The Crusader Trail - Cathar Castles Walk

The Crusader Trail - Cathar Castles Walk information and booking

from
$1320
  • Duration
    7 days
    Days
  • Difficulty
    moderate
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Schedule Details

Summary
  • 2 nights in 2-3 star hotels, 4 nights in guesthouses (gîte)
Equipment Required
Wet weather gear, day pack, sunscreen, comfortable walking boots / shoes and sun hat. (A comprehensive gear list is included in the pre-departure information provided on booking).

Highlights

  • Walking along ancient trails in the stunning Corbières region
  • Exploring the ruins of Cathar castles and delving into the historical intrigue of the sect
  • Experiencing interesting villages and towns enroute
  • Enjoying excellent local cuisine and the warm hospitality of the guesthouses

Tour description provided by World Expeditions

On the borders of the Corbières region, where the Pyrenean chain begins, lies a network of secret trails leading to the mysterious Cathar castles. From the 12th to the 13th centuries, Catharism was entrenched in the region, a sect that shunned conventional Christianity and materialism. The Cathar crusade against the people of Languedoc (southern France) lasted for more than forty years and effectively ended the Cathar reign. Whilst many of the castles have since been destroyed or built over, there remains a few good examples including the castle at Puivert (green peak), Chateau de Troubadours. This week long walk follows ancient trails through forests, vineyards and orchards to the medieval castles. Whilst the intrigue of the region is the secrets of the Cathar sect, the stunning scenery and interesting villages makes this a richly rewarding experience for walkers and history buffs alike.

What's included

  • 6 breakfasts, 6 dinners - continental breakfasts are served and usually consist of breads, jams, cheese, occasionally eggs and meats, coffee, tea and juices. dinner will consist of 2 to 3 courses which include regional specialties
  • 2 nights accommodation in double or twin room in 2-3 star hotels with private facilities, 4 nights in guesthouses (gîte) with shared facilities
  • Transfer of luggage from guesthouse/hotel to guesthouse/hotel - luggage should be limited to one bag weighing a maximum of 10kgs. excess luggage should be stored at your pre tour hotel.
  • All internal transfers including the transfer on day 7 from foix to perpignan
  • Maps, route information and tourist information (1 set per room booked).
  • 7 day service hotline

Itinerary

Day 1 Join Perpignan, walk to Duilhac-sous-Peyreperthuse or Rouffiac (3 or 4hrs)
This morning you will be met at the SNCF train station in Perpignan where you will receive your route book and maps. Following this you will be transferred to the Queribus Castle, probably the best preserved of the border castles. After spending some time exploring the castle you begin the hike to Duilhac-sous-Peyrepertuse or nearby Rouffiac through oak forest and past small villages. Ascend: + 300m, descend: - 500m
Day 2 Climb to Peyrepertuse castle and continue hike to Galamus Gorges & La Bastide (5hrs)
The day begins with a climb to the magnificent Peyrepertuse castle, where the ruins are extensive and impressive. The route continues through the soft-leaved scrubland to the deep and spectacular Galamus gorges. Transfer to the small and pretty hamlet of La Bastide de Camps. Ascend: + 550m, descend: - 550m
Day 3 An impressive walk with excellent views enroute to Puylaurens Castle (6.5hrs)
Leaving our hosts we make our way by the Corbieres ridges. From the Col de Pechines 915 m there is a panoramic view of the Pyrenees. Continue on to the imposing Puylaurens castle. Following a visit to the castle you will be transferred to Quillan. Ascend: +700m, descend: -800m
Day 4 Pass interesting villages enroute to Puivert Castle (Troubadour Castle) (4.5-6.5hrs)
The route today takes you through farmland, ascending the Col de Brenac and village of Brenac where Petrus Amelius, a key religious figure in the 14th Century was born. Enroute to Puivert there is an option to extend your walk along a nature trail. Afternoon visit to the Puivert Castle, well known as the Troubadour castle. It was here that the 12th century poet-musicians sang the praises of new values and ideas to the villagers. Ascend: +610m, descend: - 700m
Day 5 Visit Montsegur Castle then walk to Roquefixade (5hrs)
Morning transfer to Montsegur where you can visit the castle (fortress) which acted as the last stronghold of the Cathars. It also holds many myths and legends. The walking route today takes you through the Mondini forest before traversing to Roquefixade via a scenic ridge. Ascend: +650m, descend: - 900m
Day 6 Traverse a high ridge with stunning views to the small town of Foix (5.5hrs)
We start our morning with a beautiful ridge hike to the Roquefixade castle. Whilst the original cliff-side castle dates back to 1109, the present-day ruins are much more modern. Continue on to the beautiful township of Foix with its imposing castle. Ascend: +400m, descend: -800m
Day 7 Trip concludes with return transfer to Perpignan
End of the trip after breakfast. There is some time in the morning to visit the Foix castle before transferring back to Perpignan.