GR 1 - Updates to the route description

As far as I can tell everyone who has set off along the GR1 armed with a little blue book containing my description of the route has somehow survived the experience.  Feedback suggests that, generally speaking, the sequence of events on the ground follows that described in the guide.  The route, however, is 1250kms long, things do change and occasionally my description of the route has left hikers scratching their heads.  Most hikers, following the recommendation in the guide, have used the GPS route (many using GPS for the first time) and the only real problems reported are from those attempting the route with just the guide.

The good news is that in a number of places the route has been improved.   For much of its length, the GR1 passes through wild countryside and although populated in the recent past, the people who originally used the footpaths and maintained the tracks that make up the route have long departed. Keeping it open and preventing it from becoming overgrown relies on the efforts of local volunteers and the occasional smidgen of public money.

This blog is based on comments made by hikers who have used the guide in the first 2 years after publication, trips completed in 2016 and 2017.  As more changes are identified I will add to the list below.  Not every comment has been included as some are best left for what will hopefully be a second edition of the guide.

The route does change and evolve.   When I did the research I was constantly finding contradictions between the information I had, usually derived from the regional walking organisations and what I found on the ground.  Routes are updated, new waymarks positioned, but the official information sources are not always kept up to date.  My golden rule was to follow the waymarks on the ground and this rule, unless compelling evidence suggests otherwise, still applies. Where the waymarks say one thing and my guide says another, go with the waymarks.

Section 1 Stage 2

From the top of the pass, the Collada de Mostagerosa, the route has been remarked.  Head down the valley side to a small stream and then cross it by a cairn and then follow occasional waymarks to the valley floor below.

Section 1 Stage 5

For a more extensive description of the shortcut to Brañosera

Cross the wire fence by the electricity pylon and follow a faint track used by vehicles.  Pick up a dirt road near the second pylon and descend, staying on the hillslopes above the stream.  After 1.5km down the valley, the road forks presenting alternative ways into Brañosera.  The left fork crosses a bridge over the stream and follows a zigzagging path down the hill (shortcuts may be possible).  The right fork follows a walking track (marked on the Spanish map as the Camino de Mata del Fraile) and then re-joins the main track after 700m, crosses the stream and after 1km reaches Brañosera.

Section 1 Stage 6

The GR1 fades away as the regional border into Cantabria is crossed.  My route is based on a local route, the Camino de Brañosera. This 'route' does go to Reinosa but beware, compared to the GR1, it is in parts very poorly defined.

Section 2 Stage 2

Some people found the little valley between Nela and the chapel at Saint Bartolome wet and overgrown.  The path is definitely indistinct and conditions will be dependant on the season.

Section 3 Stage 2

Route description starts "From the bus stop" - should more correctly read "Just before the bus stop turn left onto a dirt road.  Shortly after turn and re-join the main road".

Also the forest trail above the valley near Lagran has been damaged by recent logging and until it's restored it may be better to head to Lagran and follow the road to Bernedo.

Section 4 Stage 2

The new hotel in the decaying village of Gallipienzo Antiguo has been accompanied by some re - routing. Instead of going into the church yard, descend down clay steps to its left to a lookout and turn right.  Follow the cobbled streets downhill to a new road below the village. Turn right and follow the road around the hillside until it comes to a new hotel.  Below the hotel follow a footpath to the left and descend down a small valley to the bridge, keeping left at a junction.

The difficult to follow bit - mentioned on page 141 - has now been improved and the GR1 follows a well marked path.

Section 5 Stage 5

A couple of people, who did not have a GPS struggled with the route on the hillside to the south of Bara. There are two dry stone walls, use the one on the right as a guide and follow it up the hillside until a cairn marks a more obvious route.

Bagüeste - the warning about Bagüeste can now be disregarded as new waymarks provide a good route through the abandoned village.

Section 6 Stage 4

For a more extensive description of the variant -

‘Follow the farm road parallel with the cliffs through alpine meadows and agriculture. After 3km take a right fork and descend steeply on the road past spectacular, coloured cliffs. The last 6km to Villanova de Meia is less impressive but there is a bar part way at Santa Maria de Meia where you can rehydrate.’

Section 6 Stage 9

There has been some re-routing (no longer goes through the grounds of a private house) - so the end para could read: 

‘Turn left and then north up the other side of the field to a small power station beside the river. Turn right across a small steel bridge, immediately right again and follow a forest path downstream to three houses. Turn sharp left and follow markers up the north side of the top property'

Section 7 Stage 1

There has been some rerouting on the way into Sagàs - so second para on Section 7 Stage1 should read. 

From the farmstead continue east for 500m. ‘Turn right at GR1 signpost, follow the road for 100 metres and turn left onto signposted track. Descend, pass left of a reservoir and bear right at fork on dirt road. Turn left at the metalled road and enter Sagas.'

There has been some rerouting immediately before arriving at Lluçà and the GPS and the track on the ground are no longer consistent - as always follow the GR signs on the ground.

Section 7 Stage 3

The 600m road walk referred to in the second paragraph on page 257 has been replaced with a path.

Section 7 Stage 4

Extensive remarking on this stage.

There are a couple of misplaced photo descriptions as well - on page 49 the view is from the Collado Mostagerosa and church on page 96 is in Igay. 



  1. Hi John,

    Thanks so much for compiling this brilliant resource. Just brought the book so looking forward to delving in more.

    Me and my partner aim to walk the GR1 early May, we have two weeks to hike. We'll be coming up from Barcelona and hope to walk in some of the most beautiful parts of the route staying in local accommodation as we go (hopefully some of the great places you blogged about!). I wonder if you recommend any particular section for us to do in this time? And stops?

    Kind thanks again!


  2. Hi Ella

    Thanks for your kind comments.

    If I just had 2 weeks, I would walk Section 5 in the guide, from Murillo de Gállego to Graus. That will take you 9 or 10 days. From Barcelona you can get a train via Zaragoza to Huesca and then a train up to Riglos (just beyond Murillo on the route). The lovely little train from Huesca only runs once a day so you would have to stay overnight there.

    If you could get to SoS del Rey Católico you could visit that stunning town and add another 3 days to the beginning. It is harder to get to however.

    Hope that helps and good walking. Keep in touch


  3. Thanks to your book, my wife and I had two great pre-pandemic holidays on the first two sections of the GR1.

    Last month (November) we walked a few more days on the route. We’re now in our early 70’s, and decided to indulge ourselves -- here was a purple patch at the beginning of Section 4: lodging at the Parador at Olite, with a very good three-hour comida at El Túbal in Tafalla, an easy 6km walk north. Next day the fine walk up into the hills to Ujué where we stayed at the welcoming Casa Rural Las Migas. Then the beautiful short day (11km) across the wide valley to Gallipienzo, with the rampart of the snow-covered Pyrenees on the horizon. We spent two nights at the Heredad Beragu there: exceptional in every way – beautifully, imaginatively restored buildings in a dramatic situation, with excellent food and friendly hosts. One day we walked to Cáseda for lunch in the working man’s bar/restaurant there (the Imperio), run by charming twin sisters. And the following day, the beautiful, gentle walk to Sos (23km) (GR1 signs now take you around rather than through Cáseda), and a good dinner at La Cocina del Principal.

    Thank you for your inspiration!


    1. Hi Peter - so pleased that you enjoyed it. This is definitely one of the sections where accommodation has actually got better since I did walked it 10 years ago. Gallipienzo was lovely but just about empty and the hotel wasn't open.