C010ST - VERMILLION COAST – 7 DAYS/6 NIGHTS - $1512.00
Price per person on twin share basis: $1512.00
The Vermilion Coast is the eastern part of the Pyrenees mountains range. The mountain hurls down into the Mediterranean Sea giving the coast a jagged edge. The sheer waters flow into inlets and small, charming ports, among which are Collioure, Port Vendres, Banyuls and Cerbère. The surrounding lands are rich in the wine-growing tradition, where the vineyards grow on small terraces enclosed by low sitting stone walls. The mountainous hinterland grows wild and almost inaccessible with Mediterranean vegetation smelling of thyme, lavender and rosemary. The Vermilion coast offers sun, sea, mountains, and the fragrances of the Midi. It is indeed heaven on earth!
Day 1 - Arrival at COLLIOURE. Collioure is one of the most beautiful small ports of the Mediterranean and charmed many artists attracted by this Catalan light and this bright sun. Collioure, village of art and gastronomically place with its famous anchovies but also historical village with its many monuments which remember to us his glorious past: the belfry of its old fortified church, the ancient château that separates its two small ports... Lodging and breakfast in a two-star hotel
Day 2 - COLLIOURE – PORT VENDRES (3 hour walk – altitude gain: 350 metres). You will leave the village through Route des Vignes. You are in uncommon vineyards where Banyuls and Collioure AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) “Registered Designation of Origin” wines are produced. The steep slopes, on which the vine stocks are planted, prevent any mechanization and all the vine work from the pruning to the grape harvest, are hand-made. Passed the Collar Mollo, you will discover Dugommier and St Elme forts, built in 16th century by Charles Quint (Emperor of Spain) to defend the Coast. Then you will go down to Port Vendres which name comes from the presence of a temple dedicated to Venus which dominated the creek. Today, Port Vendres offers a coloured, typically Mediterranean picture and has kept an important port activity (fishing, trade and yachting) - Dinner, Lodging and breakfast in a two-star hotel
Day 3 - PORT VENDRES- BANYULS (3.30 hour walk). You will follow the Tamarins beach out of the port and will walk to the Fort Mailly and the Feu du Mole at the end of the jetty to get a gorgeous view of the Port Vendres bay. You will come back towards the city to visit the Redoute Bear, a fortification that defended the harbour centuries ago and continue to the Bear lighthouse, which sits 80 metres above the sea. You will then cross through the Paulilles Bay and the Col de Pere Carrera to arrive in Banyuls. Dinner, lodging and breakfast in a two-star at seaside
Day 4 - CERBERE – BANYULS (5.30 hour walk – altitude gain: 670 metres). Escort by taxi to Cerbère. After having crossed through this very typical Catalan village (the last town in France before crossing the Spanish border and an important stop on the international railway line Paris – Barcelona), you will enter into the first hinterlands of the Pyrenees. The road takes you on a winding journey through the vineyards, giving you a view of the Pyrenees – still snow-capped in mid-May – and the Mediterranean Sea. You will reach the first pass (Col de la Fareille – 309 metres) and then continue the steep climb to the ruins of La Tour de Querroig. This tower was built in the 10th century by Spanish monks to keep watch over their properties. From here you will have a magnificent view of Cerbère, the Catalan coast, and the Pyrenees massif. You will follow the ridge that leads to Le Puig Joan, pass by the Tour d’En Pagès, and head down towards Banyuls. Dinner, lodging and breakfast in the same hotel
Day 5 - BANYULS – COLLIOURE (5 hour walk – altitude gain: 400 metres). Spend the morning hours visiting the Catalan city of Banyuls, with its numerous wine cellars and 11th century Romanesque church Rectory, surrounded by cemeteries and cypress trees. You will leave the city by way of Mas d’En Reig (the first place inhabited in Banyuls, around the 12th century) and make your way through the pine forest to the Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette chapel which overlooks Banyuls. You will continue to the Col des Gascons, which sits in the shadows of the Tour de la Madeloc, follow the road past the old military forts and barracks that sprinkle the landscape, and look out over the Catalan coast. You will return to Collioure by passing through the Fort Saint Elme (a beautifully restored oil mill) and the Pams gardens. In Collioure you might visit the museum, the curious construction “la Gloriette”, the château de Collioure, constructed on an ancient roman camp, and the harbour – Lodging and breakfast in a two-star hotel
Day 6 - TOUR OF THE MASSIF DE LA MADELOC (6 hour walk – altitude gain: 650 metres). After having left Collioure, you will climb along the vineyards to l’Ermitage Notre-Dame-de-la-Consolation and continue on to the Col de la Serre. Following a steep, rocky path, you will climb towards Taillefer battery, down again to the Col de Taillefer, and then start another steep ascent to the Tour de la Madeloc that sits at 650 metres above the sea. This tower was built in 1285 as a lookout and signal tower. All along this pathway, take note of the splendid views of Collioure, the Catalan coast, the Tour de la Massane and the Pyrenees. You will descend again, passing by the 500 Battery and the Col des Gascons, the ruins of the Reig wine cellars and the Col de Formigo, to reach the Col de la Baillaury. Follow the path that runs along the aqueduct and skirts the Madeloc massif until you arrive at the Col de Serre. You will arrive at Collioure by taking the Col Mollo and the Route des Vignes - Lodging and breakfast in the same hotel
Day 7 - COLLIOURE The tour ends after breakfast.
All round the year but be careful this area is very crowded in summer time Nevertheless this area attracts a lot of tourists and you have to reserve earlier to get the best rooms.
- 6 night’s accommodation in selected 2-star hotels with breakfasts
- 3 dinners
- Hotel to hotel luggage transfer
- Taxi transfer: Banyuls – Cerbère
- A set of maps (1/25 000 scale) with the route marked on and detailed route notes describing the trail
- A daily itinerary together with information about facilities and places of interest along the trail.
- Phone emergency assistance
- Transportation to and from the walk area
- Transfers except those mentioned above
- Drinks and additional meals
- Entrance fees
- Personal expenses
Getting there and away
By plane: the nearest international is Perpignan
By train: Collioure
Grade 2 & 3 - walks of between 5 and 7 hours a day with ascents up to 700 metres. Some hiking experience is advisable. A reasonable level of fitness and some stamina are required for these walks. You may cover long distances in remote countryside and the terrain will be rough underfoot. In mountainous areas you will encounter some sustained ascents and descents. We offer you some alternative grade 2 routes in day 3, 4 and 5.