Detailed guide to 800km trek along the Franco-Spanish border, from Hendaye to Banyuls-sur-Mer. The unwaymarked route is described in 45 days, with 500 GPS waymarks, information on villages, mountain huts, guesthouses, hotels and campsites and variant routes to avoid difficult sections. Also ascents of ten classic Pyrenean summits beside the route.
trekking, backpacking, mountain-climbing, scrambling
Best months: July and August. August can be extremely warm, however, and thunderstorms are an everyday hazard! In June most high mountain passes are still covered with snow but it's a good time for both the first section and, from mid-June on, the final section (if you avoid Pic Carlit). Late August and the first days of September often bring a short period of extremely bad weather but afterwards the first half of September can be exceptionally beautiful. There will be frost at night from the second half of September. Snowfall in the high mountains is not uncommon in September. Be ready for anything!Centres
runs from Hendaye to Banyuls-sur-Mer, with nearest major towns: Bayonne, Pau, Tarbes, Foix, Perpignan and Toulouse
Each day walk and variant is graded on a scale of 1 to 4, from E for exceptionally challenging (moderate scrambling, exposure, glaciers) to 3 for short, easy, waymarked routes. Most are graded 2 and represent a good day's walk with significant ascent and descent but no major obstacles in good weather.
the 10 summits: Grande Fache, Vignemale, La Taillon, Pimene, Pic Perdiguere, Pico de Aneto, Montardo d'Aran, Mont Roig, Pic de Certascan and Pica d'Estats; the national parks: Parc National des Pyrénées Occidentales and Parc National d'Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici; mountain lakes, cirques, canyons, peaks and pine forests.