Aran Valley, or Val d'Aran (the province of Lleida, Catalonia) is a 4-hour drive from Barcelona, It borders on France and Spain and have a unique climate. It is located in the Central Pyrenees and it has the characteristic of an Atlantic slope valley that guarantees excellent quality of snow in the ski resort of Baqueira-Beret and stability of the snow cover. One of the few valleys in the Pyrenees, to preserve it's identity. Since the opening of the ski area, 6 December 1964, Val d'Aran has become a symbol of luxury, success and quality of life.
The high mountains that surround the valley form a natural barrier that conditions its climatology but also has determined its relationships with other towns and its own history. The constant flow of the Garona waters to France, through the less mountainous landscape of Lower Arán, has been, during centuries, the only real opened passage that has maintained and consolidated the Occitan language and culture in this valley which is administratively integrated in Catalonia.
The 33 villages that make up the Aran Valley are sets of stale flavor in the stone, wood and slate are mixed with the beauty of the intense nature of the mountain and alpine landscapes. Each and every one of the villages has their own characteristics that are put out especially in its towers and steeples. They have been historically divided into three municipal areas, Upper Aran (Naut Arán), Middle Aran (Mitg Arán) and Lower Aran (Baix Arán), convenient to move between them by bus, taxi or own transport. Each village is unique, and interesting from a tourist point of view: the nightlife and restaurants in Arties, shopping, pintxos, wine and cheese tasting in Vielha; Baqueira at the foot of the ski lifts has one of the best restaurants – Ticolet; a XII century church of San Andrea, example of Roman art in Salardú, where also is opened the first mountain refuge in the valley (now hotel) and also is hosted Museum of Pyrenees.
Val d'Aran was one of the first tourist destinations of Catalonia. A privileged location of the valley creates all conditions for outdoor activities both in summer and winter.
Population: 10,295 people
The area and location: 620km ², over 30% of the territory is situated above the altitude of 2000m. The Val d'Arán has an extension of 620km and 30% of the territory is above 2000m of altitude. It borders on France to the North (Ariège), on Higher Ribagorza and Aragón to the South, on the Pallars Sobirá to the East and again with Aragón (Benasque) and France (Haute Garonne) to the West.
Official languages: Spanish, Catalan and Arán (Gascon dialect of Occitan language).
Safety: Catalan Mossos d'Esquadra, Policia Nacional and Guardia Civil are presented in the Valley for your safety
Nature: The only Catalan National Park has (Parque Nacional de Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Mauric) situated in the Valley with more than 200 lakes. The main rivers of the region - Garona (which flows into the Atlantic Ocean) and Noguera Pallaresa.