Tag Archives: walking holidays

Walking in the Ordesa National Park

Three ways to explore Ordesa National Park

The spectacular canyons of the Ordesa National Park contain some of the best hiking in Spain. Its kilometre deep canyons are carved out of the limestone and have awe inspiring cliffs.

Hikes range from gentle walks in alpine meadows with the cliffs towering above you, to tough trails following narrow ledges high in the cliffs. There’s something for everyone in Ordesa!

The park is a UNESCO world heritage site due it’s biodiversity, and you’ll find the rare bone eating lammergeier here as well as ancient beech forests, beautiful orchids and lots of endemic flowers species.

Let our local guides show you the best Ordesa has to offer. We’ve three hiking holidays based in the Ordesa National Park – Canyons of Ainsa, Discover Ordesa and our Ordesa Self Guided itinerary. All have excellent hotels and each explores a different area of the park.

Read our full guide to walking in the Ordesa National Park.

With so many choices, you’ve no excuse not to come and discover the delights of Ordesa for yourself!

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Hiking adventures in Spain

5 hiking adventures in Spain for 2019

Another year is upon us and we’ve chosen some of our favourite hiking adventures in Spain to give you inspiration for a healthy active holiday in 2019.

Explore the spectacular canyons of Ordesa, the limestone spires of the Picos de Europa or the undiscovered Puertos de Beceite – Spain has a wealth of mountain ranges to choose from.

Here’s five of the best adventures to take your mind off the cold weather and to start dreaming of hiking under the Spanish sunshine. One word of warning though – with the excellent Spanish food and wine you may not ending up shedding as many pounds as you hoped on our hiking holidays!

1. Picos de Europa

Picos de Europa

Trumpet gentians in the Picos de Europa

Spain’s oldest National Park and one of the most spectacular with sharp limestone peaks rising from alpine meadows. The famous Cares Gorge splits the massif in two and makes for a wonderful hike. On the southern side the Fuente De cable car whisks you up 700 metres for some great but accessible hiking in high mountain terrain.

At times it appears like a land that time forgot with shepherds still spending there summers in the high pastures, taking care of the herds and making cheese.

Our Picos de Europa guided holiday is dual centre allowing you to explore both the northern and southern sides of the park. With two hikes offered each day – an easier and a harder option this is an adventure suitable for all levels of fitness.

2. Hike the GR11 and summit Monte Perdido

GR11 hut to hut holiday

On the summit of Monte Perdido (3355m)

If you’re looking for adventure start here! The GR11 is a monster 840km trail that traverses the Pyrenees from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic taking around 45 days.

For those without a month or so to go hiking our Refugio Week tackles a week section of the GR11 covering some of the most spectacular and highest legs in the Ordesa National Park and the Valle de Tena.

As a bonus, we’ll take a side trip up Monte Perdido – the third highest summit in the Pyrenees at 3355 metres.

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A view of the Sierra de la Partacua on day 2

Village to Village – a self guided adventure

One of our many holiday options here at Hike Pyrenees is to explore the Pyrenees at your own speed with one of our self guided holiday options. We introduced the first of these holidays to our itinerary back in 2012 – Village  to village self guided, which is in the Valle de Tena.

The Church of Santa Elena which you can visit as a 'side trip' on day 1s hike.

The Church of Santa Elena which you can visit as a ‘side trip’ on day 1s hike.

During these 6 days of hiking you get the chance to journey between small mountain villages discovering new places each day at a speed that suits you. What’s also great is that there is a harder and easier level of difficulty hike to chose from everyday so the itinerary is suitable for many abilities.

Being a self guided holiday, you can start this itinerary on a day that suits you, we can also shorten it slightly if you have less than a 6 day window in which you’d like to hike this route.

Looking across Ibon de Piedrafita; the final day's hiking option

Looking across Ibon de Piedrafita; the final day’s hiking option

When you arrive with us here in the Pyrenees you will be met by one of our qualified guides who will talk you through the itinerary, answer any questions and put your mind at ease. You will be given a set of detailed route cards and our own Hike Pyrenees village to village map. You’re luggage is transferred safely for you each day and you’ll hike with a day pack only – bliss!

Our village to village hiking map

Our village to village hiking map

7 years ago, we knew we had a designed a good holiday but waited to see what you all thought of it. I can say it has been a thorough success! Here are just a few guests thoughts on their village to village holiday…

Beautiful vistas and charming villages – each day was a new challenge with a fantastic reward. A true vacation and a great value – thank you!
Michele, Village to Village, September 2017.

A superbly organised holiday that enabled us to walk the most fantastic areas of the Pyrenees. Our walking holiday from booking, transfers, hotels, meals and walks were efficiently and professionally arranged.
Richard & Alex.

Well organized, absolute breathtaking scenery, professional logistics.
David.

Walking Village to Village in Valle de Tena provided a great introduction to the Pyrenees as well as opportunities for enjoyable social interaction with our fellow walkers.
Ian & Anne.

We couldn’t have been more pleased with Hike Pyrenees. The hikes were gorgeous, the villages beautiful, hotels lovely, food delicious! Everything was well organised even better than we´d hoped for.
Ellen & Jack.

Our first evening all together

Hike Pyrenees 10 year anniversary week

They say that time flies when you’re having fun. Well, Hike Pyrenees is now in it’s 10th season of running hiking holidays in the Spanish Pyrenees, and those 10 years have flown by very quickly! To celebrate this, we put on a special hiking holiday, based in the lovely medieval town of Ainsa, for those that had been with us before. The result was the Hike Pyrenees team being joined by 24 familiar faces for the week. Many of whom have been on multiple holidays over the years and all of whom we would definitely consider to be good friends.

Whilst we have often visited Ainsa with guests, normally for a meal out during our Discover Ordesa weeks, we hadn’t used it as a base for a whole week before, so Hannah and I (Ken) spent much of the week before researching suitable hikes with the aim of being able to offer either two or three different hikes each day. It’s a tough job researching hikes, but someone has to do it!

Our first evening all together

Our first evening all together

With hikes, restaurants and logistics all in place, there was nothing to do but to let the week unfold. It was great to see so many familiar faces around the dining table on the Sunday evening.

On Monday, we kicked off the hiking, with Phil and Javier taking one half of the group a little way south, to the Castillos de Samitier. This walk gave everyone fantastic views of the high mountains to the north, as well as passing two beautiful chapels and the ruins of ancient Moorish castle towers. Meanwhile, Hannah and I took the rest up to Plan, from where we hiked up to the stunning Ibon de Plan, nestled in amongst the high Pyrenean mountains. That evening, we were treated to a buffet dinner, with local wines, at the local delicatessen. Part the way though the evening, Joe, Madaline, Paul, Barbara, Cathy and Bob burst into song with their own version of ‘There’s no business like show business’, which they had been working on for some time. Their rendition was entitled ‘There’s no business like Phil’s business’!

The following day, Phil visited the Anisclo Canyon. The Anisclo Canyon is an impressive water-worn canyon that runs 22km south from the Collado de Anisclo. Hannah and her team visited a waterfall and swimming hole in the Valle de Sieste, south of Boltana, and I took our team to the eastern flanks of Cotiella, where we hiked up to Refugio Armena and back. We dined in Hotel Sanchez, in the new town that evening.

Wednesday saw us all hiking in the Valle de Pineta. Phil and his team headed up to the Cascadas de Lalarri, whilst Hannah and I took our team from Espierba, up onto the broad ridge above, where we eventually joined the GR11 and made our way to the Circo de Pineta. I took a small team up Comodoto 2361m en route. The vistas from the ridge were nothing short of spectacular, with the steep cliffs of the north face of Las Tres Marias and Tres Seroles dominating our views.

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Kicking off the 2016 season with a delicious meal in Ricon el Montañes.

Hike Pyrenees, season so far…

We kicked off our 2016 hiking season 6 weeks ago with a superb meal in Ricon el Montañes in Biescas.  Since then we have welcomed, explored and shared the Pyrenees with many new as-well as familiar faces returning for their second, third or even fifth holiday with us!

Lakes and Valleys, 29th May – 5 June.

A superb first week with the early spring flowers still making an appearance. We also encountered some patches of snow which added an extra enjoyable element to our hikes!

Valle de Tena Explorer, 5 – 12 June

This week we welcomed Terry, Cathy and Clare back on their second holiday with us. They along with others explored the Valle de Tena, we even sneaked over the border for a day hiking in France.

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Foz de Salinas hike, a day on our Riglos and Alquezar holiday

Anne, Andy, Anthony, Karl, Annabel and Robert are this week our guests for a new edition of our Riglos and Alquezar holiday. It is the second year we run this holiday and, after a first group in April, this week our new guests are enjoying the atmosphere of several small and untouched villages of the Pre-Pirenees as well as beautiful hikes under a rather warm and sun shining weather.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to be with the group for their 3rd hikes in the area of “la Foz de Salinas”, where Phil guided us on some very pleasant and quiet paths.

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Hiking on our new self guided itinerary in Guara Natural Park

The self guided season has started earlier than previous years in Hike Pyrenees: our firsts guests has already arrived and are walking on the beautiful paths and tracks of Guara Natural Park!

Before they came, we double checked the route directions we had prepared for our new Villages of the Guara Natural Park self-guided holiday. These routecards are booklets with maps, directions and pictures that we give to our guests in order to make their navigation easier for each of their hiking day.

Phil taking a picture for the routecard of Lecina to Paules de Sarsa itinerary.

Phil taking a picture for the routecard of Lecina to Paules de Sarsa itinerary.

The  last route we checked was a relatively short and easy hike between the Villages of Lecina and Paules de Sarsa, two very quiet and remote villages in the most rural part of the Park.

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High on the Faja Pelay

The Pyrenees through September

September here is a beautiful month. The villages are winding down after a busy August and we start waking up to fresh crisp mornings. The leaves on the trees start to change colour and the hill sides turn a mixture of orange and red. We’ve even had a dusting of snow on the higher peaks.

Below is a selection of photos from the guided holidays we ran through September -

Discover Ordesa

We had great week hiking with the Ordesa crew with fresh snow on the tops of the mountains, my first sighting of a wild boar whilst out guiding and an ideal location for final drinks of the week! Thanks for coming guys!

Valle de Tena explorer

A great team from many corners of the world and a few familiar faces too. We explored the abandoned villages of Serrablo, rang the bells  on our Santa Erosia hike, reached the tops of some impressive peaks and even spotted a snake which had managed to elude us for many years. Read our blog about the snake we spotted here

A bespoke 8 days of hiking

We welcomed Carolyn, Bill, Dave, Deb, Isabel and Drew from New York to the Pyrenees with a personalised 8 day itinerary taking in both the Valle de Tena and Ordesa as well as local wine tasting and tapas evenings. Many thanks to the 6 for their company!

Peaks and Passes

and finally… It had to happen, our last guided holiday of the season. We had some amazing views from some of our highest guided peaks in the area and went out with a bang summiting the highest of these on our final day – Pico de Bacias 2760m

Summit of Pic Peyreget

A great season so far…

Well, the 2014 hiking season here in the Spanish Pyrenees is well and truly under way, and despite the occasional late afternoon thunderstorm, things have been ticking along nicely.  Our self-guided holidays are proving to be as popular as ever, with about half of the guests hiking the 6 day Village to Village Walk in the Valle de Tena.  Other guests have explored the Ordesa Valley, Camino de Santiago and other spectacular areas of the Valle de Tena.

It’s also been busy on the guided holidays.  We’ve run a few more dual level holidays this season, allowing walkers to choose between gentle and more strenuous walks, both in the Valle de Tena and Ordesa, on each of their 5 days, giving them the opportunity to enjoy a diverse range of environments, from flower filled meadows through to rugged high mountain terrain.  Highlights have included hiking the Faja de Pelay in the Ordesa Canyon, visiting the Ibones de Arriel above the GR11 and popping over the border to walk in the French Pyrenees.

Phil has also run a new walking holiday this season, in the Western PyreneesThis holiday is split between  the two beautiful villages of Ezcaroz in the Valle de Salazar and Erratzu in Baztan, and is aimed at those looking for relaxed days in the mountains.   Many of the guests on this holiday had hiked with us before (mostly on our Lakes & Valleys holiday), and were looking to explore the Pyrenees further.  Phil will be running this trip again in September.

We’re also all looking forward to running our Refugio Week later this month, which tackles the highest peak in the area, Monte Perdido, which at 3355m, looms over the head of the Ordesa Canyon.

Summer 2014 walking holiday brochure

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The Hike Pyrenees summer 2014 brochure is now available – order your copy or read the online version.

Next summer we’ve a new holiday in the Western Pyrenees exploring the Navarran Pyrenees. It’s a two centre guided holiday and we’ll hike in the Valle de Salazar and Baztan. Both are wonderful areas for hiking with fantastic scenery and are full of culture and tradition. Read the full itinerary.

We are also offering the Camino de Santiago coastal route next summer. The coastal route follows the Basque coastline and was the early route used by pilgrims when the now standard French way still passed through Muslim occupied lands. You can follow in the footsteps of pilgrims while staying in some lovely rural hotels and getting your bags moved for you each day.

Of course we’re still offering our guided and self guided holidays in Ordesa and the Valle de Tena.

Order your copy of our brochure or view a copy online.

We hope to see you in the Pyrenees next summer for some great hiking.

Self catering apartments

Self Catering Apartments in the PyreneesWe now offer the option of staying in self catering apartments on our self guided walking holidays.

The spacious Rincon del Andrea self catering apartments are based in Biescas. One, two and three bedroom apartments are available and each has a lounge/diner, bathroom and great views. The apartments are ideally located to reach the great hiking in both the Valle de Tena and the Ordesa Valley

All are well equipped with washing machine, TV, DVD player, microwave, hob, fridge, toaster and free Wi-Fi internet connection.

Read more about our self catering holidays

Lounge and diner area

Bedroom in Rincon del Andrea