Col du Tourmalet (Luz-Saint-Sauveur)

Start Town Altitude Elevation Gain Length Gradient Difficulty Rating
Luz-Saint-Sauveur 2,115m 1,405m 18.8 km 7.5% 1,348 *****

Col du Tourmalet (Luz-Saint-Sauveur) Profile

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Climb Description

Col du Tourmalet is the most used climb in the Tour de France, having appeared in the vast majority of editions of the race. It is one of the most revered and celebrated climbs in professional cycling and it is rightly at the top of many cyclists to-do list of great ascents.

Tourmalet from Luz Saint Sauveur is also a spectacularly beautiful climb, particularly once you get above the trees and the scenery begins to open up past the village of Bareges. This is one of the most scenic and challenging climbs that you can do on a road bike and can not be recommended highly enough. For more details, please see our article about climbing Tourmalet.

Col du Tourmalet Scenery

The final 8km in particular have fantastic views

Col du Tourmalet from Luz Saint Sauveur is a very steady climb. The gradient is between 7% and 9% for the vast majority of the climb. For strong cyclists it is possible to get into a nice rhythm, but if you go too hard, it is very difficult to recover.

Tourmalet is usually the last of the passes to open in the Pyrenees. Some years it can be open by May, whereas in others it does not open until the end of June. Even if there is no sign of snow, the road can be closed for repair work early in the cycling season. In general though, it is normally fine to ride from early June to late October.

Col du Tourmalet (Luz-Saint-Sauveur)

Still a long way to the top

Roads & Traffic

The road surface is in very good condition throughout.

The first part of the climb from Luz-Saint-Sauveur to Bareges is reasonably busy in peak season - although the road is wide so the traffic is not bothersome. There is not much traffic on the rest of the climb, but still expect to be passed by a car every minute or so.

Top of Col du Tourmalet  (Pyrenees)

The road at the top is narrow and often pretty crowded!

Alternative Routes

Col du Tourmalet can also be climbed from the east, beginning in Campan

Nearby Climbs

Luz Ardiden

Cirque de Gavarnie

Cirque de Troumouse

Col d'Aspin

Hourquette d'Ancizan


Col d'Aubisque

Cycling Holidays

Col du Tourmalet is a highlight of our Pyrenees Coast to Coast and Best Of The Pyrenees cycling holidays.

Check out the information below for details of these and some of the other tours that we run in high mountains.

Port de Pailheres Cycling
French FlagFrance

Guided Cycling Holiday
Length: 9 Days
Level: Difficulty Hard
Price: €1,980 EUR
*Bike Hire Included

French FlagFrance

Guided Cycling Holiday
Length: 8 Days
Level: Difficulty Challenging-Hard
Price: €1,630 EUR
*Bike Hire Included

Picos de Europa National Park
Spanish FlagSpain

Self-Guided Cycling Holiday
Length: 8 Days
Level: Difficulty Medium to Challenging
Price: from €1,490 EUR