Saturday, August 17, 2019

Col de Banyuls, the most eastern pass in the Pyrenees

Col de Banyuls
Athe the top of Col de Banyuls
The natural border between France and Spain are the Pyrenees.

On the eastern part of the Pyrenees there are several not-so-known passes between Spain (Catalonia) and France. Some of them are Col d'Ares (a serious pass with 1512 mts), Alt de Costoja (crossing to France to the village same named Coustouge), and the last one before getting to the sea is Col de Banyuls, with just 355 mts altitude. This is the most eastern pass in the Pyrenees.

On the south (catalan) side, the road to Col de Banyuls is very narrow and solitaire, even hard to find. The starting point is at a village called Espolla, and from that point there are 9,25 km at about 3% average gradient, but with some short stretches at 14%.

On the north (french) side, things are more difficult because there is a very steep section with 2 km at 11%. Really challenging!
Monument dedicated to the catalans exiliated to France after civil war
The views to the french riviera from the top of Banyuls are stunning. On top of the climb there is a small monument dedicated to the catalan exiliated to France after the Civil war in 1936.

A pretty unknown climb in the Pyrenees that you cannot miss!

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