The Pyrenees are a narrow band of wild mountains that form a natural border between Spain and France, where you will find the GR11 long distance path. There many areas of great beauty with the Pyrenees, including two National Parks, which are Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park and the Aigüestortes National Park. The Pyrenees are one of Spain’s popular hiking areas with many 3,000+ peaks, medieval villages, glacial lakes and monasteries clinging to cliffs, along with many ski-lifts that take you to the mountain tops.
Sometimes known as La Senda , the GR11 long distance walking path traverses the Pyrenees from Irun on the Atlantic coast, through Andorra, and onto Cap de Creus on the Mediterranean coast. The full route of the GR11 trail is shown on the map opposite.
The GR11 route is 820km long and it passes through largely un-spoilt and wild mountains as well as sweeping valleys. The GR11 route is generally well waymarked that passes through many mountain villages where it is possible to find accommodation and stock up with supplies.
The best time of the year to walk the GR11 route is from June to October when there is less snow on the high peaks. There is a comprehensive guidebook covering the GR11 route by Cicerone that is simply called “The GR11 Trail - La Senda Guidebook” that is available to buy from our shop.
The Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park provides some of the best walking and hiking in the Pyrenees, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage designation. Ordesa is famous for its 3,000m deep glacial valleys that are capped by Monte Perdido standing at 3,348m high.
There are many hiking trails within the Ordesa National Park that are suitable for people of all levels, including the GR11 route. These well-marked trails lead to mountain summits, waterfalls, lakes and caves, or follow valleys and high mountain meadows.
The Aigüestortes I Estany de Sant Maurici National Park consists of hundreds of lakes and waterfalls, as well as many peaks over 3,000m high. Known as “the jewel of the Pyrenees” it is incredibly beautiful and completely un-spoilt. The park is effectively split into 2 sectors, the western Aigüestortes area and the eastern lake of San Maurici.
The western Aigüestortes area is largely a flat valley floor where there are numerous brooks, lakes and waterfalls that forms a unique high altitude wetland environment. The sides of the valley are heavily wooded with many different types of trees. There are many marked trails, linking the various water features, to suit walkers of all levels.
The eastern side is dominated by the San Maurici Lake that is surrounded by many towering peaks and other smaller lakes. Here there are many easy walks around the lakes or longer and harder walks in the mountains.
The Posets and Maladeta Natural Park has the highest concentration of peaks over 3,000m high in the Pyrenees. The highest peaks in the park are Posets at 3,375m, Maladeta at 3,308m, and the highest is Aneto at 3,404m. The park is split by the Valle de Benasque with the Posets to the west, whilst Maladeta and Aneto are to the east. The northern frontier of the park is a long ridge running along the French border.
The walking in the Posets and Maladeta Natural Park is very peaceful and remote in a beautiful environment. There are a wide range of walks to experience from short easy walks, to long strenuous day walks just to reach a mountain lake or waterfall, to multiple day walks from 1 refuge to another. In fact one of the great attractions of this park is the number of refuges there are, making it possible to complete long multi-day walks across some of the iconic peaks in the Pyrenees, including a section of the GR11 long distance path. Buy the walking map for the Posets and Maladeta Natural Park from our shop.
Puigmal Mountain is a spectacular and famous peak, and at 2,913m high is one of the highest in the eastern Pyrenees. Access to the Puigmal Mountain is usually via the Vall de Nuria on the Spanish side of the mountain. This valley has no road, but there is a train that goes from Ribes de Freser, through Queralbs and onto Nuria, a total distance of 12.5km. The road stops at Queralbs and the only other way of getting to Nuria is by using one of the many paths and trails, through wild mountain scenery.
From late spring through to the autumn the Puigmal area is a popular place to go walking. There are numerous peaks over 2,000m that are linked by many paths and trails, including part of the GR11 long distance path. The Puigmal Mountain Map covers all this area incuding Ribes de Fraser at a scale of 1:25,000, and includes a booklet detailing 23 different walks. Buy the Puigmal map from our shop.