Live, Laugh, Ride ... Cycling holidays since 2012

Pyrénées Iconic Climbs Cycling Tour – Day by Day

Experience the best the Pyrénées has to offer on our Iconics Climbs Tour. Not just the monuments but also the special places the locals love. A guaranteed unique experience in the mystical Pyrénées with VéloRoo - Live, Laugh, Ride ... Cycling Holidays.

1: Welcome to the Pyrenees!

Day 1Saturday/Samedi

Transfers will be available at approx 3pm from Tarbes Train Station or from the village of Lannemezan. (currently there is an approx 9:45am train out of Paris that arrives just after 3pm and an approx 8:20am train out of Barcelona arriving just after 3pm)

Tarbes can be easily accessed by TGV train from Paris. Tarbes also has an airport, Tarbes-Lourdes-Pyrenees Airport. Please contact us for help planning your travel 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)

We then have a short transfer (1hr) to your base for the next 4 nights in Saint Lary Soulan. We will get everyone’s bikes set up and ready for your week ahead. Over welcome drinks and dinner you will get to know your fellow cyclists and talk about the rides ahead.

Included meals: dinner

2: Col d'Azet & Col de Peyresourde

Day 2Sunday/Dimanche
62km Distance ride
1851m Accumulated elevationSummit Altitude 1608m

So many incredible rides it was hard to decide which one to start with! Today’s ride showcases what the Pyrénées is all about. Wild nature, dramatic landscapes and spellbinding scenery.

Rolling out of our beautiful ski resort base the climbing starts quickly. Our climb to Azet is a hidden gem. Through delightful stone villages and superb views of Pla d’Adet across the valley to keep you entertained. The summit of Azet is unassuming, the views … breathtaking. Across the valley in front you see the Peyresourde, our next destination.

After descending we reach the bottom of the valley, pass by the beautiful lake and town of Genos. Peyresourde is an up and back … why … well why not! It is long long long, but steady, steady, steady.

We won’t ride the fearsome gradient of the airport landing strip that is the regular Tour finish, instead, we’ll point the handlebars back down and return to St Lary via the valleys and look up in awe at the scale of the mountains surrounding us.

Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

3: Pla d'Adet & Col de Portet

Day 3Monday/Lundi
43km Distance ride
1828m Accumulated elevationSummit Altitude 2227m

Anyone who has a passing interest in the Tour will be familiar with the stage finish of Pla d’Adet, less familiar is Col de Portet. It’s only been in 1 Tour. But it is a beast! We were privileged to be at the Col de Portet inauguration in 2018 when the road to the ski station was sealed. Its claim to fame is its the highest paved road in the French Pyrénées at 2227m.

Sharing the same first 8 kilometres of climbing, before we arrive at the start of the climbing, you see the road slice up the mountain in front of us, hinting at what is to come! 10% 7 kilometres. Find your rhythm and enjoy the incredible views that open up beside you as you climb.

To “rest” our legs, we will divert to Pla d’Adet and take in the sheer views. Returning for the beast. If you have been lucky enough to ride Alpe d’Huez, this is more challenging. It will become an icon. The road is narrow, the views spellbinding and words really don’t do it justice.

The descent, you will want to take it gently, as the views really are that good. Beers back in town? A perfect way to finish off a Pyrénean Beast!

Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

4: La Route des Lacs

Day 4Tuesday/Mardi
60km Distance ride
2378m Accumulated elevationSummit Altitude 2251m

Today is one of those special “look at those mountains! ” rides we love to share. We leave St Lary heading deep into the mountains via a valley that goes all the way to the Spanish border. As we wind our way up the valley you can’t help but be awestruck by the surrounding mountains whose peaks are all well above 2,500 meters above sea level. It is an incredible feeling.

Turning off the road that would have taken us to Spain, we enter an enchanted area, eden like. The ancient road has been a traveller route for eons. This is the Pyrénées that is largely unknown and all the better for it. If we are lucky we will see many rusty coloured squirrels dart across the road in front of us as we climb. Impossibly tight collections of hairpins (a feat of incredible stonemasonry engineering in themselves) disguise the rate of elevation, but the increasingly expansive views leave no doubt we are going up!

We reach an intersection and will climb to an unbelievably picturesque natural lake surrounded by dominant peaks. If there is no breeze the mirror like lake surface will reward with the most remarkable reflection. We return to take the other “finger” in this valley and a mighty feat of engineering will appear, the dam wall of lac du Long, our turn around point, after we have ridden across the wall and marvelled at the view in front of us.

Our return back to base is entertaining and engaging. Did someone say post ride beers?

Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

5: Col d'Aspin, La Hourquette d'Ancizan & Col du Tourmalet

Day 5Wednesday/Mercredi
65km Distance ride
2908m Accumulated elevationSummit Altitude 2120m

Today we say goodbye to St Lary Soulan. What a magical 3 days cycling! What a day ahead!

First on the menu is Col d’Aspin. It wouldn’t be VéloRoo style to ascend it on the well trodden path. Our little known route is one of the hidden back road gems that the Pyrenees are loved for. With wild landscapes, breathtaking views over “miniature model” villages that accentuate the magnificence of the massive backdrop and a gradient that starts with a bang before settling into “just difficult”.

Over the crest and you are transported into another completely different world through farm land, some say similar in feel to the Scottish Highlands. We reach the summit of Col d’Aspin to take in its magnificent view and one last look at the Vallée d’Aure.

Our next adventure – Tourmalet, the mythical beast of a mountain. Your first Tourmalet will be in the wheel tracks of cycling history, as it is the same direction it was first crossed in 1910. A small detour to take in some of cycling lore and we are away. The first stretch gives nothing away to the challenge that awaits. En route the sights will leave you breathless and the gradient and altitude too, but that is another thing altogether! You will feel on top of the world as you reach probably the most respected summit in French cycling.

And the view from the top … WOW!

From here it is all down hill to our new base for 5 nights in Luz St Saveur. Enjoy … you have earned it. Not too fast though or you will miss the sights!

Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

6: Luz Ardiden

Day 6Thursday/Jeudi
45km Distance ride
1367m Accumulated elevationSummit Altitude 1723m

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.

Our legs have the chance to warm up on a charming 12km loop through a couple of stone hamlets clinging to the sides of the mountain before a gentle ramp to the base of Luz Ardiden. Shaded for the first part, you sneak some views through the trees. Hairpins give way to ramps up the mountainside. Arrive at the bottom of the open area you can’t quite see the summit, but you secretly hope its not at the top of the ranges!

With 9 more hairpins than Alpe d’Huez, each one offers a new view of the towering mountains that surround us. The view from the top is one of our favourites – postcard stuff!

Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

7: Col du Soulor & Col d'Aubisque

Day 7Friday/Vendredi
100km 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 a 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!

Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

8: Col du Tourmalet

Day 8Saturday/Samedi
40km Distance ride
1820m 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 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

9: Col de Tentes

Day 9Sunday/Dimanche
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 the most incredible climb you have never heard of but will never forget.

After completing your summit we descend back into Gavarnie for a delicious lunch. You could even try one of the regional specialties – cassoulet.

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

Included meals: breakfast, lunch

10: Au Revoir

Day 10Monday/Lundi

Au revoir! And now you continue your travels, taking with you all the memories from your epic adventure in the Pyrenees.

Transfers to Lourdes Train Station after breakfast. The transfer takes approx 40 mins so please check with us before booking your train travel. If heading to Paris there is normally an approx 9:15am train getting into Paris for approx 2:15pm.

Included meals: breakfast

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

EURO €4350

per person twin share

Single supplement additional €390

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 Challenge - Autumn
Just returned from having a fantastic time completing the VeloRoo Pyrenees Challenge with Steve and Julia. Thanks Julia for your help with my pre and post planning as all worked out well.
As for the VeloRoo portion, the bike supplied was great and set to my measurments with only a little onsite tweaking required.
The accommodation and meals in the Pyrenees were great - traditional regional dishes and plenty of it. On the tour were 4 other like miinded riders from the US, Taiwan and UK and thanks to Steve and Neil (ride guide) we all hit off and had a great time.
The riding - the Tourmalet, Luz Ardiden, Pont d'Espagne, Cols de Tente, Soulor and Aubisque were all brilliant to ride. It was very satsifying to look down at the road travelled once the top had been reach. Steve's singing and local knowledge added to each day and Neil's pro cycling background provided another level of insight to the region and simply capped off the experience.
Thanks guys and look forward to completing another VeloRoo Tour soon.Oct 2019
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. : )Oct 2019