Got the wild idea of following the French-Spanish border on foot. (I'm sure that bicycle is not feasible!)

What are the legal/political issues, if any?

Physical challenges? I know it is mountainous, though being supposedly the "continental divide," it may not be as strenuous as going across it. I've recently biked 30 KM in two hours, so I guess I am reasonably healthy. (100 miles one day, but I was much younger.)

How long is it? I tried several search strings but did not find this. Surprised me, as I am seen the lengths of several other borders stated on-line.

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    Unfortunately, probably won't see answers (limited services area of Peru) until ready to go to Spain in April.
    – WGroleau
    Commented Jan 18, 2016 at 14:07
  • If you hold a Schengen visa, you should be fine to go between France and Spain as both are part of Schengen area. Then, for the routes, there are multiples but I am not too familiar with those.
    – Olielo
    Commented Jan 18, 2016 at 14:13
  • One online source gave me 620km for the border length, for your other questions they're pretty broad and not sure the physical part is on-topic for this site
    – blackbird
    Commented Jan 18, 2016 at 14:27
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    The french-Spanish border is mostly in the Pyrenees, a very rocky and high altitude mountainous area - and incredible beautiful. So I can understand your idea (and might consider it myself...), but be aware that it is not a walk in the park. - From my experience, nothing much is going on at the border line, and except where you cross roads, you might not meet anyone.
    – Aganju
    Commented Jan 18, 2016 at 15:13
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    There are trails along the entire length of the Pyrénées, which largely go parallel to the border. See the GR10 on the French side and the GR11 on the Spanish side. (It is impossible to follow the border exactly without going off-trail.)
    – Sarastro
    Commented Jan 18, 2016 at 16:27

1 Answer 1


There is an established trail that was developed with the same aim as the idea behind your question: the Haute Randonnée Pyrénéenne. It is about 800km long from coast to coast and wiki states 45 days for the average hiker. It is however very remote and I would not advise is without decent hiking experience in mountainous terrain. It is also unmarked and the navigation is rather tricky in places.

Easier options are the GR10 and GR11, which run more or less parallel to the HRP further to the north in France (GR10) and further to the south in Spain (GR11). Those are more accessible and marked, but stay serious undertakings to cover in a single trek. The distances are somewhere between 800 and 900km (depending on the source).

Many variations are possible for each of those three trails, including switching from trail to trail. There are plenty of guidebooks around and the links on each of the wiki pages will give you a good start.

If you are feeling very competitive you might even try to race the length of the GR10 next summer.

There are no legal or political issues with the Spanish-French border. As long as you are allowed into the Schengen zone, you are fine. If you want to cross into Andorra and your nationality requires a Schengen visa, you should be a bit more careful and make sure that you have a multiple entry Schengen visa (source). Thanks to phoog for that catch.

And if you really care a lot about the Spanish-French border, keep in mind that it consists of the three unconnected pieces: one on each side of Andorra and the border around Llívia.

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    I recall reading about someone who got into trouble by traveling through Andorra while holding a single-entry Schengen visa.
    – phoog
    Commented Jan 18, 2016 at 20:14
  • Good catch. I'm adding that to the answer. Commented Jan 18, 2016 at 20:16
  • @phoog nice one
    – Gayot Fow
    Commented Jan 18, 2016 at 21:57
  • I was aware of both Andorra and Llivia. In fact, both fascinate me, so I appreciate the warning about the visa. Last time I went to Spain, I just got a stamp at the airport, no questions, no forms. To ensure that one's visa is multiple entry, is it necessary to do anything in advance of the first entry?
    – WGroleau
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 14:37
  • @WGroleau If you just got a stamp on entry, then it implies you don't need a visa. In which case you just need to watch for the 90/180 rule.
    – CMaster
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 16:30

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