Cerdanya, a natural Catalan county of excellence, forms a physiographic unity defined by some orographical, climatic and historical features which grant the region a very particular character. Mainly integrated by the higher Valley of the Segre River, Cerdanya is one Europe's most extended valleys, with a minimum altitude (about 1000 metres), with its east to west orientation, and a high dose of insulation of about 3000 hours of sun exposure a year.
Its diversity and beautiful landscape is clearly evident: from pure Mediterranean traits to alpine meadows of high altitude, you can even find sub-Mediterranean woods, beech forests, boreal woodlands of red pine trees and sub-alpine conifer woods with black pine trees and fir trees. The Park's vegetation is considered of special interest, since its low temperatures, the high degree of humidity in the area, and its altitude have all contributed to the existence of species which are not characteristic of the Mediterranean region but of northern Europe and the high alpine or European mountains instead.
The art of the Cerdanya, for the most part religious, is emphasized by the great abundance of Romanesque monuments found in many of the towns in the region. Also examples of the Gothic and Baroque can be admired.
The valley is well connected to the important centres of Catalonia by the Tunnel of the Cadí and with Perpignan, Toulouse and Lleida by good national and international roads. It has become an outstanding centre for leisure and holiday-making, with exceptional hotel and sport facilities (ski stations for Downhill and Crosscountry, golf courses and riding clubs, mountain shelters, sports centres...). Cerdanya is the ideal place to enjoy sports in a unique setting and a privileged.
The Pyrenees, also spelled Pyrénées, is a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between France and Spain. It separates the Iberian Peninsula from the rest of continental Europe, and extends for about 491 km (305 mi) from the Bay of Biscay (Cap Higuer) to the Mediterranean.
Conspicuous features of Pyrenean scenery are:
- Absence of great lakes, such as those that fill the lateral valleys of the Alps. - Rarity and great elevation of passes. - The large number of the mountain torrents locally called gaves, which often form lofty waterfalls, surpassed in Europe only by those of Scandinavia. - The frequency with which the upper end of a valley assumes the form of a semicircle of precipitous cliffs, called a cirque.
Both sides of the Pyrenees are popular spots for winter sports such as alpine skiing and mountaineering. The Pyrenees are also a good place for European and North African athletes to do high-altitude training in the summertime, such as by bicycling and cross-country running.
In the summer and the autumn, the Pyrenees are usually featured in two of cycling's epic grand tours, the Tour de France held annually in July and the Vuelta a España held in September. The stages held in the Pyrenees are often crucial legs of both tours, drawing hundreds of thousands of spectators to the region, too.
Three main long-distance footpaths run the length of the mountain range; the GR 10 across the northern slopes, the GR 11 across the southern slopes, and the HRP which traverses peaks and ridges along a high altitude route. In addition, there are numerous marked and unmarked trails throughout the region.
Pirena is a dog-mushing competition held in the Pyrenees.