Pyrenees Winter Walk & Snowshoe

8 days
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1 075 €
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Traveller ratings
4.5 / 5 from 6 reviews >
Trip code: 
CEW
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Winter
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–10

A fantastic week enjoying the wonderful scenery of the Pyrenees on foot or snowshoe

The Pyrenean Mountains are perfect for winter exploration, and we have been sending groups there for years to enjoy our tried and tested daywalks. In the company of our expert expat John Howie we journey from the French spa town of Luchon to some incredible panoramas as we climb to a small peak or ridge. Whether we journey through deep snow or along well marked trails, every day is both challenging and spectacular surrounded by the majesty of these mountains. We also feature a more challenging departure (11th March 2018) which ventures out on a three day hut based expedition in the heart of the Aigues Tortes National Park, just over the Spanish border.

Highlights

  • Some of the most beautiful peaks in France and Spain
  • Walk in a small group of ten
  • Relax in a comfortable mountain lodge with log fire

Key information

  • 7 nights Mountain Lodge (on regular departures)
  • 5 nights mountain lodge, 2 nights refuge (challenging departure only)
  • 5 days guided snowshoeing
  • Snowshoes and poles provided
  • Group normally 4 to 10, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs



What's included

  • All breakfasts, 5 picnic lunches, 6 dinners
  • All accommodation (see below)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Snowshoes and poles

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (not available on this trip)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
+45 (0)70 12 03 03
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start La Fenière, near Luchon, 2 hours drive from Toulouse.

    Luchon, or Bagneres-de-Luchon to give it its full title, was known as far back as Roman times for its thermal baths. It has ever since continued to draw the great and the good, from Napoleon to Alexandre Dumas. Not surprisingly the architecture of the town still reflects this Belle Epoque popularity. This charming town offers shops and restaurants in addition to the baths themselves as well as a fantastic location with some of the area's best known peaks on the horizon.

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    The first of our five guided snowshoe walks in the area.

    Today is the first of three days of snowshoeing before our free day. When choosing walks the leader's priority will be to take in a full variety of scenery and of course to spend as much time as possible in the snow! Many of the walks will start at the head of a valley and we will climb to a peak or a ridge to reach deeper snow and fine viewpoints. We tend to avoid the steeper slopes underneath the frontier range, as there may be an avalanche risk. Instead we walk on the lower hills with extensive views towards the tallest peaks. The possibilities include: Minutes from Luchon, the Vallée d'Oueil offers a lovely scenic introduction to the area. The summits around this valley, at around 2000 metres, have excellent panoramic views south to the main range. From near the end of the valley we can take a ridge walk back towards Luchon. The pastures of the Plateau de Campsaure, within sight of La Feniere, are covered in snow throughout the winter. The Plateau offers access to some easy peaks and ridge walks - some on the border, and some within Spain. The 360 degree views are spectacular. A little further north we may venture on to the Pic du Gar, or the Bacanière. We may also walk along foresters' tracks, through the woodlands below Superbagnières.

  • Day 3

    Set off from La Feniere for the second of our guided snowshoe walks.

    There are many great trails on the Spanish border. A short drive can take us there to spend the day weaving in and out of the forest and up to the summit of Pic d'Aubas for fabulous views over the Aneto/Maladeta glacier.

  • Day 4

    Third snowshoe walk in the surrounding area, often exploring the snowy ridges.

    We embark on our third snowshoe walk, often starting in one of the surrounding villages, such as Saint Aventin and climbing up to the snowy ridges above.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Free day for relaxation, optional downhill skiing or paragliding.

    Free day for relaxation or optional activities including downhill skiing or paragliding, or relaxing in the thermal baths in Luchon.

    Start of our three day expedition in to the Aigues Tortes National Park (Level 5 Challenging Departure)

    We drive for an hour to the Spanish village of Salardu in the Val d'Aran. We begin our walk through the beautiful Aigue Moche Valley, trekking to the valley head before the final ascent into the Cirque de Colomers. Depending on conditions, we may arrive at the refuge by lunchtime, in which case we will leave our packs and make an initial exploration of the stunning Cirque.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    A longer walk in the Vallée d'Oueil is a good option today to make the most of our fresh legs.

    Depending on conditions we may take a longer low level walk in the Vallée d'Oueil through several of the pretty mountain villages that characterise the area.

    A day walking in the remote, spectacular scenery of the Aigues Tortes National Park. (Level 5 Challenging)

    There are plenty of options for our time here including some small summits and climbs to ridges for excellent views.
    On some dates (according to local demand), a second mountain refuge (Ventosa) is open, and we can trek to an adjacent valley for the second night.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Final snowshoe walk of the week, taking in sections of the GR10 high above the Luchon Valley.

    A great way to finish the week is to take part of the GR10 from Artigues, high above the Luchon Valley onto the Plan de Montmajou for breathtaking views back across the mountains.

    Free day for relaxation or optional activities (Level 5)

    A well-earned rest day at La Fenière. Have a lie-in and do very little, or try one of the many optional mountain activities available. At Superbagnères there is alpine skiing, and sometimes it is possible to arrange a day of cross country skiing at Beret in Spain. Tandem paragliding flights are also popular starting at the top of the cable car at Superbagnères. In Luchon there are plenty of cafes and restaurants, plus 'Les Thermes' themselves - natural hot springs, long since developed into a health spa, with a hot pool and vaporium. Or, of course, you can stay at the lodge and read a good book by the fire. In the evening you are free to eat out at one of the local restaurants.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    End Luchon.

    Transfer back to Toulouse; fly to London.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

France

No visa required for British passport holders.

Spain

No visa required for British passport holders.

Vaccinations

France

There are no specific health risks.

Spain

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All continental breakfasts, 5 picnic lunches and 6 evening meals are included.

A limited amount of red wine is included with the evening meal.
On Day 1 only dinner is included, and on Day 8 only breakfast.
On Day 5 you are free to purchase your own dinner and try out one of the many restaurants in town.
Vegetarians: La Fenière caters well for vegetarians, please do advise the sales team on booking. Unfortunately La Fenière is unable to cater for vegans.

Please note meals on the challenging departure whilst on the hut to hut trip will be simpler.
For the Christmas and New Year departures there is a full festive meal, including several courses such as seafood platters accompanied by mulled wine, creating a wonderful atmosphere.
On five days individual packed/picnic lunches are prepared at La Fenière and carried by each client. These will normally include sandwiches, quiche or pizza, chocolate and fruit.

Weather

January and February have average temperatures at night in the Vallée du Lys (La Fenière is at 1080 m.) of around -10ºC and maximum daytime temperatures of about 9ºC. Temperatures in March and early April are higher on average (even up to 18ºC) and the snow line rises. Throughout the season, most days are sunny and clear, but you should expect some low cloud and snow and possibly rain. Snow Conditions Even well established ski resorts have trouble guaranteeing good snow conditions throughout the season, however snowshoers have the great advantage of being able to operate in a variety of snow conditions which skiers might find difficult. There is generally good snow cover from about 1800 metres throughout the snowshoeing season, but at times we may have days when we will be walking below the snowline. In light snow conditions you might expect to begin walking with your snowshoes strapped to your pack, then stop to put them on as we reach more consistent snow-cover. Please note that over the past few years Christmas and New Year have not seen sufficient snow for snowshoeing, so a full itinerary of winter walking has been followed.

Is this trip for you?

This trip consists of five moderate to challenging daywalks with and without snowshoes. No previous snowshoeing experience is necessary.

Level 4 - Moderate/Challenging Week 

You will need a decent level of fitness before joining this holiday. Altitude gain varies between 600-800 metres (2000-2800 feet) on most days, and there are some sections of steep ascent and descent. Average number of hours of walking is about 5 per day, when you add in a couple of hours for lunch and other breaks, expect to be out from 9:00am till 4.30pm.

March departure only, Level 5 - Challenging

Altitude gain: between 500-800 metres (1,500-2,400 feet) ascent on most days. Some of the ascents are quite steep and we'll take a zig zag approach to these. Hours walked: usually around five to six hours walking, plus photo, lunch and snack breaks; longest days are up to 8 hours. Distance walked: average about 11 kms (7 miles).

Call for general departures:
+45 (0)70 12 03 03
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

La Feniere Mountain Lodge

Louise and John Howie run La Fenière Mountain Lodge alongside their three children and two dogs. Tucked in amongst beech forests metres from a beautiful river, there’s an abundance of flora and fauna surrounding the lodge that attracts red deer, pine martens, wild boar, red squirrel, griffen vultures, golden eagles and even the European brown bear. Formerly a hay barn, the building was converted about 50 years ago and offers uninterrupted views of the snow covered peaks that border
Spain.

The comfortable lounge / dining room is equipped with a wood burning stove, a small bar and an Ipod docking station. There are 5 simple twin rooms with basins. Bathroom and shower facilities are shared.

Please note the challenging departure spends 5 nights at La Fenière and 2 nights in remote mountain refuges. Whilst in the mountain huts you should expect to be sharing a dormitory with members of the opposite sex, and other trekkers not in our party. Blankets are provided. Both the huts are manned and catered, and are similar to Youth Hostels in the UK. There is no hot water in the huts, and toilet facilities are clean but basic.

Due to the nature of the accommodatino single rooms are not available on this trip.

Call for general departures:
+45 (0)70 12 03 03
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
+45 (0)70 12 03 03
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed April 2015
    Helen Stockham

    Pyrenees Winter Walk & Snowshoe

    I've been hiking in the Pyrenees during the summer months and was keen to experience the mountains in the winter months. It was very easy to pick up snow shoeing (took less than 5 minutes) and was a great way to access the mountains in the snow. I would describe the walking/snow shoeing we did as 'gentle to moderate' rather than 'moderate to challenging' as written in the trip notes. We were often finished by early-mid afternoon and then ended up in a café for a coffee or beer each day. Personally I'd have preferred to walk for another couple of hours each day and spent less time in the cafes in Luchon.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being out in the mountains in the snow with some amazing views at times when the clouds cleared.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    There is never a dull moment with John around. He is very knowledgeable about the mountains and has some good stories to tell. When driving in wintry conditions safety was his top priority.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    As a group we all struggled to find something we really wanted to do on the free day. Cross country skiing was not an option as John was too busy (we would have had to have exchanged a day of snow shoeing to do this). Due to avalanche risk in the higher areas there are limited options for walking/snow shoeing from La Feniere on your own, there is a limited amount of shopping/cafes/thermal baths/sightseeing to be done in Luchon, which left the ski resort above Luchon. If you wanted a ski lesson this had to be booked 24 hours in advance, and there were limited opportunities for wandering around/entertaining oneself if you didn't downhill ski.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The food provided was amazing and we were given a great recommendation for a restaurant for the free day.
  • Reviewed January 2013
    Anonymous

    PYRENEES WINTER WALK & SNOWSHOE

    A beautiful part of the Pyrenees - I've walked this area in Spring and Summer, and now I know Winter is just as good. Showshoing up the Pyrenees is no harder than walking up in Summer - and indeed going downhill is easier, the snow takes the shock rather than your knees. Wonderful chalet accommodation - the food was excellent and plenty of it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Crossing the frontier to Spain at about 2200 metres, and looking down at the Aran Valley in blazing sunshine. Standing on a mountain ridge in February wearing a t-shirt and sun-screen.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Chris is a very good leader - some of the routes had potential for real hazard, but he got us across safely.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Even in Winter, take some hot-weather clothing. I wore pile saloperttes, which were excellent for the conditions expected in February - but we had 4 brilliant sunny days, and I was sweltering going uphill!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The chalet "La Feniere" is a wonderful spot. Bagneres de Luchon around the valley is one of my favourite towns of the Pyrenees, and up from the chalet is Superbagneres - on our rest day I took the cable-car up to the top and walked down to the chalet, spotting lizards already running around the sunny  walls - and this was February. Braver souls arranged tandem para-gliding from the top, while others hired skis for the day. Definitely there's a lot to do.
  • Reviewed January 2013
    Anonymous

    PYRENEES WINTER WALK & SNOWSHOE

    Great walking and snowshoeing all week.  Lots of variety in the walks - snowfields, hills, woods etc. , all with excellent views.  Accommodation fine with the bonus of excellent food and plenty of it! 

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Got to be the wild boar!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    A character and a half with excellent local knowledge!
  • Reviewed December 2012
    Anonymous

    PYRENEES WINTER WALK & SNOWSHOE

    An excellent holiday - just as described in the brochure it was moderate/challenging walking with amazing views.  Very well organised, great walk leader topped off by fantastic food!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a wild boar running across a snowfield - wow!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very well informed and quite a character!!
  • Reviewed April 2012
    Anonymous

    PYRENEES WINTER WALK & SNOWSHOE

    A real get away from it all experience. I usually do all my plotting and scheming when I'm walking but snow shoeing took all my concentration

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    High in the snow on the mountains, clear blue skies and sense of achievement , big dose of fresh air , meeting no-one but our party  and just animal prints in the snow

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Perfect mix of professionalism and friendliness

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The trip notes were comprehensive the only query we all had was whether you really needed a 40litre day packWe all thought smaller would do

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Overall great holiday , good combinationGlad I selected this trip, was looking at warmer climes
  • Reviewed January 2012
    Anonymous

    PYRENEES WINTER WALK & SNOWSHOE

    This was an absolutly fantastic holiday. The food, scenery and company were all brilliant and it was of course in a magnificent area. It was a diverse group of people but everyone got on very well, had plenty of laughs, and will keep in touch I hope.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    On New Yeras day when we reached a peak on the border between France and Spain. It was a beautifull, sunny, still day and the views across to the Mediteranian on the Spanish side were something I will remember for a very long time. I can't think of a better place to seen in the New Year from!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very good. The leader made sure that all of the walks were fun, safe and yet challenging. It was good for people to feel like they had actually achieved something at the end of each day. He also contributed to the jokes and the fun atmosphere which helped to make sure people were almost never in a bad mood.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You will need to be reasonably fit to do this holiday. It is also very important that you bring all of the correct kit as specified in the trip notes. A good pair of sunglasses are particularly important, because on sunny days the glare of the sun on the snow is quite dazzling.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    There is nothing bad I can think off to say about this holiday. I would highly recommend it to anyone. I did not really want to come home at the end of the week!

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

Call us on +45 (0)70 12 03 03