Atlantic Coast To Mediterranean Coast
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13 nights - 12 days cycling
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Itinerary : Hotel to Hotel
Holiday code : FP9PUPY
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The Best Of The Pyrenees Coast-To-Coast By Electric bike

A rewarding coast to coast journey by electric bike that enables you to experience many highlights of the Pyrenees, discovering varying lifestyles, cultures and cuisines as you move from the Basque Country to the Mediterranean. While you need to be reasonably fit, this is absolutely not the "Tour de France".

A summary of your journey

Over 12 days, and averaging well under 50 miles a day, this is a comfortable and enjoyable way of independently cycling across the Pyrenees by electric bike. You stay in authentic, quality hotels, eat very well, and have 24/7 telephone support should you ever need it. It is not intended for "mad keen", super-fit cyclists, but rather those who enjoy cycling and recognise that an electric bike is the only realistic way of making the coast-to-coast journey in a fortnight.
This journey includes daily private transfers which are costly, and the price unfortunately has to reflect this.

The Plus Points


  • Electric bike included
  • Luggage transfers every day so you only carry a daysack
  • High-quality, authentic hotels with dinner included
  • 24/7 customer service

Day 1

Arrival at Hendaye

We meet you at Toulouse airport, rail station (trains from Paris) or city centre car park, and take you to collect your electric bikes, understand how to use them (very simple!), and then travel by mini-bus to Hendaye. (It is also possible to collect you from Biarritz airport or train station but with no price reduction unless you come with your own bike)
The boutique sized, very comfortable, two star Hôtel Lafon is wonderfully situated right by a glorious beach, so you can enjoy views of the Atlantic from most bedrooms. A memorable place to start your coast-to-coast journey from! You will eat in a restaurant just a few metres from the hotel.
Transfer time : 3 hours.

Day 2

Hendaye - Itxassou
This is a gentle, warm-up day that takes you from Hendaye into the heart of the Pays Basque at Itxassou via two low altitude cols (the highest just 500 feet). As you can tell by the name of your destination, this is not "France". This is Basque country with its own language, culture, architectural styles and cuisine as you will discover during this first ride, but to the south you will see the highest mountain in this region, the magnificent La Rhune (and be pleased you are not cycling up it!).
Itxassou is a typical Basque village with white and red buildings unlike any other region, so worth exploring on foot, not least its 17C church. You stay at the charming Hotel de Chêne (Hotel Oak), located in the centre of the village, renowned for its regional authenticity, and the excellence of its cuisine. Dinner, bed and breakfast included as every other night.
Distance : 50km/31miles. Elevation : + 550m / - 500m.

Day 3

Itxassou - St Jean Pied de Port
From Itxassou you wind your gentle way through foothill green valleys with white-and-red villages, wooded hillsides,and glimpsed, not so far away, the mountains of the Pyrenees. In the course of the day, you only cycle up a combined 1,000 feet, so you will hopefully feel ready for a beer when you arrive in Saint Jean Pied de Port, but far from exhausted.
You stay at the comfortable two star Hôtel Ramuntcho superbly located close to the walls of this ancient and attractive pilgrimage town in the shadows of the Pyrenees, which is on one of the Camino routes to Santiago de Compostella. An interesting town for a stroll around before and after dinner taken in a nearby restaurant that serves authentic Basque dishes.
Distance : 58km/36miles. Elevation : + 750m / - 650m.

Day 4

St Jean Pied de Port - Gurmençon
This is a longer journey that includes one 1,000 feet col, but is mostly a scenic ride through river valleys visiting villages like Navarrenx, officially one of the most beautiful villages in France. It is also your last day in the Basque Country as tomorrow you begin your journey through the Bearn region.
Gurmençon is an ancient village (in 1383 called Grumensoo) on the bank of the lovely Aspe river, and is known as the gateway to the renowned Aspe valley. You stay at the authentic, stone built, family run two star Hôtel Le Relais Aspois that offers comfortable rooms - en suite, of course - and really good regional cuisine.
Distance : 85km/53miles. Elevation : + 900m / - 800m.

Day 5

Gurmençon - Betharram
Today's route takes you through the ancient, once vast Bager forest still with its magnificent trees, waterfalls, unspoilt tracks and lanes, and attractive hamlets and villages, which you will see are completely different in style and character from those in the Basque Country - characterful and intriguing.
You stay near the famous Betharram caves (worth a visit on arrival as it is a fairly short ride) at the impressive three star Hôtel Le Vieux Logis, situated in a forested landscape. Based on a traditional farmhouse, it is now a most comfortable contemporary hotel renowned for Francis Gaye's excellent cuisine - and do try the local wines from vineyards dating back to Henry IV.
Distance : 50km/31miles. Elevation : + 450m / - 400m.

Day 6

Betharram - Gedre
Well, you are now getting into the heart of the High Pyrenees, and today you will visit Lourdes before climbing up through the remarkable Gave valley, and enter what the French call Pays Toy, the centrepiece of which is the utterly magnificent and majestic Cirque du Gavarnie. Understandably, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will find your own superlatives no doubt because the immensity of the glacier-created, natural bowl that is the Cirque is all-but overwhelming (4 miles wide, 4,500 feet high walls, and with the highest waterfall in Europe at 1,300 feet). Be sure to visit the extremely interesting pilgrims' church and cemetery (many famous mountain guides rest here) and make the most of the awe-inspiring panoramas before heading back down the hill to your acommodation in Gèdre.
You stay in the heart of Gèdre village at the "highly authentic, simply delicious" three star Hôtel La Brèche de Roland that is rightly the pride and joy of Philippe and Odile Pujo. According to legend Roland's Breach was cut by Count Roland with his sword Durendal in an attempt to destroy that sword after being defeated during the Battle of Roncesvalles in 778. This hotel is the only place in the valley from where you can actually see the Breach without having to climb up to a high pass or summit.
Distance : 73km/45miles. Elevation : + 1000m / - 250m.

Day 7

Gedre - Beaudéan
Today you ride up through some rolling green hills with impressive views of both the high Pyrenees and the plains of Tarbes below. You are not far from the Col de la Croix Blanche. You then ride along the lovely Adour valley to Beaudéan. A memorable day's journey, we promise - in all the best ways!
Beaudéan is an unspoilt traditional village surrounded by magnificent scenery, and the three star, family run Hôtel Le Catala is a great place to stay - and very much cyclist oriented as it is close to some of the mythical Tour de France mountain passes (Tourmalet and Aspin for example). A warm welcome and good food are assured.
Distance : 70km/43miles. Elevation : + 700m / - 1150m.

Day 8

Beaudéan - Labarthe Inard
This is marvellous cycling country for those who love mountains, and who do - or don't! - like cycling up them. Your route today takes you through some lovely river valleys, not least the Barousse, amid farming country, but with the high mountains providing wonderful panoramic views that you can enjoy because you are on electric bikes.
The modern two star Hôtel du Parc is indeed set in its own spacious grounds, and is very proud of its cuisine as much as the comfort of its rooms (most with balconies). A most relaxing place to stay.
Distance : 85km/53mileskm. Elevation : + 650m / - 950m.

Day 9

Labarthe Inard - Saint Girons
This is a comparatively short and easy journey with plenty of time to discover villages and valleys en route to Saint Girons, although there is one 2,000 feet col to conquer, but we're sure you - by now - are up for that!
The three star Hôtel Eychenne is a great place to stay. On the edge of Saint Girons (well worth exploring) it has its own large gardens with a good sized swimming pool, a fascinating gallery of photographs, excellent refined, contemporary cuisine, and the option of eating in the garden.
Distance : 59km/37miles. Elevation : + 550m / - 500m.

Day 10

Saint Girons - Lavelanet
You are now most definitely through the central Pyrenees, and are now closing in on the Mediterranean as you will see from the changes in trees, flowers, architecture, climate and cuisine. You are in the Ariege department, and entering the Cathar homeland. Indeed just south of where you end your journey today is one of the most iconic fortresses of the Cathars at Montsegur.
You stay at the Mediterranean styled two star Hôtel Castel d'Olmes, which describes itself as in the heart of Cathar country, but with a swimming pool and good contemporary cuisine it offers you exactly what you need after an enjoyable day's cycling.
Distance : 81km/50miles. Elevation : + 800m / - 650m.

Day 11

Lavelanet - Caudies de Fenoulillèdes
Today you enter Pyrénées Orientales, so the east and the Mediterranean are clearly not that far away. It's good cycling country with a few, not-too-challenging cols, and plenty of pleasurable quiet roads and lanes through these warm, drier foothills between the Pyrenean mountains to the south, and the wine producing Corbieres hills to the north.
The Relais de Laval is a chambres d'hôtes more than a hotel - and all the better for it in our view. It has just 5 rooms in a converted barn on what used to be a vineyard. It now looks more Spanish, although it is actually traditional Catalan in style. The rooms are simple, but comfortable, and the food authentic and enjoyable. We think you will really enjoy your stay here - and, of course, that's why we chose it.
Distance : 58km/37miles. Elevation : + 450m / - 650m.

Day 12

Caudiès de Fenouillèdes - Belesta
This is almost a day off as it is a short and languid ride along the banks of the river Agly (far from ugly), but its highlight is a canyon that includes the remarkable Gorges de la Fou (the gorge of the mad!), so narrow in parts that you can touch both sides simultaneously. You'll enjoy it we're sure.
The primary reason for the short distance is to give you plenty of time to enjoy the truly wonderful four star Hôtel Riberach, and all it has to offer, which is a lot. Evolved from an ancient vineyard in rooms that held the wine presses, this now thoroughly contemporary and luxurious hotel (it calls itself an eco-lodge and spa) is a temple to wine (you must visit its winery for wine tasting session) and Michelin starred food created by rising chef-superstar Laurent Lemal. Is that enough to get your juices flowing?
Distance : 34km/21miles. Elevation : + 250m / - 200m.

Day 13

Belesta - Banyuls
Yes, the Mediterranean! You've done it. Congratulations. A thoroughly satisfying ride to the coast, then down along it, visiting Collioure and the vineyards overlooking the sea, until you arrive at Banyuls sur Mer, the recognised end of Atlantic-Mediterranean journeys. Sadness that it's over may well mingle with the sense of satisfaction, and why not?
The three star Hôtel des Elmes provides a fitting last night. A stylish hotel right by a lovely sandy beach in its own "private" cove. The rooms are excellent - sea views of course - and the gourmet restaurant overlooks the beach and sea. Just what the doctor ordered!
Distance : 71km/44miles. Elevation : + 400m / - 750m.

Day 14

End of stay

After breakfast on the terrace overlooking the sea, we transfer you back to Toulouse station, airport or car park. (We can also transfer you to Perpignan airport or train station, but with no price reduction unless you have come with your own bike)
Transfer time : 3 hours.
  • Practical details
  • Equipment
  • Formalities, Health

PROGRAMME OF DEPARTURES

1st May to 31st October, subject to the dates of opening and closing of some cols in the Hautes Pyrenees, and extreme weather conditions. Do check with us, but normally all is fine between these dates.

MEETING POINT

We meet you at Toulouse airport, rail station (trains from Paris) or city centre car park, and take you to collect your electric bikes, understand how to use them (very simple!), and then travel by mini-bus to Hendaye. (It is also possible to collect you from Biarritz airport or train station but with no price reduction unless you come with your own bike)

END OF STAY

After breakfast on the terrace overlooking the sea, we transfer you back to Toulouse station, airport or car park. (We can also transfer you to Perpignan airport or train station, but with no price reduction unless you have come with your own bike)

LEVEL

This cycling journey avoids the highest of Pyrenean peaks and cols, and often keeps to the foothills. However, it does require a reasonable degree of fitness as these statistics tell you: 12 cols; 786km/491 miles; cumulative ascent of 3,922 metres (12,750 feet); 5 to 7 hours cycling most days. While almost all routes are on quiet roads, great care is necessary because of other road users and national traffic rules and regulations.

GUARANTEED DEPARTURE FROM (PERS)

2

LUGGAGE TRANSPORTATION

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

LUGGAGE TRANSPORTATION

Your luggage will be taken on to the following night's hotel, so you will only need to carry the things that you will need during your day's ride.

SUPERVISION

This is an independent, self-guided holiday.

ACCOMMODATION

You stay in double or twin rooms for 1 night in a four star hotel, 5 nights in three star hotels, 6 nights in two star hotels, and one night in a particularly good chambres d'hôtes.

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, but lunches and picnics are not because there are plenty of places to make your own choices, although the night before you can ask the hotel for 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.

You can choose the bike that's right for you, and advice will be given as to the best tyre pressures etc. Puncture kits are included, and we can advise you of nearby cycle shops if needs be.

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 

You should bring:
  • 1 travel bag per person (or suitcase with wheels). Make sure they are not too big in order to avoid logistical problems (taking up too much room in transfer vehicles, for example). On holidays where you move from one hotel to another during your stay, try to keep the weight down to 10-12kg (the extra weight can make it difficult to get all the suitcases to certain hotels that are difficult to get to). Be certain not to leave any fragile or valuable objects in your main luggage.
  • 1 rucksack (around 30-40 litres) with integrated water-bag (e.g. Camel-Back). These bags are more practical than carrying bottles. The rucksack should also have a waist belt and allow your back to be well ventilated for extra comfort. Keep the total weight of your rucksack plus belongings down to a maximum of 10kg.

CLOTHING 


  • 1 set of cycling clothes: cycling shorts, breathable T-shirt (long-sleeved or short-sleeved depending on the time of year)
  • 1 other pair of shorts or trousers for cycling (padding essential)
  • cycling shoes
  • comfortable clothes and shoes for the evenings
  • underwear
  • spare long-sleeved breathable T-shirts (1 for every 2_3 days) and 1 or 2 short-sleeved T-shirts
  • 1 warmer layer (a fleece or water-resistant "softshell"jacket). Or a "primaloft" jacket (warm and easily compacted down to fit into rucksacks).
  • 1 breathable, windproof and waterproof out layer (e.g. Gore-Tex) with a hood

EQUIPMENT TO BRING 

  • 1 large plastic bag to be used as a rucksack liner for protecting your belongings from the rain and/or 1 waterproof rucksack cover
  • 1 waterproof bag containing: travel insurance contract, ID or passport, health card, and all other documents mentioned in the "formalities" section.
  • 1 pair of good quality sunglasses (protection factor 3) plus high-factor sun cream and sunscreen for your lips (should always be carried in your rucksack) • 1 folding pen-knife (Swiss Army knife or similar)
  • For lunches: cutlery and 1 plastic/tupperwear container (0.5 litres minimum). You may end up not using it but it is important to have it just in case
  • washbag and 1 quick-drying towel (try to bring only essential items that don't take up too much space, biological soap...)
  • 1 swimming costume / pair of swimming trunks
  • ear plugs (to protect you from snoring neighbours or other annoying noises)
  • 1 sleeping-bag liner if spending a night (or nights) in dormitory accommodation (hostels or refuge huts)
  • handkerchiefs
  • toilet paper
  • 1 cigarette lighter (be careful not to provoke a fire - always use responsibly and not unless you have to)
  • 1 torch or head-torch plus a survival blanket: always put this in your rucksack as set-backs due to accidents are always possible, even on easy rides
  • spare glasses (if you wear glasses)
  • camera, binoculars, paint brushes and canvas... (optional)
Depending on the characteristics of the holiday you are going on (if bike hire is included or not, or if you have indicated that you wish to bring your own bike anyway), it may be a good idea to bring some (or all) of the following cycling kit (please also check in the"bicycle hire"section to see what kit is already provided on the holiday you have chosen):
  • cycling gloves (normal or fingerless depending on the time of year)
  • 1 bike helmet (legal requirement in most countries)
  • 1 or 2 cycling bottles or a hydration system such as a Camel-Back (1.5 litres), whichever you prefer
  • 2 inner-tubes
  • a few spare spokes (especially on mountain-bike tours)
  • 1 spare derailleur
  • 1 set of spare brake pads
  • 1 spare cable for derailleurs or brakes
  • 1 spare chain
  • any other kit that you deem to be necessary...
You should try to be self-sufficient for all minor cycling breakdowns typical of these kinds of cycling tours (tyre-lever, puncture repair kit, multi-tool, quick-fix chain link...). If you have disk-brakes or high-tech bikes, be sure to bring the necessary kit for repairs.

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 for all vehicles to carry safety equipment.
Click on the price that corresponds to your choice.
FromToStandard price
Thu 01/03/2018Tue 30/10/20183 285 €  (₤ 2 967)
 
List of additional options (to select later)
TitleTime periodPrice
Reduction for own bike : from 01/03/2018 to 30/10/2018-230 € (₤ -208)
Single room sup. / pers. subject to availabilityfrom 01/03/2018 to 30/10/2018595 € (₤ 537)

THE PRICE INCLUDES

13 nights dinner, bed and breakfast; people transfers; luggage transfers; detailed route instructions; 24/7 customer phone service, and, of course, your electric bikes.

THE PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE

The journey to the start point, and from the finish point, except as specified; lunches or picnics; drinks with meals; non-standard menu items; entry fees; personal and travel insurance. If you want to hire a GPS device, please tell us at the time of booking.
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Meet
"The first thing that usually springs to mind when you think about a passage on foot across the whole of the Pyrenean chain is the famous GR10. This is a trail that runs close to the border between France and Spain, from Hendaye on the Basque Atlantic coast to Banyuls-sur-Mer on the Catalan Mediterranean coast. "
Sally Simmonds
Walking and cycling holidays
See the article
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