Thursday, 15 August 2013

Only 2 weeks to go until the Pyrenees Trip!

It has been quite a battle, but finally everything is in place for our trip to the Pyrenees, which is less than 2 weeks away!

One of the sticky points surrounding this trip is the enforcement of a French 1970s law that requires 4 reflective stickers on your helmet. I have been told that if you are caught without these stickers you will be given a €135 fine and incur 3 points on your driving license. For more information about these stickers visit:

In this post I am going to attach all the routes that have been planned. Of course, this may change on the trip itself, but it may help those who are planning to go away to similar areas. If you would like to download the full route to see it in further detail then please let me know. They are all in Garmin format but I am sure you can use software like Tire to convert them to other platforms. Our journey in a nutshell starts at Santander where we gradually head across the northern Spanish border to Barcelona, head up to Andorra and then make our way back via the Pyrenees:

Our first day in Spain sees us head to an overnight stop in Etxarri as we are not expected to arrive in Spain until 18:15 in the evening. Unfortunately I do not have an individual screenshot of this route, but it is basically the fastest route from Santander to Etxarri, avoiding all tolls.

Continuing across the northern border, we head towards a campsite just east of Jaca, hoping to be able to spend some time in Jaca itself. This route mostly avoids the N240, opting instead to take the scenic route. If you would like a faster alternative then stay onto the N240 for as long as you can before you need the exit to Jaca.

One of the longest journeys on this trip is the route to Barcelona. This route goes via the Montserrat Monastery and is planned to utilise as many scenic and fun roads as possible. It will take almost an entire day to complete. There are motorway equivalents, although these may require toll payments. Due to the nature of this trip, most of our riding pleasure will come from heading from one location to another. Last year, Emma and myself opted to get to where we were staying and then head out for a ride, but we've decided to do it on the way this time round.

Whilst in Barcelona, we plan to head north to Figueres to visit the Salvador Dali Museum. To the right you will see a screenshot of the route returning from Figueres to Barcelona. This was set to the fastest route avoiding tolls. There are faster routes available, but these will incur toll charges. 

The next major part of the trip involves our activities in Andorra. Taking a pretty direct route via Manresa where the journey shouldn't take longer than around 4 hours. It is important to plan a time contingency so that you do not miss out on what is important to you on your trip. If you would like estimated journey times then please ask, although I will probably write this up when I post on my return (if I forget - remind me!).

Back in Spain, in the rather remote town of Llavorsi, you can take up rafting. Although only 58 miles away it looks like there are no big roads, so the journey time is estimated around 2 hours. There is no direct route either (although there may be some unpaved roads if you are have a suitable bike like a BMW or KTM) so you need to dip south before heading back up again.

Next route leaves Andorra and heads to the mid-Pyrenees. Judging by Basecamp, parts of this journey are pretty challenging, with some tight bends and narrow roads. Despite being only 210 miles, the estimated time of travel is over 6 hours. There will be plenty of photo spots along this route  so make sure you allow enough time for stoppages. Alternatively, look at the main roads that head across further north and then come back in towards the Pyrenees - although you will probably miss out on some quite spectacular views if you choose to do that.

Once in the mid-Pyrenees there is the Pont des Espagne waterfall and scenic bike rides to Luz Ardiden and Gavarnie to get stuck into. There are 3 screenshots for these, to the left, right and below (starting with the Pont des Espagne):

We will then leave the mid-Pyrenees and start making our way back towards Santander for the ferry home. Before this however, we stop just outside the west of the Pyrenees at Camping Uhaitza in Mauleon-Soule. Here you have the option to visit a couple of gorge's south of the campsite. The address of these are: Les Gorges de Kakuetta, 64560 Sainte-Engrace, France and Les Gorges d'Holzarte, 64560 Larrau, France. I have not created a route to these but have added them as favourites in my sat nav. The route to the campsite is shown to the right.

Just two routes to go. The first being an overnight stop back in Spain in a place called Orio. The last, being the final journey back to Santander to catch the ferry home.

 For those of you planning to visit any of the places that we are at the end of this month I hope this helps. As above, if you would like any estimated journey times, Garmin route files or just about anything I might be able to help with then just comment below :).

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