There are a number of specialist companies offering off-road driving holidays and one of the best-known is Pyrenees 4×4 Tours. The company offers a total of 31 tours from Spring to Autumn and right through the Summer.
“A basic tour package consist of return ferries from Portsmouth/Plymouth to Bilbao/Santander in northern Spain, thus avoiding a long drive down from Calais,” says the company.
“Our representative will either be waiting at the ferry port in Spain to greet you or, depending on sailing times, travel with you on the same ferry to and/or from Spain.”
MINIMAL DRIVING NAVIGATION
“Upon arrival, the maps come out immediately. Don’t concern yourself about navigation however, the first day is extremely straightforward. Navigation in fact is minimal throughout the tour, so co-drivers need not concern themselves. Yes you can bring a satnav but basic maps are far more reliable and simpler to use. Besides, that’s why you have a guide to follow.
“Being your holiday, you get to choose the itinerary and pace of the tour from the very start. You also get to choose what type of overnight accommodation you want. The norm is camping at designated campsites scattered throughout the Spanish Pyrenees (campsite fees are included in the tour booking fee) but if wild camping is preferred, then this too is possible.
“Occasionally, due to a bad back or a million and one different reasons, a chalet at a campsite or even an hotel can be arranged.”
OFF-ROAD TERRAIN TACKLED
“Regarding the terrain tackled, the split between tarmac and off-road tracks varies considerably. In the main it will be A-roads, B-roads, very minor country lanes and off-road tracks. The latter consist of clay or gravel surfaces, driveable by any ‘soft-roader’ or crossover-type four-wheel-drive vehicle, with the option of considerably harder terrain [ie, rocks and ruts] for more capable vehicles.
“We don’t go to the Pyrenees to break our vehicles, we are perfectly capable of doing that here in the UK, so will drive ‘sensible’ tracks that at times will have more challenging terrain alongside for those who wish to push the boundaries.”
Tom McGuigan, who runs the company, is not only an experienced 4×4 driver and organiser of 4×4 events, he’s also a huge fan of the Pyrenees. “Ever since I first stepped foot in the Pyrenees region,” he explains, “I fell in love with the place.
“The region is far more open and accessible than the Alps, and the locals combine to make the whole experience that much better. The same could be said of the excellent food, the great value-for-money prices in restaurants and bars, the lower fuel costs, the more accessible off-road routes, and of course the higher temperatures.
“The Pyrenees is virtually guaranteed to still be accessible all through the months of October and November, yet the roads and tracks are often devoid of traffic.”
Pyrenees 4×4 Tours