Between France and Spain lie the Pyrenees mountains, a 305-mile (491-kilometer) range stretching from the Bay of Biscay to the Mediterranean, separating the Iberian Peninsula from the rest of Europe. These snow-dusted mountains have long been a playground for outdoor adventure, but the hilltop castles and alpine villages beckon as well.
The Pyrenees mountain range rewards travelers with a diversity of experiences, many within easy day trip distance from Barcelona. Outdoor adventures include riding a rack railway through the scenic Nuria Valley, off-roading along wooded paths to remote medieval villages, heli-skiing in Andorra, or hiking the rugged mountain slopes. Or, take to the skies in a hot air balloon and look down on the Pyrenees from above.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Pyrenees are a must-visit for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure travelers.
- Dress in layers, as temperatures can change quickly as the elevation changes.
- Wear sturdy shoes suitable for walking over uneven surfaces, especially if you plan to hike.
- Don’t forget to bring sun protection; it’s possible to burn in the mountains, even in the snowy winter.
How to Get There
Most visitors to the Pyrenees mountains from the Spanish side fly into either Barcelona or Girona. From there, you can drive, take a bus, or join a guided tour into the mountain region.
When to Get There
The Pyrenees mountains attract visitors throughout the year, with different seasons catering to different activities. Summer sees the best conditions for hiking without the threat of snowfall, while autumn is the season for wild mushroom hunting in the wooded hillsides. Skiers flock to the area between December and March, and come springtime, sport fishers come to take advantage of the spring thaw.
National Parks of the Spanish Pyrenees
The Spanish section of the mountain range is home to two national parks. Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park is known for its 200 high mountain lakes, waterfalls, and thick forests. Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offers several well-marked hiking trails leading to caves, waterfalls, and lookout points.