Cathar Crossing Guided Trail

Montsegur cathar castle in France
Duration: 7 nights
Type: Trails
Walking Grade: 4
from £1,449pp with flights

Discover the fascinating story of the last of the Cathars, as you follow their footsteps as they fled from France to Spain, along the path of the Bon Hommes. A time forgotten landscape of legend and great natural beauty will accompany you each day as you traverse the Pyrenees. Enjoy a snapshot of different cultures as you cross from country to country; France, towards Andorra, and lastly, Spain.

Holiday Highlights

  • Explore the stunning Pyrenees mountains on foot
  • Visit medieval towns
  • Toast the life and legend of “Bon Hommes” as you complete your crossing

What’s included

  • Experienced Local Guide
  • All transport and luggage transfers on walking days
  • ‘With flight’ holidays include return flights from the UK and hotel transfers
  • Full Board en-suite accommodation
    • 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 evening meals

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Download Trip Notes

Transfer from Toulouse to the medieval town of Foix, where you spend the first night. If time allows take time to visit the castle of Count Gaston Fébus or stroll around the medieval city.

Hotel Lons - Cathar Crossing

The Hotel Lons (1 night) is located in the historic centre of Foix, 5 minutes walk from the imposing castle,”Château de Foix”. Formerly a coaching-inn, Hotel Lons has been owned and ran as a hotel by the Lons family for over half a century. 


A coach transfer of 45 minutes will take you to the beginning of today’s walk at Montségur and to meet your leader.

You'll meet at the Castle where you can enjoy magnificent views of the valleys and mountains around you. You'll also enjoy an introduction to Cathar history and legend on your visit to this famous castle, before traversing the spectacular Frau gorges where the Mediterranean influence is more present.

A 30 minute coach journey then takes you to the spa town of Ax-les-Thermes for the night with its hot springs and thermal baths. (If time allows enjoy a relaxing time in the wellness centre “Les Bains du Couloubret”- 18.50€ for 2 hours).

9½ miles (15km) with 2,500 feet (750m) of ascent and 1,500 feet (450m) of descent.

Le Chalet - Cathar Crossing

A small family run hotel, where you are assured of a warm welcome, Le Chalet (2 nights) is in Ax les Thermes. The hotel has recently been refurbished, with light and airy rooms, and is renowned for its restaurant.


Today we take a short train transfer to Mérens and a beautiful walk, giving close-up views of the high mountains of Ariège. Taking shepherds’ paths and forest trails, we reach the high-point of the day with spectacular far-reaching views of the Pyrenean chain. Descending through the meadows and woods surrounding the village of Mérens, we can revive our feet in the natural springs, before taking the short train or bus journey back to Ax-les-Thermes.

8 miles (13km), with 2,650 feet (800m) of ascent and 2,350 feet (700m) of descent.

Le Chalet - Cathar Crossing

A small family run hotel, where you are assured of a warm welcome, Le Chalet (2 nights) is in Ax les Thermes. The hotel has recently been refurbished, with light and airy rooms, and is renowned for its restaurant.


Today we take a 40 minute coach journey on the famous route to Porté Puymorens and the Mediterranean Pyrenees. From here we begin our ascent to the Portella Blanca (8,257ft above sea level), and the border of France, Andorra and Spain.

Crossing into Spain, the landscape changes yet again, as we are greeted by the stunning sight of the Sierra del Cadi. You'll be rewarded by beautiful scenery as you cross into Spain. A short transfer from the end of your walk takes you to your hotel.

This is the longest day, as you cross the border and it involves a very early start.

14½ miles (23km), with 3,350 feet (1,000m) of ascent and 3,600 feet (1,100m) of descent.


Continuing in the footsteps of the Cathars, our walk continues south, to discover the stunning Sierra de Cadi massif, and on towards the Moixero’s peak. The landscape now has a much more Mediterranean feel to it.

7 miles (11km), with 1,750 feet (525m) of ascent and 1,600 feet (480m) of descent.


From Bellver we take a 20 minute transfer to Baga where we begin our walk through the heart of the Cadi-Moxero national park and in the shadows of the emblematic fortress of Pedraforca’s Peak. Our trail ends today at the town of Gosol with its castle, a place of refuge for many Cathars.

10 miles (16km), with 2,650 feet (810m) of ascent and 2,500 feet (770m) of descent.

Hostal Cal Francisco - Cathar Crossing

The Hostal Cal Francisco at Gosol (1 night) is basic, but comfortable and clean. All rooms are en-suite and the welcome from the owners will ensure you enjoy your evening’s stay. This is a small establishment and the menu offered for the evening meal is limited. It will however offer hearty food, from locally sourced produce.


The final chapter in this legendary journey leads us from Fumanya (after a short transfer from Gosol to Fumanya), to the Cathar sanctuary of Queralt, the ‘balcony of Catalonia’, and through the Mediterranean forest to Berga, where we can toast the life and legend of the “Bon Hommes”, and enjoy the final section of our journey.

9½ miles (15km), with 1,400 feet (420m) of ascent and 2,900 feet (870m) of descent.

HCC Ciutat de Berga - Cathar Crossing

In the centre of Berga, HCC Ciutat de Berga (1 night) is 4-star and offers a little luxury for your final evening’s stay, and your last chance to sample some of the excellent local cuisine.


Free time in Berga before your transfer to Barcelona airport which takes just over an hour.


Cathar Crossing Itinerary Map

Hotel Lons - Cathar Crossing

The Hotel Lons (1 night) is located in the historic centre of Foix, 5 minutes walk from the imposing castle,”Château de Foix”. Formerly a coaching-inn, Hotel Lons has been owned and ran as a hotel by the Lons family for over half a century. 

Le Chalet - Cathar Crossing

A small family run hotel, where you are assured of a warm welcome, Le Chalet (2 nights) is in Ax les Thermes. The hotel has recently been refurbished, with light and airy rooms, and is renowned for its restaurant.

Hotel Bellavista - Cathar Crossing

A family run hotel (2 nights), enjoy the spectacular scenery of northern Catalonia. Set in the mountainous area of Cerdanya, part of the Spanish Pyrenees and just a short distance from the French border and Andorra. All rooms are outward-facing and en suite with telephones and TV. Free WiFi is available throughout the hotel. During the summer months guests can enjoy a game of tennis on the Bellavista’s own court or a dip in the open-air swimming pool.

Hostal Cal Francisco - Cathar Crossing

The Hostal Cal Francisco at Gosol (1 night) is basic, but comfortable and clean. All rooms are en-suite and the welcome from the owners will ensure you enjoy your evening’s stay. This is a small establishment and the menu offered for the evening meal is limited. It will however offer hearty food, from locally sourced produce.

Hotel Estel - Cathar Crossing

Enjoy the delightful terrace. All rooms include satellite TV. Each room has a private bathroom.

What to Bring

What to Take

We recommend wearing walking boots on all our walks, as these provide the best ankle support and grip. Approach shoes offer appropriate levels of grip and are fine if you’re comfortable with and used to walking without the ankle support. Walking socks suitable for warm weather – major sock manufacturers such as Bridgedale make socks specifically designed for warm weather – just ensure that your footwear fits correctly if you’re used to wearing thicker socks. Windproof/waterproof jacket (with hood) and waterproof trousers – these are essential at all times of the year. Shorts and Tshirts - lightweight wicking materials are best. Warm fleece & trousers Sun protection – hat, sunglasses and sun cream.

Clothing: Fleece or other purpose designed synthetic tops give good lightweight insulation and nylon or cotton trousers can provide unrestricted movement. A layering system is better than one thick top. Lightweight hat and gloves

Additional equipment for walking

Rucksack: this needs to be large enough to carry your picnic lunch, drink, waterproofs and spare clothing. A size of 25-30 litres is probably best. A waterproof liner as well as a rucksack cover will keep the contents dry should you be unlucky enough to encounter any rain.
Water bottle: a size of at least 2 litres is recommended.
Please take a plastic box with personal cutlery for salad/crudities given with packed lunch and plastic food bags
Sun protection:
high factor sun screen and lip salve Personal First Aid Kit: containing for example plasters, insect, repellent, antiseptic wipes, painkillers, blister kit, tape and personal medication.
Spare food: Leaders cannot carry emergency food for the whole party. As this walk crosses remote areas it is essential that you take some high energy food. Energy bars, nuts, dried fruit, chocolate etc are not included in your picnic so please take supplies, or pick up some enroute.
Camera/binoculars – your choice. Trekking poles - many people find these aid balance and take some of the strain off their knees during steeper descents

Guest Reviews

All holidays are subject to availability and prices are subject to change.
Non-member associate 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) Version Price Status Trip Notes Book
2020
13 Jun - 20 Jun 2019 Itinerary £1,449 Available Book Now
05 Sep - 12 Sep 2019 Itinerary £1,449 Available Book Now
19 Sep - 26 Sep 2019 Itinerary £1,449 Available Book Now
Date (Start - End) Version Price Status Trip Notes Book
2020
13 Jun - 20 Jun 2019 Itinerary £1,199 Available Book Now
05 Sep - 12 Sep 2019 Itinerary £1,199 Available Book Now
19 Sep - 26 Sep 2019 Itinerary £1,199 Available Book Now

Important Information

  • Single room: £196 (complete holiday)
  • Flights from London Heathrow are included.
  • UK connecting flights to meet our Heathrow British Airways flight available from Manchester, Leeds Bradford, Newcastle, Glasgow or Edinburgh.   £139
  • Independent travellers can join our transfer: contact us for details
Duration:
7 nights
Type:
Trails
Walking Grade:
4

7 nights from £1,449pp with flights

...or call 020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ people click here

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