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Skiing with a Mediterranean flair: In the Pyrenees between Spain & France

Photo: Baqueira-Beret, Pyrenees
Dec 1, 2020

Why only ever going to the well-known ski areas in the Alps when there is so much more to discover? To be honest, I am very happy that we are often embarking on new ski adventures together with the family. Because that was how we finally discovered the south of Europe for us. 

And while others mostly associate beach holidays with Spain and France, we have long since stowed our skis and have been on the way with children to the Pyrenees. Because here we can simply have fun together despite different skiing capabilities and at the same time immerse ourselves in a completely different world away from everyday life. What is more, almost every time a cloudless sky with lots of sun, so you can happen to be out and about in a T-shirt. This is exactly the kind of relaxation that feels really good for us.

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Formigal-Panticosa in Catalonia Formigal-panticosa.com

From Barcelona towards a picturesque snow landscape

As far as the arrival is concerned, we stick to a tip that we received ourselves a while ago: by plane to Barcelona and then further by a rental car. The roughly two-hour drive flies by, just through the beautiful mountain landscape. And if you decide, you can spend a few days in Barcelona later before the return flight. The beautiful port city offers numerous historical and cultural highlights such as the National Museum or the Basilica of Santa María del Mar. Here you will enjoy the easy-going, Mediterranean atmosphere of the city in the evening. Perfect!

We genuinely like the family-friendly atmosphere of most places. And no trace of boredom.

As an alternative to the route via Barcelona, you may want to book a flight to Toulouse and drive from French side to the Pyrenees. We haven't tried this ourselves, but we will definitely do when we are back again.

The best ski resorts in the Pyrenees: Formigal-Panticosa & Baqueira-Beret

What initially surprises many when planning their first winter holiday in the southern climes: in the Pyrenees you actually have a full range of recommended ski areas to choose from. We would like to introduce two of them to you in more detail because we have always made good experiences here:

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Fantastic off-piste skiing in Baqueira-Beret

Known for its beauty & really good food: the Baqueira-Beret ski resort

The ski resort in the heart of the Pyrenees is considered one of the most beautiful on the entire continent. It is hardly surprising that you sometimes meet celebrities – even the Spanish royal family regularly spends their winter holidays here. 

In many places you will not be able to get out of amazement as soon as you have reached the higher areas with the chair lift and have a wide view of the mountains. But of course there is a lot to discover on the skis, too: a total of around 150 kilometers of slopes in all difficulty levels. And should your family prefer taking it a little more easy, you can jointly start the day in one of the two local beginner areas and reserve time for the challenging slopes simply for later.

Beyond the downhills, you should definitely take some moments to enjoy the picturesque landscape and the southern-adventurous flair – after all, rather uncommon for a ski holiday. You should not miss to explore the numerous small villages in the Pyrenees, which have developed their very own culture in remote areas. And be sure to try out the homemade local food. If you really want to enjoy yourself, pay a visit to the famous noble restaurant "Casa Irene" in Artiés. Otherwise you are always in good hands in one of the tapas bars.

The perfect balance for families and sports enthusiasts: Formigal-Panticosa

This ski resort in northeastern Spain actually comprises two sub-regions that have joined up and are connected by a free shuttle bus. This is super practical, because with their different orientations you have all the advantages on site: in the family-friendly Panticosa you can all spend a relaxing day together and especially the children have a lot of fun here. 

Previously in the ski kindergartens, now on the many beginner-friendly slopes and sometimes even in one of the two snow parks. And if I yearn for a bit more challenge, I just drive over to Formigal, where almost 40 black slopes are waiting for me. Or in the so-called "Ski Ratrack" where you are pulled through the area by a piste-bully together with other holidaymakers and enjoy the landscape and a unique feeling of lightness.

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Winter dreams in the Pyrenees Formigal-panticosa.com

There are a total of 137 kilometers of slopes to discover in Formigal-Panticosa. That's enough for a couple of vacations. And the children have got here enough opportunities to further improve on skis.

Our conclusion for the Pyrenees: ideal for families who love to explore

It is for a reason that we have returned there several times since our first journey to the Pyrenees. We genuinely like the family-friendly atmosphere of most places. And no trace of boredom. After all, there are still many unexplored areas in the mountains between France and Spain and there is always something new to discover. 

We haven't really exhausted the wide range of offers at all: in addition to skiing, you can ice-dive, climb frozen waterfalls or glide through the warm water of a canyon. Maybe next time we'll explore the French part of the Pyrenees (from Toulouse) or drive a little further in the middle to Andorra. That should also be a great place for skiing, as we heard. And of course we hope you, too, have a lot of fun exploring the Pyrenees.

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