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With a wealth of relaxed walking and cycling itineraries in Europe, our sister company Headwater are experts when it comes to organising active self-guided holidays. They do all the planning for you, putting together routes and flexible schedules so all you need to focus on is savouring your quality time away… and the terrific food!

Headwater Review from Exodus’ Pete Burrell

“There were three key reasons why I chose to take my family, including three teenage children, to the Algarve with Headwater.” says Exodus’ Pete Burrell. “We wanted to enjoy Portugal’s good weather in early April and I’d visited the Algarve when I was 10 years old and I had such fond memories that I wanted to share the experience with my kids.

We had also travelled with Headwater to both Catalunya and the Austrian Lakes in previous years and found the carefully selected hotels, walking and cycling routes and back up they supplied was top notch so it made the decision to go with Headwater an easy one.”

Why self-guided holidays?

“I love the freedom of going where you want at a pace that suits you.” Headwater provide briefings, maps, comprehensive route notes and, for the digitally literate, you can download a smartphone navigation app on some of their holidays.

“Although running Exodus is truly my perfect job it can be stressful and tiring at times, so to be out in the sunshine, being active, healthy and relaxed, is ideal,” says Pete.

Igreja de Santa MariaIgreja de Santa Maria

“I am really not a fan of huge impersonal hotels even if they are 5-star. My idea of the perfect place to stay is somewhere with character that is small enough that you get to know the staff and learn a little about the life they lead.

As a bit of a foodie, I really appreciated the fact that each hotel that we stayed in on this trip had a fantastic mix of local delicacies and a few classic and well-cooked international favourites.”

And when things go a little wrong, Headwater will always be there to support you. Pete says: “The back-up Headwater gives is great. The bikes were brilliant and were pre-ordered in the right size for each of our family members, but my chain got jammed in the cogs. I gave the Headwater rep a ring and they came with a replacement bike so that our day was barely disrupted.”

Highlights for Pete’s family? The hotel in the village of Pedralva. “The old village cottages have been converted into a wonderful hotel. It’s like walking through a beautiful, remote village, but each little house is a hotel room in its own right.”

Pete is also a keen walker. “On one of our free days, we had the option to go for a walk along the coast. Remote beaches, clifftop walking, and the wildflowers in full bloom – a true kaleidoscope of the colours and fragrances. We weren’t expecting that, given it was a cycling trip, fantastic.”

Pete and his family travelled to Portugal with Exodus’ sister company Headwater.

More European Self-Guided Escapes…


Portugal coastAlgarve coast

Like Pete, you can see the wonders of the western Algarve, passing golden sand beaches, rugged cliff tops and beautiful villages as you visit the historic maritime towns of Sagres and Lagos. Stop to savour authentic dishes and indulge in a fine Portuguese wine.

Find out more about Cycling in The Real Algarve.


Punctuated by stunning towns, pine-clad hills, hilltop castles and pretty villages, Bavaria, Germany is unspoilt and wonderful. Here you’ll be able to choose from self-guided walking in the stunning Altmühltal Nature Park or self-guided cycling around Bavaria’s largest lake – Lake Chiemsee. There are also self-guided walking and cycling holidays to explore the Lakes & Mountains of Bavaria including mad King Ludwig’s fairy-tale castle at Neuschwanstein and idyllic Lake Schliersee.

Find out more about Lakes & Mountains of Bavaria Cycling or Walking Bavaria’s Lakes and Mountains


San GimignanoView of the Italian countryside

Cycle through open countryside, watching as cypress-studded hills, sun-drenched olive trees, sunflowers and world-famous vineyards pass by. Stop to enjoy Volterra’s Etruscan treasures and the great art cities of Florence, Pisa and Siena on this unforgettable journey.

Find out more about the Secrets of San Gimignano Cycling.



A feast for the senses, Burgundy is a must-visit region for walkers who love good food and exquisite wine. Enjoy unforgettable dishes paired with a fine pinot noir and chardonnay. You’ll also visit a traditional burgundy chateau and stay in a lovingly restored winery.


PiedmontHilltop church

Walk from hotel to hotel on this journey through the tranquil Langhe region of Piedmont. Food takes centre stage as you indulge in a delicious local produce at luxury hotels. White truffles, chocolate and hazelnut are highlights, as is the ‘King of Wines’ Barolo.

Find out more about the Gastronomic Barolo Walk.

Discover more self-guided holidays with Headwater below.