Spreading from coast to coast and separating France from Spain, the curved backbone of the Spanish Pyrenees stretches nearly five hundred miles. Its bare spiny peaks and luscious green troughs are reason enough to take a peak at this natural wonderland. Several driving routes allow you to appreciate scenery that quite possibly belongs to Canada while the hiking is second to none. Expect trails to suit anything from a stroll to a mountainous hike with highlights such as raging waterfalls and magnificent views. Usually associated with wealth and prestige, we were shocked when we found out our bank account wouldn’t break and we could hike the Spanish Pyrenees on a budget.
After days of research we narrowed our visit to Spain’s Aragon province and singled out one glorious national park. Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park in north Aragon is a famed spot because its various gorges each portray a unique side to the Pyrenees’ diverse landscape. To top it off we found bargain accommodation and could not believe how little we would spend on such a unique vacation.
How to visit Ordesa National Park and hike the Spanish Pyrenees on a Budget:
Hire yourself a car. Do your research, we found a company that does Smart Cars for $9 a day.
Pack yourself some walking shoes/trainers… access to the Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park in off season is FREE and the hiking trails are endless! Ordesa gorge is the popular choice for hiking trails from 2 hour strolls to 7 hour gorge summits and climbing routes. A free map and walking advice can be found at Ordesa’s car park or this hikepyrenees website can help with picking walking tracks that suit your style.
(Note during peak summer months Ordesa Gorge is only accessible from its information centre in Torla. Bus tickets from Torla to the park are mandatory unless you want to walk for 2 hours. A return ticket costs around €3.50/$5)
Stay at Fiscal’s Hostal Rio Ara. They charge €15/$20 for a clean double/twin room that has a shared bathroom in the hallway. The price includes a buffet ‘variety’ breakfast (anything from hams to jam on toast to packaged american brownies). It is also only 20km outside of the parks main entrance which was a perfect for us to explore the four gorges within the national park, take a dip into France and day trip through the scenic villages.
Eating out is expensive and generally underwhelming so stock on fresh goods at the local supermarket and make yourself a gourmet baguette, a cheese and tortilla platter or suck it up and buy delicious paella for €15 pp.
A smart car can cost as little as $160 per week, with insurance included.
Smart cars are great on fuel ($100 dollars for 1 week should be plenty).
Accommodation (& breakfast) at Hostal Rio is $120 for 6 nights.
Entrance into the park areas is free.