The Aragonese Pyrenees sit at the top of Spain, along the border with France and enclosed in by the Catalan Pyrenees to the east and the Navarrese Pyrenees to the west. One of the most beautiful parts of the Pyrenees mountain range, it begs to be discovered. Here are 11 reasons why you should visit at least once in your lifetime.
The Aragonese Pyrenees are widely considered to be the most stunning part of the Pyrenees, filled with quaint villages, lush valleys, stunning national parks, and a whole host of historic and natural attractions to discover.
The Aragonese Pyrenees are dotted with arguably some of the most beautiful villages in the whole of Spain. Take Alquézar for example – a pretty hilltop town lying within the Nature Reserve of the Sierra de Guara, or Lanuza, sitting on the edge of Lake Lanuza, filled with old stone houses and surrounded by jagged mountain peaks.
If you’re a fan of hiking, the Aragonese Pyrenees are the perfect place to start, filled with trails and marked pathways of varying difficulty. There’s everything here from the short two-to-three hour hikes to longer multi-day hikes.
The Aragonese Pyrenees are home to some great ski resorts, so they make for an excellent winter break too. Formigal is not only one of the best-value ski resorts in Europe, but one of the best ski resorts in the whole of Spain. Quiet and laidback, it’s a favourite with local families and beginners. Here you can glide over 140 km (87 miles) of slopes, as well as play in the vast snow gardens. Next to this you’ll also find the small budget resort of Aramón Panticosa, offering around 35 km (22 miles) of pistes catering to all levels.
The Pyrenees may not seem like an obvious wine growing region, but in fact it’s home to the Somontano wine region, located on a high plateau in the mountainous area of Huesca and surrounded by medieval hilltop villages and rolling meadows. Most of the wineries are located near the town of Barbastro – most use traditional wine making methods and local grapes such as Moristel, Parraleta for reds, and Macabeo and Alcañon for whites.
The Castle of Loarre is arguably one of the most spectacular in northern Spain. It was built on the site of an old Roman fortress in the 11th century on the orders of King Sancho Ramírez I of Aragon, and was used as both a royal residence and a monastery. Inside, you’ll also find the 12th-century Romanesque church of Santa María.
The Aragonese Pyrenees are perfect to try an array of adventure sports from skiing and kayaking to horse riding, hiking and canyoning.
This national park is one of the major highlights of the Aragonese Pyrenees. One of the world’s first national parks, it is both a biosphere reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is filled with cascading waterfalls, lush hiking routes and an array of flora and fauna.
The Sierra de Guara is a nature reserve dotted with over seventy different beautifully sculpted river gorges and strange rock formations. Because of this, it has become one of the top European destinations for doing canyoning. Here you’ll also find some excellent examples of prehistoric cave paintings.
The Aragonese Pyrenees is hosts a number of festivals, from folklore festivals to religious festivals. One of the best is the Pirineos Sur – a world music festival with performances from everywhere, including Africa and the Caribbean.
The famous Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route carves its way across the top of Spain to the Galician city of Santiago de Compostela. Most people take the classic Camino Frances or French Way, starting in Sant-Jean-Pied-de-Port and crossing the Pyrenees to Roncesvalles in Navarra. There is an alternative route however, which will take you through the Aragonese Pyrenees, through the Canfranc Pass to the border town of Somport in Huesca, and finally joining the French Way in the atmospheric town of Puente de la Reina in Navarra.