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“Benasque Valley is surrounded by the highest concentration of peaks of over 3,000 metres in the whole of the Pyrenees, amongst which the highest is the Aneto peak (3.404 metres), which gives us an idea of the spectacular nature of this high mountain area. The excellent state of preservation of this mountainous zone, which is without doubt the most important Pyrenean massif, and its rich geology, fauna and flora, gave rise to the creation of the Posets-Maladeta Natural Park in 1994.
This area of outstanding interest is located at the northern end of the Valley and covers an area of 33,440 hectares, with an impressive set of 13 glaciers, 95 high mountain lakes (ibones) of glacial origin and stunning waterfalls. .
The Posets-Maladeta Natural Park is at an altitude of between 1,500 and 3,404 metres, which means that it comprises a wide biological diversity, with both endemic and some endangered species.”
Flights to Zaragoza in Northern Spain (Ryanair) are convenient as it takes about 3 hours to reach Benasque.
Flights from London airports to Barcelona/Madrid/Girona (BA/Ryanait/Easyjet are frequent but mean you’ll have to drive for 6 hours or more to reach Benasque.
There are buses to go to Benasque but I have no information about the company or frequency of buses as I find hiring a car at the airport is the best way to go to Benasque and visit the area.
From Benasque there are regular buses to take you to the start of the mountains trails if you are on foot. They are reliable and cheap.
Where is the Parque Naturale Posets y Maladeta?
It is easy to find on a map as it is more or less in the middle of the Pyrenees in Northern Spain near the border with France and Pico Aneto is marked as being the highest summit.
Benasque (the main town in the area and a good centre for visiting the area).
Reasons for going there?
It is ideal for a peaceful holiday and getting away from it all. You will be able to walk in the most unpolluted and beautiful environment. There are some easy short walks to be done, others more strenuous to keep you walking all day to reach a lake, a mountain pass, a refuge or a waterfall. For the adventurous and fit, there is the possibility of spending a night or two going from one refuge to another. Wherever you go the scenery is breathtaking and the flora
Climbing the 3000m+ summits (Aneto, Maldito, Maladeta, Tuc de Mulleres...) is another attraction as is paragliding, canoeing, canyoning…etc…
In the winter months skiing, snowboarding…etc… are the main attractions and it is a very popular time for visiting the area. Cerler is an important ski resort with many ski lifts.
Accommodation and eating
There is a choice of hotels, Bed and Breakfast, apartments, villas for rent in Benasque and Cerler as well as in the villages in the area. There are also some campsites.
Winter and early Spring are the high season as the snow attracts many Spanish holidaymakers.
Restaurants at every price can be found. The food is very nice and there is quite a nice wine coming from areas near the Pyrenees.
There are some good greengrocers in Benasque where you can find nice fruit and vegetables in the summer as well as shops selling local produce (cheese, honey, proper ham ...etc...) and small supermarkets.
Cerler (1400m) is a lovely typical village above Benasque. I found it ideal as there are some beautiful walks starting from the village with amazing views on the Posets Massif. In the summer the place is not crowded, there are lots of beautiful flowers (orchids, irises...etc...). Also from Cerler it is easy to drive to the start trails taking you in the heart of the mountains and enjoy a wonderful holiday.
I found my accommodation using www.rentalia.com.
Visitors’ Centre: on the route from Benasque to Ancilles. There is also an Information Office in the Benasque
A very useful book (in Spanish): Guia de flores del PIRINEO (by M. Maza, Barrabes Ediditorial) to help you identify the flowers.