Pyrenees guided walking holiday

“Idyllic walking holidays in the French Pyrenees, based in the beautiful village of Bareges. No matter your experience level, there is an itinerary perfect for you.”

Highlights

Bareges | Pyrenees National Park | Cirque de Gavarnie | Neouvielle Nature Reserve | Walk with International Mountain Leaders | Walking holidays for all experience levels | Bespoke trips for groups of 4 and more | Stay in a beautiful traditional house |

Description of Pyrenees guided walking holiday

The picturesque village of Barèges makes a splendid base for walking holidays in the French Pyrenees. Situated close to the Pyrenees National Park, the renowned Cirque de Gavarnie and the Neouvielle Nature Reserve, there are endless walking trails in the vicinity to explore. Whether you’re looking for an easygoing ramble through mountain villages, or a challenging expedition travelling hut to hut over wild and remote landscapes, you’re sure to find something here.

There is a range of different itineraries available depending on your experience and fitness levels. The more advanced routes are usually available only in the summer months of July and August due to snow in the upper reaches, whereas more low-lying trails can be accessed from spring until October.

Walks are led by International Mountain Leaders and your own knowledgeable hosts, able to share their passions for the local geology, cuisine and history. Accommodation is in a lovely traditional house, sensitively restored and within easy reach of the village where you will find all manner of local French delicacies.

If you’re not regular walkers, or this is your first time up at such elevations, you might opt for a Taster Holiday, with regular breaks and days set aside purely for sightseeing. More advanced walkers might tackle some big climbs up 3000m peaks to mountain lakes and isolated huts. All told, a stay in Barèges is a wonderful chance to expand your European walking horizons. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself returning year after year.

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
03 May 2020
£910
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 03 May 2020 departure
10 May 2020
£985
excluding flights
Available
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30 May 2020
£870
excluding flights
Available
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06 Jun 2020
£870
excluding flights
Available
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13 Jun 2020
£870
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 13 Jun 2020 departure
20 Jun 2020
£870
excluding flights
Available
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27 Jun 2020
£895
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 27 Jun 2020 departure
04 Jul 2020
£870
excluding flights
Available
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11 Jul 2020
£895
excluding flights
Available
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29 Aug 2020
£895
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 29 Aug 2020 departure
05 Sep 2020
£870
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 05 Sep 2020 departure
12 Sep 2020
£895
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 12 Sep 2020 departure
19 Sep 2020
£870
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 19 Sep 2020 departure
26 Sep 2020
£870
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 26 Sep 2020 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

Pyrenees guided walking holiday

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 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.

8 Reviews of Pyrenees guided walking holiday

4.5 out of 5 stars
SHOW
5
3
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0
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Reviewed on 15 Jun 2019 by

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


This was a week of hiking in the French Pyrenees, organised by the tour operator. It was at Explorer level, which meant that we were out on the mountains for about 6 - 7 hours each day, walking trails and mountain paths.
The scenery was stunning.
The walks were expertly led by Rob, our resident host and guide. Rob is immensely knowledgeable about local flora and fauna as well as possessing an intimate and detailed knowledge of the area. He is also very friendly and helpful; nothing was too much for him or his wife, Emma, who catered for us each evening with beautifully cooked and presented meals.

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


Make sure you come! This is a wonderful holiday for anyone interested in walking. There are various levels - this was at the beginner level (Explorer). It might be worth checking with Rob and Emma about fitness levels required for the levels above this if you are more experienced walker.

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


Some money was spent in the local area (there are cafes and hotels for evening exploration and there is a very famous spa in the village, which is well worth visiting). The holiday certainly highlighted the beautiful and fragile nature of the local environment.

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


A wonderful holiday! We could not recommend it highly enough! Accommodation was excellent; the food was outstanding; the walks were breathtaking and the happy and pleasant environment created by Rob and Emma made it all a very enjoyable and memorable experience. We will be back!!

Reviewed on 05 Jul 2018 by

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


It's hard to pick anything as better than the rest- the absolutely awesome views of mountains covered with patchy snow, lakes of glacial water so still the
reflection of the landscape clearly visible; thundering waterfalls cascading down the cliff sides; the amazing geological formations of cliffs carved out from
the rocks; the heart pounding elevations as we worked our way upwards; the phenomenal display of wild flowers along with soaring birds, marmots scurrying
along the ground, newts and frogs in the streams and the majestic energy of the mountains; good company and excellent service, meals and a chalet comfortable enough to call home plus the knowledgable guide, Rob who was an encyclopedia of information about the area that he obviously loves- all was excellent.

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


Come prepared to be pleasantly surprised and ready for a great experience! Good footwear essential.

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


All hikes utilised established paths and the environment was completely respected. Local produce was used for the meals and we were encouraged to visit the local cheese, sausage vendors and breweries and restaurants on the staff rest day.

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


Thoroughly enjoyable.

Reviewed on 16 Jun 2018 by

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


Great walks, good company and food

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


Appreciated the benefits of being based in one place and having a guide who could tailor our walks to the weather conditions and give us the best opportunities

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


Yes - we bought business to area

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


Was well looked after - important as a solo traveller

Reviewed on 03 Oct 2017 by

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


The 3 day trek staying at mountain refuges (one very basic at 2,200 metres). The scenery was very varied and magnificent, at night there was a blanket of stars and the food was very good. Rob led the trek and is a qualified and experienced mountain guide with an extensive knowledge of geology and natural history (the same applies to Emma) which he shared with us. The trek was very well organised and paced, and the terrain and demands of walking well explained. A trek was something I had not experienced before and this was a fantastic experience which has left me encouraged to try similar holidays in the future.

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


My comments refer to the walking holiday Cirque de Gavarnie and Ordesa Canyon which was a level 2+ holiday. The company have an excellent website where the different levels of walking holidays are well explained. You need to make sure you are comfortable with the demands of the level you choose in terms of the hours walking, terrain and the ascents, and be aware that you will be walking at a higher altitude for some of the time. When walking Rob gave you advice on how to handle more difficult terrain and to best cope with ascents at higher altitudes. They are happy to answer any questions before you book.

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


The food was bought locally and the chalet run on environmental principles. Emma and Rob live locally. The refuges used during the trek are run by local people. You are encouraged to use the local bus service to Barèges from Lourdes. I travelled to Lourdes by train from Toulouse.

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


This was a tremendous experience which left me with a great sense of achievement. The scenery was magnificent (we ran out of superlatives to describe it!) and the company walking in a very small group was good and very friendly. Everything was well organised. The meals were thoughtful and excellent. I would not hesitate to recommend this company.

Reviewed on 02 Aug 2017 by

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


The most memorable part of our holiday was the stunning scenery we saw during our wonderful guided walks with Emma. She is extremely knowledgeable about the geology of the area and frequently showed us interesting rock formations or pointed out plant life or animals along the way. I loved the wild swimming we did in a fabulous remote lake. The three course meals produced by
Shireen our host each night were truly special and of restaurant standard, in my opinion.

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


Be prepared to challenge yourself during your walking expeditions: some of the walks we did really pushed me, but the reward was a fantastic sense of achievement and glorious views that I couldn't have seen if I stayed in my comfort zone.

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


We travelled by rail all the way from Cardiff, crossing the channel with Eurostar and breaking out journey down in Paris. We used a local taxi driver to and from Lourdes train station and spent our "day off" partly at the thermal spa in Bareges. We bought food from the local market and played boules in the local square. In order to reduce waste, guests reused their plastic picnic bags daily.

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


This holiday was superb in every way. It allowed my family, with three adult
children to spend a wonderful week in each other's company, walking and
sharing meals in a beautiful well appointed chalet. I can't find a negative thing to say about it.

Reviewed on 17 Jun 2017 by

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


Fantastic mountain scenery. Rob was a great guide adapting the walk to suit weather conditions, amazing local knowledge of plants, animals and geology. Highly recommended.

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


Definitely do it!

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




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



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!

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