Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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The UNESCO 'Old Cite' of Carcassonne
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Highlights

  • Road bike across the Pyrenean foothills from Carcassonne to the Mediterranean
  • Discover the UNESCO Cathar Castles of Carcassonne, Queribus and Perypertuse
  • Bike to the 10th century hilltop ‘Beau Village’ of Castelnou
  • Enjoy a day of R&R at the French Catalan coastal town of Collioure
  • Enjoy Mediterranean dining in a Michelin star restaurant

Ride across the Pyrenean foothills, cycling from Carcassonne to the Mediterranean waters of Collioure on this road bike tour of the Languedoc.

Starting out in the UNESCO ‘Old Cite’ of Carcassonne, follow the River Aude deep into south eastern France to the town of Couiza. Spending two nights here, cycle through Quillan and the hidden villages of the Pyrenean foothills and vineyards of the Corbiéres Massif. Further east, ride onto the sleepy village of Cucugnan where rewarding climbs lead to the medieval hilltop Cathar Castles of Peyrepetuse and Queribus.

Beyond Cucugnan cycle into French Catalunya and up to the ‘Beau Village’ of Castelnou. From here enjoy an easy day of riding to the beaches of Collioure where you will round off your week with a gastronomic experience in La Balette, the Michelin star restaurant of your hotel.

Day 1 Arrive Carcassonne

The fairy tale old town of Carcassonne is easily accessible from it’s nearby airport (20 mins taxi) or the city of Toulouse (1 hour train journey).


Dominated by its 11th century Cathar Castle, the old town of Carcassonne is a delight to explore on foot. Restored in the mid-19th century, the ancient walled-town has an incredible 58 towers and barbicans (one of which housed the 13th century Catholic Inquisition). Later relax in one of the many pavement cafes and sample a typical local dish of ‘Bouillabaisse’ (French fish stew).


Overnight: Carcassonne


Day 2 Cycle to Couiza

Ease into today’s ride with a gentle roll south along the River Aude towards the town of Limoux, perfect for a coffee break or even a glass of the local ‘Crémant de Limoux’. Dating back to the 16th century, wine historians believe Limoux vineyards were the world’s first producers of sparkling white wine. From here, the route undulates before a long descent to the riverside town of Couiza where you will spend the next two nights.


Cycle: 55 km, ascent/descent: 500m


Overnight & Dinner: Couiza


Day 3 Loop Cycle Couiza to Quillan

Today’s ride begins with another gentle roll along the River Aude and heads through Esperaza, towards the Cathar Castle of Quillan. Beyond Quillan, a steady and continuous ascent heads through rustic villages as you cycle deep into the Corbieres Massif (the only true foothills of the Pyrenees). A superb sweeping descent ensues before the final, punchy climb to Rennes-le-Chateau. From here, enjoy a series of hairpin bends on the downhill return to Couiza.


Cycle: 60 km, ascent/descent: 850m


Overnight & Dinner: Couiza


Day 4 Cycle to Cucugnan

Leaving Couiza, tap out a  steady rhythm as the first half of today’s ride climbs up to the village of Camp sur l’Augly. A rolling descent with extensive southern views across to the High Pyrenees then weaves down to the village of Peyrepetuse, where you can take an optional and very rewarding ride up to Chateau de Peyrepetuse (built by the Kings of Aragon in the 11th century). From here, roll into the sleepy village of Cucugnan and head to the hotel terrace for an ice cool beer.


Cycle: 50-65 km, ascent/descent: 650m+


Overnight: Cucugnan


Day 5 Cycle to Thuir (Castelnou)

Today, you will cycle into French Catalunya, and the town of Thuir. Shortly after leaving Cucugnan, Chateau Queribus is an optional  climb with exceptional views, straddling the Aude and Pyrenean regions of the Languedoc. Descending amongst the vineyards of Thuir leaves plenty of time for one last climb to the picture postcard village of hill top village of Castelnou.


Cycle: 65 km, ascent/descent: 200m/300m


Overnight: Thuir


Day 6 Cycle to Collioure

A predominately easy roll to the Mediterranean coastline heads to the thriving coastal town of Argeles sur Mer and onwards to the ancient port of Collioure. Being a shorter and easier ride today, there is ample time to take advantage of the hotel pool or nearby beach.


Cycle: 40 km, ascent/descent: 50m/400m


Overnight & Dinner: Collioure


Day 7 Onward Travel (or additional day)

Depending on your travel arrangements, you may have time to further explore the beaches and history of Collioure. Alternatively, book an extra night and take a return ride to the Spanish border or simply relax at the hotel pool overlooking the sea.

Accommodation

Stay 5 nights in 3* hotels, and 1 nights in a 4* hotel. Below are examples of the accommodations we use on this trip. These accommodations are subject to availability and therefore alternatives of an equal standard may be offered should the following be unavailable.


Single Rooms & Solo Cyclists

If you require single rooms we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable.


We also welcome solo cyclists on this tour, again a supplement is payable.


Meals

Breakfasts are included each day, packed lunch items can be bought locally from supermarkets or the local boulangerie. In France simplicity is tasty. Fresh bread from the bakery and a local cheese make for an incredible delcious lunch! 3 dinners are included, 1 of which will at the michelin star restaurant at your hotel in Collioure.On the evenings dinner is not included you there is always a delicious restaurant serving a traditonal menu nearby.



 

 

 



Hotel Montmorency

This medieval property is perfectly located opposite the Comtal Castle. The hotel boasts a panoramic terrace, spa, pool and lush gardens.



 

 

 



Chateau des Ducs de Joyeuse

Managed by experienced hoteliers Isabelle and Vincent welcome you to this converted 16th century castle. Complete with pool, terrace and vaulted bar makes for a authentic stay in rural Languedoc.



 

 

 



L'Auberge du Vigneron

Located in the heart of Cucugnan, the Vigneron has an extensive wine cellar, the welcoming terrace is perfectly situated to appreciate long sunsets with a large glass of local Grenache.



 

 

 



La Fauvelle

Nestled amongst leafy grounds, the Fauvelle is perfectly located for the ride up to the hilltop village of Castelnou. The quiet location is perfect for recharging after a day in the saddle and is only a short walk to the town centre's cafes, bars and restaurants.



 

 

 



Relais des 3 Mas

Overlooking the Mediterranean bay and old town of Collioure, take in the views from its panoramic terrace, or take a dip in the pool before enjoying a gastronomic dinner from Michelin star chef, Frederic Bacquie.

Availability


This trip is available to start on any day from April to October
and is subject to availability. Peak months on this trip are
June to September so we would suggest contacting us as soon as your
plans are finalised. 


Grade, Navigation & Terrain




This road cycling tour is graded moderate. Each route follows country roads and busier roads when passing through towns and cities. Please  always be mindful of other roads users at all times, especially when cycling on routes shared with traffic.


You will be supplied with route notes, maps and our Macs Adventure Smartphone App enabling you to follow the route using your phone's GPS so you will have no problems finding the way.


Should you require assistance, local 24/7 telephone support will also be available throughout your trip.



Bike Rental


Giant Defy road bike are available for hire (aluminium with carbon forks). All bikes are equipped with a spare inner tub, tyre levers, pump, small lock and a helmet, though we would suggest brining your own for comfort and hygiene purposes.


If you’d like to hire a bike, please let us know your height and
frame size you currently ride. Alternatively we’re happy to answer any
questions you have about the hire bike.



 


If you would prefer to bring your own bicycle please ensure it is
thoroughly serviced and is an appropriate road bike for
this trip.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour
with Macs Bike that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you
for the activity, emergency evacuation and hospital care. 


General Information

The distances and ascents/descents are
approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing
all necessary items, for example, sunscreen, water and snacks. Your information pack has a detailed
equipment list which includes standard cycling gear such as padded shorts/tights and suggested clothing for the warmer seasons.

Getting to Carcassonne / From Collioure

Getting to Carcassonne


For general travel planning, we recommend the helpful site www.rome2rio.com


By Air



Only a 20 minute bus journey from central Carcassonne, Carcassonne Airport has a number of services connecting through to UK and other European cities.


Toulouse Airport has an extensive number of international connections across Europe and beyond. The airport shuttle bus is a short journey to Toulouse train station. From here, Carcassonne is only a 1 hour train journey.


By Train


Eurostar services from London St Pancras to Carcassonne take around 8-9hrs, changing at either Paris or Avignon.


Getting from Collioure

Perpignan Airport is around a 50 minute journey from Collioure. There are regular, direct train services  from Collioure to Perpignan centre, where you can easily pick up an airport shuttle bus to the airport.


If you need to return to Carcassonne or Toulouse Airport, there are also regular services from Collioure train station through to both cities


Please check www.sncf.com for full details of times and prices.


By Train


Collioure train stations has regular services through to Narbonne (approx 2 hours journey time). From Narbonne train station a high speed services reaches Paris in around 4hrs 30mins. In Paris, change here for connections through to London (2hrs 30mins-3hrs) and other European cities.


Please check www.eurostar.com for full details.


Included

  • 6 nights 3* hotels & 1 night 4* hotel
  • 6 Breakfasts & 3 Dinners
  • Detailed route notes with maps
  • Macs Adventure Navigation App
  • Baggage Transfer
  • 24/7 local partner and UK telephone support

Excluded

  • Bike Hire
  • Travel to Carcassonne / from Collioure
  • Lunches & 3 dinners
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Entrance fees
  • Personal equipment and expenditure
  • Travel insurance

Extras

  • Additional nights accommodation
  • Single room supplement (if applicable)
  • Solo Cyclist Supplement
  • Bike Hire

How fit do I need to be?

This road cycling trip is graded moderate. Each ride is 50-65km. As you will be cycling across the Pyrenean foothills, climbs and descents will require the experience of a being a regular road cyclist. You don’t have to be a pro, but do enjoy the challenge of some long climbs and sweeping descents. In addition to the superb cycling, each route encompasses the rich history of the Languedoc region, so there are plenty of opportunities to sample local foods, wines.

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as this trip is extremely popular especially in the summer months. You can start this tour on any day of the week. 

When is the best time of year?

April offers fresh days, cooler evenings and towns can be full of life depending on when Easter falls. From May through to September the Languedoc is renowned for its exceptionally sunny climate with the hottest months being July and August. During these months, the evenings are perfect for a long al fresco dinner. Into September and October, the grape festivals begin and you will hopefully be lucky enough to encounter a celebration or two along with a few glasses of wine!

How do the baggage transfers work?

Baggage transfer as per your itinerary is included in the price of your trip. We ask you to keep your baggage to a maximum of 1 bag per person (maximum weight 20kg).

What happens if I can't cycle a stage? 

You can use public transport or local taxis to continue to your next overnight stop. These costs are payable locally. Details of alternative transport will be listed in your information pack. Your accommodation hosts will also be able to help you with any local transport questions.

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