Cooking and cultural vacation in the Spanish Pyrenees

“A week in the Spanish Pyrenees on a small group vacation, filled with all the finest flavours of this mountainous and magnanimous region. Staying in a stunning 17th century farm house. That feels like home after just a few hours. ”

Highlights

Walking in Aragon Pyrenees | Three cooking workshops | San Juan de la Peña Monastery | National Parks of Ordesa and Monte Perdido | Sierra de Guara Natural Park | Jaca | Bujaruelo Valley | Wine tasting at local bodega | Ainsa | Bird watching for Lammergeier or Bearded Vulture

Travel Team

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Check dates, prices & availability

Date
Price
Basis
22 Apr 2020
1350
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 22 Apr 2020 departure
24 May 2020
1350
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 24 May 2020 departure
25 Oct 2020
1350
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 25 Oct 2020 departure
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Cooking and cultural vacation in the Spanish Pyrenees

Carbon reduction

Your vacation will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this vacation 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 vacations, 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 vacation in the future which we hope will also ultimately benefit the community as a whole.

6 Reviews of Cooking and cultural vacation in the Spanish Pyrenees

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Reviewed on 20 Jun 2019 by

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


Our vacation immersed us in beautiful scenery and fascinating culture: tiny villages, beautiful historic towns, castles and monasteries, amazing rock formations, and enthusiastic producers of wine and olive oil. A highlight for me was a wonderful walk encompassing 4 local villages, all at various stages of revitalisation, and experiencing the yearly fiesta in Albella, when religious statues are paraded to the chapel and families return to their ancestral homes in a celebration of community. Albella itself is a tiny but beautiful hamlet high in the Pyrenees and the Casa Allue, Simon and Lucy’s guesthouse, is a beautifully renovated and decorated former farmhouse and barn. It has a superb outlook and we were serenaded by a musical chorus of cow and sheep bells! Simon and Lucy are wonderful cooks who use beautiful produce grown in their own garden or locally sourced - we dined on wild boar and mushrooms collected in the hills above the town! - and the delicious meals are complemented with local wines. Our cookery sessions were lots of fun (wine in hand!).

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Simon and Lucy organised a transfer for us from Zaragoza which worked beautifully.
I think you really get the most from this vacation if you have a good level of fitness and can walk uphill and over uneven terrain.

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


Conservation and sustainability underpin every aspect of the operation of the tour operator. Simon and Lucy are wonderful hosts and guides, knowledgeable and respectful of the local communities and their history and culture, as well as the wildlife, botany and geology of the Pyrenees. They have sensitively restored a derelict farmhouse and barn into a beautiful guesthouse, sponsor local restoration projects, work with local farmers, promote local produce and are an integral and respected part of the local community. The guesthouse restoration included installation of thermal underfloor heating and water tanks to harvest rain from the roof.

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


A superb vacation in a beautiful location with wonderful hosts.

Reviewed on 17 Apr 2019 by

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


Lucy and Simon were so hospitable and worked very hard to make sure every aspect of the vacation worked well for us and fitted our level of ability. The food and accommodation were of a very good standard. We loved the variety on offer, which included walking in the hills, visits to nearby historic towns, castles and religious buildings, wine tasting and, of course, cookery lessons. The couple has done their homework regarding the history of the area and were able to give us lots of interesting facts.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


This is an active vacation involving some travel and hill walking, so being reasonably fit helps. And it can be cold in the mountains!

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


Definitely. Lucy and Simon love the region and are very committed to it. They practice strict recycling regimes and support local guides and the small independent industries that exist around the area.

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


A great experience and good value for money.

Reviewed on 07 Apr 2019 by

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


I think most memorable was the incredible hospitality of Lucy and Simon. They did everything possible to ensure that we had a good time and that we saw
as much as possible of that area of the Pyrenees. Nothing was too much trouble for them. My wife had injured her leg earlier on the trip and both Simon and
Lucy came to ensure that wherever we went her comfort and safety were assured. We particularly enjoyed the cooking classes and I am now enthused to even do some cooking at home! The tours were well run and gave us a real view of the local area and people. The visit to their chapel and their neighbours house and its age old elements was a particular highlight.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Be prepared for something different, away from the hustle of the cities and the usual tourist spots.

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


The key to our enjoyment of the vacation was exposure to local things of interest and to local people. Obviously there was a flow on benefit to the locals who
guided us on walks, cheese-making and vineyards.

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


Fantastic.

Reviewed on 06 Nov 2018 by

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


It was all just great!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Deservedly, this tour operator at Casa Allue are gaining popularity, so book up well in advance or you may be disappointed.

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


Certainly the emphasis is on local and home-grown produce, involvement in the village community, support of local businesses and self-sufficiency.

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


The entire vacation was a delight: culture, scenery, walks, cookery sessions, the food, the wine, the house, our hosts + family, their dog! (And the cats!)

Reviewed on 05 Jun 2018 by

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


We enjoyed the uniqueness of the accommodations staying in a remodeled 13 century farm house in a small Pyrenees village. We enjoyed the way our hosts
Simon and Lucy worked with our group of eight on accommodating our requests around cooking, walking, and cultural experiences. This was one of the best
small group experiences we've had, and we've been traveling the world for at least twelve years.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Be ready to fall in love with the people, countryside, and food from this part of the Pyrenees....oh and your hosts Simon and Lucy.

Those people coming from the U.S. just beware if you are hiking plan of very rocky trails. Bring your high top boots as suggested in their packing list.

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


Oh yes!!! Everything we ate and guides hired were locally sourced,

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


This was one of the best small group travel experiences I've ever had. I was able to organize a group of four couples and Simon and Lucy worked with us before and during our stay on accommodating our requests. On a scale of one to five , five being outstanding, I'd give them a ten!!

Reviewed on 15 Apr 2017 by

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


Hiking in the fresh air of Spanish Pyrenees and being up close to many of the endangered lammergeier, or bearded vultures, soaring near the cliffs. There were a couple of times when we watched groups of three or four of these birds riding the thermals.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Bring a pair of good, newish boots! One of my boot's sole separated on the first day of walking. Simon, one of he hosts, and I glued and taped it up for the next outing, however the sole from the second boot began breaking away. Simon was kind enough to loan me his old pair. A day later, my wife's boot started to fall apart. Thankfully, Simon brought us to a sporting goods store before our last day of walking in order for us to buy new boots.

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


This part of Spain is very rural. By visiting and shopping at small local businesses, we felt it added a little to the local economy. The hosts, Simon & Lucy, recycle and repurpose materials in their establishment to great effect. (We suggested that our old boots be used as planters in the garden like we have
done at our home.)

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


My wife and I had a lovely week. The mix of hiking, local cultural visits, tastings and home-cooked meals made a splendid vacation. Simon and Lucy were wonderful hosts during our stay.

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