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Plunging gorges, open plains and cascading waterfalls define the Ordesa National Park. Immerse yourself in the natural and historic beauty of the high Pyrenees on this stunning inn to inn walking holiday, exclusive to Pura Aventura. Encounter hilltop villages, ancient churches and striking rock formations, watch birds of prey swoop into focus and meet local artisans keeping traditional industry alive and well.
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Fly to northern Spain today and collect your car to head up into the heart of the Pyrenees mountains, where you stay in a charming hotel. Although this is an inn to inn walk, the remoteness of the area means that a rental car is the best way to get you to and from the mountains. Stay in the old town square of Ainsa, a wonderfully atmospheric and lively place.
Drop off your car, your bags take a taxi to your next hotel, you have mountains to explore. Walk along ancient cobbled paths from La Solana, following a narrow valley where the shade allows for the first beech trees to appear. Walking alongside spectacular rock formations you reach a mountain pass from where you have fantastic views of the high peaks of Ordesa. Continue along ancient paths through mixed Mediterranean forest and gorges, as far as the tiny village of Buerba.
Set off walking up to the mountain pass for views into the dramatic Añisclo gorge. The near vertical walls of this deep gorge have been carved through some of the highest summits of the massif. Thick forest covers the narrow valley floor where a pristine blue water river makes pools and waterfalls. From the pass, follow an ancient path down to the valley floor. Spend tonight in the village of Nerín, home to several artisan wood workers.
Walk in the heart of the Ordesa National Park today, taking in panoramic views of the valley, high peaks, open prairies and waterfalls. Your hotel gives you a lift to the top the road, from where it is only a short walk to a view point over the stunning Ordesa Valley. From here walk along a high ridge with panoramic views of the glacial valley below and the 3,000 metre peaks ahead, crowned by the summit of Monte Perdido.
Today you can choose to either just relax or to take a circular walk to some of the abandoned villages of La Solana, with its beautiful architecture with slate roofs. Being the southern slopes of the Pyrenees, you will be walking through thick Mediterranean forests along some sections of the historical path system, as well as on wider tracks. You can also appreciate the stunning geology of the area in the clearly visible folded layers of limestone.
Set off early this morning to make the most of your day in the rural and remote Posets-Maladeta Natural Park. Today's walk takes you on a beautiful circular route from village to village that offers great panoramas of the surrounding peaks, as well as the beautiful local architecture of villages and farmhouses. After the walk, drive to the stunning Pineta Valley, a deep glacial valley in the shadow of Monte Perdido’s north face. Here you find shelter in the very comfortable Parador.
For your last day we recommend another circular walk to take some final views of this remote and beautiful corner of Spain. Walking through dense forest, across prairies and through black pine forests you get to a viewpoint of the glaciated north face of Monte Perdido directly ahead of you. If you have not yet seen the majestic bearded vulture in flight, this should be your chance.
Drive back to Barcelona airport at a time of your choosing to drop off your vehicle. It's a drive of around three and a half hours, where you drop off your car and check-in for your flight home. Flights are quoted separately for this trip.
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The Pyrenees, Spain's most famous mountain range, are at their most beautiful in these, the highest limestone mountains in Europe. Part inn to inn, part self-drive, this walk has been designed by us to introduce you to the full variety of the Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park.
Home to the last of the Pyrenean glaciers as well as many endemic species of flora and fauna, the peaks, valleys, forests and villages you see on this walk are magnificent. Over the course of your week walking ancient paths between villages, the terrain changes from sunny Mediterranean forests to narrow gorges with crystal blue waters and on through grasslands.
Carefully selected first class hotels are balanced with smaller family run inns offering you comfort as well as the chance to interact with local people. A Pura Aventura representative will be there to welcome you at the start, talk you through the route, and be at the end of a phone if you need help at any stage.
The walks are reasonably strenuous with four days of walking between 12-20km; two days of walking just under 10km. Altitude gains and losses are relatively substantial with height gains averaging around 500m, and two days of c. 700m height gains. On day 4 you have a significant descent of 1,200m, which can be tough on the knees. Altitudes are not great, the highest point is just over 2,000m. You can expect to be walking for an average of between five and six hours a day.
In terms of terrain, you will walk on a mix of ancient paths, sometimes cobbled, sometimes single path mountain tracks (with some steep rocky and scree sections to be walked carefully). A few of the trails are wider dirt tracks. Overall it is not a walk for anyone with a fear of heights. For the walks themselves, we provide detailed walking notes as well as good maps, and a GPS with the walks preloaded. You should be comfortable with the idea of using a map to navigate just in case.
Your luggage is always taken on ahead for you so you actually only walk with your day pack, which helps you to concentrate on enjoying the walking and your surroundings.
The accommodation on this trip is quite variable in terms of standard, from simple and comfy running up to fairly premium. Your hotel in Ainsa is a high point of the accommodation, located in the heart of the old village. The character of the next inns are simpler, with one night in a comfortable mountain style hotel, and one night in a simple guesthouse owned by an artist.Your hotel in Sobrarbe is a delightfully converted old farmhouse with great service and food. After this, you end your trip in the very comfortable Parador.
The best months for this trip are May through June and September through November. Temperatures on this trip should be moderate, around the low 20°s during the day on average, cooler at night up in the mountains of course. May and June are beautifully green, the weather very good in the main and the water levels in the rivers at their best. Mid-July through August are probably best avoided, as temperatures rise, accommodation is very busy, and some of the hotels are unwilling to book one night stays.
September can be a month of storms in the high Pyrenees but they tend to involve a short, heavy downpour in the afternoon rather than being constant. October into November can be a beautiful and peaceful time in the mountains with good stable weather being the norm.
The focus of this trip is on the scenery and the walking, so while culture isn't the major focus, it can in fact play a very significant role in your holiday. Because your time is concentrated in one area of the mountains, as you walk you will start to discover how people live here. We want you to come away having enjoyed superb walking in beautiful surroundings but also with an appreciation of the culture of the high Pyrenees.
The Pyrenees are rich in rural culture as well as having some fascinating historical sites, particularly the Romanesque churches. The way of life up in the mountains has changed considerably in the last 50 years as emigration to the cities emptied villages. Traditions are being kept alive by a few families. The hotels of your holiday are small and locally owned (with the exception of the Parador). In particular your hosts in Vio will help you get great insights into the area, as one of them was formerly a ranger in the national park.
We have a detailed itinerary for our walking in the Pyrenees trip, as set out above. If you would like a copy, please get in touch and we can email it over to you.
In the form set out above, the holiday price includes very comfortable hotels and inns, all en suite. All breakfasts, six dinners and five lunches. Because a car is needed to get to the start point of this trip and also to navigate a couple of stretches within the holiday, car hire is included. For the walking, maps, walking notes, pre-loaded GPS and local support are included. Naturally, on each and every one of our holidays, we include Pura’s expertise, local contacts, support and advice throughout, along with the reassurance of our financial protection and safety auditing.
Flights are quoted separately for this holiday. The best option is to fly in and out of Barcelona (airport code: BCN) though there are other options.
Departs on a date to suit you from May to October. However, please note the holiday will be trickier and possibly costlier to arrange for you between mid-July and the end of August.
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The described itinerary is just a taster of what this trip could involve. We would work with you to tailor your personal trip.
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