Places in Pyrenees Atlantiques
Click a link below for comprehensive information about the destination, activities available and accommodation:
There can be only a handful of spots in the world where one can surf the finest beaches in the morning before skiing the pistes by afternoon and this epitomises the contrasting landscapes of the Pyrenees Atlantiques. This massive sporting playground is a region full of scenic gems; from the immense sandy beaches of the Atlantic coast to the lakes, gorges and cirques of the Pyrenees National Park. The Valleys provide year round entertainment with their distinctive charms. You can fly into, and out of, the Pyrenees Atlantiques from Pau or Biarritz.
With weather conditions influenced by the nearby Atlantic Ocean, the ski resorts of Artouste, Gourette and La Pierre Saint Martin benefit from a good snow record. A single ski pass is available that lets you sample all three areas. Further cross-country skiing can be found in the Iraty Forest, one of the largest broad-leaf Forests of Europe and at Le Somport, a cross border, cross country ski area situated in the delightful Pyrenean National Park.
As is typical in the Pyreneean Valleys there are plenty of outdoor activities such as fishing, rafting, canyoning, horse riding and hiking. Not to mention the Spa's with their therapeutic waters. In summer the high mountain passes, such as at the col d'Aubisque in the Ossau Valley provide superb panaramic views for cycling or driving and often feature in the gruelling mountain stages of the tour de France.
The great GR 10 walking route starts its inspiring journey to the Mediterranean coast on the beach at Hendaye before trekking over the Basque hills, past the Pic d'Anie (2504m), through the Aspe Valley and around the Pic du Midi d'Ossau (2885m) before heading onto Gourette via the Aubisque and Soulor passes. These classic Pyrenean walks are full of magnificent landscapes and crystal clear mountain lakes. The Baretous valley is renowned for its pot holes and green landscapes.
On the coast there are some memorable resorts. Biarritz has been a leading destination since the 1930's and is now one of the world's surfing capitals and an all year round golfing paradise. The picturesque fishing port of Saint-Jean-de-Luz cannot fail to inspire and is the perfect setting for a relaxing meal on a balmy evening.