Port de Larrau (Larrau)

Start Town Altitude Elevation Gain Length Gradient Difficulty Rating
Larrau 1,585m 1,205m 14.8 km 8.1% 1,342 ****

Port de Larrau (Pyrenees)   Profile

Click on the profile to view in full screen (🔍)

Climb Description

Port de Larrau may lack the fame of Col du Tourmalet or Hautacam, but make no mistake, this is one of the toughest climbs in the Pyrenees.

So tough, in fact, that it effectively ended the career of one of cycling's all time greats - Miguel Induraín. The Spaniard was bidding to win his sixth consecutive Tour de France in 1996 when he cracked on the relentlessly steep gradients of Port de Larrau, losing minutes and any hope of winning the general classification.

This was a cruel twist of fate for Induraín who was looking forward to the Tour de France passing into his home region of Navarra on that very stage. Indeed, Port de Larrau is one of many border crossings between France and Spain that are dotted along the Pyrenees range.

Port de Larrau  - Pyrenees

A minor col on the way to Port de Larrau

The scenery here is not the most spectacular in the Pyrenees, but nor is it humdrum. The upper slopes are particularly impressive, as you climb above the tree-line. At least if you can avoid the clouds, which frequently roll in here from the nearby Atlantic.

The beauty of Port de Larrau - and the Basque Pyrenees in general - is their isolation. There are very few tourists here - indeed, very few people in general - which adds to a great sense of tranquility and peacefulness. The climb, incidentally, begins a few kilometres to the north of the village of Larrau.

Port de Larrau is open from May to November. It is also sometimes clear to ride in April and early December, but don't count on it in these months.

Port de Larrau  - Pyrenees

Clouds are common here, but on a clear day the views are stunning

Roads & Traffic

The road surface is in very good condition and there is very little traffic on the climb.

Alternative Routes

Port de Larrau can also be climbed from the Spanish side, beginning to the north of Ochagavia.

Nearby Climbs

Col de la Pierre St Martin

Col de Marie Blanque

Col de Bagargi


Col d'Osquich

Col de Somport

Cycling Holidays

The climb to Port de Larrau is on optional route extension on our Pyrenees Coast to Coast cycling holiday.

However, given the length and difficulty of the climb, this is only a realistic option for very strong riders.

Check out the information below for more details of this 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

Lagos de Covadonga
Spanish FlagSpain

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