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The Pyrenees Mountains
Spanish: Pirineos
French: Pyrénées
Catalan: Pirineus
Aragonese: Pirineus
Occitan: Pirenèus
Basque: Pirinioak, Auñamendiak
Central pyrenees.jpg
Central Pyrenees
Highest point
Peak Aneto
Elevation 3,404 m (11,168 ft)
Coordinates 42°37′56″N00°39′28″E / 42.63222°N 0.65778°E / 42.63222; 0.65778
Length491 km (305 mi)
Etymology Named for Pyrene
Pyrenees topographic map-en.svg
Topographic map
Range coordinates 42°40′N1°00′E / 42.667°N 1.000°E / 42.667; 1.000
Age of rock
Type of rock

The Pyrenees ( /ˈpɪrɪnz/ ; Spanish : Pirineos [piɾiˈneos] ; French : Pyrénées [piʁene] ; Catalan : Pirineu [piɾiˈnɛw] ; Basque : Pirinioak [piɾini.o.ak] ; Occitan : Pirenèus [piɾeˈnɛws] ; Aragonese : Pirineus) are a mountain range straddling the border of France and Spain. They extend nearly 500 km (310 mi) from their union with the Cantabrian Mountains to Cap de Creus on the Mediterranean coast, reaching a maximum altitude of 3,404 metres (11,168 ft) at the peak of Aneto. [1]


For the most part, the main crest forms a divide between Spain and France, with the microstate of Andorra sandwiched in between. Historically, the Crown of Aragon and the Kingdom of Navarre extended on both sides of the mountain range. [2] [3]


In Greek mythology, Pyrene is a princess who gave her name to the Pyrenees. The Greek historian Herodotus says Pyrene is the name of a town in Celtic Europe. [4] According to Silius Italicus, [5] she was the virgin daughter of Bebryx, a king in Mediterranean Gaul by whom the hero Hercules was given hospitality during his quest to steal the cattle of Geryon [6] during his famous Labours. Hercules, characteristically drunk and lustful, violates the sacred code of hospitality and rapes his host's daughter. Pyrene gives birth to a serpent and runs away to the woods, afraid that her father will be angry. Alone, she pours out her story to the trees, attracting the attention of wild beasts who tear her to pieces.

After his victory over Geryon, Hercules passes through the kingdom of Bebryx again, finding the girl's lacerated remains. As is often the case in stories of this hero, the sober Hercules responds with heartbroken grief and remorse at the actions of his darker self, and lays Pyrene to rest tenderly, demanding that the surrounding geography join in mourning and preserve her name: [7] "struck by Herculean voice, the mountaintops shudder at the ridges; he kept crying out with a sorrowful noise 'Pyrene!' and all the rock-cliffs and wild-beast haunts echo back 'Pyrene!' … The mountains hold on to the wept-over name through the ages." Pliny the Elder connects the story of Hercules and Pyrene to Lusitania, but rejects it as fabulosa, highly fictional. [8]

Other classical sources derived the name from the Greek word for fire, Ancient Greek : πῦρ (IPA: /pŷːr/). [9] According to Greek historian Diodorus Siculus "in ancient times, we are told, certain herdsmen left a fire and the whole area of the mountains was entirely consumed; and due to this fire, since it raged continuously day after day, the surface of the earth was also burned and the mountains, because of what had taken place, were called the Pyrenees." [10]


Political divisions

The Spanish Pyrenees are part of the following provinces, from east to west: Girona, Barcelona, Lleida (all in Catalonia), Huesca (in Aragon), Navarra (in Navarre).

The French Pyrenees are part of the following départements , from east to west: Pyrénées-Orientales (also known as Northern Catalonia), Aude, Ariège, Haute-Garonne, Hautes-Pyrénées, and Pyrénées-Atlantiques (the latter two of which include the Pyrenees National Park).

The independent principality of Andorra is sandwiched in the eastern portion of the mountain range between the Spanish Pyrenees and French Pyrenees.

Composite satellite image of the Pyrenees (NASA) Pyrenees composite NASA.jpg
Composite satellite image of the Pyrenees (NASA)
Pico de Aneto, the highest mountain of the Pyrenees, Aragon (Spain) Aneto 01.jpg
Pico de Aneto, the highest mountain of the Pyrenees, Aragon (Spain)
Pic de Bugatet in the Neouvielle massif Pic de Bugatet.jpg
Pic de Bugatet in the Néouvielle massif
Pedraforca, Catalonia (Spain) Pedraforca.jpg
Pedraforca, Catalonia (Spain)
El Turbon, 2,492 m (Aragon) El Turbo..jpg
El Turbón, 2,492 m (Aragon)
Baretous Valley and Piedmont plain, in the French western Pyrenees Baretous piemont Pyreneen.jpg
Baretous Valley and Piedmont plain, in the French western Pyrénées
Cirque de Gavarnie with its 422 metre high waterfall, Occitanie (France) Gavarnie-Cirque.JPG
Cirque de Gavarnie with its 422 metre high waterfall, Occitanie (France)
Sant Maurici lake in the Aiguestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park, Catalonia (Spain) San Mauricio lake.jpg
Sant Maurici lake in the Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park, Catalonia (Spain)

Physiographical divisions

Monte Perdido, Aragon (Spain) Monteperdido y Cilindro.jpg
Monte Perdido, Aragon (Spain)

Physiographically, the Pyrenees may be divided into three sections: the Atlantic (or Western), the Central, and the Eastern Pyrenees. Together, they form a distinct physiographic province of the larger Alpine System division.

In the Western Pyrenees, from the Basque mountains near the Bay of Biscay of the Atlantic Ocean, the average elevation gradually increases from west to east.

The Central Pyrenees extend eastward from the Somport pass to the Aran Valley, and they include the highest summits of this range: [11]

In the Eastern Pyrenees, with the exception of one break at the eastern extremity of the Pyrénées Ariégeoises in the Ariège area, the mean elevation is remarkably uniform until a sudden decline occurs in the easternmost portion of the chain known as the Albères. [11]


Most foothills of the Pyrenees are on the Spanish side, where there is a large and complex system of ranges stretching from Spanish Navarre, across northern Aragon and into Catalonia, almost reaching the Mediterranean coast with summits reaching 2,600 m (8,500 ft). [12] At the eastern end on the southern side lies a distinct area known as the Sub-Pyrenees. [13]

On the French side the slopes of the main range descend abruptly and there are no foothills except in the Corbières Massif in the northeastern corner of the mountain system. [14]


The Pyrenees are older than the Alps: their sediments were first deposited in coastal basins during the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras. Between 100 and 150 million years ago, during the Lower Cretaceous Period, the Bay of Biscay fanned out, pushing present-day Spain against France and applying intense compressional pressure to large layers of sedimentary rock. The intense pressure and uplifting of the Earth's crust first affected the eastern part and moved progressively to the entire chain, culminating in the Eocene Epoch.

The eastern part of the Pyrenees consists largely of granite and gneissose rocks, while in the western part the granite peaks are flanked by layers of limestone. The massive and unworn character of the chain comes from its abundance of granite, which is particularly resistant to erosion, as well as weak glacial development.

The upper parts of the Pyrenees contain low-relief surfaces forming a peneplain. This peneplain originated no earlier than in Late Miocene times. Presumably it formed at height as extensive sedimentation raised the local base level considerably. [15]


Conspicuous features of Pyrenean scenery are:

The highest waterfall is Gavarnie (462 m or 1,515 ft), at the head of the Gave de Pau; the Cirque de Gavarnie, in the same valley, [11] together with the nearby Cirque de Troumouse and Cirque d'Estaubé, are notable examples of the cirque formation.

Low passes are lacking, and the principal roads and the railroads between France and Spain run only in the lowlands at the western and eastern ends of the Pyrenees, near sea level. The main passes of note are:

Because of the lack of low passes a number of tunnels have been created, beneath the passes at Somport, Envalira, and Puymorens and new routes in the center of the range at Bielsa and Vielha.

A notable visual feature of this mountain range is La Brèche de Roland, a gap in the ridge line, which according to legend was created by Roland.

Ibon (glacial lake) Basa Mora, in Gistain valley, Aragon. Ibon.JPG
Ibón (glacial lake) Basa Mora, in Gistain valley, Aragon.
Llauset lake, Aragon Estany de Llauset.jpg
Llauset lake, Aragon

Natural resources

The metallic ores of the Pyrenees are not in general of much importance now, though there were iron mines at several locations in Andorra, as well as at Vicdessos in Ariège, and the foot of Canigou in Pyrénées-Orientales long ago. Coal deposits capable of being profitably worked are situated chiefly on the Spanish slopes, but the French side has beds of lignite. [11] The open pit of Trimoun near the commune of Luzenac (Ariège) is one of the greatest sources of talc in Europe.

Mineral springs are abundant and remarkable, and especially noteworthy are the hot springs. The hot springs, among which those of Les Escaldes in Andorra, Panticosa and Lles in Spain, Ax-les-Thermes, Bagnères-de-Luchon and Eaux-Chaudes in France may be mentioned, are sulfurous and mostly situated high, near the contact of the granite with the stratified rocks. The lower springs, such as those of Bagnères-de-Bigorre (Hautes-Pyrénées), Rennes-les-Bains (Aude), and Campagne-sur-Aude (Aude), are mostly selenitic and not hot. [11]


The amount of precipitation the range receives, including rain and snow, is much greater in the western than in the eastern Pyrenees [11] because of the moist air that blows in from the Atlantic Ocean over the Bay of Biscay. After dropping its moisture over the western and central Pyrenees, the air is left dry over the eastern Pyrenees. The winter average temperature is −2 °C (28 °F).

Sections of the mountain range vary in more than one respect. There are some glaciers in the western and snowy central Pyrenees, but there are no glaciers in the eastern Pyrenees because there is insufficient snowfall to cause their development. Glaciers are confined to the northern slopes of the central Pyrenees, and do not descend, like those of the Alps, far down into the valleys but rather have their greatest lengths along the direction of the mountain chain. They form, in fact, in a narrow zone near the crest of the highest mountains. Here, as in the other great mountain ranges of central Europe, there is substantial evidence of a much wider expanse of glaciation during the glacial periods. The best evidence of this is in the valley of Argeles Gazost, between Lourdes and Gavarnie, in the département of Hautes-Pyrénées. [11]

The annual snow-line varies in different parts of the Pyrenees from about 2,700 to 2,800 metres (8,900 to 9,200 ft) above sea level. [11] In average the seasonal snow is observed at least 50% of the time above 1,600 metres (5,200 ft) between December and April. [16]

Flora and fauna

Aigualluts cascade in Benasque Valley, Aragon (Spain) Cascada aigualluts.jpg
Aigualluts cascade in Benasque Valley, Aragon (Spain)


A still more marked effect of the preponderance of rainfall in the western half of the chain is seen in the vegetation. The lower mountains in the extreme west are wooded, but the extent of forest declines as one moves eastwards. The eastern Pyrenees are peculiarly wild and barren, all the more since it is in this part of the chain that granitic masses prevail. Also moving from west to east, there is a change in the composition of the flora, with the change becoming most evident as one passes the centre of the mountain chain from which point the Corbières Massif stretch north-eastwards towards the central plateau of France. Though the difference in latitude is only about 1°, in the west the flora resembles that of central Europe while in the east it is distinctly Mediterranean in character. The Pyrenees are nearly as rich in endemic species as the Alps, and among the most remarkable instances of that endemism is the occurrence of the monotypic genus Xatardia (family Apiaceae), which grows only on a high alpine pass between the Val d'Eynes and Catalonia. Other examples include Arenaria montana , Bulbocodium vernum , and Ranunculus glacialis . The genus most abundantly represented in the range is that of the saxifrages, several species of which are endemic here. [11]


In their fauna the Pyrenees present some striking instances of endemism. The Pyrenean desman is found only in some of the streams of the northern slopes of these mountains; the only other desman, the Russian desman, is confined to the Volga river basin in southern Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. The Pyrenean brook salamander (Calotriton asper), an endemic amphibian, also lives in streams and lakes located at high altitudes. Among other peculiarities of Pyrenean fauna are blind insects in the caverns of Ariège, the principal genera of which are Anophthalmus and Adelops. [11]

The Pyrenean ibex, an endemic subspecies of the Iberian ibex, became extinct in January 2000; another subspecies, the western Spanish ibex, was introduced into the area, with the population numbering over 400 individuals as of 2020. The native brown bear population was hunted to near-extinction in the 1990s, but its numbers rebounded in 1996 when three bears were brought from Slovenia. The bear population has bred successfully, and there are now believed to be about 15 brown bears in the central region around Fos, with only four native ones still living in the Aspe Valley.

Protected areas

Ibon de Barrancs (glacial lake) in Posets-Maladeta Natural Park, Aragon (Spain) 20080824-Ibon de Barrancs.jpg
Ibón de Barrancs (glacial lake) in Posets-Maladeta Natural Park, Aragon (Spain)

Principal nature reserves and national parks:

In 1997, part of the Pyrenees (including Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park and Pyrenees National Park) was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List for its spectacular geologic landforms and testimony to the unique "transhumance" agricultural system. [17]

Demographics and culture

Some Blonde d'Aquitaine on summer pasture near the Pic du Midi d'Ossau Bovins estive Pic du Midi Ossau.jpg
Some Blonde d'Aquitaine on summer pasture near the Pic du Midi d'Ossau

The Pyrenean region possesses a varied ethnology, folklore and history: see Andorra; Aragon; Ariège; Basque Country; Béarn; Catalonia; Navarre; Roussillon. For their history, see also Almogavars, Marca Hispanica.

The principal languages spoken in the area are Spanish, French, Aragonese, Catalan (in Andorra and in Northern and Southern Catalonia), and Basque. Also spoken, to a lesser degree, is the Occitan language, consisting of the Gascon and Languedocien dialects in France and the Aranese dialect in the Aran Valley.

An important feature of rural life in the Pyrenees is 'transhumance', the moving of livestock from the farms in the valleys up to the higher grounds of the mountains for the summer. [18] In this way the farming communities could keep larger herds than the lowland farms could support on their own. The principal animals moved were cows and sheep, but historically most members of farming families also moved to the higher pastures along with their animals, so they also took with them pigs, horses [19] and chickens. [18] Transhumance thus took the form of a mass biannual migration, moving uphill in May or June [20] and returning to the farms in September or October. During the summer period, the families would live in basic stone cabins [18] in the high mountains.

Nowadays, industrialisation and changing agriculture practices have diminished the custom. However, the importance of transhumance continues to be recognised through its celebration in popular festivals. [19] [20] [21]

Scientific facilities

Pic du Midi Observatory

The observatory on the Pic du Midi de Bigorre. Picdumidi.jpg
The observatory on the Pic du Midi de Bigorre.

The Pic du Midi Observatory is an astronomical observatory located at 2877 metres on top of the Pic du Midi de Bigorre in the French Pyrenees. Construction of the observatory began in 1878 and the 8 metres dome was completed in 1908.

The observatory housed a powerful mechanical equatorial reflector which was used in 1909 to formally discredit the Martian canal theory. A 1.06-metre (42-inch) telescope was installed in 1963, funded by NASA and was used to take detailed photographs of the surface of the Moon in preparation for the Apollo missions. Other studies conducted in 1965 provided a detailed analysis of the composition of the atmospheres on Mars and Venus, this served as a basis for Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientists to predict that these planets had no life.

Since 1980, the observatory has had a 2-metre telescope, which is the largest telescope in France. Overtaken by the giant telescopes built in recent decades, today the observatory is widely open to amateur astronomy.

Odeillo solar furnace

Odeillo solar furnace. Four solaire 001.jpg
Odeillo solar furnace.

The Odeillo solar furnace is the world's largest solar furnace. It is situated in Font-Romeu-Odeillo-Via, in the department of Pyrénées-Orientales, in south of France. Built between 1962 and 1968, it is 54 metres (177 ft) high and 48 metres (157 ft) wide, and includes 63 heliostats. The site was chosen because of the length and the quality of sunshine with direct light (more than 2,500 h/year) and the purity of its atmosphere (high altitude and low average humidity).

This furnace serves as a science research site studying materials at very high temperatures. Temperatures above 3,500 °C (6,330 °F) can be obtained in a few seconds, in addition it provides rapid temperature changes and therefore allow studying the effect of thermal shocks.

Urban areas

The Pyrenees mountain range seen from Toulouse. Toulouse - vue sur les Pyrenees.jpg
The Pyrenees mountain range seen from Toulouse.

No big cities are in the range itself. The largest urban area close to the Pyrenees is Toulouse (Haute-Garonne), France with a population of 1,330,954 in its metropolitan area. On the Spanish side Pamplona, (Navarre) is the closest city, with a population of 319,208 in its metropolitan area. Inside the Pyrenees the main towns are Andorra la Vella (22,256) and Escaldes-Engordany (14,367) in Andorra, Jaca (12,813) and La Seu d'Urgell (12,252) in Spain, and Lourdes (13,976) and Foix (10,046) in France.

Highest summits

The following is the complete list of the summits of the Pyrenees above 3,000 metres:

  1. Aneto (3,404 m) (Aragon)
  2. Posets (3,375 m) (Aragon)
  3. Monte Perdido (3,355 m) (Aragon)
  4. Punta de Astorg (3,355 m) (Aragon)
  5. Pico Maldito (3,350 m) (Aragon)
  6. Espalda del Aneto (3,350 m) (Aragon)
  7. Pico del Medio (3,346 m) (Aragon)
  8. Espadas Peak (3,332 m) (Aragon)
  9. Cilindro de Marboré (3,325 m) (Aragon)
  10. Maladeta (3,312 m) (Aragon)
  11. Vignemale (3,298 m) (Aragon-France)
  12. Pico Coronas (3,293 m) (Aragon)
  13. Pico Tempestades (3,290 m) (Aragon)
  14. Clot de la Hount (3,289 m) (Aragon-France)
  15. Soum de Ramond (3,259 m) (Aragon)
  16. 1st Western Peak Maladeta (3,254 m) (Aragon)
  17. Pic de Marboré (3,252 m) (Aragon-France)
  18. Cerbillona (3,247 m) (Aragon-France)
  19. Perdiguero (3,221 m) (Aragon-France)
  20. 2nd Western Peak Maladeta (3,220 m) (Aragon)
  21. Pic de Montferrat (3,219 m) (Aragon-France)
  22. Pico Russell (3,205 m) (Aragon)
  23. Pointe Chausenque (3,204 m) (France)
  24. Piton Carré (3,197 m) (France)
  25. Pic Long (3,192 m) (France)
  26. 3rd Western Peak Maladeta (3,185 m) (Aragon)
  27. Pic Schrader (3,177 m) (Aragon-France)
  28. Campbieil (3,173 m) (France)
  29. Pic de la cascade oriental (3,161 m) (Aragon-France)
  30. Les Jumeaux Ravier (3,160 m) (Aragon)
  31. Grand Tapou (3,160 m) (Aragon-France)
  32. Pic Badet (3,150 m) (France)
  33. Balaïtous (3,144 m) (Aragon-France)
  34. Pic du Taillon (3,144 m) (Aragon-France)
  35. Pica d'Estats (3,143 m) (Catalonia-France)
  36. Punta del Sabre (3,136 m) (Aragon)
  37. Diente de Alba (3,136 m) (Aragon)
  38. Pic de la Munia (3,134 m) (Aragon-France)
  39. Pointe de Literole (3,132 m) (Aragon-France)
  40. Pic Verdaguer (3,131 m) (Catalonia-France)
  41. Pic du Milieu (3,130 m) (Aragon-France)
  42. Pic des Gourgs Blancs (3,129 m) (Aragon-France)
  43. Les Veterans (3,125 m) (Aragon)
  44. Pico Pavots (3,121 m) (Aragon)
  45. Pic de Royo (3,121 m) (Aragon-France)
  46. Punta Ledormeur (3,120 m) (Aragon-France)
  47. Pico Alba (3,118 m) (Aragon)
  48. Pic des Crabioules (3,116 m) (Aragon-France)
  49. Seil Dera Baquo (3,110 m) (Aragon-France)
  50. Pic de Maupas (3,109 m) (Aragon-France)
  51. Pic Lézat (3,107 m) (France)
  52. Western Crabioules (3,106 m) (Aragon-France)
  53. Pico Brulle (3,106 m) (Aragon-France)
  54. Pic de la cascade occidental (3,095 m) (Aragon-France)
  55. Pic de Néouvielle (3,091 m) (France)
  56. Serre Mourene (3,090 m) (Aragon-France)
  57. Pic de Troumouse (3,085 m) (Aragon-France)
  58. Pico Posets (3,085 m) (Aragon)
  59. Infierno central (3,083 m) (Aragon)
  60. Pics d'Enfer (3,082 m) (France)
  61. Pico de Bardamina (3,079 m) (Aragon)
  62. Pic de la Paul (3,078 m) (Aragon)
  63. Pic de Montcalm (3,077 m) (France)
  64. Infierno oriental (3,076 m) (Aragon)
  65. Pic Maou (3,074 m) (France)
  66. Infierno occidental (3,073 m) (Aragon)
  67. Épaule du Marboré (3,073 m) (Aragon-France)
  68. Pic du port de Sullo (3,072 m) (Catalonia-France)
  69. Frondella NE (3,071 m) (Aragon)
  70. Grand pic d' Astazou (3,071 m) (Aragon-France)
  71. Pico de Vallibierna (3,067 m) (Aragon)
  72. Pico Marcos Feliu (3,067 m) (Aragon-France)
  73. Pic des Spijeoles (3,066 m) (France)
  74. Pico Jean Arlaud (3,065 m) (Aragon)
  75. Tuca de Culebras (3,062 m) (Aragon-France)
  76. Grand Quayrat (3,060 m) (France)
  77. Pic Maubic (3,058 m) (France)
  78. Pico Gran Eriste (3,053 m) (Aragon)
  79. Garmo negro (3,051 m) (Aragon)
  80. Pic du Portillon (3,050 m) (Aragon-France)
  81. Pico Argualas (3,046 m) (Aragon)
  82. Baudrimont NW (3,045 m) (Aragon)
  83. Pic de Eristé sur (3,045 m) (Aragon)
  84. Pic Camboue (3,043 m) (France)
  85. Trois Conseillers (3,039 m) (France)
  86. Pico Aragüells (3,037 m) (Aragon)
  87. Pico Algas (3,036 m) (Aragon)
  88. Turon de Néouvielle (3,035 m) (France)
  89. Pic de Batoua (3,034 m) (Aragon)
  90. Gabietou occidental (3,034 m) (Aragon-France)
  91. Comaloforno (3,033 m) (Catalonia)
  92. Petit Vignemale (3,032 m) (France)
  93. Gabietou oriental (3,031 m) (Aragon-France)
  94. Pic de Bugarret (3,031 m) (France)
  95. South Besiberri Massif (3,030 m) (Catalonia)
  96. Pic de l'Abeille (3,029 m) (Aragon-France)
  97. Baudrimont SE (3,026 m) (Aragon)
  98. Pic Béraldi (3,025 m) (Aragon)
  99. Pico de la Pez (3,024 m) (Aragon)
  100. Pic de Lustou (3,023 m) (France)
  101. Pic Heid (3,022 m) (France)
  102. Pic de Crabounouse (3,021 m) (France)
  103. Pico de Clarabide (3,020 m) (Aragon-France)
  104. Pico del puerto de la pez (3,018 m) (Aragon-France)
  105. Dent d'Estibère male (3,017 m) (France)
  106. North Besiberri Massif (3,014 m) (Catalonia)
  107. Punta Alta Massif (3,014 m) (Catalonia)
  108. Petit Astazou (3,012 m) (Aragon-France)
  109. Pic Ramougn (3,011 m) (France)
  110. Pico de Gias (3,011 m) (Aragon)
  111. Tuc de Molières (3,010 m) (Catalonia-Aragon)
  112. Tour du Marboré (3,009 m) (Aragon-France)
  113. Pic Belloc (3,008 m) (France)
  114. Pic Forqueta (3,007 m) (Aragon)
  115. Pic d'Estaragne (3,006 m) (France)
  116. Pico de Boum (3,006 m) (Aragon-France)
  117. Casque du Marboré (3,006 m) (Aragon-France)
  118. Arnales (3,006 m) (Aragon)
  119. Grande Fache (3,005 m) (Aragon-France)
  120. Pico Robiñera (3,005 m) (Aragon)
  121. Pic de Saint Saud (3,003 m) (France)
  122. Middle Besiberri S (3,003 m) (Catalonia)
  123. Middle Besiberri N (3,002 m) (Catalonia)
  124. Pointe Célestin Passet (3,002 m) (Catalonia)
  125. Punta de las Olas (3,002 m) (Aragon)
  126. Frondella SW (3,001 m) (Aragon)

Notable summits below 3,000 metres

Sports and leisure

Ski Center, Cerler (Spain) Ski Center.jpg
Ski Center, Cerler (Spain)

Both sides of the Pyrenees are popular spots for winter sports such as alpine skiing and mountaineering. The Pyrenees are also a good place for athletes to do high-altitude training in the summertime, such as by bicycling and cross-country running.

In the summer and the autumn, the Pyrenees are usually featured in two of cycling's grand tours, the Tour de France held annually in July and the Vuelta a España held in September. The stages held in the Pyrenees are often crucial legs of both tours, drawing hundreds of thousands of spectators to the region.

Three main long-distance footpaths run the length of the mountain range: the GR 10 across the northern slopes, the GR 11 across the southern slopes, and the HRP which traverses peaks and ridges along a high altitude route. In addition, there are numerous marked and unmarked trails throughout the region.

Pirena is a dog-mushing competition held in the Pyrenees.

Ski resorts

Ski resorts in the Pyrenees include:

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hautes-Pyrénées</span> Department of France in Occitanie

Hautes-Pyrénées is a department in the region of Occitania, southwestern France. The department is bordered by Pyrénées-Atlantiques to the west, Gers to the north, Haute-Garonne to the east, as well by the Spanish province of Huesca in the autonomous community of Aragon to the south. In 2019, its population was 229,567; its prefecture is Tarbes. It is named after the Pyrenees mountain range.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ariège (department)</span> Department of France in Occitanie

Ariège is a department in southwestern France, located in the region of Occitanie. It is named after the river Ariège and its capital is Foix. Ariège is known for its rural landscape, with a population of 153,287 as of 2019. Its INSEE and postal code is 09, hence the department's informal name of le zéro neuf. The inhabitants of the department are known as Ariègeois or Ariègeoises.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Aneto</span> The highest mountain in the Pyrenees

Aneto is the highest mountain in the Pyrenees and in Aragon, and Spain's third-highest mountain, reaching a height of 3,404 metres. It stands in the Spanish province of Huesca, the northernmost of the three Aragonese provinces, 6 kilometres south of the France–Spain border. It forms the southernmost part of the Maladeta massif.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cirque de Gavarnie</span> Cirque in southwestern France

The Cirque de Gavarnie is a cirque in the central Pyrenees, in Southwestern France, close to the border of Spain. It is within the commune of Gavarnie, the department of Hautes-Pyrénées, and the Pyrénées National Park. Major features of the cirque are La Brèche de Roland and the Gavarnie Falls. It was described by Victor Hugo as "the Colosseum of nature" due to its enormous size and horseshoe shape resembling an ancient amphitheatre. The cirque was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997 as part of the Pyrénées – Mont Perdu World Heritage Site.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">GR 10</span> Walking path

GR 10 is a French GR footpath, or hiking trail, that runs the length of the Pyrenees Mountains. It roughly parallels the French–Spanish border on the French side. Those attempting the entire trail often choose to walk it from west to east, from Hendaye on the Bay of Biscay to Banyuls-sur-Mer on the Mediterranean Sea, but it can also be traversed east to west.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pica d'Estats</span> Mountain in the country of Spain

Pica d'Estats is a 3,143-metre-high (10,312 ft) mountain in the Montcalm Massif, Pyrenees. on the Spanish–French border, and is the highest mountain in Catalonia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Henry Russell (explorer)</span>

Henry Patrick Marie, Count Russell-Killough (1834–1909) was one of the pioneers of Pyrenean exploration, known for his obsession with the Vignemale.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Soum de Ramond</span>

Soum de Ramond, also known as Pico de Añisclo in Spanish and Aragonese, is a mountain of 3,263 metres in the Monte Perdido massif in the Aragonese Pyrenees in northern Spain. It is one of the three mountains comprising Las Tres Sorores, the others being Monte Perdido and Cilindro de Marboré.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Société Ramond</span>

The Société Ramond is a French learned society devoted to the study of the Pyrenees mountain range that forms a natural border between France and Spain. It is named after the French politician, geologist, botanist and explorer Louis Ramond de Carbonnières and is based in Bagnères-de-Bigorre in southwestern France.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Maladeta</span> Mountain in the Pyrenees

Maladeta is a mountain in the Pyrenees, close to the highest peak in the range, Aneto. It is located in the Natural Park of Posets-Maladeta in the town of Benasque in Province of Huesca, Aragon, Spain. Its northern slope contains the 91-acre (37 ha) Maladeta Glacier, which is divided into the 15-acre (6 ha) Western Maladeta and the 77-acre (31 ha) Eastern Maladeta.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Montcalm Massif</span> Mountain massif in the Pyrenees

The Montcalm Massif is a mountain massif located in the Pyrenees, at the border between France and Spain, it has an altitude of 3077 metres above sea level.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pic de Marboré</span>

Marboré Peak is a summit in the Pyrenees located on the Franco-Spanish border crest in the Monte Perdido Range.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Casque du Marboré</span>

The Casque du Marboré, or Casque de Gavarnie or simply le Casque, is a pyrenean summit, culminating at 3,006 m (9,862 ft), located on the crest of three-thousanders in the Monte Perdido Range above Cirque de Gavarnie on the Franco-Spanish border.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tour du Marboré</span>

Tour du Marboré or Tour de Gavarnie is a Pyrenean summit, culminating at 3,009 m (9,872 ft), located on the Franco-Spanish border crest in the Monte Perdido Range.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pic du Taillon</span>

Pic du Taillon or Pico Taillón is a summit in the Pyrenees, culminating at 3,144 m (10,315 ft) on the Franco-Spanish border in the Monte Perdido Range.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pic de Montcalm</span>

Pic de Montcalm is a French pyrenean summit, culminating at 3,077 m (10,095 ft), located in the Ariège department, Midi-Pyrénées region of France.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">France–Spain border</span> International border

The France–Spain border was formally defined in 1659. It separates the two countries from Hendaye and Irun in the west, running through the Pyrenees to Cerbère and Portbou on the Mediterranean Sea.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pyrenees conifer and mixed forests</span>

The Pyrenees conifer and mixed forests is a temperate broadleaf and mixed forests ecoregion in southwestern Europe. It extends along the Pyrenees mountains which run east and west along the border between France and Spain, and includes all Andorra. The ecoregion extends from the lower slopes of the Pyrenees to its highest peaks, which include Aneto, Posets, and Vignemale.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Punta de Astorg</span> Mountain in Spain

Point of Astorg is a peak in the Spanish Pyrenees which rises to 3,354 m above sea level, in the Maladeta massif. It is the second highest peak in the massif, after Aneto and the fourth highest peak in the Pyrenees, behind Aneto, Pico Posets and Monte Perdido.


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Further reading