This is one of the most popular hikes in the eastern Pyrenees of France, the Pyrénées Orientales. Puig Neulós at 1256 m (French: Pic du Néoulous) is the highest mountain of Albera Range, an eastern prolongation of the Pyrenees in Catalonia, between France and Spain. There are some antennas on the summit, an impressive cairn and a French triangulation point. There is a paved road on the French side right to the summit, but restricted for the last few kilometres. The summit, as well as most of the southern side of the range is part of the Paratge Natural d’Interès Nacional de l’Albera natural reserve. Walking to the summit involves walking along the French – Spanish border which is marked by a rickety fence divided the fields. Spanish signs walking and national park signs are the only indication that you have entered Catalonia. On the Spanish side there is a futher point of interest with a restored 17th Century snow store 50m from the border.
The Cairn is within France and some 10m from the border. There are no border markers nearby. The border is marked by a simple farmers field fence with a gate. An impressive international crossing point!!
Walking through the gate above leads you to Spain!! The only way you know is the walking signs change.
The Puig Neulós snow store
The Puig Neulós store is about 12 meters high and 6 meters in diameter. This allows an approximate capacity of 340 m3 of snow. To access its interior there is an access tunnel 11 meters long. The pit was filled with snow during winter and acted as a fridge during the warmer months. Last restored in 2012, its worth a visit but care is needed as there is no lighting and the access tunnel ends with a 2.5m drop into the well.
Last but not least – the cows!!
The visit is also rememberable because of the cows and the ringing of their huge bells.
Date of Visit: 02.08.2020