- At a glance
- Locality & Walks
- Accommodation & Meals
- Travel options
Your Holiday at a Glance
|Independent Walking Holiday||
|Dates for 2020||
|Accommodation and Meals||
|What's not included||
Locality & Walks
This self-guided walking holiday is the fourth part of a wonderful & dramatic 415km crossing of the Pyrenees Mountain chain between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean along the GR10 long distance trail. You'll amble through stunning scenery that varies enormously, with flower filled meadows, sparkling lakes, cirques and high summits. You’ll get a taste of many different cultures, from the Basque country by the Atlantic to Catalonia by the Mediterranean. Each valley you pass through has its own distinct flavour.
This section of the GR10 long distance trail goes from Cauterets to Bagneres-de-Luchon, and is made up of two parts. The first part of the itinerary takes place in an area called Toy. The word ‘Toy’, formerly Thoys, means child or small and refers to the youthfulness of the villages. You'll walk from Cauterets to Bareges, via the high valley of Luz-Saint-Sauveur and the col de Riou, where there is a splendid panoramic view, visiting villages renowned for the benefits of their thermal waters.
In the second part of this walking holiday, from the Gaubie bridge to Bagneres-de-Luchon, the itinerary makes its way through a succession of lakes, mountain passes, at more than 2000m in altitude, and mountain villages. You will cross the Natural Reserve in Neouvielle and its remarkable glacial lakes, before reaching the villages of Saint-Lary-Soulan and Germ, the famous Espingo lake refuge and finally Bagneres-de-Luchon, known as the "belle of the Pyrenees".
6 days independent walking moving everyday between hotels and two mountain huts. It is graded strenuous, although the average days include 6 hours 30 - 7 hours walking and 1000m of ascent & descent. The hardest day, however, includes 1650m of ascent. Details are provided with the descriptions below. Paths are generally good and well defined, although they are often rocky and mountainous in character. You should have a good head for heights and be able to navigate.
Walking Holiday Day-by-day
Day 1: Arrival in Cauterets
Part 4 of the GR10 trek starts at Cauterets. Situated at 950m altitude, Cauterets has an authentic, Pyrenean mountain charm and is well known for its thermal spas. Time to discover and enjoy the town. Choice of optional walks if you have time.
The Turon des Oules and the plateau du Lisey
Day 2: Cauterets - Luz Saint Sauver
From Cauterets, the walk will lead you to Luz-Saint-Sauveur, another well known thermal spa village. You will pass the col de Riou, that separates the valley of Cauterets and the valley of Luz. From the mountain pass the panorama is immense with views across the Bareges Valley, Neouvielle Massif and the cirque of Troumouse.
Day 3: Luz Saint Sauver - Bareges
Today's walk will allow you to discover the flora and fauna of the high Pyrenees, such as the mountain isards and the playful marmots. The valley of light, ‘vallee lumiere’ is a real joy for walkers on this easier day. Distance: 12.5km, duration: 4h30, altitude gain: +850m, descent: -350m.
Day 4: Bareges - Oredon Refuge
Short transfer (can be avoided, consult us). Today’s walk is in the sumptuous natural reserve of Neouvielle particularly appreciated by walkers for its beauty. The col Madamete and the lakes Aumar, Aubert, Lacquettes and Oredon are on today's walking itinerary. Distance: 15.5km, duration: 6h, altitude gain: +1040m, descent: -640m.
Day 5: Oredon Refuge - Saint-Lary-Soulan
Short transfer (can be avoided, consult us). From the parking area in Artigusse, you'll walk for about 40mins before arriving at Lake Oule. A track leads to the pass or Col de Portet. From the col the trail passes via the ski resort of Saint Lary. It makes its way across high altitude pastures before descending to the village of Vieille-Aure and on to Saint-Lary-Soulan. Distance: 22km, duration: 7h00, altitude gain: +700m, descent: -1480m.
Day 6: Saint-Lary-Soulan - Espingo Refuge
Transfer to Germ (It is possible to include the walk St Lary-Germ in the tour, adding a night in Germ. Contact us for more information). From Germ you will enjoy some superb views of the French/Spanish mountain summits. The mountain lifestyle and agricultural traditions are still very much alive and well in this area. From the village the GR trail crosses the Pas de Couret at an altitude of 2131m, a passage which takes you into the domaine of Luchon. The ascension towards Espingo lake, the Granges d’Astau and the Lac d’Oo provide some marvelous mountain scenery. Possibility to divide this long stage in 2 by adding an extra night, please contact us. Distance: 17.5km, duration: 8h00, altitude gain: +1650m, descent: -1070m.
Day 7 : Espingo Refuge - Luchon
The final walking stage of this section of the GR10 will plunge you into high mountain decor. You will traverse the Hourquette des Hounts at an altitude of 2275m, before crossing the mountain pass, the Col de la Coume de Bourg at 2272m. From here you can choose to do a variant (which is not on the GR10), the ascension of the Pic de Cecire. This magnificent summit offers stunning and captivating views in the direction of the Maladetta massif and the Spigeoles. The descent towards Luchon passes by the ski resort of Superbagneres. In July and August, it is possible to take the cable car of the ski resort to avoid the long descent. Distance.: 17.5km, duration: 6h40, altitude gain: +520m, descent: -1830m.
Day 8: Departure
Your self-guided walking holiday ends after breakfast.
Accommodation & Meals
6 nights in hotels, in double/twin rooms. 1 night in a shared dormitory in a mountain hut (refuges) on day 6. Bring a sleeping bag liner (blankets provided). Half board
- Continental breakfast (tea, coffee, milk, bread, butter, jam)
- Evening meals in hotels and huts are often local specialities, include a starter, a main course and a dessert.
- Picnics and drinks not included. Picnics can be ordered from your accommodation the night before.
|Hotel Pons Le Dahu||hotel||Family run small hotel and restaurant with comfortable rooms in the Aure Valley|
|Hotel Aquitaine||hotel||18 room 2-star hotel and restaurant in a renovated 19th century building in the town of Bagneres-de-Luchon||2 stars|
How to arrive in Cauterets
- By air :
Lourdes-Tarbes airport (35km)
Pau-Pyrenees airport (80km)
Toulouse-Blagnac airport (204km). Flights from the UK to Toulouse with Easy Jet, Ryan Air, Flybe, BMI regional & British Airways.
- By train :
Train from Bordeaux or Toulouse to Lourdes.
Bus SNCF from Lourdes to Cauterets (departures from in front of Lourdes station) : Allow 1h travel time.
Cauterets bus station open from 9h to 12h30 and from 15h to 18h.
Return to bus station in Luz St Sauveur to Lourdes - arrival in Lourdes.
- By car :
From Tarbes follow Lourdes, Argeles- Gazost, then Cauterets.
Location : Paris 894km, Bordeaux 278km, Toulouse 204km, Nantes 602km.
Parking in Cauterets :
- Free : Bus station, Place de la gare, Thermes Cesar (town centre).
- Parking : Parking Municipal underground, Rue de Belfort - Tel : 0033 562925557, or 0033 562925034 (Mairie), or 0033 562925050 (tourist office)
Parking in Luchon :
Free : Behind the post office, from the phone box, in front of the train station, Luchon exit.
How to leave Luchon :
From Luchon train station by bus SNCF or TER direction Montrejeau ; then train conections to Toulouse or Pau, Bordeaux, Paris.
How to get to Cauterets from Luchon :
Train (or SNCF bus) from Luchon train station to Montrejeau ; then T.E.R train from Montrejeau to Lourdes, line Toulouse to Irun) ; from Lourdes, SNCF bus to Cauterets.
www.ter-sncf.com to confirm timetable.
We recommend arriving by train to avoid returns to Cauterets to recover your car, because the return journey is long by public transport and very expensive if you to take a taxi. If you have to come by car, we recommend that you leave your car in Cauterets on the first day and return by public transport because you will not be tired by a week's walking.
Please visit our travel shop for links to useful sites for reserving airport parking or booking train tickets
Note: Please check concerning the availability of a holiday before booking any flights. If you need further information or would like to discuss any aspect of your travel arrangements, please contact us, we’re here to help you.