Pyrenees guided walking vacation

Please feel free to contact the Help Desk team if you need any advice on your vacation plans. We're always happy to help!

Toll free 1-866-821-6866

Check dates

For departure dates contact us on 1-866-821-6866
Vouchers
Accepted
Vacation type

Traveling with a local operator

This vacation is operated by a company based in the vacation destination and they will be able to provide expert local knowledge. They will be able to tailor make your vacation 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 vacation

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 vacations 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 vacations 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 vacations 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 vacations, 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 vacation information on our website and communicating with customers by email.

Our walking vacations 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 traveling 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 vacation

4.5 out of 5 stars
SHOW
3
5
0
0
0

Reviewed on 03 Oct 2017 by

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


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 vacations in the future.

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


My comments refer to the walking vacation Cirque de Gavarnie and Ordesa Canyon which was a level 2+ vacation. The company have an excellent website where the different levels of walking vacations 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 vacation 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 vacation 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 vacation?


The most memorable part of our vacation 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 travelers booking this vacation?


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 vacation 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 vacation overall?


This vacation 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 vacation?


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 travelers booking this vacation?


Definitely do it!

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




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



Reviewed on 24 Jun 2015 by

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


Walking in fantastic scenery

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


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 vacation 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 vacation overall?


Tremendous

Reviewed on 06 Jun 2010 by

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


Great walking, hospitality and cakes!

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


The vacation 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 vacation 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 vacation overall?


Great!

Reviewed on 20 Oct 2009 by

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


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 travelers booking this vacation?


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 vacation 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 vacation 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 vacation?


This was a 'gentle walking' vacation, 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 travelers booking this vacation?


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 vacation 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 vacation 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 vacation?


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 travelers booking this vacation?


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 vacation 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 vacation overall?


Up there with the best we have had.

Popular similar vacations

Pyrenees family activity vacation

Pyrenees family activity vacation

Try caving and paragliding with the family

From £915 8 days excluding flights

Walking vacation in the French Pyrenees

Walking vacation in the French Pyrenees

Daywalks from a comfortable hotel in the stunning central Pyrenees

From US $1435 8 days excluding flights

Activity vacations in the Pyrenees

Activity vacations in the Pyrenees

Non-stop adventure in the beautiful French Pyrenees

From £915 8 days excluding flights

Pyrenees cross country skiing in France

Pyrenees cross country skiing in France

Cross-country skiing and beautiful views of the Pyrenean mountains

From US $1675 8 days excluding flights

Convert currencies