Hiking the Pyrenees

There are many reasons to visit the Pyrenees—skiing, food, art, and architecture—but hiking is one of the best ways to drink in the stunning landscape. No matter how spectacular the mountains seem from paved roads, they are exponentially more dazzling from upper hiking trails that are accessible only on foot. Day hikes or overnight two-day treks to mountain huts (refugios, or refugis in Catalan) in the Ordesa or Aigüestortes national parks, in the Alberes range, or on the hike from Col de Núria to Ulldeter reveal the full natural splendor of the Pyrenees.

Local tourist offices can provide maps and recommend day hikes. Also check out www.rural-pyrenees-guide.com for trails and information about the areas.

If you are traveling with a smartphone, download the Wikiloc app (www.wikiloc.com) to track your hike, access offline topographic base maps, and share photos of your trek. It's a popular app locally, so you can download other users' hikes. A live-tracking feature allows you to share your location with family as a safety precaution.

Hiking in the Pyrenees should always be undertaken carefully: proper footwear, headwear, water supply, and weather-forecast awareness are essential. Even in the middle of summer, a sudden snowstorm can turn a day hike to tragedy.

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