Location: Spain and France, Europe
Length: 57,3 km
Width: 5 m standard, 2 lanes
Surface quality (out of 10): 8
Highest point: 1,794 m (5,886 ft)
Operating times: from May to October
via A-136 and D934
Route: from Biescas to Laruns
El Portalet Road Description
The El Portalet road or Col du Portalet is a mountain pass that crosses the Pyrenees mountains and takes travelers from Spain to France or the other way around. It forms a natural border between these two countries and offers some of the most beautiful views of the Ossau Valley.
The name of this route is tautological as Pourtalet comes from the Gascon language. It means the same as the French word Col.
The pass has a high altitude and reaches and elevation of 1,794 m (5,886 ft). Also, this road links the Ossau and Tena valleys. Our route starts in Biesca, in Spain and ends in Laruns, France. By driving on this path, you will be able to enjoy the beauty of both countries. In Spain, you will drive on the A-136, which links Biesca and Huesca and in France you will drive the D394 road, connecting the El Portalet to the towns in the area, such as Laruns, Oloron-Sainte-Marie and Pau.
If you start your drive from Biescas, the elevation gains is 923 heightmeters and the ascent 29,4 km long.
A scenic drive
The El Portalet road is wide, scenic and open when you start the drive in Spain. Also, the asphalt is of a better quality than the one in France. Starting from Laruns, the 29 km long climb will feature three successive ramps that have a 7% grade. The stretches are steep, but the road is smooth.
Driving this road and reaching the high mountain pass offers an impressive experience. It’s worth it for combining the best the Pyrenees have to offer in two countries and a thrilling road to drive. There can be some traffic on the way, but it’s not that significant to affect the enjoyment.
When driving towards the top to reach the summit, the views will be stunning, and you will have the perfect spot to stop by and enjoy the landscape. At the top, you will have an uninterrupted view of the Pic du Midi d’Ossau mountain and the Cirque d’Anéou. Here, sheep and cows graze peacefully, and you also have restaurants and shops.
The Portalet is mainly surrounded by trees on the lower slopes, and it also features some beautiful views of the rocky peaks of the Pyrenees. It’s a scenic road that offers an enjoyable driving experience in two countries, along the mountains.
Photo sources: https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/ibones-de-anayet-desde-el-portalet-formigal-27294107/photo-17427637, https://www.motogpsroutes.com/blog/tarmac-scenic-road-passes/item/140-col-du-pourtalet, https://lindus2.eu/fr/multimedia/galerie-de-photos/somport-et-portalet/, https://www.dreamstime.com/photos-images/portalet-mountain.html