The most comprehensive trek of the Pyrenees, from Bilbao to Barcelona
How can one not be inspired by the natural beauty of the Pyrenees? Its towering snow-capped, rugged peaks form a natural border between France and Spain, stretching over 300 miles from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean to offer some of the best, most challenging hikes in all of Europe! Our itinerary covers the distance from Bilbao to Barcelona—the most comprehensive trek of this enchanting wilderness. Led by professional mountaineer and MTS Senior Guide, Erik Perez, you will see some of the most outstanding natural wonders of the range, including Ordesa National Park with its enormous waterfalls and high meadows, and learn some of the old smugglers’ legends from bygone eras. You’ll traverse the ancient kingdoms of the Basque country, Aragon, and Catalonia to experience a delightful mix of cultures, including two insightful, guided visits of the Guggenheim Museum and the monuments of Antoni Gaudí. And if that’s not enough, every day ends on a high note, when you get to relax in picturesque country inns and luxurious, 4-star paradores, some of the most romantic and historic hotels of Spain.
7 days strenuous hiking on varied terrain (maximum elevation 9,900'); some long drives
- Traverse the Pyrenees from Bilbao to Barcelona through gorgeous landscapes on the most comprehensive trek of the Pyrenees available
- Learn the natural history and mountain lore of this iconic range from professional mountaineer MTS Senior Guide Erik Perez and his team
- Hike through Ordesa National Park, Spain’s answer to Yosemite, with its enormous waterfalls and towering peaks
- Relax in lovely, historic paradores in beautiful settings, and enjoy delicious gourmet dinners and the robust regional wines
- Enjoy guided tours of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the Gaudi Museum in Barcelona
- Take in a delightful mix of cultures as you trek through ancient kingdoms over modern-day borders
Duration: 9 days Start Location: Bilbao End Location: BarcelonaDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Arrive in Bilbao, Spain
Meet in Bilbao, Spain. Visit the famous Guggenheim Museum, then drive to Pamplona, the capital of Navarre province.
Day 2 : Torla and Ordesa National Park
Leave Pamplona and transfer to Ordesa National Park. Once in the small mountain village of Torla, based at the entrance of the park, we'll check in to our hotel and then set off on a warm-up hike to one of Ordesa National Park's 3 main cirques. Today's cirque is called Cola de Caballo, or the Horse Tail, and ends in a spectacular glacial meadow. Those wanting a longer hike will have the option to return to our hotel in Torla on a longer trail.
Day 3 : Gavarnie
Hike through a fantastic scenery of high meadows and pastures to the French border. Descend to Gavarnie, where foaming waterfalls pour off the 3,000-foot walls of its stone amphitheater.
Day 4 : Monte Perdido
Hike in the vicinity of Monte Perdido (11,000') in Ordesa National Park. Cross back into Spain.
Day 5 : Monte Perdido
Traverse a spectacular lunar landscape above dramatic mountain cirques, with views of majestic Monte Perdido.
Day 6 : Aneto
Hike below Aneto (11,168'), the highest peak in the Pyrenees, to the Valle de Aran in Catalonia.
Day 7 : Catalonia
Hike through the mountains, meet the vehicles, and drive to the surroundings of Montserrat.
Day 8 : Montserrat
Hike below the sandstone pinnacles of Cavall Bernat and visit Montserrat, a 9th century Benedictine monastery. Drive to Barcelona and enjoy a tour of this lively city.
Day 9 : Fly Home
Depart Barcelona. (You can do the September departure back-to-back with our Hiking the Picos de Europa trip.)
DATES: Best time to go: July, September Departures: Jul 19 - 27, 2014 Aug 30, 2014 - Sep 7, 2014
Hotel Tres ReyesPamplona
Grand Hotel VignemaleGavarnie
The Vignemale hotel is a 3 stars hotel in the Pyrenees mountains facing the majestic Cirque de Gavarnie. At the heart of the Pyrenées National Park, the hotel welcomes you to : adventure travel, summer holidays, week-end getaway or social events.
Parador Nacional de BielsaMonte Perdido
This welcoming mountain enclave is located in the eastern sloping Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park. It was declared to be a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997 and is also a renowned area for enjoying sports and outdoor activities.
The fresh Pyrenean air, the clean waters of the river Cinca or the tradition of the Nuestra Señora de Pineta roman hermitage, will leave you feeling healthy, relaxed and calm.
The floors, walls, and exposed wooden beams and columns are filled with modern and accommodating furniture. Some of the bedrooms have spectacular views over this beautiful natural enclave.
The High Aragon cuisine contains strong flavours and seasoning producing simple but tasty dishes: migas aragonesas (fried breadcrumbs with sausage and grapes), Cinca river trout cooked in sherry, young roast lamb, wild boar stew and teresicas de Aragon (puff pastry dessert).
Parador de ArtiesLleida
The snow capped peaks of the Pyrenees, the clear blue skies and the green luxuriant valley of Val d'Aran is the setting for this Parador.
The Parador is of recent construction using the local style of architecture.
The site is that of the House of D. Gaspar de Portola whose claim to fame is the discover of California.
The design has a steeply sloping roof so that a heavy weight of snow cannot accumulate. This results in the bedrooms having 'dormer' windows looking out onto the roof. The traditional mountain design is continued in the wooden beams being featured in the bedrooms.
The lounges in the hotel are spacious and tastefully decorated among which the Salon Chimenea particularly stands out.
Parador de CardonaCatalonia
It is an impressive ninth century fortress which dominates the valley of the river Cardoner.
The Parador sits on top of a hill. In 986 A.D. it was decreed that the local population could have salt every Thursday in return for one days work a week maintaining the fortifications.
Within the castle is the church of San Vicente which was built in 981 and enlarged 40 years later.
The 2nd century Minyona tower is reputedly have been the prison of Adeles, the daughter of the Duke of Cardona, who was held by her brothers after falling in love with a loader of the Moors and had converted to his religion, She was only incarcerated for a year before she died.
Incorporated within the Parador is a gothic cloister, the Duke's patio and an ancient cistern for the storage of water. Everywhere there are moats, towers and walls to defend the castle.
There are numerous decorations in keeping with the surroundings. The furniture is of medieval designs but with modern comfort being important in the design.. Walls are decorated with tapestries and wrought iron torch holders.
Given its excellent situation, in the centre of Barcelona, our hotel allows easy access to the most significant architectural sites. It also permits you to attend to your business needs or enjoy a day shopping.
Gallery Hotel stands out due to its professional team: offering high quality, personalised service, making you feel as if you were at home in the centre of the city.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.
Erik was born and raised in Asturias, Region of Northern Spain, with the big range of Mountains called Picos de Europa and Cordillera Cantabrica. He is an accomplished climber (climbing Mont Blanc numerous times), backcountry and downhill skier. Erik has been with MTS since 1989 and has received his certification to be a IFMGA/UIAGM guide which is the highest professional award attainable in mountaineering. He has written two guidebooks on hikes and climbs in the Picos de Europa. Erik studied Humanities at the University of Oviedo, Capital city of Asturias and received a Masters degree in History.