Picture this: Glacier cut valleys, snow capped peaks, and picturesque villages framed by mountains. True, this can be a common scene in the Alps. However, not far away is another place that is just as beautiful, except the hiking trails are quieter. This place is called the Pyrenees.
The Pyrenees Mountains run along the border between France and Spain and are home to hundreds of miles of trails and stunning mountain vistas.
Right in the center of the Spanish Pyrenees, only 3 hours from Barcelona is Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park. The park comprises of 4 deep canyons as well as the namesake Monte Perdido, standing tall at 11,007 feet. The most famous and easy to access of the 4 canyons is the Ordesa Valley.
Access to the Ordesa Valley begins from the small medieval village of Torla. From here you can also reach other trails that are just outside the national park but nonetheless spectacular.
Below is an itinearary for a 4 day hiking trip through the national park and the surrounding areas. This itinerary includes hikes that range from easy to moderately difficult. It includes camping at campsites or mountain huts.
Your journey begins in Torla.
After reaching Torla, you’ll want to stock up on any gear you might need, as well as food for the next couple days. Most hotel/campsites outside of Torla will have food and small supermarkets, but you have the most options in Torla. You might also want to stock up on some of the Spanish cuisine while you’re at it too!
Enjoy your time in town and get ready to hike the following day.
Distance: 5.8 miles
Length: 2.5-3 hours
After enjpoying a delicious breakfast like I did, you can begin the first day of hiking. From Torla you’ll follow signs towards Puente de Los Navarros. Here the trail crosses the road which divides in two. On the right side is the road to Ordesa y Monte Perdido National park, and on the left is the road towards Refugio de Bujaruelo. Turn left here and walk on the road for a couple miles. Eventually, you’ll reach a small path marked with Refugio de Bujaruelo. Continue along the path through the forest until you reach the cobblestone Bujaruelo Bridge (Puente de Bujaruelo). Here is the Refuge de Bujaruelo, where you’ll be spending the next two nights.
Distance: 6.3 miles
Length: 5 hours round trip
From San Nicolas de Bujaruelo you have various options for a day hike. If you’re looking for something more difficult, you can head up to Ibon Bernatura Lake or Puerto Bujaruelo Pass. However, if you’re feeling like taking it easy then you can hike up to the scenic, cow filled, Otal Valley. The hike starts by continuing along the Bujaruelo valley. After a mile you will reach Puente de Oncins (Oncins Bridge)
From here you begin your ascent into the hanging valley of Otal. At about the 2 mile mark, you will reach the Otal Valley.
From here enjoy the flat walk through the grassy valley. Be aware, you may have to share the valley with a few dozen cows. At the end of the valley, you reach the decrepit Refugio de Otal. The refuge is a great spot for lunch, before heading back the way you came all the way to San Nicolas de Bujaruelo.
Distance: 5-6 miles
Length: 4-5 hours
After enjoying the serenity at San Nicolas de Bujaruelo, you’ll then return the same way as Day 2. You have a few options for where you can spend the night. After you reach Puente de Los Navarros, you’ll start to see various campsites and hotels that continue along the road all the way back to Torla. Choose one that seems fitting and enjoy the rest of the day.
Distance: 13 miles
Length: 8-9 hours
Today is the day you enter the park. It’s also going to be the hardest hike of the trip. But like always, the views are worth it! You’ll start by taking the shuttle to the entrance of the park (Or walk if you want to warm up!).
From there you follow the main trail along the valley floor for just a little bit before seeing signs for Faja de Pelay. Continue along these signs, as the trail gets steeper, you’ll know you’re on the right path! As you climb up you’ll be surprised how the trail brings you up the canyon walls. About an hour later, you’ll be 1900 feet above the valley floor looking out to the other side of the Ordesa Valley.
Now that the hard part is over you can enjoy the walk along the canyon walls. A few miles later, Monte Perdido will come into sight and you’ll begin your descent down into the Circo de Soaso, another picturesque hanging valley.
If you wish, you can continue on a little bit longer to reach the aptly named Cola de Caballo (Horsetail falls!)
Enjoy the views and remember, you’re in Spain, so why not take a little siesta under the grandeur of Monte Perdido, the third highest peak in the Pyrenees.
Don’t sleep too long though, because you still have to walk back! Luckily the way back is downhill and flat along the valley. Return to your hotel or campsite and remember the amazing time you’re having hiking in the Spanish Pyrenees.
Alas, all good things must come to an end, and you will eventually need to leave the beauty that is Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park. Head back to Torla, maybe buy some souvenirs and then set off on wherever your next adventure takes you!
To see more check out this video I made below:
To learn more about the hikes around Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park check out these links below:
Places to stay in Torla and surrounding area:
Ordesa y Monte Perdido is included in my list of 4 amazing places to hike in Europe you haven’t heard of! To check out the other 3 hiking destinations go here!