Located in the Pyrenees and with an extension of 468 km², the Principality of Andorra stands out as one of the main tourist attractions in Europe.
Since we are really close to that country, why not give it a try this summer?
If you are one of those who like mountain hiking to avoid the heat of the season for a while, this small state between France and Catalonia offers a unique opportunity. Nobody doubts that Andorra is full of dazzling landscapes, thanks to its glacial lakes and protected spaces.
Thus, there is much to see in the Madriu-Perafita-Claror valley, the Valls del Comapedrosa Communal Natural Park or in the Sorteny Valley Natural Park.
Skiing lovers may enjoy Grandvalira and Vallnord, the largest ski area in the Pyrenees. The nature tourists have Naturlandia in Rabassa and the thermal waters of Caldea in Escaldes – Engordany.
For hikers like us, Walkaholic highlights 6 of the most interesting trails in Andorra, with several levels of difficulty but all worthy to be walked.
6 great hiking routes in Andorra
Ordered from the simplest to the really difficult, here we propose 6 of the many hiking trails that stand out in the Principality of the Pyrenees.
? The Iron Route (Llorts-La Cortinada)
We start with this route of low technical difficulty, with a slope of 101 m and a total length of 7.6 km that can be covered in just over 2 hours. Therefore, the Iron Route in Ordino is an ideal walk for the whole family.
This trail brings us closer to the history of metallurgy in Andorra, where we will visit the Llorts Mines, walk the muleteers’ road and arrive at the Rossell forge in La Massana, reliving the country’s steelmaking past from the beginning of the 17th century until the end of the 19th century.
This route was also the favorite of cattle herders, and allows us to know the beautiful Ordino Valley, which is the central axis of the country.
? Pessons Lakes and Circus
Welcome to the largest granite glacial circus in Andorra! This route of medium difficulty and a slope of 530 m give us 11 km that can be traveled in 4 hours, through the eastern end of the Encamp Parish.
Climbing the Port of Envalira, we come to this, the largest set of lakes in Andorra surrounded by the peak of Ribuls, the peak of Pessons and Montmalús, all of them around 2,800m high.
Although it is easy to access, discovering little by little the different lakes that forms the Pessons cirque has a special magic, which is complemented by going down to Grau Roig through the little frequented valley of the lakes of La Solana.
The path is perfectly signaled as long distance path (GR), so you can walk this spectacular trail without getting lost.
? Circular road of the parish of Canillo
This route is already included among those of notable difficulty, since it covers 29.4 km with an accumulated slope of 1,920m.
It is not surprising that to return to the Church of Santa Creu should be used approximately 9 hours, since in this hike we will surround the whole parish of Canillo.
The whole route is signaled with the icon of a colored flower and has not major difficulties than its slope and its length, so it is ideal for hikers adapted to the average mountain. Part of its charm lies in visiting the villages of the parish of Canillo, in the northeastern corner of Andorra, bounded on the north by France.
Highlights on this walk the beauty of the valleys of Montaup, Incles and Riu, the church of Sant Miquel de Prats and the sanctuary of Meritxell. It is also wonderful the scenery of Casamanya, Cabaneta, Estanyó and Juclar peaks, as well as the contrast of the vegetation between the sunny and shady slopes.
? Path of Percanela – Les Fonts – Pla de l’Estany
Also of notable difficulty, with an accumulated slope of 600m and a length of 9.1 km, this route can be covered in about 4 hours. However, that these numbers do not deceive you: it is a high mountain route and some of its sections will require a lot of skill and preparation.
However, this circular route has as an incentive to discover the glacier cirque of Pla de l’Estany with an impressive view of the surrounding mountains, while transiting the mountain embrasures of Percanela, Prats Nous, Torner and Coruvilla.
With the starting and return point at the old town of Arinsal, is a beautiful tour across the parish of La Massana where you cannot get bored, among forests of red pine, black pine forest, high mountain meadows and rocky areas.
The views of the Alt del Comapedrosa are fantastic, considering that we are facing the highest peak of the Principality of Andorra.
? Lakes of Ransol and La Serrera Peak (2,913m)
Already for seasoned mountain hikers, we present this circular road that begins and ends at the Coma de Ransol road and challenges us to ascend to the summit of Serrera peak through the Ransol valley, and then descend to the refuge of Cóms de Jan, to finally return to the origin point.
We are talking about a slope of 1,010m and a route of 10.6 km in 4 hours on the way through the parish of Canillo, all in high mountain areas. During the trip we can also appreciate the lakes of Ransol and Meners de la Coma.
The whole route is marked with yellow points in the ascent to the top of the Serrera, then with the GRP marks to the shelter of Cóms de Jan and we pick up the yellow dots.
As an extra incentive, we will discover on the way the remains of the mines of the Meners pass.
? Bony de la Pica (2,402m) from Margineda
To end our list, we suggest this circular route of high difficulty through Sierra de Enclar.
The range is located in the center of the Principality, just north of Andorra la Vella, and the route we propose has an accumulated slope of 1,625m through 24.6 km, to be traveled in 9 hours.
The route promises the best views of the mountains of Andorra and includes the ascent to the Bony de la Pica and the peak of Enclar, then down the shady slope of Sispony, full of coniferous forests of black pine with rhododendron and birches, which contrast with the mountain oak forest of the Solà d’Enclar.
Although without great technical difficulty, it contains sections of difficult orientation and it is a long walk, so it is not recommended to walkers who are not in good physical shape.
What do you think about our proposals to enjoy the best hiking trails in Andorra?
If you know any comparable in beauty to the previous ones, do not forget to leave us a comment so that we all can benefit from your experience.
Who knows? Maybe one of these days we meet on the trails of Andorra, enjoying the magic of the Pyrenees.
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