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Great Escapes for Discerning Drivers

Pyrenees to Monaco

29 April 2020 - 7 May 2020

A fabulous nine-day tour to Monaco via the Spanish Pyrenees and the south of France. This scenic tour starts with a ferry from Portsmouth to Bilbao. Following a stunningly scenic route through the Spanish and French Pyrenees, Andorra, drive through southern France, then Provence to Monte Carlo. There are very comfortable overnight stops in San Sebastian, two little Pyrenean mountain towns, Carcassonne and Avignon before finishing in Monte Carlo. Drive through spectacular mountain scenery, incredible gorges, past ancient hilltop towns and villages, the beautiful Languedoc and Provence regions of France, and the Gorges du Verdon, also known as France’s Grand Canyon.

This tour can also be joined with the Apres Monaco tour to bring you home after the Monaco Historique Grand Prix.

Highlights of the Pyrenees to Monaco Tour

• Sensational scenery of the Pyrenees Mountains
• Thrilling mountain roads & passes in Spain, France & Andorra
• Incredible gorges in the Pyrenees & Provence
• Visit San Sebastian, Andorra, Carcassonne, Avignon & Provence
• Explore some of the most beautiful villages in Provence and the south of France
• Cultural delights such as historic castles & churches, ancient towns & villages, and fascinating museums
• Finish in Monte Carlo for the Monaco Historique Grand Prix

Route map
Price: from £3,250 per person, sharing
Starts: 29 April 2020
Duration: 9 nights / 9 days
Mileage: 1,242 miles

Book this tour
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What's Included?

  • Accommodation in 4* & 5* luxury hotels for 9 nights (incl. ferry)
  • Overnight ferry from Portsmouth to Bilbao, with sea-view en-suite cabins (one-way sailing) – limited upgrades are available
  • Breakfast each morning
  • Three-course dinner on 5 nights with wine (half a bottle per person)
  • Tour book, with easy to follow route directions, route maps, and details on everything to do, see and visit each day
  • Road atlas, rally plate, luggage tag, pen/highlighter
  • GPS files for your own Garmin/TomTom/navigation device (or loan of pre-programmed Garmin GPS)
  • Experienced & friendly tour leaders, Sarah Dowding & Melanie Bacon – to ensure your tour runs smoothly


May be subject to change.

Day 1: 29 April 2020

The tour starts at Portsmouth where you will be given priority boarding for the Brittany Ferries overnight ferry to Bilbao, Spain. The ferry departs at 11.45am and it is a 24-hour crossing to Bilbao. Sea-view en-suite cabins will be booked for your comfort, although some upgrades will be possible to Finistere cabins (extra £99). There will be a welcome meal on board so all tour participants can get to know each other.

Day 2: 30 April 2020 95 miles

Arrive in Bilbao at 12.45 local time and drive a scenic 95 miles along the coast to the delightful city of San Sebastian, near the border with France. Stay overnight in a fabulous, luxury hotel right on the seafront. Dinner is not included as there are so many fabulous restaurants and tapas bars in San Sebastian.

Day 3: 1 May 2020 165 miles

Leave San Sebastian and enjoy a wonderful mountain drive crossing a the Izpegi Pass into France. The route then passes St Jean de Port to lead you to more fabulous mountain roads, many of which are used in famed Tour de France stages. Cross back into Spain and descend into the Val de Tena. Stay overnight in a beautiful, small hotel in a historic little town in the foothills of the Spanish Pyrenees. Dinner is included.

Day 4: 2 May 2020 209 miles

After a good breakfast  leave for more spirited mountain driving along the Pyrenees. The route passes through pretty towns and villages, and along some scenic and enjoyable roads along the mountains and foothills of Catalonia. Drive to Puigcerda, a small town on the border with France and near Andorra. Stay for two nights in a luxury spa hotel in town, on the shore of the lake. Enjoy dinner this evening in the elegant restaurant which enjoys stunning views of the lake and mountains beyond.

Day 5: 3 May 2020 80 miles

Enjoy a relaxing day off, although we have put together a circular drive for those who wish to get behind the wheel again. There is a circular tour encompassing Andorra, where there is the opportunity to visit the Motorcycle Museum, which has examples from 1885 to the present day. The return journey pops into France so you can visit three countries in a day. For non-drivers just indulge in the beautiful surroundings with a walk in the mountains, or wander around the local village. Dinner is at leisure.

Day 6: 4 May 2020 139 miles

Leave Spain and immediately cross the border to France, before popping back into the little Spanish enclave of Llivia. Once back in France descend the Pyrenees to the north into the Languedoc region. Pass a number of Cathar castles, some of which are now just picturesque ruined fortresses in dramatic locations. Head to the gorgeous city of Carcassonne with its huge medieval hilltop citadel. This walled city is stunning with a fairy-tale collection of drawbridges, towers and atmospheric cobbled streets that were reputedly the inspiration for Walt Disney’s The Sleeping Beauty. Its medieval core, the cité, was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1997. There should be time to wander around and explore before dinner.

Stay overnight in a beautiful hotel right in the old city. Dinner is included in the Michelin-starred restaurant.

Day 7: 5 May 2020 199 miles

Leave Carcassonne and head north to the Haut Languedoc. Pass through Minerve, a former Cathar city, perched on a rocky hilltop on the way to the beautiful foothills of the Massif Central, with stunning viewpoints that act like a balcony overlooking the sparkling Mediterranean Sea. Haut-Languedoc benefits from an exceptional geographical location: lakes, gorges, valleys, peaks and villages, some of which are amongst France’s most beautiful. Then drive through the stunning Cevennes National Park, visiting the very pretty town of Uzes, and then the incredible Roman aqueduct at the Pont du Gard. Continue to this historic, medieval town of Villeneuve-les-Avignon, just a few minutes from the heart of Avignon, and stay for two nights in a former monastery, now a sensational, luxury hotel which is part of the Relais Chateaux group. Dinner is included this evening only.

Day 8: 6 May 2020 144 miles

Either enjoy a day without your car and take the opportunity to explore the historic city of Avignon which awes visitors with its stunning papal palace. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Palais de Papes was the residence of seven Popes from 1309 to 1377 and is a testimony to the wealth and power of Christendom during the Middle Ages. However, there are many other important attractions in Avignon, including the Petit Palais where the episcopal bishops once lived, now a museum and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Avignon is known as a centre of art and culture. The city hosts a wide variety of festivals and events throughout the year Or there is an optional circular tour to discover some of the regions prettiest villages, if you wish to drive. Start with the ancient fortified town of Tarascon, on the banks of the Rhone, before heading south to the former Roman provincial capital of Arles. Then drive through some of France’s plus beaux villages, such as Les Baux de Provence, Lourmarin, Roussillon and Gordes. Return to the hotel. Dinner is at leisure.

Day 9: 7 May 2020 197 miles

Leave Avignon and drive through yet more of France’s most beautiful villages, such as Gordes, the idyllic little hilltop village at the edge of the Luberon. Today’s route also takes you through the incredible Gorges du Verdon, which is France’s Grand Canyon. Then head over the Cole de Vence, where the panorama of the Mediterranean spreads out in front of you. Continue to Monte Carlo to stay in one of the best hotels in the Principality, the Fairmont Monte Carlo.


Stay in a variety of fabulous four and five star hotels, each with suitable parking. We have carefully hand-picked some beautiful hotels, each with its own charm and character to reflect the different areas we are travelling through. Each hotel has a quality restaurant for dinner and breakfast.

What’s Excluded

  • There is no mechanical support for this tour
  • Lunches are not included


  • Each person must have a passport (and any necessary visas for non-EU passport holders) valid for Spain, and France and any other countries you may visit to participate on the tour. All passports must be valid for six months after the end of the tour
  • You will also need your vehicle registration documents, driving licence (a photo-card licence or international permit is best), and international insurance cover.
  • Please check your travel and motor insurance that you are covered for travel in the required countries.
  • You are also required to safety equipment: carry a warning triangle, first-aid kit, fluorescent jackets, set of replacement bulbs and a national identification sticker.
  • The most important requirement is that you take pleasure in motoring through fabulous scenery, relish individual, character hotels and enjoy the company of like-minded travellers – and maybe the occasional glass of Rioja wine!


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£ 812.5
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From £3,250 per person (upgrades are available - tbc)

Price per person - based on two people sharing a twin or double room/cabin and 1 car.

Single supplement £1,315

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