The Pyrenees have something to offer all year round. For botanists, Spring is the best time to visit. In late June and early July, the lush valley meadows are strewn with countless wild flowers. Higher in the mountains, tiny Alpines cling to the rocks and spring from the melting snows. The weather is generally sunny and fairly cool - perfect for walking or cycling, and the rivers in spate - the most exciting time for water sports.

 

In Summer the temperatures are pleasantly warm - like a British summer's day. The mountains always have a cooling breeze and there are rushing streams and tranquil mountain lakes for a refreshing dip after a hard climb. Summer is a good time for mountain sports such as paragliding, white water rafting, caving, walking and mountain biking.

In Autumn (mid September-October) the valleys sides are bright with colour as the leaves turn every shade of orange, red and yellow. The trails are quiet again and the late-flowering plants are crowded with butterflies. The weather will be cooler again - and the Indian Summers are ideal for walking and cycling. The first snows tend to touch the highest peaks in October - lending a stunning, crisp backdrop to the landscape.

 

Winter is wonderful in the Pyrenees. The relatively-unknown ski resorts are much quieter than the Alps, and the prices cheaper. The ski season at the largest resort of the French Pyrenees (Bareges-La Mongie, or the Tourmalet resort) begins on the last weekend of November and runs through to mid-April. The Pyrenees receive more snow than the Alps, but have a pleasantly mild climate without the bitter January temperatures. As well as downhill skiing, the Pyrenees have ample opportunities for snow shoeing, cross-country skiing, dog-sledding and ice-climbing. The ski touring season continues into June.