The Pyrenees, an area of outstanding natural beauty, the Pyrenees is an incredibly diverse and stunning area for a mountain bike trip. Spanning 2 countries and and cultures, the riding includes bike parks, uplift zones and high alpine areas, filled with raw, natural single track. The people on either side of the French / Spanish border are proud of their home and you feel this in their food, cultures and traditions, their villages and above all for a mountain biker, in their trails.
The area is vast, with hidden gems in every valley. New trails are to be discovered on every peak. It's quiet, very quiet. In the French Alps, you see the mark of humanity, ski resorts predominantly, on every mountainside. You'll see less infrastructure and people in the Pyrenees. This connectivity makes the French Alps a fantastic place to explore, it's easy and accessible. The Pyrenees is not as easy, the best riding is uncovered by knowing the right people to show you the right places and often effort is required by the rider to make the most of it.
The Riding in the Pyrenees is amazing
There are bike parks in the Pyrenees on both sides of the border. Loudenvielle is fast becoming a destination held in high regard after several successful World Cup level events. This French resort is only 2 hours from Toulouse and with a forward thinking mountain bike community really pushing to improve year on year, the sky is the limit. See more from Loudonville here.
Vielha, in Val D'Aran, though not quite a bike park in the traditional sense, is a marked riding zine serviced by a group of shuttle companies offering guided days in the areas surrounding this ski resort town. Vielha and the small hamlet or Arties are lovely spots for an evening aswell, with some excellent and authentic Spanish food and tapas bars. We include this incredible destination on our High Pyrenees MTB Tour.
In Bielsa, Spain, there are some incredible trails
In Bielsa, Spain, there are some incredible trails being sculpted by locals with the support of the government, steep, natural and fresh they are accessed by van, E-Bike or even helicopter. Here in the peaks surrounding this tiny Spanish village, you'll find some incredible, once-in-a-lifetime riding. Back into France and you'll find areas such as Ens, Fabian and Luchon offering some outstanding riding, some built solely by locals and some by projects supported by councils. In areas like this you'll find pockets of 3 - 4 trails grouped together, sometimes graded, sometimes not, sometimes official sometimes not so official. This is where having a good guide is worth the outlay.
In all of these areas, it really is best to find a local shuttle company or guide to make the most of your time. Trail Forks is a very useful tool and can really help you navigate the riding but you will not be able to get as much in without the help of an expert. Better yet jump onto a tour program with Atlas Ride Co to uncover as much terrain as possible with everything looked after for you by local experts.
- 7 Nights of 3/4* Hotel Accommodation
- 5 Days Guided riding in total
- *Optional Heli Drop for a once-in-a-lifetime descent at £1990 per person *total tour price
- Spa entry in Loudenvielle
- 6 lunches at great local spots
- Welcome Dinner to brief with the guides
- Airport Transfers to and from Toulouse*
- All internal transfers between destinations
- Professional guides and a dedicated team on the ground
High Pyrenees Trip Highlights
- Heli Drop in the wilderness of the high Spanish Pyrenees, descending over 2000M.
- EDR / EWS trails and secret single tracks unlocked by locals
- Border hopping from France into Spain
- Pyrenean culture, food and hospitality
- Thermal Spa to unwind mid-trip
Who would enjoy riding in the High Pyrenees
The riding is predominantly natural, even in the bike parks big jump and drop lines are limited to a few marquee trails. The very best riding is definitely away from the trails and into the recesses of the bike parks and in the high alpine zones. Trails such as Entecada, connecting France and Spain are truly once-in-a-lifetime experiences and involve a good 2 hours of work on a standard mountain bike to access. Once in, you'll be riding some of the longest, purest trails you'll ever ride but not without the hardships of getting there.
An expert-level enduro rider would absolutely love the terrain on offer. The best bike to take to the Pyrenees would be an aggressive all-mountain enduro bike with at least 150mm of travel front and rear. A downhill bike would limit the possibilities too much, while there are fantastic dedicated downhill runs, there is not the scale and scope of some of the more popular alpine resorts to justify it in the Pyrenees for a holiday.
E-Bikes offer easy access to the best riding, while the logistics of battery charging lean moving from point to point still requires assistance, an E-Bike allows you to ride across borders and link zones with ease, or self-shuttle some incredible spots for a day at a time.
There are afew bike shops that are most commonly found as ski shops turning their hand at the mountain biking in their off-season. In towns such as Vielha, there are some dedicated year-round stores that are well-stocked and professionally run. It's best to plan your trip carefully to ensure you are taking the right bike and right spares for the job, which is where an experienced tour operator can really help, whether an off-the-shelf program or a custom package can provide great peace of mind.
Traveling to the Pyrenees
Travelling to the Pyrenees is relatively easy from the UK. Toulouse airport is within 2 hour's drive of many excellent riding destinations in both France and Spain, as a major transport hub for Europe you'll find flights from most UK airports. Transfer links are best considered by private shuttle or within a tour program that you have booked, there is not feasible rail networks that will directly access the Pyrenees. You can also consider a rental vehicle which is a great option if you are considering visiting multiple destinations within the region. Budget between €300 and €400 each way return for a 9-seat van to take you to and from Toulouse airport and a resort such as Loudenvielle 2 hours away.
Driving from the UK takes only an hour or so longer than many famous alpine destinations at around 11 hours from Calais, and costs a similar amount in tolls (€75). The Pyrenees is a bucket list area to ride, full of trails that you’ll remember forever, and while the best riding does take some effort to find, it’s worth every pedal stroke.
If you have any questions regarding mountain biking in the Pyrenees and any of our mountain bike tours in this area then please use the contact form below and one of our friendly team will get back to you ASAP.