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The Pyrenees mountain range defines the wild and often impassible frontier between France and Spain, limited to a few trans-frontier crossings, however it's perhaps one of the lesser know European hiking destinations.

It's isolated and less developed than its Alpine equivalents. Stretching from the Atlantic ocean in the west to the Mediterranean in the east it is more than 260 miles long (430 kilometres). It stands as a formidable natural barrier, with the Central Pyrenees at 80 miles wide (150 kilometres) and few passes between.

With many peaks over 10,000 feet (3,050 metres) represents a great hiking opportunity for something different.

We offer a high-end 9-day hiking tour with adventurous trekking, beautiful scenery, a abundant lakes, quality accommodation.

Pyrenees facts

Facts

Countries / Regions:
Getting there:
Barcelona (Spain), Toulouse (France), Biarritz (France)
Highest peak:
Pico Aneto (Spain) 11,168 ft (3,404 m)
Other facts:
267 mi (430 km) long & 90 mi (150km) widest

Where can I find it

The Pyrenees is a mountain chain in southwestern Europe that stretches west to east, that is from the Bay of Biscay on the Atlantic ocean to the Mediterranean. It completely separates Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) from the rest of Europe. The Pyrenees range specifically divides the two European countries France and Spain, and it contains the sovereign landlocked microstate of Andorra within its Eastern part. The main airports serving the Pyrenees are Barcelona, Spain for the Mediterranean Eastern Pyrenees, Toulouse, France for the Central Pyrenees, or Biarritz, France for the Atlantic Western Pyrenees.

Typically rounded or flat topped massifs that are nonetheless challenging, with limestone, schist and granit all impacting the topology and vegetation. At more than 260 miles long (430 kilometres) and up to 80 miles wide (150 kilometres), it has 83 peaks over 10,000 feet (3,050 metres) and many more minor peaks but nonetheless substantial. Compared to its Alpine equivalents - the French Alps, the Swiss Alps, or the Dolomites - the Pyrenees interior Its relatively uninhabited and generally undeveloped. The cultural variation between French, Spanish, Catalan and Basque is a welcoming contrast and reflected in the architecture, landscape and cuisine..

What makes it special

Hiking the Pyrenees is wild and challenging, with rich cuisine and local beers and wines.

There's an incredible amount of hiking in the Pyrenees, some marked, some less so. There's also several long distance through-hikes that traverse the Pyrenees, usually done from west to east but can be done in both directions.

  • The GR10 (France) traverses along the French side of the Pyrenees. It's long but steady with no real surprises.
  • The HRP (France) (Haute Route Pyrénées), tracks closer to the high Pyrenees French-Spain border, but from the French side. It's significantly more challenging from an ascent profile, through the route itself is quite accessible with few technical challenges, other than access to supplies and accommodation.
  • The GR11 (Spain) traverses along the Spanish side of the Pyrenees, again its long, sometimes tricky to route-find, and does have some fairly technical sections, with some exposure.

To complete these particular GR trails camping equipment is essential, because whilst there are some gite-d'etapes (B&B) and alpine refuges along the way, there are significant sections with nothing, meaning more weight and carrying supplies.

Alternatively, we have selected some of the most interesting sections of these routes and others, without the need for camping.  We travel with normal day-hiking rucksacks, combined with good accommodation, good cuisine, and all in a manageable 9-day hiking adventure.

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