A rugged and magnificent mountain wilderness
- A wealth of flora, fauna and butterflies – and a backdrop of vast mountain landscapes.
- Fascinating diversity between the Spanish and the French sides
The spectacular mountains of the Pyrenees stretch for 480km from the Atlantic coast across to the Mediterranean forming an impressive natural frontier between France and Spain. These mountains have a rugged grandeur that will bewitch you. As well as accommodating some of Europe’s most exhilarating high and moderate walking trails, they host some staggering flora and many traditional mountain villages, rife with character and charm.
Wonderful walks in Europe’s last mountain wilderness
he spectacular mountains of the Pyrenees stretch for 480km from the Atlantic coast across to the
Mediterranean and form an impressive natural frontier between France and Spain. The mountains rose from beneath a shallow sea millions of years ago when the European and African continental plates collided. Since then the gigantic glaciers that covered most of Europe during the last great ice age shaped the magical natural features we see here today – hanging valleys, vast cirques, sharp peaks and rugged crests.
The backbone of the range, the frontier ridge, lies just to the north of our base in Panticosa. It is a chaotic jigsaw of wild rock formations and crags, which reach for the sky with many soaring effortlessly above 3000m. These peaks dominate much of the Valle de Tena, our home in the Pyrenees. This glacial valley boasts the vast limestone walls of the impressive Sierra de la Partacua and the Sierra de Tendeñera, which rise abruptly in the south, forming much of the overwhelming panorama that is enjoyed from Hotel Sabocos in Panticosa, our delightful base.
A little lower down a majestic mountain landscape unfolds with a heady mix of lush green meadows, abyss-like canyons, awe-inspiring cirques, azure blue lakes, u-shaped valleys, pristine woodlands, sparkling tarns and cascading streams.
Not surprisingly, walkers have been coming to the Pyrenees for years, venturing into this magnificent terrain from picturesque mountain villages. From Panticosa we walk on both the Spanish and the French sides of the frontier ridge. In spite of their proximity to each other, the differences between the two sides are quite dramatic. Our walks will help you see just how different the Spanish and the French sides are in an area where the common denominator is breathtaking mountain scenery.
The Floral & Fauna of the Pyrenees
The Pyrenees is a floral crossroads where the alpine gentians, primulas and pasque flowers of northern Europe meet the wild daffodils of the Iberian peninsula. Many species are unique and such is the variety (with around 160 endemic species) that the Pyrenees are often referred to as the Flower Garden of Europe.
In pictures – The Pyrenees
We arrived just after office hour had started. We were met by a staff member, shown to our room, left our cases and immediately proceeded to join office hour. Well under way by then. Routes for next day explained etc. However we did not receive an actual briefing re the hotel amenities and Collett's initial intro. We did ask lots of subsequent questions and did eventually have all the info we needed. This is not a reflection on Collett's staff but more to do with our late arrival. Definitely looking forward to our first walk.
All in all accommodation and meals were first class. However the hotel website indicated there was a minibar. There was none in our room. The fridge element would have been an asset in the extreme heat. That and a room safe would have been helpful. Didn't ruin our holiday in any way though. When booking, albeit a bit late in the season we asked for a room with a balcony. Advised in advance that this may not be possible. Imagine our surprise to have a room with a terrace. Well done Hotel Sabocos and Collett's! Only problem was it was so hot we couldn't make full use of it. Some folk are never satisfied.
No pressure for anyone to go on the organised routes of the day. Alternatives readily suggested. We were looking for a walking holiday in the Pyrenees esp one that covered the Ordesa Valley and the surrounding area. My wife and I Were last in the area 36 years ago. The Ordesa valley did not disappoint!
All in all we had a very enjoyable week both walking and socially. I must congratulate Collett's' staff for the interaction they had with the guests. It must be hard to always be chatting to different people each week, not knowing how they would be accepted or what was expected of them over and above the walking side of things. Our thanks to Will, Remy, Claire and Kiwi Clare for a very enjoyable week and wish them all well wherever they decide to go in the future.