Situated in the Spanish Pyrenees province of Huesca, Aragon, is the UNESCO listed Ordesa y Monte Perido National Park. The secluded, breath-taking gem is nestled amongst vast mountains, deep valleys and crystal-clear rivers.
The park is littered with impressive scenery. Tall mountain peaks dominate the region, the highest up to 3000m. They seemingly dwarf the surrounding landscape with their vastness. Intertwining the extensive gorges and valleys created by the mountains, are crystal clear streams and rivers. The waterways are a great option for a swim if you are feeling brave, as even in the midst of summer the water is quite cold.
Dotted between the peaks are a number of small and quaint townships, some dating back to medieval times which provide a unique insight into the region's history. Be sure to check out Broto and Torla-Ordesa, which are beautiful old towns that also have all you need when visiting the Pyrenees, such as restaurants, supermarkets and medical centres.
The Ordesa National Park is home to a vast array of wonderful flora and fauna, some of which are very rare globally. Be sure to keep an eye out for animals, such as the Pyrenean Chamois (the crazy mountain goat, to be found on the edge of a cliff!), the Red Deer (the most likely animal to spot throughout the mountains) and the Brown Bear (don’t freak out!). The Brown Bear is quite rare in the Pyrenees (only around 40 in recent counts), with their numbers nearing 0 at the start of the century in this area. Although the Brown Bear is known to eat animals occasionally, for the most part, they feed on grass, fruit, insects and roots and they are known to keep a distance from the hiking trails and humans in general.
For more information on Pyrenees animal’s visit: https://www.adventurecreators.com/pyrenees/pyrenees-wildlife/
Hike Ordesa Valley
Getting to the Ordesa Valley is quite easy, if you are flying, the closest airports are Barcelona or Girona. Each have car rental facilities or frequent buses departing to the Pyrenees. If you are driving yourself, there are many different routes leading to the region from varying directions including from France. The roads, although windy are very manageable, just be sure to take care and watch for wildlife and farm animals which are frequently spotted on the roads.
If you want a guided tour, there are a number of companies that offer bus tours through the region. So, you can rest in the knowledge that you will see the best on offer in the area with a local guide.
The parking for the Ordesa Valley hike is well signposted and easy to find, (search ‘Parking Ordesa’ into Google Maps). There are lots of parking spots for cars and campervans. There are toilets as well.
There are several hiking routes that you can take, varying in difficulty, to experience the breathtaking scenery of the Ordesa Valley. Although the whole hike is stunningly scenic, the main point of attraction is Cola de Caballo. This is an 8.7km walk, estimated to take 2 hours and 40 minutes to complete.
What awaits is a 30m high waterfall with a backdrop of incredible mountains and cliffs on every side and an open green pasture with a crystal-clear stream running through, which is a view that photos simply cannot do justice to. This hike really is a must do if you are physically able.
If you have small children or are a little older or not physically capable, this shouldn’t stop you from visiting. There are plenty of stopping points along the trail, each offering stunning waterfalls, dense pine forest or views through the valley making the Ordesa Valley an unforgettable experience for all!
For more information visit the tourist information centre in Torla-Ordesa or visit https://www.spain.info/en_GB/que-quieres/naturaleza/espacios-naturales/parque_nacional_de_ordesa_y_monte_perdido.html
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