Skiing in the Spanish Pyrenees Vacation

Huesca Cerler ski area in Spanish Pyrenees.
A 8 day trip to Spain 
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Skiing is different in the Spanish Pyrenees. No queues for the gondolas, no marks in the snow, nothing but untouched slopes. Rather than burgers and beers, the meals center around stunning Catalan and Basque gastronomy, with restaurants accessed on snowmobiles. This is paradise, on and off the piste, Europe’s winter secret perfect for anyone with a penchant for powder. This eight-day adventure is handcrafted to reveal the very best of one of the world’s greatest ski destinations. Are you planning your dream vacation to Spain? Consider browsing our Spain vacations page to add other essential Spain experiences and activities.

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General Information

Photos
Heli-skiing in snow covered mountains.
Scenic snow covered valley.
Winter ski resort.
Traditional Catalan food.
Architecture in Barcelona, Spain.
Tour lateral view of arc de trio.
Heli-skiing in winter.
Basque country food.
Park Guell, Barcelona, Spain.
Views of Barcelona, Spain.
Inside the cathedral la seu.
Park Guell, Barcelona, Spain.
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Barcelona, Catalonia, La Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, Passeig de Gracia, Batllo House, Mila House, Plaza Real, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Aran Valley, Pyrenees, Baqueira-Beret, Montgarri, Vielha 

Departure Dates 

Please inquire for a custom quote. The price is customized based on final accommodation choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Barcelona – Exploring the Legacy of Gaudi and the Modernists

Gaudi provides the surreal introduction to Catalonia. The spires of La Sagrada Familia dominate the cityscape, spiraling over a Mediterranean coastline. Aristocratic houses reveal architectural innovation in the district of Eixample, early Modernista works commissioned by the wealthy of the city. Antoni Gaudi has provided the lasting legacy to the movement, but he wasn’t the first to craft a Catalan brand of art nouveau. Lluis Domenech I Montaner was highly influential, a stepping stone towards the more free-form styles of Gaudi and that would come later. While Gaudi sketched the cathedral, Montaner designed mesmeric public buildings, such as a hospital and classical music hall.

After an early flight arrival in Barcelona, you’re greeted by a guide and transferred into the heart of the city. Early check-in has been arranged, and there’s plenty of time to relax before a day in the city. Meet the guide for breakfast and set off on the trail of the Modernistas, a journey through the city that reveals outstanding works of art: Casa Batllo, Casa Mila, Park Guell, La Sagrada Familia, and the works of Montaner that have only recently been decommissioned. Such a journey isn’t just about the art nouveau. By traveling between the attractions, you’ll enjoy a great overview of Barcelona, from coffee on a terrace to colorful shopping streets and lively plazas. The evening is at your leisure, and the guide can provide dining recommendations.

What’s Included: airport transfer, accommodation, tour

Day 2: Barcelona – Bicycle and Food Tour in the Catalan Capital

Barcelona has evolved into one of the great European cycling cities. More than 200 kilometers of bike trails weave up and down the city, helping you discover neighborhoods that don’t commonly see tourist’s eyes. Ascend to Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, where grandeur provides a backdrop to an uninterrupted city view. Descend through districts of narrow townhouses, pushing the brakes in order to admire the cute cafes and shops. Travel out along the promenade, past broad beaches of golden sand and the fluttering palms that sometimes seem out of place. Then loop back into the city going off the beaten track.

The pace is relaxed, and the guide can tailor the route to your energy levels, with more, or less cycling and sights. As the sun starts to dip, later in the afternoon, you continue with another unique Catalan tour. Food defines so much of this city and hopping between the tapas bars is a great way to sample the diversity of flavors. The small taverns are where the locals go to dine, sampling the dishes that accompany every drink. Sip on Cava from the nearby Catalan region of Penedes, sample full-bodied reds from legendary Priorat (also proudly Catalonian), and get to know the distinctive cuisine of Barcelona.

What’s Included: accommodation, breakfast

Day 3: Aran Valley – Introductions to Gastronomy and Powder in the Spanish Pyrenees

It’s a scenic four-hour drive to the Aran Valley. Travel west from Barcelona, passing quiet Catalonian towns on the road towards Aragon. Then head north, twisting into the Pyrenees, winding through ancient villages that seem to have nothing but a few stone houses and a fragmenting church tower. The slopes are green, and the road steadily climbs, past buildings of stone and slate that preserve the charm of distant centuries. From the Mediterranean coast, you climb to more than 2,500 meters above sea level, stopping at a five-star hotel in the Aran Valley. Snowy summits surround the hotel, and there are magnificent views in every direction.

You have a rental car for this journey, and it’s best to travel slowly, such is the beauty of the route. Check in to the hotel and spend the rest of the day in the spa, preparing for the next four days of skiing. This frontier valley is perched at a crossroads between Spain and France, Basque, Catalonia, and Aragon. Such a confluence excites every food lover, with the dinner menus swerving from Aranese stews to Basque pintxos and French delicacies. There are many superb restaurants, and your hotel will provide recommendations for Baqueira and the surrounding villages.

What’s Included: accommodation, breakfast

Day 4: Aran Valley – Baqueira Sky Day and a Snow Mobile to Dinner

Approach the gondola, and you may seem surprised. Up ahead is a glorious vista for anyone who likes to ski, with endlessly white slopes stretching up and around the jagged peaks. There is nobody waiting for the gondola. Arrive at the higher station, and you still don’t see more than a handful of other skiers. The greatest highlight of this region is the lack of recognition. While Europe’s other mountains swarm with visitors in winter (including neighboring Andorra), the Spanish side of the Pyrenees has stayed off the beaten track, a secret gem that isn’t populated by hoards of ski schools.

Spend today exploring the piste, choosing from the hundreds of runs that are found in this corner of the world. You’re accompanied by a local guide who has an intimate understanding of this region. With so few other skiers, the slopes are mostly devoid of ruts. On some runs, there is nothing but pure virgin snow, with no evidence that others have gone before you. After a full day skiing, you enjoy the first in a series of unique apres-ski experiences. Travel by snowmobile to the abandoned town of Montgarri, a place of slate and stone that was once the heart of this valley. It now houses a traditional Aranese eatery where you dine around a roaring fire before snowmobiling beneath the stars, back to Baqueira.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Aran Valley – On and Off the Piste Around Baqueira

Today is another superb day in the snow going on and off the piste around the Aran Valley. When the routes are so empty imagine how it feels to slalom through the trees or cut across the great swathes of powdery white. Like yesterday, the adventure is crafted to your ability level and interest, although the guide will promote the Spanish style of skiing. Spain isn’t where you maximize the hours skiing. It’s where you really enjoy the skiing, in between the rest of the experience. You’re led to the valley’s secret spots, not just the snow, but the restaurants and villages that confirm you are exploring another world.

What’s Included: accommodation, breakfast

Day 6: Aran Valley – Heli-Skiing Adventure and Mountain Lodge Dinner

After two days on the slopes, you increase the intensity of the adventure. Ascend towards some of the highest peaks in the Pyrenees, touching down on plateaus of completely undisturbed powder. Then descend, carving down steep slopes as the grandeur of the mountains extends in every direction. After each route down you’re picked up by the helicopter and brought back to the plateau, where there are hundreds of other routes for skiing back down the mountain. This is Spanish skiing at its very best, such a sense of freedom in such an untrammeled part of the world.

Like the other days, the private guide crafts the day completely around you. It’s the guide’s in-depth knowledge of the mountains that ensures the heli-skiing is safe, with expert guidance provided to help you on the long patches of uncompacted powder. There’s a special mountain lodge dinner tonight, Moet Restaurant on the slopes of Baqueira one of the very best in a valley that’s revered for its food. Of course, there’s also the spa at the hotel to enjoy, a place to rest the thighs after a day chiseling paths in untouched snow.

What's Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 7: Aran Valley – Guided Ski Tour and Vielha’s Dining Scene

Baqueira is just one of the small resort villages in the Aran Valley. There are more than two dozen in total, although some of these have little more than a single hotel. It’s higher on the mountains that you find the main highlights of these other resorts. Routes crisscross all over the valley, maintained throughout winter despite the relative lack of skiers. While the last three days have mostly been about up and down, today’s guided adventure takes you across the valley. It’s an immersion in nature’s drama, an escapade through some of Europe’s most untouched landscapes.

Even in summer, this valley doesn’t attract crowds, unlike Picos de Europe in nearby Asturias. It’s just you and the mountains. Inhale the silence of the high mountains, feel the crisp snow crunch beneath the skis, and journey towards other remote villages for lunch and drinks. On this final night, you dine in Vielha, a village with a long culinary history. Dine at its best restaurant, a tapas and wine pairing that continues long into the night. Just like previous evenings, you’ll find that the Spanish don’t give up their late eating habits, even when the slopes beckon the next morning. The style is to stay up late, wake up and ski, then incorporate a siesta at some point during the day.

What’s Included: accommodation, breakfast

Day 8: Aran Valley to Barcelona – Departure

Descend from the mountains in your rental car and return to Barcelona, dropping the vehicle at the airport. An eight-day vacation is ending but you could tailor this itinerary to explore more of Spain, utilizing the excellent domestic flight network out of the Catalan capital.

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast

Price

Price 

Please inquire for a custom quote. The price is customized based on final accommodation choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.