Here’s our top tips to enjoy your winter break in the Catalan Pyrenees.
1. Get involved in winter sports at Font Romeau
For people aren’t interested in alpine skiing, the chance to indulge in some risk-free snow walking and cross-country skiing should not to be missed.
Cross-country has none of the perils of alpine skiing, forsaking the steep slopes for flatter forest terrain.
It does, however, give you an excellent introduction to using skis, learning to glide along the snow and getting to grips with stopping when you need to.
Font-Romeu has a number of well-marked dedicated cross-country routes and you can pick courses with varying degrees of difficulty, according to your growing confidence and skill.
Although the resorts are perched on the French side of The Pyrenees – only a 90-minute drive from Perpignan – Catalan is spoken widely here.
Font-Romeu, the largest of the two resorts has an assortment of homely restaurants, shops, equipment hire and hotels, it’s an ideal place to stay, with everything you need, including lift access to the slopes.
2. Get on your snow shoes at Les Engles
Snow shoeing at Les Engles gives you the chance to go off-piste with an experienced guide and witness the true majesty of the Pyrenees.
Snow shoes are hired and no training is needed.
You will, however, have to muster plenty of energy to negotiate steep slopes of impossibly white, virgin snow but am rewarded with some breathtaking views of the Pyrenees.
Les Angles is a compact resort yet it provides some high-quality food and lodgings, as well as plenty of après ski diversions, which include ice-climbing, dog-sledding and an adventure park (angles-aventures.com) with four tree-top courses.
There are eight Catalan resorts in the Pyrenees, and you can buy a weekly or season long ski pass that will provide access to all of them from €197.
3. Refuel and relax French/ Catalan style
After all that activity , there is something quite special about basking in the glow of your achievements with lunch on the slopes French/Catalan-style, which, of course, involves a heady choice of both food and drink.
Take a break from the snow, and spend an afternoon with the locals, relaxing in hot natural thermal baths, and visit the Solar Furnace at Odeillo.
Built in 1968 to capture solar energy, the centre provides advice on heat management and consults to Nasa.
What you need to know about the Catalan Pyrenees
When to go: Winter season is from October to late-April.
Getting there: Fly to Gerona or Perpignan with Ryanair (ryanair.com).
Getting around: You’ll need to hire a car (see easycar.com/tntmagazine to receive a 5 per cent discount) or take The Yellow Train from Perpignan.
Visas: South Africans need a Schengen visa.
Currency: Euro. 1 GBP = 1.11 EUR
Language: French and Catalan.
Going out: A beer costs about €2
Accommodation: Hostels from €31, apartments from €640 (six people for a week).