In Aragon, sports of all kinds are enjoyed all throughout the year.
In fact, this expansive Pyrenees province boasts some of the best mountain sports tourism in all of Europe.
Aragon is known for its great high mountain treks, challenging climbing, extensive canyoning,caving, parapenting, rafting and excellent alpine skiing.
Here’s a list of Aragon’s Sports Highlights
Walking and trekking
Nature Parks, Reserves and Forests
- National Park of Ordesa and Monte Perdido
- Natural Monument of San Juan de la Peña
- Nature Reserve of Posets-Maladeta
- Nature Reserve of the Sierra and Canyons of Guara
- Valley of Garcipollera
- Anayet and Panticosa
- Oza Forest
Cultural Routes of the Aragon Pyrenees
- The Old Aragon Kingdom route
- This route includes important historical sites of ancient Aragon, like the old capitol of the kingdom,Jaca, San Juan de la Peña monastery, and the beautiful old towns of Ainsa and Bielsa.
- Here’s a list of places and sites on the route. Go to any of the local tourist offices to get maps and information about the route.
- Embalse de Yesa (Hecho, Anso, Selva de Oza), Puente La Reina de Jaca (San Juan de la Pena, Santa Cruz de la Seros, Canfranc, Astun), Sabinanigo, Biescas (Panticosa, Sallent, Formigal, El Portalet), Broto (National Park of Ordesa and Monte Perdido), Ainsa (San Vitorian, Pineta, Bielsa), Castejon de Sos (Benasque, Cerler).
- Romanesque Routes: Sobrarbe, Ribagorza, Serrablo, Jacetania
- Camino de Santiago– The Pilgrims way to Santiago of Compostella.
- This famous long distance trek is Europe’s most important pilgrimage route, and has been followed for the last 1000 years.
- Most people walk the route but you can also do it cycling or on horseback.
- There are different routes of to Santiago, but in the Aragon Pyrenees you’ll find one of the more authentic and lesser known walks.
- An old Roman road will take you past some of Aragon’s most beautiful and sacred sites such as the Romanesque Cathedral in Jaca, and to the magnificent park of Ordesa and Monte Perdido.
- The most common route goes along the Aragon River, which starts at Somport and heads north through some beautiful forests and gorges of Alto Aragon.
- After reaching Jaca, the trek follows the Berdún canal westbound until it flows into the Yesa Reservoir.
- If you’re not up for the full long haul trek of Camino de Santiago, not to worry, you can ask about just doing a part of the walk at any local tourist office in Aragon.
Long Distance Routes of the Aragon Pyrenees
- Camino de Santiago
- GR 11 (Gran Recorrido 11)– From Zuriza to Aneto-194 km, in 12 stages.
- This is a mountainous route requiring a certain degree of experience or the accompaniment of an experienced guide.
- However, there are also some parts of the GR 11 going through valleys which are much less difficult and not as dangerous.
- If you want to do part of the GR 11 just choose the stretch that is best suited to your experience.
- GR 16 Serrablo routes– From Biescas to Nocito – 50 km. in 3 stages.
- The Gr 16 which runs between Biescas and Nocito crosses the Serrablo Region from North to South.
- This region is situated high in the river Gallego valley. Sabiñanigo is the capital.
- This historical area is well worth a visit, not only for its spectacular landscapes, but also for its more than 40 Mozarabic and Romanesque churches.
- As you pass through this area´s pretty paths, fields and villages, you’ll witness many signs of Serrablo´s rich ethnological heritage, left behind by people long gone who at one time learned to adapt perfectly to this Pyrenees mountain environment.
- The region of Serrablo, and in fact Aragon as a whole, has many abandoned villages, some of which you may pass by while on this route.
- There are several routes throughout the Serrablo region, and at least 15 shorter ones which run along the GR 16, and also follow the network of traditional tracks.
- To find one that is right for you, visit the local tourist office in Sabiñanigo.
- GR 18 Ribagorza Tracks– From Fonz to Aneto – 135 km. in 9 stages.
- The GR 18 and the GR 18.1, which runs parallel, cover most of the medieval county of Ribagorza. They go through the fertile lands of Fonz, along the Barbastro foothills, to Somontano de Barbastro and further north to the valleys of Barrabes and Baliera.
- Along this route you’ll see first hand how progress has effected these rural areas; abandoned villages and empty barns bear witness to the exodus from rural regions to the city’s of Aragon and Spain.
- PR HU 78 Biescas-Hermitage of Santa Elena walking route
- This pretty route starts from Biescas and follows along the left-hand bank of the river Gállego.
- The walk passes through a variety of landscapes and also goes by some information points where you can find out about local flora, fauna, geology and history.
* If paths are marked with a white and red stripe it means they are part of the long distance GRs.
When you see routes marked with white and yellow it implies that they are short distance routes, known as PRs.
There are lots of free ‘Refugios’- Refuges/Mountain Shelters for accommodation in the Aragon Pyrenees.
To find out about refuges in the area you’re visiting go to the local tourist office, or check out the website for the Aragon Mountain Club at:
Skiing, Snowboarding, and other Snow Sports
Ski Resorts of Aragon:
- This ski resort is located in the Aragon River valley near Canfranc, 33 km away from Jaca, and 80 km from the French town of Pau.
- The resort has 42km of downhill skiing between 1700 and 2300 metres altitude. Slopes: 3 -green 13- blue 22 – red 13- black, with five chairlifts and 11 drag-lifts.
- Astun is a good choice for skiers of intermediate level and above. It’s often a venue for national and international competitions, including the European Cup.
- There’s also a snow-park, ski jump and children’s snow garden, plus lots of on-site accommodation, a nursery, cafeterias, bars, a discotheque, and a spa with a heated pool, sauna, and gym.
- It is also possible to do cross-country skiin in this resort and at the nearby Candanchú Le Somport resort.
- Candanchú is set at the mouth of the Aragon River valley, near the town of Canfranc in the western Pyrenees mountains.It’s known for its challenging steep pistes, like the one called Tubo Zapatilla. The highest point is La Tuca peak, 2400 m.
- There are 43km downhill slopes, from 1530m to 2400m, including; 10 green, 12 blue, 19 red, and 12 black slopes, plus 6 chair lifts and 18 ski tows.
- The resort itself occupies two valleys. The two sectors are: Pista Grande – El Tobazo, and La Tuca. The first one is the lower sector where the main town and the parking are situated, the upper La Tuca valley is accessed from there using a chair lift.
- This resort has won an award for it’s excellent quality. It has a good snow record and now has 53 predominantly north facing downhill slopes. It is ideal for any level of skier or snowboarder.
- Candanchú also has many off-piste possibilities, including snow shoe trails, and 34 km of cross country skiing trails which link up with Le Somport in France, and traverse all the way over the plateau of Candanchú into the Pyrenees National Park and the high Aspe valley.
- Facilities and services include: a ski school, snow garden, solarium, shops, nurseries, church, ski hire, hotels, apartments, cafeterias, restaurants, and pubs.
- Candanchú offers a joint ski pass with the neighbouring resort of Astún.
- This is the highest ski resort in the Aragon Pyrenees. It is officially called Aramón Cerler and is located in the beautiful Valley of Benasque, and is surrounded by mountains that rise to more than 3,000 m, including those of Aneto, Monte Perdido, and Posets.
- It has 72 km of marked pistes, the highest point is Gallinero peak, 2750 m, with a vertical drop of 1250 m. There are 9 green, 16 blue, 17 red, and 9 black slopes.
- Cerler’s lifts are very modern and have a high capacity. All together there are; 9 chair lifts, 5 ski tows, 5 magic carpet lifts, with a capacity for a total of 24,800 skiers per hour.
- The actual resort is in two different valleys. The sectors are: Cerler and Ampriu. Each sector is accessible by road and has a parking area, both sectors are linked by chair lifts.
- The base of the resort is a purpose-built town that has lots of hotels and apartments. From there you can get a 4 seat chair lift that goes up to the main resort.
- Services here include; a ski school, nursery services, a snow garden, a cultural centre, rental shops, restaurants, bars and a few options for accommodation.
- This area is a favourite for people who prefer to stay away from large scale commercial resorts, like nearby Baqueira-Beret. There is, however, limited accommodation and no après-ski, so some skiers prefer to stay in nearby Benasque where there’s lots of nightlife and more hotels.
- It is also possible to do cross-country skiing at the nearby resort of LLanos del Hospital.
- Formigal, officially called Aramón Formigal, is in the upper Tena Valley of the western Pyrenees, near the Portalet French border crossing.
- The nearest city is Sabiñánigo, and the pretty village of Sallent de Gállego is also close.
- Formigal is the largest resort in Spain. The four areas of the resort are: Tres Hombres, Cantales, Izas and Anayet.
- It has 137 km of marked pistes, with 105 downhill runs, from 1510m to 2250m. The longest run is 4 km.
- There are slopes for all levels; 7 green, 18 blue, 33 red, and 39 black runs. There’s also a slalom course, a half-pipe for snowboarders and the chance to trysnow-catting or heliskiing.
- Most of the resort’s 21 lifts are modern and have a high capacity, they include: one 8-seater chairlift, four 6-seater chairlifts, five 4-seater chairlifts, one 2-seater chairlift, 5 Button/magic carpet lifts and 5 magic carpet lifts. The capacity is at more than 21,000 skiers per hour.
- A purpose-built town, at 1500 m, is the base of the resort. It has several hotels, apartments and an 8-seat chair lift which provides the main access to the resort.
- This resort is fairly lively at night, but is still suitable for families.
- It has 8 restaurants, 1 ski school, 2 snow gardens for children, 2 kindergartens, and 2 ski rental shops.
- You can also now do night-skiing and dog-sledding here.
Panticosa (Panticosa-Los Lagos)
- This resort is officially called Aramón Panticosa, it’s situated near the charming town of Panticosa in the upper Tena Valley of the western Pyrenees.
- It’s well known for it’s historic Roman spa; Balneario de Panticosa.
- The town of Panticosa is the base of the resort. From there a gondola provides access to the hills. But, the resort itself occupies two different valleys; the sectors of Petrosos and Sabocos.
- Top elevation is 2200 m, with a vertical drop of 850 m, and the base elevation is at 1350 m.
- There is a total of 38 runs(34 km), with 8 pistes of different difficulties: 4 green, 14 blue, 16 red, and 4 black.
- Lifts here are mostly modern and have a high capacity. They include: 1 gondola lift, 6 chair lifts, 5 ski tows and 3 magic carpet lifts, and can cater to 11,495 skiers per hour.
- Panticosa is one of the least commercialized resorts in Spain, it’s a good place for families and is suitable mainly for beginners and intermediates.
- There’s also a special zone with virgin snow just for snowboarders.
- At the resort there is a kid’s snow park, snow gardens, a kindergarten, a ski school, ski hire shops, cafeterias, and restaurants.
- You can get a Tena Valley Ski Pass which is valid in Panticosa and Formigal.
- It is possible to do cross-country skiing at this resort, and at the nearby Balneario de Panticosa, and La Partacua resorts.
- The historic Balneario de Panticosa Spa is 10 km away from the main village.
- The spa is fed by six mountain mineral springs, and was said to have been frequented by the Roman emperor Tiberius.
- A classic looking luxury hotel and casino remain by the spa itself.
- Ansó – Mesa de los Tres Reyes (The table of the Three Kings)
- Aragüés del Puerto – Peak Bisaurín
- Benasque: Peak Aneto, Perdiguero Peak, Posets Peak, The Estós Pass
- Bielsa – Suelza Point
- Canfranc – Peak Aspe
- Castejón de Sos – Gallinero Peak
- Laspuña – Peña Montañesa
- Sállent de Gallego: Cirque de Piedrefita – peaks of El Balaitus, Frondella and La Gran Facha. Or ice climbing at the Peak Anayet.
- Panticosa: Cirque de Panticosa – peaks of El Infierno, Tendenera, Sabacos, Piriecho, Zarre, Garmonegro and Aguales.
- Tena Valley
- Torla: Ordesa, Bujaruelo.
- Bielsa Ice Cascades in Bielsa’s tunnel.
- Sierrra de Guara: Bierge Rodellar, Loporzano Vadiello
- Peñas de Riglos (Las) Escalete
- Peñas de Riglos (Las) Riglos
- Candanchú: Las Piedras Rojas (the Red Stones)
- Canfranc: Barranco de los Meses
- Jaca Ice Climbing, in the Mountains of Huesca.
- Somport – Jaca
- Bosque (forest of) de Candanchu
- Ruta del Santo Grial (Holy Grail Route) – Jacetania: San Juan de la Peña – Bailo
- Hecho – Selva de Oza (Bear forest) Calzada Romana – Roman route
- Benasque: Alto Valle del Ésera (starts in Anciles), The Rigau path (starts at the petrol station and runs parallel to the river Ésera.)
- Ribagorza – Circular route from Laspaúles
These are climbing trails that have been fitted out with things like iron ladders, steps, pins, handrails, chains, bridges, and cables, in order to make normally difficult routes more accessible.
Places in the Aragon Pyrenees with Via Ferrata (Iron Routes) are:
- Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park
- Sierra and the Cañones de Guara Natural Park – “Espolón de la Virgen” is a 300 metre long route. It takes about two hours, and the starting point is in Rodellar.
- Benasque – El Sacs Route
- Ansó – The Fago ravine
- Canfranc – The Aguaré ravine
- Huesca – The Flumen canyon
- Nueno The San Julián whirlpool
- Plan – The Saravillo ravine
- Sahún The Eriste pool
* Also known as spelunking, potholing, or speleology.
- Benasque – Alba System
- Casbas de Huesca – Solencio de Bastarás
- Fanlo: Casteret Grotto, Cave of “Los Moros,” Punta de las Olas System,
- Nueno: Esteban Felipe Pothole, Grallera de Guara
- Sabiñánigo – Buchaquera Cave
- Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park – Pothole C-9 – Torrente de la Payón (in the Sierra de Sucas area)
- Alba Cave in la Maladeta (Huesca)
- Panticosa – Massif of TendeneraI
- Cavities of the Cotiella
- Torla, Escuaín, Arañonera
- Ribagorza – Campo to Santa Liestra, on the river Esera
- Rivers of Gállego and Cinca.
Mountain flying and Paragliding
- Alcalá del Obispo – Monflorite’s aerodrome
- This club is located 10 kilometres southeast of the city of Huesca.
- It also functions as a school, providing gliding and flying classes. Here you can learn about gliders using hot air currents and hang gliding, with flights of over 300 km.
- There is also the possibility to try “baptism flights” and a wide variety of mountain flying courses, gliding, acrobatics courses, beginners and advanced gliding, courses for pilots, acrobatics, etc.
- In Aragon it is also possible to do; aeroplane modelling, hot air ballooning, parachuting, paragliding, ultralight, free flight, powered flight.
- Paragliding in Castejón de Sos
- Castejón de Sos has become a European Mecca for paragliding – the best national and international pilots come here for tests and competitions, like in 1997 when the world paragliding championships were held here.
- The Aragonese paragliding schools offer beginners’ and continuation courses, single and double seated flights, etc. The two most prestigious schools are Parapente Gypetus in Zaragoza and Parapente Pirineos in Castejón de Sos (Huesca).
- The flying area is approximately 2,500 km2 and has 13 take-off points. The most popular of these are at Liri, Pedras Blancas and Abedules.
- There are various landing areas in Castejón, Bisaurri, Chía, Villanova, Sesué and Campo.
- This mountainous area is one of the best for paragliding because of its location in the middle of the sunny side of the Pyrenees.
- The thermals (invisible columns of warm air) produced in this area make it possible to fly much higher, up to 3,500 metres.
The Aragon Pyrenees, and pre-Pyrenees are an excellent place for ornithology.
This area of Spain has the highest concentration of one of Europe´s most amazing raptors; the Lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus).
The Lammergeier, unique to this region, is a huge kind of Bearded vulture, with a 2.75 metre wingspan, whose Spanish name translates as bone-breaker for its enigmatic practice of dropping bones onto rocks from high above and feeding on the fragments, shards, and marrow.
In fact, the Aragon valley is one of the best sites in Europe to observe birds of prey, high altitude and Alpine species, like Kites, Vultures, Golden Eagles, Wallcreepers, Snow-Finches, Alpine Chough and Alpine Accentors.
The best time of year to see these birds is in winter and early spring.
In summer you can easily find, among others; Rock Thrush, Egyptian Vulture, Honey-buzzard and Red-backed Shrikes.
Good areas for birdwatching in Aragon are:
- Sierra de Guara Natural Park
- This park has the highest concentration of Lammergeier in Europe.
- The gorges Vadiello, Salto de Roldan, Mascún and Riglos Mallos.
- Here you’ll be able to observe many alpine birds at close range, including; the Wallcreeper or Alpine Accentor.
- San Juan de la Pena
- This monastery and Nature Reserve is home to many Black Woodpeckers and other forest birds.
- Valley of Hecho
- This is a good place to spot some of the more difficult to find alpine species.
- The National Park of Ordesa and Monte Perdido
- Añisclo Canyon
- Valley of Canfranc; Candanchú and Astun