Journal

Exploring the Pyrenees by gravel bike - an unforgettable experience.

The Tourmalet, Col d’Aubisque, Cirque de Gavarnie or the Vallée d’Aspe… who hasn’t trembled with excitement when hearing of these mythical places in the Pyrenees? This magnificent mountain range, stretching from the Atlantic to the Med, is well known for road cycling and mountain biking. But for those in search of something different, who want to explore the paths less ridden AND find those small back roads that are heaven to ride, a Gravel bike is your dream come true. So whether you are already a cyclist looking for a new challenge or an explorer on the hunt for adventure, a Gravel bike will enable an unforgettable journey. Our trips create lasting memories, of exceptional landscapes, a complete immersion in Nature, the odd revitalising challenge and a whole lot of fun.

So what are you waiting for?! Time to kit up, jump on your bike and head off to explore the jewel that is the Pyrenees

Exploring the Pyrenees by Gravel bike - an experience that will take your breath away. 

Thanks to its versatility, comfort and solidity, a Gravel bike is the perfect steed to explore all that the Pyrenees have to offer. As happy on tarmac as on the trails, it allows you to get to even the most tucked away vistas and to really see the Pyrenees in all its glory

You’ll soon find your rhythm, pedalling through landscapes of green valleys below snowy peaks and lakes hidden by lush forests, for a total immersion in Nature. Each and every corner will lead you to a new view and a new perspective.

Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist looking for a challenge or an intermittent (for now!) cyclist in search of Nature and adventure, the Pyrenees will satisfy and seduce you. You can challenge yourself on some of the many mythical cols (like the Tourmalet and the Aubisque) and the tiny backroads will take you far beyond the average cyclist’s ride.

Leaving the tarmac behind and taking the path least ridden, you’ll be at one with the environment and off on an unrivalled bike adventure.

A total break, guaranteed, in the heart of the spectacular Pyrenean mountains.

Unmissable spots that will take your breath away

Think mythical cols, glacial craters and high altitude lakes - every nook and cranny of the Pyrenees is unique. The mountains here are an ideal playground for lovers of all outdoor sports and nature. The jaw dropping landscapes you’ll find invite exploration and simple contemplation. 

Here are some of highlights to be found in the Pyrenees:

  • Legendary cols

Made famous in part by the Tour de France, the mythical cols you’ll find in the Pyrenees include the Tourmalet, the Aubisque, the Portet and the Soulor. Climbing just one of these by bike can be an enormous challenge, but one thing for sure is that you’ll have an incredible experience in doing so. The picture postcard views more than make up for the effort involved in making the top. 

  • Glacial craters

Created by glacial erosion, the impressive craters you’ll find in the Pyrenees make for a unique and almost mystical environment to immerse yourself in. The Gavarnie crater, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is one of the best known. We delve a little deeper to find the intimate and wild Troumouse and Estaube craters too, for an out of this world experience. 

  • High altitude lakes

Tucked away in hidden valleys or perched near mountain summits, the lakes you’ll find in the Pyrenees are little slices of heaven that invite you to linger. Surrounded by summits reflected in the pure waters of Lake Estaing and Lake Gaube, it’s easy to lose yourself in the moment and the landscape.

  • Lush green forests

The Pyrenees are also known for its vast forests of pine, oak and beech trees. They form a majestic natural barrier that stretches 430km from east to west separating France and Spain. With numerous winding trails leading to clearings that have remained secret, despite their beauty, you’ll find an incredibly varied and pristine flora and fauna.

Our handy tips for Gravel riding in the Pyrenees 

Because exploring the Pyrenees on a gravel bike necessitates some preparation, here’s some handy advice to help you prepare for your adventure.

  • Plan your route

Make sure that you’ve chosen a route that’s not just suitable for your level and fitness, but also corresponds to what you’d like to get out of your trip. Highlight any points of interest on and near to your route that might be worth a detour, as well as the all important opportunities to refuel food and water.

All our GravelUp trips are organised according to your level and with different durations to take the hassle out of this for you. Every adventure is led by a qualified and First Aid trained local guide to ensure you have the best adventure possible.

  • Sort your kit

You’ll need to carefully prepare ALL of your kit. Make sure your bike is in tiptop working order ready for a journey in the mountains, and that your clothes are equally up to the job. Lastly, don’t forget your repair kit!

If you don’t have a gravel bike yet, we offer both traditional and electric gravel bikes for rent. Both are high end models from the French manufacturer Origine that combine comfort and performance for the ultimate ride.

  • Ride safe!

Before you set off, check for any updates and restrictions you may find on your trip like col opening dates, protected wildlife areas, summer grazing zones and any wild camping restrictions. 

Prepare yourself both physically and mentally for the journey ahead as riding gravel in the mountains can be challenging at times, so ease yourself in with some shorter days to start with. Slow and Steady wins the race!

Exploring the Pyrenees by Gravel bike - a tailor-made adventure with GravelUp

As unwavering bikepacking fans, here at GravelUp we understand exactly what you need for a great adventure. We explore some of the most beautiful parts of France and Europe with our tailor-made trips - you can choose the level, duration and destination that suits you best.

We take care of everything during each and every adventure to ensure you have the best experience possible - including comfy accommodation, hearty breakfasts, trail snacks, rejuvenating meals, relaxation and culture. All our trips are guided and we have top notch gravel bikes available for hire too. 

So all you need to do is start the adventure, we’ll take care of the rest!

→ Find out more on our Pyrenees Destination page

Contact us for a made to measure adventure.

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