BEST OF THE PYRENEES
11th-16th June 2023
Experience the best of the pyrenees by kayaking, hiking and canyoning through one of Europe’s most awe-inspiring National Parks
We have teamed up with 360 Expeditions to bring you the ultimate activity adventure in the heart of The Pyrenees Mountains. You will try your hand at kayaking, canyoning and mountain trekking whilst taking in the absolute highlights of this majestic mountain range.
Join us for a week of fun and exploration: we’ll discover the stunning views as we trek part of the Thousand Lakes hike, wild swim and spend a night in a remote mountain hut, surrounded by shimmering lakes as far as we can see.
We’ll have a full day of exhilarating canyoning, finding gorges carved from the waters crashing through, and rappel, jump and swim our way through – it’s impossible to stop grinning throughout!
Then, we’ll head to the world famous Mont Rebei gorge and have the chance to paddle our kayaks down the azure waters with the renowned cliff face towering above us. Our trek back along the trails carved into the rock, to the wooden staircase perched above the gorge, is nothing short of spectacular – deservedly featured by Nat Geo, it’s one of the most impressive trails in the world! Join us for this amazing week in some of the most awe-inspiring locations Europe has to offer, and find out why we love this place so much!
Day 1: Arrive in Toulouse
You will be met at the airport by your 360 guide for this week and we’ll transfer to Luchon to a centrally located hotel, before heading out for a delicious meal in this picturesque mountain town.
Day 2: Aiguestortes National Park: Canyoning
An early start sees us transfer for 1 ½ hours across the border into Spain to the start of the magnificent limestone canyon of Viu. This canyon is one of dozens that carves its way deep into the rugged mountains of the Aiguestortes National Park, promising an adventure like no other. Your 360 guide will join forces with a specialist canyon guide and together they’ll lead you through this beautifully sculptured slot canyon where every few minutes you’ll be met by a different challenge: you’ll have the chance to jump down into the crystal clear pools, abseil into narrow chambers, swim through narrow winding corridors and scramble through boulder strewn passages. Above, the sun filters through the narrow walls of the canyon to cast surreal light and shadows lending an otherworldly quality to our journey.
We pack a picnic lunch, and we’ll stop on a small beach in a sunny spot before continuing for a few more hours down this unique canyon.
At the end of the day, we’ll be driven a short way to our hotel, located besides a gorgeous mountain lake where we can water ski if we wish (an optional activity for the day, at additional cost) and swim, before a magnificent Pyrenean dinner.
Day 3: Mont Rebei: Kayaking & Trekking
A delicious breakfast starts us off on another incredible experience. The Mont Rebei gorge has been heralded as one of the most outstanding landscapes in Europe and its potential for adventure recognised by a host of travel magazines, including National Geographic. Today we experience this area in the best possible way by launching kayaks onto its warm azure blue waters and paddling right into the heart of this incredible gorge. Dwarfing our tiny vessels are the immense yellow and red limestone walls of the gorge where, looking up, we can see a tiny path carved incredulously into its vast vertical side. This path was created by local farmers and traders over a hundred years ago to bring their mule teams laden with produce to the remote mountain villages above the gorge and to link the Spanish provinces of Catalunya and Aragon.
After we paddle to the end of the gorge, we’ll find a shady spot to have a picnic lunch and have a chance to take a refreshing swim before stepping into the hoof prints of the mule teams and traverse their spectacular trail back to the entrance of the gorge. We quickly appreciate why this journey is rated as one of the most spectacular treks in the world as we climb wooden staircases bolted into the rock and traverse the narrow winding trail carved into the vertical walls high above the sparkling waters of the gorge.
A more magical day out would be hard to imagine and, glowing from our experience, we transfer back on spectacular mountain roads back across the French border to Luchon to check in to our centrally located hotel and head out for what’s sure to be a lively group meal.
Day 4: 1000 Lakes Trek (Col De Caldes, 2,200m)
After an early breakfast, we’ll transfer for an hour to our start point at Banos de Tredos in Catalonia, Spain, leave the minibus behind and, without further ado, launch into this spectacular trek.
From the Banos (hot springs) we initially trek through native stands of Pyrenean black Pine, surrounded by lush meadows of Alpine flowers. A steady climb over the Col de Caldes brings us past lakes and wild and rocky landscapes until we reach the Ventosa refuge, one of the most spectacularly located refuge in the Pyrenees. Our evening will be spent enjoying a relaxing dinner which inevitably turns into some fun (and, if Rolfe’s involved, competitive!) card games with the team, before some down time peacefully gazing at the stars in this stunning mountain spot.
Approx. trekking time: 5-6 hours
Day 5: 1000 Lakes Trek(Col de Colomers, 2,605m)
Today we continue our exploration of this amazing landscape. We are well above the tree-line and before us lays a day of mountain discovery. We bid adieu to the hospitable refuge and, watching scurrying marmots along the way while relishing the cool breeze bringing the scent of the alpine flowers dotting our path, we trek onwards and upwards to the highest point of our day, the Col de Colomers, at 2,605 metres. Here, our challenging trek is rewarded with an incredible panoramic vista. Not only can we see our morning’s route winding back to the north but, as we gaze across to the south, we see the Cirque de Colomers, surrounded by Pyrenean summits, their sharp peaks jagged against the skyline, sheltering hundreds of sparkling lakes and tarns beneath. After a time to soak up these impressive views and allow them to imprint into our memories, we begin our descent and start to make our way back to Luchon.
Approx. trekking time: 7-8 hours
Day 6: Depart Toulouse
Today may mark the end of this incredible getaway but the fun doesn’t have to be over just yet!
Flight times depending, you’ll have the chance to prolong the adrenaline rush (possibly dictated by the previous night’s shenanigans!) by doing as much or as little as you wish.
There is plenty to do around Luchon, and you will have your 360 guide at hand with the minibus to assist with transfers if needed.
You could head to Superbagneres and take to the air by tandem paraglider, enjoying a morning of hot-rock climbing or head off into the hills for some mountain biking through the stunning countryside. Otherwise, hop over to Balnea and simply enjoy a leisurely morning winding down in the spa, or relax in Luchon with a quiet coffee, soaking up the atmosphere of this bustling town from one of its many street side café’s.
Your airport transfer timings will be advised, and after your last activity we’ll depart for Toulouse ready for your flight home!
(Please note that the activities above are additional to the itinerary and must either be paid for in situ in cash or will be billed separately.)
What should I bring?
BAGS & PACKS
Bring a 40-60L rucksack that is well worn in and with a good waist belt. A waterproof cover is advisable (remember that these covers are not 100% waterproof but act as a barrier). You can leave belongings in Luchon for the end of the trek, but while out in the hills you will need to carry all of the kit that you are not wearing.
Rolltop bags that keep fresh clothing and other important items lime your passports and electronics dry in the event of a total downpour that could seep into your kitbag. Good for quarantining old socks! Please note that France has banned plastic bags. In any case, we would always advise buying reusable and sustainable nylon rolltop bags for keeping your kit dry.
Waterproof rucksack cover
2-3 Season sleeping bag
You will need a 2 or 3 season sleeping bag for use in the refuges. Make sure it is rated to 5°C and choose a sleeping bag that functions within the comfort rating of this temperature. A silk sleeping bag liner will enhance this rating on cooler nights.
Sleeping bag liner (Optional)
Bedding is provided at the hotels / guest houses and you will have your sleeping bag for the refuges, but some people prefer to bring a sleeping bag liner for extra warmth / comfort. Silk is best for keeping you a little warmer.
This can be a warm hat, beanie, balaclava, anything to reduce the heat loss from your head. We’ll hope for sun, but it can be chilly in the mountains – and after the watersports you might be cold after getting out of the water.
Wide brimmed hat
Keeps the sun off exposed areas like ears and the nape of the neck
Category 4, wrap around style sunglasses are highly recommended. These sunglasses allow for the highest available protection against harmful UV light found at altitude and from glare from the snow, if there is some at the higher altitudes. It’s worth spending money on good UV filters.
Sun cream does not work on your lips, and they will be susceptible to sun burn without proper protection.
We’d recommend you buy the highest SPF you can find, as UV intensifies with altitude especially when reflecting off the water.
This is the layer closest to the skin and its principal function is to wick, or draw, moisture and sweat away from the skin.
These are typically lightweight microfleeces or similar technology that provide varying degrees of warmth and insulation without being overly bulky or heavy to pack
A couple of T-shirts are advisable for this summer expedition. The days are reasonably warm, with high temperatures at lower altitudes.
These jackets are thin, highly waterproof and windproof and worn over all other items of clothing. You’ll find these made of Gore-Tex or other proprietary waterproof yet breathable technology. Inexpensive hard shells that aren’t breathable will prevent evaporation, making you sweat intensely and, as such, are not recommended.
Soft Shell (Optional)
These should be windproof (not all are) and insulative. They are mostly made of soft polyester and sometimes resemble a neoprene finish which makes them very mobile and comfortable to wear. While offering a degree of weather repellence, do note they are usually not waterproof.
A couple of pairs of shorts are advisable for this summer expedition. The days can be reasonably warm, with high temperatures at lower altitudes.
These tend to be polyester so they dry quickly after a shower and weigh little in your pack. Consider perhaps a pair with detachable lower legs as an alternative to shorts.
Merino or wicking material, not cotton. How many pairs you take is entirely up to you!
A lightweight pair of Goretex trousers will act as a great windproof too.
Well worn in 4 season waterproof boots with mid to high ankle support
For use in the evenings. With most refuges, you will need to take your boots off when you go in. Some provide croc/slippers but not all.
3x Trekking socks
Whether you wear a single layer, or 2 pairs, is a personal choice. Lighter weight merino wool is a good option.
Comfortable Evening Clothes
You’ll need enough to carry 2 litres, either in a combination of bladder and Nalgene bottles, or just Nalgene bottles
Although generally all water is boiled or brought filtered from the hotel or refuge in the morning, some trekkers prefer to double up and add purification tabs as well. Always good to have in your bag.
Keep it simple. Essentials are toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant. Moisturiser is advisable, everything else is a luxury!
Provided at the accommodation, and at public toilet facilities, but a spare in your daysack may be useful if you need to hide behind a rock during the day.
Packable & Lightweight!
Personal First Aid Kit
The 360 medical kits are designed to be used in emergencies and are akin to an A&E rather than a pharmacy, so please come prepared with useful meds for yourself such as painkillers (Ibuprofen if you can take it and Paracetamol) plus blister plasters, plasters, antiseptic, rehydration sachets and any muscle rubs you wish to use.
Kept in an accessible location in your pack
Bring plenty of spare batteries and memory cards. A power pack is handy for keeping things charged in the case of no charging points in the refuges
Head torch + A Spare or spare batteries
Although you will be fed well, we do we advise bringing a small selection of energy bars or your favourite snacks. Have a couple per day.
Ear Plugs (Optional)
For the wild swimming, canyoning (you’ll be provided with a wetsuit on this day also) and for any other opportunities throughout the trip if you wish!
Optional, but they can be useful on the trekking sections. These tend to be a personal preference, but can help with your stability and can dampen the pressure on the knees coming down hill.
Don’t forget this! Your passport should have at least 6 months validity: ie. your passport expiry date needs to be at least six months after the final day of travel. Make sure you also have at least two blank pages.
Copy of passport
We recommend you have a dental check-up before your trip. New fillings can be an issue at altitude if there is an air pocket left in the gap
Bring a copy of your own travel insurance details and relevant contact numbers.
360 Expeditions have a partnership with True Traveller and would recommend that you contact them when looking for travel insurance for your trip with 360. However, it is vital that you ensure that the insurance cover they offer is suitable for you, taking your personal circumstances (items to be insured, cancellation cover, medical history) into account. Many other insurance providers are available and we do recommend that you shop around to get the best cover for you on the expedition you are undertaking.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the appropriate insurance for your intended trip, to include at a minimum medical evacuation and coverage up to the maximum altitude and for the relevant activities included on this trip.
Our big trips are provided by expedition experts who support our mission to help women gain confidence and have incredible experiences through adventure. This trip is provided for us by 360 Expeditions who have their main office right in the Pyrenees and guide there all year round.
Yes! You will summit with your Adventuress fam. We endeavour to request female guides wherever possible, however there is a chance your UK & local guide may be male. Your friendly guides will have extensive experience of working with female groups and share our groups ethos of respect and acceptance for all.
95% of our trips are made up of solo Adventuresses from all over the UK. Everybody admits to feeling nervous during their first adventure, but by the end of your trip you’ll feel like you’ve made friends for life. Bonds are formed very quickly on our adventures, and every trip is introvert friendly!
This is a fun few days of adventure! Of course, the fitter you are before coming out you’ll enjoy it far more than if you are struggling, but the days aren’t long, and the weekend is designed for all levels of experience.
- International flights to Toulouse
- Personal Equipment
- Alcohol, laundry, and other items of personal nature
- Meals as per itinerary
- Any additional costs if leaving the trip early
- Any additional optional activities as mentioned in the itinerary
That’s the idea! They’ll be cold, but wild swimming is exhilarating. It’s optional, of course (chat to us for weekend adventures that just include trekking, if you’d rather), but it’s great fun!
Yes, all our instructors have the appropriate qualifications.
No previous technical experience is required to explore the canyon. Your 360 guide will be joined by a specialist canyoning guide for this day, and they will assure your safety throughout. You will be taught the basics of abseiling so you have the opportunity to see how to do this yourself, but the guides will further safeguard your descents by providing a safety rope in places where needed. The height of the jumps varies, though some can be more than 5 metres, but the whole day is designed around you and your comfort and experience, the guides are more than happy to lower you down on a safety rope should you decide not to jump. The emphasis today is on enjoyment rather than learning technical canyoning techniques.
It generally takes between 5 and 6 hours to descend this canyon though part of this is a picnic lunch on a small sunny beach in the middle of the canyon. We choose to operate in Mont Rebei outside of the main, busier holiday periods and as such there are generally very few other teams in the canyon with us.
The focus of today is for you to enjoy this unique experience. Your guide will chat to you throughout, and you can decide which sections you’d like to jump. Should you wish not to jump certain parts of the descent then the guides will be more than happy to lower you down into the pool with a safety line.
For the time we will be in the gorge, a specialist kayak guide will join us for the day. It is their job to teach you the art of kayaking, explain the wonders of the gorge – and they also bring the kayaks back once we have finished using them.
Just as a note, we usually plan to explore Mont Rebei on the third day of this itinerary but, though rare in summer, it can be that rain or bad weather affects our canyon day so we can might need to swap these days around.
As with the canyoning, our main aim in offering kayaking in this itinerary is to allow complete novices to experience this fun activity safely and enjoyably – as well as those more experienced to be able to enjoy this spectacular spot. The kayaks themselves are very stable and you will be given buoyancy aids, helmets and your specialist kayak guide will demonstrate how to paddle a kayak most effectively.
Both single and double kayaks are available for you to use. Most folk prefer to have their own kayak, but double kayaks are available should you wish to share this experience with a friend or partner.
Absolutely! Your 360 guide is a trained mountain professional and it is their job to ensure you have the best experience by making you feel safe and comfortable in an environment which you might initially be fearful off. They will use safety ropes where needed and gently coach you through the places where you may feel uncomfortable – which allows you to on how incredible this trek really is. Over a century ago this beautiful pathway was constructed for mule teams to deliver goods to remote mountain villages and it is an extremely well-engineered and safe path. We understand your concerns but we generally find those with a worry are, by the end of this trek, happily bouncing along the path above the looming cliffs with hands in pockets! If, however, you’d really rather not take part in the trek back along the gorge, it’s also possible to kayak back.
Of course. We encourage you to explore the canyon from an eagle perspective by traversing high above the water and our guides are there for both your safety and enjoyment. But, if you decide on the day that this is not for you then the kayak guide will be more than happy to let you join them as they bring the boats back to the entrance of the gorge.
The trek back to the entrance of the gorge is around 3 to 4 hours, we will cover approximately 9 kilometres in distance. After a picnic lunch in a shady spot we’ll start the trek and make our way back at a leisurely pace. There is a great spot to take a swim after about 3 hours of walking, before we ascend a short hill back to the carpark.
The kayaking part of this adventurous day is in the morning and begins with a thorough coaching session from your specialist kayak guide. Once everyone understands the basics and has been issued a buoyancy aid, helmet and kayak then we launch the boats into the water. The total time spent on the water is usually around 3 to 4 hours and we’ll paddle about 7 kilometres.
The minimum group size for the Adventuress in the Wild Mt Toubkal Summer Trek to run is 6 people and the maximum group size is 16 people.
The rock-climbing at the end of this week is optional (and an additional cost) but our 360 guides can cater for anyone from complete novices wishing to experience this activity for the first time through to the hardened rock hound wanting to check out Pyrenean rock!
Absolutely! Chat to your 360 guide and they’ll give you all of the options – Luchon is the adventure capital of the Pyrenees! You can maintain your adrenaline hype and tandem paraglide or mountain bike. Otherwise for a relaxing end to the trip, you might choose to unwind by exploring the quant street side cafés of this bustling mountain town or further enhancing your aquatic experience by soaking in a hot thermal spa. Do note that most of these activities have an associated, additional cost – please chat to the 360 office team for more details.
Bottled or filtered drinking water will be provided during the trip. We’d advise bringing your own bottle, to reduce plastic waste where possible. During the trekking day we also pass streams in various places that you can top up from if you should run out, so take purification tablets with you, should you wish to fill up.
The food is plentiful and of very good quality, often using locally sourced ingredients. Breakfasts consist of pastries, fresh bread and jams and you can expect hearty meals in the evenings. Packed lunches will be simple, but filling.
360 provides some snacks for your days on the mountain, however do bring some of your favourite snacks from home. Flapjacks, shortbread, sweets, nuts and chocolate are great, snacks that you’re going to really look forward to eating as well as give you energy!
You’ll be staying in comfortable, centrally located hotels in Luchon.
While out on the trek, we stay in the mountain refuges. The refuges are basic, these are inaccessible mountain huts – albeit large. They all have running water, so flush toilets are standard and most will have hot showers, but on a busy day that hot water will be in high demand and may run out.
Accommodation is in dormitories, so earplugs are recommended if snorers keep you awake! Food will be good with ample carbohydrate content – think pasta, rice, potatoes etc, but don’t expect a la carte, food often has to be flown in by helicopter! Given we are all carrying our own kit we don’t want to be weighed down by tents and cooking equipment, and as the refuges have beds and washing facilities they are considered the sensible and more comfortable option on these routes.
A rucksack of around 40-60L should do you just fine – it’s better to have a bigger bag with space, than a smaller one with everything crammed in!
Your day sack should contain only the essential items you will need for the day and activities and your aim should be to keep it as light as possible. We’d recommend you carry at least: a warm layer, waterproof jacket, your packed lunch and snacks, spending money, water, camera, sun cream and personal medication.
If you are borrowing or buying a rucksack, ask someone to help you adjust it to fit your back. And ensure you are making these adjustments with weight inside it, not empty. Generally, it should sit reasonably high on your back so that the weight is acting vertically downwards, not forcing your shoulders back or drooping past your backside. Again, it’s about how you feel comfortable wearing it and important to get right.Make sure too that it is either waterproof or you have a waterproof cover for your rucksack. It’s not a bad idea to pack your gear into waterproof stuffs sacs, in case of a deluge.
No, the hiking part of this adventure is a trek, so standard walking gear outlined in the kit list should suffice. For the adventure activities, all equipment necessary will be provided.
For the canyoning, all equipment necessary for your safety and comfort is provided for this day: wetsuit (with hood), canyon booties, harness, carabiner and helmets. You will also be given a waterproof barrel and specialist canyon rucksack to keep your belongings dry for the day. If you choose to kayak at Mont Rebei, there will be drybags to keep belongings in whilst on the water.
No, you’ll be in accommodation throughout and bedding is provided – though you may wish to bring a sleeping bag liner if you get cold.
We haven’t included flights as this gives you options from the UK. There are many flights that arrive in Toulouse daily from many different airports – chat to the 360 office team for more information.
We will be at the airport at 11.30 am on day one of the itinerary. On the day you leave, we will be dropping the team off at Toulouse airport for 2.30 pm. (These times are approximate and are TBC.). Please, therefore, find flights that work for these timings.
If there are any issues with this please do let us know and we will also try and help, however it might mean in getting a hire car/train or taxi to your start/finish point.
Bagneres de Luchon is 1h 40 mins drive from Toulouse Airport.
It’s likely to be lovely and sunny, and reasonably warm (pretty hot lower down). However, we’re in the mountains, and not very far from the Atlantic, so there is every risk of rain, thunderstorms, and wind. Night time temperatures can be chilly.The climate of the Pyrenees is generally better than the UK, but there is still the risk of inclement weather, so we advise in the kit list to pack accordingly. And, just like any other holiday, having a quick last minute look at the forecast before you come out can be a useful pointer of what’s in store.
You must carry individual travel insurance to take part in the expedition, we cannot take you on the expedition without proof of insurance.
Your insurance details are requested on the booking form, however, this can be arranged at a later date. 360 Expeditions will be requesting your insurance details 8 weeks before your departure.
We have a partnership with True Traveller and recommend them as an option when looking for travel insurance for your trip with 360. Many other insurance providers are of course available and we do recommend that you shop around to get the best cover for you on the expedition you are undertaking. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the appropriate insurance for your intended trip, to include, at a minimum, medical evacuation and coverage up to the maximum altitude of this trip and for the adventure activities included.
In the cities, yes, out in the countryside, likely on and off! Most UK providers will provide coverage as part of your plan in France and Spain, but do check before you travel.
There will be plug sockets in the rooms in your hotel, but the charging points in the refuges can’t always be relied upon. We’d advise bringing a powerpack (we recommend PowerTraveller) to ensure your phones / cameras / other electronics are charged throughout!
A Whatsapp group will be opened for everyone attending a couple weeks before the trip or once the trip is full.
I have been on two big trips with Adventuress. From these adventures I feel like I have found a new sense of freedom, and have uncovered new strengths by taking a leap out of my comfort zone. Above all I have shared laughter and soulful talks with beautiful women. Certainly made me look at life in a whole new light
on South Africa Adventure Retreat & Peak District Big Weekend
The whole weekend I felt I had permission to be utterly myself and that's down to the vibe. I don't remember feeling like that in a long time and it was pretty incredible and actually kind of transformational
on Portland Climbing & Hiking Adventure
Adventuress made my dream come true of hiking the SW Coast Path. I would never have achieved it without the organisation and support of Adventuress. The thoughtfulness and care put into the whole experience made it truly unforgettable.
on Jurassic Coast Multi-Day Hiking Adventure
Conquer your mountains
Adventuress is all about pushing your boundaries to experience life beyond your comfort zone.
Whats waiting for you there? A sense of achievement that’ll leave you filled with confidence, and the realisation that you have it in you to achieve more than you ever imagined.
Our guides and members of the community are super supportive, and above all we love to have fun. Laughter is 100% guaranteed.
We believe that every community matters, which is why we welcome all women and non-binary femmes. We recognise that some of you do not feel like you are not represented in the world of outdoor pursuits, and we want to break that barrier and get everybody out having an amazing adventures.