Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Lake Gentau on the GR10
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Highlights

  • Taking in yet another magnificent mountain panorama high in the Pyrenees.
  • Soaking in the natural hot springs in Luchon after a tough day on the trail.
  • Sharing trail stories with fellow walkers around the table in a high mountain hut.
  • Wandering through the deserted streets of high mountain villages.
  • Sneaking into a quiet church in the early morning.
  • Reaching the Mediterranean at journeys end.

The principal attraction of the Pyrenees is their breathtaking natural beauty and status as one of Europe's greatest wilderness areas. Although the memories you will take away from the GR10 are more likely to be of the people you meet, the charm of her mountain people and the unique cultures you will experience on your walk through the Pyrenees will stay with you forever.

Tackling the full 900km of the GR10 would involve two months walking so we offer the GR10 over eight sections of 7 nights and 6 days walking, which can be walked individually or combined. This way you can sample the delights of the GR10 over several visits and perhaps one day complete this iconic mountain journey. Any walk which takes in 900km of trails, 49000m of ascent and descent, navigational challenges and the vagaries of high mountain weather is going to be filled with challenges and rewards in equal measure. Organising your walk should not be one of those challenges and that is where Macs Adventure comes in. Our walking tours on the GR10 include accommodation, meals, baggage transfer, detailed information packs and emergency support so you can relax and get on with the walking.

The GR10 is dotted with hotels, high mountain refuges, family run guesthouses and basic gites offering a warm welcome to GR10 hikers. Wherever possible we will book private rooms, but these are not available everywhere and many of the nights in the high mountains will be in shared dormitories. This is all part of the fireside camaraderie of the GR10 and an essential part of the experience.

Stage 1 - Hendaye to St Jean Pied de Port (98 kms)

This first stage starts at the Atlantic coast in the town of Hendaye in the Pays Basque region of France. You get a real sense of tranquillity and peace as you rise up above the Atlantic on the first stage of this walk. The scenery is punctuated with traditional villages and rolling hills. Catching a glimpse of the mountains in the distance alludes to the real challenge ahead. From the village of Dancharia high mountain passes and superb views prevail.


Stage 2 - St Jean Pied de Port to Etsaut (120.5 kms)

Remaining in the Pays Basque region of France, follow the deepening valley past small villages such as Caro and Esterencuby. As you walk along passing sparkling streams and green slopes the abundance or wildlife is apparent with herds of horses, cows and sheep grazing on the hillside.

From the hamlet of Logibar you enter the second region you will explore called The Bearn which where daily life very much operates to the rhythm of natures calender. The glacial landscape at Lescun is a sight to savour en route to the end of this section at Etsaut.


Stage 3 - Etsaut to Cauterets (88.3 kms)

There are some challenging days ahead as you enter the Pyrenean National Park.  Setting off from Etsaut you come accross the Chemin de la Mature, a path carved into a sheer rock face over 200m above the Aspe River Valley.

The Ossau Valley opens up before you with a spectacular view of the Pic de Midi d’Ossau whose reflection shimmers in the waters of Lac de Gentau. Pass small villages made from the local slate and wide open pastures before reaching the spa town of Cauterets.


Stage 4 - Cauterets to Luchon (120.3 kms)

This section takes you right to the heart of the Pyrenees. The villages in the area are renowned for the benefits of their thermal spas. Discover the flora and fauna of the Pyranees whilst walking through the nature reserve of Neouvielle. The path continues through high mountain passes with glacial lakes.  The Valley of Light ‘Vallee Lumiere’ is a real joy for walkers and a highlight of the section.


Stage 5 - Luchon to Aulus les Bains (155.8 kms)

From Luchon the GR10 follows ancient pathways that were used as a means of transportation between the deep valleys. Approaching the foothills of the Ariege Mountains the wide-open, airy views make you think that you are on top of the world. Take time to savour the ambience of the small mountain villages that you pass through where time seems to stand still. Give yourself time to experience the thermal spa’s at the end of this section in Aulus les Bains.


Stage 6 - Aulus les Bains to Merens (110.1 kms)

This itinerary crosses the western and central sections of the Pyrenees. High plateau’s, deep valley’s hemmed in by soaring  summits and snow dusted peaks are very much a feature of this area. Your walk is ever-changing as the mood of the mountains changes with the light. Roman churches, traditional shepherds huts and high mountain farms dot the landscape as you make your way towards Merens.


Stage 7 - Merens to Verney le Bains (81.5 kms)

Roussillion plains on this section of the walk.  Watch out for izards (from the antelope family) and wild mountain sheep as you descend to lake Bouillouses.

Winding your way around mountain lakes and through national forest brings you to the village of Planes. You will pass the stunning gorge at Caranca and the nature reserves at Py and Mantet. The end of this part of the GR10 is at the spa town of Vernet le Bains at the foot of Mount Canigou the proud symbol of the sunny Catalan region.


Stage 8 - Verney le Bains to Banyuls sur Mer (129.2 kms)

Arrive in Vernet des Bains early in the day and take the opportunity to visit the Abbey of Saint Martin du Canigou. Situated on a rocky peak and still inhabited by a religious community. The summit of Massif du Canigou dominates the Roussillon plains and the Mediterranean coastline on the final section of the GR10. 

The contrasts are stark as the environment changes from Alpine to Mediterranean as you make your way towards the coast. The sight of the glistening blue sea and the beaches of Banyuls are a welcome one as you complete your journey.

Accommodation

The accommodation along the trail can be quite basic and you will be staying in a mixture of gites and mountain refuges in private rooms if available, otherwise in communal dormitories. Some nights you will be accommodated in hotels. Hot showers are not always guaranteed in the refuges. There may be a short transfer on some days to and from your accommodation, if this is the case then this is included in the price.


Single Rooms

This independent walking holiday is not available to solo walkers. If you require single rooms in your party we will of course try to accommodate your request, subject to availability and payment of a single supplement.


Meals

Meals are included as per the itineraries. Generally the evening meal on the first and last night is not included. Packed lunches can be bought locally.

Time of Year

The best months for walking are in the summer months between June and September when the wild flowers are in bloom and the weather is fair. July and August are also the hottest months where the temperatures can rise into 30 degrees Celsius during the day. The months before and after will be sunny but cooler, however, this also means a greater chance of snowfields. Always make sure to stay hydrated, take plenty of water and wear sunscreen and a sunhat.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

This independent walking holiday is not available to solo walkers. If you require single rooms in your party we will of course try to accommodate your request, subject to availability and payment of a single supplement.


Grade & Terrain

The GR10 trail is a coast to coast route across the French Pyrenees, from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. The route is graded Moderate to Strenuous. It is a more challenging walk with some long walking days and often of a longer trip duration.


The route consists of good and well-waymarked paths that may be a little tough underfoot in places with changing terrain, some prolonged climbs, steep hills and exposed paths. Although there is no real difficult terrain, there are some tougher sections that include crossing boulderfields and scrambling. The GR10 trail is designed for experienced walkers looking for a challenge. We suggest regular walking in hilly terrain supplemented by cardio vascular exercise for at least 6 months prior to your walk. A good gym or personal trainer will be able to draw up a personalised training programme.


The use of 2 walking poles is highly recommended, not only to prevent a slip on steep traverses, but also for crossing streams, snow fields or steep descents.


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

Detailed route notes and maps for the tour will be provided on arrival in France and we send you a comprehensive guidebook before you set off. The route has been way marked with flashes of red and white paint in both directions. The flashes can be seen on rocks at regular intervals along the route


Baggage Transfers

Your main luggage is transferred to the different night stops that are accessible by vehicle. There are some stops on stage 3,4,5,6,7 & 8 that you will not have access to your main bags therefore you will need to carry minimal overnight gear on these days.


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 nessersary 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/from the GR10

By Air: The closest airport to Hendaye is Biarritz Parme (25kms). Easyjet have regular flights from London Gatwick, Lyon and Paris. The closest airport from Banyuls sur Mer at the end of the GR10 is Girona in Spain (117kms). Flights are available to many UK and European destinations.


By Train: Both Hendaye and Banyuls sur Mer are accessible by train from many of the main French cities.  See TGV website for details. For further information on travel details please see our travel blog.

By Air: The closest airport to Hendaye is Biarritz Parme (25kms). Easyjet have regular flights from London Gatwick, Lyon and Paris. The closest airport from Banyuls sur Mer at the end of the GR10 is Girona in Spain (117kms). Flights are available to many UK and European destinations.

By Train: Both Hendaye and Banyuls sur Mer are accessible by train from many of the main French cities.  See TGV website for details.

For further information on arriving/depaeting from each sextion of  the GR10 please see below.


 


Section 1 - Getting to Hendaye/departing from St Jean Pied de Port

Getting to Hendaye:

By Plane - Nearest International Airport - Biarritz (Easyjet). From here travel to Hendaye by train - http://www.sncf.co.uk/ then get a taxi to Hotel Bellevue, 36 Boulevard de General Leclerc.

By Train - Nearest train station is Hendaye then, get a taxi to the joining point.

By Car - From Bordeaux take autoroute A63 for 207 km. From Toulouse to Bayonne use autoroute A64for 293 km then Bayonne to Hendaye autoroute A63 for 32km.

Departing from St Jean Pied de Port:

Biarritz Parme is also the closest airport to St Jean Pied de Port. The journey takes just under an hour and a half. Take the mountain railway http://www.voyages-sncf.com/ from St Jean Pied de Port to Bayonne where you can catch a bus direct to the airport (4 miles – 25mins). Alternatively a taxi to Biarritz airport will cost around 100 Euros and take about an hour, great if there are a group of you.

By Plane: Biarritz Parme is again the closest airport (see above).


By Train: There are numerous trains that go to Saint Jean Pied de Port departing from all the major towns. To check train times you can consult http://www.sncf.co.uk/

By Car: From Bordeaux take the autoroute A63 for 172 km, then the D918 from Bayonne to Saint Jean Pied de Port 48km. From Toulouse take autoroute A64 for 293 km then Bayonne to St Jean, 48km.

Departing Etsaut:

Pau is the closest airport to Etsaut (53kms) you can catch a bus from Etsaut to Pau via Oloron Ste Marie and then the train to Pau (1hr). You could also fly into/out of Biarritz and travel via St Jean Pied de Port to Oloron Ste Marie and then catch the bus to Etsaut. From Etsaut there are buses that go to Pau via Oloron every day departing Etsaut at 13h36 to arrive in Oloron at 14h18 and depart Oloron at 14h38 to arrive in Pau at 15h13. Monday to Saturday depart Etsaut at 18h16 to arrive in Oloron at 18h58 depart from Oloron at 19h13 to arrive at Pau 19h48.If you took the 13h36 bus you can connect at Pau to take a bus back to St Jean Pied de Port and onto Biarritz.


 


Section 2 - Arriving St Jean Pied de Port - Departing Etsaut

Getting to St Jean Pied de Port:

By Plane: Biarritz Parme is again the closest airport (see above).


By Train: There are numerous trains that go to Saint Jean Pied de Port departing from all the major towns. To check train times you can consult http://www.sncf.co.uk/

By Car: From Bordeaux take the autoroute A63 for 172 km, then the D918 from Bayonne to Saint Jean Pied de Port 48km. From Toulouse take autoroute A64 for 293 km then Bayonne to

St Jean, 48km.

Departing Etsaut:

Pau is the closest airport to Etsaut (53kms) you can catch a bus from Etsaut to Pau via Oloron Ste Marie and then the train to Pau (1hr). You could also fly into/out of Biarritz and travel via St Jean Pied de Port to Oloron Ste Marie and then catch the bus to Etsaut.


 


Section 3 – Arriving Etsaut - Departing Cauterets

Getting to Etsaut:

By Plane: Pau is the closest airport to Etsaut (53 km), slightly further afield are Tarbes Osun (Lourdes) Airport (56 km), Biarritz Airport (99 km), or Toulouse Airport (176 km). From Pau you can transfer by TER and bus SNCF to Etsaut, via Oloron Sainte Marie.

By Train: Take the line Nice – Toulouse – Irun change at Pau for Etsaut or Paris – Bordeaux – Tarbes with a change at Pau for Etsaut.

By Road: Go to Pau on the autoroute from Bordeaux or Toulouse. From Pau take the N134 to Etsaut via Oloron Sainte Marie.

Departing Cauterets:

There are trains to Bordeaux or Toulouse via Lourdes which you can reach by bus from Cauterets


 


Section 4 - Arriving Cauterets - Departing Luchon

Getting to Cauterets:

By Plane: The nearest International Airports are again Lourdes-Tarbes (35 km), Pau-Pyrenees (80 km) & Toulouse (204 km). You would then get the train to Louchon & a taxi or bus to Cauterets.

By Train: See http://www.sncf.co.uk for train schedules. There are trains from Bordeaux or

Toulouse to Lourdes, you can then take the bus to Cauterets.

By Road: From Tarbes take the direction of Lourdes, Argeles –Gazost, then Cauterets.

Cauterets is situated at 894km from Paris and 204 km from Toulouse.

Departing Luchon:

There are numerous trains leaving from Luchon.


 

Section 5 – Arriving Luchon - Departing Aulus les Bains

Getting to Luchon:

By Plane: The nearest International Airports are Lourdes-Tarbes (110km), Toulouse-Blagnac (140km). Onward travel to Luchon by train is easy see http://www.sncf.co.uk for train schedules.

By Train: There are numerous trains leaving from Toulouse to Montréjeau with a connection to

Luchon.

By Road: Luchon is situated 825km from Paris, via Limoges, Toulouse & Saint Gaudes.

Departing from Aulus les Bains:


Section 6 - Arriving Aulus les Bains - Departing Merens

Getting to Aulus les Bains:

By Plane: The nearest International Airport is Toulouse-Blagnac which is linked with the Toulouse railway Matabiau by a shuttle bus service every 20min. You can travel onwards to Saint Girons by bus/train.


By Train: Trains go from the station Matabiau in Toulouse in the direction of Boussens, using the line between Toulouse and Montéjeau. At Boussens there is a bus to Saint Girons, Ariège. From Saint Girons, there is a transfer organised for you to Aulus les Bains.


By Road: From Toulouse 128km autoroute towards Saint Gaudens, at St Martory take direction

Saint Girons. Coming from Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier to Carcassonne then take the direction of Foix/Mirepoix. From Foix take the direction of Saint Girons.

Departing Merens:

Take the train towards Toulouse (SNCF line La Tour de Carol – Toulouse), this stops in Foix, from Foix you can get a bus to Saint-Girons and then travel onwards.


 

Section 7 - Arriving Merens - Departing Vernet les Bains

Getting to Merens:


By Plane: Toulouse is the nearest airport, from there you can take the airport shuttle to the station (Matabiau) then the train in the direction of Latour de Carol. Get off at Ax les Thermes.

By Train: There are many trains from Toulouse Matabiau train station to Latour-de-Carol. You should get off the train in Ax les Thermes. To check train times refer to http://www.sncf.co.uk

By Road: Situated 140km from Toulouse along the autoroute A61 to Pamiers (direction Andorre/Foix). From Foix follow the direction Tarascon in Ariège, Ax les Thermes. Mérens is on the N20 between Ax les Thermes and the Hospital near to Andorre.

Departing Vernet les Bains:

You need to head towards Villefranche. There are shuttles that leave from in front of the post office at 12h30, 13h15 and 14h30 they arrive in front of the ramparts at Villefranche ten minutes later. The train station is situated a 5 minute walk away.


 


Section 8 - Arriving Vernet les Bains - Departing Banyuls sur Mer

Getting to Vernet les Bains:

By Plane: Nearest International Airport Perpignan, or Toulouse-Blagnac - linked by a shuttle bus to the main station (Matabiau). The shuttle bus leaves every 20mins. From here you should take a train to Vernet les Bains, then a taxi to Hotel les Sources.

By Train: Take a train from Perpignan. Perpignan is situated on the Cerbère Perpignan line. From here take the petit train jaune (yellow line) to Villefranche de Confluent (line Tour de Carol). If it is a Sunday take a taxi from Villefranche to Vernet les Bains. From Villefranche there are shuttles that leave in front of the post office from midday onwards. The train station is 5 minutes walk away from the post office.

By Road: Situated 825km from Paris in the direction of Limoges, Toulouse, Saint Gaudent. From Lyon it is 663km via Narbonne. At Perpignan you need the N116 to Villefranche

de Confluent then take the direction of Vernet les Bains.

Departing from Banyuls sur Mer:

Take the train to Perpignan on the line Cerbère-Perpignan.




 

Included

  • Accommodation and meals as per itinerary description.
  • A detailed information pack for the group leader including route notes, maps, local information.
  • Emergency support from our local and UK offices in the event of a problem.
  • Transfers to and from your accommodation from the trail if necessary. Details will be provided on arrival.
  • Guide book posted out in advance.

Excluded

  • Flights and transfers to first / from last accommodation
  • Airport transfers.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Personal expenses such as drinks, phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
  • Taxi transfers or public transport should you need to skip a stage.
  • Sleeping bag.

Extras

  • Extra nights during the tour.

Planning a trip on the GR10 can be daunting, especially if this is your first long distance walking holiday. We are often asked the following questions and I hope that you will find the answers useful.

How fit do I need to be?

The GR10 trail is a walk through the Pyrenees, therefore we would suggest that you are an experienced walker who is looking for a challenge. If you currently don’t enjoy an active lifestyle we suggest regular walking in hilly terrain supplemented by cardio vascular exercise for at least 6 months prior to your walk. A good gym or personal trainer will be able to draw up a personalised training programme.

How do the baggage transfers work?

Your main luggage is transferred to the different night stops that are accessible by vehicle. There are some stops on stage 3,4,5,6,7 & 8 that you will not have access to your main bags therefore you will need to carry minimal overnight gear on these days.

What personal equipment do I need?

You will need good walking shoes/boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, sleeping bag, a daypack and hats/gloves etc. You can download a full equipment list from the downloads page of our website

When is the best time of year?

The best months for walking are in the summer months between June and September when the wild flowers are in bloom and the weather is fair.

What happens if I can’t walk a stage?

There is limited transport once you are in the mountains of the GR10 and the trail is organised around the days therefore if you are to stop there may not be transport to carry you to the next point.

What is the accommodation like?

The accommodation along the trail can be quite basic and you will be staying in a mixture of gites and mountain refuges in private rooms if available, otherwise in communal dormitories. Some nights you will be accommodated in hotels. Hot showers are not always guaranteed in the refuges. There may be a short transfer on some days to and from your accommodation, if this is the case then this is included in the price.

Excellent week of good walking.

4

This was an excellent weeks walking. The organisation of the week by MacAventures worked was impressive. The accommodation was varied with the Refuge stays being the highlight. All planned taxis arrived on time and knew where we were to be dropped and the next venue for our luggage. Only a couple of minor negatives. The distances quoted in the brochure were inaccurate ( according to my GPS) but in fact suited us as more of the day was spent walking. If you are doing this sort of trip an extra 4-8km should be comfortable. We did note that only the toughest day walk was accurate in terms of distance. The second point was that one stretch of the GR10 was closed. It would have been helpful to know this in advance. As it was, we ignored the closure sign and worked our way around the problem.

Fitz

Birmingham, UK.

true

Well-organised tour in beautiful scenery

4

The tour booking was efficient and the information packs very useful. Well planned route with appropriate amount of walking (as advertised) and varied days (some more strenuous than others). Fantastic scenery. Somewhat mixed standard of accommodation. Gite de Beau Soleil (Cauterets), Maison Bergoun (Borce), Hotel Vignau (Gabas), Hotel le Glacier (Gourette) and the mountain refuges were all well run and comfortable, with good food. By contrast, the Gite d'Etapes des Viellettes (Estaing) offered poor food and cramped accommodation, whilst CAF offered a somewhat mediocre dinner in Gourrette. Overall, price a little high considering the accommodation offered.

Charlie

London

true

Stunning! A must hike.

5

Excellent! Very remote and yet comfortable accomodations. The hospitality of the French was amazing.

Outdoorsy girl

Canada

true

Great scenery and hikes

4

This trip includes routes through stunning and varied high mountain scenery. The hikes are stretching but not technically difficult.

Balkaneer

Manchester

true

Mountain splendour

4

Medium to hard walking in a French environment. Courtesy, cuisine, cracking mountains.

X!Bert

Cape Town

true

GR10 Trail

4.2 5

100.0

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