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Facts about The Pyrenees Mountains for Kids


The Pyrenees is a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between France and Spain. It separates the Iberian Peninsula from the rest of continental Europe, and extends for about 305 mi from the Bay of Biscay (Cap Higuer) to the Mediterranean (Cap de Creus). For the most part, the main crest forms a massive divider between France and Spain, with the tiny country of Andorra sandwiched in between.

  • The Crown of Aragon and the Kingdom of Navarre have historically extended on both sides of the mountain range, with small northern portions now in France and much larger southern parts now in Spain.
  • The adjective related to the noun “Pyrenees” in English is Pyrenean.
  • The Spanish Pyrenees are part of the following provinces, from east to west: Girona, Barcelona, Lleida (the latter three Catalonia), Huesca (Aragon), Navarra and Gipuzkoa.
  • The French Pyrenees are also part of the following départements, from east to west: Pyrénées-Orientales (North Catalonia and Fenolheda), Aude, Ariège, Haute-Garonne, Hautes-Pyrénées, and Pyrénées-Atlantiques.
  • The independent principality of Andorra is sandwiched in the eastern portion of the mountain range between the Spanish Pyrenees and French Pyrenees.
  • In the Western Pyrenees, from the Basque mountains near the Bay of Biscay of the Atlantic Ocean, the average elevation gradually increases from west to east.
  • The intense pressure and uplifting of the Earth’s crust first affected the eastern part and stretched progressively to the entire chain, culminating in the Eocene epoch.
  • The eastern part of the Pyrenees consists largely of granite and gneissose rocks, while in the western part the granite peaks are flanked by layers of limestone.
  • Conspicuous features of Pyrenean scenery are: the absence of great lakes, such as those that fill the lateral valleys of the Alps the rarity and great elevation of passes the large number of the mountain torrents locally called gaves, which often form lofty waterfalls, surpassed in Europe only by those of Scandinavia the frequency with which the upper end of a valley assumes the form of a semicircle of precipitous cliffs, called a cirque.
  • Some glaciers are found in the western and especially the snowy central Pyrenees, but the eastern Pyrenees are without any glaciers – with the quantity of snow falling there being insufficient to cause their development.
  • The glaciers are confined to the northern slopes of the central Pyrenees, and do not descend, like those of the Alps, far down into the valleys, but have their greatest lengths along the direction of the mountain chain.
  • The Pyrenees are relatively as rich in endemic species as the Alps, and among the most remarkable instances of that endemism is the occurrence of the monotypic genus Xatardia (family Apiaceae), only on a high alpine pass between the Val d’Eynes and Catalonia.
  • Three main long-distance footpaths run the length of the mountain range; the GR 10 across the northern slopes, the GR 11 across the southern slopes, and the HRP which traverses peaks and ridges along a high altitude route.