Pyrenees Cycling Holiday - Classic Cols

Mountains  Excellent Local Wine  Gastronomic Experience  Sunny Climate  Unique Ecosystem 
  • Self-Guided 7 Nights
  • Arrival - Lourdes
  • Departure - Tarascon
  • Difficulty - Challenging - Hard
  • Price - €1090
  • Dates - June - October
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Test yourself on one of our most challenging tours, tackling the classic cols of the Pyrenees. On this holiday you will conquer ascents such as Tourmalet, Luz Ardiden, and Aubisque.

This is a challenging cycling holiday in one of the most famous cycling regions in the world. However, all of the days have the option to do a longer or shorter route, so you can tailor the tour somewhat to suit your level.

Unlike many cycling tours to the Pyrenees, this is multi-centered, staying in several different towns and villages, allowing you to see more of the region and climb all of the most famous cycling mountains in the Pyrenees.

Day 1 - Arrival

Hautacam The cycling holiday starts in the historic town of Lourdes, where you will stay for the first night of the tour.

Lourdes is most well known as the destination for many pilgrims each year. However, it is also a very convenient located town for cyclists; perfectly situated at the foot hills of some of the most iconic mountains in the Pyrenees.

Depending on your arrival time, there is the option to do a pleasant circular route.

Day 2 Col d'Aubisque and Hautacam

Col d'Aubisque There are a couple of options today, depending on whether or not you wish to ease your way into the holiday, or dive in at the deep end!

The more challenging option is to climb the second most famous pass in the Pyrenees - and quite possibly the most beautiful - the Col d'Aubisque. At 1,709m, the views from Aubisque, particularly across the Cirque du Litour are really stunning.

After Aubisque, there is the option to extend the route to include Hautacam - a steep climb made famous by Bjarne Riis' controverisal Tour de France win in 1996. The route finishes in the town of Luz-Saint-Sauveur - one of the most picturesque towns in the Pyrenees - surrounded by imposing mountains on three sides.

Short Route: 73km Long Route: 103km

Day 3 Cirque de Gavarnie and Luz Ardiden

Gavarnie The route today is not as well known as many of the climbs regularly used in the Tour de France, but it certainly merits its place on a cycling holiday.

The Cirque de Gavarnie is a beautiful ridge situated on the border of France and Spain. The climb is not the toughest in the Pyrenees, with a fairly modest gradient, but the views throughout are breath-taking - with peaks well over 3,000m towering over the road as it snakes up the mountain.

Depending on how you feel, the route can be extended to Luz Ardiden, a regular stage finish on the tour de France, and one of the most beautiful climbs in the Pyrenees.

Short Route: 59km Long Route: 85km

Day 4 Col du Tourmalet and Col d'Aspin

Col du Tourmalet No Pyrenees cycling holiday would be complete without tackling the most famous climb of all - Col du Tourmalet. Tourmalet has been included more than any other mountain in the Tour de France and is one of the most iconic routes in the sport.

From Luz-Saint-Sauveur the climb is 19km at an average gradient of 7.4%, with the last kilometre a gruelling 10%. The scenery on the climb is predictably spectacular, especially once you get above the tree-line 8km from the summit.

After descending Tourmalet, the route can be extended by climbing the well known, but relatively gentle Col d'Aspin, before returning to Campan - the destination for the evening.

Short Route: 37km Long Route: 61km

Day 5 Hourquette d'Anzican and Col de Peyresourde

Pyrenees National Park The tour continues heading east and the famous climbs keep coming. The route begins with Hourqette d'Anzican, a relative newcomer to the Tour de France, but already recognised of one of the more picturesque climbs in the region.

It is quite a gentle climb and provides a pleasant warm up before the main climb of the day - the Col de Peyresourde. Along with Aubisque and Tourmalet, the Peyresourde is one of the key passes in the Pyrenees and is a regular on the Tour de France. It is a really enjoyable climb, with the forests gradually giving way to superb open scenery near the top.

The route finishes with a descent into Luchon - another of the most characteristic towns in the Pyrenees. There is also the option to extend the route to Superbagneres - a challenging climb that has hosted stage wins by the likes of Greg Lemond and Bernard Hinault in the Tour de France.

Short Route: 62km Long Route: 74km

Day 6 Port de Bales and Col de Mente

Port de Bales The route today features two tough climbs which have become prominent in the Tour de France in recent years. Port de Bales was only fully paved in 2006, yet has already become a key part of the race, including in the 2014 route.

It is a tough climb at 19km long and an average gradient of over 6%, and was made famous in 2010 when Alberto Contador attacked Andy Schleck, after the latter had derailed his chain.

The second climb of the day is the Col de Mente, a relatively short but steep climb, which has been featured in the Tour de France 18 times.

The day finishes in St Girons, a small town typical of the region.

Short Route: 108km Long Route: 111km

Day 7 Col de Port and Plateau de Beille

Col d'Agnes The final day in the saddle continues east through the Pyrenees, cycling over the undulating landscape of the Massif de L'Arize. The highlights include the Col de Port, a second category climb regularly used in the Tour de France, and the Plateau de Beille.

Plateau de Beille, the toughest climb in this part of the Pyrenees, is a fitting way to end the holiday; at nearly 16km long and with an average gradient of 7.9% it is challenging for cyclists of all levels.

The climb has only been used five times in the Tour - always as a stage finish - and winners include three of modern cyclings genuine anti-heroes: Alberto Contador, Lance Armstrong and Marco Pantini.

The tour finishes with a decent into the town of Tarascon sur Ariege - a historic village surrounded by Palaeolithic Caves.

Short Route: 59km Long Route: 112km

Day 8 Depart

Col de Peyresourde If you would prefer to extend the holiday in the Pyrenees or, for example, Barcelona we can happily arrange this for you.

Alternatively, if you would prefer to spend more time cycling, it is possible to continue this tour into the Catalan Pyrenees. Possible route options include extending the tour to Girona or to the Mediterranean coast. Please contact us for more information.

Prices & Dates

Price (per person)* Single Supplement Bike Hire (Optional)
May - October €1090 €320 €120

*Based on two people sharing a double or twin room. If you would prefer to stay in a single room, the single supplement is applicable.

Guided Tour

Groups of six people or more contact us to arrange a private guided tour starting on any date.

The following is included in the tour:

  • Seven nights accommodation in double, twin or single room with en-suite. Please see price list for details of single supplement.
  • Transfer to and from the arrival/departure points
  • Continental breakfast every day
  • Luggage transferred between hotels
  • Detailed maps and route information for each day, with clearly marked points of interest.
  • Route extensions every day for those of you who wish to cycle

The following are optional extras available for an additional charge:

The following is not included in the tour

  • Lunches and Dinners
  • Any transfers not stated above
  • Travel Insurance
  • Entry to any attractions (e.g. museums, churches) except were explicitly stated
  • Flights

Frequently Asked Questions

Please browse through some of the frequently asked questions about this cycling tour. If you have any further questions, or would like any more information, please contact us and we will answer by email.

How far do I cycle each day on this tour?

The average daily distance is kept relatively short at around 70km (43 miles), although there are a couple of slightly longer days.

However, there are several optional extensions each day if you wish to cycle further and do even more climbing!

How difficult is this tour?

This is one of out most challenging cycling tours as all of the cycling is in the mountains. Every day includes at least one major climb (10km and 800m climbing +), with a couple of days also including smaller climbs.

We have kept the daily distances fairly short to make the tour more accessible to a wider range of cyclists; however, for those of you that wish to cycle more, there are plenty of other cols to tackle in the region!

A decent level of fitness and previous experience on a cycling holiday is required to get the most out of this tour. However, because the minimum distance each day is quite low, you certainly don't have to be at the level of a club cyclists to enjoy this holiday.

What are the altitude profiles for each day?

Below are the altitide profiles for both the shorter and longer route each day (the shorter one is always first). In addition to this there are optional extensions, with a lot more climbing available!

Please click on a profile to see it in more detail

Day 2

Pyrenees Classic Cols Cycling Holiday Profiles - Day 2 Pyrenees Classic Cols Cycling Holiday Profiles - Day 2

Day 3

Pyrenees Classic Cols Cycling Holiday Profiles - Day 3 Pyrenees Classic Cols Cycling Holiday Profiles - Day 3

Day 4

Pyrenees Classic Cols Cycling Holiday Profiles - Day 4 Pyrenees Classic Cols Cycling Holiday Profiles - Day 4

Day 5

Pyrenees Classic Cols Cycling Holiday Profiles - Day 5 Pyrenees Classic Cols Cycling Holiday Profiles - Day 5

Day 6

Pyrenees Classic Cols Cycling Holiday Profiles - Day 6 Pyrenees Classic Cols Cycling Holiday Profiles - Day 6

Day 7

Pyrenees Classic Cols Cycling Holiday Profiles - Day 7 Pyrenees Classic Cols Cycling Holiday Profiles - Day 7

Can I personalize or change aspects of this tour?

Absolutely! We have designed a tour that we feel strikes a great balance between cycling routes, accommodation and interesting towns. However, if, for example, you would like to do the tour for a different number of days, stay in a different level of accommodation, or extend the route to a different location, we would be happy to discuss the options with you.

What is a single supplement?

Our prices are based on two people sharing a hotel room (in a double or twin room). For cyclists that wish to stay in their own room, the single supplement is payable.

The cost is made up of the extra cost of accommodation when the room is single occupancy and also the greater cost of the transfers (luggage and people) when it is not split between two or more cyclists. We have made every effort to keep this to a minimum wherever possible.

If you feel that the single supplement is prohibitively expensive, you may wish to consider our cycling holidays in Valencia and Alicante, which has a very low single supplement.

What are the arrival and departure points?

The arrival point is Lourdes and the departure point is Tarascon sur Ariege.

Lourdes has an international airport with regular flights to a number of European destinations. Also nearby is Pau airport, which mostly serves Paris, and can be used for connecting flights.

The next nearest large airport is Toulouse; with flights to the UK and USA and several other European destinations. 

It is also possible to get the train to Lourdes - with a high speed SNCF linking Lourdes directly with Paris.

Tarascon sur Ariege is an ideal departure point, being on a train line that links Toulouse to Barcelona. Barcelona can be reached in four and a half hours, with tickets just €25. Toulouse is one and a half hours away.

We can also arrange direct transfers to Toulouse, Lourdes or another city in the region.
See our flights page for more details of departures and arrivals to the region.

What type of bikes do you hire?

For this tour we recommend road bikes. The amount of climbing and the distances are more suitable for road bikes (which are all fitted with a compact chain set).

However, we can also provide hybrid bikes if you would prefer to do the tour in a more upright position.

Please see our bicycles page for further details.

When can I do this tour?

This tour is available from late May to early October. All the cols are usually open throughout this period, and there is usually little rain during the summer.

What are the famous climbs on this cycling tour?

This cycling holiday climbs most of the HC and 1st category climbs in the region, which are regularly used in the Tour de France.

Some of the most famous include the following:

Col d'Aubisque
Col du Soulor
Hautacam (L)
Cirque de Gavarnie
Luz Ardiden
Col du Tourmalet
Col d'Aspin
Hourquette d'Ancizan
Col de Peyresourde
Superbagneres (E)
Port de Bales
Col de Mente (L)
Plateau de Beille

(L) = On longer route only
(E) - Available as an optional extension

On this holiday you stay in hotels that reflect the charm and character of the region. These are a combination of small, mountain style chalets and charming boutique cottages with just a handful of rooms.

To find out more about how we select our hotels, please see our accommodation page.

To reserve a place on the tour, please follow the link below to continue to our reservation form. Once we have received the form, we will be in contact to confirm the booking and to arrange for the payment of the deposit.

If you would like to do this tour in a group of more than six people as a guided tour, please contact us and we can arrange a private guided tour.