Monte Perdido Trek
Canyons of Guara to Monte Perdido, Ordesa National Park I 8 days I
8 days – Spanish Pyrenees
Starting in spectacular karst formations of the Canyons of Guara, we move north to the Ordesa national park and Monte Perdido which lies on the border between France and Spain and close to the Breche de Roland where Legend has it that Charlemagne’s nephew and leader of the mighty army that crossed to Spain in 778 to invade Pamplona. A spectacular trek with the opportunity to see many birds of prey.
1-8 July 2021
27 August – 3 September 2021
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Challenging - Trip grade 2
Canyons of Guara to Monte Perdido, Ordesa National Park
Duration: 8 days – 6 days of trekking
Accommodation: 7 nights accommodation – Hotels, Moutain Huts, Casas
This spectacular karstic relief with sinkholes, deep canyons and caves hosting a unique flora. It is at the crossroads of Atlantic and Mediterranean environments and conglomerate cliffs soar upwards and are the home to griffin vultures who play on the thermals. The moors and the Christians fought over the area in the middle ages. We visit Alquezar an old arabic town with castle and over 60 caves close by containing neolithic paintings.
We move on to the Ordesa national park and Monte Perdido which lies on the border between France and Spain and close to the Breche de Roland where Legend has it that Charlemagne’s nephew and leader of the mighty army that crossed to Spain in 778 to invade Pamplona, was retreating when he found himself trapped behind the frontier mountains. Roland, bringing up the back of the troops was fatally wounded, and rather than have the Moors capture his magical sword he threw it at the cliff face in his last breath of life, hoping to break it. Instead, the mountain broke, cutting this giant cleft, 100m high and 40m wide
Starting in the humming town of Zaragoza we move toward a beautiful wilderness.
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- Accommodation and food as specified in the programme;
- Transport to and from Zaragoza airport on a single timed transfer per group;
- Local transport as per the itinerary;
- Guiding by a qualified International Mountain leader 1:10 maximum ratio
- Mountain snacks;
- Phone calls;
- Any additional transport or accommodation needed if you have to leave the group for a medical or fitness reason
Arrive in Zaragoza airport and transfer to the ancient red-tiled hilltop village of Alquazar. We will stay at the picturesque Hotel Castillo, Villa de Alquezar or similar within the Sierra de Guara. https://www.hotelcastilloalquezar.com/
In the evening we will eat together at a Michelin listed restaurant http://www.casapardina.com/ in the evening in the centre. It has a big terrace from where we can look out towards the plains of Huesca.
Walkways of Alquazar
Circular walk along the pasarela walkways in beautiful walkways of Alquazar 13.8km +680m. We will spend a second night in Alquazar.
It has a Moroccan romantic Moorish feel to it on arrival with the landscape adorned with dramatic cliffs and canyons. You could easily be in North Africa. You can take pleasure in a beer or a coffee whilst watching vultures circulating around the cliffs. The walk ways navigate above clear blue waters with an open feel. We will walk to a Roman bridge en route.
Alquazar to Riglos
Transfer Alquazar to Riglos which takes approximately 1.5hrs. Once surrounded by the spectacular towers of Riglos we will walk amongst Los Mallos de Riglos. There are many options in this area.
Los Mallos de Riglos are impressive rock formations which stand 300 metres high.
These unique terracotta rocks with their flat sides are a paradise for climbers in the summer months with many of the climbers known internationally. There are plenty of hiking opportunities available for those that want the challenge with easier routes on offer too. Access to Los Mallos de Riglos is just a few minutes walk from the Las Peñas de Riglos car park. long the way we saw a church dwarfed by the immense rock behind it, houses adorned with flowers and of course the most magnificent landscape. Tonight we stay in an original boutique style casa or small hotel close to Riglos.
Riglos - lake Vadiello
Riglos – lake Vadiello
Today we will make an early start on this big and wild day. Starting by the side of an azure deep reservoir Vadiello with it’s prong formation and spectacular conglomerate towers and the limestone formations and vertical strata of the fragineto. We head northwards on the west side of the reservoir along a rocky but well defined path to nocito. We then transfer to Barceló Monasterio de Boltaña Spa hotel or the unique and stylish casa Cruz depending on availability. (+788m, 12km)
Upper Vero Canyon and vultures
Mirador de Revilla and Escuin
We take a day trip to the balcon of the vultures where we will find a eye catching lunch spot and take a short walk. You will then have a chance to look around. A fairly gentle day, with a 4 hour walk exploring the unique Upper Vero Canyon, spotting vultures and eagles. Mirador de Revilla. 480m+ 5.27km. 3-4 hours. Vultures plus canyon Escuain.
This area has one of Europe’s greatest concentrations of Griffon vultures, and we have the chance of seeing Lammergeier and Egyptian vultures too. Flora (tulips, daffodils and orchids) and fossils are on the agenda also.
Then we will visit Ainsa and spend a second night at Boltaña either at the Monastery or a casa.
Pradera de Ordesa - Breche de Rolande
Pradera de Ordesa via the ”Hunter’s path” to Refugio Goriz
Drive to Torla (40 minutes) and then catch the free park bus into Pradera de Ordesa and a further 20- minute drive into the park. Walk to Refugio Goriz following the Hunter’s Route. We will have a steep climb of about 700m height gain initially. At the top of this climb there is a magnificent viewpoint looking into the valley and towards our goal, the Refugio Goriz. We then traverse the valley side for some 9km, stopping to observe vultures and the ever-changing flora. The landscape is some of the most spectacular in Europe and the geological glacial “cirque” features are world renowned. At the head of the valley Circo de Soasa we will pause by the waterfall before making our final ascent of the day to the Refugio Goriz (2200m). Here we have time to enjoy spectacular views and explore the immediate surrounds, including the high-altitude species of birds, plants and butterflies that exist in this unique landscape. Indeed Monte Perdido (3,355m) is the highest limestone massif in Europe.
Accommodation & dinner refugio Goriz (the only hut in the park) gives us access to a string peaks including Monte Perdido. The refuge has 80 beds and is set in a stunning location with the GR11 close by.
12 km 980m+ 5+ hours.
Refugio Goriz to Breche
Refugio Goriz (2200m) to Breche ”viewpoint” via ’easy’ route down Ordesa valley main path back to Pradera.
After an early breakfast, at 07h30 we will depart the Refugio (2200m) and ascend via the rim towards the Breche de Roland leaving our sleeping kit in the refuge. We may camp outside the refuge depending on availability. After 2 hours of ascent across an incredible, barren limestone landscape we will have superb views towards the Breche, a glacier and the surrounding peaks. After a pause for photographs and drinks, we will then return to the Refugio for lunch. Afterwards we will descend into the Ordesa valley and return along the main valley (4hrs) route to the Pradera which offers magnificent views, ever-changing habitat and is a reasonably easy, steady descent. We will transfer for 1.5 hrs to our hotel in Zaragoza old town.
700m + climb then descend, 9 hr day (16km)
Transfer to Zaragoza
We will transfer to Zaragoza airport in mid morning or according to the flight schedule.
Nights 1 and 2 Alquezar
https://www.hotelcastilloalquezar.com/ or El Lagar del Vero 2-star hotel
Night 3: Riglos
La Casona de la Reina Berta is a new building that used ancient materials from previous buildings that were located on the same site. It is located in the center of town, next to the church of San Salvador (11th century). The rooms are fully equipped and most offer spectacular views of the emblematic Mallos de Riglos, the Gállego River and the Marcuello Castle. They have been baptized with the dowry that Queen Berta received from her husband King Pedro I of Aragon. The history of this queen serves as a thematic argument to receive a didactic class with the distribution and
of the Casona.
Night 4: Barceló Monasterio de Boltaña Spa hotel or the unique and stylish Casa Cruz depending on availability
Final night in Zaragoza old town
Hotel Pilar Plaza *** or similar