Coastal Freedom Trail and Alberes mountains

6 Days

Join Our Fixed Trip Starting Date

TRIP DATES AVAILABILITY PRICE SPACE LEFT
October 13, 2024 - October 18, 2024 Available £995
Available
May 3, 2025 - May 8, 2025 Available £995
Available
May 8, 2025 - May 13, 2025 Available £995
Available

Details at a glance

  • Perpignan
  • Perpignan or Barcelona
  • Hotels
  • Spring or Autumn
  • Not too difficult
  • 5-15

Overview

For this trip, there is one itinerary sticking closer to the coast and another ‘escape col’ route through the stunning Alberes mountains, climbing to 2000m.

DATES for 2024 and 2025

We have dates available in March, April, May and October 2024 and 2025.

We can offer this self-guided for groups of 4+ people:

01 March – 30 June 2024 &
01 September – 31 October 2024
(You can start any day)

Price: £975 Single Supplement – £325

Do request if you would like a particular option by e-mailing anne@freedomtrailtreks.com.

Coastal Freedom Trail

We have 2 options, the classic Coastal Freedom Trail crossing the Alberes mountains staying in all hotels and the Escape cols of the Alberes mountains which links together escape routes above the coast.  Over 100,000 people escaped this way during WW2 either along the coast before the German controls increased or up into the mountains later in the war to evade them following a secret map from the mayor Azuma in Banyuls sur la Mer. It was part of the Varian Fry escape line within the Pat O’Leary. Accommodation is all in hotels. This coastal freedom trail, follows the escape route taken by Jewish philosopher Walter Benjamin during WWII. You will hike from Collioure, France to Cap de Creus, Spain along the Vermillion coast of the Costa Brava. Unsurprisingly, the coast (in French the Côte Vermeille, in Spanish the Costa Brava) and its fishing villages have long attracted many artists, among them Dalí, Picasso and Matisse, who were drawn by the bright Mediterranean light. This trip includes four or five days of trekking and a six day trip in total. Options are to stop in Llanca, walking to the Saint Pere de Rodes monastery or continuing straight to Port de la Selva. You will be accommodated in stylish 2-3* hotels during your journey. Bags are transferred each day so you only need to walk with a day sack. You can arrive into Barcelona airport or Perpignan airport or train station. Many flights in and out of Barcelona are available and it is possible to reach Perpignan or Collioure easily by train to join.

Escape Cols of the Alberes mountains

This route also climbs Pic Salifort on the way and visits Col de Banyuls used both in the Spanish civil war and during WW2 and is generally tougher with more height gain than the classic route. There is a wild camp refuge experience so you can really feel what it was like to be an evadie! Both routes are ideal for groups and families alike. We have an in depth knowledge of where these routes went so if you are tracing the footsteps of a passeur, escaper or  would just like to experience it and see the signs of the past and find out more we can help! We have also helped people to discover where their relatives crossed. Lisa Fittko herself was an iconic female passeur who survived to write a book so her inspiration lives on.

If your preferred dates are not available, please contact us to enquire about alternative dates.

Itinerary

and make the transfer to Collioure, close to where Walter Benjamin started his journey to Spain. Alternatively, you can arrive in Barcelona and catch a train or take a taxi directly to Collioure. Perpignan was in touching distance of freedom and was one of the final steppingstones leading to Spain and ultimately the free world beyond. Perpignan was one of the final steppingstones to Spain and ultimately Gibraltar and beyond and strategically important to the PAT and Francoise lines after visiting memorial Camp de Rivsaltes which housed many prisoners and refugees from 1939. In the evening you will have the opportunity to look around Collioure and see the Chateau de Collioure. You can also fly into Barcelona and meet us in Perpignan which is a short train ride away. 3* Hotel in Collioure.

We begin walking to Port-Vendres where Jewish philosopher Walter Benjamin began his escape journey after arriving by train from Marseille. Lisa and Hans Fittko helped hundreds of refugees over the Pyrenees to Spain) and onto Barcelona, Madrid, Badajoz and Lisbon. We start taking in the Fort Sant Elme and head out past the Batterie Mally ruins to the Cap de Bear. We continue around the coast to Banyuls sur la mer. Alternatively, it is possible to climb up from Port -Vendres to visit the Tour de Madaloc (656m) en route. We will take lunch in a café en route. 3* Hotel Banyuls sur la Mer. (B,D)

Walter Benjamin escaped crossing the Col de Rumplissa assisted by Lisa Fittko on the F route or Lister route with three other German Jews. On leaving Puig Mas we climb up through wine groves to reach the col. A memorial route is marked and we have the opportunity to visit the castle of Querroig before descending, at times steeply to Portbou to make the escape into Spain. The refugees route runs below the road and is concealed by the mountain overhang, so that it couldn’t be seen by the French border sentries who patrolled above. At some places the road and the path get very near each other, and there the refugees had to be attentive. Many escapees boarded the night train to Barcelona and others walked on. Visit to Walter Benjamin Memorial and then catch the train from Portbou to Llanca or transfer around to where we will stay for the night. (13km +500m) 3* hotel Llanca (B,L)

Walk Portbou or Llanca – Port de la Selva making an early start via some remote beaches on the Cap de Ras. Opportunity to swim in the afternoon or take a tougher route by the monastery St Pere de Rodes. It was clear the refugees were meant to be keep moving through Spain; in the words of the foreign minister of the time “they were passing through Spain as light passes through glass, leaving no trace”. The Lister line first headed to Barcelona and then Madrid and Lisbon to Havanna.
Alternative option:
We drive up from Llanca to the fabulous monestir Sant Pere de Rodes, a former benadictine monastery before dropping down to Port de la Selva. Often the coastal routes were closed off due to Nazi check points such as at Cebre and it was necessary for escapees to take to the mountains… 2 or 3* hotel (B,L) Long day 18km +600m or take on the shorter day from Llanca. Hotel Port de la Selva 3* (B,L)

Cap de Creus park is a stunning terrestrial and marine park, the first to be created in Spain. We walk through fascinating scrubland with a huge array of plant life, reptiles and marine birds. Common toad, Ocellated lizard, Mediterranean turtle, eagle, peregrine falcon, owls, gulls, terns, shearwaters and shag can be seen. Spectacular and unusual rocky scenery don’t disappoint as we make our way to the fascinating coastline and a lighthouse. We have the chance to make an optional visit to the Dali house museum where Dali lived for a long period. Drive of 50 minutes to Figueres for our celebratory dinner with our team or your guide. End of services. (B,L)

Time to relax in the morning on the cobbled streets of Figueres before departing. There is a train from Figueres Vilifant to Barcelona Sants which takes (1hr 15 minutes). There is a 4-minute drive by taxi to the train station. Should you wish not to travel by train we can assist with another form of transfer which needs to be booked in advance with us and isn't included.

What is included in this tour?

Included in this trip

  • Accommodation and food as specified in the programme
  • Transport to and from Perpignan to Collioure on a single timed transfer per group.
  • Local transport as per the itinerary and moving of luggage
  • Figueres transfer from Cap de Creus
  • Guiding by an International Mountain Leader
  • Maximum ratio of one guide to 10 clients

Not included in this trip

  • Flights
  • Insurance
  • Mountain snacks
  • Any additional transport or accommodation needed if you have to leave the group for a medical or fitness reason.
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Transport to the airport from Barcelona or Figueres
  • Extra airport transfers from Girona, Carcassonne, Barcelona or Toulouse

Join Our Fixed Trip Starting Date

TRIP DATES AVAILABILITY PRICE SPACE LEFT
October 13, 2024 - October 18, 2024 Available £995
Available
May 3, 2025 - May 8, 2025 Available £995
Available
May 8, 2025 - May 13, 2025 Available £995
Available

FAQs

Can the trek be done more cheaply

Yes by staying in camping or bungalow accommodation.

Accommodation

Collioure 3 * hotel

Banyuls sur la Mer 3 * hotel

Llanca x 2 nights 3* hotel

Figueres 4* hotel

 

 

Overall Trip Rating
2.1
- Based on 5 travel reviews
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  1. Really amazing trip
    By Luca Enriques
    from United Kingdom
    November 10, 2022
    Anne and Rich were great. My favourite part was experienceing the Walter Benjamin memorial. Luca.
    Date of Experience: November 10, 2022
  2. Wonderful trip
    By Peter H
    from United Kingdom
    June 20, 2022
    I feel the most relaxed I have for the last 2 years, the weight of the world has dropped away
    Date of Experience: June 20, 2022
  3. Fanstastic
    By Peter B
    from United Kingdom
    June 20, 2022
    Hi Anna loved everything, thanks so much, sending you hugs from Wales
    Date of Experience: June 20, 2022
  4. Review by Michael Hacon
    By Michael Hacon
    from United Kingdom
    June 18, 2018
    Thank you again for a fantastic few days! Can't believe it's all over. Susannah and I enjoyed every minute! Will send photos. Michael
    Date of Experience: June 18, 2018
  5. Fantastic coastal walk
    By Susannah Hacon
    from United Kingdom
    June 18, 2018
    Anne was a knowledgeable and extremely competent guide and leader. Her interest in the history of the Freedom Trail shone through and she shared this with us as we walked.
    Date of Experience: June 08, 2018

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Coastal Freedom Trail and Alberes mountains
From £995
/ Adult