PYRENEES – MOUNT PERDU (UNESCO – WORLD HERITAGE SITE SINCE 1997)
Classed as a World Heritage Site by Unesco, Gavarnie is the most famous natural arena in the word. It is visited by over 1 milion visitors every year.
Nothing can prepare you for your first glimpse of the Cirque de Gavarnie. The wordsmith Victor Hugo described it as “the most mysterious building by the most mysterious architects; it’s the colosseum of nature : it’s Gavarnie”. An impressive natural amphitheatre of rare perfection. Gavarnie looks like pure invention nestled in the middle of the Pyrenees. It’s over 5km in diameter with 1500m high vertical walls, hundreds of waterfalls and a crown of peaks exceeding 3000m in altitude. Gavarnie may be the most spectacular and famous natural cirque but it’s not alone. Troumouse and Estaubé are a stone’s throw away and a feast for the eyes.
Gavarnie has very easy access. The view from Gavarnie village towards the cirque is fabulous, an easy path (2 hours return) leaves from the village towards the foot of the cirque.
Cirque de Troumouse: Troumouse is gigantic, a Goliath, even bigger than Gavarnie. The famous 18th century explorer Ramond de Carbonnières estimated it could hold 10 million people! Another curiosity is the rollong grasslands within the Cirque which are a favourite playground for marmots.
Cirque d’Estaubé: After a 2 hour walk one reach the Cirque. The area is famous for its superb variety of wild flowers.
The staggering cirques lie next to the Spanish canyons in Spain’s upper Aragon and together form the Gavarnie-Mount-Perdu site, a sacred mountain listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and unique slice of the Pyrenees.
The great Canyon of Ordesa: Unique in Europe, the great canyon of Ordesa is a bit like a Pyrenean Colorado, with its Dantesque walls. Vertiginous cliffs, suspended cirques, aerial “fajãs”, sparkling waterfalls – Ordessa is the very expression of excess.
Why not follow millions of visitors from all over the world and explore Lourdes? There is no need to be a practicing catholic, or even a Christian – people come to see the Grotto, to touch the rocks, gather water from the springs, light a candle, and walk carrying a flaming torch. These rituals are as much pagan, superstitious or magic as they are religious. A unique personal experience that touches everyone.
The journey continues and the most beautiful views in the Pyrenees are in store for today. Whether you are standing in front of the spectacular Gavarnie Cirque, which is a UNESCO world heritage site, crossing the passes of the Col d’Aspin or the Col du Tourmalet, or on board the cable car or at the top of the Pic du Midi, we guarantee views that will take your breath away.
Today you are heading for Aragon on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees. Explore ‘Los Rios’, the stone villages and the gleaming Spanish sun. Go through the Aragnouet-Bielsa tunnel and the wild and magical Canyon d’Añisclo is all yours (Gavarnie – Mont-Perdu Unesco Site) . You can swim in the turquoise waters of the natural pools formed by the river before returning to the village of Ainsa, capital of Sobrarbe, with its fortified square.
After your little Aragonese adventure, leavie the Spanish Pyrenees, which are devoid of Pyrenean mountain streams, to encounter one of the most beautiful lakeside views in the mountains. Take the Mountain Lakes Route to reach the Neouvielle National Nature Reserve. The day’s journey ends at Balnéa by the Lac de Génos-Loudenvielle, where you can bathe outdoors in naturally warm and soothing spring water, your eyes fixed on the peaks of the Pyrenees that reach an altitude of more than 3,000m.
The Pic du Midi, The sanctuary of Lourdes, The natural reserve of Néouvielle, Cauterets – pont d’Espagne, 9 ski resorts, 8 spa centres for thermal baths, Vineyards of Madiran, Ordesa Canyon
Pau-Pyrénées airport (105 km)
Tarbes-Lourdes-Pyrénées airport (60 km)
Toulouse Blagnac airport (220 km)
A 64 Toulouse – Bayonne
A 65 Bordeaux – Pau
Hautes-Pyrénées Tourisme Environnement
Phone: +33 (0)5 62 56 70 06