The Aragonese Pyrenees are the border between the Iberian Peninsula and Europe, their length is 450 kilometers. It is this part in the Pyrenees that is the highest, since the main peaks of this region rise here. This region is famous not only for its good slopes, but there are also many thermal springs, interesting settlements in the mountains, as well as parks of Monte Perdido and Ordesa.
Excellent infrastructure is typical for all local resorts, so tourists like to relax here. In addition, it is very attractive that the Aragonese Pyrenees typically have a bright sun, because they are facing south.
So, in this region there are several interesting resorts, I want to note that everyone will have to get in different ways, it depends on the resort. For example, somewhere you need to fly to Barcelona, and then continue on by car or by organized transfer. In another case, it is better to fly to Zaragoza, and then again there will be a transfer.
The microclimate here is very diverse, it all depends on what height the selected resort is located. In general, an intermediate climate reigns here: between continental and Mediterranean. The highest places are located in the province of Huesca, they are characterized by hot summers, when temperatures can rise up to 40 degrees above zero. In winter, these places are quite warm.
There are many places worth seeing in this region. If we talk about architectural monuments, then be sure to go to the monastery of San Juan de la Peña, which was built at the very foot of the mountain. It looks very unusual. This building was erected in the 11th century; it attracts with its beauty and impresses with how some elements were preserved over such a long period of time. The capitals are decorated with sculptural images, plots for them are selected from the Bible. For example, there is a scene when they expelled Adam from paradise. The Royal Pantheon was created in this monastery, where the remains of the kings, who were lords for five centuries, rest.
the monastery of San Juan de la Peña from the inside Monastery of San Juan de la Peña
There is an unusual church of St. Mary in the region, built on the banks of the river called Sinka. The church is modern, it was built in the 70s of the last century, it is very large and can accommodate five hundred people at a time. It is noteworthy that they built this church from what remains after the destroyed buildings of antiquity. Each year, the church hosts an organ music festival, as there is an organ with more than 4,000 trumpets. In general, there are a lot of various cultural events.
It is very interesting to visit the castle of Loarre, which was erected at the beginning of the 11th century. It was built for a defensive purpose, since it was to defend the city from attacks by Arabs. In the 13th century the castle was completed, defensive walls were added here, which have mainly semicircular towers, and there is one square tower. Here, too, the walls have decorations associated with scenes from the Bible. In addition, there is the church of St. Mary, as well as the ruins of the Watchtower.
The stunning archaeological site can be called the town of Uncastillie, which, as proven. Exists since antiquity. According to scientists, the Celts and Basques lived here first, then the Romans. The city reached its heyday in the 12th century, when many buildings began to be built. It is worth visiting the local churches, the Jewish quarter, the palace, the castle of Sibiran and the town hall dating from the 10th century.
Entertainment and nightlife
You can have fun in the popular resort of Baqueira-Beret, where the royal family likes to relax. In addition, there are 4 discos, almost 20 bars and 7 restaurants. The royal family prefers to dine in the restaurant Casa Irene, which is located in the small town of Artis.
The Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park is located in the region. This park is considered the oldest in Aragon. The local nature is striking in its picturesqueness. There are deep gorges and canyons, turbulent rivers, rocks, beautiful waterfalls, and therefore a walk in this park will give a sea of positive emotions. Almost fifteen hundred species of plants grow in the park, there are also many reptiles, birds, fish and animals.
Another park is Visits Maladeta, it provides routes for mountaineering, but here you can just walk along the hiking trails. Here you will see glaciers, glacial lakes, waterfalls. The animals and plants that live here are considered rare species.
Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park Stunning views of the park Tourist route
Of course, first of all, the Aragonese Pyrenees attract skiers and climbers. In the Visits Maladeta park described above, you can go through routes for climbers, with high complexity.
In the resort of Baqueira-Beret, excellent ski areas are created. Here you can ride alone and in groups, you can ride a dog sled and even parachute. Everyone goes to the resort: families with children and beginner skiers, as well as professionals who can appreciate these routes. Moreover, if you want to learn how to ski properly, you can go to ski school. There are also paradise conditions for snowboarders. The slopes work from December to April, 3 special parks are open for children.
active ski resort Snowboarding lessons
Rent a car and housing
Rent a car is in the city of arrival, if you decide to travel independently and explore the region. It can be Barcelona or Zaragoza, from where there is a rather long road to the resorts of the Aragonese Pyrenees. The cost of rental per day starts from 1000, in some cases from 1500 rubles. In this case, the driver must be at least 21 years old, driving experience of a year, as well as the presence of a driver's license of international standard and a passport.
Hotels in the Pyrenees Hotels in the Pyrenees
Here you can rent excellent apartments, the cost of which per day is from 200 euros, there are more affordable options, it all depends on the resort, time of rest and conditions provided by the owners.
Still, the Pyrenees do not come to the Aragonese for shopping, here you can, of course, buy souvenirs for yourself and your loved ones and all that may be required on vacation. But full shopping is possible in the cities of arrival: Zaragoza or Barcelona.
Where to stay:
- Mirador de siurana (miradordesiurana.cat): This hotel is a remodeled mansion from the 60s. It has only 6 rooms, but each of them offers panoramic views of the village and its surroundings. The hotel also has a swimming pool, a garden with Mediterranean plants and a tasting room.
- La siuranella (siuranella.com): A comfortable and economical accommodation option will help you enjoy a place at a reasonable price
- Moli de pont (Cornudella del Monsant, molidelpont.com) - although this place is not located in Siuran, but in the neighboring village, it also promises a unique experience - you can stay in one of the 6 houses on an old mill of the 15th century.
Where to eat:
- El carcaix (Crta.de Siurana, 7th km, tel. 977 82 14 72, miradordesiurana.cat) - a cozy restaurant where all dishes are cooked in local olive oil, and you can try delicious dishes such as a goat stuffed with mushrooms or candied sea bass fillet
- Refugio ciriac bonet (Pla de la Terra Alta, no number, tel. 977 56 14 09 and 676 88 37 52) - a bar, set right in the rock, where you can have a snack after a walk through the sights
- Siurana (calle Mayor, tel. 977 82 10 27, restaurantsiurana.com) - they cook traditional Catalan cuisine here, for example, snail soup or a delicious Catalan dish based on baked eggplant and sweet pepper - escalivado.
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Photo and description
Ainsa is a small village located in the autonomous community of Aragon and part of the province of Huesca. Ainsa is located directly in the Pyrenees and occupies a small area between the two picturesque rivers Sinka and Ara.
Ainsa is one of the oldest settlements in Spain - it is part of the Sobrarbe district, which existed as an independent county more than a thousand years ago. Ains is not only of historical interest - this place is distinguished by its special beauty and special color. Beautiful mountain air and magnificent nature, rich cultural and historical heritage, excellent local cuisine and friendly residents constantly attract tourists and travelers to Ainsu.
The most interesting place is the central, historical part of the city with its amazing, perfectly preserved ancient architecture, narrow streets decorated with flowers, cozy restaurants and cafes. This part of Ainsa is declared a national treasure of the country.
The fortified walls of stone surrounding the city are perfectly preserved, with magnificent views of the mountains and green valleys. The town has preserved many architectural historical monuments that bring us back to the Middle Ages. Among them, the ancient church of the 11th century, made in the Romanesque style and dedicated to St. Mary, is noteworthy. The facades of the houses of the Casa Arnal dating from the 16th century and the Casa Bielsa of the construction of the 16-17th centuries are also perfectly preserved. In the north-eastern part of Ainsa there is a defensive fortress, the construction of which was begun in the 11th century.
Ainsa is surrounded by three natural parks that provide visitors with a variety of recreational activities.
The main resorts and routes of the Aragonese Pyrenees
Astun is one of the new resorts of the Aragonese Pyrenees, which was built specifically for skiers and snowboarders at the foot of Mount La Rasa at an altitude of 1700 m. In total there are about 39 km of slopes, of which three green, 14 blue, 22 red and 9 black. The tracks are mostly long - up to 2 km, but the difference in height is small. The resort is conditionally divided into two zones: La Raca - Sarrios (La Raca - Sarrios) and Truchas (Truchas), interconnected by 13 lifts. The season begins in November and ends in March.
Boi Taul is located 20 km from Baqueira-Beret at an altitude of more than 2000 m above sea level and is attractive primarily because there are no crowds of tourists here even in high season. There are 42 km of tracks of different difficulty levels, but most of all - red ones. Nearby is the Aigues Tortes i Lago San Mauricio Natural Park, where it is beautiful in winter and summer, there are many lakes in the area. The season lasts from early December to mid-March.
Kandanchu is aimed at experienced athletes, there are freeride zones for extreme descent, and most of the tracks are difficult, only 59 km. There are several amateur tracks and 35 km of flat ski. The season lasts from November to March.
How to get to the Aragonese Pyrenees
The nearest airport in the Aragonese Pyrenees is located in Zaragoza. There are no direct flights from Russia, from Moscow Domodedovo TAP Portuguese flies there with one change in Lisbon, from Sheremetyevo - Aeroflot with two transfers in Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca. The road will take from 9.5 hours and will cost from 450 EUR round trip. Prices on the page are for March 2019.
From the airport to the Pyrenees
From the airport to the center of Zaragoza, 12 km, you can get on buses No. 34 or 51, which depart every half hour. The journey takes 30 minutes, the fare is 1.85 EUR. Taxi will cost 25-30 EUR.
Next, by Renfe train (official website in English) to the city of Jaca (from 3.5 hours and 15 EUR one way), then from Khaki by bus to any resort of the Aragonese Pyrenees. For example, there are 5 flights a day to Astun, the first at 8:25, the last at 21:36. The journey takes about 30 minutes, the fare is 2 EUR.
The fastest option is a transfer from Zaragoza. The trip takes 3 hours, the cost is from 80 EUR per car for three passengers.
In the high season, ski bass (from the official site in Spanish) from Zaragoza Huesca and Pamplona go to Astun and Kandanchu on Fridays once a day in the morning. Cost - 45 EUR round-trip with the same day return at 17:00. The amount includes travel and ski pass for the day.
Aragonese Pyrenees Hotels
Most hotels in the resorts of the Pyrenees 3-4 * category, there are apartments. The cost of accommodation depends on the place. In Astun, a three-bed room in the high season will cost from 130 EUR for two, 4 * and apartments with one or two bedrooms will cost from 200 EUR. Kandanchu is less popular among tourists, and prices are lower there. In a hotel 3 * will ask from 90 EUR, and in apartments - from 120 EUR per day.
Book popular Aragonese Pyrenees hotels at the best prices
All resorts of the Pyrenees have a single ski pass Aragon 7-Resor. Prices: half day (from 13:00 to the closing of the runs): 31 EUR, day: 43 EUR, two days: 84 EUR, three: 124 EUR, 5: 189 EUR per person. For children under 11 years old and pensioners discounts are provided.
There are ski schools in Astun and Kandanchu. Cost - 237.75 EUR per week (Monday to Friday, only 10 hours of classes), individual lesson - from 39 EUR per hour, group weekend lessons (two hours on Saturday and two hours on Sunday) - 38 EUR per person.
Where to eat
Local restaurants serve traditional Spanish cuisine. There are cafes and eateries on the slopes, where you can have a bite with burgers, sandwiches, hot broth and drink coffee or mulled wine. Many restaurants offer the Del Dia menu: salad, hot or soup, dessert and drink - several options for each dish to choose from at a fixed price. The average price is 20 EUR per person. Dinner will cost from 70 EUR for two excluding drinks.
Attractions and attractions of the Aragonese Pyrenees
The region has a lot of ancient architecture. The Monastery of San Juan de la Peña of the 11th century (Carretera A-1603, s / n), is located near the town of Jaca. On its walls sculptures with biblical scenes are preserved, and inside, in the Royal Pantheon, the remains of local kings rest. Loarre Castle (22809 Loarre), built to protect against Arabs, dates back to the same era. It is located between Haka and Huesca. Here are the beautiful St. Mary's Church and the ruins of the Watchtower.
Nature lovers will love the Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park (Parque Nacional de Ordesa y Monte Perdido, Huesca), the oldest in the region. There are gorges and canyons, rivers, rocks, waterfalls, rare plants and animals, hiking routes for tourists are laid. And in another park - "Visits-Maladeta" (Parque Natural Posets-Maladeta, Huesca) - glaciers and glacial lakes where you can go mountain climbing.
The most vibrant nightlife is in the neighboring resort of Baqueira-Beret, where you can get from Astun or Kandanchu by car (220 km and 3.5 hours on the road, the road runs through the mountains). By bus - long and with transfers: 9 hours and from 35 EUR per one-way ticket. There are about 20 bars, 4 discos and several good restaurants where the royal family likes to relax.
The weather in the Aragonese Pyrenees depends on the height, so the microclimate here is diverse, something in between the continental and the Mediterranean. Most of the highest peaks are in the province of Huesca. It is hot in summer, winters are usually mild. In mountainous areas it is usually cooler than in the Ebro Valley.
Remember what times it was?
When the Roman Empire fell and the Muslim conquerors were finished - from the 5th century to the end of the 15th century. The entire Iberian Peninsula was a border zone - between the Mauritanians advancing from the south and Europe. Various Christian principalities fought among themselves, from which Spain subsequently formed. Fortresses were built everywhere and in large numbers. Many of them survived to the present day, keeping the memory of those warlike times and the secrets of their once powerful masters.
The Catholic Church also left us a considerable legacy, having built many magnificent monasteries, temples and cathedrals over the entire territory of the Iberian Peninsula over the 10 centuries of the Middle Ages.
The church was in a hurry to return to Christianity those lands that had long been under the heel of Muslim invaders. To the extent of the Reconquista (Reconquista - the conquest of the Iberian Peninsula by the Christian army from the Maurits during the period from the 8th to the 15th centuries AD), more and more new cathedrals, chapels and monasteries were erected on the returned lands.
Many of them looked more like impregnable castles than the shelters of learned monks. Yes, and then the monasticism was more likely military, especially at the border lines. Many of the monasteries that have survived to this day served as “bases” for the Knights of the Templar Order, who traditionally defended Christian cities and pilgrimage roads leading to holy places, to the Apostle James, for example, from the attacks of the Moorish.
History of the medieval city of Ains and the Covered Cross
But, let us begin, perhaps, our journey to the city of Ainsa with the medieval and beautiful mountainous country of Aragon, which was the mainstay of Christianity in the Middle Ages. There, in the province of Huesca, in the small region of Sobrarbe, the city of Ainsa, splendidly preserved from ancient times, is located (Spanish: Villa de Ainsa). It stands in a small valley, like 10 centuries ago, surrounded by mighty mountains and dense forests.
Ainsa city of Ains has several nature reserves: Ordesa (Spanish: Ordesa) and Monte Perdido (Spanish: Monte Perdido), Canyones (Spanish: Caniones), Sierra de Guara (Spanish: Sierra de Guara) and Visits -Maladeta.
Ainsa has historically been at the intersection of many important routes of Aragon, which, given the geographical height of its location, gave the city the opportunity to exercise control over important strategic positions in the fight against the Arab conquerors. Later, when the borders of the Muslim world moved far to the south of the peninsula, the city of Ainsa became an important commercial and cultural center in the region.
According to legend, living in the local area, the city of Ains was conquered from the Moors in 724 by the troops of King Aragon Garcy Jimenez. There was a terrible battle: the Muslim units, greatly outnumbered the Christian army, crowded the knights of the king of Aragon. But, according to legend, a miracle happened - over the crown of a huge holly, standing in the battlefield, a cross was suddenly erected, engulfed in flames. Araged Aragonese soldiers repulsed the Mauritanian attack.
So the legend goes and many like it. However, historians are sure that the Muslim invaders never conquered the Spanish city of Ains and did not reach these inaccessible places. Nevertheless, in the XIV century, where all this happened, they put an end to the memory of that wonderful, shining miracle that saved the city from enslavement. The cross is hidden in a beautiful arbor and the people call it “Covered Cross” or Cruz Cubierta.
The Aragonese city of Ainsa was born at the confluence of the Sinka and Ara rivers. Its historical center, consisting of an ancient fortress, a central square and two almost parallel streets - Major and Santa Cruz - has not changed at all from the distant era of knightly tournaments and serious fighting with the Moors. This is a real open-air museum where each exhibit lives and keeps the memory of past centuries.
Aragonese city of Ainsa: main attractions
The main attractions of Ains are concentrated on a small site at the foot of the Castle (spanish: Castillo de Aínsa), built in the XI century. Since then, the Fortress has been rebuilt so many times that almost nothing remained of its original Romanesque style. A piece of the wall that originally surrounded Ains Fortress has been preserved. Her belonging to the Romanesque style is not in doubt.
Today, the Eco-Museum is located here with ancient weapons and a gate leading to the main square of the city. Ainsa's castle is as if made of pieces of all the epochs he lived and he still stands guard over the peace of his townspeople, like a thousand years ago towering over the city and the valley ...
Parish Church of St. Mary in Ainsa
In the main square of Ains, the Parish Church of St. Mary dominates, executed in the Romanesque style in the 11th – 12th centuries AD. It was consecrated in 1181. This is a strict building with a simple portal resting on columns. From other churches of Aragon, built in the same Romanesque style, St. Mary's Church is distinguished by its unusually high tower, with narrow loopholes, which once played an important role in preventing enemy attacks.
It is worth mentioning other interesting monuments of Ains: the city estates of Bielsa and Arnal - both buildings of the 16th century. The architectural ensemble of the Main Square, headed by the City Hall and merging with the ancient Ainsa Fortress, which traditionally hosts all the holidays of the city. By the way, about the holidays of Ains, which should be visited. January 19 - 20 marks the day of the patron saint of the city - St. Sebastian. They make bonfires, sing and dance, drink wine and eat delicious local dishes.
Traditional Holidays and Morism
On the first Sunday of February, the Fair takes place here on the Main Square. At the end of summer, on the last Sunday of August, the whole city returns to the past for 13 centuries and turns into a battlefield between the Arab invaders and Christian liberators.
Morisma (Spanish: Morisma) in Russian - Moorish, from the Spanish word Moro - Moor. This is the name of this theatrical performance, in which the entire population of the city of Ains takes part. Residents of the city revive that legendary battle when a saving Cross (“Covered Cross”) flared over a mighty tree, which gave strength to Christian knights to defeat the Moorish army.
September 14 is a big holiday in Ainsa - “Glorification of the Holy Cross” - with processions, ancient rituals and religious performances. In October-November, the famous gastronomic holiday - “Mushroom Seasons” takes place here. From the name it is clear that the main character of this culinary event is mushrooms, growing in abundance in the surrounding protected forests. And in December, you can enjoy tasting local wines at the fun Punchakubas Wine Fair (Spanish: Punchacubas).
Here, perhaps, is the most important thing you need to know about the medieval Aragonese city of Ains, which stores behind the ancient fortress walls of the majestic castle the echo of long-dead battles and the sound of knightly swords, the sounds of a lute and the voice of a young troubadour singing a beautiful lady ...
We are waiting for other cities of Spain, united by the general spirit of the Middle Ages: the delightful Albarracin and the monumental Avila, the magnificent Astorga, Baesa and Ubeda, listed by UNESCO on the list of World Heritage of Humanity and many others.
Article author: journalist K. Savitskaya for Online Europe