Cathar Castles in the Pyrenees, from Quéribus to Quillan

Cathar country
Self-guided walking
Self-guided Walking
7 Days
6 Nights
6 Activity Days
From 545,00 €

Between the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean Sea, in the heart of the sunblessed region of the Corbières you will find the imposing, mystic stone castles of the châteaux cathares. These castles represent a tragic, political and religious intrigue that shook the South of France and marked the region.

During the week's walking you will discover landscapes of immense natural beauty, lushvalleys and rolling hills. You will discover an interesting page of France's history along with some good local food and wines. The trails pass through a whole variety of terrain, each day is different, the vegetation, the ‘garrigue' is fragrant and often full of colour.

Your itinerary follows the ‘Cathar Trail', a footpath that stretches from Quéribus to Quillan. This is one week's walking and represents the first half of the trail. We also propose Quillan to Foix which completes the route. The Cathare footpath can be walked separately, or linked together to become a two week walk.

Dates and Prices


Every day from the beginning of April to the end of October (depending on availabilities).
Booking from 2 people (solitary traveller: consult us).

From 01/04/2024 to 31/10/2024 :

Prices with luggage transfer :
Price per person for a group of 2 persons : 755€
Price per person for a group of 3 persons : 685€
Price per person for a group of 4 persons : 650€
Price per person for a group of 5 persons : 630€
Price per person for a group of 6 persons : 615€

Prices without luggage transfer :
Price per person for a group of 2 persons : 610€
Price per person for a group of 3 persons : 585€
Price per person for a group of 4 persons : 570€
Price per person for a group of 5 persons : 560€
Price per person for a group of 6 persons : 545€

Extras :
- Extra 5 picnics : 65 €/pers
- Extra single room option : 165 €/pers
- Extra night in Quillan half board double room : 70€/pers
- Extra night in Quillan half board single room : 90€/pers

Price includes

- Half board accommodation 
- Transfer day 1 
- Luggage transfer depending on the option chosen
- Dossier containing maps, route notes (1 for 4 persons, given in 1st accommodation)
- GPS tracks if you ask us + access to the detailed itinerary on the Mhikes GPS mobile application

Price doesn't include:

-Holiday and travel insurance
- Visits, access to castles and museums
-Drinks and picnics
-15€ : booking fees

Day 1 : Start of holiday in Quillan

Your holiday starts in Quillan, then transfer to Duilhac-sous-Peyrepertuse. Check into your accommodation and possibility to visit the village of Duilhac-sous-Peyrepertuse situated in the middle of a green circus and overlooked by Peyrepertuse castle. It is also possible to hike to discover the Moulin de Ribaute and the Gorges du Verdouble (swimming possible in the natural basins of the Verdouble). Distance : 7km, duration : around 2h, altitude gain : +200m, descent : -200m.

Day 2 : From Duilhac to Queribus castle

From Duilhac, this walk in loop allow to joign through the fragrant garrigue vegetation on a vineyard background, the prestigious castle of Quéribus, built on a rocky peak. Castle of Queribus, real eagle's nest, will be last place of Cathar strength during the crusade of the Albigensians in 1255. Perched at 788m, from the top terrace of the keep, magnificent landscapes unfold before our eyes, from Canigou to the Roussillon and Corbières plains. Distance : 17,5km, duration : around 6h, altitude gain : +650m, descent : -650m.

Day 3 : From Duilhac to Cubières

A particularly picturesque walk with the opportunity to visit Peyrepertuse castle and the Galamus Gorge that has been carved out by the river Agly. Galamus gorge has become a favourite for those practising the sport of canyoning and you can sometimes hear the echoes below as they journey down, swimming and cascading over waterfalls, tumbling through the pools and chutes of the canyon. A narrow road passes through the gorge at mid level, half way up the cliffs, it was built in 1884. Your path leads directly past the Galamus hermitage, a humble home in a cave, now a small sanctuary, the entrance is found between small oaks and a shrubby box tree vegetation. Distance : 16km, duration : around 5h30, altitude gain : +700m, descent : -700m. OR Distance : 19km, duration : around 6h30, altitude gain : +850m, descent : -750m (with round trip to Peyrepertuse castle)

Day 4: From Cubières sur Cinoble to Rennes les Bains

You leave Cubières to reach the charming postcard village of Sougraigne, nestled in a green setting, the village of the last known Cathar, Guillaume Bélibaste. At the Col du Linas, the view towards the Pech de Bugarach is breath-taking. The village of Bugarach, a few hundred metres away from the route, is worth a visit, for the ruins of its castle dating from the 16th and 17th centuries and its century-old houses. Via the Col de la Pourteille (694m), you will reach Sougraigne and then Rennes les Bains, a famous spa in the region. Distance : 22km, duration : around 7h30, altitude gain : +800m, descent : -950m.

Day 5: From Rennes les Bains to Domaine de Pailhères

From Rennes les Bains, you will head towards the river Blanque and the bizarre landscapes of the Haut-Razès, on paths often shaded by huge beech or chestnut trees. In the heart of these forests, historical relics or natural curiosities will enhance your journey. Halfway along the route, the site of Rennes-le-Château will surprise you, with its exceptional location and its mysteries due to the tumultuous life of Abbé Saunière in his days. You will then reach the peaceful hamlet of Pailhères. Distance : 13km, duration : around 4h30, altitude gain : +500m, descent : -400m.

Day 6 : From Pailhères to Quillan

The trail leads through varied terrain, often in forests and through a succession of small villages. The local communities are welcoming and time seems to have stood still in the squares of sleepy villages, such as Saint Ferriol or Saint Julia de Bec. The Sentier Cathare goes from valley to valley, before entering a wooded terrain at the foot of the Col des Trois Quilles. Once crossed, the 555m high col overlooks Quillan, the capital of the upper Aude valley.  Distance : 20km, duration : around 6h30, altitude gain : +550m, descent : -650m

Day 7 : Tour ends at Quillan

The holiday comes to an end in Quillan after breakfast at your hotel. You can choose to do a circular route from Quillan.
Circular walk from Quillan
The itinerary offers a remarkable diversity of Mediterranean and mountain vegetation. You will see the unusual chalet of Carach and the village itself that is famous for its XI century church. The return route meanders back along the river Aude. Distance : 12,5km, duration : around 4h, altitude gain : +350m, descent : -350m.

This program is an example of the itinerary we aim to adhere to. It may be necessary, if situations arise that are beyond our control, for the itinerary to be modified.


Day 1 at 3 PM (15h00) (or other schedule agreed with you), in front of train station of Quillan (11).


Day 7 in Quillan (11) after breakfast.


Level 3/5
Regular walker, in good physical condition with experience of mountain hiking. Hiking 6h-7h per day on average, altitude difference 700m-1000m on average, on fairly easy trails, with some small technical difficulties. The walking times mentioned are given as an indication, they are average times that only take into account the duration of the actual walking without counting the break times. Depending on the weather conditions, the walking pace can also vary, ranging from +300m to +500m of climb per hour. 


Half board    
1 night in hotel *** in room day 6
1 night in a family hotel in room on day 4
4 nights in quality guesthouses days 1, 2, 3 and 5.

- Continental breakfast (tea, coffee, milk, butter, jam) 
- Evening meals in gites, often based on local specialties, include a starter, a main course and a dessert.  
- Picnics not included. They can be reserved in advance (with extra). Or you can buy them directly at your accommodation or at the grocery stores, mini-markets and bakeries listed in the roadbook.
- Drinks not included.

Luggage porterage

You will need to carry a day backpack only. Our bag-moving service means you can travel light during your walks. Your main luggage (that should please be easily transportable) will be transported by vehicle between the different night stops, unless you have chosen the version without luggage transport.


Self-guided walking, without guide.

Pyrenean travel agency specializing in your hikes and treks in the Pyrenees, the GR10 and more
ARIEGE: 20 chemin de la montagne, 09000 FOIX
+33 (0)5 34 14 51 50 - +33 (0)6 10 97 16 54
Logo Hoteliers randonneurs
Vagabondages, les artisans de la rando