French-Spanish Frontier: the Pyrenees - Spain
< BACK

On the French-Spanish Frontier: The Pyrenees

Ancient villages nestled among rugged mountain landscapes: the Pyrenees are a world of their own between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.

This trip will be customized according to your wishes.

From Barcelona to Céret

Rental car pick-up

Rental car pick-up

Broker: Sunny Cars GmbH
Company: Keddy by Europcar
Vehicle: Seat Leon or similar (CDMR)
Loca­tion: Barcelona Terminal 1 Airport (Desk at Airport)

From Barcelona to Céret

198 km | 3:00 h
Just before reaching the border, a detour to the cliffs of the Cap de Creus is worthwhile. The views from the eastern-most point of the Iberian Peninsula are magnif­i­cent.

Girona

Remnants of Jewish and Arab culture in old labyrinthine alleys
With its labyrinthine alleys exhibiting signs of Arab and Jewish culture, no city is consid­ered more Catalo­nian than Girona (Spanish: Gerona). Orig­inally a Phoeni­cian stronghold, this city owes its exis­tence to its strategic loca­tion along an important road in the Pyre­nees. The Gothic cathedral, which boasts a huge room built on arches, is regarded as unique in Spain. The Parc Natural de la Garrotxa is also nearby, offering numerous hiking trails in a landscape formed by volcanic activity. Costa Brava is only 35 kilome­ters away.
A

Céret

Artists' town in the eastern Pyrenees

The east Pyre­nean town popular among artists and Bohemians lies south of Perpignan near the border to Spain. The ancient region of Languedoc Rous­sillon with its rich cultural heritage appeals to lovers of both nature and culture.

To the west is the towering Pic de Cannigou (2.785 m), which affords splendid views of the surrounding country­side on clear days. Further south the Tech flows through the idyllic Gorge de la Fou, which reaches a dept of 100 m in places. The town of Céret itself, once home to such famous painters as Gris, Braque, Picasso and Chagall, is mainly known for its excel­lent Museum of Modern Art featuring over 50 works by Picasso.

Accommodation: A Catalonian manor house

2 Nights | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

The charming 17th century manor house is situ­ated in the valley of the River Tech just above Ceret. Most of the 10 guest rooms have a patio with a small garden.

A heated swimming pool is avai­l­able, and a good selec­tion of restau­rants and boutiques can be found in nearby Ceret.

From Céret to Saint-Paul-d'Oueil

378 km | 4:30 h
The pano­ramic-view route leads through the Pyre­nees from east to west. Along the way you will pass Andorra, the tiny principality tucked in the mountains between France and Spain.

Carcassonne

Europe's most important medieval fortress
The forti­fied city of Carcassonne lies at the crossing of two major traffic routes in use since Antiq­uity: the north-south gap between the Pyre­nees and the Massif Central, and the east-west route from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. Carcassonne was founded by the Romans, and each succes­sive conqueror – Visigoths, Arabs, Franco­nians, Cathars – added to the immense fortifica­tion. Boasting a double ring of ramparts and 53 towers, Europe's greatest fortress was completed by Philip the Bold in 1280. We commend visiting the site in the early morning or in the evening in order to avoid the large numbers of tourists drawn there every day.

Toulouse

Southern French flair and space technology
The “Ville Rose” combines the flair of southern France with the spirit of technology and science. Toulouse is the main center of the Euro­pean aerospace industry. Hub of the city is the atmo­spheric Place du Capitole, with its arcades and the magnif­i­cent town hall. Not far is the roma­nesque Cathedral of St. Sernin, which is one of the most important pilgrimage churches on the Way of St. James.
B

Haut Pyrenees

Wild mountains between France and Spain

The central Pyre­nees between Col de Puymorens and Col du Somprot repre­sent the highest and most rugged section of the mountain chain.

The highest peak at 3,404 m (11,170 ft) is the Pico d'Aneto on the Spanish side of the border. The mountain landscapes south of Lourdes are partic­u­larly scenic. A cable car can be taken to the summit of the Pic du Midi de Bigorre, the most famous landmark in the central Pyre­nees. The views from the top are overwhelming. The Col du Tourmalet is one of the most feared stages of the Tour de France. Further south, just before the Spanish border is another natural wonder: the Cirque de Gavarnie, a group of three natural glacial amphithe­a­tres that have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Accommodation: A country estate near Luchon

2 Nights | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

Located in a picturesque village, this hotel is a stone building surrounded by a large garden. The cheerful red dining room has a large fireplace and a parquet floor.

The antique furni­ture and modern art give the hotel a special charm. Patricia and Robert will welcome you with their friend­li­ness and hospitality.

Bagnères-de-Luchon

Spa with hot springs
The elegant thermal bath is surrounded by 3,000 meter high mountains. Already the Romans bathed in the hot springs. The sulphurous and radioac­tive springs reach temper­a­tures of up to 72° C. They are said to have a healing effect, partic­u­larly on those suffering from respi­ratory tract disease. A cable car runs from the village to the ski resort of Superbag­nères.

From Saint-Paul-d'Oueil to San Sebas­tian

292 km | 3:30 h
We recom­mend taking side roads through the hilly Basque region. You can follow the Route des Pyrénées from Lourdes to St-Jean-Pied-de-Port just north of the Spanish border.

Lourdes

After leading a sleepy exis­tence for most of its history since the Middle Ages, Lourdes today regis­ters over 5 million visitors a year, second only to Paris. The city owes its importance as a major Chris­tian pilgrimage site to the appari­tions of Our Lady of Lourdes that appeared to Bernadette Soubirous in 1858. Bernadette was only 14 years old when she reported seeing a “lady” in the cave of Mass­a­bielle on 11 February 1858 while gathering firewood. The appari­tion appeared to the girl 17 more times in the course of the year, twice in the pres­ence of over 1,000 people and once in the pres­ence of around 8,000 people. After the 12th appear­ance on 1 March a woman reported regaining feeling in her paralyzed arm after bathing it in the spring that had myste­r­i­ously begun flowing in the cave after the 9th appear­ance. Since then many visitors have reported unusual occurrences after bathing in or drinking the spring water or attending one of the daily Eucharistic proces­sions at the site. Sixty-seven of the claims have been veri­fied as miracles by the Catholic Church.
C

Donostia

A historic Basque coastal city

The seaside commu­nity near the border to France is one of the oldest resorts in Spain. The city's rise began in the 19th century, when the queen of Spain chose it as the site of her summer resi­dence.

Large numbers of Castil­ians still flee to the fash­ion­able resort every year to escape the heat of the cities, as evidenced by the stately villas that line the roads below the Monte Igueldo, from the top of which the best views can be had of the ocean, harbor, beaches and country­side of San Sebas­tian. The idyllic fishing village of Pasaia Doni­bane is only

Accommodation: A villa in downtown San Sebastian

2 Nights | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

This 19th century mansion is a listed histor­ical building in the centre of the city, only five minutes from Zurriola beach.

Orig­inally an engage­ment present from Don Ramon Londaiz to his daughter, the prop­erty is now a boutique hotel with 25 rooms following careful resto­ra­tion. Some of the rooms are located in the former carriage house with its facade of English-style bricks. Guests can enjoy a stroll in the adja­cent garden, which was created by a French landscaper in 1898. A number of good restau­rants can be found in the area around the hotel. Free parking is avai­l­able.

Côte Basque

Beaches, cliffs and powerful surf
Although only 30 kilome­ters long, it is full of wild beauty: the Côte Basque stretches all the way down to the Spanish border. With its steep cliffs and jagged rocks that defy the powerful surf, it is a delightful contrast to the endless sandy strips of its northern neighbor, the Cote d'Argent. Until the middle of the 17th century the Basque coastal popu­la­tion was living from whaling. Then the giant mammals moved away from the coast further and further, forcing the fish­ermen to switch to sardines, anchovies and tuna. At the same time, the fishing villages on the Côte Basque were discov­ered as seaside resorts – first and foremost Biarritz.

Pasaia Doni­bane

Tradi­tional fishing village with a medieval town center and good restau­rants
This tradi­tional fishing village has a harbor at the mouth of the Oiartzun river. The town's main thor­ough­fare leads from the Bizkaia quarter to the Bay of Alabortza. The historic town center features numerous medieval build­ings, as well as shops, cafés and good seafood restau­rants.

From San Sebas­tian to Pamplona

155 km | 2:30 h

Loyola

Birthplace of Ignatius de Loyola
The ances­tral seat of the Loyola family (“Loiola” in the Basque language) is located between Azpeitia and Azkoitia in the Basque province of Gipuzkoa. Saint Ignatius de Loyola, the family's most famous member, was born in the resi­den­tial tower in the valley of Urola. As founder of the Jesuit order, Ignatius de Loyola is still one of the most famous Spaniards and was espe­cially noto­rious among Protestants.
D

Pamplona

Race with bulls and historic old town

When Ernest Hemmingway visited the city in 1923, there were only a few tourists around. But then he expe­r­i­enced the Encierros and wrote about them in his novel Fiesta.

Today thou­sands, mostly young Amer­icans, come to take part in the noto­rious races with the fighting bulls. Starting July 6th, six wild bulls race through the city for a week from eight o'clock, in front of them the so called “Mozos”, men who beat them with newspa­pers. But also apart from the Fiesta San Fermin, the capital of Navarre has a lot to offer. It is above all the cathedral from the 15th century and the fortress from the 14th century that char­ac­terise the cityscape.

Accommodation: A palace in Pamplona

1 Night | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

The palace in the heart of the old town of Pamplona was built in the 18th century by the then viceroy D. Sebas­tian de Eslava and served as a family resi­dence for over two centuries.

Today, the archi­tectu­rally attrac­tive building houses an elegant hotel with 23 rooms and two suites in classic style, distributed over the upper floors and with windows to the court­yard or Plaza de Consejo. The eye-catcher on the ground floor is certainly the imposing staircase leading to the upper floors, as well as a magnif­i­cent horse-drawn carriage. A rich Breakfast is served in the morning; in the hotel there is also a restau­rant and a bar with terrace.

Estella

Charming town along the Way of St. James
This small town is surrounded by hills at a bend in the river Ega. The Way of St. James played an important role in the town's history. The king of Aragón invited immigrants from southwestern France to settle in this previ­ously uninhabited area. Accommo­d­a­tions for pilgrims were built in Estella and tradesmen and merchants settled here, making the town a bustling and popular station along the pilgrimage route. Its repu­ta­tion was enhanced by several legends surrounding the town. For example, a Greek bishop is said to have died here as an anony­mous pilgrim. His body was later mirac­u­lously discov­ered with a relic of the apostle Andrew, which the bishop had intended to donate once in Santiago. His remains were laid to rest in the cloister of the Church of San Pedro de la Rúa.

Puerto de Ibañeta

Modern chapel where several routes of St. James meet
This mountain pass in the Spanish Pyre­nees reaches an eleva­tion of 1,057 meters and connects Valcarlos with Roncesvalles via the N 135 freeway. At the highest point in the pass stands the chapel of San Salvador, where three of the four French pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela meet. One of the routes starts in Puy and Conques, another in Paris and the third in Vezelay. The pass has been used since prehistoric times. The Romans built an outpost there, which was later joined by an abbey with accommo­d­a­tions for pilgrims. Charle­magne crossed the pass twice in the year 778 as part of his military campaign in Spain, during which his rear­guard was ambushed while retreating. This clash came to be known as the battle of Roncesvalles.

From Pamplona to Ainsa

185 km | 3:00 h
E

Aragon Pyrenees

The Rio Aragon Valley leads east from Pamplona into the Aragon Pyre­nees, which extend all the way to Andorra. Narrow side roads connect remote, picturesque mountain villages in this thinly popu­lated region.

The most beau­tiful section of the route lies within the Parque Nacional de Ordes y Monte Perdido. The park's count­less gorges are home to a wide variety of indige­nous plants and rare species of animals, such as the Pyre­nean Goat, the Bearded Vulture and the Snow Partridge. Sparkling waterfalls cascade down the Monte Perdido, the 3rd highest mountain in Spain. The park entrance near Torla includes a Visitors Centre, where maps of hiking routes and other useful informa­tion is avai­l­able.

Accommodation: A former family residence in Ainsa

2 Nights | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

The hotel with rustic charm and modern comforts is located in the medieval town of Ainsa, within sight of Monte Perdido and the Odesa National Park.

The Bergua family purchased the histor­ical mansion on the market square a few years ago, carefully reno­vated it and converted it into an exclu­sive hotel with just five bedrooms. While almost nothing has changed on the outside, the bedrooms offer spacious, modern bath­rooms along with air-condi­tioning and heating, thus providing a harmo­nious blend of histor­ical archi­tec­ture and modern inte­rior design.

From Ainsa

Rental car drop-off

From Ainsa to Barcelona

278 km | 3:30 h

Montserrat

Abbey with a view built on the side of a cliff
The “serrated mountain” rises like a giant stone castle over the hilly landscape of Catalonia. One of Spain's most important abbeys is perched precar­i­ously on a rocky promontory along the edge of a gap in the mountain. An image of the Madonna, which attracts Catholic pilgrims from around the world, hangs above the alter in the 16th-century basilica. The mountain can be reached via a cable railway and the upper station of Sant Joan is the starting point for a hiking trail that will lead you to the highest summit, Sant Jeroni (1237 m). Here you will be rewarded with a magnif­i­cent pano­ramic view.

Rental car drop-off

Loca­tion: Barcelona Terminal 1 Airport (Desk at Airport)

Barcelona

19 km | 22 minutes
F

Barcelona

Catalonia's glittering capital

The capital of Catalonia is situ­ated on the Mediterranean Sea, about 120 km south of the border to France. With a popu­la­tion of around 1.6 million, it is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid.

Much of the avant-garde archi­tec­ture in the downtown area stems from the 1992 Olympics. Madrid and Barcelona are bitter rivals, a tension that is reflected in fierce encounters between the two cities' football (soccer) teams. The Romans built a massive wall around the city orig­inally founded by the Carthagi­nians in 300 BC. Remnants of the Roman wall still exist today. Major attrac­tions in the Gothic quarter, Barri Gòtic, and the histor­ical city center include the Cathedral of Santa Eulàlia, the Plaça del Rei (King's Square), and the city hall (Ajunta­ment). Much of the city life takes places on the “Ramblas”, the principal thor­ough­fare in the downtown area which includes a wide pede­s­trian zone.

Accommodation: A 16th century hotel in the Gothic Quarter

2 Nights | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

This historic hotel enjoys one of the best loca­tions in Barcelona – in the Gothic quarter, close to the Ramblas and the harbor.

The pano­ramic views reach from Montjuic Mountain to the Christo­pher Columbus monu­ment to the Olympic Port. While the current exte­rior was completed in neo-clas­sical style in 1850, the inte­rior has been thor­oughly reno­vated to meet the standards of a modern luxury hotel. Guests can relax on the terrace or take a dip in the pool on the roof. Attrac­tions located within a 5-10 minute walk include not only the Ramblas and the Gothic Quarter, but also the Cathedral, the Borne quarter, various Beaches, the Old Port (fish and seafood restau­rants), the Museum Picasso, the Real Square, the Museum of History of Barcelona, the Mari­time Museum, the Museum of History of Catalonia, the Music Palace and the Catalunya Square.

Barcelona

Barcelona

17 km | 20 minutes
12 days
from € 1,481.00
per person based on two people sharing a double room
Services
  • Accommodation in a double room
  • Meals (as listed above)
  • Sunny Cars Permit for France (payable on site)
  • Climate Compensation

An- und Abreise: Flüge zum Selberbuchen finden Sie im Internet. Falls Sie mit der Bahn anreisen möchten, buchen wir gern das Ticket für Sie.
You can start this tour on any date.
Best Travel Time: April–October

The prices can vary depending on the season.
Your Consultants
Leslie Jalowiecki

Ph.: +49 (0)2268 92298-67


Melissa Nußbaum

Ph.: +49 (0)2268 92298-57


Jessica Parkin

Ph.: +49 (0)2268 92298-23

Booking Process
1. Your Tour Specifications
Request a tailor-made tour proposal. Indicate your interests, desired destinations, travel period and budget.

2. Consulting + Itinerary
Our experienced staff will provide professional consulting and prepare a tailor-made proposal based on your specifications.

3. Booking
To book a tour, simply fill out and submit the form. We will make all tour arrangements for you.

4. Payment + Travel Documents
After completion of the booking process, you will receive a confirmed itinerary. The complete travel documents will be forwarded to you on receipt of the remaining balance following payment of the deposit.

5. Tour
We wish you a relaxing and memorable trip. Enjoy your holiday!

6. Your Feedback
We appreciate any feedback you wish to provide after completion of your tour. This helps us to continually improve our products and services.