Spanish Pyrenees

Whilst it will require a 2 hour drive to get into the Spanish Pyrenees, the effort will be richly rewarded. There are a number of route options and some fascinating places and views to experience.

Two tunnel routes are available - Bielsa to the east of Tarbes and Somport to the south of Pau. The Somport tunnel opened only a couple of years ago and is impressive both for its engineering and longevity. Both are toll-free.

Of the mountain pass routes, the Col de Portalet is one of the most attractive.

The towns in the Spanish province of Aragon - Ainsa, Jaca and Huesca - have their histories and places of interest and for the more adventurous with an overnighting facility, then a trip to the Monasterio de San Juan de la Peña hewn into the rocks and/or the Monasterio de Piedra (Zaragoza) with its gardens and waterfalls are highly recommended.

A visit to the national park of Monte Perdido or Ortesa could also be considered.

Aragon as a region is intensively rejuvenating. The Franco years and for some time thereafter saw it very much 'on its knees', suffering little investment and depopulation. This has now been reversed with new roads, housing and prosperity whilst preserving its historical integrity.

It is always worth bearing in mind that the Spanish 'day' is structured much differently to the French. Shops will be open to 1 or 2 pm and then close, re-opening in the evening. Lunch will be more of an afternoon event than a midday break. Dinner, as a result, will rarely be available before 9pm.

Spanish Pyrenees Spanish Pyrenees

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