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Cathar vineyards and castles by bike

6 days / 5 nights
Pyrenees - Canal du Midi - Cathar country - Leisure cycling - Self-guided road cycling - E-bike tours
Without guide - Luggage transfer

price from
~626 £ [699 €]

Land of legends, "le Pays Cathare" or Cathar country, offers the cycle tourist the most majestic of scenery. Cycle back in time to experience gorges, forests and medieval castles. This itinerary brings you the very best of the region. Enjoy the evenings indulging in local food and wine.

Your day by day program

1
Carcassonne

Carcassonne, a hilltop town in the Languedoc area of southern France, is a wonderful place to start your holiday. Famous for its medieval citadel, explore the lanes, bars and restaurants that nestle inside the fortress. Dinner in one of the hidden gardens is a must.

Night in a three star hotel or chambre d'hôtes with swimming pool.

2
From Carcassonne to Rennes les Bains.

After breakfast, your cycle ride will take you north. Very quickly you will swap the bustling Carcassonne for the surrounding peaceful roads. The hills begin as you enter Cathar country and a visit to the Abbaye de Saint-Hilaire. From here, your ride takes you through atmospheric vineyards that will tempt you to try their wines. Cross Limoux before heading towards Rennes-Le-Chateau. Continue on to Rennes les Bains, a small village known for its thermal baths, where you will spend the night.

Approximately 60km, +1000m, -900m

Night in a three star hotel at the heart of the village.


3
From Rennes les Bains to Cucugnan

A wonderful day's ride where nature is really in the spotlight. Superb landscapes follow one after another, including through the Gorges de Galamus, where vultures fly majestically above you. It's possible to stop in one of the vineyards or take a short stroll to the Galamus hermitage, perched on a cliff and overlooking the gorge. Your journey then takes you to le château de Quéribus and then onto the Cathar castle of Peyrepertuse, where again you will step back in time.

Approximately 62km, +1400m, -1400m including the optional climbs to the two chateaux.
Approximately 46km, +900m, -900m - Option sans Peyrepertuse.

Night in a chambres d'hôtes.

4
From Cucugnan to Lagrasse

Today's ride takes you through more vineyards before entering an area of hills, forests and rivers (sometimes dry in summer). Visit some of the Cathar monuments, including the château d’Aguilar and Villerouge Termenès. Finish today's wonderful cycle ride in Lagrasse, classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France.

Approximately 71km, +790m, -950m.
Approximately 65km, +700m, -850m - Option without the château de Villerouge Termenès.

Night in a chambres d'hôtes.

5
From Lagrasse to Carcassonne

A shorter ride today means you can either enjoy Lagrasse in the morning or Carcassonne upon arrival. Your ride will take you through rural countryside and little villages until you reach the much celebrated medieval town of Carcassonne.

Approximately 36km, +368m, -389m.

Night in a three star hotel or chambre d'hôtes with swimming pool.

6
Carcassonne.

End of your trip after breakfast.

Departure board

Any day from April to the end of October.

Technical information

Fact sheet
Starting point
  • Carcassonne.
End
  • Carcassonne.
Accommodation
  • Hotels (3 star) and chambres d'hôtes.
Number of people
  • From two people.
Level of difficulty
  • Between 36 and 76 km per day, occasionally with steep climbs. Some shorter or longer options possible. A good level of fitness is required, although electric bikes can also be hired.
Carrying
  • Your bags will be transported each day.
Options
  • "Giant" (brand) electric bike rental with panniers.   Distance possible depends upon usage of the battery. 
      : 160€
  • Road bike rental (aluminium frame)
      : 124€
  • Mountain bike rental with panniers and front handlebar bag.  
      : 90€
  • Road bike rental (carbon frame)
      : 141€
  • GPS tracks on a USB key : 25€
Included
  • 5 nights in double/twin rooms, breakfasts, luggage transfers, the detailed route notes with maps and contactable assistance throughout.
Not included
  • Travel to the meeting point, bike hire, lunch and dinner, entry to tourist sites, optional activities, insurance, personal spending.
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