Headwater offer something different. In the interests of balance I therefore think it appropriate to include an evaluation of what it has to propound.
So what sets them apart in their approach? There is a level of flexibility in the options open to the traveller which isn’t found elsewhere for this kind of holiday, unless, I have been grossly misinformed. The walking-holidays available through Headwater are a mixture of self-guided jaunts and fully-guided holidays for the less confident and more sociable. Strictly looking at what they offer in Alpine Europe, I note the self-guided element is available in Austria, Slovenia, France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy. Multi or single-centre options are available where in a nutshell the traveller is given the requisite information and maps before being sent on his or her merry way. A nice touch by Headwater is transporting the luggage from one stopover to the next, allowing guests to travel light on their peregrinations. Bizarrely and the first of its kind that I can recall, their staff also operate a free wine service; in essence, should you discover whilst out in the field a vineyard that is impossible to say no to, all you need to do is contact those accommodating people at Headwater and they will transport your newly acquired bottles back to your hotel, seemingly free of charge.
Their current Austrian programme includes walks around Lake Woerth, in Carinthia. A nice addition but not much use if you live in the north of England and therefore are unable to access a flight to Klagenfurt. Other highlights include walking in the Salzkammergut region – thankfully serviced by Salzburg’s WAM airport – and shepherding yourself around the Leutasch valley, a charming dale which is often overlooked by the multitudes staying in nearby Seefeld. Accessed via Innsbruck’s Kranebitten airport, this is my preference of the three but there is definitely something for everybody in this triumvirate of tours.
Headwater’s self-guided Slovenian Alps Adventure is overpriced. Staying at the Miklic and Mangart hotels you are at least afforded accommodation that are both rated number one on Trip Advisor, in Kranjska Gora and Bovec respectively. You subsequently travel to Kobarid’s one hotel so by default it has to be the best, followed by the iconic and eponymous Jezero in Ribcev Laz. For a single-traveller this would amount to approximately £1260 for a weeks stay; unacceptable and far too much is being shoehorned into a tour of this duration. Think again, Headwater.
If travelling with Headwater you will only be able to go to Austria and Slovenia if you are prepared to self-guide your schlep around whichever area you’ve chosen. Their fully-guided itineraries take in several other European destinations and some far-flung objectives, such as Chile and St. Lucia. If you therefore prefer your Austrian and Slovenian holidays to be guided at all times by the reassuring presence of a well-versed local or the finest staff Headwater have to offer, you will be disappointed that this is not possible and your pletna will go very much unfloated.