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Duration
7 days
Activities
  • self guided walk
Accommodation
  • 2 nights 2-3 star hotels
  • 4 nights in guesthouses
Meals
  • 6 Dinners
  • 6 Breakfasts

Price

$1235USD

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Overview

Trip Code: MCC

Trip highlights


  • Walking along ancient trails in the stunning Corbières region
  • Exploring the ruins of Cathar castles and delving into the historical intrigue of the sect
  • Experiencing interesting villages and towns en route
  • Enjoying excellent local cuisine and the warm hospitality of the guesthouses

On the border of the Corbières region, where the Pyrenean mountain chain begins, lies a network of secret trails that lead to the mysterious Cathar castles. From the 12th to 13th centuries, Catharism was entrenched in the region, a sect that shunned conventional Christianity and materialism. The Cathar Crusade against the people of Languedoc in southern France lasted for more than forty years and effectively ended the Cathar reign. Whilst many of the castles have since been destroyed or built over, a few good examples remain including the castle at Puivert, Chateau de Troubadours. This walk follows ancient trails through forests, vineyards and orchards to the medieval castles. The stunning scenery and interesting villages make this a richly rewarding experience for walkers and history buffs alike.

Trip Grading

moderate

More info about grading system

Traveller Rating

 

This morning at 10:30am you will be met at the SNCF train station in Perpignan and transferred to Château de Quéribus, a well preserved border castle with terrific views towards the Mediterranean and the Pyrenees. After spending some time exploring the castle you begin the hike to Duilhac-sous-Peyrepertuse (or nearby Rouffiac) through oak forest and through the hill top village of Cucugnac with its restored windmill which grinds flour for the local bakery. Distance: 10km/6.2mi, ascend: +300m/984ft, descend: -500m/1640ft

Meals:  D

The day begins with a steep climb to the magnificent Château Peyrepertuse, where the ruins are extensive, giving you a different angle on Quéribus. It is an amazing building, almost indistinguishable from the surrounding crags at first glance. The route descends from the castle through the soft-leaved scrubland and finally reaches the deep and spectacular Galamus gorges. There is a subterranean hermitage and some riverside pools that would make for a refreshing dip on a hot day. You walk through the gorge, and at its end there is a 6pm transfer to the small and pretty hamlet of Camps-sur-l'Agly, under the haunted mountain of Bugurach. Distance: 19km/11.8mi, ascend: +550m/1840ft, descend: -550m/1804ft

Meals:  B,D

Leaving your hosts you make your way by the Corbieres ridges and a gorgeous day unfolds, walking steeply up through the forests and over a high pass called Col de Pechines (915m) with its panoramic view of the Pyrenees. A very steep winding descent on the GR, which is harder than the average for this trip, brings you off the massif and down to the village of Caudies de Fenouilledes. The second half of the walk is relatively flat until a final steep ascent takes you to the next castle at Puilaurens. After your castle visit, transfer at 6pm to the old hat making town of Quillan, where you stay overnight. Distance: 18.2km/11.3mi, ascend: +700m/2297ft, descend: -800m/2625ft

Meals:  B,D

The route today takes you from Quillan through farmland, ascending the Col de Brénac and through the village of Brénac where Petrus Amelius, a key religious figure in the 14th Century was born. After a second pass you arrive at the village of Nébias which sits on the Atlantic-Mediterranean Drainage divide, the so-called ‘Partage des Eaux’ that divides the village. It is symbolized by a fountain. The area is under three different climatic influences: Mediterranean, oceanic and alpine. From here there is the option to extend the walk a couple of hours along a nature trail called the 'Labyrinthe Vert,' a wild area of mossy woods amidst limestone pavements. The trail continues from Nébias and up again onto a woody ridge to arrive for an afternoon visit to the Puivert Castle, well known as the Troubadour castle. It was here that the 12th century poet-musicians sang the praises of new values and ideas to the villagers. Staying in the pretty village of Puivert you should have time to visit the museum which has contemporary recordings of the songs once sung at the castle. For thirsty walkers there is also a microbrewery. Distance: 16-21km/9.9-13mi, ascend: +610m/2001ft, descend -100m/328ft

Meals:  B,D

Morning transfer to the village of Montségur, originally thought to have been a planned village built for those constructing the castle. There is a small museum here and a traditional bakery. There's an optional short steep climb where you can visit the castle (fortress) which acted as the last stronghold of the Cathars. The existing castle is a later construction, but around the back are the remains of the Cathar dwellings and you get a good impression of the original site, with impressive views towards the Pyrenees. On the lower slopes is a memorial, normally covered in flowers, to the 225 Cathars who were burnt to death here in 1244. The walk continues into the pretty village of Montferrier, where there is a tea shop, before you ascend again through the Mondini forest and traverse to the charming village of Roquefixade via a scenic ridge. Distance: 19km/11.8mi, ascend: +650m/2133ft, descend: -900m/2953ft

Meals:  B,D

The morning begins with a beautiful ridge hike to Château de Roquefixade. This was an important Cathar refuge but once again the present-day ruins are much more modern. Continue across the limestone escarpment and along royal forest trails to the beautiful township of Foix with its imposing castle which is the best preserved Château on the route due to its more or less continuous occupation from Cathar times. It was once owned by the Counts of Foix, but they eventually gave up their Cathar faith and submitted to the French Crown. Distance: 18.5km/11.5mi, ascend: +500m/1640ft, descend: -800m/2625ft

Meals:  B,D

The trip concludes after breakfast. We recommend taking some time to visit the Foix castle before departing Foix. We can assist with a transfer to return to Perpignan if required - supplement applies, please ask for our rates.

Meals:  B


Map

Elevation

The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.
On self guided trips, actual route information provided before departure will be more detailed.


Inclusions

  • 6 breakfasts, 6 dinners - Continental breakfasts are served and usually consist of breads, jams, cheese, occasionally eggs and meats, coffee, tea and juices. Dinner will consist of 2 to 3 courses which include regional specialties
  • 2 nights 2-3 star hotels on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities, 4 nights in guesthouses (gîte) with shared facilities
  • Luggage transfer. Luggage should be limited to one bag weighing a maximum of 20kg per person.
  • Any excess luggage should be stored at your pre-tour hotel, or we can arrange for its transfer from Perpignan to Foix - supplement applies (note you will not have access to this luggage during the trip).
  • All internal transfers described in the program
  • Information pack including route notes and maps (1 set for up to 4 people travelling together, additional packs available for purchase).
  • Emergency hotline

  • Travel to Perpignan and from Foix
  • Lunch and drinks
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Tour guide – this is a self guided walking trip
  • Entrance fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Optional transfer Foix to Perpignan - supplement applies

Grading

moderate  

MODERATE – GRADE 3 This is a self guided walk with average daily stages of around 5-6 hours (not including rests or visits to the castles enroute). The trip is graded moderate as the paths are well defined and generally clearly marked. There are many ups and downs as you would expect in a mountainous region, and walking poles are definitely a good idea. A good level of fitness is required and the trip is considered suitable for experienced walkers only. Map reading skills are essential and you will need to use a compass at times in order to check the path. As with all of our trips it is important that you are well prepared. We suggest that you undertake regular exercise – swimming, cycling, and jogging, two to three times a week for three months prior to your departure.


Departure dates

Daily from 1 Apr to 31 Oct

Want to organise a private group?

Fundraising events, sporting groups, family treats; learn how you can organise a Private Group from just 6 travellers.

Total Priceper person from

$1235USD

Options & Supplements*
  • Single SupplementUSD$230
  • Single Traveller SurchargeUSD$540
*Prices listed are per person

Trip reviews


Why travel with us

Making Europe Affordable

We offer different levels of accommodation and comfort so that even the most budget conscious can treat themselves to active holidays on Europe's most celebrated tracks and trails. Our trips are great value for money because you only pay for what you want.  

Self-Guided Specialists

Our wide range of self-guided itineraries embody the UTracks philosophy of exploring Europe your way. We handle the logistics so all that's left for you to do is enjoy exploring Europe at your own pace. Most depart daily with a minimum of two people, meaning maximum flexibility.

Our Wide Range

With close to 400 trips in almost 50 countries, including the largest range of bike & boat holidays in Europe, we're confident that we can organise an Alps walk, Camino de Santiago or Via Francigena experience, Food Lovers' trip or a tour in a lesser-known pocket of Europe that you will love. 

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