When it comes to some of the most wild and scenic land France and Spain have to offer, the Pyrenees should be the first choice on any travelers menu. Forming a 430km wall between the two countries with tiny Andorra right in the heart of it all, the hiking, biking and winter sports possibilities are endless.
Two main access points
There are generally two approaches to arrive for those flying in that don’t live in the area. Barcelona in Spain and Toulouse in France. Both are lovely airports and Barcelona’s definitely has more connections, but having experienced both we really recommend the Toulouse approach.
The Fast French Connection
Depending on where one is headed the distances vary, but in general Toulouse is around 2 and a half hours from the majority of the main sites in the Pyrenees, whereas Barcelona is 3 hours or more.
A perk of arriving to Toulouse is that the airport is much smaller, it has plenty of rental car companies and some excellent small hotels nearby at which to rest. We highly recommend the Courtyard by Marriott one of our top value properties where our Bonvoy status is always highly regarded.
A Place to Stock Up
Toulouse is a very working class town and as such it is very efficient and easy to get around. Highways criss cross the flat terrain, it has plenty of auto parts stores which came in handy when we needed to get snow tire chains (mandatory by law to have if driving in the Pyrenees in Winter).
It also has several large malls which house major Carrefour groceries where one can stock up on all the supplies needed for however long your hike, journey, cabin or hotel stay is going to last in the mountains.
All around more efficient
It is not to say that Barcelona doesn’t have these things, it certainly does and even on a bigger scale, but it is also further away and a much bigger and more crowded city. Toulouse is a charming town to visit on its own right and has a unique feeling of a mid to small sized French city. The village of Saint Martin just by the Airport has all the charms of a typical French Town and is a perfect jumping off point for a days drive to the mountains.