The Freedom Trail is one of the escape routes in the Pyrenees used by allied servicemen and Jewish refugees from Nazi occupied France during WW2. The 4-day trek offers spectacular mountain scenery and an insight into the hardships and bravery of all those who attempted to escape.
Day 1: London - Toulouse - St Girons
Depart London for Toulouse. On arrival we meet our local team and transfer to St Girons for the night (approx. 1.5 hours). We enjoy a welcome dinner and briefing this evening. Meals: Dinner. Overnight: Hotel.
Day 2: St Girons - Aunac/Esbints
This morning we start off by paying a visit to the Chemin de la Liberté Museum before commencing our walk from La Soumere to tonight's accommodation, an auberge at either Aunac or Esbints (depending on the size of the group) with dinner taken together at the auberge. We can just carry daypacks today as our kit is transported to the auberge ready for our arrival this evening. The auberge offers simple mixed dormitory style accommodation and a hearty dinner. Trekking: 11.5km, approx. 4 hours. Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Overnight: Auberge.
Day 3: Aunac/Esbints - Subera (1,499m)
Today's trek takes us to Subera at 1,499m. We set off through the forest and commence a long steep climb up to the Col de le Core (1,395m), before lunch. From here we must carry our own sleeping bags and camping mats and any other kit needed for tonight (i.e. wash-kit and clothes), for another couple of hours of walking as we won't meet our vehicles again until the end of the trip. We are now entering wilderness terrain, and we will advise you what to pack in your bag as it is important not to carry more than necessary. It is then a gentler walk to reach tonight's accommodation, a mountain hut set in a beautiful valley at the foot of towering cliffs. The hut is very primitive with a cold water sink, occasionally light via a generator and a good fire. We generally eat dinner (camping cooking) in the hut and either sleep inside, or camp outside depending on the group size. (Our tents are stored there ready for us). Trekking: 15km, approx. 7 hours. Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Overnight: Mountain hut or wild camping.
Day 4: Subera - Estagnous (2,241m)
Today is the most challenging day, with a climb of 1,500m which takes us into higher mountains crossing two cols of around 2,400m. The scenery becomes more and more impressive the higher we climb as we pass the wreck of a crashed Halifax bomber at 2100m before crossing the steep Col de Craberous, and descending for lunch. After lunch we descend to a lake before climbing up once more to cross the final col to descend to the Estagnous mountain refuge (at 2,241m). The refuge offers mixed dormitory-style accommodation, as well as hot showers (cost €2) and a 3-course dinner. Wine and beer can be purchased here. Blankets are provided but you will need to bring either your own sleeping bag or a silk sleeping bag liner.
Day 5: Estagnous - Viehla
Our final day of trekking brings us across the border into Spain via our trek's highest point (2,522m) before descending to Borde de Perosa, where we are picked up for a transfer to Vielha (approx. 1 hour). There is one particularly tricky section today where we have to hold on to a via ferrata style wire to negotiate a steep, rocky channel for approx. 150m, this involves scrambling over rocks. On arrival at Vielha we check in to our hotel and enjoy a celebration dinner this evening. Trekking: 9.2km, approx. 7 hours. Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Accommodation: Hotel.
Day 6: Viehla - Toulouse - UK
Depending on the flight schedules there might be time to explore Viehla independently this morning before we travel back to Toulouse airport (approx. 2.5 hours drive) for the flight back to the UK. Meals: Breakfast.
N.B. This itinerary may change due to unusual weather patterns, the ability of the group and so on. We will do our best to keep to the itinerary however we cannot be held responsible for changes that might occur outside of our control. In such circumstances your guide and tour leader will have the final say in the interest of the health and safety of the group.
What is included
- Return flights from the UK
- Airport taxes and charges
- Local transfers and transport
- 3* hotel and refuges on the trek
- English-speaking local guides
- Different Travel UK tour manager
- All meals
- Trek permits
What is not included
- Any necessary vaccinations
- Drinks, laundry and personal expenses
- Spending money (tips and gratuities, souvenirs)
- Transport to/from UK airports
- Personal trek kit
- Travel insurance
- EHIC card