The Pyrenees is blessed with an average 300 days (or 2,000 hours) of sunshine a year, making it one of the sunniest regions in France.
In the summer, high pressure systems of the Mediterranean guarantee long spells of rain-free weeks in the eastern part of the Pyrenees. So if it’s long, hot and dry summer days you’re after, the eastern Pyrenees is the place to be. It is one of the driest areas of France.
Summers tend to be hot with intense hours of sunshine. Maximum temperatures by day average between 26 and 28 degrees; nights are pleasantly cool. Thunderstorms occur towards evening, but quickly fade.
Autumn is a good time for cycling and walking in the Pyrenees. The temperatures are still warm, ranging between 21 and 25 degrees, and beautiful blue skies are plentiful.
Snow, ice & rain
Moist air blowing in from the Atlantic Ocean makes rain and snowfall more abundant in the western and central Pyrenees. The Basque region, as the most westerly area, is one of the wettest parts of the Pyrenees. The wet weather peters out before reaching the central Pyrenees.
As such, the east Pyrenees doesn’t get quite as much snowfall. So if you’re after a snowboard or ski holiday, your money will be better spent going west.
The average Winter temperature is -2 centigrade. Snowfalls are abundant on the peaks keeping the ski resorts open from mid December through to April. The resorts offer downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing, husky dog sledging throughout the season.
The infamous Col de Tourmalet, which in July provides road cyclists one of the most grueling climbs of the entire Tour de France, is impassable throughout the ski season and as such forms part of La Mongie ski resort until the snow melts and the road reopens in May.
The glaciers in the Pyrenees are found on western and central peaks. No glaciers remain in the east.
Spring arrives in April in the Pyrenees, with temperatures rising to between 16 and 24. April, May and June are generally warm, sunny months making it a good time for walking and cycling holidays; particularly with daylight hours extending. With everything blossoming, the scenery becomes rich in colour and is provides a stunning backdrop to your walks and rides. Rain tends to fall at night or early morning. Some snow capped peaks remain.