It is very hard to describe what the Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park means. The most comfortable choice to enter Ordesa is through Torla, a beautiful town located next to Puerto de Cotefablo. In order to preserve the nature and incredible landscape, you can’t go by car to the base of Ordesa, which I think is a great idea. There are buses that take you there from Torla.
Once you are at the entrance of the park, the best thing is to take one of the paths; the most famous one is the one that takes you to the waterfall called Cola de Caballo. It’s probably one of the best known waterfalls in the Pyrenees and it’s called like this because the water looks like a horse’s tail as it falls. It is an incredible feeling to walk along the great cirque of Ordesa, through its green valleys, until you get to the waterfall. A bit higher you can access the Góriz shelter and from there see mountains as emblematic as the Monte Perdido and Cilindro de Marboré.
I recommend that you go to Ordesa at least once in your lifetime. It might be my favorite corner.
I went back at the end of March, when there is still a lot of snow in the area, but when it is starting to melt, it is a great spectacle. I could see a different aspect of one of the most wonderful corners of the Pyrenees. In the areas with sun, the snow had disappeared, but there was still plenty of snow in the shadowy areas.
It was the first time that I saw so much snow in Ordesa, from the parking lot to the Cola de Caballo waterfall. To see the Circo de Soaso covered by a white sheet of snow is an unforgettable image.
It is a bit tougher to go up to the waterfall when there is snow, but I still recommend that you visit the park when it’s snowy, but you have to be well prepared, since it is unstable with this weather.
Loarre Castle is perhaps the best preserved of its age. Situated in a privileged enclave at the foot of the Pyrenees in the province of Huesca, from its towers you can make out the valley which goes as far as the city and much further than that. I was originally designed to control the route to the Aragonese valleys. However, if there is something for which this castle is known, it is that here, Ridley Scott filmed some of the scenes in his film “Kingdom of Heaven”. But this castle is much more, it’s a very beautiful environment. The ascent at the rear of the castle to the car park, and then a good distance walking using the castle as a reference, has to be one of these excursions which are worth it.
Alquézar owes its name to the castle built to defend the access to Barbastro which can be found halfan hour away by car at the most. Its houses and streets possess a special medieval charm.
You can get there by bus or car, there is free parking at the entrance of the village because you cannot drive inside the village.
The principal points of interest are the church of San Miguel, the collegiate churchand its cloister and the last tower which remains standing of the old castle of the collegiate church. But it also has various viewing points and small squares from which you can see different types of birds of the vulture and falcon family, as well as the canyons of the Sierra de Guara.
I was pleased to have been able to discover this beautiful place, it was worth the trouble detouring from the main route.
We decided to visit this old station and to go there on the old paths in order to enjoy a walk in nature and peace. It is a route situated 5 Km from the station and if you enjoy hill walking it’s worthwhile.
That station was opened in 1928, if I remember correctly. When you reach there you find a small passageway which leads you to this era, it’s like crossing a tunnel to the past. Its old roofs, its loose tiles and the grass which today grows in the tracks, transports us to those difficult times where people waited on the platforms to greet some relative or friend.
The old trains were left to their fate and these days you can see the remains of what one day was full of people. It’s a pity that more has not been done so that places such as this don’t finally disappear. It is very well preserved. Highly recommended.
In the Aragon Pyrenees you can find the valley of Benasque, a regular place to ski. In summer it’s a highly recommended destination for lovers of nature.
Its gastronomy is great, specially beef and lamb, to eat with the wines from the Denominación de Origen of Somontano wine. Beautiful villages in medieval style throughout the area, monasteries and hermitages.
It’s a peaceful area to take advantage of and spend relaxing holidays, and at the same time it has all the necessary services for being well attended to.
Torla is a town in Huesca situated at the beginning of the convergence of two valleys: the Bujaruelo Valley and the Ordesa Valley.
The village maintains a good harmony with its structures, and it is the village that I love the best in the Aragon Pyrenees. Whenever I can, I escape there to enjoy a few pleasant days. I recommend it.
See from a afar, from the little tarmac track which leads from the A-132, Riglos is one the best postcard views of the Aragon Pyrenees. The small village appears suddenly, limed and silent, with hardly any element which spoils this mountain village, at the foot of the gigantic rocks which make the village seem small.
Totally vertical mythical walls which appear to release fire when the sun hits them, Riglos is the historic capital of mountaineering in Spain. On its walls of cemented gravel, product of the erosion of the glacial moraines which came down the Pyrenees, entire generations of climbers have been trained and hardened, like the famous Rabadá and Navarro, who died on the north wall of the Eiger (Swiss Alps) in 1963, to whom there is a monument dedicated at the entrance of the village.
The rivalry between Catalan and Aragonese climbers was also epic to get to the top of the famous rocky needle of Puro, the last summit in the Mallos to be conquered. Finally, it was the Aragonese, who in 1957, equipped with hemp shoes and rudimentary ropes, achieved it.
In its vertical walls, one of the biggest colonies of griffon vultures in all of Spain, nests. You don’t have to be a climber to enjoy this superb scenery: a circular track goes round all of the base of the Mallos, and permits you to get to know what this unique territory is like, in which there are also a lot of the other formations typical of the county, gorges or canyons excavated from the limestone walls . The peacefulness of Riglos, a small hamlet of 66 inhabitants, contrasts with the continual coming and going of climbers of all types and ages, dressed in colourful clothes, ropes, pitons and clasps. Facing los Mallos, still in the province of Zaragoza, is Murillo de Gállego, the water sports capital of Alto Aragón, where you can practice rafting and other white water sports in the Gállego River.
Situated on a promontory at the convergence of the Ara and Cinca rivers, this beautiful old centre of Aínsa revolves around thefantastic and very old arcaded Plaza Mayor.
The village, which was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Sobrarbe, is sprinkled with middle ages buildings, among those which stand out is the exquisite Romanic tower of the church. The small paved streets of Aínsa are flanked by beautiful decorated manor houses, many of them converted into friendly hotels and decoration shops.
The village itself, is the centre of village life in Sobrarbe, it’s full of life. Under the arches of the square, the traditional inns and restaurants are usually full of clients who are trying the typical dishes of the region.
The best: a tasty lamb stew in the traditional style of Aragon.
I simply want to say how well the guided visit seemed to me. Detailed, well documented, entertaining and interesting, the half hour (or was it an hour?) flew by and I could have spent much more time engrossed in the explanations. It was obvious that the guide enjoyed it, and we left there delighted.
Since then I take much more notice of details when I visit a monument of this type, and in particular, from the Romanic era. Excellent, it was the best thing in five days in Aragon.
This is the second consecutive year that I have been to Formigal and, once more, I came back delighted. I can’t say one negative word about the place, the installations, the service, the countryside, the pistes, the restaurants, etc.
Today, watching a photographic report by a friend who had been in Aspen, I came to a clear conclusion, Formigal has a huge potential. This, if it is well managed, is only the beginning.
Nowadays, it is the perfect station if you are looking for a good family skiing holiday. If what you are looking for is a little of exciting après ski, you should opt for the Sierra Nevada.
I spent five days only skiing, and in this sense, it is a perfect station, full of pistes of all types, for learning, for improving, for enjoying the virgin snow…
Important recommendation. If you are going for a few days bear in mind that it’s worth the bother to take a sandwich made at home, eating on the pistes may be very comfortable but a little expensive (a plate of rice €8,50). This is ok for one day, the food is very good and they have opened a Wok restaurant.
Soon I’ll tell you about "Retrack", a very interesting activity which is organised on the pistes of Formigal. They make going on the chairlift a pleasure rather than just a pure chore.
Raining. It was like this that dawn broke on the day we had decided to go up the Ordesa Valley on a photographic walk which would last 5 hours. I read that going up the valley and coming down was a question of 5 hours. It took me more than twice the time. I took photos of everything that seemed interesting and worth seeing.
It is a really fascinating place. Along the way I crossed paths with a fellow photographer who was surprised to see a GPS attached to a camera, and it was clear that he wasn’t bothered.
After about 3 hours, I had arrived eventually in the tourist part of the valley, "Cola de Caballo". However, the best photos were still to come. After an hour and a half ascent, I met the same group as before who were now descending. “Is it far to the refuge?” “At least an hour”. They were now returning but I knew that I was so tired, that I would have to spend a night – a wasteful night - in the refuge in the high mountain. The photos, overwhelming. Just getting there I found a beautiful plain with some ascents, they were frozen and I occasionally put my foot in the ice, but it was really beautiful.
Reaching the refuge, the first thing that you have to do is take off your boots, and this is really a relief. I drank a lot of water, and I went to bed. That night I slept at 6 in the evening. I got up at 6 in the morning, ate a cereal bar, and began the descent. Going down is more tiring than going up, I promise you. When I got to the car I was totally destroyed, and the return to Madrid I did without shoes. When I stopped half way at a petrol station to eat, I felt so stiff that I couldn’t move my legs, only my ankles.
My 5 day trip finished in 3, and I was destroyed for a week. Was it worth it? Yes, I’m mad about photography!
A beautiful small city in the middle of the Aragon Pyrenees, welcoming. Situated in a valley surrounded by mountains, 25 Km from the ski pistes and 30 Km from the border with France.
Recommendable, above all for its tapas bars in every part of the city.
The Pineta Valley is an impressive valley that is near to the glaciers on the north face of Monte Perdido.
The routes are quite hard since all have big differences in heights.But, even if it takes you all day, I assure you that it is a landscape that is really worth it.
Historically and monumentally this could be the most important building in Huesca. This cathedral built in the gothic style,is on the highest part of the hill in old Huesca. It has an entrance full of details where is told among other things, the life of Jesus, but alsoyou can see representations of the three wise men, which in this era were not one from each continent but represented youth, maturity and old age of a person.
The stained glass window traceries in alabaster are important, one of the characteristics of the zone, which give it a special light and also its magnificent and detailed high altar, of alabaster.
The Aragonese Pyrenees are an undiscovered treasure for those who love nature and walking for hours. I love how these pictures reflect the beauty and relaxation in these places, from Biecas, The Swamp Sallent, and Park Ordesa.
The Citadel of Jaca is a fortification that they started building in 1592 when it was commissioned by Philip II when a French invasion was the big fear. Its real name until the 19th century was Castillo de San Pedro (or, St. Peter's Castle). Today it's all called the Jaca Citadel, and is surrounded with greenery. The Citadel is undoubtedly an impressive construction. It's one of the two in tact citadels in Europe. Its green lawn is often used by locals as a place to relax, walk their dogs or relax. I must admit, I do love the view at night from the Citadel, especially being at the bottom of the moonlit Oroel. This is a must-see site if you're going to be in Jaca.
Protected by a large boulder and nestled between the flows of the Gállego and the Aguas Limpias, Sallent de Gállego is like a haven in the middle of nowhere.
The town was, from the XIII century, the most important in the Valle de Tena area, and although its fortified towers disappeared a long time ago, its narrow and winding little streets, an old stone bridge, a lovely Gothic church from the beginning of the XVI century and noble manor houses with slate roof are still preserved.
Sallent is surrounded by modern housing estates and ski stations, however, the four safe kilometres that separate it from the nearest, which are in Formigal, have made the village seem apart from the changes which time has brought to the valley, and maintains its peaceful rhythm, its silence and its sleepy atmosphere, loaded with history.
In the village is the fantastic El Almud, a small hotel, not to be missed.