Cycling in the Pyrenees
The Pyrenees mountain range is a great place for a cycling holiday. It is home to iconic climbs such as Col du Tourmalet, Col d’Aspin and Col de Peyresourde but you can find gentler gradients as well. You can mix a cycling holiday in the Pyrenees with the many other summer activities the area has to offer including hiking, sightseeing, rock climbing and para gliding.
We first visited the Pyrenees in 2013 and fell in love with the region. So much so that in 2021 we set up a permanent base in the Hautes Pyrenees. There is such a great variety of cycling to experience here including road cycling, mountain biking, gravel biking and cycle touring. We have explored lots of what is on offer, but still only scratched the surface of what is available.
The Pyrenees stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea, a distance of 491km. There are great cycling options right along its length and to help you plan your cycling holiday to the Pyrenees we have split it into four regions. Each page contains lots of practical information about cycling in that part of the Pyrenees. You will find accommodation options, bike hire options, links to cycle routes, public transport options and some of the other activities you can do off the bike.
You might also like to read some of our other articles about cycling in the Pyrenees including The Best Base for a Cycling Holiday in the Pyrenees, Where to Stay in the Pyrenees, Bike Hire in the Pyrenees and Why You Will Love Cycling in the Pyrenees. You can also see our town guides for Lourdes, Argeles Gazost and Luz Saint Sauveur if you choose to stay at any of those locations.
The Pyrenees Atlantique is the western most region in the Pyrenees and runs all the way to the Atlantic coastline. Pau is the largest city in the region and the natural transport hub with its airport and train station. Famous cycling climbs in this region include Col de Marie Blanque and Col d’Aubisque. The Tour de France regularly uses Pau as a stage start or finish location.
As we move from west to east the next region in the Pyrenees is the Hautes Pyrenees. As a road cycling destination this one has the most iconic climbs including Col du Tourmalet, Col d’Aubisque, Hautacam and Col de Peyresourde. Lourdes is the natural transport hub in this region and has an airport and train station and is close to the A64 autoroute. There are many towns and villages for you to consider staying in and you will be spoiled for choice.
The town of Bagnères de Luchon is the main centre in the Haute Garonne region. It was the start location of the very first Tour de France stage in the Pyrenees way back in 1910. From Bagnères de Luchon you start the climb to the Col de Peyresourde in one direction or to the ski station of Super Bagnères in another. The closest airport is Toulouse and the closest train station is Montrejeau.
The Ariège region, in our opinion, is a hidden gem when it comes to cycling in the Pyrenees. While it does not have the big famous climbs that the Hautes Pyrenees boasts there is such a great variety of riding both in the mountains and a little further out in the foothills. You can still challenge yourself on the likes of Col de Pailhéres, Plateau de Beille or Port de Lers, or even head up into Andorra. Foix is the major centre in this region and it is connected to Toulouse by train. Toulouse is the closest airport if you are planning on flying into the region.
If you have any questions about visiting the Pyrenees please feel free to contact us by email [email protected] and we will be happy to assist.