Iconic Climbs Pyrénées Challenge – Day by Day

Our Iconics Pyrénees Challenge Tour offers you the chance to tick off iconic "bucket list" climbs while being able to enjoy your time in the region.

1: Luz Ardiden

Day 1
40km Distance ride
1367m Accumulated elevationSummit Altitude 1723m

Transfers will be available at 1pm from Lourdes Train Station. Lourdes can be easily accessed by TGV train from Paris or train from Pau (closest airport) and other major destinations.

Please contact us for help planning your travel and BEFORE you book your train. Useful links to help plan your trip – Rome2rio – general overview of travel and for the Train – SNCF  (Please be aware 3rd party websites will not always show all available options, only what they have been allocated)

From Lourdes we have a short 40 mins transfer up the beautiful valley to our home village of Luz Saint Sauveur. Our hotel, Hotel Les Templiers, is in the historic centre of town alongside the fortified Eglise des Templiers providing easy access to all the iconic climbs and Km 0 start of the infamous climb of the Col du Tourmalet.

Upon arrival we will get you set up on your VéloRoo bike in preparation to tackle your first Col, Luz Ardiden. It might only be a 15 kilometre ascent, but there is some serious climbing to be had to reach the summit of the Ski Station and numerous TDF finishes that is Luz Ardiden. We have a 12km loop to get your legs warmed up before tackling the start of the climb.

Shaded for the first part, you arrive at the bottom of the open area in sight of the summit. With 9 more switchbacks than Alpe d’Huez, each switchback offers a new view of the towering mountains that surround us.

Tonight, over dinner in a local restaurant you get to talk with your fellow travellers about your first challenge of the tour and we will discuss the days ahead.

Included meals: dinner

2: Col du Tourmalet

Day 2
53km Distance ride
2148m Accumulated elevationSummit Altitude 2115m

The Iconic of all Iconic TDF climbs.

So many stories have been written about the “grand daddy” of climbs, and today it is your turn to scribe your own story into the history pages of the Tourmalet’s slopes. The climb from either side is challenging, with spectacular views along the route. Both sides provide 1,000 meters plus of elevation, while not offering a single kilometre of level relief. “Assassins” is what Octave Lapize shouted at the TDF organisers on the first Tour de France crossing of the Col du Tourmalet in 1910, and it is he who is immortalised as the “Geant de Tourmalet” welcoming you at the summit.

After you have reached the summit of Tourmalet, (and celebrated with a VeloRoo salute – we will show you how!) we have the option of descending 4km to the ski station of La Mongie then turn around and enjoy the last part of the ascent from the eastern side. After the descent back towards Luz we will enjoy a well earned lunch.

After lunch you can take a break and either explore the local village or check out one of the local spas for a relaxing dip or massage.

Our June tour co-incides with the party atmosphere of the local cycling communities “Montée du Géant” festival.

Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

3: Pont d'Espagne

Day 3
59km Distance ride
1742m Accumulated elevationSummit Altitude 1530m

We ride from our hotel, down the valley and around the base of the Pic de Viscos.  Climbing though the deep valley we are alongside the raging Gave de Cauterets. The views all along our route are immense.

The climb to the spa town of Cauterets is moderately challenging, with a highlight on the way being a bunch of hairpins, so tightly packed, they virtually sit upon each other. We will take a coffee break in Cauterets, to recharge for the steep climb up to Pont d’Espagne, one of the Grand Sites de Midi-Pyrenees.

Here we change into our walking shoes and take a short walk into the spectacular valley to enjoy a picnic lunch and soak up the vistas to be discovered in this pristine environment. This is alpine nature at its best. In Spring, we are surrounded by snow peaked mountains, alpine lakes and rivers, so perfect they hardly seem real. In Autumn, you have the beautiful changing colours on the mountain sides.

For non-cyclists they have the option of doing a guided morning walk and then meeting up for our picnic lunch together.

Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

4: Col de Tentes

Day 4
60km Distance ride
1837m Accumulated elevationSummit Altitude 2213m

Todays ride is in the direction of the Spanish border and a region listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The steady climbing route takes us along the gorge, it’s river full of massive rocks, a result of previous slides from the dramatic peaks we are surrounded by and a reminder of the harsh reality of the beautiful scenery surrounding us.

We pause for a coffee stop to enjoy the spectacular view of Cirque de Gavarnie. It was described by Victor Hugo as “the Colosseum of nature” due to its enormous size and horseshoe shape resembling an ancient amphitheatre. During the warmer seasons there are a number of large meltwater falls that spill into the cirque. The largest of these is Gavarnie Falls, the second highest waterfall in Europe. It descends some 422 m(1385ft) over a series of steps before reaching the floor of the cirque.

Now our climb starts in earnest. A sinuous climb on good road surfaces, the higher we climb the more open the terrain, the average gradient kicks up to 8%. Col des Tentes is simply most incredible climb you have never heard of but will never forget. On top of that, it will be the highest altitude we reach this week – another 2,000 m plus high summit. After completing your summit we descend back into Gavarnie for a hearty lunch with a delicious regional specialty.

After lunch enjoy the gentle descent back along the valley to Luz.

Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

5: Col de Soulor & Col d’Aubisque

Day 5
94km Distance ride
2694m Accumulated elevationSummit Altitude 1717m

Today we celebrate two wonderful climbs the Col du Solour and Col d’Aubisque. Our route passes through delightful grey stone villages surrounded by open fields and spectacular mountain backdrops.

The first ramps at the foot of the Col du Solour, are challenging with the whole climb offering its own charm and character. A photo stop at the summit marker is a must, before we continue onto Col d’Aubisque. The balcony road between Col du Solour and Col d’Aubisque has been described as the most beautiful road in Europe. Stunning. Awe inspiring. As a bonus it is also a legitimate TDF Monument. At the summit, the famous bike statues await for photo marking your successful climb.

Our lunch stop has been justly earned! And to be honest – not a bad view whilst having lunch! This is a day in the saddle to remember, 94 kilometres will never be the same again. 2 TDF col’s in the one ride, perfect!

Non-cyclist option – We can drop you off en-route to the village of Argeles-Gazost to enjoy a day of exploring the markets and the town and collect you on our return after lunch. Lunch will be at your leisure.

Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

6: Au revoir .....

Day 6

Today we bid you farewell … until next time

After breakfast we will transfer you to Lourdes Train Station for your ongoing journey. Contact us for help with planning train / flight times.

Included meals: breakfast

Ready to ride? VeloRoo can make your dream escape a reality from

AUD $4210

per person twin share

Single supplement additional $330

Pyrénées Iconic Climbs Challenge

A word from our clients

Don’t take our word for it - discover why our cycling adventurists have fallen in love with the Occitanie Region of Southern France and the VeloRoo way.

Pyrenees Autumn Challenge
Just came back from the dream vacation with VeloRoo doing the October Pyreness Challenge 2019, and it still feels like a dream! A great friend of mine did the July Pyreness/South of France, and spoke highly of the experience and had no doubt that I would love the route and the VeloRoo experience knowing me and my riding attitude.

It turned out to be better than what I could have asked for. Pre-trip, Julia was super responsive and helpful in providing all the trip information. She also went above and beyond to help find travel logistics on transporting from different parts of Europe to the meeting point of the Pyreness ride. It’s like a Genie helping you find alternatives and solutions on making a trip work! It is really good to be assisted and informed.

We had an intimate group like CyclingStealth11 pointed out, riders from quite a few countries and two non riders. Everyone was a bit anxious about the toughness and possibly other riders being super competitive. It was a relief that with Captain Steve and Neil’s lead, we really focused on “enjoying the climb and view”. The views around Pyreness was just amazing! Every climb is scenic, but scenic in a different way! Steve would pointed out the spots not to miss, I was so thankful when other riders would just stop, and take pictures of the spectacular view! We sing, we laughed, we made jokes, and we climbed (oh and we coffee break, too). We followed Neil like little fans asking of stories. Great hearing everyone’s stories along the way as well! These are special friendships made, that I would like to keep! : ) I already want to go back already while typing these out.

The food and accomodation was great, too! It was nice getting to taste the local specialty. I love being able to try and learn of the local, and embrace the friendliness of the local people from Pyreness area. It is a very unique experience. My mom joined us from Taiwan as a non-rider. She got to see the sights we rode, stopped at great viewing point, and also had a special hike with aforager. This was a special experience to mom at Pyreness even off the bike! Thank you, Julia and Steve for making this work for mom!

Who should consider VeloRoo?
- If you are looking for a great cycling vacation experience that is a little bit more budget friendly
- If you are cool with fully enjoying the view, letting go the baggage, speed, and stats
- If you like an awesome guide, who is more like your family (brother) rather than a scripted tour guide
- If you are not a good planner like me, and can get some help from the amazing Julia
- If you want to have the down to earth local experience, not fancy masseuse/racing crews or personal chef following you

There are also options of routes to consider! So find a route that suits you, and don’t be shy to send the email for more information. It will be an amazing experience whichever VeloRoo tours you decided! Speaking from my earnest experience. : )Took Pyrénées Iconic Climbs Challenge in Oct 2019
For us, the tour was a perfect balance of challenging cycling in spectacular scenery and enjoying the local sights, delicious food and wine. Steve and Julia went 'above-and -beyond' to tailor the tour to the needs and interests of our group which included spending an extra day before the tour to ride around their home village of St Genies de Fontedit. Steve was a friendly, hospitable and enthusiastic cycling guide and Julia was superbly reliable and organised - always in the right place at the right time in the support van with refreshments, extra jackets (or a lift home).
We would highly recommend VeloRoo for a cycling holiday!Took Pyrénées Iconic Climbs Challenge in June 2017