Discover mountain camping in the Pyrénées, France
The French Pyrénées, located in the Occitanie region of France, is a great destination if you are interested in mountain camping, with amazing landscapes to discover, including forests, lakes, waterfalls, rivers, valleys and gorges. The French Pyrénées are split into six departments: Aude, Ariège, Haute-Garonne, Hautes-Pyrénées, Pyrénées-Atlantiques and Pyrénées-Orientales, with a wide variety of campsites for you to discover in each.
Campsites in the French Pyrénées have a range of facilities to make your stay even more enjoyable, like swimming pools, sports facilities, evening shows, restaurants, pizzerias and mini markets, and you can choose from great locations dotted all across the mountain range, from remote campsites in the heart of nature, to campsites moments away from popular towns like Lourdes, Biarritz and Perpignan.
Camping in the Pyrénées, France, is a unique experience as the area lends itself to an extensive number of outdoor activities for families to discover, like hiking, cycling and kayaking, as well as activities suitable for adrenaline seekers, like skiing, mountain biking, rock climbing, mountaineering and paragliding. Even the most adventurous campers won’t be short of things to do, and for first-time campers, there’s no better way to throw yourself into the camping experience than by choosing to camp in the Pyrénées. Read on for the lowdown and top tips from our team.
What to Expect when Camping in the Pyrénées, France
Check out some of the highlights to tick off when visiting the French Pyrénées on your next camping adventure.
The French Pyrénées in itself is an amazing natural site and any campsite you choose in the region will offer incredible views and impressive nature. However, some of our favourite sites in the area include the Cique de Gavarnie, a dramatic valley located in the Gavarnie region, within a short drive of some of the campsites bookable through Campsited. And the Grottes de Bétharram, a series ofunderground caves located in Saint-Pé-de-Bigorre, in walking distance of a number of our campsites. You can explore the famous caves by boat or train, or on foot.
The French Pyrénées is famous for its hiking routes, some of the best ones being the Cagire Loop and the Pic du Canigou. There are also a number of shorter hikes that are suitable for children and can make a great family trip out, like the Lac de Loudenvielle or the Mont Né peak, which both take a few hours. Many campsites in the Pyrénées have hiking trails that depart directly from the site, so you don’t need to waste any time travelling to the beginning of the trail.
Although incredible landscapes might be the first thing that come to mind when you think of the Pyrénées, there are also a number of historical sites in the area that are definitely worth visiting if you have time. Some of the most popular are the Saint Bertrand de Comminges and the Saint Lizier, which are both UNESCO listed sites. There are a number of campsites close to the historical sites in the Pyrénées. Camping Audinac les Bains, for example, is only a 7-minute drive away from Saint Lizier.
While some people prefer to visit a secluded campsite in the heart of nature, with all the facilities you need for your stay, it is worth mentioning that there are some beautiful small towns in the French Pyrénées near to which it is possible to camp. For example Foix, where you’ll find a pretty old town with narrow streets, as well as plenty of cafés, restaurants and a medieval castle.
Outdoor activities and sports
There are lots of outdoor activities you can practice in the Pyrénées – even things it might be fun to try for the first time together as a family. Lots of the campsites in the area offer sports and adrenaline activities onsite or nearby, like tennis, volleyball, mountain biking, kayaking, white water rafting and water skiing. Excursions can usually also be planned directly from the campsite.
Skiing or snowboarding
If you are thinking of visiting the Pyrénées in the winter months, you can pay a visit to one of the ski-resorts in the area. Campsites in the French Pyrénées are still open in the winter, with rentable accommodation options like mobile homes, chalets, bungalows and apartments, which are perfect for ski trips.
France has world-famous cuisine, and the French Pyrénées is renowned for local delicacies including liver pâtés, cassoulet and Toulouse sausages. Even if you are planning to stay in a campsite in a remote area, you should still be able to sample local delights at the on-site restaurant, with most campsites offering a varied menu including local specialities and wines.
There are a number of thermal spas in the Pyrénées – another reason it’s a great year-round destination! Visit one of the thermal spas in the autumn or winter months for an unforgettable experience. We recommend Balnéa, located in Loudenvielle, or Les Bains de Llo, in the village of Llo, both are surrounded by mountains and offer a range of different baths and facilities.
Our Top Tips for your Next Adventure Camping in the Pyrénées
Some advice for camping in the Pyrénées, France, to help you get ready for your trip.
Prepare in advance
While it’s totally safe, visiting a campsite in the Pyrénées does require some advanced planning, because of the unpredictable weather and high peaks. If you want to do some hiking during your trip, we recommend practicing some relatively demanding routes at home, in order to make sure you are comfortable with difficult terrain. If you are travelling with children, it is also a good idea to practice some walks with them beforehand so you can get an idea of what distances they are comfortable with and enjoy.
As the weather can be very variable in the Pyrénées, it is worth bringing a range of layers to your campsite year-round, as well as a warm jacket, hiking shoes, and warm hiking socks. You will also need sun block all year, sunglasses and a hat. If you are planning to venture outside the campsite, we recommend bringing some kind of a navigation tool or downloading an app to find hiking routes, even though the main ones are signposted.
Be brave and try something new
The Pyrénées, and mountain campsites in general, can be a bit daunting if you are visiting for the first time; however, it is also one of the most rewarding types of camping trips because of the unique landscapes and real feeling of adventure. Trying a new experience like mountain camping, or a new adrenaline activity while you are there, like paragliding, canyoning or abseiling, will leave you feeling pumped and create amazing memories.
Travel by car
While you can reach the French Pyrénées by plane, ferry or train, travelling by car, or renting a car, can be a convenient way to reach your chosen campsite. Plus, once you’ve arrived it will give you the freedom to visit a number of different attractions in the area.
Take Le Petit Train Jaune
Le Petit Train Jaune, or the Little Yellow Train, is known as one of the greatest railway journeys in the world. If your itinerary permits it, it’s definitely worth a visit! Setting off from Villefranche de Conflent and finishing in the Latour de Carol, it’s the highest metre gauge railway in Europe and has incredible scenery all the way.
Find out more about camping in the Pyrénées, France
Get quick answers to some of our most common questions about visiting campsites in the French Pyrénées.
Is camping in the Pyrénées a suitable trip for children?
Camping in the French Pyrénées is a great holiday for children as there are lots of activities for them to enjoy and a number of hiking routes that are suitable for children. There are also plenty of campsites geared towards families with children, with facilities on site like kids’ clubs, swimming pools and evening entertainment.
What is the best time of year to visit the French Pyrénées?
Camping in the Pyrénées is great year-round and there are plenty of things to do in each season, depending on your interests. The summer months are great for hiking, but the school holidays mean it can be busier than the rest of the year. In the spring and autumn, you’ll find less people and beautiful scenery, and in the winter months you can also enjoy skiing or snowboarding.
Which campsite is suitable for my trip?
There are many campsites in the Pyrénées to choose from, depending on your itinerary and interests, from remote campsites in the heart of nature, to campsites in the centre of towns. You can easily check the facilities at each one through Campsited, to choose one with everything you need.
How long should I stay in the French Pyrénées?
If you want to visit a few different towns in the French Pyrénées, as well as experience some outdoor activities and hiking trails, we recommend visiting a campsite in the area for a week. If you have a shorter amount of time, it’s worth choosing your location based on the main things you want to visit, or choosing a campsite with a large range of facilities you can enjoy.
What accommodation options are there at campsites in the Pyrénées?
You can filter campsites in the Pyrénées based on which accommodation type you are looking for. Most campsites in the area have rentable pitches where you can park your campervan or RV or pitch your tent, as well as rentable accommodation options, which range from premium tents and glamping options, to mobile homes and cottages.
Come and discover camping in the French Pyrénées!