Vielha is surrounded by the Pyrenees Mountains of northern Spain, close to the French border
Vielha is a far cry from your typical ski resort base. Burrowed deep within the creases of the jagged Pyrenees mountains, this vibrant juncture not only provides doorstep access to world-class skiing and hiking routes, but beguiles visitors with its deep-rooted and fiercely defended Aranese culture.
And so, there’s a distinctly local feel you don’t quite get in other mountain resorts. Aranese – a once critically endangered language – can be overheard in the streets, while the region’s captivating history unravels in the ethnological museum and charming old quarter.
The Garonne river runs from the Pyranees into the the heart of Vielha
Vielha’s real draw, though, is what lies beyond the bustling town centre: the great, sprawling outdoors. Skiers hurtle down the slopes of nearby Baqueira-Beret ski resort during winter, while hikers and climbers patrol the rolling, lake-laden Aigüestortes i Llac de Sant Maurici National Park in summer. The famed and lofty Carros de Foc route connects nine mountain refuges within the park’s boundaries, which can be explored with a guide arranged through the tourist office.
Between hikes, visitors can sample the local fodder to keep their energy levels up. The speciality of the region is olha aranesa – a tasty casserole made from lamb, veal, bacon, black botifarra, and vegetables, served liberally in tapas bars along Calle Castièro.
Or, you might want to just sip coffee and eat pastries all day by the river, with the gentle rush of the River Garonne and epic mountain views providing a blissful backdrop.
Walking routes of all levels abound in Vielha's rugged surroundings
When to go?
Given its outdoor appeal, Vielha is at its busiest – and prettiest – during the long summer and winter months. Thus, Vielha’s low seasons (October–November, April–June) are rather short-lived, but if it’s autumn colours and fresh spring weather you’re after, this is the time to go.
The warm and welcoming interior of ETH Pomer
Where to stay?
ETH Pomer – Vielha, Spain
This friendly guest house is a hit with Booking.com guests, who love the welcoming staff and delicious homemade breakfast. A mere 10-minute drive from Baqueira-Beret ski resort, the hosts go that extra mile by regularly treating guests to free excursions to nearby landmarks.
Tryp Vielha Baquiera is located right in the centre of town
Tryp Vielha Baquiera – Vielha, Spain
Based in the centre of town, this elegant hotel accommodates guests looking for a splash of luxury. There’s a spa, an indoor pool and a well-equipped gym to work off the breakfast buffet – which Booking.com guests love. And there’s even a creche where your kids will be kept busy for hours while you relax.
Pick a room with a hot tub at Eth Solan
Eth Solan – Vielha, Spain
Set against a mountainous backdrop, Eth Solan is favoured by Booking.com guests for its excellent location. Rooms are modern, spacious and some even have their own hot tub. Breakfast is a highlight, with cured meats, Spanish tortilla and soft pastries filling most of the table space.