Cycling in the Spanish Pyrenees

The crossing of the Pyrenees over the Col de Portalet is one of my favourite Cols. But what is on the other side?

Spanish Pyrenees

The Col du Portalet is a beautiful crossing between France and Spain. Here I am, having just cycled up the French side.

Spanish Pyrenees - Pic de Midi Ossau

Looking back into France, the Pic de Midi Ossau is visible in the background, still with snow around it, despite the blazing sunshine.

Spanish Pyrenees - tourism

During the time of Franco, this area was a comparatively poor backwater frequented by smugglers. Today the area is experiencing an economic boom as Spaniards start to enjoy the mountains. There are still plenty of smugglers – French people hopping over the border to stock up on cheap cigarettes which are still absurdly cheap in Spain.

Spanish Pyrenees - Pic de Midi Ossau

The road surface on the Spanish side of the Col is a little disappointing and there were some repairs underway while I was there. Apparently they are waiting until the building programme is over which may well take forever. Not good news for cyclists.

Spanish Pyrenees - Pic de Midi Ossau

With plenty of meltwater from the snow capped Pyrenees, there are many stunning lakes in the area.

Spanish Pyrenees - Pic de Midi Ossau

Another stunning lake.

Spanish Pyrenees - Pic de Midi Ossau

I hope you’re not getting bored of this stunning scenery.

Spanish Pyrenees - Pic de Midi Ossau

A jump to the valley leading up from Canfranc to Col du Somport and the French border. If the mountains in the background appeared in a film, the producer would probably sack the set designer for going too far.

Spanish Pyrenees - Col du Somport

France looms… People who live on the French side often travel up the Ossau valley in the rain, cross over the border into warm sunshine. This picture shows the border – right where all that cotton wool is.

Want some more of Spain?

The Ordesa Valley This valley in the Spanish Pyrenees is a national park and extremely beautiful.

Spanish food I have sampled quite a bit. Click on the link to see what I found and what I thought of it.

My cycle trip to Spain with Jodie I met Jodie on the Lonely Planet website and we cycled together for 3 days. Follow the link to see how we got on.

Want to see More of my cycling trips?

Holland Germany Denmark

South West Coast of France

Col du Somport

Cycling in the Western Pyrenees