Pyrenees GR10 Stage 8 Trek: Vernet-les-Bains to Banyuls-sur-Mer

Pyrenees GR10 Stage 8 Trek

  • Hike 120km of the GR10 - a classic French trek

  • A wildly varied, beautiful high Pyrenees week

  • An iconic stand-alone mountain trek  

  • Experience rugged and remote high mountains all the way to the Mediterranean sea 

Why Choose Cloud 9 Adventure

  • We are the GR10 experts

  • Outstanding fully-qualified guides

  • Stay in authentic, local hotels, gites and mountain refuges

  • Full luggage support

Pyrenees GR10 Stage 8 Trek: Dates and Prices

AT A GLANCE

 

7 nights

6 days' trekking

Luggage delivery

Group size 4-10

 

Price: £1695

Join: Vernet-les-Bains

 

End: Banyuls-sur-Mer

Nearest airport: Perpignan

ACCOMMODATION

2 nights in hotels

2 nights in refuges

3 nights in gîtes

 

 

DIFFICULTY GRADING

7

Moderate

Pyrenees GR10 Stage 8 Trek: Overview

The GR10 is one of France's most well known 'Grand Routes'; an 866km (538mile) trek that traverses the whole of the Pyrenees, with 48,000 metres (157,000 ft) of ascent and equal descent. From the Atlantic coast the Mediterranean, this trekking route covers some of the beautiful and wild scenery in Europe. Estimated to take around 52 days to complete the entire journey, most hikers divide it into sections, making the challenge a more accessible one. This classic 120km 'must do' section of the route is our Stage 8: from Vernet-les-Bains to Banyuls-sur-Mer. Typical Catalan scenery and culture welcome us as we begin our route under the shadow of the dominant peak of Canigou (2785m). Heading towards the sea, this is by no means a downhill trek and every day involves some challenging and adventurous terrain. Luggage delivery is included (except for 1 night in a mountain refuge), giving us the luxury of only carrying a day pack each day.

 

What to expect

 

We've graded this trek at 7, Challenging. It's open to fit hill walkers with multi-day trekking experience on varied terrain. The route is undulating with some steep climbs and some of the days are long, covering over 20km. We trek between 4 and 8 hours per day. Mostly, the paths are well established. However, there are some sections of the route that are more technical or narrow, and may be loose underfoot. This trip is open to everyone who has a good base level of fitness, hill walking experience and endurance for back-to-back trekking days.

Pyrenees GR10 Stage 8 Trek: Itinerary

 

Day 1 - Arrival in Vernet-les-Bains

Our launch pad into the Pyrenees-Orientales Mountains and Stage 8 of the GR10 is the charming mountain village of Vernet-les-Bains, near Villefranche. A popular summer tourist destination, this area offers a myriad of outdoor activities and is the gateway into the Pyrenees and nearby Andorra. Shadowed by the peak of Canigou (2785m), visitors to the region can enjoy hiking, mountain biking and the town's famous natural spa. We'll meet our guide at the hotel at around 6.30pm, where we'll have the opportunity to check kit and weather, and ask any questions before enjoying a delicious local dinner. This section of the GR10 is supported with luggage delivery, with the exception of the first day, where we will stay in a remote refuge. We'll need to make sure we have packed our overnight packs the night before. 

 

Accommodation: hotel (dinner not included)

Luggage access

Day 2 - Transfer to Mariailles refuge, trek to Refuge Cortalets

After a hotel breakfast, our day begins with a short transfer (40 minutes) to the Mariailles refuge, where we join the GR10 route. Our destination today is the charming, but remote Cortalets refuge, nestled in the heart of the Catalan mountains. We will be carrying everything we need for an overnight stay on this first stage, as luggage delivery is not available for this section of the route. Dominated by The Canigou, the GR10 path circumnavigates its flanks, giving us great views of the summit as we walk. We'll pass over the Col de Ségalès (2040m), where we'll have plenty of time for photo opportunities and a picnic lunch, before descending to the Refuge de Cortalets for afternoon sundowners and a cosy night, spent high in the mountains. If the weather is on our side and the group are keen, we can opt to take a variation of the traditional GR10 route, which will include summiting Canigou (2785m) - a local classic and a great peak to 'bag'.

 

Accommodation: mountain refuge (dinner included)

Distance: 17 km (10.5 miles)

Ascent/ descent: +900m (+2952ft) / -450m (-1476ft)

Walking: approx 5-6 hrs

Day 3 - Trek from Refuge de Cortalets to Batère

There is nothing quite like waking up high in the mountains, to the warming sight of the sun rising on the nearby peaks. We'll begin our day with breakfast in the refuge, before donning our rucksacks and starting today's hike. It doesn't take long for our bodies and minds to settle in to the simplicity of mountain life! Today's route begins with a welcome downhill to the lovely - and unlikely named - Tech Valley. A long way from the modern image that springs to mind, the Pyrenees version is one of the Southern-most valleys in France, located close to the Spanish border. Named after the river that flows through it, we'll enjoy a mix of vegetation as we descend from Alpine to Mediterranean climates. Tonight's accommodation is a gite in the village of Batère. This tiny settlement was originally exploited for its mining, until the end of the 1900s. Today it's best known as a stop off point for GR10 hikers and we're sure to meet like-minded walkers over dinner.

 

Accommodation: gîte, dinner included 

Distance: 17 km (10.5 miles)

Ascent/ descent: +250m (+820ft) / -1000m (-3281ft)

Walking: approx 4.5 hrs

 

Day 4 - Trek from Batère to Moulin de la Palette

Leaving Batère in the morning, we'll have time to warm up our legs with a gentle descent to the lovely spa town of Arles sur Tech. Well connected with main roads into both Spain and France, the town has a buzzy feel and a beautiful location, surrounded by the dramatic Eastern Pyrenees peaks. We'll have the opportunity to stop for a coffee and refuel before rejoining the route and making today's big ascent. Climbing up from the village, we'll notice that we're already putting distance in our legs as from here, the summit of Canigou looks a long way behind us. A steady uphill trail takes us up to the Paracolls saddle, where we'll enjoy great views before heading onwards and downwards on the other side of the ridge. Our accommodation for the night is down in the Ribere Valley, next to the river. This friendly eco-gite, with its relaxed, natural atmosphere and fantastic organic (mainly vegetarian) meals is a favourite spot for GR10 walkers.

 

Accommodation: eco-gîte, dinner included

Distance: 20 km (12.4 miles)

Ascent/ descent: +730m (+2395ft) / -1500m (-4921ft)
Walking: approx 6.5 - 7 hrs 

 

Day 5 - Trek from Moulin de la Palette to Las Illas

After yesterday's two big descents, it's likely that our legs will be feeling a little stiff this morning. We'll enjoy a mellow start to get warmed up, before heading back into the hills. Our first landmark is the Roc de France - a small summit which marks the border with Spain. From here, we'll climb up and over the Col du Puits de la Neige, followed by the Col des Cirènes. Trekking through terrain that is right on the French-Spanish border, this section of the route is some of the most classic Pyrenees scenery. We pass through remote, untouched forests and over little known mountain passes. Our final descent from Col des Cirènes takes us down into the village of Las Illas, where we'll spend the night in a simple, local gite. Hidden away from the modern world, this little village still has an isolated feel and was only connected to mains electricity in 1955!

 

Accommodation: gîte, dinner included 

Distance: 22 km (13.7 miles)

Ascent/ descent: +1000m (+3281ft) / -1100m (-3609ft)

Walking: approx 7 hrs

Day 6 - Trek from Las Illas to Col de l’Ouillat

After a relaxed breakfast, with time to enjoy the views, today's trek will take us from Las Illas to Col de l’Ouillat. Our route follows the Spanish border and will link up with the parallel hiking route, the GR11. As we cross the Col de Perthus (290m) and head towards the Albères Massif, we'll be aware of the transition from classic Pyrenean terrain to Mediterranean landscapes. It's a lovely sensation as nature starts to mark the end of our route. Fragrant pine forests line the way for the final section of today's trek, which finishes at the impressive Col de l'Ouillat (936m). Tonight's accommodation is the Chalet de l'Albère, which promises a woodland hideaway, with a stunning panorama. The perfect place to relax and enjoy a late afternoon drink on the terrace, taking time to reflect on our journey so far.

 

Accommodation: mountain refuge, dinner included  

Distance: 21 km (13 miles)

Ascent/ descent: +930m (+3051ft) / -540m (-1771ft)

Walking: approx  6-7 hrs

 

Day 7 - Trek from Col de l’Ouillat to Banyuls-sur-Mer

Getting lower in altitude and coming out of the high mountains unfortunately doesn't mean it's an easy cruise down to the sea! This final section of the GR10 Section 8 is not only our longest, but also the most technical, as we trek through rugged terrain with some steep sections and loose rock underfoot. The trail passes over three successive pics - the Pic Neulos, Pic des Quatre-Termes, and the Pic de Sailfort. The terrain and vegetation in this section of the GR10 is characterised by the strong, cold winds that blow through the Languedoc-Roussillon, giving the mountains here an exposed and 'stripped bare' feel. Up here, there's little vegetation or forests to protect us if it's windy and we'll be grateful to descend from the Pic de Sailfort into the foothills of the Pyrenees. As we trek lower, we'll be greeted by a complete change of scene as the landscape becomes dotted with vineyards, farmland and the nearby allure of the sea. Banyuls-sur-Mer is our final destination; a seaside town set around a natural bay. It's been inhabited since 400BC, when the Romans fell for its charming location. Dipping our toes in the water is a must to mark the end of our journey!

 

Accommodation: hotel, dinner included

Distance: 22 km (13.7 miles)

Ascent/ descent: +750m (+2460ft) / -1650m (-5413ft)

Walking: approx 6-7 hrs

Day 8 - Departure day from Banyuls-sur-Mer

Our trip finishes after breakfast today. For those who joined us just for Stage 8 or the final two stages, well done! For those who did the whole thing? incredible, see you again next summer for another epic Cloud 9 Adventure! If you'd like some assistance in choosing which stage(s) of the GR10 to hike, just get in touch. We know the whole route well and can select the week to best tick your trekking boxes. 

Included

  • 7 nights' accommodation on twin-share or dormitory basis

  • All breakfasts

  • Evening meals on 6 nights (not provided on arrival day)

  • Fully qualified & experienced International Mountain Leader

  • Luggage access on 6 out of 7 nights

Not Included

  • Lunches

  • Evening meal on 1 night

  • Flights

  • Travel insurance

  • Personal drinks & snacks

  • Tips

Pyrenees GR10 Stage 8 Trek: Book Online

The Park, Waresley, Sandy, Beds SG19 3BS

+44 208 144 8102     

© 2018 Cloud 9 Adventure

info@cloud9adventure.com

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