Cirque de Gavarnie

Travel Guide to the Cirque de Gavarnie

Cirque de Gavarnie is a large rock amphitheater, at an elevation of 1.690m (5,544ft) above the sea level, located within the commune of Gavarnie, in the Pyrenees National Park, on the border of France and Spain. The road is totally closed to vehicles.

The narrow road is totally unpaved and pretty rocky. The drive is definitely worth it. Don’t forget your camera. The Gavarnie cirque is the best known of the cirques in the region with its 6.5 km diameter, its wall of 1.500 metres and at its heart, the largest waterfall in Europe (427m). The road follows the incredible natural bowls carved out by ancient glaciers in grey, ochre and pink limestone rocks. This is the only cirque accessible all year round. The French part of the cirque de Gavarnie is part of the Pyrenees National Park, the Spanish side is part of the National Park of Ordesa and Monte Perdido. This means there are strict regulations, in order to protect the rich flora and fauna.

At the end of the road is a mountain hotel, known as Hôtel du Cirque. Starting from Gavarnie, the steep and curvy road is 3.9 km (2.42 miles) long. 4x4 vehicles with high clearance only.