Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Bridge over river facing Cirque du Gavarnie
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Highlights

  • Classic walking in the Pyrenees National Park.
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Cirque du Gavarnie.
  • Traditional and charming villages of the Pays Toys.
  • The Pont d’Espagne, a famous mountain link between France and Spain.
  • Unforgettable Pyrenees landscapes—mountain peaks, waterfalls and lakes.

Follow trails through the heart of the Pyrenees National Park surrounded by classic mountain landscapes.

Discover many natural highlights such as turquoise lakes, waterfalls, jagged peaks, flower-strewn meadows and dramatic cliffs. Walk to Cirque du Gavarnie, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and to the Pont d’Espagne, an ancient bridge high in the Pyrenees that used to be at the border of France and Spain.

Stay in Cauterets and Luz Saint Sauveur, two small, lively mountain towns of character and explore traditional Villages of the Pays Toys.

Day 1: Arrive in Cauterets and overnight.

Arrive in the town of Cauterets and the heart of the Pyrenees National Park. A spa town and popular in the 19th century for tourism not only for this reason, but also because it is surrounded by high mountain peaks.  


Enjoy sitting at an outdoor café, admiring the view and sampling some great local wine and cuisine.


Overnight: Cauterets


Day 2: Walk to Pont d’Espagne. Belvedere Cable Car. Walk to Lac Gaube.

Walk along the GR10 route and follow the Gave to Marcadau to the Pont d’Espagne, a famous stone bridge and an area referring to a stunning waterfall and the scenic area beyond. From here take a cable car up to Belvedere and then walk to Lac Gaube, a turquoise lake surrounded by high mountain peaks. Walk back to Pont d’Espagne and from here catch the local bus back to Cauterets.


Walk:  11 km


Elevation Gain/Loss: +690m/-390m


Overnight: Cauterets


Day 3: Cable car to Cirque du Lys. Walk to Cauterets via Lac d’Iheou

Take the cable car up to the Cirque du Lys in order to begin your walk. From the Cirque du Lys there are fantastic views of the Pyrenees mountains and lakes. Views that you will not forget very quickly.  Work your way down way down along a trail to the stunningly blue Lac d’Heou. A delightful scene, why not soak your feet before joining the GR10 and walking all the back to Cauterets along this famous trail.


An alternate valley walk (13 km) will also be provided this day if you are travelling outside the dates that the cable car runs—approx. 2nd week of July to 1st week of September.


Walk: 12 km


Elevation Gain/Loss: +0m/-1300m


Overnight: Cauterets


Day 4: Transfer to Viscos. Walk to Luz Saint Sauveur via Pont Napoleon.

Today a short transfer (30 mins) brings you to the next sunny and awe-inspiring valley. En route to Luz Saint Sauveur, your overnight stop for the next few nights, you will be dropped off in the village of Viscos, perched on a slope in the valley with stone houses and a stunning outlook. From here take trails through forest and the surrounding countryside and along the valley. Perhaps stop for lunch in the village of Sazos, another beautiful spot and one of the Pays Toys villages.


Then pass over the magnificent Pont Napoleon which spans the valley of Gave de Gavarnie before arriving into the town of Luz Saint Sauveur, a hiker’s haven!


Walk: 13 km


Elevation Gain/Loss: +390m/-500m


Overnight: Luz Saint Sauveur


Day 5: Free day in Luz Saint Sauveur

Today is free to explore the town of Luz Saint Sauveur, located in the one of the most beautiful valleys of the Haute-Pyrenees and at an altitude of 711 m. It is truly a haven for hikers!


Perhaps take in its historical heritage with visits to the Templar Church of St. Andrew, the spa district and the castle. There is even a municipal pool for you to swim in should the day be warm.


Overnight: Luz Saint Sauveur


Day 6: Cirque du Gavarnie

Catch the local bus (45 min journey - bus runs from beginning of June to mid September, outwith this time, take a taxi) to the village of Gavarnie, where you begin today’s fabulous walk. First take the trail alongside a small river and then divert off the trail into the hillside. Once you arrive in the cirque, you can see why it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. It is a spectacular sight and provides a striking insight as to how the Pyrenees Mountains were formed. Walk into the base of the cirque before making your way back down the trail to Gavarnie.


Walk: 13 km


Elevation Gain/Loss: +570m/-570m


Overnight:  Luz Saint Sauveur


Day 7: Villages du Pays Toys

The Pays Toy region is situated at the heart of the central Pyrenees and has many exceptional sites including the mythical Col du Tourmalet and the magnificent Cirque de Gavarnie (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), which you walked to yesterday.


Walk straight out of your hotel out of Luz and into some Pays Toys villages surrounding Luz Saint Sauveur, including Viella, Betpouey and Viey. Typically they have traditional stone houses and fantastic views over the surrounding mountains.


Walk:  11 km


Elevation Gain/Loss:  +585/-585m


Overnight: Luz Saint Sauveur


Day 8: Onward Travel

An included transfer brings to the Railway Station in Lourdes. From where you can make your onward journeys.


Accommodation

On this tour you will stay in hand-picked and comfortable 3* hotels.You will be warmly welcomed by these family-owned accommodations.


Alternate Accommodation

We will always try and accommodate you at the accommodations listed. However, if those listed are unavailable, alternative accommodation of the same or better standard than those described will be provided.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

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


We welcome solo walkers on this trip with a supplement. Although you should of course take extra care in the outdoors when walking solo.


Examples of accommodations are detailed below:



 

 

 




Hotel Lion d'Or - Cauterets

This hotel is located in the center of Cauterets and has been family run for 4 generations. It is situated in a charming house with stylish decor and a warm and relaxing atmosphere.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Hotel Le Bois Jolie - cauterets

Behind its beautiful 19th century façade are comfortable rooms with a chalet-style décor. Enjoy a local wine on the terrace while people-watching!


 

 

 


 

 

 




Hotel Les Templiers - Luz Saint Sauveur

Located on a side street in the centre of Luz, the Hotel Les Templiers is a blend between history and comfort. The rooms are all different with either a view of the fortified church St. André, or of a small indoor courtyard.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Hotel Montaigu - Luz Saint Sauveur

This hotel is nicely located just on the edge of Luz Saint Sauveur, close to the chateau and with great mountain views. Peaceful and quiet its rooms are simple but very comfortable, some with little balconies.


 

 

 

Time of Year

We would encourage you to travel anytime during the available dates which is mid-May until the end of September. In the spring there will be plenty of wildflowers, summer is warmer but should never be really hot, especially when you are in the mountains and September is a fantastic time to go when the and the trails are quieter. 


Please bear in mind that the Cirque du Lys Cable car only runs from approximately the second week in July until the first week of September. Therefore if you want to include the Cirque du Lys walk on Day 3 you will need to travel within these dates.


On Day 6, a bus journey is required to take you to the start of today’s walk
(Gavarnie). This bus runs approx. from the beginning of June until the first
week of September. Links to timetables can be found in your route notes. If you
are travelling outside these dates, you will need to take a taxi to the start
and from the end of the walk (payable locally). This can be arranged through
your hotel or contact us in advance if you need help with this.


For cable car and local bus timetables please see your information pack. You can start your tour on any day of the week during the season, subject to availability.


Grade & Terrain

This tour has a moderate grading.  As you are walking in the high Pyrenees there will most definitely be some elevation gains and losses. On Day 3 there is a significant elevation loss as you take a cable car up to a peak and then walk down from there. However, we do provide an alternate walk in the valley for this day if you do not want to take a walk with such a large elevation loss or if you are travelling  outside of the dates when the cable car runs (see availability). These walks have been put together specifically so that most people in good physical shape can do them. So although you are in the mountains they are still only moderate. The terrain is a combination of dirt or rocky trails, country tracks and lanes or tarmac country lanes.


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

Some of the walks will be way-marked with either a red and white GR sign, when on a GR Trail and some also signed with yellow signposts. Together with use of our Macs Adventure smartphone app and GPX tracks, you will have no problem finding your way.


Baggage Transfer

Your bags will be transferred with you on Day 4 from Cauterets to Viscos, where you will begin your walk. Your luggage will then be taken on to the hotel in Luz Saint Sauveur. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and 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. proper rain gear, sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has detailed advice and a kit list on what to take. This includes good waterproof gear, walking shoes/boots, and lots of other useful bits and bobs.

Getting to Cauterets and from Luz Saint Sauveur (Lourdes)

Included in the cost of this tour is a transfer on Day 1 from Lourdes Train Station to Cauterets and on Day 8 from Luz Saint Sauveur to Lourdes Train Station. The best airport to fly into is Toulouse. Make your way from the airport into central Toulouse by an airport shuttle bus or by train. You may then board a train from Toulouse to Lourdes. Direct trains are approximately every 2 H and the journey takes about 2.5 H. Please let us know what time you would like to be picked up both on Day 1 and Day 8 so we can time these transfers accordingly.


Please check the SNCF website for train details.


Included

  • 7 Nights accommodation in comfortable hand-picked 3* hotels
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • Luggage transfers
  • Day 1 Transfer from Lourdes Train Station to Cauterets
  • Day 8 Transfer from Luz St Sauveur to Lourdes Train Station
  • Day 4 Transfer to Viscos
  • Detailed information pack, route notes, maps, GPX tracks and access to the Macs navigation app
  • 24/7 telephone support from our UK office

Excluded

  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Travel to Lourdes
  • Travel from Lourdes
  • Lunches & Dinner
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Taxi transfers or public transport should you need to skip a stage
  • Personal equipment

Extras

  • Single room supplement(s) if applicable
  • Solo walker supplement if applicable
  • Private transfers
  • Additional nights before, during and after the walk

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as this region is very popular, especially in July and August. You will find up to date availability on our website.

How fit do I need to be?

This tour has a moderate grading. These walks have been put together specifically so that most people in good physical shape can do them.

How do the baggage transfers work?

Your bags will be transferred with you on Day 4 from Cauterets to Viscos, where you will begin your walk. Your luggage will then be taken on to the hotel in Luz Saint Sauveur. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person. 

What equipment do I need?

Your detailed information pack will be sent to you after you book. This has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes and a day pack.


Far Exceeded Our Expectations

5

Since retirement we have been taking month-long vacations in Europe - primarily to hike in the mountains. Usually I plan the itinerary. We have traveled in the Dolomites and Swiss Alps the past 2 years. This year we decided to give MAC's Adventures a try for our Pyrenees trip. We were beyond pleased with the service provided. We had a travel consultant (Jess) who would answer questions by email within a day. We were able to customize how we wanted to spend time and what kind of hikes we preferred. The detailed maps and especially the phone app, made it hard to get lost, and we saw beautiful parts of the country.

Gail and Bill

California

true

Super walking in stunning scenery - sun & blue skies!

4

Please be aware the bus the bus to Gavarnie stops on 1st September. Options to get there are a €40 taxi ride each way or hitch hike.

Mike

Warwickshire

true

Our walk was great and the scenery was breathtaking.

3

The accommodation in Luz St Saviour was poor. The hotel was not clean and we stayed there for 4 nights without a change of towels. The poorest accommodation we have experienced in the 7 years we have been booking with Macs. We also experienced some additional costs for chairlift, cable car and bus which were not high but given the cost of the holiday it would have been nice if they were included.

Thurso Crew

Thurso

Brilliant part of the world for walking

5

Wonderful part of the world for walking and the two little towns we stayed in were perfectly located for walking. Well organised and would definitely recommend the holiday to other walkers.

Tamara

London

true

Our Pyrenees walking trip was a Winner!

5

We have taken multiple hiking and walking trips through Macs Adventure without experiencing any hitches. This was no exception. The walks were challenging in places, but overall were moderate. The destinations of the hikes were very rewarding. This trip is probably best suited for folks that want an active vacation without being a challenging adventure. The lodging was very comfortable, in good locations, and had very friendly hosts.

Rick and Pam

Pennsylvania, USA

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Fantastic Trip, Will definatly be using again.

5

Great trip. Everything was sorted, down to local pick up, to all the mapping. Route cards are so easy, anyone can follow, without getting lost. Accommodations where great, and the routes where exactly as described in both length and level. Will defiantly be using again, and will up the challenge.

PT

UAE

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Fantastic walking holiday

5

My partner and I went on a truncated version of this trip, taking in walks near Cauterets, Luz Saint Saveur, and the Cirque du Gavarnie. Each hike was fantastic with varied landscapes and sites. While there are some steep bits, for the most part these are very manageable walks, interspersed with views over valleys, waterfalls, and mountains. The Cirque du Gavarnie, in particular was a highlight, a huge UNESCO site on the border with Spain, covered with snow, waterfalls, and grandeur. The hotels we stayed in were pleasant, welcoming, and cozy and Mac's arranged everything excellently. The trip involves some usage of public transport, which seemed very reliable but check out the times before you go as the buses are not frequent. We went in July and the weather was mostly good: generally speaking there are showers and occasional thunderstorms in the afternoon, but if you get started at around 9/10am then you will usually be back by 3/4pm and so miss them. These thunderstorms mean that the trains to Lourdes often get cancelled at short notice so be aware of bus alternatives (though most of these go to Tarbes instead; ours was cancelled and Macs arranged for our transfer back to go to Tarbes instead of Lourdes which was appreciated). I would highly recommend this trip--the hikes are amazing and not too busy and the Pyrenees are a very special place indeed. The whole area is fascinating as well. We journeyed further south and took in a very demanding bike ride near Couiza and went to visit the astonishing cave paintings at Grottee de Niaux, as well as some Cathar Castle sites.

El Capitan

London

true

Walking in the Pyrenees National Park

4.6 7

100.0

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lf you require more information before booking, please contact us on

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Macs Adventure - Head Office: Skypark 5, 45 Finnieston Street, Glasgow, G3 8JU, UK

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