Alps or Pyrenees? Organised or go it alone?

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  • Alps or Pyrenees? Organised or go it alone?
  • Premier Icon timraven
    Subscriber

    I’ve been to both and enjoyed them, anyone have a strong preference/ recommendation?

    Does it work out much cheaper to organise it yourself or go with a ‘proper’ operator?

    Premier Icon alfabus
    Subscriber

    I’ve been to both.

    I think the alps is easier to do unguided than the pyrenees. The alps has a lot more development, and more info available in tourist offices and resorts to find trails. The pyrenees was good for bike parks, but the non-park trails seemed to be a bit more elusive and hidden.

    The riding is brilliant in both, but if you are set on a ‘grow your own’ trip, then you’ll find it easier in the alps. Guided, there is less in it.

    One thing to consider though, if you are driving down the Pyrenees is a LOOOOOONG way away.

    Dave

    Premier Icon nickjb
    Subscriber

    Done both a few times as well. We tend to go the Alps for a week (load up the van and rent a chalet) and Pyrenees for a weekend (fly to Toulouse and rent a car). Both are great fun. We’ve always DIY’d it as it’s a lot cheaper and works for us.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    Alps for choice and for better lift networks. Pyrenees for, well, charm I guess.

    But tbh they’re both massive chains of mountains, you can find whatever you’re looking for in either if you know where to look. That might just be easier in the alps, is all.

    As for guiding and support… It’s basically a holiday multiplier, is how I describe it. It means you’re on the best trails, you’re not wasting time getting lost or just missing great stuff entirely because you’ll never know it exists. Or trying to get out an ambulance to “Somewhere up a mountain”. Yes it costs more but you’ll get more from your riding too. Less hassle, less time spent not riding.

    At the same time, it does make your holiday more of a product and not everyone likes that.

    We did all those options this year, but had 6 weeks to spare! Got the overnight ferry to Bilbao, drive to Andorra for some riding, then along the south coast of France, up through Roya and Molini to the French Alps and Lake Garda. Used a couple of guiding companies, DIY the rest of the time (camping).

    Just to balance the above, biking with a guiding company can be more hassle – you never start at the time you want (there’s usually someone hung over with a flat they didnt fix, a trail centre numpty with a badly maintained bike, someone with tubelesss tyres that have issues, or a dodgy press fit BB with no spares etc). Then there’s the waiting around on the ride while more faffing goes on, you wait for the underskilled guy who’s mates told him to MTFU just before he injures himself on a small jump or rock garden, someone looses their lift pass etc. And you might feel obliged to spend the evening doing what others want to do (or eat and drink in the same place every day).

    Horses for courses, Northwiind is right though, if you dont know the area then you will probably miss the best trails if you go alone. But, if you are just going to a resort, then it’s easy to camp, get the first lift and ride all day if you do DIY, and definitely cheaper.

    We mix and match depending where we are going.

    Premier Icon timraven
    Subscriber

    agentdagnamit now that’s just showing off, lucky beggar.

    Northwind, that’s sort of my thinking, I have enough trouble navigating around here 😀

    timraven – maybe have a look at Singletrack Safaris website. They do holidays in both areas with good info on the trails and locations. I think they do cheaper accomodation and transfer options is you are just planning on using the bike parks and dont need to by 100% guided.

    Premier Icon vondally
    Subscriber

    been to both…..alps easier to ride trails waymarked….Pryenees is less marked but much more of adventure…..i prefer the pryenees charming an undeveloped ride up on classic cols ride down on hiking path or any path, yes been chased off the flocks by pryenean moutain dogs….just such variety from biarittz to lucheon to perpigan/mt canigou, very different feel on the spainish side to the french and from the basque to catalan.

    We usually do our own thing but used AQR iun lucheon for two days guiding very good and patient, used another in the alps and pretty much as agentd describes. In Prades we linked up with the VTT club by chance and got some great advice and directions.

    On balance we will go map and risk it…..

    ianv
    Member

    Definately cheaper to do your own thing. Pyranees are great and there are some areas that are pretty well waymarked (Capcir/Cardagne)but probably the alps has generally better coverage (waymarked trails and Vtopo guides)

    Love the pyranees and the southern alps but not a massive fan of the pds and the tarentaise

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