The Spanish Pyrenees, a huge skiable area
The Pyrenean mountains are an area of spectacular natural landscapes. The National Park is surrounded with all the necessary resources for the most demanding visitors, whether they are seeking adventure or peace and quiet.
The Spanish Pyrenees constitute a huge area with endless possibilities for winter sports. These mountains have a range of facilities that are sure to please. There is something for everyone: from small, friendly, family resorts to huge skiable areas. Other common elements you will find in this part of northern Spain are pleasant temperatures, even in winter, and stunning landscapes.
On the Spanish side of the Pyrenees Mountains there are a total of sixteen resorts offering skiers everything they could require: an attractive array of après ski activities and services. The facilities in these mountains offer the latest ski, leisure and accommodation infrastructure. Here we should make special mention of the care taken to offer family skiing facilities, with attention devoted to crèches, snow parks and other facilities for the little ones. Also worthy of note are the complementary activities on offer, taking in cultural and gastronomic tourism, as well as other open-air countryside activities: ice skating, static hot air balloon flights, white water rafting, hiking, horse-riding routes, paragliding and biking routes, amongst others.
Baqueira-Beret is the most outstanding ski resorts to be found in the Catalan Pyrenees. Many skiing fans from Spain and abroad believe that Baqueira has some of the best pistes in Europe. It has highly demanding runs for experienced skiers, but also large areas and pistes ideal for beginners. Then add its bright sunshine and pleasant temperatures, even in the coldest months of winter. Away from the pistes, there are popular restaurants close by, renowned for their gastronomic delights. In Vielha, the capital of the Arán valley, there is an Ice Palace with ice-skating rink and heated swimming pool - the town is the centre for leisure and entertainment in the area close to the ski resort. Also in the surrounding area, the villages of Arties, Salardú and Bossot have interesting Romanesque buildings from the 12th and 13th centuries, as well as examples of traditional Pyrenean architecture.
The La Molina and Masella ski resorts, for their part, have a more peaceful après ski atmosphere, which centres on the town of Puigcerdá, capital of the La Cerdaña region.
In the heart of the Boí Valley, right in the central Pyrenees, in the province of Lleida, you will find the Boí Taüll Resort. This is a mountain complex where you can combine skiing with other leisure and tourism activities. Of the many highlights nearby, besides the Aigües Tortes National Park, we should also mention villages where you will find beautiful Romanesque buildings, such as San Clemente de Taüll, Erill la Vall, Sant Feliu, San Lorenzo and Santa María, some of which have the UNESCO World Heritage designation.
Still within the natural surroundings of Aigües Tortes, in the village of Espot (Lleida province), are the Espot Ski lifts, with pistes running through pine woods and valleys. They face northwest and are recommended for advanced level skiers. Also close by, the villages of Sort, Llavorsí and Esterri d'Aneu offer ideal conditions and infrastructure for other sports such as white water rafting, paragliding, horse-riding, canyoning, kayaking, climbing and hiking. And in Rialp, also in Lleida, you will find the Port Ainé resort, situated at the foot of Pic del'Orri, a place that is known for having good snow.
Furthermore, the resorts at Tavascán and Vall de Nuria are close together and all have good access from Barcelona and Girona. They all have a peaceful, friendly atmosphere. You will find ideal facilities for other outdoor, countryside activities, or simply to spend a pleasant day in the mountains.
If you would like to practise Nordic skiing in the Catalan Pyrenees, you can go to the Lles resort, which affords exceptional panoramic views and a variety of pistes for all levels.
The Aragon Pyrenees
The five resorts in the High Aragón region attract thousands of skiers each season. There are many reasons to go to this area, where the Aragón, Tena and Benasque River valleys converge, and where, from the moment the first snow of the season falls, everything centres on skiing.
The longest-running winter sports resort in the Aragon Pyrenees is Candanchú. Its ski school is reputed to be one of the best in Spain. After your skiing, it is in the town of Jaca where you will find all the region's leisure alternatives. Just 4 kilometres from Candanchú you will find the Astún resort.
Cerler is surrounded by lofty peaks, at the bottom of the Benasque valley. It has the first six-man chair lift to be installed in Spain, and a skiable drop of 800 metres, from El Gallinero, at 2,700 metres, to Ampriu. In the village of Benasque you will find good après ski atmosphere, with lively bars open until well past midnight, along with restaurants and cafés.
The Formigal and Panticosa resorts are in the heart of the Tena Valley, in the centre of the Aragon Pyrenees. Excellent communications mean that they have good access, even from Madrid - the journey only takes three and a half hours by car.
As for Nordic skiing in the Aragon Pyrenees, you can go to the resorts of Candanchú-Fondo (perfect for learning cross-country skiing and for competitive training on its eight approved circuits) and Llanos del Hospital (situated in the beautiful Posets-Maladeta Nature Reserve).
At the head of the Roncal Valley (Navarre) you will find the Nordic ski resort of Larra-Belagua (Roncalia). With 24 skiable kilometres, at this resort you can also hire sledges, skis and snowshoes; attend ski lessons or join guided walks, among other options.
Once you get there, we recommend visiting the seven towns in the Roncal Valley, so you can enjoy their traditions, gastronomy and nature, and practise other activities such as cycle touring, canyoning, kayaking, rafting, etc.
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