Wildlife and walking holiday in the Spanish Pyrenees

“A week long small group walking holiday in the Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park. Hosted by wildlife enthusiasts and local naturalist.”

Highlights

Ordesa and Monte Perdito National Park | Sierra de Guara | Geopark of Sobrabre | Birdwatching | Spanish Pyrenees wildlife | No supplement for solo travellers

Description of Wildlife and walking holiday in the Spanish Pyrenees

A week long, small group walking holiday in the Spanish Pyrenees, in a region known as Sobrabre, in the province of Aragon. The walking holiday is fully guided, staying in a beautifully restored farmhouse that is owned by your guides, Simon and Lucy. They live close to the Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park, one of Spain’s oldest national parks, a spectacular karst limestone landscape dominated by the Monte Perdido massif (3355m). The walking trails vary from valley floors tracks, to high alpine meadows, paths carved into cliffs or through ancient beech, pine and oak forests, each providing a unique ecosystem within its own right.

Simon and Lucy are also wildlife enthusiasts and, with the help of local Pyrenean naturalist and official Ordesa and Monte Perdido National park guide Alberto Lopez, they will take you on journeys that are well known habitats for the likes of chamois, marmots and the magnificent Lammergeier (bearded vulture). There is a wonderful array of birdlife, including from the tiny firecrest, bee-eater, golden oriole, hoopoe, and wall creeper to the largest raptors in Europe. Alberto is founder of ATONPA, a regional ornithological organisation and, with two decades of guiding experience in the area, his knowledge and passion for wildlife, flowers geology and local history is second to none. There is a lot to see and learn here, the area being not only a national park but also a UNESCO Geopark, a site of geological importance, and a World Biosphere Reserve. There are more than 1500 species of flowers here, 171 species of birds, over 131 species of butterflies and 32 different species of mammals, with eclectic insect life, including the praying mantis.

Our guesthouse

During this nature week, we host you in our restored traditional Pyrenean farmhouse, dating back to the 17th century. Restored to a high spec, the bedrooms are spacious with ensuite bathrooms and modern rain showers. There are spectacular views over the valley. Local artefacts and antiques are throughout, and our large sitting room has a wood burning stove. Wi-Fi is also available.
The price of the holiday includes just about everything except your transport to get here, and we do offer transfers from Zaragoza, for a charge of €60 pp return. Please note that we do not charge a supplement for solo travellers.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

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Check dates, prices & availability

Date
Price
Basis
31 May 2020
1395
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 31 May 2020 departure
07 Jun 2020
1395
excluding flights
Departure Guaranteed
Click here to enquire about or book the 07 Jun 2020 departure
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Wildlife and walking holiday in the Spanish Pyrenees

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.

Environment

We are passionate about the environment and the wildlife where we live. The Ordesa National Park is a World Biosphere Reserve and a ‘Special Protection Area for Birds’ with over 171 species, including the rare Lammergeier or Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus Barbatus). We support the Lammergeier Conservation Foundation by using guides from the Foundation, visiting the raptor feeding stations with guests and selling the Foundation T-shirts. This helps fund a breeding program in our area which has had great success. Our walks are led by experts in the area (or accompanied by information packs when self-guided) and ensure that fragile environments are not degraded in any way when walking.

There are also well over 100 species of butterflies and moths in our area, including the rare and beautiful Isabelina Moth (Actias Isabellae) and the Giant Peacock Moth (Saturnia Pyri). We have been successful in hatching the eggs and releasing the caterpillars for these moths.

At the farmhouse we have geothermal heating and hot water with minimal environmental impact. We also harvest rainwater for both the irrigation of our vegetable patch and garden, and for the washing machine.

We recycle all we can, including building materials and furniture. For example all the vanity units in the luxury bathrooms are unique secondhand pieces of furniture, adapted with a granite top and basin. All the furniture in the house is antique or secondhand and has been or is in the process of being restored by Simon, your host. Many of the external doors are secondhand and have been adapted. The beams and stone from the four year renovation of the property have been reused throughout the building process. We continue to reuse this material now as we landscape the garden.

Community

We support the local economy wherever possible by employing guides, experts and teachers from our area. We offer English lessons to our guides, providing them with a greater opportunity for work.

We involve our neighbours with our holidays, offering the possibility to visit their houses which have changed little through the centuries. This gives a unique insight into the culture and traditions of the high Pyrenees. In return we make donations to the village fund, for amongst other things the maintenance of our historic chapel of San Urbez (hermitage).

We also offer a guided visit to the chapel of San Urbez, explaining stories about our saint, his miracles and the architectural features. For this, we ask our guests for a donation in the chapel collection box.

We are involved in trying to preserve and restore the local pathways, acting as volunteers as the need arises. We will be running a path clearing holiday in the future which we hope will also ultimately benefit the community as a whole.

5 Reviews of Wildlife and walking holiday in the Spanish Pyrenees

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Reviewed on 22 Jul 2019 by

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


We were blown away by the scenery of the Spanish Pyrenees. One highlight was a private vulture viewing: 80 Griffin vultures, 2 Egyptian Vultures and 9
Lammergeiers. They circled high up above the mountains, scanning the ground below with their keen eyes for the next meal. It was a remarkable sight to
behold. Seriously there were highlights every day! Another treat was spending time with local entomologist, Enrique. We saw a range of butterflies by day
and set up a moth net at night, by the morning we had collected an amazing number which we examined. It was pure joy!

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


Bring your binoculars because it is wildlife heaven! As well as the vultures we saw Wryneck, Woodchat Shrike and Rock Thrushes and heard Nightingales
singing everywhere. The trekking was all manageable and Lucy and Simon take very good care of everyone, providing excellent breakfasts, packed lunches,
snacks to take with us and wonderful evening meals.

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


Our experience was superb. Lucy and Simon our hosts were passionate about their adopted home and eager to share the secrets of its wildlife and history with us. All the food was sourced locally. The plant expert who showed us the wild orchids and Enrique the entomologist were local, as was the mountain guide, Alberto. They were all hugely knowledgeable and keen conservationists. We visited the Lammergeier Conservation Centre at Ainsa and handed over a cheque to the director for monies the operator had raised from the sale of aprons and t-shirts to support their work.

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


Our holiday was brilliant! The wild and rugged beauty of the Aragon landscape took our breath away. We saw snow capped mountains, U-shaped valleys, waterfalls, tree-lined gorges, marmots and chamois grazing. It was magical! The accommodation was excellent and the freshly cooked food superb. The all-inclusive package means you don't have to worry about anything, and the small group sizes are perfect for this type of holiday.

Reviewed on 25 Jun 2019 by

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


There were so many wonderful moments it is difficult to decide - beautiful Lady's Slipper orchids, vultures, marmots (the new meercats in my opinion), the Graellsia moth, the wonderful scenery of the Ordesa National Park. The peace and quiet of Casa Allue.

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


Go! You won't be disappointed. Take warm clothes for days in the mountains.

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


Casa Allue has been beautifully restored to high environmental standards. Simon and Lucy source food for the excellent meals locally, from their own garden and land where possible, using seasonal produce. They and the wonderful local guides they employ are passionate about the area and its environment and are keen to promote conservation.

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


Excellent

Reviewed on 25 Jun 2019 by

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


* The beautiful mountains with so many spring flowers, as well as birds, animals, butterflies and insects;
* Enthusiastic specialist local Spanish guides (botanist, ornithologist and entomologist) as well as Simon and Lucy's knowledge (birds and geology respectively)
* Lovely host family (Simon, Lucy and daughter Sophie) who were so adaptable, hospitable and knowledgeable;
* Excellent en-suite accommodation (bedrooms, common rooms etc) - clean, comfortable and lovely views (a local woman cleaned every day)
* All-inclusive as you've never before experienced - we really didn't need any cash as all occasional stops for coffee, drinks and meals were paid for, plus individually prepared picnic lunches, tea and local pastries, wine with all evening meals etc. All food is locally sourced or even grown by Simon & Lucy who prepared all the meals themselves, giving us local Spanish cuisine. (Heavy drinkers or those who like pre-dinner aperitifs and cocktails would not be catered for!)
* The 8 people in the group (we were all couples aged about 60-75) were transported everywhere in their own, comfortable 4WD minibus which coped well with steep mountain tracks. Safe drivers.
* Well planned trips with variety and plenty of explanations, including local history, culture, geology etc.

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


1. Go prepared for all weathers and follow the advice Simon and Lucy give about clothes and shoes etc, including several layers of clothing to cater for hot sun in the valleys and chilly mountain air. We experienced sleet, rain and hot sun up to about 30C!
2. Rooms: They have at least one room with a bath and shower, which you could ask for if it is available. You should also ask if you can have one of the rooms in the barn conversion which has full-length glass windows/doors opening on to little balconies with wonderful views.

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


Yes - on all three counts.
* Our guides were all local specialists involved in research, conservation and education.
* Although English, Simon and Lucy and their two young girls are fluent Spanish speakers, fully integrated into and involved in the local community and its activities and conservation concerns.
* Waste of all sorts was kept to a minimum and recycled.
* They renovated the old semi-derelict farmhouse and barns sensitively, re-using local materials, and local labourers and professionals, incorporating eco features such as geo-thermal heating.

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


Excellent - one of the best holidays we've had, with a well-balanced programme of nature, wildlife and walking which was adaptable to all needs.

Reviewed on 09 Jun 2019 by

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


The day when we went high in the mountains and saw some wild animals. Also the night when we watched butterflies with our guide. It was amazing.

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


It is a good holiday for elderly people to enjoy the nature. You will be very comfortable with Simon and Lucy.

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


Yes.

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


Excellent.

Reviewed on 29 May 2018 by

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


The beautiful scenery on the walks plus the stunning variety of flowers, the birds and their songs and the insect activity generally. Enjoyed the actual walking too! Also the real quiet in the area we were in allowed me to be able to hear the birds rather than the traffic. Our hosts Lucy and Simon plus our guides were also an essential and wonderful part of the trip.

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


Be prepared for all weathers and all in one day! The mountains are very changeable.

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


Yes, our hosts really made sure the food we ate and even the wine was all either homegrown or locally sourced. They used local people as needed for building and repair work and employed local people as mountain and wildlife guides. As much as possible was recycled.

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


I totally loved it and would also love to go back another year to do the walking for Wildlife trip.

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