The Pyrenees are often bypassed by travelers heading to southern Spain and those who stop by, choose often the French side rather than the Spanish side.
This mountain range on the border of Spain and France has a draw for every type of adventurer, and it’s still a hidden gem—for now. We’ve selected 10 photos taken randomly during a couple of trips that we did last winter and spring that sure will make you to visit this corner in Spain.
Yes, it is not the best transport connected zone in the country but… what the heck! isn’t it better to avoid the masses screw the landscape up?
Want to be based in an awesome & tiny town? Head to Santa Maria the Buil. It has less than 20 people living there and you’ll see views that will take your breath away! Otherwise you’ll find lodging options to fit all pockets.
#1 – Santa Maria de Buil from Capramote
Taken from a hill above, Santa Maria de Buil was once an important town, featuring a communications tower (like in the Lord of The Rings) connected to another one, making a line in front of the northern border of the muslim spanish invaded territories. Yep, we’re talking about a year around 1.000 d.C.
#2 – Ibon De Plan
The Ibon De Plan is a lake in the Valle De Chistau pretty accesible. There’s an unpaved road from Saravillo (or multiples tracks from Saravillo, Plan, San Juan, etc) that ends just about 1 kilometer (flat, more or less) of the lake.
If you go early in the morning, there are chances to see Sarrios (Chamois) drinking and eating in the meadow next to the lake.
#3 – Valle De Ordesa
This is probably, the most renowned canyon in the whole Iberian Peninsula. It lies beneath the massive 3.335m. Monte Perdido (Mont Perdu in french, as it cannot be seen from the french side) and was declared as a National Park in 1918.
The bottom of the canyon is hikable in a few hours that led to a waterfall called Cola de Caballo (Horse’s Tail). You can’t miss it: the walk is spectacular during Autumn! (see lodging options here).
#4 – Sleeping in Front of a GIANT!
The mountains that you see in the picture is part of Monte Perdido range, and the valley at the bottom is Pineta (which is awesome itself by the way!). To reach this point come back to me. It’s a little bit of a walk but really easy to find and hike.
The access point is from Plan and the Valle de Gistain which was known as one of the most isloated places in the pyrenees. During the 80’s the locals organized a women caravan to meet the singles and try to restock the area…. and the plan worked out!
#5 – Admiring a Church During the Sunset
I’m not catholic, that’s for sure. But you have to be prepared to see a lot of churches around. Even the tiniest town around has one and every hamlet has its own hermitage.
The preponderant style is, of course, romanic. The church of Santa Maria in Ainsa shines above the rest but, anyway, pay attention on some hidden gems that you’ll find along the road. Some of them, like Santa Maria de Buil, will make you drop your jaw!
#6 – View a Late Spring SnowFall over the Pyrenees
This is one of my favorite views. This town’s name is Guaso and is located in the Biello Sobrarbe (old county) which lies in pre Pyrenees.
Next to the church, you’ll find its famous Esconjuradero (conjurgatory). What is this about? An Escorjuragadero is a small religious building from which ceremonies were conducted to bless the fields and ward off calamities caused by the weather, like storms, hail and excessive rain that could ruin the harvests.
Guaso’s one is fully restored and is a fantastic point of view to see the famous Peña Montañesa (Sierra Farrera). See next!
#7 – Contemplate this “Two Scoop” Piece of Mountain
There’s no more else to say: this is Peña Montañesa! You climbers know who you are: there are two ways to climb it from the front. For the rest of mortals there’s a long path coming from front right to left (about 3-4 hours each way) and a path behind, really steep that only takes 1,5 hours for the ones with some ruch or fit enough.
#8 – More Peña Montañesa…
If you hadn’t have enough, here’s SHE again! When you enter Ainsa zone it will be visible from, virtually anywhere.
#9 – Relax on the Wheat Field
Storms come by and go quickly in the mountains.
We were having a nice walk through these wheat fields whilst was raining downpours 50m. in front of us.
#10 – Just a Village…
This is Santa Maria de Buil, one of the nicest towns around. The town was completely abandoned during the 70’s but nowadays there’s a (fixed) population of over 10 people.
Sobrarbe is one of the least populated regions in Spain.
#11 – BONUS! Random (Nice) Pics