They are now offering a fantastic opportunity to win one of their unforgettable holidays by nominating your ‘Headwater Hero’ who would accompany you. All you need to do is provide a short description of what makes your nominee a Headwater Hero and you could be setting off to discover the best historical, cultural and culinary delights of a destination of your choice.
Below we share our top 7 relaxing walking and cycling holidays in Europe; just a sample of what is on offer:
Classic Swiss Alps
The Classic Swiss Alps tour delivers everything required for the perfect walkers’ holiday. Based in the most picturesque part of the region, you will be treated to stunning scenery of snow-topped mountains and rich green forests, opening out to stretches of meadow, filled with lady slippers, fire lilies and more than 25 varieties of sweet-smelling orchids. Within easy reach is the gorgeous azure-blue waters of the Oeschinensee mountain lake, where glacial meltwaters have forged an intriguing narrow gorge and created an Alpine pass that has been used since the Celtic era. The gondolas and cable cars make the area very accessible and the many well-marked paths escort you effortlessly around this spectacular scenery.
Secrets of Sicily
There is a peaceful, yet fascinating quality to ‘The Secrets of Sicily tour’. Exploring the west side of the island, you will discover authentic Sicily at its most charming and unspoilt. The beautiful Mediterranean coastline enjoys tranquillity with hardly any roads in the area. Instead, explore on paths winding their way through orange groves and vineyards, with only the amiable lap of the turquoise blue waves and the swooping of magnificent birds of prey to break the stillness. Hilltop towns and charming Sicilian villages enclose ancient temples and Medieval churches, and mysterious grottos hid cave paintings from 11BC that give away the secrets of the island’s intriguing history.
Loire Gastronomic Cycling
Cycling in the Loire Valley is excellent for those who are a little out of practice or who are looking for a more relaxed pace to their holiday. The quiet country lanes and cycle paths are mainly flat and you don’t need to venture far to uncover the next gem this area has to offer. Home to France’s finest châteaux, including Amboise, Chambord, Cheverny, Chenonceau, cycling throughout the Loire region will seem like a fairy tale. Combine this spectacular architecture with some of the prettiest French villages in the country, fields filled with sunflowers and the opportunity to sample some of the best French gastronomic menus and world-famous wine and this holiday is really a special treat.
Contrasts of Puglia Cycling
The lesser-known region of Puglia, fondly known as ‘Italy’s heel’, remains delightfully unspoilt, allowing you to experience the real Italy on the Contrasts of Puglia Cycling tour. Follow the dramatic beauty of the rugged coastline to uncover colourful fishing villages beside the clear blue Adriatic Sea and hidden coves with golden sandy beaches. The warm colours of the Mediterranean landscape, its olive groves, fruit orchards and ruby-red fields, will leave you entranced, as you enjoy a relaxed cycle inland towards the historic centre of Alberobello. Here you will have time to explore the Museo del Territorio, a unique UNESCO World Heritage Site and taste the local delicacies of the region.
Walking on Gozo
Neighbouring to Malta, Gozo is much smaller in size at only 14km by 7km. A jewel in the Mediterranean Sea; its rich culture, beautiful surroundings and laid-back nature, provide all the elements needed for a wonderful, relaxing walking holiday. Discover the island’s fascinating history, including Ggantija Tombs, the oldest freestanding temple in the world and the majestic neo-Romanesque basilica Ta’ Pinu. Visit between autumn and late spring and you will be treated to an array of colours and scents, as the wildflowers and herbs come alive. Having a year-round climate, this may be the best time to enjoy the Walking on Gozo tour.
Gastronomic Barolo Cycling
Cycle your way around the gastronomic pleasures of northern Italy, savouring gourmet cuisine in Michelin-starred and fine-dining restaurants on the Gastronomic Barolo Cycling tour. Journey through the gentle rolling hills to discover charming hilltop hamlets, historic castles and intricate frescoed chapels. The steady climb along the Rea valley is wholly worthwhile, as you are rewarded with a panoramic view, looking across the fields of wildflowers, vineyards and out over the blue of the Mediterranean; a picture-postcard moment that leaves a lasting memory.
Porto Coastal Cycling
The coastline running south of Porto towards the Aveiro Lagoon is awash with colour. The vibrant hues stretch down from the townhouses, amongst the small fishing boats, tranquilly clustered in the harbour, and out to the deep blue of the Atlantic. Yet, the region retains a peacefulness; still undiscovered by the mainstream tourist and relaxed in the pace of daily life. The routes on the Porto Coastal Cycling tour, which are mainly flat and great for beginners, lead you along the pretty coastline to Aveiro Lagoon, home to pink flamingo, purple heron, kingfisher and sandpiper. Known as ‘Portugal’s Venice’, Aveiro is only one of the many highlights on this trip.
If exploring some of the hidden-away corners of Europe, by foot or on two wheels, has captured your imagination, enter the Headwater Hero competition for a chance to win one of a holiday for two. Just describe who you are taking and why they are your Headwater Hero.