- 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||
Queyras & Walks
On this centre-based self-guided walking holiday you’ll explore the spectacular and relatively undiscovered Queyras Regional Park in the French Alps. Its range of accessible mountain passes and summits linked by good trails make this unspoilt region a paradise for walkers wishing to have a real high alpine experience. In addition, its location in the Southern Alps on the border with Italy means it enjoys 300 days of sunshine a year.
We have created a two or three-centre based holiday which will allow you to make the most of your week and cherry pick the very best of the Queyras region. You'll experience some of the best walking that the Queyras has to offer with its fabulous landscapes and panoramic views, its wonderful architecture such as the village of Saint Veran and its rich traditions and cultures. In addition, the walks will provide the flexibility for different challenges within the same day, with the chance to reach some mountain summits. A better idea of the range of landscapes experienced can be gained by looking at our Queyras photo slideshow.
The walks pass through a range of varied landscapes; mountain torrents snaking down deep gorges lined by lush forests. Above, alpine meadows merge with astonishing rocky deserts and mountain cliffs, capped by a succession of stunning mountain ridges and peaks. Its fauna and flora is exceptional with chamois, ibex, marmots, golden eagle and a vast array of rare wild flowers.
The region also has a rich architectural heritage which is encapsulated by the pretty alpine village of St Veran, at 2042m, the highest village in Europe.
This walking holiday is also available as a guided holiday - Queyras guided walking holiday
The walks on this self-guided walking holiday are graded challenging but the difficulty can be varied on any given walk so that they can range from moderate to strenuous. Average walking days are about 6 hours long and include height gains of 700m - 1000m. In addition, many of the days include the possibility of ascending further to reach some easy alpine summits where you'll be rewarded by spectacular views. This flexibility allows a group of mixed abilities to make the most of the holiday. However, as most walks will take place above 2000m where the effects of altitude can be felt, and the climbs are sometimes steep, a moderate to good level of fitness is required. You should also be comforatable on mountainous paths.
The paths are mountainous and sometimes rocky in nature. They are occasionally exposed, but do not require any technical abilities.
Day 1: Arrival
Welcome to your first accommodation. Evening meal in guest house.
Example walking options from Saint Véran
Pic du Caramantran and St Véran (6hrs, +720m)
Your day's objective is nothing less than a 3000m high mountain. Your walking trail starts relatively high up at the Chapel de Clausis above the torrent of the Aguille Blanche. The walking is pleasant and easy as you pass through a landscape of tumbling streams, meadows and rocky bluffs. The path climbs steadily to the Col de Chamoussiere from where there are great views of Mont Viso, rising to over 3800m across the border in Italy. The path then climbs to the summit where views extend to the Piedmont in Italy, the Mont Blanc in France, and the Mont Rosa in Switzerland. The descent route will take you past the Lac de la Blanche. You can take the time to visit the historic and well preserved village of St Véran, which is also the highest permanently inhabited village in Europe.
Tour of the Tete des Toillies (6hrs, +1010m)
From Chapel de Clausis head gradually uphill to the beautiful Lac Blanche underneath the summit of Tete des Toillies. Climb to Vallon du Blanche and the first of a series of small and secluded lakes. Here head south to Col Blachet at 2897m and descend into Italy traversing under the immense slopes of Tete des Toillies whose summit is at 3175m. Pass a couple of lakes to cross back into France at Col de Longet at 2660m. Almost straight away head back up to the main ridgeline for great views and Col de la Noire at 2955m. A great day of lakes and high mountain passes.
Pic Cascavelier (+750m) and Pointe des Marcelettes (+1000m) 5 - 8hrs
Descend from the village of St Veran to Aguille Blanche torrent and climb from Pre la Chalp via Cabanes de Lamaron to Crete de Curlet with great views over the Aigue Blanche Valley towards peaks over 3000m. Then climb the ridgeline to Pic Casavelierat at 2576m. +750m. From here it's possible to continue to the summit of Pointe des Marcelettes at 2900m with steep ascent at the end for great views. Possibility to continue along the Crete de la Blavette to make a wonderful but long circular trail.
La Blanche and old irrigation Canal (4-6hrs) +600m
Either bus to Chapel de Clausis or follow the Aigue Blanche Torrent to reach the refuge at Lake Blanche. Afterwards, depending on which of the other walks you undertake you can climb towards the secluded lakes in the Vallon de Blanchet before returning and following a former irrigation channel back to Saint Veran. Easy walking with time to admire the views.
Example walking options from Ceillac
Lacs Mirroir and Ste Anne (6-7hrs, +800 - +1000m)
Today's walk will start by visiting the amazing waterfall - Cascade de la Pisse. After, we'll climb gently through forests to reach the first of the two lakes - Lac Mirroir. The lake is in a beautiful setting with stunning limestone peaks rising beyond the lush green pastures and larch trees surrounding the still waters. From here the route climbs steadily to the Lake Ste Anne whose turquoise blue waters are surrounded by the rocky slopes of the highest mountain in the Queyras, the Fonte Sancte. From here, there is the option of continuing up to a col or mountain pass for exceptional views across the western Queyras. The descent is by a different route. Afterwards you can stop at the village of Ceillac with its unique architecture.
Crete des Chambrettes (6 hours, +980m)
From Ceillac walk past the isolated church of Ste Cecile before climbing steeply to Col de Bramousse. After going past a view point you'll climb to reach the ridgeline Crete des Chambrettes. Climb the remaining few metres along the ridge to the summit with its old observatory at 2582m. Great panoramic views across the western Queyras. Descend via the Col de Fromage through alpine pasture and then forest to return to Ceillac.
Pic d'Escreins (6-8hrs, +900m or +1300m)
From your accommodation, climb gradually through forest to reach a junction beneath a rock barrier at 2300m. From here it is possible to make the ascent of Pic d'Escreins at 2734m with views of the surrounding jagged limestone peaks. The descent goes via the view point at Mouriere overlooking Ceillac before descending back to the village.
Example walking options from Arvieux
Col Néal and the meadows of Clapeyto (5 hrs, +850m)
A fairly gentle climb out of the upper end of the Arvieux Valley through flower-filled alpine pastures to the Col Néal with its numerous glacial lakes. From here, we have great views of the adjacent Ecrins mountain range. Our circuit then descends through the pretty hamlet of Clapeyto with its traditional chalets and summer meadows
Traversing Furfande (6-7hrs, +1050m)
Your day starts by climbing to Col Furfande from where it's a short and easy ascent of the Pic du Gazon at 2744m offering spectacular views of the surrounding stark, rocky pinnacles and mountains. You'll then descend to the Refuge de Furfande where you can stop for refreshment before undertaking a spectacular traverse across the slopes high above the Guil Valley with views of the high mountains beyond. A pleasant woodland walk will bring us back to Arvieux.
Lac Souliers (5-7hrs, +750m - +1050m)
Climb through forest and pasture to reach the circular beautiful lake Souliers, surrounded by rocky mountainous peaks. Here, there is the choice of resting in the sun or climbing onto one of the surrounding peaks for spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. Pic Ouest is a steep 300m climb but has great views of Pic Rochebrune, the Casse Desserte and of the surrounding peaks. Descend via the pretty hamlet of Souliers and lake Roue.
Examples of walking options elsewhere in the Queyras with own car
Lac Grand Laus (7hrs, +1000m)
From the village of Abries, a pleasant climb to the La de Grand Laus which makes a perfect spot for lunch. Great views. It’s possible to climb up to a couple of higher lakes for wonderful views. It's also possible to climb to the ridge beyond and the Pic Malrif for wonderful views of the Ecrins mountain range. Descend via Aiguilles. Walk back along valley or short bus trip during July and August.
Day 8: Departure
Transfer to train station after breakfast
Accommodation & Meals
On this centre-based self-guided walking holiday, your accommodation will be in two very comfortable and charming small guest houses located close to the walking areas. 2/3 star equivalent quality. They are located in two historic buildings and are run by welcoming and helpful hosts. They offer different but both delightful experiences. Meals will be taken in your guest house and will be delicious local specialities. Our preferred guest houses are shown below.
|Petit Chalet, Ceillac||B&B||Great welcome in a small traditional chalet in the valley descending from Ceillac. Owner has a minibus and provides transfers to access some walks|
|Ferme d'Izoard||Hotel||Great 3 star hotel situated at 1700m in the dramatic Izoard Valley.Quality food and lovely setting.||3 Stars|
|Chalet Villard, St Veran||B&B||Charming hotel in the beautiful historic village of St Veran, the highest village in Europe. Great views from the terrace.||3 stars|
Transfers between Mont Dauphin - Guillestre train station and the first and last guest houses is included in the holiday. A transfer is also provided for the day moving between hotels.
Eurostar and the TGV provide a relaxing journey from London to Lyon Part Dieu via Lille or direct. From Lyon you'll need to take local train services to the Mont Dauphin - Guillestre station, changing at Grenoble. Some trains go direct to Guillestre from Grenoble, whilst others require a further change. The section between Grenoble and Guillestre takes a minimum of 3hrs. Recommended times if travelling all in one day: Leaving London at 9am arriving in Lyon 3pm. Leaving Lyon at 4pm and arriving at Mont Dauphin at 9pm (times approx). You can also take trains from Lyon to Valence and change at Valence going via Gap.
By Air and rail
Flights from the UK to Lyon St Exupery, then bus (Satobus) or tram to Lyon Part Dieu. Train then as detailed above.
Possibility to fly into other airports such as Marseille and then take the train from Marseille St Charles.
Please contact us for assistance in organising your travel arrangements
Once in France, the journey from Calais to the Queyras takes about 12 hours (excluding long breaks). Tolls amount to about 50 euros each way. Channel crossings are provided by the following companies.
Parking available at all guest housse.
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.
Also take a look at our slideshow of the Queyras region