14-Night French Catalonia & Catalonia (Spain) Guided Walking Holiday

Collioure, Mediterranean village in the South of France
Duration: 14 nights
Type: European Multi-Centre
Walking Grade: 2, 3 & 4
from £2,499pp with flights

Two fantastic holiday destinations in one holiday! Explore French Catalonia: Nestled between the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean Sea in the Languedoc, Argelès-sur-Mer in northern Catalonia offers superb walks taking in secluded coves, pretty beaches and wild landscapes. Enjoy a mixture of green inland hills and rocky coastline, including the outstanding section made famous by the Cadaques to Collioure long distance path. Explore Catalonia: Stride out on the 'wild coast' and enjoy walks on the dramatic Cap de Creus coastline. Uncover its pretty whitewashed villages including El Port de la Selva and Dali's haven of Cadaques. Walk in the stunning La Garrotxa region with over 40 extinct volcanoes, the lava flows of which have sculpted the rolling countryside.

Holiday Highlights

French Catalonia

  • Fantastic coastal walking along the famous Sentier du Littoral
  • Enjoy delicious meals with a view of the sea at the well-appointed Grand Hotel du Lido
  • Discover shaded routes between pretty French towns or with far-reaching sea views, or visit local markets to soak up culture

Catalonia (Spain) 

  • Fantastic coastal walking along the famous Sentier du Littoral
  • Enjoy great Catalan cuisine with views out across the Bay of Roses at the contemporary Hotel Terraza.
  • This unspoilt stretch of the Costa Brava offers pretty green coastline dotted with magical whitewashed villages
  • Soak up Dali’s legacy in the artist hideaway village of Cadaques
  • Stride out inland and enjoy a complete contrast – green volcanoes and medieval stone towns

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Download Trip Notes

Welcome to Grand Hotel du Lido. Unpack and settle in.


Today both walks will start from the hotel and follow a section of the Sentier Littoral, a long distance path that follows the coastline all the way to the Spanish frontier. The section we follow is known as the côte Vermeille (Red coast) because of the rock colour and both groups will visit the picturesque Mediterranean fishing village of Collioure, set in a beautiful natural bay framed by the bell-tower of Notre Dame des Anges.

Option 1 - The Sentier Littoral from Argelès to Collioure

Distance: 5½ miles (8½km)

Total ascent: 500 feet (150m)

In summary: We will leave directly from the hotel to follow the level beach promenade path initially shaded by pines, passing the centre of Argelès plage. The promenade continues through the modern port of Argelès and on to a small beach resort of La Racou. From here the path becomes more rugged as it ascends clifftops where there are good coastal views at an orientation table and descends to visit remote beaches. We pass ruined clifftop fortifications along the way, before the final descent into the attractive colourful narrow streets of Collioure, where guests will have time to wander themselves and discover its charm before the short coach journey home.

Highlight: The colourful streets of Collioure and the fascinating museums, including Chateau Royal.

 

Option 2 - The Sentier Littoral from Argelès to Port Vendres

Distance: 8½ miles (13½km)

Total ascent: 1,000 feet (300m)

In summary: The harder group also leave directly from the hotel following the same route as the easier group passing Argelès plage and its port following the Sentier Littoral coastal path as far as Collioure. At Collioure we follow the promenade around the complete bay taking in the everchanging vistas of this pretty fishing port that so attracted painters like Matisse and Derain. Climbing to follow the clifftops along the Sentier Littoral again passing ancient fortifications and defences we have good views along the coast at the headland of Cap Gros. Finally, the path descends to arrive in the large commercial harbour of Port Vendres. 

Highlight: Amazing coastal views.

 


A short coach ride brings us to the attractive medieval village of Laroque des Albères, from where many paths climb steeply into the wooded slopes of the massif des Albères hills. Both groups will make pleasant but different circuits into the interior discovering some of its natural and man-made treasures along the way, before returning to the village.

Option 1 - Laroque des Alberes to the puits a glace and refuge.

Distance: 6 miles (9km)

Total ascent: 1,600 feet (480m)

In summary: This leaves the village on a gently ascending shaded path passing the old watermill and spring. A further steady climb through woods on paths that are quite rough and steep in places allows us to discover the site of an ancient snow trap built to provide a supply of ice during summer, constructed in the 16th century but hidden in this wooded environment. Climbing higher and crossing a stream we reach the highest point of today’s walk at the Casot del Guarda refuge hut. From here we make our slow steady descent back to the village on a mixture of wide stony tracks and narrow woodland paths, which are rutted in places but with views down the valley. In the village there is an option to visit the ruined tower of its ancient castle for more views.

Highlight: A local interest guide will accompany the walks today and give an insight into the area we are walking.

 

Option 2 - A circuit from Laroque des Alberes via the font del la Vernosa

Distance: 7 miles (11km)

Total ascent: 2,100 feet (630m)

In summary: The initial route leaving the village follows the same gentle path taken by the easier group, but we soon branch off following a steeply climbing path, rutted in places by water erosion, up the side of the valley with some shade in places. At the top of the climb when the path levels we walk through woodland populated with chestnut and cork trees to arrive at the site of the Vernosa spring with great views over the plain of Roussillon below. Continuing our climb, we arrive at the Casot del Guarda refuge hut, from here we descend to cross a stream before viewing the puits a glace (snow trap used for making ice in summer) seen by the easier group. Continuing our descent on a pleasant woodland path we eventually meet our outward path for the final return to the village.

Highlight: A local interest guide will accompany the walks today and give an insight into the area we are walking.

 


For today’s walks we have a short coach journey to Port Vendres. The walks will start from different places in the town and take different routes but both groups will have the opportunity to visit the museum at Paulilles en route finishing at the pleasant beach resort of Banyuls sur mer and perhaps sample the drink of the same name.

Option 1 - Port Vendres to Banyuls sur mer via Paulilles museum

Distance: 6 miles (9½km)

Total ascent: 1,100 feet (330m)

In summary: We leave Port Vendres passing the railway station and gently climbing to the fertile terraced slopes behind the town. Weaving our way on stony paths through the vines we have good views towards the coast, before descending, passing under the railway to arrive at Paulilles. The free open-air museum here tells the fascinating history of the former dynamite manufacturing complex in a very attractive setting overlooking a small sheltered beach, where we will have time to look around. Leaving the museum, we re-join the sentier Littoral coastal trail which climbs and descends the clifftop all the way to Banyuls.

Highlight: Discover the fascinating history behind the dynamite museum.

 

Option 2 - Port Vendres to Banyuls sur mer via Cap Bear

Distance: 7 miles (11km)

Total ascent: 1,500 feet (450m)

In summary: The harder group starts at a minor road on the far side of the large commercial port of Port Vendres. From here we pick up the sentier littoral again initially on a level path passing ruined port defences, but soon climbing to a narrow balcony path that takes us out to the remote headland at Cap Bear and its lighthouse. Our route continues to follow the undulating coastal path descending to visit small coves and climbing to remote dwellings perched above the sea before also arriving at Paulilles beach and its museum; where if time permits a brief visit should be possible. Our route from here continues along the sentier littoral, the same as that taken by the easier group, until our final destination at Banyuls comes into view and a well-earned refreshment is available.

Highlight: Sample the Banyuls wine

 


Each week there is a free day when no guided walks are offered. Your free day offers the chance to relax in this beachside setting, visit the medieval centre of nearby Perpignan or travel by train into Spain to the Dali museum in Figueres.


Today we will travel by coach inland from the coast to the neighbouring region of Vallespir and the attractive small town of Ceret, known for its modern art museum and annual cherry festival. Setting off from different locations both groups will finish the day in Ceret.

Option 1 - Ceret pilgrim route to the chapel of St Ferreol

Distance: 6 miles (9½km)

Total ascent: 1,100 feet (330m)

In summary: The walk starts near the old medieval bridge below Ceret, ascending to the remote chapel of St Ferreol, on tracks and narrow paths where we are rewarded with great views. We descend from the chapel before another short climb brings us to a view point. From here we descend to the valley bottom using minor roads and narrow paths and cross the ancient bridge we saw at the beginning (Pont de Diable). Afterwards, a gentle climb takes the group up to the centre of Ceret.

Highlight: Ceret, a very historic walled town with a modern art museum and art trails to discover.

 

Option 2 - Walking in the shadow of Canigou from Pont de Reynes to Ceret.

Distance: 6 miles (9½km) 

Total ascent: 1,800 feet (540m)

In summary: Starting at the small village of Le Pont de Reynes and its disused railway bridge, the group climb up woodland paths giving good views of Canigou, a mountain of great Catalan significance. Reaching the attractive village of Reynes in its own secluded valley, we leave the valley along a minor road and then descend an old mule track to the next valley before a short climb to the coll de Bossells. From here we descend with views over the Tech valley to the centre of Ceret. 

Highlight: Be rewarded with great views of the pic du Canigou.

 


Both groups will discover the hinterland behind Argelès on today’s walks. The easier group will walk directly from the hotel, while the harder group will start with a short land train journey. Both walks explore paths in the wooded slopes of the foothills that form the final part of the Pyrenees as they meet the sea. Finishing at the pristine white exterior of Château Valmy, a slightly incongruous sight in this region, provides a fitting end to today’s walks.

Option 1 - Argelès village and chapel of St Laurent

Distance: 7 miles (11km)

Total ascent: 1,400 feet (420m)

In summary: Walking from the hotel a level path beside a small stream takes us into Argelès village where a small artisan market has occupied the streets below the bell tower and church for centuries. It is tempting to linger but not for too long as we must continue our route along quiet lanes across the fertile plain behind the town. Our path starts to climb the wooded slopes, and after a steeper climb, we are rewarded with great views across the plain below towards the coast. We arrive at the remote chapel of St Laurent in a wooded clearing. From here our route descends on wide rough tracks to arrive at Château Valmy with time to visit the botanical park perhaps while awaiting our return transport.

Highlight: Spectacular glimpses of Argeles and the coastal plain.

 

Option 2 - Tour de la Massane (Torre de la Macana) from Valmy

Distance: 7½ miles (12km)

Total ascent: 2,500 feet (750m)

In summary: The harder walk starts at the Château Valmy car park, from where we skirt the château and vineyards to ascend on the track used by the easier group on their return. However, we soon leave it and climb steadily on narrow paths to reach the Roc de Grill. The path levels briefly before a further climb towards the tower of Massane seen ahead on the horizon. The final ascent to the tower is above the tree-line and the commanding views are spectacular. From here you can appreciate why this defensive signal tower was constructed, and we have seen it all week on the skyline from the hotel. Leaving the tower, we descend the same way to start but soon a different narrow path descends to bring us onto a wider track. Our descent is rough and rutted in places passing a pre-historic stone tomb and good views of the château below where we finish and await our return transport with drinks in a nearby cafe.

Highlight: 360o views from the Tour de la Massane

 


You will be transferred directly between hotels.

Welcome to Hotel Terraza. Unpack and settle in.


The Cami de Ronda is the name given to the coastal path in the area. Its name means ‘patrol walk’ and it is made up of old coastguards’ fishermens’ and farmers’ trails. It is gradually being restored by the Catalan Government with the aim of completing a route from the French border to the Costa Brava resort of Blanes.

Option 1 - Cala Rostella to Roses

Distance: 6 miles (9½km)

Total ascent: 400 feet (120m)

In summary: We start our walk above the sheltered cove of Cala Rostella. The walk then heads back to Roses along the GR92 long distance trail. This takes us past secluded coves, around craggy headlands and old military installations with spectacular views out to sea and ahead to Roses. We walk past two of Roses best beaches, past the lighthouse, castle and port to return to our hotel along the promenade.

Highlight: Beautiful coastal views on the Cami de Ronda.

Option 2 - l'Almadrava to Roses

Distance: 8 miles (13km)

Total ascent: 1,400 feet (420m)

In summary: This option travels to l’Almadrava – one of the most popular beaches of Roses. We head out along the GR92 Cami de Ronda, walking this stretch in the opposite direction to the other option but with the same spectacular views until we reach the delightful cove of Platja de Montjoi. Here we turn inland and head up and over the Coll d’en Fragam descending with beautiful views ahead to Roses past a number of megalithic dolmen and menhirs.

Highlight: Walk past beautiful coves with the opportunity to swim in the sea.


Both walks include a substantial stretch of the dramatic coastal path and explore Port Lligat, for many years the home of the Spanish surrealist artist Salvador Dali, finishing in Cadaques with its characterful blue and white buildings cascading down the cliffs to the sea.

Option 1 - Along the coast to Cadaques

Distance: 5 miles (8km)

Total ascent: 600 feet (180m) 

In summary: The easier walkers have time to explore the Visitor Centre at Cap de Creus before following the coastal path south with dramatic views all the way. We reach Port Lligat then head over the headland to Cadaques where there will be time to explore and take refreshments before our journey back to Roses.

Highlight: Dali's haven of Cadaques.

Option 2 - In the footsteps of Salvador Dali

Distance: 8½ miles (14km)

Total ascent: 1,200 feet (360m)

In summary: This walk starts by heading west towards La Tudela, an area with dramatic rock formations which provided the inspiration for some of Salvador Dali’s surrealist landscapes. We then walk a short stretch of the GR11 long distance trail to join the route of option 1 which we follow to Cadaques.

Highlight: Cadaques, the most easterly town on mainland Spain.


Our walks today focus on the dramatically situated monastery of San Pere de Rodes which sits at a height of 500m above sea level with stunning views down over the North Coast. In the 10th century the monastery was massively wealthy owning lands for many miles away from Barcelona to the French border.

Option 1 - Sant Pere de Rodes to Pau

Distance: 4½ miles (7km) 

Total ascent: 500 feet (150m)

In summary: The easier walk starts from close to Sant Pere de Rodes and heads up to the monastery and round the hill for excellent views. After time to look around the monastery the walk continues via the church of Santa Helena and the remains of the village of Santa Creu for more spectacular views. The walk then follows one of the routes of the Camino de Santiago down to the charming village of Pau. Here there will be time to look around and have refreshments before the return to Roses.

Highlight: Sant Pere de Rodes, a monastery clinging to the hillside above the sea.

Option 2 - Over the hills to Vilajuiga

Distance: 4½ miles (7km)

Total ascent: 2,000 feet (600m)

In summary: Our walk starts from the delightful inland village of Selva de Mar. From there we ascend steeply up the Muntanya de Sant Pere to reach the car park where the other walk starts. We then follows the route of option 1 but takes a different route to descend past a number of megalithic monuments and through vineyards to the town of Vilajuiga. There will be time to look round and have refreshments before taking the return coach to Roses.

Highlight: Far reaching views throughout the day.


Each week there is a free day when no guided walks are offered. This is an ideal opportunity to relax around the hotel, walk independently or visit local places of interest some options are:

Figueres: The nearest large town is easily accessible by regular public buses. Figueres was the birthplace of Salvador Dali and the highlight of a trip here would be a visit to the TeatroMuseo Dali, the museum Dali personally designed to display his works after his death. It has more of his works than any other gallery in the world. Figueres is also home to the Museu de l’Emporda devoted to the history of the local region, the Museo del Joquet, a toy museum, and the Castell de Sant Ferran a huge 18th century fortress.

Cadaques: Return to Cadaques for further sightseeing and perhaps a visit to the Casa Museo Dali in Port Lligat, which we walked past on Tuesday. This is the house which Dali had constructed from old fishermen’s cottages and where he lived and worked from 1930 to 1982. Entry is in limited numbers via timed tickets and advance booking is essential.

Roses: A day could be spent relaxing in Roses taking advantage of the facilities of the hotel or undertaking further sightseeing, perhaps visiting the Ciutadella and its museum across the road behind our hotel.


Today’s walks offer something completely different. We have a coach ride west from AltEmporda to the neighbouring ‘county’ of La Garrotxa and another of Catalonia’s Natural Parks – the Garrotxa Volcanic Zone. The volcanoes last erupted about 11,000 years ago. They are now covered with vegetation and are known as ‘green volcanoes’. Both walks will explore several of these volcanoes and also walk through the distinctive beech forests of the region. On our return journey to Roses we stop and look around Besalu – a beautiful mediaeval town with cobbled streets, fantastic architecture and a superb old bridge.

Option 1 - Into the La Garrotxa natural park

Distance: 7 miles (11km)

Total ascent: 700 feet (210m)

In summary:  Our walk starts from Can Serra and heads for the Croscat Volcano. This was the site of one of the most recent eruptions in the volcanic area – some 11,500 years ago. After exploring the volcano, we walk through the Fageda d’en Jorda – the famous beech forest of this area. We then head to the Museu dels Volcans located in the Parc Nou, an old country estate with gardens and woodlands. There will be time to visit the museum before our return journey to Roses with a stop in Besalu.

Highlight: Explore this fascinating area of extinct volcanoes covered in forest with a local guide.

Option 2 - Olot, Besalu and La Garrotxa

Distance: 10 miles (16km)

Total ascent: 1,300 feet (390m)

In summary: The walk begins on the outskirts of Olot heading towards the Croscat volcano as visited by the easier walk. Visiting the Santa Margarita volcano, noteworthy because in the middle of the crater is a Romanesque hermitage of Santa Margarita, the walk returns via the beach forest and joins the option 1 group. There is time to look around the museum before travelling back via Besalu.

Highlight: Discover the historic town of Besalu.


Today’s walks explore the wild interior of the Cap de Creus Natural Park. We return to Cadaques to start the walks which both follow a substantial stretch of the GR92 long distance trail. We will walk through areas now returned to nature where we will see old dry stone wall terracing – evidence of the intensive cultivation of vines in this area brought to an end in the late 19th century with the phylloxera plague which killed vines across Europe.

Option 1 - Cadaques to Port de la Selva via the GR92

Distance: 7½ miles (12km)

Total ascent: 1,100 feet (330m)

In summary: Our walk starts from Cadaques by quickly and easily gaining height on the GR92 long distance trail past the Puig de San Vicenc. There follows a delightful stretch of path, contouring around dry valleys, passing isolated dry stone shepherd’s huts to reach els Bufadors. We descend via a dry valley, the Costa dels Terrellons, to reach the outskirts of el Port de la Selva.

Highlight: The rugged coastline of the Cap de Creus offers fabulous walking and views.

Option 2 - Cadaques to Port de la Selva via the GR92 and Punta de la Creu

Distance: 9 miles (14½km)

Total ascent: 1,100 feet (330m)

In summary: The harder walk initially follows the same route as the easier walk to els Bufadors. We then follow a loop to the north. We join the GR 11 long distance trail and walk around the Punto de la Creu to reach el Port de la Selva from the north.

Highlight: Explore El Port de la Selva, a beautiful coastal village.


We hope to see you again soon.


French Catalonia Itinerary Map
Catalonia Itinerary Map

Grand Hotel du Lido - French Catalonia

The family Lormand offers our guests a warm Catalan welcome to their 3-star Grand Hotel Du Lido that sits on the seafront in Argelès-sur-Mer.  Boasting stunning views over the Mediterranean sea and with its own private beach surrounded by towering Pine trees the hotel is a peaceful haven to retreat to after a day out walking.  The shops and services of Argelès-sur-Mer are only a short walk away.     

Terraza Hotel & Spa - Catalonia

The 4-star Hotel Terraza has held an enviable position on the Roses seafront since 1935, sandwiched between the Mediterranean and Roses’ large medieval citadel complex.  The hotel has a private area on the beach for their guests.  On the roof you will find the wellness centre with a heated pool, jacuzzi, sauna, hammam and thermal showers.  The restaurant produces meals of an exceptional standard and was awarded in the 2018 HF Holidays Hotel Awards based on guest feedback.  

What to Bring

Essential Equipment

To enjoy walking/hiking comfortably and safely, footwear, clothing and equipment needs to be suitable for the conditions. Safety and comfort are our priorities, so our advice is to come prepared for all eventualities.

  • Footwear with a good grip on the sole (e.g.Vibram sole) is the key to avoiding accidents.
  • Walking/hiking boots providing ankle support and good grip are recommended (ideally worn in), and specialist walking socks to avoid blisters.
  • Several layers of clothing, which can be added or removed, are better than a single layer (include spares).
  • Fabrics (lightweight and fast drying) designed for the outdoors are recommended.
  • Waterproof jacket and waterproof over trousers.
  • Warm hat and gloves. 
  • Denim jeans and capes are not suitable on any walks.
  • Rucksack with a waterproof liner.
  • Thermos flask for hot drink.
  • Water bottle (at least 2 litre).
  • Spare high-energy food such as a chocolate bar.
  • Small torch.
  • First aid kit – your leader’s first aid kit doesn’t contain any medication or blister kits (such as Compeed).
  • Sun hat and sunglasses
  • Sun cream.

Optional Equipment

  • Walking poles are useful, particularly for descents.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Camera.
  • Gaiters.

Guest Reviews

All holidays are subject to availability. Prices are subject to change.
Prices based on two people sharing. Supplements may apply.
Non-member fee: £10 per person.

These departure dates can be booked with flights or as land only holiday options. All packages that include flights are ATOL protected. Advertised flight prices are based on UK flights departing from London. Regional departures and/or connections to London, if available, can be requested. Cabin upgrades may also be available on request.

Date (Start - End) Nights Itinerary Price Status Trip Notes Book
2020
03 May - 17 May
14 2020 Itinerary £2,499 Available Trip Notes Book Now
10 May - 24 May
14 2020 Itinerary £2,499 Available Trip Notes Book Now
06 Sep - 20 Sep
14 2020 Itinerary £2,649 Available Trip Notes Book Now
20 Sep - 04 Oct
14 2020 Itinerary £2,549 Available Trip Notes Book Now
27 Sep - 11 Oct
14 2020 Itinerary £2,499 Available Trip Notes Book Now
Date (Start - End) Nights Itinerary Price Status Trip Notes Book
2020
03 May - 17 May
14 2020 Itinerary £2,249 Available Trip Notes Book Now
10 May - 24 May
14 2020 Itinerary £2,249 Available Trip Notes Book Now
06 Sep - 20 Sep
14 2020 Itinerary £2,399 Available Trip Notes Book Now
20 Sep - 04 Oct
14 2020 Itinerary £2,299 Available Trip Notes Book Now
27 Sep - 11 Oct
14 2020 Itinerary £2,249 Available Trip Notes Book Now

Important Information

French Catalonia

  • Premium room: price on request
  • Double room for sole occupancy: £28 per night
  • With flights holidays include flights from Heathrow. Flight supplement from Manchester: £80
  • ndependent travellers can join our transfer from Barcelona Airport: £36.50 single

Catalonia

  • Premium room: price on request
  • Double room for sole occupancy: £23 per night
  • With flights holidays include flights from Heathrow. Flight supplement from Manchester: £80
  • Independent travellers can join our transfer from Barcelona Airport: £28.50 single
Duration:
14 nights
Type:
European Multi-Centre
Walking Grade:
2 & 3

14 nights from £2,499pp with flights

...or call 020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ people click here

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