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Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park 

Guided hiking in the canyons and valleys of Spain's most well-known Pyrenean National Park

Dates

From Mid-May to end of September

Level

3-4 / 5 moderate

(see description)

Guided

Accompanied by a professional guide

Accommodations

Day hikes sleeping in a hotel each night

6 Days/5 Nights

Can be longer or shorter

INTRODUCTION

Come with us to explore the ancient trails and magnificent vistas of the Parque Nacional de Cañones de Ordesa y Monte Perdido in the heart of the Central Pyrenees.

 

Established in 1918, this is Spain's 2nd oldest national park, a wonderland of high summits, glaciers, beautiful waterfalls, impressive canyons, and fertile lands of forests and meadows, offering a fantastic contrast of colours and landscapes – nature at its finest and a superb environment for any outdoor lover.

 

France’s Pyrenees National Park is just across the main ridge, and together they form a larger area designated by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve and World Natural Heritage site spanning the border between France and Spain, centered around
Monte Perdido — Europe’s highest limestone mountain.

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HIGHLIGHTS

Ordesa Canyon and Añisclo Canyon are 2 of Europe’s largest and deepest canyons.

Hikes on ancient paths used over the centuries by hunters, travelers, smugglers and explorers.

Tasty cuisine based on fresh produce from the region’s agriculture and excellent wines from the nearby Pyrenean vineyards.

Daily opportunities for observation of fauna & flora, with likely sightings of various raptors including the Lammergeier or Bearded Vulture, one of Europe’s rarest birds of prey, as well as marmots and perhaps even the nimble Chamois.

In spring and summer, there are wildflowers galore. Autumn brings spectacular riots of color to the forest.

Torla and Aínsa, our overnight bases in the Ordesa area, are among the most beautiful villages in Spain!

ITINERARY

DAY 1  ARRIVAL IN AINSA Pickup in Barcelona (other options available) and transfer to Ainsa, one of Spain’s most beautiful medieval villages. Check into your charming hotel and wander the cobblestone streets. If time allows, go out for a short afternoon hike. We’ll also make time to visit the fascinating visitor’s center of the UNESCO Geopark to learn about the geology we’ll be seeing over the next few days! Overnight for next 3 nights – comfortable lodgings in Ainsa DAYS 2 & 3  HIKES IN THE EASTERN SECTOR OF THE NATIONAL PARK Our expert guides will choose hikes to suit the weather and other conditions. Options include: Pineta Cirque - explore the impressive walls and hanging valleys of this glacial bowl below the north face of Monte Perdido. ​Escuain Canyon – the least well-known of the national park’s 3 main canyons, this area is famous for its views of the river below and the many birds of prey circling overhead and nesting in the canyon walls. ​GR-11 - hike a section of this famous long-distance footpath that runs the length of the Spanish Pyrenees. There are multiple options to choose from depending on conditions. ​Freedom Trail - follow an ancient smuggler's path up to the France-Spain border. No passport required! These trails were used by Spanish Republican exiles escaping to France from the dictator Franco’s assault on the area during the Civil War. ​DAY 4  TRANSFER TO TORLA. HIKE EN-ROUTE IN AÑISCLO CANYON. We’ll stop en-route to hike in or above the impressive Añisclo Canyon, one of the biggest in Europe. This huge gash in the earth’s crust is truly impressive, especially when seen from above! Various route options. On arrival in Torla, go for a stroll to explore the quaint stone-built village set in the heart of a magnificent landscape. Overnight for next 2 nights – comfortable lodgings in Torla DAY 5  WATERFALL HIKE IN ORDESA CANYON One of the most classic hikes anywhere in the Pyrenees and a great way to end your trip. This circular route follows a “faja” – one of the typical ledge-like trails along the Ordesa Canyon walls, offering amazing views and an unforgettable experience, visiting many beautiful waterfalls in Ordesa Canyon en-route, among the highlights of Spain’s most famous Pyrenean national park. Shorter and longer options are available. DAY 6  DEPARTURE We’ll transfer you back to Barcelona or to your destination of choice.

TECHNICAL DETAILS

Hike difficulty: each day our guided trips offer an easier/shorter option B + to C (easy to moderate), and a longer, more challenging option (C to D).

Hike distances: from 7.3 km/4.5 mi to 19 km/11.9 mi depending on route choice

Hike elevation gain: from +305m / +1001 ft to +810 / + 2657ft, depending on route choice

Hike time: from 2.5 to 7 hours, depending on route choice

Hike terrain: mostly hilly throughout with occasional steep and/or rocky ascents/descents (scrambling/use of hands not required!). Typical walking surfaces include medieval “paved” paths and sheep drovers' trails, dirt/rock forestry tracks, grassy meadows & paths and rocky mountain trails. The challenging/longer options may involve occasional easy trackless sections marked with cairns.

Transfer times from hotel to trailhead: ranging from 0 to 90 minutes depending on hike choice. There are many choices within a 20-minute range.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Days 1, 2 & 3: a 2-3* comfortable and characterful family-run hotel in Aínsa. One of the most historic and attractive towns in the Pyrenees, Ainsa is strategically located at the confluence of the Cinco and Ara rivers. The walled old town and castle sit atop a hill with impressive views of the central massif. A convenient base, Ainsa offers excellent access to the Eastern and Southern sectors of the Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park.

NOTE: for those seeking luxury lodgings, a nearby 5* hotel in a renovated monastery is available and can be used as a base for the entire trip, including days 4 & 5.

Days 4 & 5: a 2-3* charming family-run hotel in Torla, an attractive stone-built medieval village with winding cobblestone streets in a superb setting on the pristine Ara river, with views of the lower reaches of Ordesa Canyon. Torla is the main gateway to the main hiking areas in the Western sector of the national park, including the famous Ordesa Valley and the most well-used approach to Monte Perdido.

We will be happy to provide specific details of our accommodations upon request. 

GETTING THERE

Both Torla and Ainsa are approximately 4 hrs. drive from Barcelona and 2 hours from Zaragoza. There are high-speed AVE trains from Madrid to Zaragoza, taking less than 2 hours.

 

We can arrange a private taxi transfer between either town and Zaragoza train station, Barcelona airport or Madrid airport. Transfers can also be arranged to & from other areas of interest in northeast Spain such as Pamplona, Bilbao or San Sebastian.

OTHER FEATURES OF THIS GUIDED TRIP

You’ll be accompanied by a certified mountain or specialist nature guide on all hiking days

All routes are designed to be safe but having a private local mountain guide adds special value to your experience. A guide provides in-depth insight to local nature, fauna, flora, geology, customs and culture as well as adding an extra measure of safety.

 

A range of flexible and safe hike choices

We can provide 2 levels of hike difficulty most days. Choose from among a variety of points of interest and differing levels of difficulty (time, distance and elevation gain). We also provide you with a color topographic map of the area.

Additional info to help you experience the best of the local area

We’ll provide recommendations for local points of natural, cultural, historic and artistic interest as well as local restaurants for when meals are not included in your trip package.

BOOK, CUSTOMIZE OR CREATE

This sample itinerary has been designed to showcase just some of the main highlights of the Ordesa & Monte Perdido National Park. It can be booked just as described above, but it’s also 100% customizable and can be used as the foundation around which we can build a personalized trip just for you Make it shorter or longer. Add rest days or mix hiking days with other adventure or cultural interest activities. We operate in a variety of areas on both the Spanish and French sides of the Pyrenees as well as northern Spain in general, so we can easily craft a completely personalized trip, combining differing activities and experiences in various locations. We want to create a memorable travel experience just for you! No itinerary is too complicated for us to arrange…any number of days, at any time of year, for any size group. Pick this or another of our suggested itineraries and we'll customize it to meet your party’s criteria...or…let’s work together with you to craft a personalized, tailor-made itinerary to suit your interests, level of physical challenge or technical difficulty, and other criteria. Just send us an email or send in our contact form describing your idea in as much detail as possible and we’ll get back to you…and together we’ll start making your dream become reality!

View photos of trips in this area

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