For friendly, expert advice call: +44 (0) 1962 733051

Butterflies & Moths of the Spanish Pyrenees

Tour Code: ESP37

An 8-day holiday in search of the profusion of butterflies, moths and other natural history to be found on gentle day walks in the Spanish Pyrenees.

8 days from £1495(inc flights) Land Only Price: £1385 SRS: £150


The mosaic of habitats in the Spanish Pyrenees supports a wonderful array of Lepidoptera and, from our base in the pretty hilltop village of Berdún, we will make leisurely daily excursions in search of butterflies, while at night we will set a moth trap, weather permitting. During our week we’ll explore the foothills and valleys of the Veral and Aragon Rivers, and the spectacular Biniés Gorge, looking for several different hairstreaks and walls, Spanish Gatekeeper and such blues as Adonis, Idas, Small and Spanish Chalkhill Blue, Scarce and Purple-edged Coppers, Swallowtail, Great-banded Grayling, and Grizzled, Marbled, Dingy, Small and Large Skippers amongst many more! We will also visit the beautiful Hecho Valley, where we’ll look for ringlets, skippers, blues and fritillaries in the alpine meadows, while at Riglos we should see more Mediterranean, sun-loving species such as Black-veined White. In the Aisa Valley we should see alpine species such as Apollo, Clouded Apollo and many ringlets and blues. Botanists will enjoy the carpets of gentians and Pyrenean Buttercups in the valley bottom and, if we are lucky, we may glimpse the Pyrenean race of Chamois that occurs here, or perhaps Alpine Marmots as we search for butterflies amongst some of Europe’s most spectacular scenery.

  • We hope to see up to 120 butterfly species during the week
  • Apollo, Clouded Apollo & ‘mountain’ ringlets are among expected highlights
  • Fritillaries, & blues such as Gavarnie & Forster’s Furry Blue
  • Silver-washed Fritillary, Camberwell Beauty & Purple Emperor
  • Night-time moth-traps should reveal the area’s Griffon Vulture & Lammergeier plus Wallcreeper, Alpine & Red-billed Choughs
  • Single-centre trip based in a charming guesthouse in the pretty hilltop village of Berdún
  • Led by expert naturalist guide

Food

All included in the price.

Accommodation

A charming guesthouse situated beneath the pretty hilltop village of Berdun.

Spanish Moon Moth

Spanish Moon Moth

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1 Fly Zaragoza.

Day 2/7 Daily excursions, mainly on foot, from our base in Berdún.

Day 8 Fly UK

This holiday focuses on the wonderful variety of butterflies and moths of the Pyrenees — that rugged mountain range so rich in wildlife which forms an imposing and spectacular 450-kilometre barrier between southern France and north-eastern Spain. The southern, Spanish slopes of the range, though supporting extensive Beech and conifer forests, are much more Mediterranean in character than the northfacing French slopes. Here, the mosaic of habitats presents exciting opportunities for the butterfly and moth enthusiast, and the scrub, maquis, arable farmland, wide river valleys, semi-desert steppe, high alpine meadows, cliffs, canyons and stunning limestone erosions of this diverse region support a wonderful array of Lepidoptera! Alpine species such as Apollo, Clouded Apollo and ‘mountain’ ringlets will be among our expected highlights, as well as a multitude of fritillaries … and blues such as Gavarnie and Forster’s Furry Blue. At night we will set a moth-trap, weather permitting, hoping for such specialities as Giant Peacock; indeed the moth fauna is very diverse here, so the morning moth-trap inspection is likely always to be a highlight! During this week-long holiday, we will hope to see up to 120 butterfly species on our leisurely daily walks, taken amongst spectacular surroundings where Griffon Vultures and Lammergeiers soar overhead and orchids may still be found in the highest valleys and meadows during this season.

Our base for this week is a charming guesthouse that sits beneath the pretty hilltop village of Berdún, from which fine views of the Pyrenees, surrounding foothills, and the valleys of the Veral and Aragon Rivers may be enjoyed. Here, our hosts make us most welcome, keeping us well fed on wholesome local cuisine. Berdún occupies a truly prime position, for it is very close to a great many key sites for butterflies and moths, many of them within walking distance of our accommodation. It is also quite close to the small, historic town of Jaca which lies to the east and offers cultural interest with its 15th century fort and an interesting 11th century Romanesque cathedral.

During our holiday, we will explore the area around Berdún looking for butterflies and moths, and also enjoying the birds, plants and mammals of the area. The Aragon and Veral Valleys and the spectacular Biniés Gorge are home to a variety of low-level plants, and attendant butterflies include several different hairstreaks and walls, Spanish Gatekeeper and such blues as Adonis, Idas, Small and Spanish Chalkhill Blue. In addition, we may hope to see such species as Scarce and Purple-edged Coppers, Swallowtail, Camberwell Beauty, Great-banded Grayling, and Grizzled, Marbled, Dingy, Small and Large Skippers amongst many more! The birdlife here is also rich, and we may hear the distinctive call of a Golden Oriole, or see a passing flock of Bee-eaters as we look for butterflies and moths.

We will also visit the beautiful Hecho Valley, where we’ll look for Apollos, ringlets, skippers, blues and fritillaries in the alpine meadows, and Camberwell Beauty and other species in the limestone gorges. The mixed Beech and Silver Fir forests of the high valley are ideal places to look for a variety of hairstreaks, as well as Silverwashed Fritillary and Purple Emperor. Among the birds to be seen are Alpine and Red-billed Choughs and, if we are fortunate, Wallcreeper. We will also explore the hills and limestone outcrops to the south-east of Berdún, looking for birds such as vultures, Black Wheatear and Blue Rock Thrush at the spectacular red pinnacles at Riglos. Here the hotter, even more Mediterranean, terrain should reveal a quite different set of sun-loving Lepidoptera, including Black-veined White, Scarce Swallowtail, and some of the migrant hawk-moths such as Hummingbird, Spurge, Bedstraw and even Striped Hawk-moth.

We will end our holiday with a visit to the beautiful Aisa Valley, situated to the northwest of Jaca. On a gentle walk up the valley amongst some of the finest Pyrenean scenery, we will look for more meadow and alpine Lepidoptera: the Apollo, Clouded Apollo and many of the ringlet and blue species. The botanists in our party will enjoy the carpets of gentians and Pyrenean Buttercups in the valley bottom, and numerous saxifrages and other rock-dwelling plants on the scree slopes above. The Pyrenean race of Chamois also occurs here, together with Alpine Marmot and Wild Boar. It’s a truly tranquil and magnificent place to conclude a holiday awash with wildlife and spent amongst some of Europe’s most spectacular scenery, all enjoyed from a quite delightful guesthouse. 

Milwall BugMantis (Empusa pennata)WartbiterSpurge hawk-moth catepillaSpotted FritillarySpilostethus saxatilisSpanish SwallowtailSpanish Purple Hairstreak by Bob SmithScarce Silver-linesOryctes nasicornis Rhinoceros BeetleMerry BurnetOryctes nasicornis Rhinoceros BeetleMartagon LilyLos Mallos de RiglosSulphur Owl Fly (Libelloides longicornis)Large TortoiseshellGreat Green Bush-cricketGreat Banded GraylingGoat MothAgueroA plant bug Calocoris roseomaculatus
F.B.
Dorset
This trip was extremely successful and delivered on every aspect promised in the brochure - the scenery and views were glorious and it was hugely helpful (to me) that Richard could explain so much of the geology (and Peter, the history, on the last day). We explored an even more varied range of terrains than I had hoped for - river beds, steep gorges, mountain passes, up in the mountains - thanks to a ski-lift - flower-filled meadows, watched vultures feeding, and had beautiful (but not steep) walks. The butterfly people nearly reached their 100 species. The (fewer) birders had a good haul and the botanists (me and one other) have a spectacular haul that will still need many days to sort out! We could not have been better looked after, informed and entertained by Richard and Gerald. We could not have been better fed and cared for than by Mel and Peter. The group of varied ages/occupations/interests got on well for the week. I hugely enjoyed the week. Now back to the botany!
T.M.
Highlands
The first trip we have tried that was dedicated to butterflies and it fully lived up to expectations. The accommodation was superb.
H.M.
Highlands
The accommodation was excellent. Food delicious - packed lunches amazing. There was very good coverage of a variety of interests in addition to butterflies - flowers, birds and the local geology. The leaders tailored the itinerary to the weather conditions excellently, going to higher altitudes on the hottest days and finding sheltered meadows on breezy days. They complemented each other well. Both had all-round general knowledge of natural history; Richard brought his local knowledge of the area and Gerald his dry sense of humour. I would be more than happy to go on a holiday led by either of them again.
J.B.
Dorset
Would thoroughly recommend this trip to anyone interested in birds/butterflies/botany, or just the scenery. Pete and Mel at Casa Sarasa were brilliant, making us very welcome and catering for us excellently, with no limit to the bottles of wine we consumed with evening meals and a champagne barbecue on the last night. Their picnic lunches were excellent. Richard and Gerald were excellent leaders and adapted our itinerary to the weather conditions. Being primarily a butterfly trip, the pace was slower than some of the birding and botany trips we have been on, which was welcome, and gave even more opportunities for combining all three. The trip actually doubled my butterfly life list, and gave me two new birds for my life list.
Show all details | Hide all details

DeparturesAvailableCost

Wed 4th July 2018 - Wed 11th July 2018

YES

£1495

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are limited. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £1385 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Visiting: Spain

View tour reports +

Can I help You?

Tom Mabbett
Operations Manager

Email Tom

01962 733051

Tour Focus

ButterfliesBirds

Tour Reviews

This trip was extremely successful and delivered on every aspect promised in the brochure - the scenery and views were glorious and it was hugely helpful (to me) that Richard could explain so much of the geology (and Peter, the history, on the last day). We explored an even more varied range of terrains than I had hoped for - river beds, steep gorges, mountain passes, up in the mountains - thanks to a ski-lift - flower-filled meadows, watched vultures feeding, and had beautiful (but not steep) walks. The butterfly people nearly reached their 100 species. The (fewer) birders had a good haul and the botanists (me and one other) have a spectacular haul that will still need many days to sort out! We could not have been better looked after, informed and entertained by Richard and Gerald. We could not have been better fed and cared for than by Mel and Peter. The group of varied ages/occupations/interests got on well for the week. I hugely enjoyed the week. Now back to the botany!
F.B., Dorset