French and Spanish Pyrenees Mountain Tours - Subalpine and Alpine Flower Tours
The Pyrenean Mountains are one of the last great wilderness areas left in Europe. The high craggy peaks and the steep-sided forested valleys harbour an amazing variety of wildlife that has endured the long presence of man in this timeless landscape.
We start in the verdant Val’d Eyne and the beautiful Cerdagne Valley, before crossing Andorra to the magnificent ‘enchanted mountains’ of Aigues Tortes, one of Spain’s most beautiful National Parks, finishing the tour in the famed Cirque de Gavarnie. Apollos float over carpets of beautiful blue Gentians, pink Primulas and elegant Snowbells. The yellow turk’s-caps of Lilium pyrenaicum are a magical sight, whilst in woodlands we’ll find Martagon Lilies and along tracksides Pyrenean Bellflowers and St Bernard’s Lilies shine in the sun. Lammergeiers and Golden Eagles cruise the blue skies and the characteristic sharp cries of yellow-billed Alpine Choughs lend atmosphere to the stunning landscapes.
Below, the Rio Noguerra Pallaresa Valley descends through aromatic meadows and woodlands whose diversity of butterflies is almost without equal in Europe. Twin-spot Fritillary, Spanish Purple Hairstreak, Turquoise Blue, Marbled Fritillary and Pygmy Skipper are among more than a hundred species you can expect to see during this holiday. Aromatic meadows host many orchids, elegant Leuzea conifera, blue Catananche caerulea and the strange Coris monspeliensis. Sarcocapnos enneaphylla adorns cliffs by Gaudi’s Inspiration. Blue Ramonda myconi and white Pyrenean Saxifrages hanging like miniature waterfalls form gardens on rockfaces. Alpine turf on the slopes of the Pic d’Aneto hosts Nigritella austriaca, Small White Orchid, Dactylorhiza caramulensis, and purple Iris latifolia, alongside a most marvellous display of Viola cornuta. Tight cushions of delightful Androsace vandelli bloom on rocks above displays of Crocus vernus subspecies albiflorus and yellow, white and ‘hairy’ Pasque Flowers. Elsewhere are gems such as Androsace carnea laggeri, purple and orange Linaria alpina, Vitaliana primuliflora and lovely Adonis pyrenaica. Snowfinches, Capercaillie, Bee-eaters, maybe a Chamois or a Wild Boar, and always beautiful scenery and good food - you’ll want to come here again!
Flowers, both subalpine and alpine, and Butterflies. Also Birds and Mountain Scenery.
We will be ambling up to three or four miles on most days, optionally a little more on one or two, and the pace is always slow, ideally suited to photographers. Mostly on well-constructed footpaths but the best flowers are often on steeper slopes or rougher ground.
Included in the Price
All flights. Transport, accommodation and all meals in Spain, Andorra and France. Services of your leaders. Please Note: Drinks, tips, and items of a personal nature such as travel insurance, are not included.
One leader for a group of up to 5, two leaders up 10, and a third leader up to the maximum group size of 15.
We start with three nights in the lovely Logis*** Hotel Chez Planes in the little village of Saillagouse. Close to Font-Romeu and sited in the stunning Cerdagne Valley, this former coaching in has continued its raison d’etre by being transformed into a lovely hotel serving fine food and with very comfortable rooms. Next is the excellent Hotel Poldo, beautifully situated in the Rio Noguera Pallaresa Valley close by the entrance to the magnificent Aigues Tortes National Park. Nicely furnished rooms, a superb restaurant and set in the village of La Guingueta d’Aneu and surrounding meadows; in short, an ideal base for six days. After a night at the Hotel l’Angleterre in Arreau, in the Neste d’Aure Valley, we move to the Hotel Le Marbore for the final three nights of the tour. Just outside Gavarnie, this fine old establishment provides excellent food. All rooms on this tour have en suite facilities.
UK direct return flights are from London Heathrow, Manchester* or Bristol* to Toulouse. Indirect routes from regional UK Airports* are available.
*These routes may incur a supplement
Warm and sunny, midday temperatures sometimes reach 30°C, though it is cooler in the high mountains. Evenings are pleasant and nights cool. There will be showers during the holiday, and occasionally more prolonged rain.
How to Book
Contact us to check there is availability for the number of places you require. Download a booking form or contact us and we will send one to you. Complete and send to us. You will receive confirmation of your place and then a detailed information pack will be dispatched to you about twelve weeks before departure.
Flower, bird and butterfly checklists are available.