The mountain is an integral part of the tourist environment of the resort. This is one of its major features. In fact, it offers peace, coolness and relaxation just a few kilometres from the seaside.
The Albères Mountains is a mountain barrier superbly dominating the beach and village of Argelès. It stretches over the southern half part of the vast territory of the town.
This is a rugged massif cleft by deep valleys surrounded by summits, a few of them culminating at an altitude of over 1,000m. Today woodland covers 45% of the mountain thus offering a wide range of sceneries.
The foothills of the massif are covered with Mediterranean vegetation characterized by the ‘maquis’ (Mediterranean scrub) including cistus and gorse. This very common spiny bush appears on Argelès coat of arms. Apart from olive trees, two main species populate the wooded areas of the region: evergreen oak and cork oak. At a higher altitude, this flora gives way to a forest of ash, birch, hazel and chestnut trees.
Above 60m, the valuable beech grove which has been listed as a nature reserve since 1973 stands. And above the beech grove stretch pastures in which small ‘Massanaises’ cows – a semi-feral cattle breed - graze in summer.
The mountain at Argelès has always been a wonderful place to live and travel. As a matter of fact, it was densely populated fifty years ago. Two dolmens standing close to the Château de Valmy show that it had been inhabited from a very early period.
The richness of the Albères Mountains, both on the botanical and historical levels, provides a wide choice of tours. Whether you walk or ride a mountain bike, whether you are a simple stroller or an experienced hiker, it is very pleasant to discover the massif and follow short-distance footpaths or long-distance trails that hoofs of smugglers’ mules had traced in the past.