Mis Perry, 29/05/2015

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


Mrs Ovenden, 07/10/2014

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


Mrs Lee, 07/10/2014

The holiday was fantastic, better than expected. Hotels, food, wine, weather all perfect, with great cycling routes on very quiet roads.

The views were to die for, and the hills a challenge but rewarded with the downward ride on the other side.

Would love to do it all again.


Mrs Lodge, 06/10/2014

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


Dr Miller, 27/09/2014

I found cycling in Piemonte quite challenging. I did the Undiscovered Provence and also the Umbria cycling trips last year, and I would say I found Piemonte a notch more difficult, at least subjectively (I reviewed my cycling computer data, and Provence was actually much more climbing). It may be because there were very few flat spots, the hills were quite relentless and the warmth and humidity were quite high on several days.

Piemonte had the best food and hotels of the three itineraries I mentioned, while Provence had the better scenery and riding terrain variety (but much poorer hotels and food). Umbria was probably the best compromise of food and hotel quality and terrain variety.


Mrs Conway, 14/09/2014

What a wonderful holiday! We thoroughly enjoyed it. Regarding the hills - yes, they're steep, but the bikes were perfectly maintained (thanks, Esme!) and the overall distances aren't that long, so I (reasonably fit but not a great cyclist, had probably been out 10 times this year previously and in Hertfordshire so hardly hilly) found them perfectly doable, and certainly easier than I had feared from reading earlier reviews. We did all the tougher options and the amount of cycling was just hard enough to give a sense of achievement/work up an appetite for the next feast! Personally, I enjoyed the challenge of the hills and the wonderful views at the tops! Having said that, if you haven't been on a bike in years/aren't generally active, this might not be the holiday for you.



Hotels were all lovely; restaurants all very good and the majority truly excellent. Spa facilities at Villa d'Amelia were particularly good.



We found plenty to fill the non-cycling days, sometimes on foot and sometimes by bike. Almost always there were local walks (e.g. on noticeboards in the town centre and signposted from there) which we enjoyed.



Overall a hugely enjoyable and memorable holiday!


Ms Sobczyk, 26/08/2014

Not sure - with 6 of us booking together (ie a lot of custom for Headwater) it would have been much more helpful if someone in head office had thought through our travelling requirements more carefully. The girl who took the booking always said that we could fly on Friday or Sunday, but did not explain the implications of choosing the Friday in terms of extra travel problems to and from Munich, nor at the outset of the cost implications. The extra costs crept in as the booking progressed - as full time workers it was easier to just carry on with the booking than say hang on, why weren't all these extra costs explained before we started this process (room supplements, transfers, extra prices for flight because a busy weekend (did the UK sales rep explore whether the Sunday departure would have been cheaper for us, for instance - I think not). We also thought that Headwater should have had another rep out there in Piedmont - Martha and Esme could not help us out on non cycling days as they were on airport runs .... but with a holiday of this quality, there should be someone available at all times.. I would also add that I have been on a number of other holidays with cycling companies - more down market - but the experience and knowledge of the rep and mechanic has far outweighed the knowledge and experience of Esme and Martha; they did nothing wrong, but did not add the type of spark to the holiday a good rep can.



The daily notes explaining the route would have benefitted enormously from a proper map - with other companies we have been given laminated copies of the map giving all the local details - your sketches together with the provided maps were not easy to interpret. We suspected they needed a bit of an update - gradient outlines for example would help - we knew it would not be easy but the hills did seem to dominate!



We probably will go with Headwater again on account of the quality of the hotels, but will ask a lot more questions next time about exactly what is involved and what help will be available.



We did have a good time, but a lot of niggles that ought to have been sorted. I have never complained before about a holiday .....


Mrs Wilson, 10/08/2014

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


Mrs Scheer, 14/07/2014

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


Dr Lyttelton, 05/07/2014

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


Mr Payne, 17/06/2014

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


Mr Holway, 16/06/2014

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


Mr Robertson, 17/10/2013

Piedmont is a very attractive area and not at all 'touristy'. It is, however, much hillier than we expected from brochure description, and though the climbs were interesting at times, the rewards were the views from the top and the descents!

The accommodation was excellent in every respect, the hotel and restaurant staff almost invariably very welcoming and helpful and the food and wines were generally very good. Special mention to the Osteria Dai Cateri in Monforte d'Alba for the best dinner of the holiday but most of the others were extremely good. Moda again in Monforte d'Alba was only average and Verde Rama in Castiglione Tinella was a bit disappointing; they gave us a restricted '?Headwater' menu and several of the dishes served were poor. I think all the other restaurants gave us a choice from their a la carte menus.

This is our third Headwater holiday and the bikes provided were the worst. The bikes were fairly basic and slightly heavy hybrids compared with what the Chain Gang gave us last year but they were poorly maintained and my bike was unsafe. My wife's bike's handlebars weren't straight and she couldn't get into the lowest gear (not handy in hilly terrain!). My bike's gears were also not set up corrrectly but I was able to sort that myself, but the bike felt unsteady on corners. Eventually it started creaking loudly going up hills and my wife observed the rear wheel wobble especially on corners. I've a little experience in bike maintenance and the problem seemed to be due to slack spokes that needed tensioned. Marc brought out, the following morning, a replacement wheel taken from another bike and this seemed ok during a quick test in the hotel's garage but after a few yards with panniers on, ball bearings started falling out of the rear wheel bearing. Unfortunately the reps had gone and as they'd forgotten their mobile, it was some time before I got a replacement bike. This was a Giant and much better than my original Headwater bike, thankfully. If both our bikes had been of this quality, we would have definitely considered another Headwater holiday and recommended you to our friends and family.

During the booking process, Headwater arranged the train tickets from Nice to Cuneo and informed me on the phone and in the original invoice, the train departure times and that we would change trains at Breil Sur Roya. When the final invoice arrived, train depature time and station to switch trains at (now Ventimiglia), had been changed. Fortunately I noticed the alterations but I think Headwater should have drawn our attention, specifically, to this, as we might have missed it.


Mrs Gentle, 04/10/2013

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


Mrs Melhuish, 12/09/2013

We enjoyed our holiday in Piedmonte a great deal. Accommodation and food etc were excellent. Backup was good too. However, we felt that the cycling difficulty rating as stated (moderate/leisurely) was a little on the optimistic side Having cycled the 'Secrets of San Gemiagno' route last year (moderate), we thought 'Gastronomic Barolo' was significantly more difficult, despite selecting the 'easier' options when there was a choice of route.



Future travellers heading for this holiday via Nice (Easyjet) should note that you will have a 5 hour wait in Nice following the 6 a.m.departure from Gatwick The Castle Hill to the east of the city is pleasant place to spend a few peaceful hours, but had we known that we could have dumped our cases at the station this would have improved the experience.


Mrs Ferguson, 09/09/2013

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


Mrs Hunt, 02/09/2013

Just what we wanted!


Mrs Campbell, 01/09/2013

We had a fantastic holiday! The food was fabulous and the hotels were perfect. Villa Beccaris is particularly stunning. It is a beautiful part of Italy which is very lush - even in August. The reason for this is that it sometimes rains, so take some waterproofs for you and your valuables. We had 2 rainy days - the showers were short but heavy. The panniers supplied seemed watertight but some extra protection did not go amiss.



Grading a cycling holiday is difficult as it is subjective and depends and on what you are used to. We are in our mid-fifties, reasonably fit and do most of our cycling in Scotland or occasionally Yorkshire so are used to hills. We can happily cycle 50 - 60 miles/day. All of the towns in this region are on the tops of hills but you are often given the option of shorter/easier routes longer/more challenging ones. We always took the 'challenging' option as they are usually very scenic and didn't find them too difficult. However, so if you have not cycled for a while you will enjoy it more if you try to improve your fitness before you go. The bikes are good, with lots of gears and the distance between the hotels is not excessive so you can take your time and enjoy the scenery which is stunning. It is not really leisurely, however, and a novice might find it tough going at times.



The bikes also come with comfy gel saddles but we can recommend wearing proper cycle shorts. The extra padding helps and the seams in normal shorts can cause uncomfortable friction. The water bottles supplied by Headwater only contain 750 ml and there is no way of securing them to the bike so you have to keep them in the panniers.Bottles cages are not supplied for safety reasons but we took Camelback rucksacks which are very useful. They hold 1500 ml and the tubing means water is always readily available to drink on the move rather than having to stop half way up a hill. There are lots of public drinking fountains to top up so you don't need to worry about buying water in shops.



If you are thinking about an August holiday, be aware that this is peak holiday time in Italy so some shops and restaurants will be closed. As a result, we ate at the same restaurant on 2 consecutive nights but that was no hardship.


Mr Smyth, 15/08/2013

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


Mr Ogden, 04/07/2013

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


Mrs Maffre, 05/06/2013

This is our third Headwater holiday, and each one gets better. The Piedmont is a beautiful area, the hotels and restaurants are first class, and the staff friendly and efficient. It is a very hilly area, hence the wonderful views (and also the long steep climbs on the bikes). The cycling directions were good overall, but a bit confusing in parts. Our reps were extremely friendly and helpful, and as I sprained my ankle on the 3rd day they had to move me on with the baggage! Nothing was too much trouble for them. I have already recommended this holiday to our friends!

No-one should expect to lose weight on this cycling holiday - the food and wine is superb!


Dr Foley, 04/06/2013

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


Dr Johns, 07/01/2013

We've been on a headwater holiday once before (to Switzerland) and it was amazing - in fact it was the best holiday we'd ever had! However we were very disappointed this time. Although the scenery, accommodation and food were lovely the cycling was not enjoyable, it was punishing! Since this is the most important element of a cycling holiday it completely ruined our stay.

The difficulty rating was totally wrong. We're a couple in our 30's (not unfit) but not regular cyclists- the description suggested this would suit us fine and included descriptions of 'softly rolling hills'. This was certainly NOT our experience. The hills were steep and long and never ending.I'm aware that since we returned the difficulty rating has changed. Furthermore, the various stop-offs on the way (cafes etc) to refill water were closed due to the time of year (which we were not forewarned about) - considering the heat this made the cycling even more intolerable.

All in all very disappointing. We paid 5000 and were expecting another dream holiday. Instead we needed a week to recover once we got home.



Dates and prices

You can be confident that our pricing includes all the standard requirements of your holiday and many additional extras. Always ensure that you are comparing like for like when booking your holiday. Find out about The Headwater Price Promise to ensure you're getting the very best value for money.

For further details, or to check availability, speak to our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 or complete our holiday enquiry form (we'll contact you at a time that's most convenient for you).

To enquire about this holiday, or for further information, call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 or complete our holiday enquiry form.

  • Sep
  • Oct
Sep 2018 Tour only Availability
20th Sep US$2905 Check availability
22nd Sep US$2905 Check availability
24th Sep US$2905 Check availability
26th Sep US$2905 Check availability
28th Sep US$2905 Check availability
30th Sep US$2905 Check availability
Oct 2018 Tour only Availability
2nd Oct US$2905 Check availability
4th Oct US$2905 Check availability
6th Oct US$2905 Check availability
8th Oct US$2905 Check availability
10th Oct US$2905 Check availability
12th Oct US$2905 Check availability
14th Oct US$2905 Check availability

The prices quoted for each individual departure supercede those published in our current brochures. Air prices are subject to change and we advise early booking to obtain the best prices. Please see our Planning your holiday and What's included in the price? pages for additional information.

Holiday details

Children
Over 2 and under 12 sharing with 2 adults.

Holiday type
Self-guided cycling Managed locally by Headwater appointed rep.

Departures
Every two days from 20th Sep 2018 to 14th Oct 2018, for 8 nights.

Meals
All buffet breakfasts and gastronomic evening meals

Electric bikes
It is possible to hire electric bikes for this holiday at a supplement of £100 per person. As these are available on a first come first served basis, we recommend early booking to avoid disappointment. Please call us for further details.

Tailor-made travel

Tour only
Transfers included from Turin airport at 16:15 Mon-Thurs & Sun, 13:50 Fri & Sat, and back to Turin airport at 13:00 Mon-Fri, 10:25 Sat & Sun.

How to book

For further details, or to check availability, speak to our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 or complete our holiday enquiry form (we'll contact you at a time that's most convenient for you).

To enquire about this holiday, or for further information, call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 or complete our holiday enquiry form.

We are ATOL registered We are an ABTA member
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