27 May – 1 June
Dates
All
Level
5 nights, 4 Days
Duration
14+
Age

Hiking, birdlife and photography trip to the Aragonese Pyrenees

INCLUDED Transfers from Toulouse
4 days of guided hiking
5 nights half board
All local transport
NOT INCLUDED Drinks with meals
CONDITIONS This hiking holiday is for 4-8 people

If you’re a lover of dramatic wild places, of rare birds of prey and also of photography, you’ll be bowled over by this spectacular and unique guided trip which combines hiking birdlife and photography in the Spanish Pyrenees.

This exceptional  experience takes place in the outstanding and unusual environment of the Haut Aragonese Pyrenees and the Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park.

The area is characterised by deep, steep-sided limestone gorges and inaccessible, rugged cliff faces which will take your breath away.

The Birdlife

We’re timing this hiking trip to coincide with the Spring migration of numerous birds of prey and rarer bird species. You may see bee-eaters who will be making their journey North from their winter quarters in Africa or possibly even wallcreepers who head up to these higher altitudes in the Springtime.

The sheer limestone cliff faces and steep gorges of the National Park provide an ideal breeding environment for countless bird species. However, it’s the birds of prey that are the stars of the show here.

Peregrine falcons, golden eagles, Egyptian vultures, black vultures and particuarly the threatened bearded vulture (aka the Lammergeier) settle here each Spring to raise their young.

What’s more, the Spanish authorities chose this rugged area for a bearded vulture reintroduction and breeding programme.  The ongoing programme is highly successful and we can now count over 50 breeding pairs in the area.

The Photography

There are numerous opportunities for the amateur photographer to take spectacular photos during this trip.

A couple of feeding stations have been set up in the area which attract an impressive variety of birds of prey. Hikes will be timed to coincide with the feeding days to afford you maximum photographic possibilities.

Your expert guide will also ensure you are in place to observe the birds as they catch the morning thermals and rise majestically up from their roosts in the deep gorges. It really is a spectacular sight!

Landscape photographers will likewise be blown away by the vast geologic formations of this dramatic environment.

The Hiking

There is nothing technical about the hiking. However, due to the ascent which may be up to 750m you should avoid bringing your biggest lenses unless you have a high level of fitness!

There will be regular stops to allow you to take full advantage of the photographic opportunities. Each day’s itinerary may be adjusted to take account of local intel on the birdlife currently in the area.

Accommodation

This is a two centre hiking, birdlife and photography trip. Your base for 3 nights will be a small family run hotel just a few hundred metres from one of the feeding stations near the Escuain gorge.

For the other 2 nights you’ll stay in mountain refuge accommodation above the spectacular Anisclo gorge.

1

Day 1

Arrival

You’ll be collected from Toulouse airport for a 2h30 transfer which will take you through the dramatic landscape of the centre of the Pyrenees chain.

Your base for the next 3 nights is a charming little family-owned and run hotel in a spectacular setting above the Tella valley.

2

Day 2

Tella
Ascent 350m
Hiking time 4h

Your stay commences with a gentle introductory hike from the hotel. You’ll follow the GR15 up to the picturesque suspended hamlet of Tella with its far-reaching views of the Cinca valley and the surrounding mountains.

The architecture is typical of this mountainous area with slate roofs and distinctive chimneys.

Look out for bearded vultures overhead as well as other vultures, eagles and numerous falcons. 

3

Day 3

Cirque de Gurrundué
Ascent 750m
Hiking time 6h

From the hotel you’ll hike above the spectacular gorges d’Escuain and admire the impressive outcrop of the Castillor Mayor across the valley. A goal for another day!

You’ll make your way to the grandiose Cirque de Gurrundué, a vast natural amphitheater at the foot of the Tres Marias massif.

The amphitheater is typical of this area of the Aragon Pyrenees and is a sanctuary for not only the Lammergeier but also numerous other birds of prey. Stay a while and observe the rich birdlife before making your way back to your hotel and a delicious home-cooked traditional evening meal. 

4

Day 4

Castillo Mayor
Ascent 900m
Hiking time 5h30

The Castillo Mayor is a local landmark and can be seen from quite some distance away. This vast, magical limestone outcrop has steep steep sides on which the birds of prey tend to linger.

From the summit you’ll look towards the Aragonese mountains and down to the beautiful river Yaga and the Escuain gorge.

You’ll spend the night in mountain refuge type accommodation at 1281m in the village of Nérin where you’re surrounded by the most spectacular unspoilt environment.

5

Day 5

Mondoto
Ascent 650m
Hiking time 5h

Today you’ll discover the heart of the Ordesa National Park and the Mondoto peak which, at 1000 alt, dominates the impressive Anisclo canyon.

From the peak you’ll enjoy uninterrupted views of Mont Perdu, the highest limestone outcrop in Europe.

Look out for numerous raptors as they ascend from the gorge on the thermal currents that develop in the morning air.

6

Day 6

Departure

After a good breakfast you’ll be transferred back to Toulouse airport for your flight home.

The bearded vulture or Lammergeier in Ordesa National park
The Tella valley with the Escuain gorge beyond
The dramatic Escuain gorge
The steep sides gorges are perfect for nesting birdlife
The bearded vulture or Lammergeier in Ordesa National park
Bearded vulture Escuain gorge Aragon
Info panels below Castillo Major
The Castillo Mayor limestone outcrop
Views hiking in Ordesa National Park
The Griffon vulture in Ordesa National Park
The Escuain gorge in Ordesa National Park
View from top of Castillo Mayor in Ordesa national park
Anisclo gorge in the Ordesa National park Aragon Pyrenees
Steep sides of Anisclo is a haven for bearded vultures
Wildflower beauty of Anisclo gorge Aragon

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