Wellness: soak up the hot springs.
Outdoor adventures: spectacular scenery.
Traditions: shepherding life and torchlight processions.
Food & drink: farm produce, Pyrenean specialities
the best period
Spring and Summer
This fabulous voyage takes you on a show-stopping road trip visiting some of the most iconic sites on the Pyrenean slopes. From Néouvielle, Cirque de Gavarnie and Pic du Midi to the Vaisseau des Etoiles starship and legendary Col du Tourmalet, join our experts on an exciting adventure jam-packed with incredible experiences.
From the village of Saint Lary Soulan that simply oozes Pyrenees vibes, you're within a 30 minute drive of one of the mountain range's gems: the Néouvielle Nature Reserve. Explore a magical land of pine forests, meadows studded with flowers (especially in June and July) and romantic lakes in the midst of granite peaks exceeding 3000m in altitude.
Adventure-seekers can hit the fantastic hiking trails around the reserve's biggest lakes whilst lounge lizards will happily take a short walk to settle down on the shores of Lake Orédon or Lake Aumar for a chill-out day.
When lunchtime rolls around, you're in for a picnic to remember. Just take your pick from the dreamy shades of blue and lay out your blanket next to one of Néouvielle dazzling lakes. Turquoise? Emerald? Azure? Fairytale vibes at an altitude of over 2200m!
Then it's time to say farewell to the lofty peaks and head down to the Louron Valley, one of the most beautiful in the Pyrenees and a long-term advocate for sustainable tourism. Treat yourself to a spot of pampering to end your day with a hot spring session at Balnéa, the pioneer of spa centres in the French Pyrenees and undoubtedly one of the best. Or maybe you'd prefer to soak in one of the outdoor Japanese pools and drink in views of the untamed and romantic mountains?
Have dinner and a good night's sleep at the valley's Hôtel Mercure Peyragudes-Loudenvielle or one of the many B&Bs on the banks of Lake Loudenvielle.
You're in for an action-packed day and change of valley! Climb up (in the car so you won't get tired) Col d’Aspin in the tyre tracks of some of our best cyclists to Sainte-Marie de Campan where you'll stop at Hôtel le Chalet. Meet the owner Christophe, a cycling and mountain enthusiast who provides "special bike tourism" stays. He'll tell you all kinds of stories about the Tour de France and share his top tips to tackle the climb up Col du Tourmalet. Hop on your e-bike (available to hire on request) and hit the 11km climb (around 2 hours there and back) up to Col du Tourmalet, the Tour de France's most famous mountain pass in the Pyrenees.
Take a souvenir photo on Col du Tourmalet and a break at L’Etape du Berger with Eric and Sasha Abadie. Everything these shepherds, farmers and B&B owners serve comes from their farm and is delicious!
Once you're back in the valley, you'll want to push on to Bagnères-de-Bigorre before going back to your hotel (for dinner and the night) where you'll fall in love with the spa resort and its vintage feel. Summer is overflowing with cultural and artistic events.
Use your time here to visit one of the town's gems: Aquensis, a cathedral of wood worshipping hot spring treatments.
A short 15 minute drive from Sainte-Marie de Campan leads you to Yann and Cédric, real shepherds who will take you to the summer pastures to spend the day with them.
On the agenda: good times and new friends as you tend to the livestock's everyday needs, get involved in farm life, experience shepherding for yourself and get to know our four-legged friends including sheep, donkeys and sheepdogs. Enjoy delicious farm produce for lunch on one of the mountain pastures surrounded by the flock and soak up the dreamy Pyrenean peaks that set the scene for your picnic. www.viedestive.com
End your day on a high with a night in a cabin, a lovely little wood and stone hut with a green roof.
It's hard to say goodbye to your cosy cabin but now it's time to drive 15 minutes to La Mongie; the ski lift will whisk you away to the Pic du Midi peak within a quarter of an hour to touch the sky at an altitude of almost 3000m! (2877m to be exact).
You'll be dazzled as you wander around the site's exhibition areas and blown away by the views of the Pyrenean peaks from the terrace. If you're feeling brave then take a leap of faith and walk to the end of the transparent walkway hundreds of metres off the ground!
Stay on theme and head to the fine dining restaurant serving Pyrenean specialities and equally impressive views for lunch.
After an afternoon drive on Col du Tourmalet, weave through the Pays Toy to reach the Cirque de Gavarnie, described by Victor Hugo as "the Colosseum of nature". The ascent (an easy 2.5 hr journey there and back) to the edge of the Cirque is a must-do whether by donkey or on foot!
Soak up the magical views of Europe's biggest waterfall and an amphitheatre of snow-capped peaks! It definitely has the wow factor and UNESCO agrees as it's a World Heritage of Humanity site.
Drive along the Gave de Pau river as evening draws in. It leads to Lourdes, the world-famous spiritual town.
Treat yourself to a night to remember at Hôtel Belfry, the only 5* hotel in the Hautes-Pyrénées, and make sure you visit its stunning spa.
Thirsty for more? There's one thing that anyone visiting Lourdes simply has to see: there are torchlight processions through the sanctuary to the grotto where Bernadette had her visions every night at 9pm in summer. Whether or not you're a believer, anyone who has seen it for themselves says "it gets you in the guts"! Our top tip is to stand at the top of the steps leading to the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary. That's where you get the best views.
Before you leave the Marian city, how about a guided cultural tour of Lourdes on an e-bike?
Keep the magic alive and feast your senses on a trip to Lourdes Halles market: the bright colours and mouth-watering aromas from regional produce explode with the locals' husky accents. Stay for lunch at one of the eateries next to the Halles to get one last look at the signature 19th century metallic architecture.