Spanish High Pyrenees
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7 nights, 6 walking days
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Itinerary : Hotel to Hotel
Holiday code : FP2PURI
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The Natural Magic Of Aragon

This is a truly magical region in the foothills of the Spanish Pyrenees. It is packed with dramatic landscapes, thousand-year-old castles, hermitages built into cliff-faces, exceptionally quaint villages, great weather, wonderful walking, original places to stay, and distinctively Aragonese cuisine. Easily accessed by air from London, other British cities and Paris.

A summary of your journey

Aragon is a truly enchanting kingdom, a world unto itself, and your journey includes a village they say is at the end of the world. But the "magic" comes from the frequent surprises - natural and man made - you get walking through this panoramic landscape. For example, on just one walk you walk beneath stunning, pink cliffs rising a sheer 1,000 feet above you; ancient hermitages cut into rock; almost hidden shepherds' huts; panoramic views of the Ebro plain and the High Pyrenees mountains; an abandoned village; a Roman bridge; a lovely waterfall. And that is without talking about the "magical" light that characterises Aragon, or its distinctive cuisine and hotels. It is a real surprise that, with all this on offer, there are not many more foreign visitors, and you'll not be surprised to learn that we thoroughly recommend it.

The Plus Points

  • Transfers from and to Zaragoza (other transfers available)
  • Luggage transfers every day so you only carry a daysack
  • Typical Arogonese hotels with dinner included
  • 24/7 customer service

Day 1

Arrival at Zaragoza or Loarre
We meet you at Zaragoza (Saragossa) airport (direct flights from London - 5 times a week - other British cities, and Paris - 3 times a week. We can also pick you up at Madrid or Barcelona airports for a supplement), and transfer you to a grand hotel close to its charming historic quarter leaving you free to explore this engaging capital of the Aragon region with its Roman ruins, Muslim masterpieces, a magical basilica, magnificent stone bridges over the Ebro, and the city's renowned tapas bars. You will wonder why it is not much more popular with discerning tourists. However, by car you drive to the hotel in Loarre, and stay the first night on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis at the three star Hospederia de Loarre (see Day 2).
In Zaragoza, you stay at the four star Hôtel Catalonia el Pilar close to everything you will want to visit, particularly the see-it-to-believe-it Basilica de Pilar. and a short distance from the banks of the Ebro. You stay on a bed and breakfast basis, so you can choose where to eat from the multitude of tapas bars and authentic restaurants. If you drive, then you stay in Loarre as described above.
Transfer time : 15 minutes.

Day 2

Anies - Hermitage of the Virgin of the rock - Loarre
After breakfast, we transfer you to the historic village of Aniés to begin your walk up through lovely woods and then ancient stone steps to the simply stunning Hermitage Of the Virgin Of The Rock, built into the cliff-face, which has been a sanctuary since Roman times, although what you visit dates back merely to the 13th century. From here you also have wonderful views south across the Ebro plain. Your walk continues among the hills, and along a mountain "balcony" path until you begin a gentle descent to the village of Loarre, famous for its rather impressive castle. It is an archetypal castle with 8 magnificent towers because when it was begun in the 11th century it was on the frontier between Muslim and Christian territories. Latterly, it was featured in the epic film Kingdom Of Heaven.
You stay two nights at the three star Hospederia de Loarre, an historic building and hotel right in the centre of this unspoilt and charming village, where you are assured of a warm Arogonese welcome, all the 21st comforts you would expect - and some really good regional food, and, if you so choose, wine.
Walking time : 4h30. Distance : 12km. Elevation : + 550m / - 550m. Transfer time : 1h15.

Day 3

Pusilibro
Today there is a marvellous circular walk that begins by walking close to the castle (visit now or later) before a gradual climb, usually in bright sunshine, up to the Sierra de Loarre from where you get an utterly memorable panoramic view across the vast Hoya de Huesca plain - and so can understand why the Moors chose this location to spy on their enemies. The path continues through pine forest to the summit of Cerro Pusilibro - the highest point of the Sierra at almost 5,000 feet, so providing more marvellous views of this essentially unchanged landscape. It is an example, we believe you will agree, of why we are right to talk about the magic of Aragon. You then descend comfortably to Loarre to visit the castle, if you didn't do so earlier.
You enjoy a second and final night at the Hospederia de Loarre (third night if you drove there).
Walking time : 5h30. Distance : 15,5km. Elevation : + 850m / - 850m.

Day 4

Loarre - Riglos
Today you can expect to see large vultures flying below you, but the walking is not as demanding as that makes it sound, and as you will see from the ascent and descent figures below. You walk gradually up to the 11th century Romanesque chapel of San Miguel, and, a few hundred yards away, the remains of the castle built on a magnificent location, but now sadly neglected. From there you walk comfortably to the Mirador (Viewpoint) of the Vultures where you can enjoy the view of the amazing ochre Mallos cliffs - and you may well see climbers on them - the village of Riglos below (where you will be staying tonight), and above the kingdom of the giant vultures and other birds of prey. From there you descend on a good steady path with the 1,000 feet cliffs called Visera, Cuchillo and Pison awesomely still above you as you arrive in one of the most attractive villages in Aragon, Riglos.
You stay in the centre of the village at the simple mountain "auberge" - Maison d'hôtes Casa Escaleretas - where you will enjoy comfortable rooms and good, regional cooking, always with excellent local ingredients, but, inevitably, it will be the location and views that are the most memorable thing about your stay.
Walking time : 5h30. Distance : 16km. Elevation : + 350m / - 450m.

Day 5

Riglos - The Los Mallos de Riglos - Murillo de Gallego
Your first highlight of the day is the 600 feet natural Puro "obelisk" after which you walk up between two of the Mallos cliffs, and at the top you have the stunning sight of two immense pillars separated by a break in the cliffs through which you enjoy a magnificent view below of the often turquoise waters of the Rio Gallego river, fields of almond trees, olive trees and wheat. Above, you can appreciate the flying abilities of a range of large birds of prey, mostly suspended motionless before swooping at tremendous speed. You can choose an enjoyably challenging extension around the village of Arraso, or directly descend gently to the village of Murillo de Gallego where you spend the night.
The four star Hôtel Aguas de los Mallos is in every way a treat. An architect designed, stylishly contemporary hotel, it is still built of stone, and is generous in its use of space (not least the height of public rooms). You may find its range of luxurious facilities focused on its spa very welcome after a day of walking. The food too will, we are confident, delight you.
Walking time : 4h30 or 5h30. Distance : 9,5km or 13km. Elevation : + 450m or + 700m / - 600m or - 850m.

Day 6

Murillo de Gallego - The Los Mallos de Aguero - Villalangua
The Los Mallos cliffs have two sections, and you begin by walking to the attractive village of Aguero close to the other section. Do visit the 12th century Romanseque church with weird and wonderful carvings of beasts. You then take an ancient path which links Aguero with Villalangua, and offers a number of fascinating features: walking beneath the Mallos cliffs; hermitages cut into rocks; almost hidden shepherds' huts; amazing views, not least passing through another "breach" in the cliffs; an abandoned village; a Roman bridge; a lovely waterfall. Pretty good, don't you think for one walk? And exactly what the "magic" of Aragon is all about.
Villalangua is a pretty village which has often been described as being "at the end of the world" - so it feels like something of a privilege to be staying there. The Hôtel Posada de Villalangua is a simple but charming family-run hotel converted from a massive 19th century stone workhouse. Bedrooms have stone walls, the terrace faces wonderful mountain scenery that includes a large colony of Griffon vultures, the restaurant serves exactly the sort of traditional mountain cuisine you'd hope for at the end of the world, and the welcome is equally authentic.
Walking time : 5h30. Distance : 16,5km. Elevation : + 750m / - 650m.

Day 7

Villalangua - San Juan de la Peña
We begin this, your last walking day, with a transfer to the must-visit high plateau nature reserve of San Juan de la Pena and Mount Oroel much of it forested with oaks and including rare botanical species, and among which live wild boar, foxes, roe deer and Griffon vultures. It also offers stunning viewpoints that, on clear days, include the High Pyrenees mountains of Mont Perdu (Mont Perdido in Spanish), Vignemale and Ossau. However, you can begin by visiting the "new" monastery of San Juan de la Pena, merely 17th century, featuring exceptional carving, and an interactive presentation of the history of the Kingdom of Aragon, which, given your time exploring Aragon, we think you'll find fascinating.
A short path, which is on the St James Camino (ending at Santiago de Compostela many, many days walk away), leads you to the superbly restored old monastery built under (yes, under) a huge rock originally occupied by hermits, but in the 11th century a monastery and church were built which became the favoured religious location for the kings of Aragon. It flourished until a 17th century fire resulted in the new monastery being built. Having explored these captivating sites, you are free to stroll around the plateau, not least to the exceptional hermitage of San Salvador, because you stay tonight in the "new" monastery.
It perhaps suffices to say that the four star Hospederia Monasterio San Juan de la Peña lives up to expectations. However, a little more detail may help: it occupies the whole "new" monastery, and includes architectural features within what is now a beautifully designed boutique style hotel that uses local woods to great effect for walls and floors. With every comfort and great food, this all adds up to an appropriately memorable final night.
Walking time : 2h or 3h30. Distance : 5km or 11km. Elevation : + 200m or + 600m / - 200m or - 600m. Transfer time : 45 minutes.

Day 8

End of stay
After breakfast, we transfer you back to Zaragoza. Sorry, but all good things...
If necessitated by flight times, you can stay the last night in Zaragoza at the Hôtel Catalonia el Pilar (with supplement).
  • Practical details
  • Equipment
  • Formalities, Health

PROGRAM OF DEPARTURES

1 April to 30 October 2017

MEETING POINT

Meeting you at, and returning you to, the airport or station at Zaragoza is included in the price, but for a supplement you can choose the airports of Madrid or Barcelona.

END OF STAY

At the end of the holiday, we take you back to the airport or station in Zaragoza, or elsewhere as arranged for a supplement. Or we take you back to your car in Loarre.

LEVEL

This holiday features mostly comfortable rather than challenging walking, and is suitable for anybody who enjoys "a good walk". On most days the walks last 3 to 5 hours, but can take much longer if you so choose, and there are slightly more challenging extensions to walks on several days. It can get very hot in July and August, as well as more crowded, but the temperatures are moderated by being up in the mountains and you can always take a siesta during the heat of the day. We would recommend May, June, September and October as the best months.

GUARANTEED DEPARTURE FROM (PERS)

2

LUGGAGE TRANSPORTATION

We will transfer your luggage between each hotel, so all you need to carry when walking is a daysack with whatever you regard as essentials.

SUPERVISION

This is an independent, self-guided holiday.

ACCOMMODATION

You stay in double or twin rooms for 3 nights in four star hotels, 2 nights in three star hotels, and 2 nights in simple mountain hotels.

MEALS

You will eat well. Dinners are based on set menus featuring regional specialities usually with 3 or 4 choices for each of three courses, but you can pay locally for upgraded choices. Breakfast is included every morning as are picnics on days when there are no shops or cafes/restaurants - and, anyway, you can always ask the hotel the night before to make a picnic, which you can pay for locally.

TRANSFERS

Usually transfers are in people carriers, mini-buses, cars or taxis. Often they will be exclusively for you.

CONTENTS OF YOUR TRAVEL FOLDER

When we have received your balance of payment for your holiday, and in the month before departure, we send you all the documentation you need: detailed itinerary showing dates, times, contact details etc; a detailed guide to your walking route (with options) and lots of cultural, historical and nature background information; formal documents (invoices, contracts etc); luggage labels etc. If you book at the last minute, we can send this information to your first night hotel.

To make the right choice

Have a look at our detailed explanations on the types of hiking, the standards of accommodation, and understand baggage transport ... How to choose your trip ?

LUGGAGE 

  • A soft travel bag, avoid suitcases, which are more cumbersome and limit the weight of your belongings to 10 kg.
  • A small backpack of 30 litres minimum for your daytime requirements.

CLOTHES 

  • A waterproof and breathable jacket (Gore-Tex type)
  • A fleece or a sweater
  • A raincoat (poncho)
  • Walking trousers
  • 1 pair of gloves
  • 1 hat
  • Shorts
  • A bathing suit + towel
  • Several pairs of socks (not too large)
  • Underwear
  • 1 pair of trainers
  • Loose clothing for the evening

EQUIPMENT TO BRING 

  • 1 pair of walking shoes that have been used before
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip protection
  • 1 bottle (allow 2 to 3 litres per person per day in summer)
  • A Tupperware type plastic bowl for the picnic + cutlery
  • 1 compass
  • Waterproof map cover (advised)
  • 1 head torch in your rucksack (for safety)
  • 1 survival cover (from a chemist)
  • 1 mobile phone (advised)
  • Camera and why not a novel, your watercolours or other desires...
  • Your identification documents

LUGGAGE

Please use soft travel bags, and restrict each bag to 10 kilos. You will also need a daysack of about 30 litres.

CLOTHES

You will know what to bring, but casual as much as smart casual clothing works for most evenings, and your priority should be comfort, especially for your feet!

EQUIPMENT TO BRING

For walking, you will know what to bring, but we would recommend ankle protecting walking boots, a complete waterproof and breathable outfit, sunhat, plenty of sun protection, a 2 litre water container per person, waterproof map case, compass, head torch, mobile phone, small first aid kit, and a Tupperware container and utensils for lunches.

FORMALITIES

You need to keep your passport with you at all times, and ideally insurance information. You need to make your own arrangements to claim local healthcare. There are requirements in France and Spain for all vehicles to carry safety equipment.

VISA Espagne

No need for a visa.

MANDATORY VACCINES Espagne

No vaccine is mandatory, but it is best to be up to date with your tetanus booster.
Click on the price that corresponds to your choice.
FromToFrom / to holiday startFrom / to arrival airport
Sun 01/04/2017Tue 31/10/2017895 € 995 €
Sun 01/04/2018Wed  31/10/2018895 € 995 €
 
List of additional options (to select later)
TitleTime periodPrice
Single room sup. / pers. subject to availabilityfrom 01/04/2017 to 31/10/2017215 €
Single room sup. / pers. subject to availabilityfrom 01/04/2018 to 31/10/2018215 €

THE PRICE INCLUDES

6 nights dinner, bed and breakfast, plus one night bed and breakfast; people transfers; luggage transfers; detailed walking instructions; map; 24/7 customer phone service.

THE PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE

The journey to the start point, and from the finish point, except as specified; lunches; drinks with meals; non-standard menu items; entry fees; personal and travel insurance.
Provided by TransferMate

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