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Guide to Cerler: Getting There

Written by Thomas Power | 12th January 2014 |


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One of Cerler's great appeals is that it's uncrowded. That's largely because it's quite difficult to get to, especially from the French side of the Pyrenees.

There are only two ways into the valley by road: the narrow and twisty road up the valley from Graus to the south; and the over-two-mountain-passes route from Vielha to the east.

Pura Aventura clients are normally driven up to Cerler by one of our guides or a local coach company from the valley, so the drivers know the roads very well.

If you're driving up yourself, then there's nothing to worry about, just be prepared for 20-30 minutes of quite twisty driving.

The major arrival points near the Pyrenees that you can fly to (or get a train to) are Zaragoza , Barcelona , Huesca , and Toulouse.

From Huesca

Huesca is the closest city/airport to Cerler. The drive from Huesca takes about 2 hours up to Cerler via Barbastro, Graus, Campo and Benasque. There is currently a small airline, Pyrenair, who fly between Gatwick and Huesca during the ski season.

From Zaragoza

Zaragoza is about 45 minutes further away (on a motorway) from Cerler than Huesca. The drive from Zaragoza to Cerler is ~250km (155miles) and takes about 3 hours.

The route passes Huesca and then follows the same Barbastro, Graus, etc route into the mountains.

Zaragoza is on the high speed rail line that joins Barcelona and Madrid, so it's well connected by rail.

Currently the only UK-Zaragoza flight option is Ryanair, which may or may not be appealing.

From Barcelona

Barcelona is about 300km (185miles) from Cerler and the journey takes around 3.5 hours on mostly good fast roads.

The route is via Llieda and then up to Graus where the route joins the twisty route up the valley via Campo and Benasque.

Barcelona has good flight and train connections with the rest of Europe.

From Toulouse

In theory Toulouse to the north in France is the same (250km and 3 hour) distance from Cerler as Zaragoza.

In practice it's at least a 3.5 hour journey that feels longer, with an exposed crossing of the Pyrenees in the middle.

We have done it a few times, but would advise against it since Barcelona has at least as good air connections and is an easier journey of about the same length that isn't as exposed to snow.

That said, if you do want to drive from Toulouse to Cerler, then:

* Head south west on the A64 Autoroute (péage) signposted Tarbes and San Sebastian for about 100km.

* Turn off at the A645/N125 towards Loures-Barousse and Saint-Béat. Follow that road up into the mountains and the Spanish border and onto Vielha.

* From Vielha follow the N230 towards Llieda and then take the N260 towards Castejón de Sos. This road is a fairly minor one that crosses two mountain passes and isn't advised in bad conditions.

* After Castejón de Sos, cross the river and turn right onto the main road up the valley to Benasque.

From Benasque

Once you reach Benasque, Cerler is about 500m above you via about 4km of road up the mountain. If it's icy you will need snow chains (cadenas de nieve) on the relevant wheels of your car because it's steep.

The Reward

The reward for that driving is the quiet, charming village of Cerler, sitting up at 1540m with a magnificent ski resort above and some great restaurants hidden away in the village.

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