Looking for advice on hiking the GR10 trail? We have put together the best of the GR10 trail to help you along your way.
The GR10 runs the length of the Pyrenees Mountains. Roughly 900 km, it would take about two months to complete it in entirety.
It is our aim to provide you with useful information to help you get ready for tackling the GR10, whether you plan on attempting the whole hike in a single go or breaking it into more manageable, less time consuming pieces.
See 20 Best Hikes in Europe for a complete list of trails.
One of the more challenging hikes that the world has to offer, the GR10 trail in France winds through the Pyrenees Mountains, linking the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.
Although an untouched, wild area, the Pyrenees is accessible all year around (although parts of the GR10 are not) and provides a good escape from the crowds one can sometimes find in other European mountains.
As the GR10 winds its way through the Pyrenees Mountains you will experience everything from lush green hills to snow-capped mountains.
The western end of the hike is greener, but as you approach the Mediterranean the scenery becomes drier and rockier.
The Pyrenees Mountains form a natural barrier between Spain and France, rising more than 3 400m in elevation.
As the mountains fall between the lush green of southern France and the dry landscape that is northern Spain, the weather differs greatly on either side.
As the hike covers such a distance, it is home to a diversity of beautiful plants and amazing wildlife. Due to lack of human interference, there are many creatures that all the area home, many of them being unique to the Pyrenees.
Hiking through the mountain range gives you the unique opportunity to spot some of the most amazing wildlife such as the Pyrenean Desman or Alpine Marmot (which were reintroduced to the area).
Although you are unlikely to see them, you may be lucky enough to spot a brown bear footprints.
In the spring months the mountain comes alive with a variety of wildflowers and plants. With 180 endemic plant species, you can spot plants such the Pyrenean Buttercup or the Trumpet Gentiane along your journey.
Covering over 900 km in total, the GR10 can be intimidating hike to attempt. However, you can make the hike shorter, or longer, by taking shortcuts or additional sections along the way.
You can also choose to do the hike in one go (which will take roughly two months) or smaller sections over time.
Along the route you will find high mountain refuges, guesthouses, hotels and basic gites offering accommodation to hikers on their journey.
However, parts of the journey are more remote and you will have to be self-sufficient at times.
While free maps and information are easily available online, it is a good idea to take a map with along on the GR10 trail.
Although the trail is well marked with the GR symbols, nothing beats a physical copy for when you are feeling lost.
We recommend the Andorra (Pyrenees) 1:40,000 Hiking Map guides you along the many hiking routes in the Pyrenees.
The best time to hike the GR10 is late summer to early fall, or from late spring to early to early summer.
This way you avoid the summer heat and winter storms - in winter some of the GR10 is impassable due to snow.
However, if you stick to the end of the mountain ranges you will be able to walk all year around with any snow gear.
The full GR10 is a challenging hike that takes between 45 to 60 days with hikers on average covering between 10 to 12 miles.
While you don’t have to be an extreme mountaineer the hiking can be tough so it is a good idea to be fit before attempting the trail, especially if you plan on doing large chunks of it at once.
You will need to have some experience in walking in mountainous terrain as well as navigation in order to undertake this beautiful adventure.
Luckily the trail is well marked by the red and white symbols the GR trails are well known for.
You do not need a permit to hike the GR10 trail.
As the GR10 is 559.2 miles (900 km), the journey can be split up into sections. Along the route you can find accommodation with more remotes requiring you to be self-sufficient. Most of the huts and hostels on the GR10 are accessible by car.
Generally the GR10 is hiked from Hendaye to Banyuls, but it can be hiked in either direction. Most guides begin in Hendaye and work onwards, however, there is no set way to hike the trail.
This section of the GR10 begins in the town of Hendaye, France, on the Atlantic coast. On day 7 you will arrive at St Jean Pied de Port.
The route is dotted with traditional villages and rolling hills, with the mountains beckoning in the distance.
Arriving in Jean Pied de Port, you can either decide to continue onwards or just hike this section, it all depends on your preference. The average walk per day will take between 4 and a half to 7 hours, depending on the day and your fitness.
Day one begins at Hendaye and ends at Olhette. Day two then moves on to Sare. On day three you will head from Sare to Ainhoa.
Moving on from Ainhoa, day four takes you to Ferme Esteben. Day five you walk onwards to Bidarray. From Bidarray, day six takes you to St Etienne de Baigorry. The last day (seven) of this section takes you to St Jean Pied de Port.
Watch the first part of the GR10, from Hendaye to St Jean Pied de Port.
Kimhike’s video gives you a good idea of what to expect in terms of breathtaking scenery and landscapes.
The second section of the GR10 covers the remaining Pays Basque region. Beginning in St Jean Pied de Port, the section is generally done in 7 days, with the final day you will arrive Etsaut.
This is situated at the entrance of the famous Pyrenean Parc National. As before, you can just hike this section or continue onwards.
Day one of the second section of the GR10 begins where you left off at St Jean Pied de Port, the trail then continues to Phagaloette.
From here, on the second day, you will walk to Iraty.
On day three you will hike from Iraty to Logibar, with spectacular views of dense forests along the way. After arriving at Logibar, on day four the GR10 makes its way to Senta.
From Senta you will walk to Lescun, with the seventh day bringing you to Etsaut.
This third part of the GR10 enters the Pyrenean National Park. The trail takes 6 days and you will end in the mountain village of Cauterets - much is well known for their thermal spa.
The hike takes you through the National Park, offering you amazing views of the Ossau valley.
Day one of this third section takes you from Etsaut to Refuge d’Ayous, with the second day taking you to Gabas.
From Gabas you will hike to Gourette, with a steep climb up to Hourquette d'Arre.
Day four you will leave Gourette and end at Arrens. Hereafter, on day five, you will arrive at Lleeou refuge.
Day six will end your journey at Cauterets - where you can either travel onwards or head home.
Have a look at this Dodane's video of their 3 week-trekking overview on the GR10 - from Hendaye to Cauterets.
The fourth section of the GR10 takes you into the Pyrenees Mountains where you can discover and appreciate amazing flora and fauna, as well as high mountain passes and glacial lakes.
Day one you will depart Cauterets and walk to Luz Saint Sauveur.
Day two will then take you from here to Bareges. From Bareges day three takes you through the beautiful natural reserve of Néouvielle, and you will overnight in Lac de Orédon.
Day four then takes you to Saint Lary Soulan, with day five’s walks heading onwards to Espingo Refuge.
From Espingo day six takes you to the final destination of Lunchon. After spending night seven here you can travel onwards to section 5 of the GR10.
In this video Sanu Wah shares her 8-day trekking experience from Luz St Sauveur to Bagnères de Luchon in High Pyrenees.
This part of the GR10 follows ancient pathways that have been means of transport through the deep valleys.
The route begins in Luchon and winds its way through rural and forestry areas around the villages and hamlets along the way.
As your journey onwards, you will see old shepards cabins and cairns, all reminders of the past. Your journey ends at Aulus les Bains.
From Luchon, your last stop, you will walk to Artigue to Fos.
Day two will then take you from Fos to Araing Lake, with amazing views of open, wild spaces that are framed in this country.
Day three you hike to Eylie d’en Haut, with day four taking you to Bonac Irazein. From here you hike to Aunac.
On day six you will make your way to Aulus les Bains, leaving the thermal city on day seven.
In this video, Denis Pujol shares an overview of their five days of hiking near a small village of Aulus les Bains: in the mountains, pass the lakes and around the peaks.
Section six of the GR10 crosses the western and central sections of the Pyrenees. The area is known for its deep valleys and high plateau landscapes.
You being this section of your journey at Aulus les Bains and end at Merens.
Beginning at Aulus les Bains, you spend day one walking to Bassies.
Day two then takes you from Bassies to Goulier, on this day you will pass a series of beautiful lakes.
From Goulier, day three takes you to Arquizat.
Day four you hike to the plateau de Beille, with day five taking you to Rulhe refuge.
Day six takes you to Merens, with the last day being particularly scenic. Day seven takes from Merens onwards.
In this video Patrick Beauvillard describes 3rd section of his crossing of the Pyrenees on the GR10 - from Melles to Mérens-les-Vals
The penultimate section of the GR10 takes you from Merens to Vernet les Bains. From Merens, the mountains open up giving you spectacular views.
This part of your journey lets you discover mountain villages, beautiful gorges and a natural reserve at Py and Mantet. Watch out for izards and wild mountain sheep as you hike.
From Merens you walk to the refuge of Besines.
Day two will then take you to the Lake of Bouillouses.
On day three you continue on to Planes, with this day takes you past the lake through forests.
From Planes, day four takes you to refuge of Ras de la Caranca.
From here you walk to the hamlet of Py.
From Py day six take you to Vernet les Bains, with day seven walking onwards from Vernet Les Bains.
Have a look at this video by Robert Gimenez of Vernet Les Bains trail completed in 2013.
On the final section of the GR10 you will see the environment change from Alpine to Mediterranean, with the sight of the sea and beach beckoning as you near the completion of your journey.
This last part you will journey from Vernet les Bains to Banyuls.
Day one of the final section takes you from Vernet les Bains to the refuge Marialles. Day two moves on to the Refuges des Cortalets.
From here you walk to Arles sur Tech and then day four takes you to Las Illas.
The next day you walk from Las Illas to the col de L’Ouillat, this day is a long one covering 21 km.
Day six journeys on to Banyuls, this day is also a long one but you are rewarded by the completion of this fantastic journey.
In this video overview of Vernet les Bains to Banyuls trail Franck Hidvegi summarises his entire hike.
If you are looking for an awesome book on the GR10 trail that guides you along your way, we recommend "The GR10 Trail: Through the French Pyrenees".
The book includes step by step route descriptions as well as maps and gradient profiles.
A helpful guide, whether you plan on doing the whole GR10 hike or parts of the trail.
If an accident should occur that requires medical assistance and evacuation you will want proper hiking insurance that will cover the costs of air ambulance and treatment.
This article on travel and hiking insurance proves great information on what type of insurance you need, as well as provides an easy quote calculator from a leading travel operator.
Check out the World Nomads calculator for a quick calculation of the cost of travel insurance for your trip to the States.