What to see in Benasque and its surroundings: the perfect active break
Set in the heart of Huesca’s Pyrenees, Benasque is a high mountain town with just 2,000 inhabitants. It’s also the centre of Benasque Valley, home to Posets-Maladeta Natural Park and Aneto, the highest mountain in the Pyrenees. It’s a wonderful destination for a short break in Huesca and Huesca province because it lies in a particularly beautiful setting surrounded by nature.
The long history of Benasque
Benasque is 143 km from Huesca and the municipality contains the stunning villages of Cerler, famous for its ski slopes, and Anciles. It has a long history and was founded by the Romans who built the first sulphurous baths here (the Benasque baths). The oldest documented reference to the town dates from 1006 in the Rótulo de Benasque.
From the 11th century onwards, Benasque belonging to the county of Ribagorza, part of the Kingdom of Aragón. Notable events to take place in Benasque include a powerful earthquake in 1660 and a fire during the Civil War that destroyed part of the town and killed numerous residents.
Barceló Monasterio de Boltaña
- Instalado en el Monasterio de Boltaña
- Exclusivas villas y habitaciones con encanto
- Centro Wellness y piscina exterior
- Cycling centre
Today, Benasque’s main economic activity is tourism due to its proximity to Cerler ski resort and the countless activities that visitors can enjoy here.
What to do in Benasque
Benasque and its valley, known as the “Hidden Valley”, have plenty of tourist attractions and there’s lots to see and do here. You can go hiking, cycling, fishing, enjoy delicious food… There are also spectacular buildings to admire and its surroundings are wonderful to explore. Below is a guide to the essential places to visit if you travel to Benasque: it’s a trip you won’t forget!
Palace of the Condes de Ribagorza
This stone Renaissance building with elegant windows is in Calle Mayor de Benasque. Its façade is decorated with the busts of the counts who ordered the palace and the round-arched gateway to be built. In the 17th century it housed the Customs Office and it was used to quarter the Mountain Battalion of the Republic Army, known as the Alpine Battalion, during the Spanish Civil War. Today it’s the Palace of the Condes de Ribagorza Cultural Centre.
The Casa Juste de Benasque was built in 1567 and is listed with other castles as an Asset of Cultural Interest. This rectangular, crenellated tower in the historic centre can be spotted from many different points around the town. It stands 18 m tall and is well-preserved. In its day, it was part of a fortified palace of the type built by many families of the minor nobility in Benasque Valley between the 15th and 17th centuries.
Church of Santa María la Mayor
This emblematic church of Benasque stands in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento. The original building can be traced back to the 11th century but it later underwent refurbishment work on several occasions. In 1925 it was burned by an accidental fire and it was further damaged during the Civil War. It’s dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and in its interior prayers are offered to San Marcial, the town’s patron saint. Benasque’s cemetery was located in the interior courtyard until the 19th century.
Trails in Posets-Maladeta Natural Park
The park has the greatest concentration of peaks with an altitude of more than 3,000 m in the entire Pyrenees: Aneto (3,404 m), Posets (3,375 m) and Maladeta (3,308 m). In fact, most of the park is at an altitude of more than 1,800 m. It has 95 lakes and countless waterfalls, including spectacular Aigualluts waterfall (internal link), plus 13 Pyrenean glaciers such as Aneto glacier in the Maladeta massif, and Llardana glacier in the Posets massif. Guided tours are available, and information can be obtained by calling the natural park’s office. A tour is a great activity if you’re travelling to Benasque with children (internal link).
Benasque Visitors’ Centre
Benasque Visitors’ Centre is designed to inform, welcome and guide travellers who come to see Posets-Maladeta Park. Inside you can enjoy an exhibition about the park’s most important attractions, read brochures and chat to specialist staff who will help you to make the most of your visit. It can be reached by car on the Benasque to Anciles road and the telephone number is +34 974 552 066.
At an altitude of 1,540 m, Cerler is the highest village in the Aragonese Pyrenees. It has a small but well-conserved historic centre with a beautiful church and several 16th century mansions. It still has the typical atmosphere of a valley village but today it’s famous for its modern ski slopes (internal link). The road has a lovely viewpoint with views over Benasque Valley and the towns of Erist and Benasque.
This small medieval village with cobbled streets is straight out of a storybook. It’s part of Benasque municipality and is also known as Ansils. Its architecture is typical to Ribagorza county and it has several stately homes that were built in stone between the 16th and 18th centuries. Its perfectly conserved Romanesque church is also well worth visiting. With so many attractions, it’s considered to be one of the most beautiful villages in Huesca (internal link).
Eating in Benasque
Visiting high mountain villages often gives you a good appetite. So, get ready to enjoy the best food in the Aragonese Pyrenees in Benasque Valley. You have plenty of options to choose between. In Benasque, we recommend La Parrilla and El Fogaril steak house, both of which have à la carte menus. Another good option is El Veedor de Viandas, where the beef carpaccio is a must. In Cerler, you could visit La Borda del Mastín, set in an old stone stable, which serves top quality beef. Other options include relaxed El Paralelo and El Rincón grill house where meat is cooked before your eyes and you can enjoy a fantastic mature cow steak. And in Anciles, make sure you try El Ansils – if you’re after Huesca’s typical food (internal link) it certainly won’t disappoint.
Frequently Asked Questions
¿Dónde se encuentra la localidad de Benasque?
Benasque se encuentra en pleno corazón del Pirineo Aragones, muy cerca del Parque Natural de Posets-Maladeta, en la comarca oscense de La Ribagorza.
¿Qué puedes ver en tu visita a Benasque?
En tu visita a Benasque no puedes perderte el Palacio de los Condes de Ribagorza, la Casa Juste o la Iglesia de Santa María la Mayor, grandes atractivos históricos de la localidad.
¿Qué puedes ver en los alrededores de la localidad?
El Parque Natural de Posets-Maladeta te permitirá disfrutar de lo mejor de los Pirineos. Una visita a las cercanas localidades de Celer y Anciles es también son muy recomendables.
¿Dónde puedes comer en Benasque?
En Benasque, te recomendamos La Parrilla y el asador El Fogaril, ambos ofrecen menú. Otra buena opción es El Veedor de Viandas, donde debes probar el carpaccio de ternera.
¿Cómo llegar en coche a Benasque?
Benasque está a 141 kilómetros de Huesca por la carretera A-139 en un trayecto de dos horas aproximadamente. Desde Madrid, hay 525 kilómetros por la A-2 y, desde Barcelona, hay 300 kilómetros por la A-2.