Skiing or snowboarding the Pyrenees remains highly underrated compared to the better known Alps and this is no more evident than here. Tourmalet offers the largest linked resort in the French Pyrenees with over 100km of pistes with a lift system that continues to improve year on year. St Lary Soulan is another ski favourite amongst the French and Spanish. A stylish, bustling resort, the town centre has been sympathetically restored offering a slice of village charm. It also enjoys easy access to neighbouring Piau Engaly, the highest ski resort in the French Pyrenees which caters well for beginners right up to expert skiers.
This is a region full of man-made and natural wonders. The UNESCO world heritage site of the Cirque de Gavarnie cannot fail to impress. This huge glacial wall of rock with its numerous cascading waterfalls is well worth a visit whilst Luz-Saint-Sauveur provides a gateway to the Pyrenees National Park and some of the most beautiful sights in the Pyrenees. In winter the ski station at Luz Ardiden enjoys a burgeoning reputation for its excellent snow park and diverse pistes
The thermal spa town of Cauterets provides an ideal base for climbing or walking. Situated on the Pyrenean wide GR10 route and bordering the Parc National des Pyrenees, there are numerous routes to explore. A worthy cross country and downhill ski resort with a lively après ski scene makes this a true all round resort. Nearby, Argelès-Gazost is another delightful Pyrenean town with family skiing at nearby Hautacam and over 450km of mountain bike trails on its doorstep.
The wide valley of the Val d’Azun is strewn with small typical Pyrenean villages made up of stone houses and slate roofs. It has long been a walker’s favourite and in 2005 was the venue for the first international walking convention ‘Eldorando’ attracting 50000 visitors.
Take a trip to the Pic du Midi observatory - at 2877m above sea level the panoramic view on a clear day is breathtaking; equally amazing is that this feat of engineering was completed in the 1870s and has been a working observatory ever since. The cable car to the top now doubles up to provide some excellent off-piste ski descents back to the resort of La Mongie.
For cultural heritage there is the religious phenomenon of Lourdes. Over 6 million pilgrims come each year in hope that their faith will cure them or simply to go to the Grotte de Massabielle where the young Bernadette saw a vision of the Virgin Mary.
Nestling at the foot of the Campan Valley, the historic spa town of Bagnères-de Bigorre has long been a firm favourite amongst French tourists. It remains a modern day health resort thanks to the luxurious Aquensis natural health spa.
Situated on the eastern fringe of the Hautes Pyrenees are the peaceful and beautiful valleys of Neste and Barousse. As well as providing the tranquil setting for cross-country skiing between 1600m and 1800m the Port de Balès entered the Tour de France history books as one of the most gruelling climbs on the 2007 tour. The route west towards Bagnères-de Bigorre boasts stunning vistas running parallel with the Pyrenees range.