Adventures / Wild Hikes

Trek the Pyrenees through France and Spain

Traverse the Gaube Valley, Ordesa Canyon and Gavarnie Cirque on this challenging trek through some of Europe's most epic scenery

This trip is no longer on sale

Trip Ref #10280

Adventures / Wild Hikes

Trek the Pyrenees through France and Spain

Traverse the Gaube Valley, Ordesa Canyon and Gavarnie Cirque on this challenging trek through some of Europe's most epic scenery

DURATION

7 nights

LOCATION

France

ANNUAL LEAVE

5 days off work

SEASON

Jun-Sep

GROUP SIZE

Up to 8 people

MEETING POINT

Lourdes Train Station

ACCOMMODATION

Mountain hut · Hostel

DIFFICULTY

Challenging

You’ll need to be in good shape and capable of hiking between 15-20km each day with a pack on your back and gains of as much as 1000m

Ascend the Mirador de Calcilarruego - a natural balcony hanging 600 metres above the canyon floor

Tackle the famous Brèche de Roland (2800m), a dramatic 40-metre gap on the border between Spain and France

Get fresh under the high-pressure waters of the Grand Cascade, the highest waterfall in France

This trip is brand new

We’re still waiting to collect any reviews from other travellers on this trip. However, all our hosts go through an extensive vetting process to ensure that your adventure is awesome.

Included

Guides

Expert local, English-speaking, qualified mountain guides

Accommodation

6 nights in a mountain refuge, 1 night in a hostel

Meals

Munch on tasty food throughout

Transfers

From the start point and back again

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Lourdes Train Station

Any time before 16:30 on Day 1

Ends

Lourdes Train Station

Anytime on Day 8

Transfers

Your host will meet you at Lourdes Train Station and transfer you to Cauterets - your start point for the trek. On the final day, your host will arrange for you to take a local bus from Luz back to Lourdes.

We recommend you fly into Lourdes Airport (LDE) - which is the closest airport. From Lourdes Airport you can take a local bus (25min) or taxi (10mins) to Lourdes train station. Or from Toulouse Airport there is a shuttle bus to the train station and then regular trains to Lourdes, which take around 2 hours.

Travel options

The closest airports are Lourdes (LDE) or Toulouse (TLS), which are accessible via various direct flights from the UK and mainland Europe.

For those who wish to avoid flying, Lourdes train station is well connected with high-speed trains from London via Paris. The journey will take an average of 9 hours and usually involve 2 changes.

Day 1

Mountain hut · Mixed dorm

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2 – Day 6

Mountain hut · Mixed dorm

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 7

Hostel · Mixed dorm

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 8

Departure day

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

Breakfasts will be basic but filling, usually featuring bread, jam, tea and coffee and cakes. Dried fruit is often available and you can always bring a bag of oats if you like muesli. Lunch will be a picnic supplied from the refuge. Dinners are authentic Pyrenean cuisine - 3 and sometimes even 4 courses. In the mountain refuge, you'll keep fuelled up with various dinners that comprise of a starter (maybe a ‘potage’ or soup) followed by a meaty casserole, then some cheese and a dessert. There’ll always be plenty of 'stodge' such as bread or rice to fill you up and wine or beer will usually be available.

Vegetarian, vegan and most dietary requirements can be accommodated, please just let your host know upon booking.

What is the accommodation like?

Mountain Refuges

You'll spend 6 nights at different refuges within the Pyrenees, namely Eston Refuge, Oulettes Refuge, Bujaruelo Refuge and Goriz Refuge. You'll stay in mixed dorm-style bunk rooms, we recommend you bring a sleeping bag. The refuges will serve your evening meal and breakfast, and you'll also get your lunch for each day from the refuges before setting off. There are shared toilet facilities and showers available to use.

Hostel

You'll stay at the comfortable Gite Le Regain in Luz St Sauveur, a charming and traditional house nicely renovated as a hostel. The guesthouse offers small dorm rooms, each with their own bathroom.

Day 1

Arrival

Your host will meet you on arrival at Lourdes train station and transfer you to Cauterets (1000m), known for its toasty thermal spas. Meet up with the rest of your group for a dinner and chat through the trek with your guide.

Day 2

First look at the Pyrenees

Hiking

7hrs · 1150m up · 100m down

Kick off your adventure with a hike up towards Pont d’Espagne (1500m) via the waterfall path. This is a relatively gentle climb all the way with frequent waterfalls ranging in size from a few metres to 50m. Continue on to the crystal clear Lac de Gaube and surrounding glaciated valley. Your final stop is the Oulettes Refuge (2151m) where you'll be rewarded for your day's efforts with spectacular views of the north face of Vignemale and its small glacier.

Day 3

Cross over to the Spanish Pyrenees

Hiking

8hrs · 450m up · 1250m down

Fuel up on breakfast at the refuge before hitting the trail to cross over into Spain via the Col des Mulets (2600m). You'll be rewarded by your first big views across the peaks of the Spanish Pyrenees and then it's a long descent into the forest as you head towards the Bujaruelo Refuge. There will be plenty of time to recover with dinner and a good night’s rest.

Day 4

Mountain village of Torla (1000m)

Hiking

3hrs · 300m down

Today is going to be easier on the legs before returning to high altitude tomorrow. After a leisurely amble, you'll spend the afternoon relaxing in the Spanish mountain village of Torla (1000m) - a tiny alpine hamlet with the awesome peaks of the national park spanning the backdrop.

Day 5

Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park

Hiking

6-8hrs · 1200m up · 100m down

After breakfast, you'll head toward the glacially carved Ordesa Canyon, part of the spectacular Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park. From the plateau at the bottom, you'll climb the steep ascent to the viewpoint at the Mirador de Calcilarruego - a natural balcony hanging 600 metres above the canyon floor - before continuing to the next refuge at 2200m. You are now in high mountain territory with views of the canyon from above and mountaineers planning their ascents of the surrounding peaks.

Day 6

Brèche de Roland (2800m)

Hiking

8-9hrs · 600m up · 1435m down

Today you'll cross the Millaris Plateau and start climbing towards the famous Brèche de Roland, or Roland’s Breach (2800m), a natural gap on the border, 40m across and 100m high. Once through the Breche, you'll re-enter France and start the big descent (1450m) down to the village of Gavarnie with dramatic views of the Gavarnie Cirque. Arrive at your hut where a hot shower and a hard-earnt meal will be waiting for you.

Day 7

The Gavarnie Cirque

Hiking

6hrs · 700m up · 700m down

Your final day in the Pyrenees and it's likely to be a wet one. You'll head up and around the Gavarnie Cirque, and down into the heart of the cirque via a balcony path. Climb to the foot of the Grand Cascade, the highest waterfall in France at 423m and, if you’re up for it, stand under it for a celebratory high-pressure wash. Bid farewell to the high mountains as you are driven to Luz for a farewell dinner and a much-deserved drink.

Day 8

Au revoir

The adventure comes to an end today, your host will organise your outward bus transfer back to Lourdes train station ready for your onward journey home.

15% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 15% discount on us to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What do I need to bring?

BAGS
Rucksack (approx. 50 litres)
Waterproof liner/drybag for rucksack

CLOTHES
Lightweight waterproof and windproof jacket
Breathable wicking layers
Fleece jacket or similar
Buff or neck scarf
Lightweight trousers/shorts/skirts for hiking
T-shirts
Underwear & socks
Swimsuit (your guide will do everything they can to find swimming opportunities!)
Sunglasses
Sunhat
Gloves
Something to sleep in
Hiking boots (worn-in)
Lightweight shoes for refuge

SLEEPING
Sleeping bag (2/3 season)
Pillowcase

OTHER
Universal travel plug adapter
Power bank or solar charger
Passports (and visas)
Travel Insurance documents
Suncream
Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc.)
Toilet kit (toilet paper, biodegradable bags to carry paper out to dispose of)
Quick-dry towel Alcohol hand-gel
Face mask
Headtorch or torch
2 x reusable water bottle (x1 litre)
Water purification tablets/treatment system

OPTIONAL
Earplugs
Energy bars and snacks
Trekking poles

No optional extras are available for this trip.

We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 208kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2022 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

This trek requires a good level of fitness. You must be capable of hiking all day up paths of moderate difficulty with steep, loose sections. The hiking is over uneven terrain and long climbs will make the going quite difficult in parts. The views along the way make the journey more than worthwhile.

Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

You can fill your bottles up at the mountain refuges every day and will need to carry what you need for the day.

The weather is usually warm approx 18-22ºC, evening thunderstorms are a regular feature of the mountain environment but you are most likely to wake up to a cloudless sky in the morning. The weather is generally most stable and best for trekking between August and October.

Any excess luggage can be safely left at your accommodation on Day 1 and then be reunited with you on Day 7 in Luz.

For current advice about travelling in France and Spain, have a read of the UK Foreign Office pages here.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our adventures. Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure.

Your insurance policy should also include specific Covid-19 cover, including cancellation and curtailment cover if you, your travel companion or a close relative are diagnosed with Covid-19.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

You're in good company. Our adventures are typically made up of a mix of solo travellers and small groups of two or three friends who simply love adventure, pushing themselves and meeting awesome like-minded people. See here for more info about our lovely bunch of Much Better Adventurers.

Want to book a private trip? Just tap ‘Private Group’ in the dates and prices tab.

Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.

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