Our Pyrenees Altitude adventure gives a real bird's eye view of this breathtaking landscape as we drive along ski runs and even beyond the top of the highest stairlifts! We take ‘The Smugglers Route’ into Andorra, travelling through abandoned villages as we climb into the clouds. Why not combine Altitude with our Foothills trip to enjoy our two-week Pyrenees Ultimate adventure!
High mountain tracks look down on resorts and towns, forests, snow-capped peaks and incredible views. Our Pyrenees Altitude 4×4 hotel-based adventure takes us from Les to Andorra through the high passes – the Col de Meners, Pic d’Orrie, Col de l’Exoil and the Col de Varrados. We will enjoy a huge variety of landscapes, from picturesque meadows to forests and majestic peaks – there is a chance that snow may block our way, however there are always alternative routes which just adds to the adventure!
We meet at Portsmouth for the 8:15am ferry to Santander which is a great chance to spend the day relaxing and getting to know each other and also avoids the long drive down through France. The ferry and cabins are included in the price; if you would like to upgrade to luxury suites, please contact us after booking.
At around 2pm our driving starts along the coast until we get to the French border where we head up into the foothills of the Pyrenees. Our destination is Les, which is a 300 mile, 5 hour drive from Santander. Your guide for the week will meet you in Les with a restaurant table booked for your evening meal.
We drive up the densely wooded mountainside, a backdrop to the town of Les, until we arrive at a viewing area offering spectacular views. Lunch is at a tapas bar in a pretty town called Bosost, before continuing through the forest and above the treeline to 2,300 meters with breathtaking views of the Pyrenees. The day ends descending into Les and an evening meal at the local with an opportunity for some duty-free shopping.
We leave Les, but not before stocking up for a mountain picnic! At 2,000 metres, the Col de Varrados may still be snowy in May, which can block the trails. After passing through Bagerque ski resort, we visit the famous church at Montgarri, a refuge to many escaping from France during WWII. A beautiful valley full of cattle and wild horses leads to the d’Aran valley and Rialp, our base for three nights.
We head up 30 hairpins towards Cap de Port for a superb view down into the next valley. After a quick stop, we descend and then climb towards Espot for picnic provisions. We ascend through the ski resort of Super Espot and up to the Col de L’Exoil for a panoramic lunch - we're even higher than the lifts! The return drive offers spectacular views before descending through Sport towards Rialp.
This is the longest trail of the week but well worth it, passing through and above ski resorts before crossing into the next valley. The route takes us close to Andorra, skirting La Seu d’Urgell, with fabulous track views and regular photo opportunities. We have lunch at a forest refuge before continuing through high passes and forest, heading to the pretty village of Burg where we descend into Tirva and to Rialp
The Smuggler’s Route is one of the most famous trails in Europe, going from Spain into Andorra through ever narrowing valleys before reaching the village of Tor where we stop for refreshments. We drive through picturesque valleys, climbing to the mountainside, culminating in a panoramic vista over Andorra. Our adventure ends at the central Hotel Pyrenees with time to explore Andorra and do some duty free shopping!
An early start for those heading home with us via the ferry from Santander as we have over 400 miles to cover before the sailing at 8.30pm. We’ll stop for breaks and lunch as time allows. The ferry arrives in Portsmouth at 7.45pm the following day.
“My wife and I loved this trip. The
tracks through the mountains
were breathtaking and we
encountered snow as we climber
higher and higher. The group soon
became a team and we enjoyed
the evening banter in nice
It can be hot in the valleys and a good few degrees cooler at altitude, but this time of year the weather is generally good.
Unsurfaced tracks through lowland and forest, and rocky or chip surfaces in the higher ground. Tracks are well maintained, although washouts and changes after bad weather are possible. Suitable for all driving abilities under our expert guidance.
Low-box, underbody protection and recovery points along with all terrain tyres.
We carry medical kits, our guides are all first-aid trained and we have emergency beacons to hasten location and evacuation in emergency situations. Lead vehicles have full recovery equipment which is tested before departure and we also carry a range of tools and spares.
A detailed requirements check-list will be sent to you six weeks before your departure date.
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