Pyrenees Coast-to-Coast

Riding from Hendaye on the Atlantic coast to Cerbere on the Mediterranean within the traditional 100-hour deadline, you’ll average around 170km per day and certainly go home knowing you’ve ‘done a ride’!

REF: 08151

Pyrenees Coast-to-Coast

Riding from Hendaye on the Atlantic coast to Cerbere on the Mediterranean within the traditional 100-hour deadline, you’ll average around 170km per day and certainly go home knowing you’ve ‘done a ride’!

  • Half board hotel
  • Pyrenees — > Cervera de la Marenda
  • Activity Type
    • With guide
    • Point to point
  • Groups up to 20
  • Challenging riding
  • Style
    • Flats
    • Mountain cols
    • Rolling hills
  • Distances
    • 100-150km/day
    • 150km+/day
    • 75-100km/day

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Service & Itinerary back to top

The ‘official’ Raid Pyrenean - if you want to ride the historic traverse in line with the guidelines laid out in the 1950s by the Cyclo Club Bearnaise (i.e. you must complete the ride between 1st June - 30th September, within a 100-hour time-frame and have a pass-book - known as a ‘carnet’ - stamped by e.g. cafe owners at key points along the ride) then we can provide all the support you need in arranging the pre-trip admin and on-the-road logistics, accommodation & meals. It is a benchmark against which other Pyrenean crossings are measured. We usually run our Raids in a West to East direction (to take advantage of the predominant wind direction).


  • 5 nights accommodation (shared room basis; a single supplement option priced at £230 is available if notified to us at the time of booking)
  • 5 breakfasts
  • 4 evening meals
  • On-the-road support & route maps
  • Airport transfers are available from Biarritz airport to our start location and from the finish of the ride to Perpignan or Carcassonne airport. Transfers from/to Toulouse airport may also be available to a maximum of 15 riders, but please check the availability of these before you book any flight.

Not Included

  • Flights
  • Rail or other transport to the initial rendezvous with the Trip Leader
  • Food & drink consumed at lunch/cafe stops
  • Alcohol or soft drinks consumed at hotels
  • Hotel telephone bills and other incidental expenses.


Day 1 (Hendaye to Gurmencon)

We spend much of the day in the Basque region of France and our ‘home’ for the night is a charming old coaching inn with a reputation for good food and excellent hospitality. Today’s climbs are short, but occasionally sharp and the overall elevation gain, whilst more modest than Days 2-4, still represents a good challenging day’s ride.

Riding distance: 159km, Total ascent: c 1850m, Major cols: Osquich (500m)

Day 2 (Gurmencon to Arreau)

This is probably the most demanding day of the route, featuring four famous cols in what is likely to amount to close to 9 hours of riding. We’ll aim to leave base pretty early and we have a healthy warm-up of 45km on the flat before tackling any of the major climbs. Then, out of Laruns, we begin the ascent of the Col d’Aubisque. Over its 17km length, the Aubisque climbs 1190m, passing through the sleepy old thermal spa town of Eaux Bonnes and the rather less picturesque ski resort of Gourette. The more challenging sections are in the second half, with the final few kilometers consistently at 8-10%. The summit comes at 1709m and has good refreshment facilities if we need extras or shelter. You then get a 4-5km descent around one of the most dramatic vistas in the Pyrenees, before a short (and not too steep) second climb of 2.5km to the Col de Soulor. From here, it’s a welcome and very enjoyable 20km+ descent into the town of Argeles Gazost where we’ll plan to take lunch. Post-refreshments, the ride heads through attractive gorges to bring you to Luz St Sauveur and the foot of the biggest challenge of the trip – the West face of the Col du Tourmalet. Over another 19km or so, you’ll climb 1400m to the 2115m summit (and the ever-welcome Tourmalet café). Keep your powder dry for the final kilometre at 10% and the last 250m ramp at 13% ! The descent of the Tourmalet gives you a chance to rest tiring legs before we turn through the Payolle valley to head up the final climb of the day, the last 6km of the Col d’Aspin. From the summit at 1469m, it’s all downhill to our overnight accommodation near Arreau.

Riding distance: 190km, Total ascent: c 4230m , Major cols: Aubisque, Tourmalet, Aspin

Day 3 (Arreau to Tarascon)

Another day for the connoisseur, with several iconic cols and a number of Tour de France ‘regulars’. First thing, we have around 10km of warm-up to get us to the approaches to the Col de Peyresourde (1579m). This is very much a Tour ‘regular’ (featuring in 2007 and 2008) and is an ‘honest test’ without ever quite scaling the grandeur of a Tourmalet or Aubisque. The crepes at the summit café are legendary and the descent is one of the best in the region, with good road surfaces and a compelling mix of technical hairpins and long straights. The descent from the Peyresourde skirts around Luchon and leads to a good, pacey flat/downhill section of 25km on the approach to the Col des Ares (797m), also a feature of the 2007 & 2008 Tours. Next up is the infamous Col de Portet d’Aspet (1069m), scene of the tragic death in 1995 of 1992 Olympic Road Race champion, Fabio Casartelli. Whilst only 4.5km in length, the Portet d’Aspet averages 9.5% and maxes out at 17% on this side of the col. After the Portet d’Aspet, we’re into pastoral landscapes and a flat riverbank ‘cruise’ into St Girons. Beyond St Girons, the largely flat road continues up to the 130km mark when we get to the Col de Port (1250m). Another to feature in recent Tours (’07 & ’09), this one is a good, steady ‘5%-er’ for most of its 12kms. The long descent into Tarascon disguises a couple of short ‘digs’ where pedaling is required, but overall it provides a very pleasant finish to another challenging day’s riding.

Riding distance: 172km , Total ascent: c 3000m , Major cols: Peyresourde, Ares, Portet d’Aspet, Port

Day 4 (Tarascon to Prades)

Again, the route provides a short warm-up of about 6km before climbing continuously for the next 47km up to the summit of the Col de Puymorens (1905m). A well-trafficked road, riders should take particular care on this section. From the summit we get a 27km descent before heading uphill again over the final (major) climb of the trip, the Col de Mont Louis (1520m) at around 100km into the day. From the Mont Louis, it’s the best part of 40km of downhill. PBs for the 25-mile time trial are a strong possibility!

Riding distance: 136km , Total ascent: c 2060m, Major cols: Puymorens, Mont Louis

Day 5 (Prades to Cerbere)

Bring your bucket and spade – we’re going to the beach. Today is downhills and vineyards; champagne glasses and ‘victory parades on the Champs Elysees’. Almost! With only 4 hours available today if we are to beat the 100-hour ‘deadline’, it comes as a relief that we start at around 250m above sea level and reach the beaches over a 87km route with no major obstacles and great potential for a very enjoyable group ride. There’s a very obvious coffee stop potential around half-way in Thuir and we reach the coast at a former fishing village which now trades rather more on its sandy beach. There are one or two small but ‘spikey’ little hills along to coast road to Cerbere, but nothing to intimidate ‘seasoned climbers’ at this stage of the ride.

Riding distance: 88km, Total ascent: 560m , Major cols: None

Accommodation back to top

For this trip, accommodation is in comfortable 2-star or 3-star hotels.

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Discover Pyrenees riding from Hendaye on the Atlantic coast to Cerbere on the Mediterranean.

Major cols:

  • Osquich (500m)
  • Aubisque, Tourmalet, Aspin
  • Peyresourde, Ares, Portet d’Aspet, Port
  • Puymorens, Mont Louis

About Pyrenees

Picturesque and quieter than the Alps, no less ferocious!

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  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
  • Guide
  • Luggage Transfers
  • Route Planning And Advice
  • Transfers
  • Vehicle Support

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