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Parque Natural Posets-Maladeta: Benasque
Parque Nacional Aigüestortes: Taüll (Vale de Boí) - Cirque de Colomers


16.08.2013 :  Bagnères de Luchon - Parque Natural Posets-Maladeta: Hospital de Benasque ou Llanos del Hospital (1730 m):  131 km (2,5 hours drive!)

After doing our last French grocery shopping at the very nice Intermaché in Luchon we drove up to the Col du Portillon into Vale D’Aran in Spain. We drove through the Túnel de Vielha which is an amazing 5230m long. Our aim was to drive to the other side of the high mountains south of Bagnères de Luchon, across the Vallée du Lys that are not reachable and reach the the Portillon de Benasque. We left the N-230 to take the N-260/139 to Benasque up to Hospital de Benasque. We arrived at about 15:00 and it started to rain. But at 16:15 the sun shone again and Volker hit the trail along the Valle de Remuñe which was beautiful. Unfortunately he got again a rain shower and a thunderstorm (2 hours). We are now along the highest mountains in the Pyrenees!Overnight at the parking lot of Hospital de Benasque with rain and hail. N42º40.919’ - E0º36.262’

17.08.2013 : El Vado, Hospital de Benasque (1730 m)

We took the shuttle bus that takes to La Besurta at 9:15. In summer from July 10 to August 31 there is a bus service from El Vado to La Besurta (run by Alosa: 2,70€ one way, 4.90€ return). Volker took off to the Portillón de Benasque (2444m) the age-old route to Luchon and then to the Pico de Salvaguarda (2738m) before reaching the Refuge de Bénasque on the French side. We had been to this refuge 8 years ago, and it stayed on our mind because we saw people carrying beer barrels on their backpack to this refuge! Nowadays Volker was told that mules carry everything up. This hike was 5 hours long with pauses, 13,15 km, 1274m elevation. In the meatime Julia went for a tiny walk where she could see the the Portillón de Benasque and the other side with the glacier and the Aneto mountain. After that Volker and I went to have a beer (Julia a good cafe con leche) at the café El Frade next door to the Hospital de Benasque (which is the fifth pilgrim’s hospice founded by the Templars). The hotel is very nice, built in the style we got to know at Yosemite in the USA. BBQ with excellent lamb meat bought at the Intermarché in Luchon at our place.

18.08.2013 : El Vado, Hospital de Benasque

Hike to Forau de Aigallut and Coll de Toro (6 hours with pauses, 12 km, 600m elevation) which is really a must when you are here. It reminds us of Yosemite as there are many special geological formations and interesting landscapes. We then drove to Camping Aneto which is 3-4 km north of Benasque. Price (25,85€ incl. electricity/night for two). BBQ with ice cold San Miguel beer (1,33 l!) that we could buy directly from the campground supermarket almost next door to our van.

19.08.2013 : Benasque, Camping Aneto (1280 m)

Celebrating Julia’s birthday with a big breakfast. After all the “festivities”, we took the bus into town (4km south, 3,70 € for two persons, one-way) and spend the whole morning shopping in the various sport shops in town. Especially “Barrabes” has good stuff! Lunch at “Les Arkades” (32€). With taxi back to campground (9€).

20.08.2013 : Benasque, Camping Aneto (1280 m)

At 9:30 we hit the trail to the Valle de Estós. Our first stop was at the Ibonet de Batisielles. Then we walk a very steep path up to Ibón Gran de Batisielles where we had enjoyed a picknick with fresh baguette, cheeses and meats. Volker continued around and up the Agulles de Peramó whereas Julia took an adventurous path that was on the map but almost inexistent in reality. I was escorted by two young Spaniards with whom I managed to come down. I wouldn’t have otherwise because we had to jump and climb like crazy. Volker’s path was also very difficult to find, no markings and very difficult to walk on. The hike was 7,5 hours long and we both were exhausted. We had an excellent dinner at the local campground restaurant (goat cheese salad and a super steak for 35€).

21.08.2013 : Benasque (Parque Natural Posets-Maladeta - Taüll (Parque Nacional Aigüestortes) in Vale de Boí (1480m): 85 km

After doing some grocery shopping at Erosky in Benasque we drove to Parque Nacional Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici. We found a nice campground Taüll (22€/night). We had a great BBQ on our site and after a siesta went for a stroll in the nice little town of Taüll. Now we finally have Wi-Fi and a decent mobile connection. N42º31.092’ - E0º50.778’

22.08.2013 : Taüll (Parque Nacional Aigüestortes)

Walk down to Boí where we took the Taxi to the real Aiguestortes area (10,20/pax return). Then we walked up to the Refugio de Estany Llong where we were deceived to find nothing nice to sit outside. We then continued to Estany Llong and had a small picnic. Back with the taxi up to our Campground for 5€ more. Long calls with my mother because Carlos didn’t feel well yesterday evening. At the Bar Restaurant “El Mallador” we had a drink and heard the thunder coming from the mountains. We fortunately got in time back to our camper before it started to rain.

23.08.2013 : Taüll -Pla Beret (1850 m): 80 km

On our way to Pla Beret we stopped at Barruera to buy more yummy meats at the shop “El Llinat” which has organic meat, fruit and vegetables. Overnight on the parking lot at Pla Beret: N42º43.674’ - E0º57.755’

24.08.2013 : Pla Beret - Baqueira (1457m): 12 km

When we woke up this morning our we were surrounded by fog. And when we looked at the mountain range at Cirque de Colomers where we wanted to go up today were even worse. To change the view we drove down to a big parking lot at Baqueira, an absolutely winter town, all the shops closed, only a few restaurants and cafés are open. Julia has got a cold so she spent a lot of time in bed. N42º41.962’ - E0º55.751’

25.08.2013 : Baqueira - Banhs de Tredos (1750m) - Espot (1318m): 73 km

Although it didn’t look like it, the weather became wonderful after the fog we had this morning again. Volker went off at 10:15, took a shuttle called taxi (4€ return) and hit the trail making a loop along many the Colomers lakes (6 hours, 19 km, 700m elevation). Drive to Espot where we parked on the main parking lot on the entrance of the village, conveniently located where the Parc bus stops and the taxis leave into the park. N42º34.468’ - E1º5.472’

26.08.2013 : Espot

We took the taxi service up to Estany Sant Maurici (10,20€ return per person) and walked up to the Port de Ratera d’Espot , return via Mirador de l’Estany Sant Maurici (5 hours, 14km, 700m elevation). The taxis can take you up to the Refugi of Estany Gran Amitges and back which is very convenient if you don’t want to walk. After that we had a coffee in town with wifi. Overnight at the main parking lot of Espot. N42º34.468’ - E1º5.472’

Parque Natural

Posets-Maladeta: Hospital de Benasque

This stretch of HRP (Haute Randonnée Pyrénéenne) trail goes along the idyllic Valley of Remuñe

View up to the Maladeta Glacier

View from the summit of the Salvaguarda to the Valle de Benasque

Pico de Salaguarda (2738m)

On top of Pico de Salvaguarda; Spain is on the left, France on the right side

Luchon on the north

The way down to the Refuge de Benasque on the French side

Refuge de Benasque -where we had been 8 years ago coming from the French side

A very courageous father coming up to the El Frade Cafe at Hospital de Benasque where we are getting an explanation by the owner about the 5 “hospitales” that were consecutively built in this valley

Maladeta on the south

Portillón de Benasque (2448m)

Forau de Aiguallut was a subterranean cave built by water erosion but where the ceiling has fallen down. The water surges again in Val d’Arán and flows into the Atlantic Ocean

During this beautiful hike we got to see many glaciers and the Aneto summit

A beautiful meadow

The hike passes along an idyllic meadow with ice cold streams where large groups and families spent hours just enjoying this nice place

The meadow as seen from above when coming down from Coll de Toro

Julia’s Birthday breakfast celebration

Benasque Town, surrounded by high steep mountains

Ibón Gran de Batisielles

Agulles de Perramó (2553m)

Parque Nacional d’Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici


Way up from the taxi end point at Aigüestortes to the Refugi d’Estany Llong and the Estany Llong lake

Enjoying a mojito and an “orxata” at the Bar Restaurant “El Mallador” in Taüll
The upper town of Taüll with the Santa Maria church. A storm is coming up!

Vielha: Volker is stuying the mountain bike map of Vale d’Aran.


Pla Beret at 1850m. Here is where we started our bike tour to Motgarri and stayed overnight

Estany de Podo

Col de Podo (2607m) with views over many lakes

Estany de Sant Maurici