The beautiful department of Hautes-Pyrénées needs no introduction. Its mild climate, except in the high mountains, its varied but splendid geographical areas, its local culture and its history, all these elements that attracts a large number of tourists every year. Not to mention its famous UNESCO World Heritage sites. So, if you are passing through this magnificent department, here are three key destinations: Cauterets and the Pont d'Espagne, Lourdes and the famous Cirque de Gavarnie.
Cauterets is located near the Pyrenees National Park. A beautiful little mountain town, but still very busy: it has famous thermal baths, ski slopes and is known for its famous berlingots. Its position in favor of the preservation of the natural heritage gives it its original wild character: many streams of water run-off and scatter in cascades and pots. You can admire them by visiting the site of the Pont d'Espagne, the beginning of the Pyrenees National Park, 100 km wide from east to west. You will then be in another universe: that of wonder. This Park holds indeed an exceptional biodiversity. The Pont d'Espagne is particularly appreciated as well as its neighbor Lake Gaube, for its impressive landscapes. You will be able to walk there and contemplate the torrents rushing in the vertiginous gorges of the Bridge. In addition, many tourist activities are available: hiking, walking, skiing, snowshoeing, sledding and of course many hotels are at your disposal. And to close the loop, it is up to you to end the tour with a visit of the Gaube Lake by going there by chairlift.
Called the benevolent, Lourdes is primarily a pilgrimage city for nearly 6 million believers. Although touristy, the city keeps its strong character of Pyrenean city. Its castle, reconfigured under the aegis of Vauban, is particularly impressive. You can retrace the history of the counts of Bigorre, mercenaries, prisoners and soldier, but also learn more about local history by visiting the Pyrenees Museum. For a panoramic view of the place, visit the Pic du Jer. You can admire the valley of Argelès-Gazost and the Pyrenean summits. And what's more charming than getting there through an old funicular. And finally, to meditate and move, why not go to the lake of the city? Only 3 km from the city center, you can take a breath of fresh air, go cycling or canoeing, walk, fish or play golf in an 18 holes course.
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as a natural and cultural wealth, Cirque de Gavarnie is impressive, both in geography and geology. In front of it, the Mont-Perdu Massif, close to it, the canyons of Ordesa, Anisclo and Pineta, a magnificent cascade of 413 meters of waterfalls and the neighboring circuses of Troumouse and Estaube. At a height of 1700 meters and a circumference of 14 kilometers, it will not fail to impress you and you can admire the surrounding nature at leisure, by exploring it on foot or on horseback.