7 reasons to visit the Pyrenees: #2 Coast to coast by road
This article is part of our seven-part series which showcases how we'd love to share the Spanish Pyrenees with you. You can find an overview of all seven reasons here, or read on using the links after the article below. We hope you enjoy reading. Number two carries us from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, via the great forests and high mountains of the central Spanish Pyrenees.
#2. Coast to coast by road
Driving the length of the Spanish Pyrenees range should be considered one of the world’s great road trips. We say should, rather than is, because we seem to be the only ones who have really noticed. But that’s fine by us, because driving from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, Bilbao to Barcelona, takes you on a journey for adventurous explorers, along a road less travelled.
Your trip might start with some fresh sea air, and perhaps some fresh seafood, in the fishing villages of the Basque Country. And if you want some time in Bilbao or San Sebastian as well, that’s fine by us. You can spend an evening hopping between the backstreet tapas bars of Pamplona en route to the Navarran Pyrenees, where the humidity from the ocean allows for lush beech forests to thrive. These are particularly beautiful in autumn and pair well with a crisp local cider after a good walk.
From here you climb up into the high mountains, where the Pyrenees reach their most dramatic. Our walks, for which full details and maps are provided, knit together glacial lagoons, wildflower meadows, black pine forests and well-earned viewpoints in some of the most beautiful scenery on the Iberian Peninsula. Moving ever eastwards, the route drops you down into the forested volcanic coves, organic vineyards and wind-sculpted headlands of Catalonia. A night or two enjoying the culinary delights of Barcelona or Girona ends the trip on a high note, completing your traverse of the Pyrenees.
Clockwise from top: Basque coast; Aigüestortes; Catalan winery; Mallos de Riglos
All told, that’s a journey which needs two or three weeks of your time to do it justice, at a pace we think you’ll enjoy. It gets you out walking at every change of scenery, with options to suit all levels, and reaches the sweetest spots for eBiking, river rafting and kayaking. Along the way, we’ll pair you up with local guides and rest you up in beautiful family-run guesthouses to help you explore and connect you with the people and communities of north-east Spain. Underpinning it all is your Pura Holiday Guide, which amasses our considerable first-hand knowledge and opinions, from the Bay of Biscay to the Costa Brava.
If it sounds like your sort of holiday, you can take a look at an itinerary here. We’d love to chat through it with you or provide more details.