The Pyrenees mountain range could be considered the ‘gateway’ connection between Europe and the Iberian Peninsula. Located just between Spain, and France, this gorgeous range of mountains is filled with excellent hiking trails that every nature lover should try to experience.
When hiking in the Pyrenees, you are going to hear the terms ‘French Pyrenees’ and ‘Spanish Pyrenees’. This will determine where you are going to be entering the mountain range from, essentially. The choice is up to you, as both sides have absolutely stunning trails and features.
When To Visit
The Pyrenees mountain range is perfectly fine to visit throughout the year. However, there are some pretty extreme weather fluctuations due to their regional climate. Being at such a high elevation, the mountain range will never really get much warmer than 22 to 25°c–being in the height of summer. During the winter, the area can get as cold as -1 to 5°c.
The Pyrenees are famous for their skiing resorts, as well as wonderful hiking ranges. In this regard, it really comes down to what you wish to do when visiting there. If you wish to go skiing, you should be visiting between November – January. If you wish to go hiking and enjoy the regional flora and fauna, you should visit between June – August.
The Benefits of Walking The Pyrenees
The famous French author Victor Hugo (Les Misérables) once described The Cirque de Gavarnie as a ‘colosseum of nature’.The region is filled with breathtaking natural wonders, as
well as old world monuments such as the Sanctuary of Queralt in Catalonia. The entire mountain rage is filled with wonders that need to be seen to be believed.
Walking the Pyrenees is unlike walking anywhere else on earth. You will have the chance to see some of the most picturesque landscapes on the continent at your own pace and leisure. There are routes of the Pyrenees that take as little as a few hours, and some as much as over a month to hike.
Walking the Pyrenees comes with all the benefits you could ever look for–you get from it whatever you put into it!
Most Popular Routes
As mentioned above, there are dozens of potential hiking routes that can be enjoyed throughout the Pyrenees. Some of them take as little as 1-6 hours, and some will take you days, weeks, or even months to complete. So no matter what your level as a hiker, you will find something suitable. Here are a few to consider.
Estany de les Bouillouses
This looping trail only takes about 1-2 hours to complete, and will offer you a great view of the lake Estany de Lanos. You will start the trail here, and end it here. This is a great hike for those who aren’t committed to something massive.
Hotel du Cirque
The Hotel du Cirque hiking trail takes about 4-6 hours to complete, and is still rather easy for beginners. This trail will take you from the quaint little Hotel du Cirque, all the way to the Herrlicher waterfall. This is a great beginner trail for a longer day trip.
Portbou to Cadaquès
This is a much more advanced hike, at just under 35km long. It can take around two days to complete, but will have you going from the border town of Portbou, all the way to Cadaquès. This is a striking Catalonian Pyrenees hike that many will make special trips to Catalonia for exclusively.
Things To Pack and Consider
The Pyrenees region can be a bit unpredictable when it comes to weather. You should always prepare to be cold, even if you are visiting in the summer. At such high elevations, the temperature can drop rather rapidly overnight.
In addition to warm clothes, you should always remember to bring sun protective gear/creams. The atmosphere is very thin in many places, and allows for enhanced UV ray bombardment. It’s extremely easy to get a sunburn!
Finally, never forget to bring extra battery packs and chargers in case you get lost, and need more ‘juice’ to navigate your way back. Many of the trails are clearly marked, but without a guide getting turned around is a possibility.
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