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Walking and Trekking in the Pyrenees

  • Walking and Trekking in the Pyrenees
 

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The snow-capped Pyrenees mountain range is the immense natural barrier that forms the borders between Spain, France and Andorra and cuts the Iberian Peninsula off from the rest of Europe. One of Spain’s five mountain ranges, the Pyrenees stretch some 450 kilometres from the Bay of Biscay on the Atlantic to the Mediterranean Sea, reaching an elevation of up to 4404 metres.

The scenery is diverse and dramatic, with towering craggy peaks, serene shimmering mountain lakes, thundering waterfalls, pristine forests and powerful clear water rivers that cut through leafy green valleys. Picturesque medieval villages complete with their individual Romanesque churches lie scattered throughout the region, adding the finishing touches to the landscape. 

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Most of the terrain that falls under Spain’s domain is known as the Catalan Pyrenees. The region covered by the Aiguestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park is the jewel in the Catalan Pyrenees’ crown and is superb trekking country in the summer months. Majestic landscapes with stunning views abound. Walkers and trekkers find themselves in nature’s art gallery, with a landscape painted with ancient forests of firs and black pines and dotted with striking, blue mountain lakes, of which there are nearly 200 in the park.

It is hardly surprising that the area is rich in wildlife with a proliferation of wild goats as well as bearded vultures, golden eagles and peregrine falcons circling the skies. The park’s largest lake, Estany de Sant Maurici , is set at an elevation of 1950 metres and overlooked by rugged 2900 metre serrated peaks. This beautiful glacial lake changes colour from aquamarine to turquoise to azure blue as the park’s emblem, the twin crags of Els Encantats (or Enchanted Mountains) gaze at their own image mirrored in the stillness of the lake’s waters.

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