Walk through the stark and dramatic landscape of the Cathar Country with castles and fortresses jutting from vertiginous, craggy ridges. This self-guided trip can either be 7 days or a shorter 4-day option.

In the Middle Ages the Cathars were religious followers who believed their version of Christianity — simplicity, honesty, equality and virtue — was truest to the original. The Catholic Church didn’t agree and tried to eradicate them in numerous purges. By the early 13th century, Catharism had taken such a strong hold in the area, that in 1208 Pope Innocent III launched the Albigensian Crusade - aimed against the ‘heretical’ Cathars. For many years, crusaders ransacked and pillaged the area, forcing Cathars to flee to hilltop fortresses where they endured long sieges or died in massacres. Pockets of Cathar resistance held out for the next twenty-six years along, what is now, the border of Spain and France.

Cathar country’s fortified hilltops, castles, villages and towns are a reminder of the area’s turbulent history. The stunning scenery and interesting villages make this a richly rewarding experience for walkers and history buffs alike. Walking towards the magnificent Pyrénées, the plain gives way to vineyard-covered hillsides while forests and grasslands make way for arid and semi barren causses (limestone plateau in south central France). You’ll walk through deep and narrow gorges and climb to reach the remains of Cathar castles: Monségur, Quéribus, Puilaurens, Aguilar and Peyrepertuse.

Please contact us for a detailed itinerary.

Arrivals​ ​and​ ​Departures:

We provide pick-up and drop-off at either Beziers or Carcasonne airports or train stations. Transfers will be made to the start of the walk at Tuchan.

Accommodation​ ​and​ ​Meals:

Accommodation along the route will be in comfortable 2 or 3-star hotels or chambre ‘d’hotes (B&Bs). Luggage will be transferred to each nights’ accommodation so a day-pack is all that is required for walking. The trip price includes 7 nights’ accommodation based on two people sharing. All rooms have ensuites. Please contact us regarding single supplements.
Breakfasts are included plus 5 packed lunches and 4 evening meals. For a 4-day trip, accommodation is for 4 nights, breakfasts are included plus 3 packed lunches and 2 evening meals. Single supplements will apply.

Grades:

You need to be a regular walker with a good level of fitness, able to walk for up to six hours at a steady pace. There will be some steep ascents and descents on rocky terrain.

Equipment:

Good walking boots. Poles are recommended. For clothing bring a good layering system as temperatures can vary considerably. Walking in shorts and t-shirts is the norm in summer, but a thin fleece and good waterproofs should be included in your day pack. Essential to your normal walking clothing are: sunhat, waterproof jacket, waterproof trousers, fleece, sunglasses, sunscreen, water bottle (1 litre minimum) or camelback or platypus water carriers (or similar), 35 litre rucksack.

Insurance:

Insurance is compulsory. Evidence of insurance will be required. Please check with your insurer that helicopter evacuation is included and there is no restriction to the height you can ascend. Please check that repatriation is included in your insurance.