Walking in the French Pyrenees

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Traveller ratings
4.7 / 5 from 3 reviews >
Moderate
Learn more
Trip code: 
TEP
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Walking & Trekking Holidays
Min age:
16
Group size:
5–15

Wonderful scenery and varied walks

No two mountain ranges are the same. Each offers its own environment, culture and atmosphere. The Pyrenees, with its stunning landscapes and quaint villages, is a great example of this and the region has been enthralling walkers for many years. This trip is based in St Lary, in the Aure Valley, and explores the rugged ridges, peaks and passes of the central Pyrenees while the evenings offer the chance to enjoy the fantastic local mountain cuisine and of course, an extensive range of local wines.

Highlights

  • A flexible programme of five daywalks in the unmistakable and varied scenery of the Pyrenees
  • Family-run hotel with en suite facilities in the thermal spa town of St Lary
  • Challenging departure on August 5th

Key information

  • 5 days centre-based walking
  • Moderate or challenging weeks available
  • Group normally 5 to 15, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • 7 nights 3-star hotel
  • All breakfasts and 4 dinners included
  • Altitude maximum 2400m, average 2000m

What's included

  • All breakfasts and 4 dinners
  • All accommodation (see below)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call us on
+47-22 41 30 30
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.

5

Pace:

Approximately 4-6 hours walking per day

Terrain:

Varying altitude; mainly good paths with some steep ascents

Day by day breakdown
Day 212.0km/7.0miles
Day 314.0km/8.0miles
Day 415.0km/9.0miles
Day 68.0km/4.0miles
Day 711.0km/6.0miles

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 St Lary.

    This part of the Central Pyrenees is considered one of the best trekking destinations in the whole range. St Lary sits in the Aure Valley and offers typical Pyrenean architecture as well as a good variety of bars restaurants and shops.

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Trek through Salhan village up to the traditional village of Ens.

    For the first day we set off directly from the hotel. After passing the village of Salhan, our route climbs through the forest and before opening out all the way to the typical Pyrenean village of Ens. From there the climb to Coume Lake is superb on a wide ridge and with great views of Saint Lary. This walk gives us an excellent introduction to the area around our base.

    Walk: Distance 12 km Ascent 810m Descent 810m

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 3

    Short transfer to Col de Portet; walk to Lake Bastan and then into Neouvielle Natural Reserve; continue to Col de Bastanet (2507m); return transfer to St Lary.

    After a short transfer by private minibus to Col de Portet we begin the walk up to Lake Bastan on an easy section of the GR10 track. We will then enter the Neouvielle Natural Reserve and the walk continues to the Col de Bastanet (2507m). From here the views of the park are amazing and in particularly, the Pic de Néouvielle (3091m), one of the giants of the Pyrenees. After the walk we transfer back to Saint Lary.

    Distance 14km Ascent 620m Descent 620m

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Ridge walk on the GR10 with great views of the Plat d'Adet and back down to St Lary itself.

    In the morning we walk up to the Cap de Pede (1634m) and onto a section of the GR10 where we will discover the attractive Pyrenean villages of Vignec and Soulan. When we reach Grascoueou Ridge we will be rewarded with superb views of both Saint Lary and the Aulon Valley. From here we then descend the GR10 back to Saint Lary and along the way we will enjoy views of the Arbizon mountain to the north and Pla d'Adet to the south.

    Distance 15km Ascent 820m Descent 820m

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Today is free to explore at your leisure; activities available locally include cycling, the thermal baths or even rafting.

    Today is free to spend as you wish. St Lary offers a number of different options including a thermal bath complex with natural water at 32 degrees, caves, waterfalls, Jacuzzi and a pool. Alternatively those that wish can rent a bike and explore on two wheels. Anyone looking for an extra challenge can take on the nearby Col de Tourmalet, a regular feature on the Tour de France.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    After a short transfer we follow the French/Spanish border to the Port de Bataillance Pass in the shadow of immense peaks such as Troumouse (3085m).

    After a transfer to the Bielsa Tunnel (30 min) we climb to the Port de Bataillance Pass (2465 m). This walk will take us to the foot of the Bataillance Ridge and to the beautiful Lake d'Héchempy. The views along the way are epic, with some of the areas highest peaks in view such as Troumouse (3085m) and Munia (3133m) on the French side and Barranco Pinara (2167m) and Rio de Barrosa (2772m). We transfer by minibus back to Saint Lary after the walk.

    Distance 8km Ascent 812m Descent 768m

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 7

    Starting at the Col d'Azet (1580m) we follow a forest track and trek along the Tragnes ridge.

    A short transfer brings us to the charming village of Azet. From there we follow the GR10 to the Col d'Azet (1580m). From the col we continue to climb to the Tuc du Labatiadere mountain (1737m), with amazing views from the summit to Saint Lary and Loudenvielle. From there it is downhill all the way to Azet following the Tragnes Ridge through meadows and pastures to a fabulous viewpoint looking back down the whole valley, a great way to end our week.

    Walk: Distance 11km Ascent 635m Descent 635m

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 8

    End St Lary.

    End St Lary.

    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.

Vaccinations

France

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts and 4 dinners are included.

Breakfasts are continental and will include tea and coffee, cereals, juice, croissants, yoghurt, bread and jam. For lunch we recommend our group either buys provisions from the local minimarket, such as bread, cheese, cold meats etc or buy an ready made sandwich in the local boulangerie. A budget of around €6 per day is reasonable for this, not including drinks, though drinking water here is not expensive. The included dinners will be taken in the restaurant at our hotel, which serves mainly French cuisine, including local specialties. Please note that no drinks are included with dinner, but the hotel has a well stocked bar with a good range of regional wine. On other evenings you are free to try some of the tasty local cuisine in one of the nearby restaurants. There is a good range of restaurants in the village, including a creperie, a pizzeria and more traditional establishments serving fondue, cassoulet and other traditional cuisine. If you are a vegetarian or have any other special dietary requirements please advise us when you book.

Weather

The Haute Pyrenees gets some rain throughout the summer, although mostly as night time and afternoon thunderstorms. On average, over a one-week stay you should expect 1 or 2 wet days - although you may be unlucky. Maximum temperatures can be up to 30 ºC, but this will vary with altitude.

Is this trip for you?

This trip involves a series of five guided daywalks from our hotel in St Lary, in the Aure Valley. The walks are varied and designed to make the most of the surrounding peaks and impressive views. As such there are some short transfers to or from walks, to allow us to cover the most interesting and enjoyable routes. Of course, if on any day, you do not wish to go walking, you can relax at the hotel, or explore St Lary itself – an interesting Pyrenean town, regular host to the Tour de France, home to the spa facility Thermes de St Lary, as well as a small number of shops and facilities in the town. During the week there will be one free day where no walk is provided and the leader will suggest optional activities. Please note that a good level of fitness is required for this trip.We run this trip at two different grades, so please make sure you book the week that suits your ability. Please see the trip notes for further details of the challenging level walks.

Call us on
+47-22 41 30 30
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

Hotel

Hotel Les Arches*** Our days start and end at the well-located Hotel Les Arches in the village of St Lary, in the heart of the Aure Valley. Built to match the traditional architecture of the area, the hotel combines traditional Pyrenean interors with modern comforts including a swimming pool and sun terrace with great views of the surrounding peaks. Free Wi-Fi and comfortable rooms complete the offering at this family-run hotel which has been welcoming guests since the year 2000. Single accommodation is available on request.

Call us on
+47-22 41 30 30
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 September 2015
    Keisuke Murata

    Walking in French Pyrenees Level 3

    The French Pyrenees is stunningly beautiful region and the hike was extremely well planned and organised by the group leader who also provided a lot information on the nature, history and culture of the region linking to the walks.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    In addition to the beautiful landscape and hiking itself, the group leader could explain to us all about flowers, trees and geology as we walked. He also shared with us passionately the historical, cultural, environmental and socio-economic context of the region and it was like a combination of hiking and very interesting lecture on spot.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He provided us with detailed information and map of each walk. He also prepared useful information on restaurants and optional activities for a day off. He was always conscious about well-being of all participants. The leader is originated in the region and he is passionate in sharing with us his love of his native land and culture.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    For those who look for more than hiking, this would be an interesting walk as the leader can provide a lot of information linking to the walk (nature, history, culture, etc.)

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It is worthwhile to spend a day to visit the town of Toulouse for sightseeing.
  • Reviewed September 2015
    Alexander Sutherland

    Walking in the French Pyrenees

    Scenery in the Aure area is spectacular. Our Guide (Pierre) was excellent and added a lot to the holiday with local history, flora and fauna.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The mountains and high villages.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Superb!
  • Reviewed September 2015
    Vladimir Berka

    walking french pyrenees

    this is a very good trip that exceeded my expectations. good hikes, good hotel with little swimming pool, many food options in an interesting town and an excellent leader. did not notice any disturbing construction mentioned in some reviews.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    actually it was our leader pierre plus meeting allegedly ferocious pyrenees mountain dogs way up there. more like big puppies.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    pierre was one of the best best group leaders i ever had implanting lot of local knowledge about plants, birds and politics. also flipping and adjusting our itinerary when bad weather moved in.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    some restaurants are expensive but there are plenty of others, good and reasonable. not good place for vegetarians.

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]

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Call us on +47-22 41 30 30