Key information: GR11
- The great GR11 trail runs for some 840km from the Bay of Biscay to the Med, crossing passes and traversing ridges, plunging into and bank out of deep valleys.
- Varied but constantly gorgeous scenery. Some true wilderness.
- Most people dont have time to walk the whole trail, selecting stages that suit them.
- This is tough walking in high, and at times remote mountains, on which you will have to be self-sufficient at times. Come prepared.
- Walkopedia rating85
- Natural interest17
- Human interest2
- Negative points0
- Total rating85
- Length: 840km/44 days
- Maximum Altitude: ?
- Level of Difficulty: Strenuous
Like the higher Pyrenean High Route (HRP) and its cousin the French GR10, the GR11 winds from coast to coast, following and crossing the ridges and valleys of the Spanish high Pyrenees for some 840km. Unlike the HRP, it spends most of its time on the (slightly) lower outer massifs, with more regular stops in villages for some comfort, culinary variety and replenishment. Counterintuitively, though, while a less remote and risky undertaking, it involves a huge amount of ascent and descent (said to be 39,000m), largely as a result of its inevitably running across the prevailing grain of the land. It takes around 44 days.
You can travel lighter than on the HRP as you can manage without a tent and cooker and food reserves. Not that many people walk the entire length of the GR11, for fairly obvious reasons.
There are various ways to choose sections to tackle if you don’t have the time or inclination for the whole route. First, if you are going to be in an area anyway, find the local GR10 sections, as they are likely to be some of the best walking about. If you want to tackle a few days, various factors will come into play, including how hard you want to walk, how remote you want to get (and thus how much you want to carry) and your preferred scenery – gentler green hills in the north-west, dryer, scrubbier hills towards the Med, or higher, tougher, more dramatic mountains in the middle.
You can walk the GR11 in either direction, although the Cicerone takes you west to east, which has the attraction of having the sun on your back rather than your face, if that is how you like it.
Even from the gentler west, you will be making ascents/descents of 1,000m within a few days, so, while lovely and relatively civilized of an evening it is not a cinch. The higher ground soon evolves into gorgeous montane pastureland with big and verdant views.
The GR11 passes through numerous famously thrilling areas, including:
- The lovely mountains above Baños de Panticosa.
- The amazing Ordesa Canyon and above, and the neighbouring Pineta Valley, the area you should perhaps go to if you are only going to get to the Spanish Pyrenees once.
- The Posets Massif.
- The Maladeta Massif.
- The stunning rugged lake-sprinkled granite wilderness of Aigües Tortes.
GR11 is brilliantly described in Cicerone’s essential Through the Spanish Pyrenees: GR11 by Paul Lucia.
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For more information and photos, including detailed practical information and some warnings, see our Pyrenees walk page.
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Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.
Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.
Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.
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