Pyrenees guided walking holiday

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01273 823 700

Check dates, prices & availability

Date
Price
Basis
02 Oct 2016
£ 695
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 02 Oct 2016 departure
09 Oct 2016
£ 695
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 09 Oct 2016 departure
Vouchers
Accepted
Holiday type

Travelling with a local operator

This holiday is operated by a company based in the holiday destination and they will be able to provide expert local knowledge. They will be able to tailor make your holiday to suit your requirements not only concerning the dates of travel but also typically the standard of accommodation, and thus price. It is rare for local operators to be able to help with the booking of your flights.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Pyrenees guided walking holiday

Environment

We are a small business based in the high mountain village of Bareges in the Haute Pyrenees. Bareges is a traditional thermal spa village, nestling just on the edge of the Neouvielle Nature Reserve and the Pyrenees National Park. The area is renowned for its diverse flora and fauna, and spectacular unspoilt landscapes. Our aim is to provide active holidays and promote awareness of the mountain environment, mountain people and their traditional way of life. We believe in supporting the local community and allowing other people to discover the beauty of the Pyrenees without upsetting their delicate natural balance. Our holidays are mainly about enjoyment and having fun, but they are also a learning experience and our guests take home with them a wealth of knowledge – about the environment, geology and geography, flora and fauna, history, culture, language and way of life in the Pyrenees and of mountains in general.

We practice a “tread lightly” policy in the mountains. Our walking holidays rely on leg-power and we aim to reach the wildest and most beautiful parts of the mountains, but to leave no trace of our passing and to take away nothing but memories. We keep our group sizes small – between two and eight people – to minimise our impact on the fragile mountain environment, and maximise the enjoyment for our clients. On some of our more challenging holidays, we include a two-day trek, staying at a high mountain refuge. The refuge has a composting toilet, solar panels and is supplied by donkey. All food waste is consumed by the refuge's own pig! We carry all our rubbish with us back down the mountain.

To reduce carbon emissions, wherever possible we walk directly from the house or within our valley. We have a single company minibus and offer transfers to reduce the need for guests to hire multiple vehicles at the airport. We promote travel to the Pyrenees by public transport (Eurostar to Paris, TGV train to Lourdes, local bus service to Bareges), or suggest to families that they can bring their own car on the ferry to Spain, thus avoiding short haul flights. Virtually all of our business is conducted over the internet, and paper-consumption and airmail-miles are cut down by posting holiday information on our website and communicating with customers by email.

Our walking holidays are based from a traditional house in a high mountain village. We spent two years restoring the house to its former glory, maintaining the original features and using local craftsmen whilst taking steps to improve the energy-efficiency of the house. Our work has encouraged a general "facelift" of the village. The house is now gas centrally-heated, by a very efficient, modern, on-demand boiler. Heating is supplemented with a wood-stove burning wood from managed, sustainable forest (with zero carbon debt). We encourage our guests to close their shutters at night to conserve heating energy. The roof and all exterior walls are fully-insulated. Washrooms are fitted with showers rather than baths, and the toilets have an eco-flush option to reduce water consumption. We use eco-friendly A-rated appliances, wash our own bedding and line-dry our linen outside in the mountain air whenever possible. Over half of our household waste is recycled, including glass bottles, tins and cans, paper/cardboard and plastic bottles.

Community

We live and work in the Pyrenees year round, using local activity guides, instructors, craftsmen and tradesmen. In opening up the English-speaking market, and promoting this beautiful area through the internet, we hope to bring much-needed custom to the people of the valley and to strengthen the village community. The foreign market is becoming increasingly important now, as the number of French tourists travelling within their own country is generally on the decline.

We encourage our guests to shop in the village and support the small traders. All of our food is home-cooked with a French theme, and includes seasonal vegetables and locally-produced meats purchased from the village butcher – Monsieur Sabathie. Specialities include the Bareges-Gavarnie AOC lamb which never leaves our valley, delicious dry-cured mountain sausages, hams and pates. We introduce our guests to local honey, mountain sheep’s' cheeses, confit duck and Tarbais beans produced in the SW of France. Locally-produced goods can be purchased at the village market on Wednesdays or direct from the producers on open farm visits. The house bar is stocked with local wines and spirits, and guests are encouraged to try local dishes at a mountain restaurant on our night off.

Reviews of Pyrenees guided walking holiday

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 24 Jun 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Walking in fantastic scenery

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Just go for it - this is a company run by good people and it's a really nice set-up

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


I made the whole return journey by public transport, which is perfectly feasible from the UK, so in that sense yes

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Tremendous

Reviewed on 06 Jun 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Great walking, hospitality and cakes!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


The holiday was great, driving home, with an 11-month old baby, in one day wasn't so great! So either get the train (or fly) or break your journey if driving.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


The walking had minimal impact, however some walks took 40 mins to drive to although walks are available starting at the front door of the accommodation. The local community did benefit as we ate locally produced/sourced food and wine and stopped for breaks in local cafes. The local community were, without exception, welcoming and friendly.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Great!

Reviewed on 20 Oct 2009 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Discovering the local history and wildlife under the care of our very knowledgeable hosts, plus lots of brilliant walks in the beautiful Pyrenean Mountains, plus the excellent food!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


If you like moderately strenuous walking, good company, excellent food and clean, tidy but informal "within a family home" accommodation, I'd strongly recommend this. Ps go in late May / early June for maximum wildflower impact!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


We ate local products, the household is run on environmentally friendly grounds, and visitors in the "off season" ie non-skiing season help to provide local jobs

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent & hope to repeat it in an early summer - see tip 2 above!

Reviewed on 26 Jun 2008 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


This was a 'gentle walking' holiday, so not designed to be exciting as such, but it was certainly memorable, and for good reasons. Difficult to pick the most memorable parts, but one was the satisfaction of a long walk in the rain! It started with a walk up to Lac de Gaube, then onwards, in the hope of seeing the glacier... but the visibility was too poor!! On the downward stretch, there were fantastic waterfalls. By the end of the day, I was soaked from the rain, but nevertheless it had been a great day. The other especially good day was hot. I puffed my way up really, really slowly because the heat, but it was worth it for the walks through a stunning mixture of wild flowers.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Do some hilly walks in preparation; take clothes for cool and wet, or hot and humid, or in-between weather; then just go for it, and enjoy the experience.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes. Many people in this area rely on tourists. Walking does not make much impact on the environment, and trips to and from the walks were by mini-bus thus keeping excess cars off the road. I was very pleased to note the general lack of litter - so pleasant after all the rubbish generally strewn around in the UK.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Very, very good. Rob and Emma provided great accommodation and food. Both have an extensive knowledge, and appear to have the ability to cater for those looking for gentle walks looking at flowers and scenery (like me), and those who want more energetic pursuits (see their website!). Rob accompanied the walks, and gave explanations of the geology ("this is modern, only 2 million years old"); pointed out eagles, vultures, marmots, etc., and identified a myriad of wild flowers. The scenery around Bareges is fantastic, and apart from the visit to the Cirque de Gavarnie, which is a popular tourist destination, we practically had the mountains to ourselves.

Reviewed on 08 Oct 2007 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Each day's walking brought new delights & remarkably different & beautiful landscapes. The guiding by both Rob & Emma was of a high standard & both were very well informed about the flora, fauna & geology. There have done a remarkable job in converting an old building into an attractive & very comfortable chalet. We felt totally relaxed.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Go by train. It is fast, comfortable & the connecting bus from Lourdes drops you 50 m from the chalet.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Whist we walked with Rob & Emma they use local professionals for many of the other activities. The food (which was excellent) was locally sourced.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Up there with the best we have had.

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