The mountains are packed with PR footpaths (short hiking trails) that wend their way through forests, summer pastures and valleys. This easier walking accessible to everyone is an alternative to the cross-border walking routes full of historical interest such as the Chemin des Bonshommes in Cathar Country and famous long-distance hiking trails such as the GR10, which crosses the Pyrenean range from east to west.
The many fast-flowing mountain rivers here make the Pyrenees a popular destination for white water sports including rafting, white water swimming, canyoning and more… The legendary cols of the Tour de France (such as the Col du Tourmalet and Col d’Aspin) make them a real draw for road cycling.
In winter, the Pyrenees are a popular destination for winter sports and the complete range of snow-based recreational activities. The Midi-Pyrénées region has 23 ski areas boasting excellent facilities for alpine skiing, nordic skiing, snowboarding, sledging, snowshoeing, or trying your hand at dog sledding and even skijoring and ice climbing!
Resort areas include Tourmalet-La Mongie-Barèges, Cauterets, Gavarnie-Gèdre, Piau-Engaly, Saint Lary, Luchon-Superbagnères, Ax 3 Domaines and more… These places all have a healthy respect for the mountain environment and offer a warm sporting welcome that extends to the villages that buzz with activity in winter.
Because of their abundance of thermal springs, exploited since Roman times, the Pyrenees were at the forefront of the spa industry boom in resorts such as Cauterets, Barèges, Bagnères-de-Bigorre and Ax-les-Thermes.
Since the turn of the new century, these resorts have seen the development of a collection unique in France of 10 thermal recreation and spa centres dedicated to relaxation and well-being in thermal waters, including Aquensis in Bagnères-de-Bigorre, Balnéa in Génos-Loudenvielle and Les Bains du Couloubret in Ax-les-Thermes.