Enter a wildlife haven, a protected world with spectacular landscapes, Pyrenees flora and over 70 animal species.
Welcome to the land of marmots! Once an endangered species in the 1950s, there are now over 5.000 izards in this wildlife paradise where bearded vultures and golden eagles soar.
The Pyrenees and northern Spain are the only places in the world where Pyrenean desmans can be found. These creatures have the body of a mole and palmed feet. They live near torrents, as high as up to 2.200 metres of altitude, and eat insect larvae and small crustaceans.
As for flora, cardamines grow in the park’s forests of European beech trees and mountain fir trees (altitude: 900 to 1.800 metres) mountain pines, purple irises, Rhododendron ferrugineum (alt.: 1.800 to 2.400 metres). As you reach the mountaintops and snow, plant life becomes virtually impossible and the few plants that survive here are Salix herbaceas, some lichen and algae.
If you love the great outdoors and wide open spaces, the Pyrenees National Park is the place for you ! Rangers in charge of daily life in the park greet visitors and explain different exhibitions in the “Maison du Parc” visitor centres in Etsaut or Laruns. There are also hiking guides to accompany visitors.
Hiking is the best way to discover the park’s fantastic sites: cirques, cliffs, gorges, mountain lakes… Cars are prohibited in the centre of the park.
Another fun way to visit the Pyrenees panoramas: Artouste's mini-train! It takes visitors on a 10 km ride from « pic de la Sagette », up to an altitude of 2.000 metres to reach Artouste lake. Breathtaking !
Created in 1967, the Pyrenees National Park is one of France’s 10 national parks. Its 457 square km central zone is the most protected part of the park. However, the outer zone (2.063 square kms, 86 towns and 40.000 inhabitants) – is also managed by the park. The Ossau Natural reserve is located in this outer zone. The famous Ossau sheep’s cheese is made here. Visit « La Falaise aux vautours » (vulture cliff), Arudy museum and « Espace animalier de Borce » (animal park) in the Aspe valley. Be sure to try our mountain activities too ! (pony rides, mountain-biking, fishing, tree-climbing…).