Israel has discovered the Pyrenees.
The Israelis are now, after the Catalans, the second nationality in number of visitors to the Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park. According to data from 2012, foreigners were 18% of the 299,658 visitors to the park that year. And of them, 30% were Israelis. What most attracts them are the virgin mountains, the whitewater rivers and the towns that preserve their old charm, far from the crowds of the territories with a long tourist tradition. They are clients who arrive very spread out throughout the year.
The imprint of Israeli tourism is also seen in restaurants that offer menus in the Hebrew language and have adapted some of their dishes to the requirements of kosher cuisine for customers who follow religious gastronomic norms.
Ten years ago Travel Nexus was created, one of the first travel agencies to connect Israel with Catalonia and the Pyrenees. This summer it promotes a curious tourist experience: half a thousand Israeli women will pass through the Pyrenees of Lleida in an adventure activity called Queen of the Desert. This project has become a phenomenon that allows Israeli women who want to taste what they are made of to discover the most attractive corners of the world.
Beginning in the first week of June and continuing through September, successive groups of 40 Israeli women will participate, seven days at a time, in a life-experience that includes rafting, caving, sleeping in mountain huts, driving ATVs on forest tracks and two Crossings that are part of the itineraries of the Routes of Freedom, which pass through Alt Urgell, Pallars Sobirà, Alta Ribagorça and Val d'Aran.
History also links Israel with the Pyrenees. One of the added attractions for Israeli tourists is the Sort Prison-Museum and the Mountains of Freedom routes, which recall the passage of thousands of refugees across the border during the Civil War, first, and the Second World War later. This summer there are about three hundred pre-bookings of Israelis for the museum, when at the end of the year about two thousand people visit it in concert.
Ara Lleida Magazine.
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