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 Level 2 or Level 3 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 Level 2 and Level 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.
Arrive at your hotel in the Lesponne Valley, just south of the delightful spa town of Bagneres-de-Bigorre. (Staying at Domaine de Ramonjuan, Half Board)
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. (Staying at Domaine de Ramonjuan, Half Board)
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. (Staying at Hotel Miramont, Half Board)
Please note that this walk is currently unavailable. You will be transferred directly to Argeles-Gazost and provided with alternative walks from Argeles.
Today, the Level 2 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. (Staying at Hotel Miramont, Half Board, evening meal included at a local restaurant)
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. (Staying at Hotel Le Montaigu, Breakfast only)
The easier Level 2 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! (Staying at Hotel Le Montaigu, Breakfast only)
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! (Staying at Hotel Le Montaigu, Breakfast only)
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.
NEARBY: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.
Extra nights: Please contact us for details.
The Miramont hotel is set in a tree-lined garden in the town of Argeles-Gazost, just a 2-minute walk from Argeles' spa centre.
Extra nights: Please contact us for details.
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.
Room upgrades: Room with balcony.
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.
The Hotel Pere Leon 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.
Room upgrades: Deluxe room.
The deluxe room is larger than the standard room.
Extra nights: Please contact us for details.
Transfers included from Tarbes train station at 14:44, and back to Lourdes train station at 13:00
Please call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange connecting flights.
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 an overall rating and comments about their holiday.
Any feedback collected is posted to our website, so that people can make an informed decision based on past experiences before heading off on holiday. We don’t edit the reviews, the only thing we do is proofread them and alter any typos, where necessary, to ensure they are easy to read for everyone. All reviews will be published (except in certain extreme circumstances), and a member of the Headwater team will respond to any constructive criticisms/comments under the reviews, at their discretion. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.
We had a fantastic time hiking the Pyrenees. The weather was perfect (though that's just luck!), but the small towns and villages we passed through were lovely, with excellent food at the first hotel, and some delicious restaurants to choose from in the towns of Argeles and Luz.
We've just returned home after another very successful Headwater holiday. All four of us (two adults and two teenagers) really enjoyed the Pyrennean walks, the charming hotels and the delicious French meals. And Headwater ensured that everything ran smoothly.
we had a good time and really enjoyed ourselves. that said it was largely in spite of rather than because of Headwaters. we travelled with you last year to the Dolomites and would give you an all round 10/10. judging this trip against the same standard you do well to get 2/10. The choice of hotel was bizarre to say the least and what on earth are you doing using a dump like the Le Montaigu the food in there in particular was a disgrace, after the first evening we eat out. we've met some fantastic people in the mountains over the years who are hugely knowledgeable and passionate about the outdoors and cant wait to share their passion. the same certainly cant be said of the local agent. Negative, disinterested borderline unhelpful inadequate briefing. IGN have reissued the maps of the area but the routes are still shown on the old editions. There are many differences between the two versions with for example paths shown one version missing from the other. For one of the walks the master copy has numerous crossings out and amendments this was rendered academic at the Le Montaigu as they professed not to know anything about a Headwaters pack. We made up our own routes and did our own thing but others in the group certainly struggle with navigation and constantly had to ask for directions from locals.if a Rep is supposed to facilitate the holiday and trouble shoot problems what the point in ignoring the group all week (because the local agent explained she was looking after other groups that week) then phoning on the last night to ask if everything was alright only to get cross and defensive when the whole group told her exactly how we felt.
Overall we felt that Headwaters definitely let yourselves down badly with this trip. it has the potential to be a stunner but has the fell of something old and jaded and definitely in need of a refresh and definitely with someone more enthusiastic on the ground. maybe someone from head office should take the trip as a 'mystery shopper'. I've been travelling to the mountains for 40 years now and it deeply saddens me to write a review like this as I have never had to before. I wasn't going to bother and just move on but if It means that no other travellers have the same issues then it will have ben worthwhile! I could list a whole load of other gripes but I think that this will do although one last point and perhaps the biggest gripe of all. To find that that the bus service referenced in your brochure to access the last day's walk to the Cirque hadn't started to run as it was so early in the season sums up the organization of the trip overall. this was nothing short of downright misleading if not dishonest-cant believe that you got this wrong!
Thank you for taking the time to provide your post-holiday feedback. We do appreciate our customers’ feedback and use this to help us to continue to improve and develop our holidays for the future.
We were sorry to hear you were disappointed with the standard of hotels on this holiday. These hotels are typical of the standard within the region and historically have been very well received by Headwater customers. We will of course continue to monitor all feedback and make the necessary steps to improve where needed.
We were also sorry to hear you were dissatisfied with the service provided by our local agents, we have worked with them for a number of years and past customers have found their service beneficial, we are sorry this is not the experience you felt you received on this occasion, please be assured we have discussed your constructive comments with them and are sure they will continued to provide the great service our customers expect.
Our agents have assured us that they have provided marked up maps at each of the hotels.
We will also ensure the information we provide regarding bus travel is clearer, we would like to apologise for any inconvenience this caused you.
We would like to thank you for raising these issues, as this allows us the opportunity to continue to improve and develop our holidays for the future.
Headwater Customer Service Team
Walking in the Pyrennes was great, good selection of varied walks, accommodation is pretty basic and set menu no choice of food quite disappointing.
A good introduction to the Pyrenees with flexibility of walking routes- perhaps a little tame at times. We all enjoyed ourselves.
Challenging, but deeply satisfying, suitable for us at 71 and 81. You are never too old.
Tough walking especially with the hot weather we had. The add-ons suggested by Anne Gregory were superb but made the walks even tougher but still recommended. The hotels were
marvellous (go for a balcony) and the food superb.
We had a great walking holiday in a stunningly beautiful part of France. The accommodation and travel arrangements were very satisfactory and the advice from the local agent was helpful. We would certainly book holidays through Headwater again.
Very well organised. Generally excellent accommodation and food. Walking routes interesting and varied
We enjoyed this trip; the accommodation, the walking, and the birds and flowers were all very good. The Cirque de Gavarnie is amazingly impressive. We recommend the wildlife park just outside Argeles-Gazost (easy walk from the hotel) as an extra option. We were lucky with the weather: 3 good days, 2 cloudy and only one a bit damp...a bad weather week might have been less fun.
Very good week's holiday in a beautiful area of France.
The walking was varied and the distances quite long -we found the 2 boot walks tough enough in the heat.
Hotels were all in good locations and the food was good-the restaurant where dinner was taken at Argeles Gazost deserves particular mention for its excellent food.
An enjoyable holiday with superb weather has left us refreshed and ready for work once more.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Read the brochure carefully and check the photos of the holiday are not misleading
However the first 2 hotels were great
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You can be confident that our pricing includes all the standard requirements of your holiday and many additional extras. Always ensure that you are comparing like for like when booking your holiday. Find out about The Headwater Price Promise to ensure you're getting the very best value for money.
Minimum group sizes
No minimum group size, however transfers are subject to at least 2 people (in total) booked on each departure.
This holiday is unsuitable for children.
Self-guided walking Managed locally by Headwater appointed agent.
All continental breakfasts and 4 evening meals
Station transfers are subject to a minimum of 2 people (in total, not per booking) booked on each departure. Shuttle Bus from Toulouse Blagnac Airport to Toulouse Matabiau Station payable locally cost approximately 5 Euro per person per one way journey.
Transfers included from Tarbes train station at 14:44, and back to Lourdes train station at 13:00
Due to the tailor-made nature of our holidays, we need a little more information in order for us to check availability for Heart of the Pyrenees Walk. 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 an accurate price. Of course there's no obligation, but if you do wish to proceed with a booking they will be on-hand to assist you throughout the process.
Alternatively, you can call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 to discuss your requirements in more detail.
We've been creating high-quality relaxed activity holidays since 1985 and our wealth of experience means we're able to build the perfect tailor-made tour for you. Our 'Gold Trusted' rating on Feefo, the independent review site, underlines our exceptional levels of customer service, and our ATOL bonding and ABTA membership guarantees your holiday is safe with us.