High Pyrenees
From 1360 (£ 1216)
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7 nights, 6 walking days
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Itinerary : Hotel to Hotel
Holiday code : FP2PUGO
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The Once-In-A-Lifetime High Pyrenees Walk

If you want to experience one holiday in the High Pyrenees, then this is it! The spectacular glacial "amphitheatre" of Gavarnie (a UNESCO World Heritage site). The amazing Ordesa Canyon. Lovely hotels - one made famous by Victor Hugo and Chateaubriand. Rewarding but comfortable walking, despite being in the truly High Pyrenees.

A summary of your journey

This itinerary makes sure you experience the very best of the High Pyrenees, not least by staying in high quality hotels right in the heart of these magical mountains, both in France and Spain, so this really is a holiday without frontiers. As importantly, we include private transfers that ensure you only walk the best "bits", and there are always alternative itineraries for those who want more - or less - walking on any particular day.
The itinerary includes several private transfers to enable you to only walk the "best bits". Inevitably, this adds to the holiday cost, so it cannot be directly compared with apparently similar holidays.

The Plus Points

  • The best of the High Pyrenees in one holiday
  • Transfers from and to Lourdes (other transfers available)
  • Comfortable walking itineraries - and you only carry a daysack
  • Authentic accommodation - at least two nights in three different hotels
  • 24/7 customer service

Day 1

Arrival at Gedre
We meet you at Lourdes (airport or station), and take you by taxi to the typical and traditional Pyrenean village of Gedre-Gavarnie wonderfully located where the Troumouse and Gavarnie valleys meet. En route and all around you in the village you will see the magnificent environment you will be exploring in the coming days.
You stay two nights at the recently refurbished, very comfortable and renowned three star Hôtel de la Brèche de Roland with its impressive and enjoyable restaurant serving local traditional dishes transformed into contemporary masterpieces by chef-owner Philippe Pujo.The Brèche de Roland - Roland's Breach - is a 40 metre wide, 100 metre high gap in the cliffs dividing the two sides of the High Pyrenees, and legend claims it was cut by Count Roland using his sword Durendal after losing the 8th century Battle of Roncesvalles.
Walking time : 1h15.

Day 2

Troumouse
We transfer you to the fascinating Heas Chapel - a 16th century pilgrimage chapel built to house a wooden Black Madonna found by local shepherds, and which miraculously (say some) survived an avalanche. You then climb progressively up the side of a hidden valley to the dramatically located Cabane des Aires, a mountain refuge, and from this high altitude plateau you can see the whole of the phenomenal natural arena of the Cirque de Troumouse rising to over 9,000 feet. On the peaks, there is often snow even in July. After walking around the Lac des Aires, you descend to the Maillet mountain auberge for a well earned drink before your transfer back to your hotel. A more challenging option is to visit the Lac des Gloriettes, whose turquoise waters usually reflect the celebrated Mont Perdu (over 10,000 feet), and the Estaubé valley.
You stay again tonight at the Hôtel de la Brèche de Roland.
Walking time : 4h30. Distance : 10km. Elevation : + 700m / - 400m. Transfer time : 15 minutes.

Day 3

Gedre - Saugué - Gavarnie
Today begins with a walk through a wood before you climb consistently up to the high pastures of the Granges (barns) de Saugué used only in summer. You will already have seen magnificent views of the Cirque de Gavarnie, but now you walk through alpine meadows rich with flowers in season to gain a panoramic perspective on the majestic glacial "amphitheatre" with its dozens of waterfalls. The only thing that is not a wonder is that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You then have an unforgettable descent down a natural balcony protected by stone walls until you arrive back at Gavarnie village.
You stay two nights at the grand three star hotel Hôtel le Vignemale (located not far from Gedre-Gavarnie) with its unique and privileged view of the Cirque de Gavarnie - facing south to the highest waterfall (well over 1,000 feet) to Mount Perdu (The Lost Mountain). No wonder it has hosted many famous people, including Victor Hugo (Les Miserables and The Hunchback Of Notre Dame) and the great Romantic writer and soldier in America who gave his name to that steak, Chateaubriand, and today it is a beautifully refurbished hotel with wood lined rooms.
Walking time : 5h. Distance : 16km. Elevation : + 400m / - 850m.

Day 4

Cirque de Gavarnie
You take small footpaths through woods and meadows to the Hôtellerie du Cirque from where the waterfalls cascade magnificently into the "giant's cauldron". The scale and vastness of the Circuit will probably make you feel tiny by comparison, and encourage you to consider man's place in nature. From here you can get close to the 1,200 feet Grande Cascade, which gushes out of the cliffs, and then return by an attractive path on the Balcon des Espugues providing you with an unrivalled panorama of the Cirque and the Gavarnie valley.
You stay again at the Hôtel le Vignemale from where you can now see where you have walked that day - and perhaps you can pat yourself on the back for your achievements!
Walking time : 4h30. Distance : 10km. Elevation : + 450m / - 450m.

Day 5

Gavarnie - Port de Boucharo - Torla
Today you wake in France and sleep in Spain. It is a fairly challenging walk - but hugely enjoyable and rewarding (and, anyway, the previous days will have got you walking fit). The highlights include: the walk up to the appropriately named Plateau de Bellevue; the walk under the Brèche de Roland, its cliffs towering above you; your views of the French and Spanish Pyrenees from the top of the Pouey-Aspé valley; the looping path to the frontier col at Port de Boucharo nearly 7,000 feet up and resonant with history; the descent into Spain; and finally the arrival at Torla, one of our favourite places, after a short transfer to save you those last excessive miles.
You stay three nights at the welcoming Hôtel Bujaruelo beautifully situated right in the centre of this charming mountain village with its cobbled streets, and facing the Ordesa Canyon itself. The hotel is traditional in style with wooden floors, some wooden ceilings and balconies presenting the most inspiring views, not least of Mount Perdido (as it is called here). You will also enjoy the subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) changes from French to Spanish cuisine.
Walking time : 6h. Distance : 12,5km. Elevation : + 900m / - 900m. Transfer time : 30 minutes.

Day 6

Faja Pelay (Ordesa valley)
This is a long, but hugely rewarding day's walking, which you start by taking the shuttle bus the short distance to Ordesa where you will enter the spectacular Canyon itself, and where the cliffs rise 3,000 feet above you while forest alternates with meadows around you. You zig-zag through forest up the stunning Chemin des Chasseurs (Hunter's Trail) until you join the wonderful panoramic footpath the follows the Ordesa valley, the Faja Pelay, where you can see Mount Perdido and enjoy the alpine type meadows all around you. Particularly near the magnificent (and magnificently named) Cascade de la Cola del Caballo you will find edelweiss everywhere. Reluctantly we are sure, you will descend to the bottom of the valley, but not without enjoying the succession of comparatively small waterfalls that is the Gradas de Soaso. Alternative shorter walks available.
You stay a second night at the Hôtel Bujaruelo surrounded by the paths you have walked and mountain scenery you have almost obsessively photographed (we all do it!).
Walking time : 6h30. Distance : 18km. Elevation : + 650m / - 650m. Transfer time : 15 minutes.

Day 7

Faja Racun and Cotatuero (Ordesa valley)
Today you will be exploring the other side of the Canyon - the side with the high cliffs - but worry not! It is all well planned and safe as houses. You again take the shuttle to the Canyon, and take a pretty path through bushes and trees to the heart of the almost overwhelming Cirque de Cotatuero with its beautiful waterfall. Mountaineers may continue straight up to the Breche de Roland, but we prefer the less travelled Racun path, which in due course provides superbly unspoilt views of the Canyon. In late spring and early summer, you may also experience the unforgettable pleasure of walking through flowering and fragrant broom and other mountain plants. At the end of this path, you arrive at the Cirque de Carriata, which presents a surprising vista of immense limestone cliffs - again, not a little overwhelming, even when you have experienced so many wonderful sights over the last few days.
You may enjoy your last night at the Hôtel Bujaruelo, and the end of your holiday, by pushing the boat out with cocktails and/or champagne. It will be well earned, and a fitting end to what we are confident you will say has been one of the most memorable holidays of your life.
Walking time : 5h. Distance : 10km. Elevation : + 550m / - 550m. Transfer time : 15 minutes.

Day 8

End of stay
We transfer you back to Lourdes after breakfast, and one last look at those amazing mountains. You can, however, extend your stay by spending a night or two in Lourdes (see below).
Transfer time : 3 hours.
You can choose to stay an extra night at the three star Hôtel Beauséjour in Lourdes to visit the religious sites, and take the funicular up to Jer peak, which has exceptional panoramic views.
  • Practical details
  • Equipment
  • Formalities, Health

PROGRAM OF DEPARTURES

15 June to 15 October 2017

MEETING POINT

Meeting you at, and returning you to, Tarbes-Lourdes-Pyrénées airport is included in the price as is picking you up at Lourdes station or a Lourdes hotel, but for a supplement you can choose Toulouse, Pau or Biarritz. If you come by car, you can park your car in Lourdes, and we will pick you up there.

END OF STAY

We return you to Tarbes-Lourdes-Pyrénées airport, Lourdes station or where your car is parked, but for a supplement you can choose Toulouse, Pau or Biarritz.

LEVEL

This holiday features somewhat challenging walking on some days, so is most suitable for those who are reasonably fit, and/or do quite a lot of walking. It can get quite hot in July and August, as well as more crowded, and we would recommend June and from late August to the end of September as the best periods.

GUARANTEED DEPARTURE FROM (PERS)

2 (For safety reasons, not recommended for one person)

LUGGAGE TRANSPORTATION

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

SUPERVISION

This is an independent, self-guided holiday.

ACCOMMODATION

You stay in double or twin rooms for 4 nights in three star hotels, and 3 nights in a particularly good two star hotel.

MEALS

You will eat very 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.

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 if possible.
  • A small backpack of 30 litres minimum for your daytime requirements.

    CLOTHES 

    • Waterproof and breathable anorak (Gore-Tex type)
    • Fleece or a sweater (depending on the location and season)
    • Waterproof over-trousers
    • Pair of gloves (depending on the location and season)
    • Sun hat (with all round brim)
    • Shorts
    • Swimming costume + packaway towel
    • Several pairs of proper walking socks
    • Underwear
    • Pair of trainers or light evening shoes
    • Comfortable clothing for the evening

      EQUIPMENT TO BRING 

      • Walking boots (with ankle protection)
      • Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip protection
      • Water bottle or backpack container (allow 2 litres per person per day)
      • Tupperware type container for the picnic + cutlery
      • Compass
      • Waterproof cover for walking instructions and map
      • Head torch
      • Survival blanket
      • Mobile phone (signal strength is often surprisingly good, but cannot be relied on)
      • Your identity documents (including driving licence - you never know when...)

        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.
        Click on the price that corresponds to your choice.
        FromToFrom / to arrival airport
        Fri 15/06/2018Sun 15/09/20181 360 €  (₤ 1 209)
         
        List of additional options (to select later)
        TitleTime periodPrice
        Lourdes: supp extra night half-board sharing roomfrom 15/06/2018 to 15/09/2018100 € (₤ 89)
        Lourdes: supp extra night half-board single roomfrom 15/06/2018 to 15/09/2018150 € (₤ 133)
        Single room sup. / pers. subject to availabilityfrom 15/06/2018 to 15/09/2018395 € (₤ 351)

        THE PRICE INCLUDES

        7 nights dinner, bed and breakfast; people transfers from and to Lourdes; luggage transfers; detailed walking instructions; 1:25,000 IGN 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; shuttle bus charges (about £4 per person per journey); personal and travel insurance.
        Provided by TransferMate

        You can change the itinerary, and receive revised information

        Want to change the itinerary? Complete the form below, and we will send you a revised itinerary as soon as possible.

         

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