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kbob88 Jul 20th, 2006 10:20 AM

Spanish Pyrenees - where to stay and hike?
I'd like some help determining where to go in the Spanish Pyrenees.

I've been reading guidebooks and online articles galore, but I'm having a hard time discerning the differences between various areas of the Catalonian & Aragonese Pyrenees. It all seems the same to me (maybe they're just all awesome?). Can anyone help me with the differentiating characteristics?

We've got four days and nights in the area, coming from west to east, in late August. Normally we'd be up for some serious 15-mile/day hiking, but my wife will be 4 months pregnant, so we'll probably have to cut back a bit, although she's tough! Our focus is hikes, mountain scenery, and nice villages, and maybe biking. As this is a special trip, we don't mind spending a bit more on nice hotels if they're worth it. We'd probably want to do 2 nights in one place, 2 nights in another; or maybe 1-2-1.

So what's the difference between Torla, Ainsa, Bielsa, Benasque, Boi, Taull, Espot, and Arties? Which ones are the best to stay in?

Where should we go hiking, Ordesa, Posets-Maladeta, Aiguestortes? What's the difference between the east and west sides of the three parks? Is the terrain all pretty much the same? And where won't the crowds be on the weekend?

Thanks in advance!

NEDSIRELAND Jul 21st, 2006 01:45 AM

You say you will be coming west-east: have you considered the Picos de Europa area? Granted, it's more than 100 mi west from Aragon but the mountains are impressive. You could visit Covadonga in Asturias (where the Reconquista began) and the region of Cantabria called Liebana: Potes is the Capital: I have stayed at Hostal Picos de Europa there.

Next door (maybe the same owner) is a sports shop where one can book 4X4's, mountain bikes, stuff for whitewater canoeing, etc.

Just a thought ...

kbob88 Jul 21st, 2006 09:11 AM

Yes we considered the Picos, but they're in the wrong direction; we have to be in Barcelona for business after this. Even went so far as to buy a book on hiking them, but decided against it so that we don't have a massive cross-country drive.

Thanks, but we'll have to save the Picos for another trip; the one where we also hit Galicia and Asturias.

laclaire Jul 21st, 2006 01:55 PM

The Aragonese and Catalonian Pyrenees are physically very similar (and all awesome!), so the boundary is more a political one. . . a question of the map. The Andorra area has a pretty steady population and Andorra la Vella is a big destination in summer for the tax free shopping.

Jaca is my favorite place in the Pyrenees. You see an abandoned city that was once quite magnificent.

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