The Pyrenees: Places to Explore


  • Aínsa

    Persevere through the uninspiring outskirts of Aínsa’s new town, as the road then turns sharply upward toward one of Aragón’s most impressive walled medieval towns, where houses are jammed together along... Read more

  • Alquézar

    Almost as though carved from the rock itself, Alquézar overlooks the Sierra y Cañones de Guara Natural Park and is one of Aragón’s most attractive old towns. A labyrinth of cobbled, winding streets and... Read more

  • Aragüés del Puerto

    A tidy mountain village with stone houses and lovely little corners, doorways, and porticoes, Aragüés del Puerto is the hub and base camp for some of Upper Aragón's wildest reaches. Unspoiled by ski resorts... Read more

  • Baztán Valley

    Tucked neatly above the headwaters of the Bidasoa River, beneath the peak of the 3,545-foot Gorramendi Mountain that looms over the border with France, is the Valle de Baztán. These rounded green hills... Read more

  • Beget

    The village of Beget, considered Catalonia's més bufó (cutest), was completely cut off from motorized vehicles until the mid-1960s, when a pista forestal (Jeep track) was laid down; in 1980 Beget was finally... Read more

  • Bellver de Cerdanya

    Bellver de Cerdanya has preserved its slate-roof and fieldstone Pyrenean architecture more successfully than many of the Cerdanya's larger towns. Perched on a promontory over the Río Segre, which winds... Read more

  • Benasque

    Benasque, Aragón's easternmost town, has always been an important link between Catalonia and Aragón. This elegant mountain hub with a population of just over 2,200 harbors a number of notable buildings... Read more

  • Bielsa

    Bielsa, at the confluence of the Cinca and Barrosa rivers, is a busy summer resort with some lovely mountain architecture and an ancient, porticoed town hall. Northwest of Bielsa the Monte Perdido glacier... Read more

  • Burguete (Auritz)

    Burguete (Auritz, in Euskera) lies between two mountain streams forming the headwaters of the Urobi River and is surrounded by meadows and forests. The town was immortalized in Ernest Hemingway's The Sun... Read more

  • Camprodón

    Camprodón, the capital of its comarca (county), lies at the junction of the Ter and Ritort rivers—both excellent trout streams. The rivers flow by, through, and under much of the town, giving it a highland... Read more

  • Espot

    Espot is in the heart of the valley, along a clear stream, next to the eastern entrance of Aigüestortes–Sant Maurici National Park.... Read more

  • Hecho and Ansó Valleys

    The Valle de Ansó is Aragón's western limit. Rich in fauna (mountain goats, wild boar, and even a bear or two), it follows the Veral River up to Zuriza. Towering over the head of the valley is Navarra's... Read more

  • Huesca

    Capital of Aragón until the royal court moved to Zaragoza in 1118, Huesca was founded by the Romans more than a thousand years earlier; the city became an independent state with a senate and an excellent... Read more

  • Jaca

    Jaca, the most important municipal center in Alto Aragón, is anything but sleepy. Bursting with ambition and endowed with the natural resources, jacetanos are determined to make their city the site of... Read more

  • La Seu d'Urgell

    La Seu d'Urgell is an ancient town facing the snowy rock wall of the Sierra del Cadí. As the seat (seu) of the regional archbishopric since the 6th century, it has a rich legacy of art and architecture... Read more

  • Llívia

    A Spanish enclave in French territory, Llívia was marooned by the 1659 Peace of the Pyrenees treaty, which ceded 33 villages to France. Incorporated as a vila (town) by royal decree of Carlos V—who spent... Read more

  • Monasterio de San Juan de la Peña

  • Parc Nacional d'Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici

  • Parque Nacional de Ordesa y Monte Perdido

  • Puigcerdà

    Puigcerdà is the largest town in the valley; in Catalan, puig means "hill," and cerdà derives from "Cerdanya." From the promontory upon which it stands, the views down across the meadows of the valley floor... Read more

  • Queralbs

    The three-hour walk down the mountain from Vall de Núria to the sleepy village of Queralbs follows the course of the cogwheel train on a rather precipitous but fairly easy route, as long as it is outside... Read more

  • Ripoll

    One of Catalonia's first Christian strongholds of the Reconquest and a center of religious erudition during the Middle Ages, Ripoll is known as the bressol (cradle) of Catalonia's liberation from Moorish... Read more

  • Roncal Valley

    The Roncal Valley, the eastern edge of the Basque Pyrenees, is famous for its eponymous sheep's-milk cheese and as the birthplace of Julián Gayarre (1844–90), the leading tenor of his time. The 34-km (21-mile)... Read more

  • Roncesvalles (Orreaga)

    Roncesvalles (often listed as Orreaga, in Euskera) is a small village and site of the Battle of Roncesvalles (or Battle of Roncevaux Pass) when Charlemagne’s army, under the command of Roland, was attacked... Read more

  • Salardú

    Salardú is a pivotal point in the Vall d'Aran, convenient to Tredós, the Montarto peak, the lakes and Circ de Colomers, Aigüestortes National Park, and the villages of Unha and Montgarri. The town itself... Read more

  • Sant Joan de les Abadesses

    The site of an important church, Sant Joan de les Abadesses is named for the 9th-century abbess Emma and her successors. Emma was the daughter of Guifré el Pilós (Wilfred the Hairy), hero of the Christian... Read more

  • Setcases

    Although Setcases ("seven houses") is somewhat larger than its name would imply, this tiny village nestled at the head of the valley has a distinct mountain spirit.... Read more

  • Sort

    The capital of the Pallars Sobirà (Upper Pallars Valley) is the area’s epicenter for skiing, fishing, and white-water kayaking. The word sort is Catalan for "luck" and its local lottery shop, La Bruixa... Read more

  • Taüll

    Taüll is a town of narrow streets and tight mountain design—wooden balconies and steep, slate roofs—that makes an attractive base for exploring the Parque Nacional de Aigüestortes. The high-sided valley... Read more

  • Vall d'Aran and Environs

    The Vall d'Aran is at the western edge of the Catalan Pyrenees and the northwestern corner of Catalonia. North of the main Pyrenean axis, it's the Catalan Pyrenees' only Atlantic valley, opening north... Read more

  • Vielha

    Vielha (Viella in Spanish), capital of the Vall d'Aran, is a lively crossroads vitally involved in the Aranese movement to defend and reconstruct the valley's architectural, institutional, and linguistic... Read more

  • Zaragoza

    This traditionally provincial city is experiencing its greatest boom since the Romans established a thriving river port here in 25 BC. Rated one of Spain's most desirable places to live because of its... Read more


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