Pyrenees

Pyrenees

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The Pyrenees is a range of mountains
Mountain range
A mountain range is a single, large mass consisting of a succession of mountains or narrowly spaced mountain ridges, with or without peaks, closely related in position, direction, formation, and age; a component part of a mountain system or of a mountain chain...

 in southwest Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 that forms a natural border
Natural border
A natural border is a border between states which is composed of natural formations such as rivers, mountain ranges, or deserts.Having a natural border is strategically very useful, as invading armies can have a hard time crossing such a border...

 between France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 and Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

. It separates the Iberian Peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

 from the rest of continental Europe, and extends for about 491 km (305 mi) from the Bay of Biscay
Bay of Biscay
The Bay of Biscay is a gulf of the northeast Atlantic Ocean located south of the Celtic Sea. It lies along the western coast of France from Brest south to the Spanish border, and the northern coast of Spain west to Cape Ortegal, and is named in English after the province of Biscay, in the Spanish...

 (Cap Higuer) to the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

 (Cap de Creus
Cap de Creus
Cap de Creus is a peninsula and a headland located at the far NE of Catalonia, some 25 km south from the French border. The nearest town is Figueres, capital of the Alt Empordà and birthplace of Salvador Dalí...

).

For the most part, the main crest forms a massive divider between France and Spain, with the tiny country of Andorra
Andorra
Andorra , officially the Principality of Andorra , also called the Principality of the Valleys of Andorra, , is a small landlocked country in southwestern Europe, located in the eastern Pyrenees mountains and bordered by Spain and France. It is the sixth smallest nation in Europe having an area of...

 sandwiched in between. Catalonia
Principality of Catalonia
The Principality of Catalonia , is a historic territory in the northeastern Iberian Peninsula, mostly in Spain and with an adjoining portion in southern France....

 and Navarre
Kingdom of Navarre
The Kingdom of Navarre , originally the Kingdom of Pamplona, was a European kingdom which occupied lands on either side of the Pyrenees alongside the Atlantic Ocean....

 have historically extended on both sides of the mountain range, with small northern portions now in France and much larger southern parts now in Spain.

The adjective related to the noun "Pyrenees" in English is Pyrenean.

Etymology


In classical mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

, Pyrene
Pyrene (mythology)
In Greek mythology, Pyrene may refer to:* Pyrene, daughter of King Bebrycius and a lover of Hercules. She bore a serpent and became so terrified that she fled to the woods where she died. Hercules created a tomb for her by piling up rocks thus forming the mountain range of the Pyrenees, named...

 is a princess who gave her name
Eponym
An eponym is the name of a person or thing, whether real or fictitious, after which a particular place, tribe, era, discovery, or other item is named or thought to be named...

 to the Pyrenees. The Greek historian
Greek historiography
The historical period of Ancient Greece is unique in world history as the first period attested directly in proper historiography, while earlier ancient history or proto-history is known by much more circumstantial evidence, such as annals, chronicles, king lists, and pragmatic epigraphy.Herodotus...

 Herodotus
Herodotus
Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria and lived in the 5th century BC . He has been called the "Father of History", and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a...

 says Pyrene is the name of a town in Celtic Europe. According to Silius Italicus
Silius Italicus
Silius Italicus, in full Tiberius Catius Asconius Silius Italicus , was a Roman consul, orator, and Latin epic poet of the 1st century CE,...

, she was the virginal daughter of Bebryx, a king in Mediterranean Gaul by whom the hero Hercules
Hercules
Hercules is the Roman name for Greek demigod Heracles, son of Zeus , and the mortal Alcmene...

 was given hospitality
Hospitality
Hospitality is the relationship between guest and host, or the act or practice of being hospitable. Specifically, this includes the reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers, resorts, membership clubs, conventions, attractions, special events, and other services for travelers...

 during his quest
Quest
In mythology and literature, a quest, a journey towards a goal, serves as a plot device and as a symbol. Quests appear in the folklore of every nation and also figure prominently in non-national cultures. In literature, the objects of quests require great exertion on the part of the hero, and...

 to steal the cattle of Geryon
Geryon
In Greek mythology, Geryon , son of Chrysaor and Callirrhoe and grandson of Medusa, was a fearsome giant who dwelt on the island Erytheia of the mythic Hesperides in the far west of the Mediterranean. A more literal-minded later generation of Greeks associated the region with Tartessos in southern...

 during his famous Labors. Hercules, characteristically drunk and lustful, violates the sacred code of hospitality and rapes his host's daughter. Pyrene gives birth to a serpent and runs away to the woods, afraid that her father will be angry. Alone, she pours out her story to the trees, attracting the attention instead of wild beasts who tear her to pieces.

After his victory over Geryon, Hercules passes through the kingdom of Bebryx again, finding the girl's lacerated remains. As is often the case in stories of this hero, the sober Hercules responds with heartbroken grief and remorse at the actions of his darker self, and lays Pyrene to rest tenderly, demanding that the surrounding geography join in mourning and preserve her name: "struck by Herculean voice, the mountaintops shudder at the ridges; he kept crying out with a sorrowful noise 'Pyrene!' and all the rock-cliffs and wild-beast haunts echo back 'Pyrene!' … The mountains hold on to the wept-over name through the ages." Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

 connects the story of Hercules and Pyrene to Lusitania
Lusitania
Lusitania or Hispania Lusitania was an ancient Roman province including approximately all of modern Portugal south of the Douro river and part of modern Spain . It was named after the Lusitani or Lusitanian people...

, but rejects it as fabulosa, highly fictional.

Geography


The Spanish Pyrenees
Spanish Pyrenees
The Spanish Pyrenees is a large mountain range which is part of the following provinces, from east to west: Girona, Barcelona, Lleida, Huesca, Zaragoza, Navarra, and Guipúzcoa. The mountain's dominions stretch for 450 kilometres from the Cantabrian Sea to the Mediterranean Sea....

 are part of the following provinces
Provinces of Spain
Spain and its autonomous communities are divided into fifty provinces .In other languages of Spain:*Catalan/Valencian , sing. província.*Galician , sing. provincia.*Basque |Galicia]] — are not also the capitals of provinces...

, from east to west: Girona, Barcelona, Lleida (the latter three Catalonia
Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

), Huesca (Aragon
Aragon
Aragon is a modern autonomous community in Spain, coextensive with the medieval Kingdom of Aragon. Located in northeastern Spain, the Aragonese autonomous community comprises three provinces : Huesca, Zaragoza, and Teruel. Its capital is Zaragoza...

), Navarra and Guipúzcoa (the latter part of the Basque Country
Basque Country (autonomous community)
The Basque Country is an autonomous community of northern Spain. It includes the Basque provinces of Álava, Biscay and Gipuzkoa, also called Historical Territories....

).

The French Pyrenees
French Pyrenees
The French Pyrenees is a large mountain range on the French-Spanish border that is part of the following départements, from east to west: Pyrénées-Orientales, Aude, Ariège, Haute-Garonne, Hautes-Pyrénées, and Pyrénées-Atlantiques ....

 are also part of the following départements, from east to west: Pyrénées-Orientales
Pyrénées-Orientales
Pyrénées-Orientales is a department of southern France adjacent to the northern Spanish frontier and the Mediterranean Sea. It also surrounds the tiny Spanish enclave of Llívia, and thus has two distinct borders with Spain.- History :...

 (North Catalonia and Fenolheda
Fenolheda
Fenouillèdes , is a French comarca and a traditional Occitan-speaking area in the département of Pyrénées-Orientales. The capital of the comarca is Saint-Paul-de-Fenouillet .Fenolheda has been part of France since the Treaty of Corbeil of 1258...

), Aude
Aude
Aude is a department in south-central France named after the river Aude. The local council also calls the department "Cathar Country".Aude is also a frequent feminine French given name in Francophone countries, deriving initially from Aude or Oda, a wife of Bertrand, Duke of Aquitaine, and mother...

, Ariège
Ariège
Ariège is a department in southwestern France named after the Ariège River.- History :Ariège is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on 4 March 1790. It was created from the counties of Foix and Couserans....

, Haute-Garonne
Haute-Garonne
Haute-Garonne is a department in the southwest of France named after the Garonne river. Its main city is Toulouse.-History:Haute-Garonne is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790. It was created from part of the former province of Languedoc.The...

, Hautes-Pyrénées
Hautes-Pyrénées
Hautes-Pyrénées is a department in southwestern France. It is part of the Midi-Pyrénées region.-History:...

, and Pyrénées-Atlantiques
Pyrénées-Atlantiques
Pyrénées-Atlantiques is a department in the southwest of France which takes its name from the Pyrenees mountains and the Atlantic Ocean.- History :...

 (the latter two of which include Pyrenees National Park
Pyrenees National Park
The Pyrénées National Park is a national park located within the French départements of Hautes-Pyrénées and Pyrénées-Atlantiques.Located along the border of France and Spain is a scenic and mountainous landscape offering a variety of outdoor activities including hiking, skiing, mountain climbing...

).

The independent principality of Andorra
Andorra
Andorra , officially the Principality of Andorra , also called the Principality of the Valleys of Andorra, , is a small landlocked country in southwestern Europe, located in the eastern Pyrenees mountains and bordered by Spain and France. It is the sixth smallest nation in Europe having an area of...

 is sandwiched in the eastern portion of the mountain range between the Spanish Pyrenees
Spanish Pyrenees
The Spanish Pyrenees is a large mountain range which is part of the following provinces, from east to west: Girona, Barcelona, Lleida, Huesca, Zaragoza, Navarra, and Guipúzcoa. The mountain's dominions stretch for 450 kilometres from the Cantabrian Sea to the Mediterranean Sea....

 and French Pyrenees
French Pyrenees
The French Pyrenees is a large mountain range on the French-Spanish border that is part of the following départements, from east to west: Pyrénées-Orientales, Aude, Ariège, Haute-Garonne, Hautes-Pyrénées, and Pyrénées-Atlantiques ....

.

Physiograpically
Physical geography
Physical geography is one of the two major subfields of geography. Physical geography is that branch of natural science which deals with the study of processes and patterns in the natural environment like the atmosphere, biosphere and geosphere, as opposed to the cultural or built environment, the...

, the Pyrenees are typically divided into three sections: the Atlantic (or Western), the Central, and the Eastern Pyrenees. Together, they form a distinct physiographic province of the larger Alpine System division.



The Central Pyrenees extend westward from the Aran Valley to the Somport
Somport
Somport is a mountain pass in the central Pyrenees on the border of France and Spain. The pass, whose name is derived from the Latin Summus portus, was one of the most popular routes for crossing the mountains for soldiers, merchants, and St...

 pass, and they include the highest summits of this range:
  • Pico d'Aneto 3404 metres (11,168 ft) in the Maladeta ridge,
  • Posets peak
    Posets peak
    Pico Posets or Punta de Llardana is the second highest peak of the Pyrenees, after Aneto. It is located in the Spanish province of Huesca and is 3,371 meters high.-Ascent route:...

     3375 metres (11,073 ft),
  • Mont Perdu or Monte Perdido 3355 metres (11,007 ft).


In the Western Pyrenees, the average elevation gradually increases from the west to the east, from the Basque mountains
Basque mountains
The Basque Mountains are a mountain range situated in the northern Iberian Peninsula. Geographically it is considered as the eastern section of the larger Cantabrian Range...

 near the Bay of Biscay
Bay of Biscay
The Bay of Biscay is a gulf of the northeast Atlantic Ocean located south of the Celtic Sea. It lies along the western coast of France from Brest south to the Spanish border, and the northern coast of Spain west to Cape Ortegal, and is named in English after the province of Biscay, in the Spanish...

 of the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

. In the Eastern Pyrenees, with the exception of one break at the eastern extremity of the Pyrénées ariégeoises, the mean elevation is remarkably uniform until a sudden decline occurs in the easternmost portion of the chain known as the Albères.

Geology


The Pyrenees are older than the Alps
Alps
The Alps is one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west....

: their sediment
Sediment
Sediment is naturally occurring material that is broken down by processes of weathering and erosion, and is subsequently transported by the action of fluids such as wind, water, or ice, and/or by the force of gravity acting on the particle itself....

s were first deposited in coastal basins during the Paleozoic
Paleozoic
The Paleozoic era is the earliest of three geologic eras of the Phanerozoic eon, spanning from roughly...

 and Mesozoic
Mesozoic
The Mesozoic era is an interval of geological time from about 250 million years ago to about 65 million years ago. It is often referred to as the age of reptiles because reptiles, namely dinosaurs, were the dominant terrestrial and marine vertebrates of the time...

 eras. Between 100 and 150 million years ago, during the Lower Cretaceous
Cretaceous
The Cretaceous , derived from the Latin "creta" , usually abbreviated K for its German translation Kreide , is a geologic period and system from circa to million years ago. In the geologic timescale, the Cretaceous follows the Jurassic period and is followed by the Paleogene period of the...

 period, the Bay of Biscay fanned out
Seafloor spreading
Seafloor spreading is a process that occurs at mid-ocean ridges, where new oceanic crust is formed through volcanic activity and then gradually moves away from the ridge. Seafloor spreading helps explain continental drift in the theory of plate tectonics....

, pushing present-day Spain against France and putting large layers of sediment
Sediment
Sediment is naturally occurring material that is broken down by processes of weathering and erosion, and is subsequently transported by the action of fluids such as wind, water, or ice, and/or by the force of gravity acting on the particle itself....

 in a vise grip. The intense pressure and uplifting of the Earth's crust first affected the eastern part and stretched progressively to the entire chain, culminating in the Eocene
Eocene
The Eocene Epoch, lasting from about 56 to 34 million years ago , is a major division of the geologic timescale and the second epoch of the Paleogene Period in the Cenozoic Era. The Eocene spans the time from the end of the Palaeocene Epoch to the beginning of the Oligocene Epoch. The start of the...

 epoch.

The eastern part of the Pyrenees consists largely of granite
Granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

 and gneiss
Gneiss
Gneiss is a common and widely distributed type of rock formed by high-grade regional metamorphic processes from pre-existing formations that were originally either igneous or sedimentary rocks.-Etymology:...

ose rocks, while in the western part the granite peaks are flanked by layers of limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

. The massive and unworn character of the chain comes from its abundance of granite
Granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

, which is particularly resistant to erosion
Erosion
Erosion is when materials are removed from the surface and changed into something else. It only works by hydraulic actions and transport of solids in the natural environment, and leads to the deposition of these materials elsewhere...

, as well as weak glacial
Glacier
A glacier is a large persistent body of ice that forms where the accumulation of snow exceeds its ablation over many years, often centuries. At least 0.1 km² in area and 50 m thick, but often much larger, a glacier slowly deforms and flows due to stresses induced by its weight...

 development.

Landscape


Conspicuous features of Pyrenean scenery are:
  • the absence of great lake
    Lake
    A lake is a body of relatively still fresh or salt water of considerable size, localized in a basin, that is surrounded by land. Lakes are inland and not part of the ocean and therefore are distinct from lagoons, and are larger and deeper than ponds. Lakes can be contrasted with rivers or streams,...

    s, such as those that fill the lateral valleys of the Alps
  • the rarity and great elevation of passes
    Mountain pass
    A mountain pass is a route through a mountain range or over a ridge. If following the lowest possible route, a pass is locally the highest point on that route...

  • the large number of the mountain torrents locally called gaves
    Gave (stem)
    The French word gave is a generic name referring to torrential rivers, in the west side of the Pyrenees. In the central part of the Pyrenees, the name neste has the same function....

    , which often form lofty waterfall
    Waterfall
    A waterfall is a place where flowing water rapidly drops in elevation as it flows over a steep region or a cliff.-Formation:Waterfalls are commonly formed when a river is young. At these times the channel is often narrow and deep. When the river courses over resistant bedrock, erosion happens...

    s, surpassed in Europe only by those of Scandinavia
    Scandinavia
    Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

  • the frequency with which the upper end of a valley assumes the form of a semicircle of precipitous cliffs, called a cirque
    Cirque
    Cirque may refer to:* Cirque, a geological formation* Makhtesh, an erosional landform found in the Negev desert of Israel and Sinai of Egypt*Cirque , an album by Biosphere* Cirque Corporation, a company that makes touchpads...

    .


The highest waterfall
Waterfall
A waterfall is a place where flowing water rapidly drops in elevation as it flows over a steep region or a cliff.-Formation:Waterfalls are commonly formed when a river is young. At these times the channel is often narrow and deep. When the river courses over resistant bedrock, erosion happens...

 is Gavarnie
Gavarnie Falls
The Gavarnie Falls is a tiered waterfall in France. With its overall drop of 422 metres, it is the highest waterfall in France. The falls are situated in the Cirque de Gavarnie, near the village Gavarnie in the Hautes-Pyrénées.The waterfall is the beginning of the Gave de Pau stream...

 (462 m or 1,515 ft), at the head of the Gave de Pau
Gave de Pau
The Gave de Pau is a river of south-western France and a left tributary of the Adour. It takes its name from the city Pau, through which it flows. The river is in length, and its source is at the Cirque de Gavarnie in the Pyrenees mountains....

; the Cirque de Gavarnie
Cirque de Gavarnie
The Cirque de Gavarnie is a cirque in the central Pyrenees, in the Pyrenees National Park. The cirque is 800m wide and about 3000m wide at the top.Major features of the cirque are La Brèche de Roland and the Gavarnie Falls....

, in the same valley, together with the nearby Cirque de Troumouse and Cirque d'Estaubé
Cirque d'Estaubé
The Cirque d'Estaubé is a cirque in the central Pyrenees in the Pyrenees National Park, forming the frontier between France and Spain. The cirque lies 4 km to the east of its better known neighbour, the Cirque de Gavarnie, which is accessible via the Hourquette d'Alans ; the Marboré valley is...

 are notable examples of the cirque
Cirque
Cirque may refer to:* Cirque, a geological formation* Makhtesh, an erosional landform found in the Negev desert of Israel and Sinai of Egypt*Cirque , an album by Biosphere* Cirque Corporation, a company that makes touchpads...

 formation. Low passes are lacking, and the principal roads and the railroads between France and Spain run only in the lowlands at the western and eastern ends of the Pyrenees, near sea level. Between the two ends of the range, the only passes worth mentioning are the Col de la Perche, between the valley of the Têt
Têt River
The Têt is the largest river in Roussillon, southeastern France. It is 116 km long. The Têt has its source at the foot of the Pic Carlit in the Pyrenees...

 and the valley of the Segre, the Port d'Envalira
Pas de la Casa
El Pas de la Casa is a ski resort , town, and mountain pass in the Encamp parish of Andorra, lying on the border with France. Its name literally translates as "the pass of the house" and refers to the fact that until the early twentieth century there was only a single shepherd's hut overlooking...

, the highest mountain pass in the Pyrenees and one of the highest points of the European road network, and the Col de Somport
Somport
Somport is a mountain pass in the central Pyrenees on the border of France and Spain. The pass, whose name is derived from the Latin Summus portus, was one of the most popular routes for crossing the mountains for soldiers, merchants, and St...

 or Port de Canfranc, where there were old Roman road
Roman road
The Roman roads were a vital part of the development of the Roman state, from about 500 BC through the expansion during the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire. Roman roads enabled the Romans to move armies and trade goods and to communicate. The Roman road system spanned more than 400,000 km...

s, but apparently, no modern highways.

A notable visual feature of this mountain range
Mountain range
A mountain range is a single, large mass consisting of a succession of mountains or narrowly spaced mountain ridges, with or without peaks, closely related in position, direction, formation, and age; a component part of a mountain system or of a mountain chain...

 is La Brèche de Roland
La Brèche de Roland
La Brèche de Roland is a natural gap, 40 m across and 100 m high, at an altitude of 2804 m in the steep cliffs of the Cirque de Gavarnie in the Pyrenees...

, a gap in the ridge line, which - according to legend - was created by Roland
Roland
Roland was a Frankish military leader under Charlemagne who became one of the principal figures in the literary cycle known as the Matter of France. Historically, Roland was military governor of the Breton March, with responsibility for defending the frontier of Francia against the Bretons...

.

Natural resources


The metallic ore
Ore
An ore is a type of rock that contains minerals with important elements including metals. The ores are extracted through mining; these are then refined to extract the valuable element....

s of the Pyrenees are not in general of much importance now, though there were iron
Iron
Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...

 mines at several locations in Andorra, as well as at Vie de Sos in Ariège, and the foot of Canigou
Canigou
The Canigou is a mountain located in the Catalan Pyrenees of southern France.Due to its sharp flanks and its dramatic location close to the coast, until the 18th century the Canigou was believed to be the highest mountain in the Pyrenees.-Trekking and sightseeing:Spectacular jeep tracks on the...

 in Pyrénées-Orientales
Pyrénées-Orientales
Pyrénées-Orientales is a department of southern France adjacent to the northern Spanish frontier and the Mediterranean Sea. It also surrounds the tiny Spanish enclave of Llívia, and thus has two distinct borders with Spain.- History :...

 long ago. Coal
Coal
Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure...

 deposits capable of being profitably worked are situated chiefly on the Spanish slopes, but the French side has beds of lignite
Lignite
Lignite, often referred to as brown coal, or Rosebud coal by Northern Pacific Railroad,is a soft brown fuel with characteristics that put it somewhere between coal and peat...

. The open pit of Trimoun (Ariège) is one of the greatest sources of talc
Talc
Talc is a mineral composed of hydrated magnesium silicate with the chemical formula H2Mg34 or Mg3Si4O102. In loose form, it is the widely-used substance known as talcum powder. It occurs as foliated to fibrous masses, its crystals being so rare as to be almost unknown...

 in Europe.

Mineral spring
Mineral spring
Mineral springs are naturally occurring springs that produce water containing minerals, or other dissolved substances, that alter its taste or give it a purported therapeutic value...

s are abundant and remarkable, and especially noteworthy are the hot spring
Hot spring
A hot spring is a spring that is produced by the emergence of geothermally heated groundwater from the Earth's crust. There are geothermal hot springs in many locations all over the crust of the earth.-Definitions:...

s, of which the Alps are very deficient. The hot springs, among which those of Les Escaldes
Les Escaldes
Les Escaldes or briefly Escaldes is an urban area in Escaldes-Engordany parish, Andorra. It is located near the nation's capital, Andorra la Vella.-Overview:...

 in Andorra, Ax-les-Thermes
Ax-les-Thermes
Ax-les-Thermes is a commune in the Ariège department in the Midi-Pyrénées region in southwestern France.It lies at the confluence of the Ariège River with three tributaries, 26 miles SSE of Foix by rail...

, Panticosa
Panticosa
Panticosa is a municipality located in the province of Huesca, Aragon, Spain.During the late 19th century and early 20th century, it was a successful spa town, famous for its pure mountain waters, that supposedly cured from liver diseases and herpes. Its belle-epoque spa buildings are well kept and...

, Lles, Bagnères-de-Luchon
Bagnères-de-Luchon
Bagnères-de-Luchon , also referred to as Luchon, is a spa town and a commune in the Haute-Garonne department in southwestern France.-Geography:...

 and Eaux-Chaudes
Eaux-Chaudes
Eaux-Chaudes is a spa in the valley of the Gave d'Ossau in the French Pyrenees. The village is located beside the river, at the southern entrance to the Gorge du Hourat. It is separated from the spa town of Eaux-Bonnes by the Massif du Gourzy....

 in France may be mentioned, are sulphur
Sulfur
Sulfur or sulphur is the chemical element with atomic number 16. In the periodic table it is represented by the symbol S. It is an abundant, multivalent non-metal. Under normal conditions, sulfur atoms form cyclic octatomic molecules with chemical formula S8. Elemental sulfur is a bright yellow...

ous and mostly situated high, near the contact of the granite with the stratified rocks. The lower springs, such as those of Bagnères-de-Bigorre
Bagnères-de-Bigorre
Bagnères-de-Bigorre is a French commune in the south-western Hautes-Pyrénées department, of which it is a sub-prefecture.-Notable people:Bagnères-de-Bigorre was the birthplace of:*Alan Brooke, 1st Viscount Alanbrooke...

 (Hautes-Pyrénées
Hautes-Pyrénées
Hautes-Pyrénées is a department in southwestern France. It is part of the Midi-Pyrénées region.-History:...

), Rennes-les-Bains
Rennes-les-Bains
Rennes-les-Bains is a commune in the Aude department in southern France.The spa village of Rennes-les-Bains lies in the heart of Cathar country. Bathers have enjoyed the natural hot spring waters for thousands of years - they are still used today as a cure for rheumatism and certain skin problems....

 (Aude
Aude
Aude is a department in south-central France named after the river Aude. The local council also calls the department "Cathar Country".Aude is also a frequent feminine French given name in Francophone countries, deriving initially from Aude or Oda, a wife of Bertrand, Duke of Aquitaine, and mother...

) and Campagne-sur-Aude
Campagne-sur-Aude
Campagne-sur-Aude is a commune in the Aude department in southern France.-Population:-References:*...

 (Aude), are mostly selenitic and not very cold.

Climate


The amount of the precipitation
Precipitation (meteorology)
In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation (also known as one of the classes of hydrometeors, which are atmospheric water phenomena is any product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that falls under gravity. The main forms of precipitation...

 the range receives, including rain
Rain
Rain is liquid precipitation, as opposed to non-liquid kinds of precipitation such as snow, hail and sleet. Rain requires the presence of a thick layer of the atmosphere to have temperatures above the melting point of water near and above the Earth's surface...

 and snow
Snow
Snow is a form of precipitation within the Earth's atmosphere in the form of crystalline water ice, consisting of a multitude of snowflakes that fall from clouds. Since snow is composed of small ice particles, it is a granular material. It has an open and therefore soft structure, unless packed by...

, is much greater in the western than in the eastern Pyrenees, because of the moist air that blows in from the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

 over the Bay of Biscay
Bay of Biscay
The Bay of Biscay is a gulf of the northeast Atlantic Ocean located south of the Celtic Sea. It lies along the western coast of France from Brest south to the Spanish border, and the northern coast of Spain west to Cape Ortegal, and is named in English after the province of Biscay, in the Spanish...

. After dropping its moisture over the western and central Pyrenees, the air is usually dry over the eastern Pyrenees. The winter average temperature is -2 °C (28.4 °F).

Sections of the mountain range vary in more than one respect. Some glacier
Glacier
A glacier is a large persistent body of ice that forms where the accumulation of snow exceeds its ablation over many years, often centuries. At least 0.1 km² in area and 50 m thick, but often much larger, a glacier slowly deforms and flows due to stresses induced by its weight...

s are found in the western and especially the snowy central Pyrenees, but the eastern Pyrenees are without any glaciers - with the quantity of snow falling there being insufficient to cause their development. The glaciers are confined to the northern slopes of the central Pyrenees, and do not descend, like those of the Alps, far down into the valleys, but have their greatest lengths along the direction of the mountain chain. They form, in fact, in a narrow zone near the crest of the highest mountains. Here, as in the other great mountain ranges of central Europe, there is great evidence of a much wider extension of the glaciers during the Ice Age
Ice age
An ice age or, more precisely, glacial age, is a generic geological period of long-term reduction in the temperature of the Earth's surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence or expansion of continental ice sheets, polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers...

s. The case of the glacier in the valley of Argeles Gazost, between Lourdes and Gavarnie, in the département of Hautes-Pyrénées is the best-known instance.

The snow-line varies in different parts of the Pyrenees from about 2,700 to 2,800 metres above sea level.

Flora and fauna


See also: Forests of the Iberian Peninsula - Eurosiberian region

Flora
A still more marked effect of the preponderance of rainfall in the western half of the chain is seen in the vegetation. The lower mountains in the extreme west are wooded, but the extent of forest declines eastwards, and the eastern Pyrenees are peculiarly wild and barren, all the more since it is in this part of the chain that granitic masses prevail. There is a change, moreover, in the composition of the flora in passing from west to east. In the west the flora resembles that of central Europe, while in the east it is distinctly Mediterranean in character, though the difference of latitude is only about 1°, on both sides of the chain from the centre whence the Corbières stretch north-eastwards towards the central plateau of France. The Pyrenees are relatively as rich in endemic
Endemic (ecology)
Endemism is the ecological state of being unique to a defined geographic location, such as an island, nation or other defined zone, or habitat type; organisms that are indigenous to a place are not endemic to it if they are also found elsewhere. For example, all species of lemur are endemic to the...

 species as the Alps, and among the most remarkable instances of that endemism is the occurrence of the monotypic genus Xatardia (family Apiaceae
Apiaceae
The Apiaceae , commonly known as carrot or parsley family, is a group of mostly aromatic plants with hollow stems. The family is large, with more than 3,700 species spread across 434 genera, it is the sixteenth largest family of flowering plants...

), only on a high alpine pass between the Val d'Eynes and Catalonia
Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

. Others include Arenaria montana
Arenaria montana
Arenaria montana is native to mountainous regions of southwestern Europe, from the Pyrenees of France and Spain to Portugal.-Description:...

,
Bulbocodium vernum
, and Ranunculus glacialis
Ranunculus glacialis
Ranunculus glacialis, the glacier crowfoot or glacier buttercup, is a plant of the family Ranunculaceae.-Distribution:Ranunculus glacialis is an arctic-alpine species, found in the high mountains of southern Europe as well as on the Scandinavian peninsula, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Jan Mayen,...

. The genus most abundantly represented in the range is that of the saxifrage
Saxifrage
Saxifraga is the largest genus in the family Saxifragaceae, containing about 440 species of Holarctic perennial plants, known as saxifrages. The Latin word saxifraga means literally "stone-breaker", from Latin + ...

s, several species of which are endemic here.

Fauna
In their fauna
Fauna
Fauna or faunæ is all of the animal life of any particular region or time. The corresponding term for plants is flora.Zoologists and paleontologists use fauna to refer to a typical collection of animals found in a specific time or place, e.g. the "Sonoran Desert fauna" or the "Burgess shale fauna"...

 the Pyrenees present some striking instances of endemism. The Pyrenean Desman
Pyrenean Desman
The Pyrenean Desman is a small semi-aquatic mammal that lives in the Pyrenees to the Iberian peninsula. The Pyrenean Desman is in the monotypic genus Galemys. The Pyrenean Desman lives in mountain streams....

 is found only in some of the streams of the northern slopes of these mountains, but the only other member of this genus are confined to the rivers of the Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

 in southern Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

. The Pyrenean euprocte (Euproctus pyrenaicus), an endemic relative of the salamander
Salamander
Salamander is a common name of approximately 500 species of amphibians. They are typically characterized by a superficially lizard-like appearance, with their slender bodies, short noses, and long tails. All known fossils and extinct species fall under the order Caudata, while sometimes the extant...

, also lives in streams and lakes located at high altitudes. Among the other peculiarities of the Pyrenean fauna are blind insects in the cave
Cave
A cave or cavern is a natural underground space large enough for a human to enter. The term applies to natural cavities some part of which is in total darkness. The word cave also includes smaller spaces like rock shelters, sea caves, and grottos.Speleology is the science of exploration and study...

rns of Ariège, the principal genera of which are Anophthalmus
Anophthalmus
Anophthalmus is a genus of ground beetle endemic to Europe.-External links:*...

and Adelops.

The Pyrenean Ibex
Pyrenean Ibex
The Pyrenean Ibex is an ibex, one of the two extinct subspecies of Spanish Ibex. The subspecies once ranged across the Pyrenees in France and Spain and the surrounding area, including the Basque Country, Navarre, north Aragon and north Catalonia. A few hundred years ago they were numerous, but by...

 mysteriously became extinct in January 2000; the native Pyrenean brown bear
Brown Bear
The brown bear is a large bear distributed across much of northern Eurasia and North America. It can weigh from and its largest subspecies, the Kodiak Bear, rivals the polar bear as the largest member of the bear family and as the largest land-based predator.There are several recognized...

 was hunted to near-extinction in the 1990s, but it was re-introduced in 1996 when three bears were brought from Slovenia
Slovenia
Slovenia , officially the Republic of Slovenia , is a country in Central and Southeastern Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north, and also has a small portion of...

. The bear population has bred successfully, and there are now believed to be about 15 brown bears in the central region around Fos
Fos, Haute-Garonne
Fos is a commune in the Haute-Garonne department in southwestern France.-Population:-References:*...

, but only four native ones are still living in the Aspe Valley.

Protected areas


Principal nature reserves and national parks:
  • Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park
    Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park
    Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park is one of the fourteen Spanish National Parks, the second in the Pyrenees and the only one in Catalonia....

     (Spain)
  • Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park
    Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park
    Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park is an IUCN Category II National Park situated in the Pyrenees of Huesca province, Aragon, Spain. There has been a National Park in the Ordesa Valley since 1918. Its protected area was enlarged in 1982 to cover the whole region amounting to 156.08 km².It has...

     (Spain)
  • Pyrénées National Park
    Pyrenees National Park
    The Pyrénées National Park is a national park located within the French départements of Hautes-Pyrénées and Pyrénées-Atlantiques.Located along the border of France and Spain is a scenic and mountainous landscape offering a variety of outdoor activities including hiking, skiing, mountain climbing...

     (France)

Demographics and culture



The Pyrenean region possesses a varied ethnology, folklore
Folklore
Folklore consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales and customs that are the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group. It is also the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared. The study of folklore is sometimes called...

 and history: see Andorra
Andorra
Andorra , officially the Principality of Andorra , also called the Principality of the Valleys of Andorra, , is a small landlocked country in southwestern Europe, located in the eastern Pyrenees mountains and bordered by Spain and France. It is the sixth smallest nation in Europe having an area of...

; Aragon
Aragon
Aragon is a modern autonomous community in Spain, coextensive with the medieval Kingdom of Aragon. Located in northeastern Spain, the Aragonese autonomous community comprises three provinces : Huesca, Zaragoza, and Teruel. Its capital is Zaragoza...

; Ariege
Ariège
Ariège is a department in southwestern France named after the Ariège River.- History :Ariège is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on 4 March 1790. It was created from the counties of Foix and Couserans....

; Basque Country
Basque Country (historical territory)
The Basque Country is the name given to the home of the Basque people in the western Pyrenees that spans the border between France and Spain on the Atlantic coast....

; Béarn
Béarn
Béarn is one of the traditional provinces of France, located in the Pyrenees mountains and in the plain at their feet, in southwest France. Along with the three Basque provinces of Soule, Lower Navarre, and Labourd, the principality of Bidache, as well as small parts of Gascony, it forms in the...

; Catalonia
Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

; Navarre
Navarre
Navarre , officially the Chartered Community of Navarre is an autonomous community in northern Spain, bordering the Basque Country, La Rioja, and Aragon in Spain and Aquitaine in France...

; Roussillon
Roussillon
Roussillon is one of the historical counties of the former Principality of Catalonia, corresponding roughly to the present-day southern French département of Pyrénées-Orientales...

. For their history, see also Almogavars
Almogavars
The almogavars were a class of soldiers from the Crown of Aragon, well-known during the Christian Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula. They were much employed as mercenaries in Italy, Latin Greece and the Levant during the 13th and 14th centuries.-History:The Almogavars came mainly from the...

, Marca Hispanica
Marca Hispanica
The Marca Hispanica , also known as Spanish March or March of Barcelona was a buffer zone beyond the province of Septimania, created by Charlemagne in 795 as a defensive barrier between the Umayyad Moors of Al-Andalus and the Frankish Kingdom....

.

The principal languages spoken in the area are Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

, French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

, Catalan
Catalan language
Catalan is a Romance language, the national and only official language of Andorra and a co-official language in the Spanish autonomous communities of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Valencian Community, where it is known as Valencian , as well as in the city of Alghero, on the Italian island...

 (in Catalonia
Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

 and Andorra
Andorra
Andorra , officially the Principality of Andorra , also called the Principality of the Valleys of Andorra, , is a small landlocked country in southwestern Europe, located in the eastern Pyrenees mountains and bordered by Spain and France. It is the sixth smallest nation in Europe having an area of...

), Basque
Basque language
Basque is the ancestral language of the Basque people, who inhabit the Basque Country, a region spanning an area in northeastern Spain and southwestern France. It is spoken by 25.7% of Basques in all territories...

, and Aragonese
Aragonese language
Aragonese is a Romance language now spoken in a number of local varieties by between 10,000 and 30,000 people over the valleys of the Aragón River, Sobrarbe and Ribagorza in Aragon, Spain...


. Also spoken, to a lesser degree, are the Occitan language (the Gascon
Gascon language
Gascon is usually considered as a dialect of Occitan, even though some specialists regularly consider it a separate language. Gascon is mostly spoken in Gascony and Béarn in southwestern France and in the Aran Valley of Spain...

 and Languedocien
Languedocien
Languedocien or Lengadocian is an Occitan dialect spoken by some people in the part of southern France known as Languedoc, Rouergue, Quercy, Agenais and Southern Périgord....

 dialects in France and the Aranese
Aranese language
Aranese is a standardized form of the Pyrenean Gascon variety of the Occitan language spoken in the Val d'Aran, in north western Catalonia on the border between Spain and France, where it is one of the three official languages besides Catalan and Spanish...

 dialect in the Aran Valley).

Sports and leisure


Both sides of the Pyrenees are popular spots for winter sports such as alpine skiing
Alpine skiing
Alpine skiing is the sport of sliding down snow-covered hills on skis with fixed-heel bindings. Alpine skiing can be contrasted with skiing using free-heel bindings: Ski mountaineering and nordic skiing – such as cross-country; ski jumping; and Telemark. In competitive alpine skiing races four...

 and mountaineering
Mountaineering
Mountaineering or mountain climbing is the sport, hobby or profession of hiking, skiing, and climbing mountains. While mountaineering began as attempts to reach the highest point of unclimbed mountains it has branched into specialisations that address different aspects of the mountain and consists...

. The Pyrenees are also a good place for European and North African athletes to do high-altitude training in the summertime, such as by bicycling and cross-country running.

In the summer and the autumn, the Pyrenees are usually featured in two of cycling's epic grand tours, the Tour de France
Tour de France
The Tour de France is an annual bicycle race held in France and nearby countries. First staged in 1903, the race covers more than and lasts three weeks. As the best known and most prestigious of cycling's three "Grand Tours", the Tour de France attracts riders and teams from around the world. The...

 held annually in July and the Vuelta a España
Vuelta a España
The Vuelta a España is a three-week road bicycle racing stage race that is one of the three "Grand Tours" of Europe and part of the UCI World Ranking calendar. The race lasts three weeks and attracts cyclists from around the world. The race is broken into day-long segments, called stages...

 held in September. The stages held in the Pyrenees are often crucial legs of both tours, drawing hundreds of thousands of spectators to the region, too.

Three main long-distance footpaths run the length of the mountain range; the GR 10 across the northern slopes, the GR 11 across the southern slopes, and the HRP
Haute Randonnée Pyrénéenne
The Haute Randonnée Pyrénéenne is a long-distance footpath in the Pyrenees.Like the GR 10 and the GR 11, the path travels the length of the Pyrenees from coast to coast...

 which traverses peaks and ridges along a high altitude route. In addition, there are numerous marked and unmarked trails throughout the region.

Pirena is a dog-mushing
Mushing
Mushing is a general term for a sport or transport method powered by dogs, and includes carting, pulka, scootering, sled dog racing, skijoring, freighting, and weight pulling. More specifically, it implies the use of one or more dogs to pull a sled on snow or a rig on dry land...

 competition held in the Pyrenees.

Ski resorts


Ski resorts in the Pyrenees include:


  • Alp 2500
    Alp 2500
    Alp 2500 is a ski resort in La Cerdanya, Catalonia, in the Pyrenees mountains of northeastern Spain. It includes the two towns of La Molina and Masella, whose two respective ski areas united to form this resort. The nearest main town is Alp...

     (Spain)
  • Arette
    Arette
    Arette is a commune in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department in south-western France.-Geography:Arette is located in the arrondissement of Oloron-Sainte-Marie. It is one of the six communes of the canton of Aramits; the other five are Ance, Aramits , Féas, Issor et Lanne-en-Barétous...

     (France)
  • Astún
    Astún
    Astún is a ski resort situated near the town of Canfranc in the High Aragon of the western Pyrenees . The source of the Aragon River is in the resort.-The resort:...

     (Spain)
  • Artouste (France)
  • Ax-les-Thermes
    Ax-les-Thermes
    Ax-les-Thermes is a commune in the Ariège department in the Midi-Pyrénées region in southwestern France.It lies at the confluence of the Ariège River with three tributaries, 26 miles SSE of Foix by rail...

     (France)
  • Baqueira-Beret
    Baqueira-Beret
    Baqueira-Beret is a ski resort located in the heart of the Pyrenees, in the Aran Valley, Lleida, Catalonia. The ski area extends from 1,500 to the 2,510 meters.- The resort :...

     (Spain)
  • Boí Taüll Resort
    Boí Taüll Resort
    Boí Taüll Resort is a ski resort located in the heart of the Pyrenees, in the Vall de Boí, Catalonia , opened in 1988. The ski area extends from 2,020 to the 2,751 meters....

     (Spain)
  • Bareges-La Mongie (Tourmalet)
    La Mongie
    The village of La Mongie is at 1800 metres altitude. There are also residences at 1850 and the Tourmalet building at 1900. It lies below the Col du Tourmalet . It is in the Midi-Pyrénées region of France and around 20 km from the Spanish border...

     (France)
  • Luz Ardiden
    Luz Ardiden
    Luz Ardiden is a ski resort in the Pyrenees. It is situated in the Hautes-Pyrénées department, in the Midi-Pyrénées. The ski resort, which lies at a height of 1720 meters, opened on January 16, 1975...

     (France)
  • Bourg-d'Oueil
    Bourg-d'Oueil
    Bourg-d'Oueil is a commune in the Haute-Garonne department in southwestern France.-Population:-References:*...

     (France)
  • Cauterets
    Cauterets
    Cauterets is a spa town, a ski resort and a commune in the Hautes-Pyrénées department in south-western France.-Geography:Cauterets is located southwest of Lourdes in the beautiful valley of the Gave de Cauterets and borders the Pyrenees National Park....

     (France)
  • Candanchú
    Candanchú
    Candanchú is a ski resort situated near the town of Canfranc in the High Aragon of the western Pyrenees . The name of the area is a corruption of "Camp d'Anjou" as this was originally the site of a military camp of the French Angevin dynasty...

     (Spain)
  • Cerler
    Cerler
    Cerler, officially called Aramón Cerler, is a ski resort situated in the high Benasque Valley, near the town of Benasque in the central Pyrenees . Near Cerler are the highest peaks of the Pyrenees, Aneto, Monte Perdido, and Posets.-The resort:It has 72 km of marked pistes, and it's one of the...

     (Spain)


  • Espot Esquí
    Espot Esquí
    Espot Esquí is a ski resort located in Espot, in the Catalan Pyrenees, opened in 1967. The ski area extends from 1,500 to 2,500 meters.It's one of the ways of entry in the Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park, and is near an area with many lakes of glacial origin, the trails facing...

     (Spain)
  • Font-Romeu (France)
  • Formigal
    Formigal
    Formigal, officially called Aramón Formigal, is a ski resort situated near the town of Sallent de Gallego in the upper Tena Valley of the western Pyrenees .-The resort:...

     (Spain)
  • Gavarnie Gèdre (France)
  • Gourette
    Gourette
    Gourette is a winter sports resort in the French Pyrenees. It is located in the commune of Eaux-Bonnes in the département of Pyrénées-Atlantiques, on the D918 road which passes through the Col d'Aubisque mountain pass...

     (France)
  • Guzet-neige (France)
  • Hautacam
    Hautacam
    Hautacam is a ski resort in the Pyrenees. It is situated in the Hautes-Pyrénées department, in the Midi-Pyrénées region. The winter sports station lies at a height of 1560 meters...

     (France)
  • La Molina
    La Molina (ski resort)
    La Molina is a ski resort in the Pyrenees mountains of northeastern Spain, in the municipality of Alp in the comarca of Cerdanya, Catalonia...

     (Spain)
  • La Pierre Saint Martin
  • Le Mourtis (France)
  • Les Angles
    Les Angles, Pyrénées-Orientales
    Les Angles is a commune in the Pyrénées-Orientales department in southern France.-References:**...

     (France)
  • Luchon-Superbagnères
  • Luz-Ardiden (France)

  • Nistos cap nestes (France)
  • Panticosa-Los Lagos
    Panticosa-Los Lagos
    Panticosa-Los Lagos, officially called Aramón Panticosa, is a ski resort situated near the town of Panticosa in the upper Tena Valley of the western Pyrenees .-The resort:...

     (Spain)
  • Pas de la Casa
    Pas de la Casa
    El Pas de la Casa is a ski resort , town, and mountain pass in the Encamp parish of Andorra, lying on the border with France. Its name literally translates as "the pass of the house" and refers to the fact that until the early twentieth century there was only a single shepherd's hut overlooking...

     (Andorra)
  • Peyragudes (France)
  • Piau-Engaly (France)
  • Port Ainé
    Port Ainé
    Port Ainé is a ski resort located in Rialp, in the Catalan Pyrenees, inaugurated in 1986. The ski area extends from 1,650 to 2,440 meters.-External links:*...

     (Spain)
  • Port del Comte (Spain)
  • Somport
    Somport
    Somport is a mountain pass in the central Pyrenees on the border of France and Spain. The pass, whose name is derived from the Latin Summus portus, was one of the most popular routes for crossing the mountains for soldiers, merchants, and St...

     (France-Spain)
  • Soldeu / El Tarter
    Soldeu
    -Overview:It comes alive in the winter months as a skiing town. The skiing is on the Grand Valira ski resort, the largest in the Pyrenees with 193 km of runs. According to The Sunday Times, Soldeu is one of the three best budget skiing resorts in Europe. It can be accessed from Encamp,...

     (Andorra)
  • Superbagnères
    Superbagnères
    Superbagnères is a ski resort above the town of Bagnères-de-Luchon in the French department of Haute-Garonne in the Midi-Pyrénées region.-Overview:...

     (France)
  • Tavascan (Spain)
  • Vall de Núria
    Vall de Núria
    La Vall de Núria is a south-opening valley coming down from the crest of the Pyrenees within the municipality of Queralbs, province of Girona, community of Catalonia, Spain. The floor of the valley lies about 2000 metres above sea level, and is accessible from the south via a rack railway or by...

     (Spain)
  • Vallnord
    Vallnord
    Vallnord is a ski/snowboard resort in the Pyrenees mountains in the country of Andorra, close to the border with Spain at Tor, Pallars.It encompasses the linked sectors of Pal and Arinsal and the Ordino-Arcalis sector some kilometres away.All the separate sectors within Vallnord contain...

     (Andorra)
  • Vallter 2000
    Vallter 2000
    Vallter 2000 is a ski resort located in the Vallter valley, in Setcases, Catalonia . The resort has an alpine ski area that extends from 1,910 to 2,535 meters.As its name suggests is placed in the Ter River, specifically its axial zone...

     (Spain)


Highest summits



  • Aneto
    Aneto
    Aneto is the highest mountain in the Pyrenees and in Aragon, and Spain's third highest mountain, reaching a height of . It lies in the Spanish province of Huesca, the northernmost of all three Aragonese provinces. It forms the southernmost part of the Maladeta massif...

     (3,404 m)
  • Posets
    Posets peak
    Pico Posets or Punta de Llardana is the second highest peak of the Pyrenees, after Aneto. It is located in the Spanish province of Huesca and is 3,371 meters high.-Ascent route:...

     (3,375 m)
  • Monte Perdido
    Monte Perdido
    Monte Perdido is the third highest mountain in the Pyrenees. The summit of Monte Perdido , located in Spain, lies hidden from France by the seemingly impenetrable peaks of the Cirques of Gavarnie and Estaubé. It is in the north of Huesca province...

     (3,355 m)
  • Pic Maudit (3,350 m)
  • Cilindro de Marboré
    Cilindro de Marboré
    Cilindro de Marboré is a mountain in the Monte Perdido massif in the Pyrenees....

     (3,328 m)
  • Pic de la Maladeta
    Maladeta
    Maladeta is a mountain in the Pyrenees, close to the highest peak in the range, Aneto, Aragon, Spain. Its name comes from the Spanish montes malditos which means "Damned Mountains". According to some authorities the local name for the massif was Mala hita...

     (3,308 m)
  • Vignemale
    Vignemale
    The Vignemale , at 3298 metres, is the highest of the French Pyrenean summits, in the border with Spain ....

     (Pique Longue) (3,298 m)
  • Clot de la Hount (3,289 m)
  • Soum de Ramond
    Soum de Ramond
    Soum de Ramond is a mountain in the Monte Perdido massif in the Pyrenees....

     (3,263 m)
  • Pic du Marboré (3,248 m)
  • Pic de Cerbillona (3,247 m)
  • Pic de Perdiguère (3,222 m)
  • Pic de Montferrat (3,220 m)
  • Pic Long
    Pic Long
    Pic Long is the highest mountain in the Néouvielle massif in the Pyrenees.It is located in the commune of Saint-Lary-Soulan within the department of the Hautes-Pyrénées.-External links:*...

     (3,192 m)
  • Pic Schrader (Grand Batchimale) (3,177 m)
  • Pic de Campbieil (3,173 m)
  • Pic de la cascade orientale (3,161 m)

  • Pic Badet (3,160 m)
  • Pic du Balaïtous
    Pic du Balaïtous
    The Balaitus or Pic du Balaïtous is a granitic massif of the Pyrenees, located right on the border between Spain and France.-Geography:...

     (3,144 m)
  • Pic du Taillon (3,144 m)
  • Pica d'Estats
    Pica d'Estats
    Pica d'Estats is a 3,143-m-high mountain in the Montcalm Massif, Pyrenees. on the Spanish–French border, and is the highest mountain in Catalonia....

     (3,143 m)
  • Punta del Sabre (3,136 m)
  • Pic de la Munia (3,134 m)
  • Pointe de Literole (3,132 m)
  • Pic des Gourgs Blancs (3,129 m)
  • Pic de Royo (3,121 m)
  • Pic des Crabioules (3,116 m)
  • Pic de Maupas (3,109 m)
  • Pic Lézat (3,107 m)
  • Pic de la cascade occidental  (3,095 m)
  • Pic de Néouvielle
    Pic de Néouvielle
    Pic de Néouvielle is a mountain in the Néouvielle massif in the Pyrenees.It is located in the commune of Saint-Lary-Soulan within the department of the Hautes-Pyrénées, and lies on the border between the Pyrenees National Park and the Néouvielle National Park...

     (3,091 m)
  • Pic de Troumouse (3,085 m)
  • Pics d'Enfer  (3,082 m)
  • Pic de Montcalm (3,077 m)

  • Grand pic d' Astazou (3,077 m)
  • Épaule du Marboré (3,073 m)
  • Pic du port de Sullo (3,072 m)
  • Pic des Spijeoles (3,066 m)
  • Pic de Quayrat (3,060 m)
  • Pico Argualas (3,046 m)
  • Pic des Trois Conseillers (3,039 m)
  • Turon de Néouvielle (3,035 m)
  • Pic de Batoua (3,034 m)
  • Petit Vignemale (3,032 m)
  • Pic de Besiberri Sud (3,017 m)
  • Pic Ramougn
    Pic Ramougn
    Pic Ramougn is a steep, rocky mountain in the Néouvielle massif in the Pyrenees.It is located in the commune of Saint-Lary-Soulan within the department of the Hautes-Pyrénées, and is named after the French politician, geologist and botanist Louis Ramond de Carbonnières. Ramougn is the...

     (3,011 m)
  • Tour du Marboré (3,009 m)
  • Casque du Marboré (3,006 m)
  • Grande Fache (3,005 m)


Notable summits below 3,000 metres


  • Pic de Palas (2,974 m)
  • Pic de Comapedrosa
    Coma Pedrosa
    Coma Pedrosa is the highest mountain in the principality of Andorra. It is popular with mountain climbers, its ascent being technically straightforward, although strenuous. Several mountain lakes and tarns are found on the slopes, notably Estanys de Baiau, which lies on the western slopes, across...

     (2,942 m) - highest point of Andorra
    Andorra
    Andorra , officially the Principality of Andorra , also called the Principality of the Valleys of Andorra, , is a small landlocked country in southwestern Europe, located in the eastern Pyrenees mountains and bordered by Spain and France. It is the sixth smallest nation in Europe having an area of...

  • Pic Carlit (2,921 m)
  • Puigmal
    Puigmal
    The Peak of Puigmal , also called Puigmal d'Err, is a mountain in the Pyrenees, in the Spanish-French border, within the limits of the municipality of Queralbs and the commune of Err. Its summit is above sea level, one of the highest peaks in the eastern Pyrenees.-References:...

     (2,913 m)
  • Cotiella (2,912 m)
  • Pic de Sanfonts
    Pic de Sanfonts
    Pic de Sanfonts is a mountain in the Pyrenees on the border of Spain and northwest Andorra. The nearest town is Arinsal, La Massana. It is a subpeak of, and 1.2 km southwest of, Coma Pedrosa , the highest mountain in Andorra....

     (2,894 m)
  • Pic d'Envalira (2,827 m)
  • Collarada
    Collarada
    Collarada peak is a mountain in the western Pyrenees of Huesca, situated on the northeastern Aragon near the towns of Villanúa and Canfranc...

     (2,886 m)
  • Pic du Midi d'Ossau
    Pic du Midi d'Ossau
    The Pic du Midi d'Ossau is a mountain rising above the Ossau Valley in the French Pyrenees. Despite possessing neither a glacier nor, in the context of the range, a particularly high summit, its distinctive shape makes it a symbol of the French side of the Pyrenees...

     (2,885 m)
  • Pic du Midi de Bigorre
    Pic du Midi de Bigorre
    The Pic du Midi de Bigorre or simply Pic du Midi is a mountain in the French Pyrenees famous for its astronomical observatory, the Observatoire du Pic du Midi de Bigorre , part of the Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées .-Pic du Midi Observatory:Construction of the observatory began in 1878 under the...

     (2,876 m)

  • Mont Valier
    Mont Valier
    Mont Valier is a mountain in Ariège in the Pyrenees.Its name comes from Valerius , the mythical first bishop of Couserans, who made an ascent of the peak. Bernard de Marmiesse, another bishop of Couserans, had a marble cross erected on the peak in 1670.- Geography :Mont Valier belongs to the...

     (2,838 m)
  • Petit Pic du Midi d'Ossau (2,812 m)
  • Pic du Canigou (2,786 m)
  • Peña Telera (2,764 m)
  • Casamanya (2,740 m)
  • Visaurin
    Visaurin
    Visaurin or Bisaurin is a prominent mountain on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees, located in the North West of Jaca province, in Aragon. At 2668 m , it is the highest peak between the Atlantic Ocean and the Pic du Midi d'Ossau , and boasts superb views towards many other renowned peaks, such...

     (2,668 m)
  • Pic del Port Vell
    Pic del Port Vell
    Pic del Port Vell is a mountain in the Pyrenees on the border of Spain and northwest Andorra. The nearest town is Arinsal, La Massana....

     (2,655 m)
  • Pic dels Aspres
    Pic dels Aspres
    Pic dels Aspres is a mountain in the northwest of the principality of Andorra, close to the border with Spain. The nearest town is Arinsal, La Massana...

     (2,562 m)
  • Pedraforca
    Pedraforca
    The Pedraforca is a mountain of the Pyrenees, located in the Berguedà comarca.It is one of the most famous and emblematic mountains in the autonomous community of Catalonia, Spain.-Description:...

     (2,506 m)
  • Pic d'Anie
    Pic d'Anie
    Pic d'Anie is a peak of the Pyrenees of France, it is high and it is located very close to the border with Spain.Surrounding the almost perfectly pyramidal Pic d'Anie is the spectacular karst landscape of Larra, in the Larra-Belagua massif .The three main access ways to the peak are: Belagua in...

     (2,504 m)
  • Pic de Pedraforca (2,498 m)
  • Pic de Madrès
    Pic de Madrès
    Pic de Madrès is a peak in the French Pyrenees, in the Aude department, Languedoc-Roussillon. It has an elevation of 2,469 m....

     (2,469 m)

  • Hiru Erregeen Mahaia
    Hiru Erregeen Mahaia
    Hiru Erregeen Mahaia is a mountain of the Pyrenees...

     (2,428 m)
  • Grande Aiguille d'Ansabère (2,376 m)
  • Pic du Soularac (2,368 m)
  • Cap de la cometa delforn (2,691 m)
  • Pic du Saint Barthélémy (2,348 m)
  • Pic des Trois Seigneurs (2,199 m)
  • Pic d'Orhy
    Pic d'Orhy
    Mount Orhy , also Ori or Orhi in Spanish and Basque, is a mountain at the border of Navarre and Soule, in the Pyrenees and is high. In the Pyrenees it is the westernmost peak above ....

     (2,017 m)
  • Pic de Cagire (1,912 m)
  • Pic du Gar
    Pic du Gar
    Pic du Gar is a mountain of the Pyrenees, It is located near Saint-Béat, Haute-Garonne département, in the Comminges natural region. This limestone mountain has an altitude of above sea level....

     (1,785 m)
  • Urkulu
    Urkulu
    Urkulu is an iconic mountain in the Basque Country straddling France and Spain. The summit is located in the western Pyrenees, within walking distance from Roncevaux and close to the branch of the Way of St James crossing the mountain range at the historic pass....

     (1,419 m)
  • Larrun (905 m)


See also


  • Pre-Pyrenees
    Pre-Pyrenees
    The Pre-Pyrenees are the foothills of the Pyrenees.-Description:As a mountainous system the Pre-Pyrenees are part of the Pyrenees. They run parallel to the main mountain range in a west to east direction...

  • Sub-Pyrenees
    Sub-Pyrenees
    The Sub-Pyrenees are a chain of mountains in Spain. They form a section of the southern foothills of the Pyrenees. They are located at the eastern end of the Pre-Pyrenees, west of the Catalan Transversal Range, between the lower Ripollès and an area of the high Garrotxa.The Sub-Pyrenees consist of...


Mountain passes of the Pyrenees
  • List of mountains in Aragon
  • Montcalm Massif
    Montcalm Massif
    The Montcalm Massif is a mountain massif located in the Pyrenees, at the border between France and Spain, it has an altitude of 3077 metres above sea level....


External links



Official website of France's Pyrenees National Park
Pyrenees National Park
The Pyrénées National Park is a national park located within the French départements of Hautes-Pyrénées and Pyrénées-Atlantiques.Located along the border of France and Spain is a scenic and mountainous landscape offering a variety of outdoor activities including hiking, skiing, mountain climbing...