Pyrénées National Park Travel Guide

Find everything you need to know about Pyrénées National Park, from top attractions to hiking trails and local culture.

Introduction to Pyrénées National Park

Nestled in the heart of the Pyrénées mountain range, Pyrénées National Park is a stunning natural sanctuary that spans more than 125,000 hectares in southwestern France. The park borders Spain and covers a vast area of stunning high-altitude landscapes, including snow-capped peaks, glistening waterfalls, and verdant valleys. Visitors to the park can enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities, from hiking and biking to skiing and wildlife watching.

List of Places to Visit in Pyrénées National Park

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Musée Pyrénéen in Lourdes: A fascinating museum showcasing the art and cultural history of the Pyrénées region, with a particular focus on the local architecture, art, and traditions.

  • Château Fort de Lourdes: A picturesque medieval fortress located on a hilltop overlooking the town of Lourdes, with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

  • Maison du Parc National in Saint-Lary: A visitor center that offers information on the park’s flora and fauna, as well as exhibitions on the history and culture of the Pyrénées region.

Natural Attractions of Pyrénées National Park: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Cirque de Gavarnie: A breathtaking natural amphitheater with towering limestone cliffs and one of Europe’s tallest waterfalls, the Gavarnie Falls.

  • Lac d’Oô: A serene mountain lake surrounded by lush forests, with hiking trails that offer stunning views of the surrounding peaks.

  • Pic du Midi de Bigorre: One of the highest peaks in the Pyrénées, offering panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Visitors can take a cable car to the summit and explore the observatory.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Pyrénées National Park

Pyrénées National Park is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, with miles of hiking and biking trails that wind through forests, valleys, and mountain peaks. Some of the best trails in the park include:

  • GR10: A famous trail that traverses the Pyrénées mountain range from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, passing through the heart of Pyrénées National Park.

  • Le Chemin de la Mature: A historic path that used to be used to transport timber down the mountain, offering stunning views of the Aure valley and surrounding peaks.

  • VTT Trail: A mountain biking trail that winds through the forests and valleys of Pyrénées National Park, offering a thrilling challenge for experienced riders.

Best Things to Do in Pyrénées National Park: Activities and Tours

In addition to hiking and biking, Pyrénées National Park offers a wide range of activities and tours for visitors of all ages and interests. Some of the best things to do in the park include:

  • Wildlife watching: The park is home to a variety of rare and endangered species, including brown bears, chamois, and ibex. Guided tours offer the opportunity to see these animals up close in their natural habitat.

  • Skiing and snowboarding: During the winter months, Pyrénées National Park transforms into a winter wonderland, with skiing and snowboarding opportunities available at several resorts and slopes.

  • Canyoning and rafting: The park’s rivers and streams offer thrilling opportunities for canyoning and rafting adventures, with experienced guides available to lead tours and provide equipment.

Week-Long Itinerary for Pyrénées National Park

Day 1-2: Explore the town of Lourdes and take a tour of the Château Fort.

Day 3-4: Hike the GR10 trail through the heart of Pyrénées National Park.

Day 5-6: Take a guided wildlife tour and go rafting on one of the park’s rivers.

Day 7: Ski or snowboard at one of the park’s winter resorts.

Food and Drink Scene of Pyrénées National Park

Must-Try Dishes

  • Garbure: A hearty vegetable soup made with ham, bacon, and cabbage, served with bread and cheese.

  • Cassoulet: A classic French dish made with meat (usually pork or duck), sausage, and white beans.

  • Gateau Basque: A rich, buttery cake filled with creamy custard or jam.

Local Beverages

  • Jurançon: A sweet, golden wine made from grapes grown in the Pyrénées region.

  • Armagnac: A strong, brandy-like liquor made from distilled wine.

Where to Stay in Pyrénées National Park: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Pyrénées National Park offers a range of accommodation options for visitors, from luxury hotels to more budget-friendly hostels and guesthouses. Some of the best options include:

  • Hôtel Alti: A modern, upscale hotel located in the heart of the park, with stunning views of the surrounding peaks.

  • Auberge du Maillet: A cozy guesthouse located in the small village of La, offering simple, comfortable rooms and a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

  • Youth Hostel Lourdes: A budget-friendly hostel located in the town of Lourdes, with shared dormitories and private rooms available.

What to Buy in Pyrénées National Park: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

  • Cheese: Delicious, locally produced cheeses can be found throughout Pyrénées National Park, including Ossau-Iraty, a rich, nutty cheese made from sheep’s milk.

  • Handcrafted Souvenirs: Local artisans produce a wide range of handmade goods, from pottery and jewelry to woodcarvings and textiles.

Local Culture and Customs of Pyrénées National Park

The Pyrénées region has a rich history and culture that is heavily influenced by its location on the border between France and Spain. Some of the most important cultural traditions and customs of the region include:

  • The “Rhune” Dance: A traditional dance performed by men and women, typically accompanied by accordion music.

  • Basque Pelota: A popular sport in the Pyrénées region, similar to handball, that involves hitting a ball against a wall using a wooden racket.

Best Time to Visit Pyrénées National Park

The best time to visit Pyrénées National Park depends on your interests and preferred activities. The summers are best for hiking, biking, and other outdoor adventures, while the winter months offer excellent skiing and snowboarding opportunities.

Do’s and Don’ts of Pyrénées National Park


  • Respect the natural environment and wildlife.

  • Follow park regulations and guidelines.

  • Dress appropriately for outdoor activities.


  • Litter or damage park property.

  • Disturb wildlife or their habitats.

  • Ignore safety warnings and guidelines.

Safety and Health

Safety in Pyrénées National Park

Pyrénées National Park is a safe and welcoming destination for visitors, but it’s always important to take proper precautions when exploring the great outdoors. Some tips for staying safe in the park include:

  • Plan your route in advance and let someone know where you’ll be going.

  • Check weather and trail conditions before heading out.

  • Bring plenty of water and snacks, and make sure to dress appropriately for the weather.

Health in Pyrénées National Park

Pyrénées National Park is located at high altitude, which can pose certain health risks for visitors. It’s important to stay hydrated and take breaks when hiking or participating in other outdoor activities, especially if you’re not used to the altitude. If you experience any symptoms of altitude sickness, such as headache or nausea, seek medical attention immediately.

Getting to Pyrénées National Park: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Pyrénées National Park

The closest airports to Pyrénées National Park are Tarbes-Lourdes-Pyrénées Airport and Pau Pyrénées Airport, both of which offer flights from major cities throughout France and Europe.

Bus Stations Near Pyrénées National Park

Several bus companies operate services to Pyrénées National Park from surrounding towns and cities, including Lourdes and Tarbes.

Other Options

Train services are also available to the towns of Lourdes and Tarbes, with connections to other major cities throughout France.

How to Get Around in Pyrénées National Park

The best way to get around Pyrénées National Park is by car or bike, as public transportation options are limited. However, visitors can also explore the park on foot, with miles of hiking trails available for all skill levels.

Where to Go Next from Pyrénées National Park: Nearby Destinations and Excursions


Located on the Atlantic coast of France, Biarritz is a picturesque seaside town known for its stunning beaches and world-class surfing.


The vibrant city of Toulouse is the fourth-largest in France and offers a rich history and culture, as well as a thriving food and nightlife scene.


Pyrénées National Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, offering a wide range of activities and experiences for visitors of all ages and interests. From stunning natural landscapes to rich cultural traditions and delicious local cuisine, the park has something for everyone. So pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready to explore one of the most beautiful and fascinating regions in all of France.