The Pyrénées offer lots of opportunities for organized outdoor activities such as white water rafting, body boards, rock climbing, potholing and canyoning, run by centres where full tuition and all equipment is provided. These activities are on the whole for families with older children who are looking for that adrenalin rush and bit of extra excitement that perhaps a gentle canoe or kayak ride doesn’t give!
In the western Pyrénées the towns of Sauveterre-de-Béarn and Laàs, there are white water rafting centres which offer ½ or whole day excursions. An ability to swim at least 25m is essential.
Centre Nautique de Soeix
Description: Here a whole days rafting starts at 09.30 when you leave your car at Sauveterre-de Béarn and are then taken by bus to Navarrenx upstream. There is a stop for lunch (cooked on an open fire on a river beach can be part of the cost, or bring your own picnic) and the day finishes back at your car. You are strongly advised to book in advance, especially during the peak season.
Website: http://perso.club-internet.fr/raft, tel no: 0033 5 59 39 61 00.
Club Sportif d’Isaby
General description: Large centre offering a wide variety of activities ranging from water based options, land activities (rock-climbing, canyoning etc) and also walking/mountain biking.
Location: 65260 Villelongue, Close to Lourdes, 6km south of Argèles-Gazost
Website: www.isaby.asso.fr (French only), tel no: 0033 5 62 92 20 77
Our recommendation: Used by Andy’s sister and family in 2005 – they really enjoyed the experience, everyone was very friendly. The only comment they made was that for the real thrills you need to go when the rivers are in spate in spring/autumn. But the thrills were plenty enough for them!
Description: Ecolorado is very happy to cater for families, prices start from €16 per person. They have a number of different options ranging from kayaks to full size rafts. You’re advised to book in advance to ensure they can cater for your group.
Website: www.rafting-ecolorado.com (french only), Tel: 05 62 97 54 54
Location: Agos Vidalos, 9km south of Lourdes (just off N21).
Description: Activities available either per session or by the day, with white water rafting prices starting at €20 per session. They have a wide range of activities, even “body boards” with which you can surf the rapids!
Website: www.sport-nature.org, Tel no: 05 62 41 81 48
Location: Saint-Pé-de-Bigorre, on D937 11km W of Lourdes.
Description: An excellent centre in the western Pyrénées which will welcome children as young as 6 providing they are able to swim.
Website: http://www.ur-bizia.com/, Tel no: 0033 5 59 37 72 37
Location: 64780 Bidarray, on the D918 about 25km south east of Biarritz.
Here’s more information to make the most of your visit to the Pyrenees: