Self-guided hike on the Cathar trail: Discover Southern France’s beautiful landscapes and rich cultural heritage as you make your way from the foot of the Pyrenees to the Mediterranean, passing rolling vineyards, impressive mountains and the majestic Cathar Castles.
Discover the historic Cathar Castles, picturesque villages and rolling vineyards in Southern France! This 7-day self-guided hike will take you from Quillan at the foot of the Pyrenees to Port-la-Nouvelle on the Mediterranean Sea. Leaving the beaten path, follow the “Cathar Trail” through France's beautiful Aude department and the Corbières Mountains, exploring its highest peak, the Pech de Bugarach, the breathtaking Gorges of Galamus, charming little villages and scenic landscapes, crossing lush green winelands and barren plateaus. Visit enchanting castles at dizzying heights and enjoy the view of the Corbières, the Pyrenees and the sea – a truly unique nature and culture adventure awaits you!
The following is a sample itinerary. We're happy to help you customise your itinerary according to your preferences.
Day 1: Arrival in Quillan
Dinner at the hotel or in a restaurant of your choice & night at the hotel.
Day 2: Bugarach – Camps sur l'Agly
After breakfast a bus will take you to your point of departure in Burgerach. Follow the Cathar trail south of the Pech de Burgerach, the Corbières highest mountain. Feel free to venture to the top if you feel adventurous and full of energy. Back on the trail, pass by an ancient grange with a small lake and climb the Roc Paradet to enjoy a beautiful view of the Pyrenees before you reach tonight's destination in Camps sur l’Agly.
Duration: 5hrs – distance: 12km/7.5mi – altitude difference: 500m/1,600ft
Day 3: Galamus – Duilhac sous Peyrepertuse
Today's hike departs at the Ermitage de Galamus. Enjoy the breathtaking panoramic view of the Gorges of Galamus as you head out towards the Corbières mountains, passing Mediterranean landscapes and finally reaching the Cathar city of Peyrepertuse located on a plateau overlooking the village Duilhac sous Peyrepertuse.
Duration: 3hrs – distance: 8km/5mi – altitude difference: 550m/1,800ft
Day 4: Duilhac sous Peyrepertuse – Tuchan
Your itinerary will take you across the mountains, through vineyards and up to Queribus Castle, built into the mountain cliff and forming a virtual “stairway to heaven”. Continue along the Cathar trail, now meandering through vineyards, passing the village and castle of Padern and finally arriving in Tuchan.
Duration: 5hrs 30min – distance: 19km/12mi – altitude difference: 600m/2,000ft
Day 5: Tuchan – Embres et Castelmaure
Leaving the fertile plains of Tuchan behind you, follow the trail towards Aguilar Castle, through a famous wine region and slowly ascending through strawberry woods and heather shrubberies. Enjoy a delicious dinner and relaxing night in Embres et Castelmaure.
Duration: 4hrs – distance: 17km/10.5mi – altitude difference: 400m/1,300ft
Day 6: Embres et Castelmaure – Roquefort.
Today's hike will take you to the Statue la Recaoufa, dedicated to Sainte Raphine and offering a spectacular panoramic view. Pass by Durban Castle before finally leaving the Corbières Mountains and entering the Mediterranean coastal region as you approach Roquefort-des-Corbières.
Duration: 4hrs – distance: 28km/17.5mi – altitude difference: 700m/2,300ft – Shortcut possible!
Day 7: Roquefort – Port-la-Nouvelle
Discover the Mediterranean moorland and enjoy the view of the salt lakes and the sea with the _Corbières Mountains behind you and the Pyrenees on the horizon. Your trip ends in the early afternoon at the train station Port-la-Nouvelle.
Duration: 5hrs – distance: 12km/7.5mi – altitude difference: 150m/500ft
For more information you can request our detailed information sheet via email. Please indicate which tour you are interested in.
This self-guided tour is offered daily between March and November. Due to excessive summer heat, we recommend travelling in spring or autumn.
Indicated pricing per person in double room occupancy
Single rooms possible for an additional surcharge.
Our hike begins at Quillan train station and ends in Port-la-Nouvelle.
Please feel free to arrange your trip to Quillan and from Port-la-Nouvelle by the means of transportation of your choice and extend your trip according to your preferences.
Please fill out our enquiry form indicating the number of your party, your preferred travel dates and potential extension requests.
6 nights incl. breakfast, 3 dinners, transfers according to the programme, luggage transfer, detailed English road book, maps and informational material.
Train or airfares to/from destination, remaining meals (incl. picnics), admission fees, travel cancellation insurance.
Minimum number of participants: 2
Not accessible to persons with reduced mobility.
The tour operator reserves the right to cancel this trip up until 21 days prior to departure.
6 nights in double bedrooms in confortable French B&Bs*** and 3-star hotels
Accommodations are subject to change according to the vacancies.
Feel free to extend your trip by booking additional nights in Quillan and/or at our beach hotel in Port-la-Nouvelle. Please fill out our enquiry indicating any additional accommodation wishes.
Average daily hikes: 5 to 7 hours on paved yet rocky hiking trails in the low mountain range with an average altitude differences of 550m/1,800ft.
Suitable for all those with previous hiking experience.
Not suitable for beginners!
The sample itinerary includes various steep ascents as well as two (optional!) passages (ascent to Peyrepertuse and Quéribus castles) requiring a head for heights.
A good sense of direction is required. A detailed road book in English as well as maps and additional informational material will be provided to you upon arrival.
Your luggage will be transferred from one accommodation to the next, allowing you to embark on your hikes carrying as little as your personal belongings and lunch picnic. A list of recommended carry-on items will be provided upon booking.
The best seasons for this hike are in spring (between early March and mid-June) and autumn (mid-September through early November). Between mid-June and mid-September, the summer heat can become extremely challenging. If you plan to take this trip in the summer, we recommend that you head out early in the morning (ideally by 6:30am) and take long midday breaks! Be sure to drink plenty of liquids, refresh yourself in rivers and creeks along the way, and do not forget to bring sunscreen and a hat!
We recommend a low-carbon train ride to Quillan via Carcassonne or Perpignan.
Closest airports: Toulouse-Blagnac. Shuttle bus to Toulouse train station and train connection to Quillan via Carcassonne.
If you're travelling by plane, please consider offsetting your carbon emissions, for example through the atmosfair programme.
For detailed travel information, please request our info sheet by filling out the enquiry form below.