Cathar Trail - 8 Day Self Guided Walk

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From the Mediterranean coast to the Pyrenees Ariegeois, discover the secret trails and mythical castles of the Cathars. This spectacular walking holiday covers a significant historical trail that will stir the imagination as it winds through green valleys, deep gorges and across vast plateaus. Discover ancient battle sites, dungeons and towers in the heart of the Corbieres and feast on fine French cuisine and locally-grown wine. This is an unforgettable journey through the spiritual heart of Southern France.

Itinerary

Day 1 Carcassonne

Arrive in this charming medieval city, framed by ancient stone walls and lush, green fields. Perhaps visit the World Heritage-listed Fortress of Carcassonne to gain an insight into what life was like in medieval France.

Days 2-3 Duilhac

Soak up the air of quiet romance in medieval Duilhac. Set off on a circular walk to discover the area, through fragrant vegetation and sprawling vineyards to Chateau de Queribus.

Day 4 Bouchard

Admire the spectacular Pyrenees from atop Chateau de Peyrepertuse and hike through the imposing Galamus Gorge. Visit the mysterious Galamus hermitage and spot wild deer en route to Bouchard.

Day 5 Sougraigne

Walk to pretty Sougraigne via Mt Bugarach, gateway to the Corbieres, spotting a host of colourful tree varieties along the way, including Austrian black pine, cedar, spruce, beech and chestnut. Enjoy a meandering detour down quaint, narrow laneways to Bugarach village and discover castle ruins dating back to the 16th century.

Day 6 Granes

Cross the River Sals and walk in the footsteps of 17th-century salt smugglers, then traverse the Col de la Salso. Arrive at the ancient Rennes-le-Chateau - once the scene of significant battles between the Catholics and Cathars.

Days 7-8 Quillan

Hike through sleepy villages and crisscrossing valleys, stopping to appreciate a stunning panorama on the descent into Quillan. Perhaps embark on a final hike around the Aude River, soak up French cafe culture or enjoy a scenic horse ride to cap off this French adventure.

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