Holidays in the Pyrenees

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Pyrénées Overview

Visiting The Pyrénées

You’ll feel on top of the world in the Pyrénées! It’s packed full of clean air, warm sun, spectacular scenery and delicious food.  What more could you ask for?

This mountainous region, famed for its excellent ski runs, transforms into lush green countryside in the spring and summer.  The warm sunny days are ideal for enjoying a range of outdoor activities from country strolls to mountain biking and white water rafting. There are plenty of pretty villages to visit with ancient churches, shops and markets and cafes and restaurants.  There are plenty of places for a great day out. The Atlantic coast and seaside resorts of Biarritz, Labenne, Messanges and Biscarrosse are a few hours’ drive away, or you can head inland to the Luz St Sauveur gateway to the Pyrénées National Park.

This is Basque country with its own language, delicious cuisine and fascinating culture – look out for Basque strongman events and high speed games of pelota or grande chistera - and join in if you dare!

Feel The Pyrénées

Fill your lungs with clean fresh mountain air and breathe in the fragrance of pine forest.  Dive into icy lake water or ease down into a warm thermal bath. Look up to the stars, out across the valleys or down into the depths of the earth.  Work up a hearty appetite or savour a chilled glass of crisp white wine. Enjoy the sound of cool jazz on a warm summer evening, the rush of white water into the valley or just enjoy the silence.

Explore The Pyrénées

The Pyrénées has miles and miles of dramatic mountainsides, flower strewn valleys, mysterious underground caves and aromatic pine forests just waiting to be explored. So pack your knapsack, lace up your boots, get on your bike, your raft, your horse - or even your donkey - and get out there!

Dotted around valleys are tiny stone villages with cobbled streets and charming ski-resorts like Luz St Sauveur and Cauterets with thermal spas and lively restaurants and bars.  Lourdes is not to be missed and, a little further afield, Biarritz offers excellent restaurants, a bustling harbour and superb beaches.

Places to visit - Sightseeing

It goes without saying that camping in the French Pyrénées puts a great deal of beautiful scenery on your doorstep; but there’s more to enjoy here than simply picture postcard views:

Lourdes
Famous for a simple peasant girl’s visions of the Virgin Mary, today’s Lourdes is a major site of pilgrimage. However, whether you are one of the faithful or not, the Chateau Fort de Lourdes and Basilica of the Rosary are very much worth seeing.

Grottes de Betharram
Some 15km from Lourdes at Saint-Pé-de-Bigorre, you will find the wonderful Grottes de Betharram. Considered some of the most interesting caves in Europe, the guided tour includes short boat and train rides.

Cauterets
Some 20km from Lourdes, Cauterets is a small ski and spa town offering good access to the Pyrénées  National Park. It is also home to several very good Thermes, where you can enjoy the warm, sulphurated waters and a number of spa treatments.

Lac du Gaube
Accessible from both Cauterets and the Pont d’Espagne, a hilly trail takes you through lovely scenery to the gorgeous Lake Gaube, which nestles in between the mountains of this famous hiking and skiing area.

Pic du Midi Observatory
Whether you wish to try a little star-gazing or simply watch the sun go down over the mighty Pyrénées  before enjoying dinner here, it is worth taking the cable car to the top of the Pic du Midi. At almost 10,000ft, the views are spectacular.

Luz St Saveur
A popular ski resort in Winter, Luz St Saveur is also well worth visiting in Summer, as besides the spectacular views, it offers a host of facilities including a cinema, theatre, shops, bars and restaurants.

Biarritz
If you’re happy to travel a little further afield, Biarritz makes for a splendid day trip. In addition to the attractive lighthouse and lovely church of St Eugenie, Biarritz offers good beaches and excellent seafood restaurants, especially by the old port.

Great for younger kids

Parc Animalier des Pyrénées
Situated in Argeles Gazost, the park is home to a host of animals in their natural habitats, including bears, wolves, chamois, marmots, lynx, roe-deer, otters, foxes and squirrels. A delight, especially for younger campers

Zoo d’Asson
Asson lies between Pau and Lourdes, and the zoo here is home to more than 500 animals, many of which get to roam around this lovely 5 hectare site. As with many zoos today, kids will also get to learn all about conservation here.

Great for older kids

La Foret Suspendue
The Hanging Forest in Eaux Bonnes is a high ropes course through the trees of the Gourzy Forest. There is a mini course for those of four years and above, but the real thrills are reserved for the over-14s.

Places to visit - Activities & events

Walking & Hiking
Snow-covered in Winter, the Pyrénées  are a walker’s paradise in the summer months, with pleasant walks from most ski areas, and the GR10 trail and HRP (High Pyrenean Route) for more ambitious walkers.

Cycling and Mountain Biking
It goes without saying that this is a hilly area and serious touring by bike requires a good level of fitness. However, mountain bikes are available for hire across the area, and there are several Tour de France cols for keen road cyclists.

White Water Rafting
With so much snow-melt and rainwater coming off the mountains, there are plenty of places to try out white water rafting here, including Cauterets, Luz St Saveur and Gavarnie.

Fishing
The Pyrénées  offers fishing in tranquil rivers such as the Ourse, while the Gave d’Oloron is a famous salmon river. Just make sure that you have acquired your permit or Carte de Peche from the local tackle shop or tourist office first.

Unmissable events in the Pyrénées

Jazz a Luz
For more than 20 years, the high level town of Luz St Saveur has enjoyed a few days of Jazz every July, with a variety of styles from across Europe on display amidst these lovely mountains.

Jazz in Marciac
Held on the rugby pitch of the little bastide town of Marciac, the two- week festival, which is held annually in mid-August now enjoys international renown and attracts some of the biggest names in world Jazz.

Tour de France
The Pyrénées area is home to several mountain stages on the Tour de France, and while dates change from year to year, you will find action in the Luz-Ardiden, Lourdes and Plateau de Belle areas in mid July.

Places to visit - Eating out

In common with most mountainous areas, the cuisine of the Pyrénées  tends towards the hearty side, though you will also find a number of Basque dishes on the menu here:

  • Braserade – A portable charcoal barbecue that is placed on your table, allowing you to cook your own dinner, usually strips of raw beef, served with frites.
  • Raclette – Slices of Reblochon cheese that you melt at your own table, on a grill or braserade, often served with baked potato and salad.
  • Tartiflette – A delicious dish made from sliced potatoes, layered with bacon, cheese and cream.
  • Wine – The best wines of the region include the white Jurançon Sec, and the Irouléguy rose, which goes well with fish and chicken dishes served au Basquais.

Campsites in region

Luz St Sauveur Camping Pyrenees site overview
Airotel Pyrénées | Luz St Sauveur

How do you fancy a National Park on your doorstep and endless, spectacular Pyrénéan passes to explore? Stay at Camping Pyrénées and breathtaking scenery will come as standard.

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Location reviews

Pyrenees reviews collected by Reevoo

Overall rating
9.1
Scores 9.1 out of 10 based on 76 reviews
Reviews and scores from the last 12 months.
9 out of 10

Elizabeth

Harrogate
Superb location - lots of great walking and beautiful places to visit.
Confirmed stay: 19 September 2013
9 out of 10

Christian

Macclesfield
Beautiful location with plenty of outdoor activities and fantastic scenery.
Confirmed stay: 15 September 2013
9 out of 10

Penny

byfleet
stunning countryside and views, very refreshing.
Confirmed stay: 14 September 2013
9 out of 10

Wendy

Bromsgrove
Beautiful area to explore. Stunning, breath taking dramatic scenery. Convenient for basic shops and cafes
Slides in outdoor pool fun for all ages
Confirmed stay: 05 September 2013
10 out of 10

Jayne

Sandbach
Beautiful scenery, great location to the town which means you don't need to use the car if you don't want to
Confirmed stay: 31 August 2013
9 out of 10

Tony

Norwich
Stunning scenary; wouldn't suit anyone with limited mobility.Weather makes all the difference and we were lucky.
Confirmed stay: 28 August 2013
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