It's a special place, ideal for independent exploring on a walking holiday. The people, distrustful from long experience of governments and politicians on both sides of the mountains, hold out a warm welcome to all who want to understand how they live. The mountains themselves encompass some of the country's most savage and most spectacular landscapes. The towns and castles bear witness to a turbulent history from Roman through mediaeval times and, in many of them, you feel time has stood still for the last five hundred years. There is a rich heritage of neolithic art, and natural wonders from the snow-capped peaks of the Pyrenees to prodigious underground cave systems.
Some of the rarest species of birds and animals flourish here, undisturbed. Marmots, wild boar, foxes, roe deer can often be seen in the foothills or by a mountain lake. Pyrenean ibex, isard and mouflons graze the mountain passes, while bearded vultures and golden eagles circle the highest peaks.
What is the Pyrenees' special magic? Maybe it's the peace and solitude of the high mountains and valleys. Perhaps it's the feeling you get of a place cut off from the real world, where people, livestock and nature just live together in harmony and no-one's found a way to spoil it yet.