Canigou, Grand Site de France
Symbol of the Eastern Pyrenees and classified ‘Grand Site de France’ in July 2012, the Canigou is an exceptional natural setting which is ideal for hiking. Visible from Languedoc, Ariège and Gerona, it is also an identifying feature of the Pyrenean landscape.
Whether you are hiking, walking with a donkey or just revelling in the surrounding nature, the massif du Canigou is a unique destination and not to be missed: the heart and soul of Catalonia.
The Canigou, unspoiled and perfect for hiking
Mount Canigou, a veritable maritime watchtower, dominates the Roussillon plain and the Mediterranean Sea, providing spectacular views.
Between two valleys, Tech (Vallespir) and Têt (Conflent), the Canigou range is cherished by nature lovers. With incredible biodiversity due to its geographical situation and exposure, temperatures and altitude, the range has an exceptional range of flora and fauna. Along your way you may spot some Mediterranean or mountain plant species as well as observing the diversity of natural habitat: garrigue, deciduous and resinous woodland, moors, rocky fields, snow-covered valleys... Multiple landscapes and atmospheres punctuate the winding paths that take you to the summit.
This biodiversity is also fragile and it is everyone’s responsibility to preserve it.
The Canigou range comprises nine Natura 2000 sites and three national parks.
Rich in natural resources, the Canigou range has a significant network of tracks (750km) which are accessible for amateur walkers as well as expert hikers. The ‘Tours, Rondes et Boucles du Canigou’ (different itineraries up to and down from the summit) allow you to discover the whole mountain range through its peaks, forests, moors, villages, legends and heritage – an experience to enjoy at your leisure!
If you want to see more, there are many other hiking tracks that will give you a chance to explore Conflent, a heritage and hiking hot spot. If you are climbing to the Canigou summit please make sure you are adequately prepared before starting out.
The Canigou, a classified site; Grand Site de France
In July 2012, the Canigou became a Grand Site de France. This resulted in the establishment of special protection in order to preserve the natural mountain environment and to highlight the cultural heritage that characterises it. The objective is to protect the natural environment while promoting local development to ensure the longevity of the site.
Management of Grand Site de France is undertaken by the Syndicat Mixte du Canigó Grand Site de France (Joint Syndicate of Canigou Grand Site de France), also an operator of the Natura 2000 programme. As part of this role, the Syndicat Mixte du Canigó Grand Site de France has already placed car restrictions in the classified site, and has created a map of pedestrian and equestrian routes.
Canigou, a living territory
Mount Canigou has always held fascination for man. It is very important to the Catalans and Pyrenees enthusiasts, and holds great appeal for its thousands of visitors who climb it each year.
If you are in Conflent the weekend before Saint-Jean, for the Troubade, you can experience the fervour of Catalan traditions which endure and punctuate the season and mountain life. Mount Canigou also sees hundreds of hikers and runners striding across it during the first week in August, for the Championnat du Canigó.