For 2020 departures our trip inclusions are changing - please contact us for full details
On this self-guided, hotel-to-hotel walking holiday, you'll explore the beautifully tranquil Langhe region of Piedmont, a gastronomic gem quietly tucked into Italy's north-western corner. Recently recognised by UNESCO, the countryside is a glorious mix of gently rippling, wave-shaped hills cloaked by layers of vines, sunflowers and oak forests, crowned with honey-hued hamlets and majestic Savoy castles.
Your route starts and ends in Benevello, nestling in the hazelnut-clad Alta Langa hills, from where you follow the limpid Tanaro River before climbing through a string of hamlets to Grinzane Cavour where you'll enjoy gorgeous balcony views from the hotel terrace! It's then on to Castiglione Falletto, dominated by its distinctive 11th century castle. As you approach beautiful Monforte d'Alba, whose ochre-coloured houses seem to cling enchantingly to the hillside, you visit Barolo, home of the revered eponymous wine. Distances are reasonably short, leaving plenty of time to try the many regional specialities en route. This rich and fertile land produces some of Italy's finest food and wine, from robust Barolo and sweet Moscato to aromatic white truffles (exclusive to Alba), crunchy hazelnuts and tangy cheeses.
This is all complemented by our carefully picked hotels, often with pools, and full of character and contrasts, from Serena's friendly, family-run hotel in the centre of Castiglione Falletto, to a beautifully restored 19th century family villa, complete with its own converted chapel and Michelin starred restaurant in Benevello.
Read more about this holiday in Planet Confidential.
The walks are mainly through vineyards on earthen paths, forest trails and some asphalt sections. Walking boots are essential and poles are recommended for the ascents and descents through the vineyards which may be uneven underfoot.
Arrive at your hotel in time for a swim before dinner. The Michelin-starred chef here trained under Marco Pierre White so you're certainly in for a treat!
You stay at Villa d'Amelia (breakfast and evening meal)
After a short transfer you follow a gentle path alongside the clear waters of the Tanaro River, next to which pheasants and partridges rustle in the oak forest. It's on to Roddi (the castle here used to house the University of Truffle Dogs!) and Grinzane Cavour with its wonderful megalithic castle with amazing views. Time for a drink on the terrace at our stunning 4 star hotel in the village centre before dinner.
You stay at the Casa Pavesi (breakfast included)
Grinzane Cavour is an atmospheric wine village with wine tasting on offer in its UNESCO recognised castle. Gastronomic capital, Alba, is easily reached from here (you may wish to take a taxi there, then walk back); explore the cobbled crimson squares and bustling porticoed streets.
You stay at the Casa Pavesi (breakfast included)
After a short transfer to panoramic hilltop Diano d'Alba you follow lush paths with hawks cruising overhead as you cross the Talloria River. Then it's a gentle climb through holm oak to reach Serralunga d'Alba, whose 13th century castle seems to surge towards the sky - you still need to cross the drawbridge to visit it. A last gentle ascent through vines takes you to the centre of Castiglione Falletto and your welcoming village hotel.
You stay at the Hotel Le Torri (breakfast included)
Perhaps follow a circular route today (route notes provided), first visiting tiny Annunziata with its frescoed chapel (and an excellent farmhouse trattoria). Then it's on through sun-dappled hamlets and delicate swaying vines to reach La Morra, the 'Balcony of the Langhe', with plenty of wine-tasting opportunities in the bustling centre - even Julius Caesar stopped here to try some!
You stay at the Hotel Le Torri (breakfast included)
Descending gently to the Talloria Valley, you follow the stream's poplar-shaded path towards the ochre-hued 16th century castle of Barolo, which stands guard over the village's world-famous vineyards. Maybe visit panoramic Novello, a belvedere town built as a summer retreat for the residents of Alba, before continuing through fields ablaze with colourful wild flowers to reach our elegant villa hotel at Monforte d'Alba.
You stay at Villa Beccaris (breakfast included)
Situated in its own scented garden with views across medieval Monforte and beyond (even Mont Blanc on a clear day), Villa Beccaris offers a tempting swimming pool and a sun-trap courtyard. Alternatively, explore this pretty town with twisting streets clinging to the hillside. There are also plenty of opportunities for wine tasting.
You stay at Villa Beccaris (breakfast included)
Take a lift to lovely Serravalle Langhe, from where you join the Sentiero della Valle Tanaro. First, shaded by hazelnut, oak and poplar trees, you reach Albaretto della Torre dominated by its 13th century Duecentesca tower. After lunch the panorama opens out with spectacular views back to Alba and the Tanaro Valley as you descend gently towards Benevello. There's time for one last swim before dinner.
You stay at Villa d'Amelia (breakfast and evening meal)
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.
The Relais Villa d'Amelia is a luxuriously restored 19th century family villa (and a member of the 'Small Luxury Hotels of the World'), just outside the Alta Langa village of Benevello.
Room upgrades: Deluxe Room, Junior Suite or Suite.
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.
Extra nights: Please contact us for details.
NEARBY: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 11th century castle.
Room upgrades: Superior Room, Suite 32, Suite 25 or Suite 11.
Please note: The suites are only available as double bedded rooms. 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
We are delighted to have found the charming Hotel Le Torri, situated in the heart of the village of Castiglione Falletto and run by the affable Marco and Serena. The hotel has been in Marco's family for nearly 20 years - back then, Marco's mum was in charge, and assisted by a very young Marco! In 2011 the hotel was given a major refurbishment, to become the modern and stylish accommodation it is today. It even has a small enoteca, where you can buy some of the local wines!
Room upgrades: Superior room or Suite Deluxe.
Superior room - larger room with balcony and Langhe countryside view.
Hotel Villa Beccaris is a gorgeous 18th century villa overlooking the beautiful town of Monforte d'Alba.
Room upgrades: Deluxe Room or Suite Room.
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
Extra nights: Please contact us for details.
As an alternative to Villa Beccaris, stays can be taken at la Ribezza.
Room upgrades: Deluxe Auditorium, Luxury, Executive Attic
As an alternative to the Villa Beccaris, stays can also be taken at the Hotel Giardino da Felicin Palazzo Boeri.
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.
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 star hotel.
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.
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.
Having travelled with Headwater before, we knew what to expect, but this holiday didn't dissapoint. The hotels and restaurants were of a very high standard. We were lucky with the weather which really helped. It was dry and sunny most of the time but not too hot for walking. We on,y got lost once - this was on out first day and probably due to a farmer seeking to discourage use of paths across his land. The instructions for that day may need a quick review. There wasn't really a map to cover everywhere we walked, but we managed with the sketch maps provided and maps covering various parts of the area we walked in. We walked an average of about 7 miles a day and found places for a light lunch which is all we would want after the spreads provided for breakfast. A lovel holiday
The general standard of the walks, route notes and accommodation made this a very enjoyable holiday. We also used the supplementary guidance notes for things to do and these also proved helpful. The local reps kept us informed as necessary and ensured all arrangements were in order.
An absolutely great walking holiday in truely beautiful part of Italy. Food and wine were fab except for the Michelin restaurant on our first night. The food was strange. We went there because the Michelin restaurant in our hotel was close on Monday nights. A shame as we ate in their bistro on our last night and it was very good. Our reps were excellent and friendly and not intrusive as this was a self guided walking holiday. There were some glitches with a couple of the walks but this was because a farmer had closed and lick a gate and another time the instructions weren’t clear at a confusing junction. However we got to our destinations easily despite some very steep incline to coast into the villages. It would have been helpful when booking to tell us what else there was to do on our days off as this was very limiting by the time we got there. Moving every two days was ok but we felt that at least one move was unnecessary as the walks were all quite close together. Over all an excellent holiday and we would use Headwater/ Exodus again
We had an excellent walking holiday in Piedmont. The accommodation was very good. It was a gastronomic holiday. We would describe half of the meals as gastronomic but others were disappointing. The food in Villa d'Amelia, Benevello was wonderful. We were disappointed, however, with the food in Hotel le Torri, Castiglione Falletto although the local restaurant we ate at, 'L'argaj', was excellent. The local restaurants in Montforte d'Alba were 'rustic' rather than 'gastronomic'. The countryside is beautiful. We really enjoyed the walks even in the high temperatures. Had it rained some of the chalk footpaths would have been very difficult. The walking instructions were very good - there were only a couple of occasions were local farmers had altered the paths or field layout but we managed to work it out. The Headwater reps were fantastic. Although we didn't need to call on them (probably due to the excellent quality of the Headwater set up), we were very confident that they were looking after us ie moving our luggage and checking we were safe and happy. We would certainly consider travelling with Headwater again.
If you like good food and excellent wine look no further than the Gastronomic Barolo Walk-it ticks all the boxes and was absolutely fabulous .
This is the first holiday of this type we have done. It won’t be the last! The accommodation was excellent, food amazing and some of the best views we have seen! The area offers a lush, manicured landscape with amazing hilltop villages and a warm welcome from the local people.
The logistics of the trip were superbly organised so that we felt like we had an independent holiday but without the need to worry about making any arrangements! Phaedra and Paul were fantastic- helpful, knowledgeable and easily contactable. All the arrangements they made ran like clockwork and when local taxis were used they were luxurious. The gastronomic aspect was such good value. All the restaurants had been carefully selected and pre booked so there was no need to waste time scrolling through trip advisor and trying to make reservations. Each evening felt different. There was a good mix of high end restaurants and quirky more local establishments. A particular highlight was the castle at Grinzane Cavour! It doesn’t get much better than eating dinner in a Michelin Star establishment at a UNESCO world heritage site! It was a privilege to be there.
Beautiful hotels and food. Interesting area to walk. I much enjoyed it. (Although walking instructions not as clear as other holidays I have taken with you ( I found the french maps easier to follow )
This was our first organised walking holiday from hotel to hotel and we loved it. The pace was relaxed with welcomed days off in between and amazing food and wine. The description of the holiday is accurate. The hotels were very comfortable and beautiful apart from Le Torri. Although the hotel is in a great location, our room was disappointing, very stark and dark.
The walks were very good with length and timing as advertised. The scenery was as described through vineyards, woodlands with at times exceptional views. The notes provided for the walks were on the whole very good and useful however we felt that at times more accurate and or additional information on distance would be useful. The map provided was useful in conjunction with the notes.
All the restaurants we had dinner at were really good, especially Larossa in Alba.
We would highly recommend this trip for anyone who enjoys a more leisurely pace.
Barolo gastronomy self guided tour is an excellent way to see the countryside of the Alba district. Beautiful scenery ,some long walks , with a welcoming Hotel with excellent food options and glorious wine!
Great wine and food , great walking and no worries.
The holiday was excellent and we have already recommended to friends. Only one hotel, Villa Beccaris, was not up to standard with poor service (sending us to tourist information when we asked to book a wine tasting after trying to connect to a local vineyard for less than 1 minute) and poor food - they ran out of pastries at about 9am even though breakfast was until 10.30am and they were holding a staff meeting for a future wedding in the breakfast room and one of the chefs glared at us when we entered the room. We want to stress that this didn't spoil the holiday it was just out of kilter with the excellent hotels experienced elsewhere during this holiday. The reps were outstanding, extremely helpful and friendly.
Fantastic scenery, some great hotels and meals.
Excellent accommodations, beautiful hiking trails, and amazing food and wine.
Good holiday but probably dependent on the weather as heavy rain will prevent some of the walks through the vineyards etc..
We have been on a lot of Headwater holidays but this one was the best yet. Superb hotels, wonderful food and lovely walks. Phaedra and Paul deserve a special mention for their charm, efficiency, punctuality and attention to detail.
An excellent holiday all round with superb accommodation and really good food. The countryside is stunning and the walks were very enjoyable.
One of our best Headwater experiences. The welcome at the hotel in Montforte was good but when we arrived at the Palazzo there was no one to ask about the lack of tea making facilities so we had to go down to reception in Giardino. It would also be good if the bar at Palazzo opened for drinks rather than being firmly closed
Enjoyable and worry free as everything happened exactly inline with the planned agenda
An amazing holiday exploring a hidden gem surrounded by beautiful vineyards and hazelnut groves. The walking routes were easy to follow a bit like being on a daily treasure hunt and we felt extremely rewarded to be greeted by a range of luxury hotels nestled on sun soaked Italian hills. Most days we managed to cool off in a pool usually with hardly a soul in sight. The gastronomic dinners were simply out of this world full of fresh ingredients and plenty of surprises. The wine, although not cheap, was truly exceptional ... the best we have ever had. This was quite simply the holiday of a lifetime for those who enjoy the finer things in life.
The arrangements, hotels and restaurants were all excellent, with some meals even better than expected, and everything went without a hitch so we had a terrific time.
This holiday is described as 'gastronomic' and it certainly delivers. The fine food and top quality wine mean that every meal is a delight, although visitors will need to recognise that Barolo and Barbaresco wines have a hefty price tag.
Outstanding holiday in a part of Italy we've only driven through in the past on the way further south. The walking was not too strenuous, though the temperature and inevitable hill at the end of every day's walking added to the challenge. The hotels and restaurants were all excellent, and local wines helped remove the pains of the days walking. Very friendly staff in all the hotels and restaurants visited.
The reps - Luke and Eleanor - were excellent; very friendly, knowledgeable and helpful, adjusting their schedule to fit in with our changing requirements. I came home totally refreshed, half a stone heavier and already looking forward to returning.
An excellent opportunity to see areas in depth on walks with very good arrangements and comfortable accommodation.
This holiday far exceeded my expectations. The hotels and restaurants were all first class, the scenery spectacular and the walks enjoyable but not too demanding. The Villa Beccaris is possibly the best hotel we've ever stayed in.
We had a fabulous week's walking through vineyards, orchards and hazelnut groves. The scenery is beautiful, the people friendly and welcoming and the food and wine superb. The walking itself was very enjoyable and not too difficult, and there were plenty of places along the way to stop and rest if we wanted to. The walking notes were excellent and our reps, Luke & Eleanor, were brilliant and helpful.
This was a most enjoyable holiday. Piedmont is a beautiful area and was especially lovely in May when we visited - all very green and fresh.
My wife and I really enjoyed our first Headwater walking holiday. Italy always delivers wherever we go and being steered towards some seriously good dining experiences was excellent. We had a couple of inclement weather days but not really a problem other than the odd bit of mud. The only slight negative was our meal at Villa d’Amelia on the first night was excellent but eight days later we were a little disappointed the menu was repeated and perhaps not quite as well executed. It was still very good though.
Our reps, Luke and Eleanor, went out of their way to ensure we were enjoying ourselves and seemed to enjoy sharing everyone’s feedback. We met several personalities on the way and as such, have made some very good memories. Thank you Headwater and particularly Luke and Nell :)
A fabulous region to walk and appreciate the countryside, weather, people and location of fairytale castles, sumptuous hotels and Michelin food. Service and attention to detail couldn't be faulted in each hotel and restaurant and knowing the lovely Headwater couple who,looked after us were always on hand if we needed any help.
Impressed how Headwater central office handled our very, very last minute request to insert us in their North Italy Piedmont Walking tour.
Well-structured walking trails. Civilised, one-day rest days between walks. Good food and wine.
True Italy! Amazing foods, sumptuous wines, breathtaking scenery and warm welcoming locals. Our excellent guides, Laura and Greg helped us get the most out of our time walking through the Langhe region which we can't recommend highly enough.
'What perfect memories are made of'
We had been recommended Headwater by close friends and were not disappointed
The Barolo is an amazing place with beautiful scenery and excellent food. The locals are very friendly and helpful. The hikes are easy and short compared to other 2 boot holidays we have been on. I think this is necessary because the days start out cool and get very hot by late afternoon. Go in the early spring or late fall if you can, but July wasn't too bad either. Three of us traveling together were from the deep South (USA) and had no problem with the weather or hills. Two of us were from the Midwest (USA) and weren't quite ready for the heat and hills, but had a truly fabulous time being together any way.
There is a huge music festival called 'Collisioni' every July. Sadly we booked during this time without knowing it. It affected which hotels we could stay at and our enjoyment of the village of Barolo. 12,000 people descend on the area during this time. Don't book during the festival! One can expect a hiccup in plans from time to time, but by booking through Headwater, you can rest knowing they will do whatever is possible to take care of you! And they did! Thank you Headwater!! Headwater is the best! For this reason, I look forward to booking our 8th Headwater vacation soon.
Our reps, Greg and Laura, were outstanding giving us lifts as requested from our substitutionary hotels (which were quite nice) into the villages where we would have stayed. Not quite the same experience, but they made it a lovely one. In driving us to and fro, they took us to extra sights and offered to stop and let us take pictures as desired. They were awesome!
We had a fabulous time in Piedmont. The hotels were outstanding and the restaurants superb. Being more used to walking in the mountains we hadn't expected to enjoy the route as much but the wave like vine clad hills, pretty villages and lovely views across the Langhe and to the Alps were very satisfying. We can see why the region has been given a UNESCO rating.
Great hotels, exquisite dinners, well-described walks
While this walk was quite challenging in places, partly because of the high temperatures in early September, it was thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying. It was very well planned and the gastronomic aspects were excellent and exceeded our expectations. This is a much under-rated part of Italy and very well worth exploring. The views, the wine and the food are outstanding.
Amazing food, a warm welcome and wonderful hill top towns and rolling scenery worthy of an Unesco designation.
This was our second holiday with Headwater. The first was a group walk about 7 years ago in Tuscany which was outstanding. The hotels, the reps and the food were just as good this time, but the walking was disappointing. The walks were very isolated and much of the time either through boring woodland which all looks the same or vineyards, which also all look the same. I am a teacher and therefore have to holiday during School holidays. Unfortunately we could not find group walks to suit during this period.
One complaint is that in all the hotels we stayed at we were allocated the worst rooms in the hotel by any standards. In Villa Beccaris, for example, we were the nearest room to the tradesmen's entrance. At Hotel Le Torri there was no air conditioning so needed windows open all night. We were given a room facing the street and were woken up very early by traffic noise. No balcony either.
Please provide guests with bus stop information in Alba - we walked down to Gallo from Grinzane and easily took a bus there, but weren't sure where to stand, which bus stop, on the way back.... So missed the bus when it did come. Also the air-con on the top floor in Villa Pavesi needs attention! A beautiful room under the eaves, but boiling hot!
It is worth it! Take up all the advice provided by your reps and live a little!
We had tried to book this particular holiday in previous years but the dates didn't work out. It was well worth the wait as it has to be one of our best Headwater holidays - and we've had quite a few. Piedmont is a wonderful place to visit, the walking was as expected - it's a hilly place! The hotels were all good and all had their own special elements. We enjoyed eating in different places each night- and what an excellent standard of food was on offer.
Great holiday with truly excellent food and accommodation! You really should take the detour to Novello Junction on day 6.
Splendid trip - delightful area, some very well-selected places to stay and eat and excellent logistics from our two guides, who were great fun to be with. This holiday really delivered what was promised on the website and is a great way to explore the area.
We thoroughly enjoyed our holiday, albeit the weather was a little disappointing. The accommodation was excellent, and the food outstanding. We did not feel that the walking route instructions were as clear or as accurate as those on our 2 previous holidays with Headwater, but no harm done! Would definitely recommend to like minded friends.
Great Holiday. Some amazing Italian meals.
This was such a memorable holiday that we will always remember. The countryside is stunning and the walks allow you to take in some superb views of the hilltop villages and vines. Each hotel was excellent, with either amazing views at breakfast, or a welcoming pool or superb menus. The evening meals were an experience in themselves. We are not food buffs in any shape or form but I don't think we have ever eaten so well before in our lives. The walks can be challenging at times although in late July we were setting off with the temperature in the mid 20s which reached the mid to high 30s in the afternoon (take plenty of water bottles!). If you like walking, fine wine and superb food this is the holiday for you.
We like the freedom of walking independently with excellent meals at the end of the day and the convenience of the luggage being transported between hotels.
I seem to have ticked 'excellent' just about every question; the reason being that we have rated this holiday amongst the best FIVE we have done in the last 18 or so years. The description 'Gastronomic Walk' just does not do the holiday justice....'MICHELIN' should be added!
Great holiday very much as described, good hotel, great food, nice walks.
I have been travelling regularly with Headwater for many years. This holiday certainly came up to expectations and I can recommend it wholeheartedly, it was one of the best. Rachel and Peter (our reps) were extremely helpful, always positive and cheerful, a great bonus; the temperature was higher than we had expected for the first week in June, hovering around 30'C and we were able to shorten our walks thanks to their efforts. The hotels were very spacious and comfortable and the food and wine were excellent, truly a gastronomic feast, apart from one restaurant which didn't match the high standard set by the rest of this holiday. Overall this was a great holiday.
Accommodation etc extremely good. Hilltop villages attractive although deserted.
The walking through vineyards does become a little repetitive, but last day walking through woods was more interesting.
Good holiday which did exactly as stated. Good food, good wines and walks mainly through vines. Lovely area and villages.
Fabulous combination of hard exercise, exploration, good food and wine.
Beautiful area for walking and excellent food and wine.
We all thoroughly enjoyed this well constructed, luxurious walking holiday. Piedmont is a stunning region with few tourists and the best food and wine we have ever tasted throughout Italy. The hotels, restaurants and walks selected exemplified the high quality of the area and overall was excellent value for money.
Thank you so much to Pete and Rachel - they couldn't do enough to make sure our holiday went smoothly and were so enthusiastic and friendly.
The advertised holiday - gastronomic Barolo walk - sounded rather grand, but appealed as a special birthday present - a walk between nice restaurants in a pleasant part of the world with decent hotels in which to stay over. We were a little unsure about dress code and level of difficulty in the walks before we set off.
Upon being met by our tour guides, Peter and Rachel, we were soon reassured that the holiday would be informal and enjoyable. Our first hotel - Villa d'Amelia - was absolutely fantastic in every way starting with the welcome by the reception staff, the standard of the room and the facilities (including an outdoor heated pool, sauna and steam rooms). The restaurant was on another level - a Michelin 1 star - that delivered great food with special service with an emphasis on the customer as star of the show. This standard set the bar high for the rest of the holiday and our next port of call, after our first walking day, was in Grinzane Cavour staying for 2 nights at an excellent bed and breakfast with outstanding views and eating within the castle at another Michelin standard restaurant (although not yet awarded the coveted star); service here was brilliant - the chef and his wife ran the show with the help of 2 more serving staff and a kitchen brigade. At the end of an exquisite tasting menu with paired wines, the chef introduced himself to each table. His wife was charm itself and chatted and responded to our questions and comments throughout the 2 meals in a very engaging manner.
The rest of the holiday comprised 2 nights in Castiglione Falletto and 2 nights in Monforte d'Alba - both at excellent hotels in brilliant locations - and a final night returned to the Casa d'Ameila. Food could not generally compare with the first three nights, although the restaurant l'Argaj in Castiglione Falletto produced wonderful food in a setting looking out towards Barolo that would be hard to better.
Overall this was a brilliant holiday. The walking was just enough to make one ready for another (!) fine dining experience but not enough to be physically draining. Staying 2 nights in 3 of the locations proved to be a great idea - preventing the need to pack everything up every day and allowing time to appreciate the locality as well as giving an option for a circular walk or resting on the second day.
If you are reasonably fit and active and you like good wine and fine food then this would be a great holiday and my wife and I would thoroughly recommend it. Some of the walking instructions were ambiguous - resulting in a few additional miles being walked - and the terrain would be challenging underfoot in places if wet. We walked at the end of May and the heat on some days was strong; in July or August I can imagine walking being hard work and thirst inducing..
Excellent hotels with 4 evenings enjoying a la carte Michelin one star dinners. Great food and wine throughout. Map directions adrift on a couple of occasions but overall ok.
Great holiday, brilliant walks, great food and superb way to increase your knowledge and taste of italian wines. Unfortunately the journey home (and originally before it was changed the outward journey) was a total pain. This left us both with a bad taste in our mouth and spoiled the overall holiday experience. When we were dragging our suitcases around Milan train station wandering where the airport was we were cursing Headwater. At this stage we had already been on the road for over 4 hours, 2 hours from hotel to Turin and 2 hours by train to Milan. When we eventually came across a coach that was going to Milan Malpaso Airport we had to fork out 20 Euros for another 1 hour 10 minute coach journey to the airport. Coach stops first at the terminal we dont want and everyone gets off. We dont speak Italian and have no idea whats going on, Luckily a helpful stranger told us to stay on coach. The irony of course is Headwater give you all these walking directions/cycling directions but leave you to guess your way home.
A beautiful place to visit and explore. The accommodation of a very good standard and in lovely locations.
We did find the walks very interesting, challenging at times but about the right length, however we did use an app on a smart phone, which indicated we walked a few K further than the instructions stated. We also felt some of the walks did need to be re-done, especially the walk on day 4 from Diano D'Alba which we found very confusing to get out of and were told by the rep to take a different path at one point, which totally threw us off route, although we did find our way with the help of some locals.Although we understood why there was a walk on Day 7 back to Benevello, it was rather tedious.
Our restaurant selection for the evening meals was on the whole very good, but we did find it difficult to find something we could eat at the Villa D'Amelia, mainly because of our own diet of not eating red meat. The Locanda del Centro in Castiglone Falletto was really not very good.
Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable holiday.
This Headwater holiday is definitely a cut above other European holidays that we have enjoyed with you. Villa d'Amelia and Villa Beccaris were exceptional in every way, and throughout we enjoyed excellent local cuisine and wines. We would happily do it all over again!
good varied hotels, good walks with interesting details on the way. Excellent service when booking the holiday, yes we would certainly go with Headwater again.
Excellent area for a holiday
This was an absolutely stunning holiday in every way. The hotels were all of a high standard and each was lovely in its own individual way. The restaurants were a nice treat after the day's walking and working up an appetite! There was stiff competition for our favourite restaurant and Il Castello and Villa D'Amelia had to share the prize for sheer wow factor! That said La Locanda del Centro was our favourite 'non-Michelin' restaurant. The waiter couldn't do enough to make us feel welcome, it had a lovely relaxed atmosphere and the food was really tasty.
The route notes for each of the walks was spot on and went wrong once (our fault, not Headwater's!). We'd recommend the circular walk to La Morra. It's a pretty strenuous walk through the vineyards but the sense of achievement and the stunning views are definitely worth any aching calf muscles!
Lastly, Marsha and Esme (the Headwater Reps) made our holiday what it was. They were always cheerful and full of tips for the places we were due to walk to. They were also on the end of a phone with any queries we had.
Thanks for a brilliant holiday, Sarah & Mark Wall
Headwater thinks of everything - right down to offering us a lovely cold bottle of water when we emerged from a long, hot journey to our pick up point. You select fabulous hotels in brilliant locations, which takes all the hard work out of planning a holiday. Taxis turn up when they're supposed to, hotels and restaurants are expecting us. You are wonderfully efficient. This was our sixth booking with you and we'll be back for more next year. Bravo, Headwater.
This was a wonderful holiday, full of small surprises and little luxuries. Each hotel was charmingly different. The food was spectacular, the people lovely, and the scenery green, beautiful and quiet. Thank you very much
Excellent comfortable friendly hotels with unforgettable views .
The holiday surpassed expectations in terms of location, food and hotels. All in all, excellent value for money!
We both really enjoyed our Piedmont Holiday. All of the hotels we stayed at were very good, all quite different in character from one another which we liked. The Piedmont countryside is beautiful and the local people were so friendly. The walks were quite challenging, lots of hills, the steepest usually as you try to reach your hotel at the end of the day, but a great feeling when you do arrive.
The distances quoted on the route notes were much shorter than those that registered on my pedometer, I think perhaps these should be reviewed.
The local Headwater reps. Marsha and Esme were fantastic, very helpful, friendly and punctual.
The meals in the evening were usually taken in local restaurants, our favourites Osteria dei Catari and Locanda del Centro, the more rustic of the bunch. Only negative for us was The Ristarante il Castello, beautiful building, shame about the atmosphere, formality taken to the limit, neither diners nor staff seemed to be having a good time. We were due to dine there twice, but decided to give the second visit a miss.
Apart from that a brilliant holiday. Pat O'Connor
Excellent in every way and the food was amazing!
The comments on food above refer to breakfast only. Restaurant comments:
Villa d'Amelia: First meal a little disappointing regarding service and food. Second much better in both respects. Just about worth a Michelin star.
Il Castello: A little formal but excellent food. Worth a Michelin star.
Le Torri: Really friendly, interesting well cooked food, a nice contrast to Il Castello. Two excellent evenings. Pity the owners are moving to La Morra.
Osteria dei Catari: Nice people. Starters good but the 4 of us had 3 different main courses and all were poor.
Osteria La Salita: Friendly service and an excellent dinner, better cooked and more interesting than dei Catari.
We (and others) felt that the 1st day of walking was merely pleasant - not up to the billing - but from our arrival at Casa Pavesi the holiday took off and justified the comment we had had that it was the jewel in your crown. It was, however, marred somewhat by the poor wording of the script walking guide, which caused all 4 couples to go wrong (independently of each other) at least once. Fortunately the map enabled recovery of the route.
We used Headwater last year for the Alsace walking holiday. We were so impressed we booked for the Barolo Gastronomic walking holiday. We were not disappointed. All aspects of the holiday were well planned and we felt very well supported by Headwater's local representatives. Have already recommended Headwater to friends and we will definitely use them again.
This holiday was excellent. Marc and Marcia were very friendly and extremely helpful.
Marcia ran through the instructions for each of the walks with us and pointed out areas where we needed to be extra careful so that we did not get lost.
Marc always arrived exactly on time to pick us up in a morning to take us to the start of the day's walk.
I have a number of food allergies and Marcia had contacted each of the restaurants where we ate our evening meals to advise them of my requirements. They were all fully aware before we arrived and the waiters were extremely helpful in ensuring that meals were suitable for me. The hotels, restaurants and food, and infact everything about this holiday was excellent and ran incredibly smoothly.
Lovely holiday but too hot in last week of August for walking. we aimed to be finished by late lunchtime to avoid the heat of the day.Which was not the aim.
Would avoid the Nice transit as it is too long a wait in Nice for a train and the transit up country is tedious.
We challenged ourselves- walking every day even in August in Italy... Mostly, the hotels were a great reward for our efforts. We think we would do it again.. Maybe try the cycling.
The walking was tougher than I expected because of the above average temperatures (often around 95 F). The area is very picturesque and the route is well planned to give a feeling of doing the round of all the major Barolo producing villages, with good views from each of the hill towns. I was glad, however, that the last day's walk was a complete change from walking through vineyards. The standard of accommodation and food was excellent throughout the week, and represented superb value for money. I would have welcomed air conditioning in Hotel Le Torri rather than a cooling fan, but at other times of year it would have been fine. The cooking in all the restaurants was very good, particularly in Il Castelli at Grinzane Cavour and at Villa D'Amelia where we gladly paid the supplement for their superb full tasting menu on our final evening. I would have welcomed a change of restaurant on the second evening in Monforte D'Alba, not because there was anything wrong with the food but because the menu (the same each evening) was rather limited - especially the secundi. The local people were all very welcoming, and it is a trip that I would happily do again, but preferably in the autumn.
Outstanding cuisine, wines and service in all places. a very quiet region with friendly locals. Beautiful landscapes and a great way to eat lots and then burn the calories off in the walk. one of the very best holidays I have ever had.
This is a really excellent choice for any guests wanting a truly gastronomic experience amongst wonderful countryside. We enjoyed the walking very much, although at first we wondered whether it might be challenging enough with alternate rest days. However, Headwater provided good suggestions on how to spend the available time and we were pleased that we had the time to explore more widely. Our days were all the more enjoyable for being able to look forward to some of the best cuisine which Italy has to offer anywhere. Headwater's has done well to enable guests to experience a range of Piedmont's restaurant cooking, from the world class to the more rustic, but all served to an extremely high standard.
We were impressed too with the attentive support given by our local reps, Marc and Marsha, for whom nothing was too much trouble.
As we self drove to Italy, we stayed in two Headwater arranged hotels en route, Hotel Normandie in Auxerre, and Hotel Alpina in Les Gets, both of which represented very good value for money.
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 2020 departures our trip inclusions are changing - please contact us for full details.
This 8 night self-guided walking holiday includes:
Hotel-to-hotel accommodation in a mix of , and hotels
All continental breakfasts and 2 gastronomic evening meals
Services of your local Headwater Representative
Headwater Wine Collection Service
Route directions and maps
Standard transfers at the start/end of the trip (if booking inclusive flights)
Luggage transfers between hotels
How to book:
|1st May||US$3549||Check availability|
|3rd May||US$3549||Check availability|
|5th May||US$3549||Check availability|
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|2nd Jun||US$3579||Check availability|
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Please contact us for child prices.
Self-guided walking Managed locally by Headwater appointed rep.
Every two days from 1st May 2020 to 8th Oct 2020, for 8 nights. All dates are subject to availability, please contact us to check.
All continental breakfasts and 2 gastronomic evening meals
Transfers can be arranged at a supplement from Turin airport 16:15 Mon-Thurs & Sun, 16:25 Fri & Sat and back to Turin airport at 13:00.
Due to the tailor-made nature of our holidays, we need a little more information in order for us to check availability for Gastronomic Barolo Walk. Simply complete the form below (fields marked * are mandatory) and a member of our sales team will contact you (when it's most convenient for you) to provide availability information, travel options and an accurate price. Of course there's no obligation, but if you do wish to proceed with a booking they will be on-hand to assist you throughout the process.
Alternatively, you can call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 to discuss your requirements in more detail.