Heart of the Pyrenees Walk

From $1425 per person

****# Based on 13 customer reviews
  • Different walking levels every day; superb peak and high ridge walking giving breathtaking views
  • Majestic, glacial amphitheatre of the Cirque de Gavarnie, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Friendly hotels with excellent regional cuisine, 2 out of 3 with swimming pools
  • Dramatic gorges, beautiful lakes, lush green valleys and mountain villages
  • Unique flora and fauna: blue gentians, purple monkshood, bearded vultures

What's included?

  • 7 nights, hotel-to-hotel
  • Departs Saturdays from 10 Sep '16 to 16 Sep '17
  • All continental breakfasts and evening meals
  • Managed by Headwater appointed agent
  • Sustainability rating: 88%
  • Route notes and maps provided
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • Choice of 2 and 3 boot walking routes
  • Walking transfers included

Excellent for...

Heart of the Pyrenees Walk

This walking holiday is based in the Hautes-Pyrenees, an area of outstanding natural beauty and boasting some of the highest, most spectacular peaks in the Pyrenees. It's a majestic network of verdant green valleys, pretty flower-strewn meadows, pristine, pine-scented woodlands and traditional rural villages perched steep on the hillsides.

Our walks follow mountain paths through a floral paradise with habitats ranging from vividly colourful upland pastures to rocky outcrops where countless alpine gems thrive in the most perfect of settings. We picnic by diamond-sparkling mountain streams (perfect for dipping tired toes!) and spot marmots and deer foraging in the hillside whilst vultures and eagles soar overhead. Each day offers a choice of 2-boot or 3-boot walks, and it's no problem to alternate from day to day. The routes have all been meticulously designed by our knowledgeable local representatives Malcolm and Anne Gregory, who'll be there to meet you and ensure your holiday runs as smoothly as possible.

Our family-run hotels offer a warm, individual welcome and traditional cuisine with distinctive flavours inspired by regional produce. Your first two nights are spent in the Lesponne Valley, at the foot of the Pic du Midi de Bigorre, before heading on to the delightful spa town of Argeles-Gazost. Finally, to Luz-St-Sauveur where spectacular sunsets at Jean-Paul and Marie-Paule's rural retreat provide the perfect backdrop to a relaxing aperitif on the terrace.

This holiday has both 2 boot and 3 boot options each day. Walking boots are essential and walking poles are strongly recommended. There are some sections where there is some exposure and a head for heights is required. Some of the high level walks may have snow in early/late season.

Day-by-day itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive at Lesponne

Arrive at your hotel in the Lesponne Valley, just south of the delightful spa town of Bagneres-de- Bigorre.

Day 2 - At Lesponne 17km/11mi/5hr or 21km/13.5mi/6.5hr

The easier walk today ascends gently through a beech forest to a bridge over the Magenta Waterfalls before dropping down into the main valley. You then descend to the quirky village of Campan which is decorated with life-sized puppets during the summer months. Return via picturesque Lesponne, maybe finding time to visit the delightful museum/cafe. The longer walk climbs the main valley to pretty Chirolet. From here a steady climb leads up to the Lac d'Ourrec (1667m), nestled on a plateau surrounded by high mountains and grazing animals.

Day 3 - Lesponne to Argeles-Gazost 15km/9.5mi/4.5hr or 24km/15mi/7hr

After a scenic drive via Bagneres-de-Bigorre, it's a short ride up the funicular (payable locally) before the longer walk takes you to the summit of the Pic du Jer (948m) with a superb panorama over the famous town of Lourdes. The route continues high above the main river, the Gave de Pau, with views of the high mountains. The shorter walk starts in the charming village of St-Creac where a path climbs to picturesque Ouste. Here you join the longer walk, passing through a number of typically Pyrenean villages before descending to the attractive spa town of Argeles-Gazost.

Day 4 - At Argeles-Gazost 13km/8mi/4hr or 16km/10mi/5.5hr

Today, the 2-boot option takes in an old shepherd's path, leading to the delightful village of St-Savin where there is a magnificent C12 abbey church. After walking out to the viewpoint at the Chapelle Pietat it's downhill all the way back into the valley, returning via the Voie Verte, a cycleway that leads back to Argeles-Gazost. For a more challenging day, climb via a network of ancient paths and tracks to the summit of Mont de Gez (1097m) from where you can often see griffon vultures gliding overhead. It's then a gentle yet scenic descent back to Argeles-Gazost.

Day 5 - Argeles-Gazost to Luz-St-Sauveur 14km/9mi/4.5hr or 17km/11mi/5.5hr

After a short taxi ride you set off, climbing the lower flank of the Pic du Soulom along the old mule trail - enjoy spectacular views over the snow-capped mountains and down to the cavernous gorge below. Alternatively, pick up the route in the forest above the small town of Soulom, wending your way through the tranquil villages of Viscos (852m) and Sazos (836m) before dropping down into the main valley and your hotel in Luz-St-Sauveur.

Day 6 - At Luz-St-Sauveur 15km/9.5mi/4.5hr or 17km/11mi/6.5hr

The easier 2-book walk will take you through ancient villages of the area known as the Pays Toy: Vizos, Sassis and Sazos, where houses cluster around tiny Romanesque churches, and lavish floral window-boxes are proudly on display. You'll return via the impressive Pont Napoleon, financed by Napoleon III after his visit in 1859 with wife Empress Eugenie. The more challenging option allows you to explore the delightful Yse Valley. The area was historically important for hay-making which still continues today, at 1600 metres!

Day 7 - Cirque de Gavarnie 12km/7.5mi/4hr or 21km/13.5mi/7hr

Start with a short bus ride (30 mins, payable locally) to the pretty mountain resort of Gavarnie, the start of today's walk. You head up to the Plateau de Bellevue to get spectacular views across to the Cirque de Gavarnie, a magnificent 1,000m amphitheatre of black cliffs, stretching into the clouds. You may choose to explore the charming side valley of Pouey Aspe, before continuing right into the Cirque to the base of the Grande Cascade which tumbles down hundreds of metres. It's an easy walk back to the village before the bus ride back to Luz for your final dinner!

Day 8 - Leave Luz St. Sauveur


For a longer tour, why not consider combining this with our Gastronomic Walk in the Tarn

Where you stay

During your holiday you stay at the following hotels. If you'd like to extend your time at any of these or, if you'd like to enhance your stay with an upgraded room, just let us know at the time of booking. You can call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 to discuss accommodation options.

Domaine de Ramonjuan, Lesponne   (3 star)

Domaine de Ramonjuan, Lesponne

This beautifully renovated farmhouse, is situated at the foot of the Pic du Midi de Bigorre, by the Adour river. The Domaine Ramonjuan is set in its own extensive grounds, offering the features of a traditional charming mountain hamlet in the depths of the countryside.

The comfortable bedrooms are all very spacious, with private facilities, TV, direct dial telephone and hairdryers.

The evening meals are taken in the traditionally furnished dining room and guests can enjoy an after dinner drink in the cosy bar area.

The hotel also has parking, an open air swimming pool (heated in July and August), a games room and a tennis court.

Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.

Local facilities:

  • Mastercard accepted
  • American Express accepted
  • Swimming pool
  • Hairdryer
  • Wifi hotspot
  • Television

Nearby facilities:

  • Shops
  • Market
  • Banking / cheques cashed
  • ATM / Cash machine

Hotel Bon Repos, Argelès-Gastoz   (3 star)

Hotel Bon Repos, Argelès-Gastoz

The Bon Repos is a townhouse on a pretty street in this charming village. It has wooden floors, stone walls and ten guest rooms, several featuring mountain views and others with balconies, making it an atmospheric retreat after a good day out. The pool (open in summer only) and hot tub in the back garden are ideal for relaxing after a walk in the hills, and you can even pop in and visit the hot springs in the spa 200m up the road if you wish. The hotel also has a bar.

Breakfast can be taken, weather permitting, on the terrace overlooking the flower-filled garden. Your evening meal will be taken in a local restaurant, only a few minutes walk from the hotel.

Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.

Local facilities:

  • Shops
  • Market
  • Banking / cheques cashed
  • ATM / Cash machine
  • Mastercard accepted
  • Swimming pool
  • Hairdryer
  • Wifi hotspot
  • Television
  • Minibar
  • Air conditioning

Hotel Le Montaigu, Luz Saint Sauveur   (3 star)

Hotel Le Montaigu, Luz Saint Sauveur

This Rural 3*** hotel is located in a quiet corner just off the main streets of Esquieze Sere which is an area of Luz St.Sauveur.

It is run by husband & wife who are very friendly and welcoming, with friendly staff. It's next to a ruined chateau which you can see from the front of the hotel.

Luz St.Sauveur and Esquieze Sere face each other from across the Gave du Pau (“gave” is the name for “stream” in these parts), on the edge of the National Park. Luz is quite an animated little place with narrow lanes leading up to a fortified church.

Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.

Local facilities:

  • Shops
  • Market
  • Banking / cheques cashed
  • ATM / Cash machine
  • Mastercard accepted
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access



Extra nights and stop over hotels

If you'd like to extend your trip with extra nights at the start or end, or if you'd like to arrange a stop off point en-route, then we recommend the following hotels.

Hotel Le Senat , Paris   (4 Star)

Hotel Le Senat , Paris

The 4* Le Senat is simply stunning! There are just 41 rooms, all stylishly furnished and a couple of suites with terraces, if you really fancy splashing out! All have satellite television, mini bar, air-conditioning, safe and hairdryer, plus Internet access.

The hotel has its own small bar - adorned with photographs of eminent artists, being in the heart of the artists' quarter - plus a reading room with complimentary internet access.

Breakfast is taken in the basement, where you'll find a copious buffet of viennoiseries, cereals, fruit salad, ham, cheese, bread, yoghurt, bacon, eggs, sausage, fruit juices, tea or coffee. If you prefer, you can have a continental breakfast served to your room at no extra charge.

Le Senat is perfectly located on a quiet side street just a stone's throw away from the Luxembourg Gardens and metro, and a 5 minute walk from the vibrant Latin quarter, where you'll find a plethora of restaurants to suit all budgets.

Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.

Local facilities:

  • Shops
  • Market
  • Banking / cheques cashed
  • ATM / Cash machine
  • Mastercard accepted
  • Hairdryer
  • Wifi hotspot
  • Internet access
  • Television
  • Minibar
  • Air conditioning
  • Safe

Hôtel Père Léon, Toulouse   (3 star)

Hôtel Père Léon, Toulouse

The Hôtel Père Léon is ideally situated just a short walk from the historic centre of Toulouse, with the main sights just a short walk away. Just 50 metres from the metro there is easy access to the rest of the city. The hotel is in Place Esquirol, a bustling, lively square and in close proximity to many bars and restaurants.

The hotel itself has a modern contemporary feel, which has been recently renovated. The ensuite rooms have soundproof windows and all mod cons. Breakfast is a buffet affair with a good choice of French staples, and a hot section.

The hotel has its own bistro restaurant with seats outside where you can enjoy a drink or dinner.

Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.

Local facilities:

  • Shops
  • Market
  • Banking / cheques cashed
  • ATM / Cash machine
  • Mastercard accepted
  • Diners Club card accepted
  • Hairdryer
  • Wifi hotspot
  • Television
  • Minibar
  • Air conditioning
  • Safe

Travel options

Transfers included from Tarbes train station at 16:43, and back to Lourdes train station at 09:15.

Please call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 or email info@breakaway-adventures.com to arrange connecting flights.

Customer reviews

Everyone who goes on a Headwater holiday will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assessment of all aspects of their holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus, of course, an overall rating and comments about their holiday.

Any feedback collected is posted straight to our website - totally unedited. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.

Reviewed by Mr Armstrong on 22/09/2016

*****
See the box above.

Reviewed by Ms Roy on 29/06/2016

*****
An enjoyable, varied and flexible holiday. It was possible to have long days or short days as you wished in a quiet and relaxed mountain area. Much less busy than the Alps but with beautiful scenery. We were given a very warm welcome wherever we went.

Reviewed by Mrs Rayden on 15/06/2016

*****
We thoroughly enjoyed the walks, which were interestingly varied, with marvellous views and clearly defined paths. The route notes were accurate and helpful, and the hotels welcoming, clean and comfortable. The Headwater team helped sort out problems with travel resulting from the French rail strikes, which was very reassuring.

Reviewed by Mr Bedford on 02/07/2015

*****
Excellent. Location stunning. Views wonderful. Food, apart from one meal, great. Hotels good 3 stars. Local representative very helpful. Overall a most enjoyable, although tiring, holiday.

Reviewed by Mr Maitland on 23/12/2014

*****
Varied walking, generally on quiet routes. Good views on all the walks. Gavarnie and Lac D'Ourrec were especially good - take the offer of the lift on the Lac D'Ourrec day if you can as it gives you more chance to explore the high meadows etc. Excellent welcome in each hotel, food generally very tasty, local and varied. Especially enjoyed the local trout at Ramonjuan and everything at Les Pois Sont Rouges in Argeles! Transport options worked well. For Gavarnie - we managed to get up and back to the waterfall with a very quick detour up to the Cabine des Soldats in a total of 6.5 hours but that was really pushing it (for us). So we managed to use the bus that arrived at 10am (on a Sunday) and left at around 5.30. If you missed out the Cabine (which was ok for views but great for Marmots) then it would have been a comfortable walk. Definitely recommend going there on the best day of weather as it is spectacular! Thanks Headwater - another great holiday!

Reviewed by Mrs Boorman on 24/09/2014

**#..
Read the brochure carefully and check the photos of the holiday are not misleading However the first 2 hotels were great

Reviewed by Mr Duesund on 04/08/2014

***#.
Have told rep about weather and path conditions on Day 3. He was right about poor waymarking. The hotell had few good options and the vegetarian member of our group had problems at the last hotel AS they didn't follow up. When meals are included Headwater should have a higher level than a 20€ meal. Best place was Argeles Gazost. But not so exciting food offered at alternative restaurant 14th July. In general a OK holiday but a bit too many Wales in the Woody on poor paths. Definitely best Wales on first day with extension. Hopeless quality with dinner at the Ramonjuan. Where did they manage to Get such comments? Make sure Headwater clients get the upstairs bedrooms as there are two rooms without windows on the first floor. Try to Get more Walks like the first Day and the Gavarnie.

Reviewed by Mr Fraser on 03/09/2013

*****
Our second Headwater holiday. Once again faultless arrangements for accomodation and transfers taking the pressure off sorting it out yourself. Friendly and enjoyable hotels with really good meals.

Reviewed by Dr Paget on 18/08/2013

*****
Headwater are a reliable and efficient firm to book your walking holiday with. The travel arrangements went like clockwork and we had an excellent time walking through the Heart of the Pyrenees.

Reviewed by Mrs Paterson on 07/08/2013

*****
This is a lovely holiday It was very well organised and all the hotels were most welcoming. The challenging walks were only challenging in terms of length not in terms of terrain and they took in some delightful countryside.

Reviewed by Mrs Campbell on 03/08/2013

*****
We totally enjoyed this holiday. Excellent food and comfortable hotels set in magnificent scenery. The walks are graded correctly and provided the opportunity to see parts of France we would not have explored alone.

Reviewed by Mr Drinkwater on 07/08/2012

*****
Wonderful walking, but no choice of food at two out of three hotels.

Reviewed by Dr Mooney on 11/07/2012

*****
The Pyrenees region is really spectacular with rich opportunities for hiking. The group (10 of us) has a fabulous time. The weather was a bit on the (very) hot side for some of us, but no rain. The hotels varied. The hiking was quite challenging with quite steep (and sometimes) rocky trails. Overall a very memorable week.

Departure dates & prices

June 2017 departuresTour only 
Jun 3$1408
Jun 10$1468
Jun 17$1468
Jun 24$1487
July 2017 departuresTour only 
Jul 1$1487
Jul 8$1549
Jul 15$1549
Jul 22$1549
Jul 29$1549
August 2017 departuresTour only 
Aug 5$1549
Aug 12$1549
Aug 19$1549
Aug 26$1487
September 2017 departuresTour only 
Sep 2$1468
Sep 9$1468
Sep 16$1408

Holiday details

Holiday type

Self-guided walking, hotel-to-hotel. Managed by Headwater appointed agent.

Departures

Saturdays from 10 Sep '16 to 16 Sep '17, for 8 days (7 nights). This holiday runs from Saturday to Saturday, however, we are able to look into non standard departure dates, please call us for details and prices.

Meals

All continental breakfasts and evening meals.

Other details

Please see our Planning your holiday and What's included in the price? pages for additional information. Please call us for single room supplements, room upgrade options and child prices.

Starting your tour

Transfers included from Tarbes train station at 16:43, and back to Lourdes train station at 09:15.

Enquire about this holiday

Simply complete the form below and a member of our sales team will contact you (when it's most convenient for you) to provide availability information, travel options and additional information.

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We can call you when it's most convenient for you, or contact you by email if you'd prefer. Morning calls will be between 9:00-13:00, afternoon calls between 13:00-17:00, and evening calls after 17:00.
Let us know any queries you might have about departure dates, similar holidays or tailor-made options.

 

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