Destinations in Cerdagne
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The Cerdagne plateau is an area blessed with mountain lakes, immense valleys, dominant peaks and broad expanses of forest, mountain flora and fauna. Coupled with an exceptional climate averaging 2800 hours of sunshine per year, the dry healthy air provides the ideal destination for walking, climbing, mountain biking and horse riding whilst the mountain rivers provide the ideal base for white water rafting and canyoning.
The exceptional air quality has led to the creation of the altitude training centre at Font-Romeu frequented by Olympians and athletes from all sports. The extensive facilities are open to the public and include an Olympic swimming pool and skating rink, an indoor sports complex with tennis, squash and badminton courts, covered golf training and an Equestrian centre.
At nearby Odeillo the world’s biggest solar energy centre was created in 1969. It was used to carry out high temperature experiments and is now an interesting landmark and museum.
Surrounded by high mountains, the Cerdagne Basin is home to many ski resorts including Font Romeu-Pyrenees 2000 (the largest), Cerdagne Puigmal, Espace Cambre d’Aze and Porté-Puymorens.
Situated in the north western corner, the small Catalan village of Porté-Puymorens is known as the ‘resort of three nations’ as it borders both Spain and Andorra. The nearby Lanoux valley offers walkers breathtaking scenery whilst the stunning Porté Puymorens canyon is a popular adrenalin fuelled canyoning site with a mixture of slides, abseils and jumps into deep pools of clear water.
One of the best ways of seeing the Cerdagne is on board the little yellow train. With its red and gold livery the train is a true Catalan symbol having taken its spectacular journey for the past 90 years. Starting at Villefranche de Conflent it climbs to the fortified town of Mont Louis, built to defend the French – Spanish frontier before reaching Europe’s highest station at the ski resort of Bolquère (Pyrenees 2000) before meandering across the Cerdagne plateau and finishing at La Tour de Carol. It is a lifeline in winter to the communities it serves, a romantic way to start your ski holiday and a must for summer tourists and walkers.
Take your time to explore the many delightful villages dotted around the Cerdagne. Eyne is located in a valley renowned for its diverse flora and fauna and now classified as a nature reserve, Planès nestles alongside the source of the Roc Negre River and its charming mountain lake whilst Saint-Pierre dels Forcats is located near the stunning cirque du Cambre d’Aze. Visit the spa villages of St Thomas, Llo and Dorres and you can enjoy hot springs and open air pools.
Llívia is worth visiting purely for its quirky status as a Spanish village sitting 2km north of the border and thus surrounded by French territory. The Treaty of the Pyrenees ceded the villages in the northern Cerdanya to France but as Llívia was considered a city it remained a Spanish enclave.