The 14 Most Beautiful Villages in The Pyrenees

On holiday in the mountains of the southwest? Discover the most beautiful villages in the Pyrenees!

It is no surprise that there are no fewer than ten villages in the Pyrenees named “Most Beautiful Villages of France.” While the traditions may differ from Catalonia in the east to the Basque Country in the west, the charm still exists.

You will discover proud fortified cities as well as small picturesque hamlets, always surrounded by spectacular nature. So don’t wait any longer and build your course among the most beautiful villages in the Pyrenees!

The 14 Most Beautiful Villages in The Pyrenees

1. Sare

Located 14 kilometers from the sea, this beautiful village in the Pyrenees stands among imposing massifs. The ascent of the Rhune mountain is a nice walk that takes 2 hours.

Arriving at the top at 905 meters above sea level, you will enjoy an exceptional panorama of the French and Spanish coasts. 

One of the most beautiful buildings in the Labourd region is the Church of St. Martin. It features a majestic 5-story tower, wooden galleries, and a sundial.

In the village, raise your head in search of lintels on the facades. They indicate the year of construction of the building or the name of its owner. The leisure trail imprints the medieval path that connected Saint-Jean-de-Luz to Spain.

Not far from this village in the Pyrenees, enter the caves of Sare to discover the origins of the Basque people.

2. Ainhoa

Near Sare, another village in the Pyrenees is worth a visit. You will learn the history of Ainhoa at the Heritage House during a beautiful 25-minute documentary broadcast on a panoramic screen.

You will learn more about the village’s layout, its bastide street, its church classified as a historical monument, and its wash house.

The pediment, a Basque pelota ground, occupies a very central place. It is always the scene of games that you may have the chance to attend.

The site Notre-Dame de l’Aubépine, which can be reached after a 30-minute walk, offers a beautiful view of this village in the Pyrenees and the surrounding area.

3. Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port

Here is a village in the Pyrenees built around its seventeenth-century citadel, remodeled by Vauban. Her story is told by herself during a stroll through the streets.

The typical architecture of the Basque Country is revealed, with its white houses with red or green shutters. 

The village is located along the Nive and at the foot of the Col de Roncevaux. Historically, it has been an important commercial crossroads.

The citadel reflects its role as the stronghold of Navarre. Don’t miss the Church of Our Lady, the largest Gothic building in the Basque Country.

We also recommend the Bishops’ Prison, which houses a permanent exhibition on the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.

4. Saint-Bertrand

This important stage of the Way of Santiago de Compostela welcomes many pilgrims and travelers every year. They come to discover the ramparts pierced by three doors, the half-timbered houses of the seventeenth century, and the imposing Sainte-Marie cathedral.

The Pearl of Romano-Gothic art contains a choir with 66 carved oak stalls and a corner organ. The world’s best organists follow one another each year during the annual festival for high-flying performances.

Below the village, you can visit the ruins of the ancient city of Lugdunum-Convenae, with the forum, theater, and thermal baths.

Then make a detour to the Basilica of Saint-Just de Valcabrère, built partly with stones from the ancient city.

5. Evol

You will be charmed by this small hamlet that takes the visitor back a century. Following the winding road from Olette, you will discover a small village in the Pyrenees made up of schist houses with slate roofs.

Only a few dozen inhabitants reside there, guaranteeing a peaceful atmosphere, only punctuated by the soft sound of the canal that crosses it.

Narrow streets and stairs will lead you to the church of Saint-André, classified as a historical monument.

You can also visit the literary studio of Ludovic Massé, a writer from Evol. A lovely walk leads to the ruins of the old feudal castle.

6. Villefranche-de-Conflent

This medieval city is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its fortifications. You will visit the tower of the Viguerie and the ramparts, built in the eleventh century and improved by Vauban in the seventeenth.

A must-see, Fort Liberia can be reached by taking an underground staircase. Dominating the city, it was the centerpiece of its defensive system.

The visit includes, among other things, a chapel and a crypt. A tour on the walkway offers stunning views of the valley and Mount Canigó.

Not far away, the caves of the Petites and Grande Canalette and the fortified cave Cova Bastera also allow other exciting visits.

7. Castelnou

The fort of Vicomtal marks visitors to this picturesque Pyrenean village. It follows the shape of the rock on which it is built and impresses with the power it exudes.

All around, Castelnou nestles within the medieval ramparts. Enter the hamlet through the north gate to access the main square.

The cobbled streets, stairs, and arches give a dramatic look to the village that can be visited on foot.

On the top of the village, take a break to admire the surrounding forests and the Canigó massif.

8. Eus

The church of St. Vincent replaced the citadel and dominated the old fortified village. The houses spread out on terraces all around, and the orchards spread out in the valley.

Eus is one of the sunniest sites in France, which allows you to discover it in good conditions all year round.

The whole village is pedestrianized, and it is pleasant to walk in the alleys paved with pebbles. Don’t miss the Solana Museum, which traces the life of the inhabitants of this Pyrenean village in the nineteenth century.

9. Camon

You will enter Camon through the vaulted door of the church. The abbey of the tenth century gradually evolved into a fortified monastery, around which the houses were built. The village of Camon was born.

One of its peculiarities is the presence of a climbing rose in front of each house. 400 shrubs bloom every year in Camon, giving the city a colorful and cheerful appearance.

In the vicinity, many stone huts were used to store crops, tools, or seeds. A themed trail allows you to discover them during a beautiful walk, embellished with the observation of 11 species of wild orchids.

10. Navarrenx

Navarrenx is the first bastioned city in France. The salmon capital has many activities, which are celebrated with an annual festival.

Sports enthusiasts can go down the Gave by canoe or rafting in beautiful natural landscapes.

In addition to the ramparts, do not miss the visit to the House of the Cigar. A cultural break awaits you at the interpretation center, which tells the story of this beautiful village in the Pyrenees.

11. La Bastide-Clairence

It is typical of the Basque Country to see white facades with white and red half-timbering in this Pyrenees village. It was founded in 1312 to open an access route to the ocean to the Kingdom of Navarre.

One of the oldest Palm games in France is the trinquet, where the ball is practiced.

The Church of Our Lady has features of Basque churches such as a wooden tribune and a courtyard-cemetery.

12. Amélie-les-Bains

Amélie-les bains is a village in the Pyrenees renowned for its thermal baths fed by hot springs. We come there to cure and discover the beauty of the village, built on the banks of the Tech.

Several religious buildings are worth visiting, such as the twelfth-century Church of Saint-Quentin and the Rosary Chapel with its magnificent altarpiece.

On the heights, the fort served as a defense and surveillance of the Spanish border. No less than 7 cemeteries are scattered throughout the town and are called “le petit Père-Lachaise.”

13. Arles-sur-Tech

The Abbey of Sainte-Marie sits in the center of this village in the Pyrenees, stretching along with the Tech. It is one of the largest abbeys in the region. It consists of three churches and a magnificent abbey.

After the visit, you can discover the city center on foot, then push to the Gorges de la Fou. The cliffs rise vertically impressively, framing the riverbed.

Another site is an exciting visit, that of the tile of the mine. You will discover the iron mining facilities, witnesses of the mining activity of the past.

14. Lloa

Here is another village in the Pyrenees famous for its thermal waters. The tourists come here to relax in the baths and take in the charm of the town.

During a walk, do not miss the wonders of Lloa’s medieval heritage, such as the feudal castle. The Vacaro Tower is joined by a path, like the Chapel of San Féliu, which offers a magnificent panorama of the valley.

The Church of Saint-Fructueux is classified as a historical monument.

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