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Reasons to visit the Pyrenees

The great mountain barrier of the Pyrenees, separating France and Spain, stretches from the Bay of Biscay to the Mediterranean. In winter the mountains are the preserve of skiers and other winter sports enthusiasts, but in summer the mountains and foothills come alive for everyone. Walkers, cyclists, bird-watchers and lovers of spectacular scenery all congregate here, yet rarely see each other.

Navarra and Aragon are two medieval kingdoms which lie towards the west of the Pyrenees. Navarra's capital is Pamplona which is well-known for its fiesta of San Fermines and the famous 'running of the bulls' which takes place 6 - 14 July. Apart from non-stop partying, the highlight is when the bulls are left to charge through the old town while crowds of young men run in front. The city is also worth visiting outside of this time. Apart from being easier and cheaper to get accommodation, there is much to see: the main attractions being its Renaissance Cathedral, old walled quarter and imposing citadel.

To the east of Navarra is Aragon, a relatively remote area of Spain and totally unspoilt. With its lakes, rivers, mountains and lush valleys the area is popular for both sports and nature lovers. Aragon's three provinces are Zaragoza, Huesca and Teruel.

Finally at the eastern end, Catalonia has it's own Pyrenean part. Here are yet more rocky mountains and green valleys, this time blessed with the distinctive culture of the Catalan people.

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