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French Catalonia Guided Walking Holiday

Collioure, Mediterranean village in the South of France
Duration: 7 nights
Type: European Centre Based
Walking Grade: 2 & 4
from £1,399pp with flights

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. Inland, the routes feel 'off the beaten track' near the Spanish border and are filled with incredible history including WWII forts.

Holiday Highlights

  • 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

What’s included

  • A full programme of guided walks with 2 options every walking day
  • All transport to and from walks
  • The services of experienced HF Holidays’ leaders
  • Return flights from the UK and hotel transfers on 'with flight' holidays
  • 7 nights' accommodation in en-suite rooms
  • Half Board – continental buffet breakfast and 3-course evening meal

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.

France - Argeles - French Catalonia -  AdobeStock_171790454.jpeg


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

 


We hope to see you again soon.


French 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.     

Rooms

The Grand Hotel le Lido has 66 well-equipped en-suite bedrooms, most of which have a balcony or terrace

Each bedroom has:

  • Air conditioning
  • TV
  • Telephone
  • Hairdryer
  • Safety deposit box
  • Fridge

Facilities

Guests can enjoy:

  • The shaded gardens
  • A private beach
  • A Restaurant with panoramic views
  • Heated outdoor swimming pool

Food & Drink

Holidays at Argelès-sur-Mer are Half Board with continental breakfast and 3-course evening meal.

Breakfast

Argelès-sur-Mer offers a self-select buffet breakfast with cold and hot beverages, fruit, and selection of breads and pastries.

Evening meal

Dinner is a 3-course evening meal served to the table. Vegetarian and special diets are catered for; we ask you to take a few moments to talk with the management on arrival.

Drinks

The hotel has a well-stocked bar serving beer, wine and spirits.

Picnic lunch

This hotel offers a packed lunches at an additional cost. Alternatively, ingredients for a picnic lunch can be purchased from local shops and on certain days it may be possible to eat in local cafès; your leader will advise you of these options.

Your Evenings

The friendly atmosphere of our Guided Walking holidays continue into the evening.

Enjoy a glass of wine or beer whilst listening to our leaders telling you about the next day's walk. After dinner you may like to join your group on a walk along the beach, go for coffee in a local cafè, or listening to live music.

Your leader will be checking for any local events going on nearby. Or you may like to stay in the hotel relaxing and chatting to your fellow guests.

French Catalonia - Grand Hotel du Lido - terrasse-du-restaurant_25888944682_o.jpg

Getting to Grand Hotel du Lido - French Catalonia

Find out more about this location including travel details and room types.

More Information

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 and prices are subject to change.
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) Version Price Status Trip Notes Book
2020
26 Apr - 03 May 2020 Itinerary £1,399 Available Book Now
03 May - 10 May 2020 Itinerary £1,399 Available Book Now
10 May - 17 May 2020 Itinerary £1,399 Available Book Now
17 May - 24 May 2020 Itinerary £1,399 Available Book Now
24 May - 31 May 2020 Itinerary £1,399 Available Book Now
31 May - 07 Jun 2020 Itinerary £1,399 Available Book Now
06 Sep - 13 Sep 2020 Itinerary £1,499 Available Book Now
13 Sep - 27 Sep 2020 Itinerary £1,499 Unavailable
20 Sep - 27 Sep 2020 Itinerary £1,399 Available Book Now
27 Sep - 04 Oct 2020 Itinerary £1,399 Available Book Now
Date (Start - End) Version Price Status Trip Notes Book
2020
26 Apr - 03 May 2020 Itinerary £1,149 Available Book Now
03 May - 10 May 2020 Itinerary £1,149 Available Book Now
10 May - 17 May 2020 Itinerary £1,149 Available Book Now
17 May - 24 May 2020 Itinerary £1,149 Available Book Now
24 May - 31 May 2020 Itinerary £1,149 Available Book Now
31 May - 07 Jun 2020 Itinerary £1,149 Available Book Now
06 Sep - 13 Sep 2020 Itinerary £1,249 Available Book Now
13 Sep - 27 Sep 2020 Itinerary £2,399 Unavailable
20 Sep - 27 Sep 2020 Itinerary £1,149 Available Book Now
27 Sep - 04 Oct 2020 Itinerary £1,149 Available Book Now

Important Information

  • 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
  • Independent travellers can join our transfer from Barcelona Airport: £36.50 single
Duration:
7 nights
Type:
European Centre Based
Walking Grade:
2

7 nights from £1,399pp with flights

Save up to £50 per person

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