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20 ways to cross the Pyrenees on a Camino

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
On my recent Camino Catalan, I couldn't resist sticking a brochure from the albergue in Huesca into my pack. I usually am loathe to add to my weight but this was pretty amazing. Entitled, "Huesca, La Magia" this brochure and map show and describe no fewer than twenty Camino routes over the Pyrenees (and this is only for Huesca!!!).

I thought particularly of MikeVasey, so I hope you see this Mike, and if I could figure out a way to copy this map and its accompanying descriptions of the routes, I would post it. But it's too big for a normal copier.

In any event, here are the Camino entrances into Huesca from France, at least according to this guide.
Viella
Portillon de Benasque
La Madera
La Pez
Ordiceto
Trigoniero
Bielsa
Pro Biello de Bielsa
Brecha de Rolando
Bujaruelo-Torla
Gavarnie
Los Mulos-Ouolettes
Marcadau
Piedra S. Martin
Lavedan
Biello Sallelnt-Peyrelue
Portalet
Los Monjes
Comport
Palo
Mesa

Of course a lot of these all merge soon after the crossing but it explains why people who go to the Pyrenees on vacation find arrows everywhere! I'm not sure how well marked they are, but it looks like there are many options.

Buen camino, and I'd love to hear from anyone who has tried one of these less conventional routes, most of which connect with the Camino Catalan on its way through the province of Huesca.

Laurie
 
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mspath

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Sounds great Laurie! What a pleasure it is to dream of all those 'new caminos' to follow through Huesca. Facebook, too, has a post with the title "Huesca, la Magia"; perhaps it is also the same content.

MM
 

bernhugo

Active Member
Hi Laurie. If you have a photographic function like photo shop or similar, take a photo of the map and process it through your computer/laptop/appliance.
You can then post it on here ,the same way as you post a photo.
 

annakappa

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.
If only one lived in the area, what a way to pass a few weekends, or mid- week hikes ( for us lucky ones who are pensioned)!;)
 
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C

Castilian

Guest
here are the Camino entrances into Huesca from France

The entry from Viella (aka Vielha) isn't from France. I don't know some of the routes you quoted so I can't tell you if there's any other route that doesn't enter into Huesca province from France.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Thanks for that correction, Castillian. You're right of course, on closer inspection I see that the route starts in Catalunya. I have now closely inspected the rest of the entry points and they are all over the border into France, not by much in some cases, but it looks like they all leave Spain. Do you know if they are all marked? Buen camino, Laurie
 
C

Castilian

Guest
Facebook, too, has a post with the title "Huesca, la Magia"; perhaps it is also the same content.

Not necessarily. Huesca, la Magia is an old slogan used by local authorities to promote tourism. If memory serves me right, it started to be used in the 80's as La Magia de Huesca and in the 90's it became Huesca la Magia (it was used too on -at least some years of- the first decade of the 2000's). The main basketball team of the city (back them in the top basketball league of Spain) adopted it as name during several years. The slogan became so popular (not only in Huesca) that even if it wasn't used anymore people would recall it.

You're right of course, on closer inspection I see that the route starts in Catalunya.

It's not always easy to say what's the starting point of a route but that one enters into Catalonia from France... For more info: www.caminosantiago-valledearan.com/recorrido.htm
BTW, Vielha (aka Viella) is the main town of the Val d'Aran (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Val_d'Aran).

Do you know if they are all marked?

I don't know, sorry.
 
M

mikevasey

Guest
Hi Laurie, thanks, strange thing is I am little scared of heights but cant help looking at the various routes and wonder what they are like. There was a thread knocking about somewhere which talked about the Cathars route in France and using it to cross the Pyrenees and then join up with a camino, that would be a beautiful one, with its own unique history. I think these routes are more for you, i keep trying to make my caminos simple and straight forward but end up losing sight of this.
 
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navarro

Active Member
On my recent Camino Catalan, I couldn't resist sticking a brochure from the albergue in Huesca into my pack. I usually am loathe to add to my weight but this was pretty amazing. Entitled, "Huesca, La Magia" this brochure and map show and describe no fewer than twenty Camino routes over the Pyrenees (and this is only for Huesca!!!).

I thought particularly of MikeVasey, so I hope you see this Mike, and if I could figure out a way to copy this map and its accompanying descriptions of the routes, I would post it. But it's too big for a normal copier.

In any event, here are the Camino entrances into Huesca from France, at least according to this guide.
Viella
Portillon de Benasque
La Madera
La Pez
Ordiceto
Trigoniero
Bielsa
Pro Biello de Bielsa
Brecha de Rolando
Bujaruelo-Torla
Gavarnie
Los Mulos-Ouolettes
Marcadau
Piedra S. Martin
Lavedan
Biello Sallelnt-Peyrelue
Portalet
Los Monjes
Comport
Palo
Mesa

Of course a lot of these all merge soon after the crossing but it explains why people who go to the Pyrenees on vacation find arrows everywhere! I'm not sure how well marked they are, but it looks like there are many options.

Buen camino, and I'd love to hear from anyone who has tried one of these less conventional routes, most of which connect with the Camino Catalan on its way through the province of Huesca.

Laurie
Pyrennees mountains are very permeable. Every valley in the north had a path to other valley in the south. In winter they are covered by snow, specialy in the center Pyrennees but in summertime you can cross easily by a lot of pass. And many of them were used to link with the Santiago way
 

Beebe

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Many routes since 1995 to the present. Annually on the Camino Francés and Chemin du Puy.
Thanks for sharing this. Very cool. It's also in the spirit of the medieval Camino when pilgrims went over whatever route made the most sense given weather, bandits, ease, and location, and were not stuck only to one or two paths. Many times on the Camino, especially in the Pyrenees, locals told me about alternative and older camino/chemin trails that medieval folks used. It seems ironic that we modern pilgrims, with our seemingly greater social freedoms compared to medieval Europe, have thought only to walk a few paths!
 

apoivre

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Mozárabe de Almería in March 2019
May I also add this link that discusses (in French) the traditional walking routes across the Central Pyrenees between St Gaudens in the Comminges and Barbastro, complete with GPS tracks and assorted practicalities. It covers the way via Vielha, too.
 
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Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
The title of the thread sparked a little idea in my mind: perhaps someone could set the list to the tune of Paul Simon's "Fifty ways to leave your lover"? ;)
 

sjeanmarc

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Aachen (Aquis Gran - Aix la Chapelle) -Santiago-Finisterre-Porto
May I also add this link that discusses (in French) the traditional walking routes across the Central Pyrenees between St Gaudens in the Comminges and Barbastro, complete with GPS tracks and assorted practicalities. It covers the way via Vielha, too.
There's also the version in English of the website Hiking through Pyrenees
 

JiminVa

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances Aug/Sept 17; Frances Aug/Sept 18
Hello. Have been investigating routes from Lourdes. Does anyone have any experience/insights on a Lourdes-Gavarnie-Breche de Roland-Torla-Biescas-Sabinango- Jaca route? Looks interesting.
 
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sjeanmarc

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Aachen (Aquis Gran - Aix la Chapelle) -Santiago-Finisterre-Porto
Hello. Have been investigating routes from Lourdes. Does anyone have any experience/insights on a Lourdes-Gavarnie-Breche de Roland-Torla-Biescas-Sabinango- Jaca route? Looks interesting.
Hello.
From Lourdes, south through Pyrenees
Option 1 . Val d'Azun. Arrens-Marsous and Port de Peyre-Saint-Martin. Sallent de Gállego
Option 2 . Gavarnie. Port de Boucharo

The Brèche de Roland is a way through high pass going on a glacier (small but sometimes difficult to pass through).
 

JiminVa

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances Aug/Sept 17; Frances Aug/Sept 18
Hello.
From Lourdes, south through Pyrenees
Option 1 . Val d'Azun. Arrens-Marsous and Port de Peyre-Saint-Martin. Sallent de Gállego
Option 2 . Gavarnie. Port de Boucharo

The Brèche de Roland is a way through high pass going on a glacier (small but sometimes difficult to pass through).
sjeanmarc. Thanks!!! I was aware of the Option 2 Route (Gavarnie and Port De Boucharo). I believe this is an old pilgrim route. But was not aware of Option 1. I'll continue to research. The route thru the Breche de Roland route and then down thru the Ordesa Valley looks wonderful as well but am not sure how strenuous it will be. Looks very doable depending on weather conditions of course. I would be doing this in the mid August timeframe.
 

Rob_Shill_Wales_UK

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019- will it be my year for the Camino- I certainly hope so!
sjeanmarc. Thanks!!! I was aware of the Option 2 Route (Gavarnie and Port De Boucharo). I believe this is an old pilgrim route. But was not aware of Option 1. I'll continue to research. The route thru the Breche de Roland route and then down thru the Ordesa Valley looks wonderful as well but am not sure how strenuous it will be. Looks very doable depending on weather conditions of course. I would be doing this in the mid August timeframe.
I have hiked the breche de roland a few times from gavarnie without much of a pack. Its not an easy walk for sure. Its amazing but not easy. The breche northern side (france) until not so long back required ice equipment to traverse it as there was a glacier there. It has gone now but snow can stay on that side well into the summer requiring the hiker to use crampons. When there isnt snow, its a scramble over shingle to get to the top. Some routes from there to Ordessa require you to hold onto chains along walls due tot he steep nature of the falls. Honestly don't want to put you off but want you to be aware that its not an easy route. There is a refuge before the breche however it has been closed for some years now as they are expanding it. Not sure on when it will reopen but make sure you research if it is open if you intend using it. People tend to bivvy at the breche or towards ordessa as there isn't anywhere to stay inside. in good weather it can be amazing but mother nature can be fickle there as the spanish warm weather hits the Pyrenean colder weather and can create some hellish weather- wind especially! You should be ok in august but you would need to have gear just in case it turns bad there.

I intend starting my pilgrimage at the col de tentes which is effectively the end f the road above gavarnie and the start of the breche hike. I am going to head north to lourdes and then towards SJPP. I would love to for the breche and ordessa but i know my limits with a full pack.

Ordessa by the way is amazing- ive walked in that valley- like Jurassic park!

PS- my profile pic- taken at gavarnie (cirque) in the summer... you will see there is still snow! On that walk, i headed in the direction of the breche where i traversed deep snow drifts. one of my favourite places.
 

JiminVa

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances Aug/Sept 17; Frances Aug/Sept 18
I have hiked the breche de roland a few times from gavarnie without much of a pack. Its not an easy walk for sure. Its amazing but not easy. The breche northern side (france) until not so long back required ice equipment to traverse it as there was a glacier there. It has gone now but snow can stay on that side well into the summer requiring the hiker to use crampons. When there isnt snow, its a scramble over shingle to get to the top. Some routes from there to Ordessa require you to hold onto chains along walls due tot he steep nature of the falls. Honestly don't want to put you off but want you to be aware that its not an easy route. There is a refuge before the breche however it has been closed for some years now as they are expanding it. Not sure on when it will reopen but make sure you research if it is open if you intend using it. People tend to bivvy at the breche or towards ordessa as there isn't anywhere to stay inside. in good weather it can be amazing but mother nature can be fickle there as the spanish warm weather hits the Pyrenean colder weather and can create some hellish weather- wind especially! You should be ok in august but you would need to have gear just in case it turns bad there.

I intend starting my pilgrimage at the col de tentes which is effectively the end f the road above gavarnie and the start of the breche hike. I am going to head north to lourdes and then towards SJPP. I would love to for the breche and ordessa but i know my limits with a full pack.

Ordessa by the way is amazing- ive walked in that valley- like Jurassic park!

PS- my profile pic- taken at gavarnie (cirque) in the summer... you will see there is still snow! On that walk, i headed in the direction of the breche where i traversed deep snow drifts. one of my favourite places.
Thanks very much for the detailed insights! Great info. Will keep researching. Doubt I'll get back over for another Camino till 2022 or later given Covid and personal obligations. So there's plenty of time to prep and research.
 

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