Walking holiday in the French Pyrenees

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Date
Price
Basis
10 Jun 2017
£ 1099
including UK flights
Available
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01 Jul 2017
£ 1179
including UK flights
Available
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05 Aug 2017
£ 1299
including UK flights
Available
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26 Aug 2017
£ 1249
including UK flights
Available
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23 Sep 2017
£ 1099
including UK flights
Available
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09 Jun 2018
£ 1129
including UK flights
Available
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30 Jun 2018
£ 1199
including UK flights
Available
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04 Aug 2018
£ 1329
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25 Aug 2018
£ 1329
including UK flights
Available
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22 Sep 2018
£ 1129
including UK flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 22 Sep 2018 departure
Vouchers
Accepted
Holiday type

Small group holiday

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Walking holiday in the French Pyrenees

Environment

Activity:
Walking trips in general have a minimal impact on the environment as we use our own power to get around. Even our optional activities are environmentally friendly- clients can visit the natural thermal baths at St Lary or go cycling. Clients are briefed on managing food waste and other litter, which should be disposed of appropriately in respect of local recycling policies. We do believe in leaving no more than footprints although this tour actively encourages guests to talk to local people and visit local cafes and restaurants in order to create a postive cultural exchange.The trip takes the group through small villages and towns in Provence, with many small local businesses and artisans that are dependent on tourism for their livelihood; clients are encouraged to sample local wares when possible.

Water:
Water is a really important issue with walking trips and whilst we must stay hydrated, it is also vital that we have a system for providing clean water without causing lots of waste with plastic bottles. Water can be provided for clients on all walking trips and water receptacles are recycled or reused where applicable. As tap water in the region is drinkable, clients will be encouraged to use tap water and to reuse plastic bottles, rather than buying bottled water.

UK Office:
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.

Community

Accommodation and Meals:
The Hotel les Arches is a family-run hotel is ideally located in the village of St Lary, in the heart of the Aure Valley. The hotel is also locally staffed, providing valuable employment in the tourism industry on which the region depends. Fresh produce is sourced locally as much as possible in the adjacent restaurant which sells regional specialties. Clients are encouraged to stop at local cafés as they are often seasonal and reliant on tourist commerce, whilst also providing valuable employment in rural areas. Picnic lunches (cold meats, cheese, bread etc.) are sourced at locally supplied stores, and evening meals are taken in family-run restaurants or at the hotels. 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.

Group Size:
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

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