The Pyrenees is the large mountain range which separates northern Spain from the rest of Europe, and is fascinating for its stunning natural landscapes. The range is 450 km long, reaching from the Bay of Biscay to the Mediterranean. It is a natural frontier where water, forests and valleys dominate the landscape, and where many an exciting sensation awaits you, because the Pyrenees is synonymous with excitement and adventure.
Are you ready to discover it?
The Pyrenees is a mountain range in the north of the regions of Catalonia, Aragon and Navarre. This area of high mountains is home to some of Spain's most beautiful landscapes. Sports are an excellent medium by which to enjoy this extreme, abrupt countryside to the full. The Pyrenees is full of life and will constantly call for your participation in the many activities on offer. If you like to be in touch with nature and enjoy active/adventure tourism, then the Spanish Pyrenees is just the place for your holiday.
A hiker's paradise
Hiking is the most popular activity in the Pyrenees. The whole range is crossed by many different trails, both short (PR) and long (GR). The GR 11 is the most famous of these, and is known as the Pyrenean Trail. It crosses the entire mountain range, from one end to the other. There are also many other signed, easier routes that set out from the mountain villages of the region. Any time of year is good to go hiking here, with the exception of winter, when snow covers the peaks and valleys of the range. Nevertheless, you should always take basic precautions when you go hiking, such as carrying sufficient water and a map of the area.
For the more daring
The Pyrenees is also synonymous with adventure sports. Why not try one or more of these activities: climbing and mountaineering in the region of Posets-Maladeta, in Huesca province, with the peak of Aneto towering above the highest mountains in the range; white water rafting and kayaking in fast-flowing rivers, especially in Noguera Pallaressa, in Lleida; canoeing in the Cinca and Ara Rivers in Aragon, as well as in the Navarre section of the Bidasoa River; caving; orienteering… Those in search of extreme excitement can try airborne sports: paragliding, hang-gliding, microlighting... There are many schools and specialist facilities offering a range of activities in the field of active/adventure tourism. Go to any of them and they will give you all the details. Don't forget that for some activities you need to be physically fit and have some prior experience. Nevertheless, there are activities suitable for all levels and ages. Just ask.
By bike... and on horseback
Have you ever though about exploring the Pyrenees by bike, or perhaps on horseback? More and more people are getting into mountain biking - an ideal way to cover the most rugged trails. This is an enjoyable and environmentally friendly way to explore the countryside and get to the most hidden spots, impossible to access using other vehicles. Some towns and villages have bike hire centres which also offer special routes in the surrounding areas. If you decide to do a mountain biking route, you should take the appropriate equipment with you. Another option is horse-riding routes in the Pyrenees, normally organised for groups.
For hunting and fishing lovers
The Pyrenees is a stunning nature reserve, home to a multitude of different animal species, many hot favourites with hunting and fishing lovers: quail, partridge, boar, rabbit, roe deer, tout, barbell, Iberian nase… To hunt or fish you must have the relevant permit and license, and these vary depending on whether you are a European Union citizen or not. You should also be aware of the dates of the hunting and fishing seasons. There are many different hunting and fishing areas, but remember that there are restricted reserves and river sections where hunting and fishing are prohibited. Before engaging in any sporting activity, it is advisable to get detailed information from the local tourist office wherever you are.
The Pyrenees has even more to offer. Towns and villages with unique character, home to works of art, unusual monuments, age-old folklore, rich gastronomy, national parks, spa resorts, traditional fiestas... There are a host of good reasons to discover this area, where nature speaks for herself. The Pyrenees is waiting for you.
Article and images courtesy of www.spain.info