5 Stunning Hikes to Take in Andorra
Crossed by the towering peaks of the Pyrenees and home to lush green valleys that shelter picturesque lakes and quaint villages, Andorra is a paradise for outdoor activities. Here’s a selection of five great hikes to take while visiting this tiny principality sandwiched between France and Spain.
GR7: Andorra, D’Est a Sud
Starting at Portella Blanca, on Andorra’s eastern border with France, this 27-mile route finishes at the Catalonian village of La Farga de Molles. It passes through the rugged landscapes of the UNESCO-listed Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley, where mountain huts and old shepherd cabins provide accommodation. Along the section toward the Spanish border, the route crosses La Perguera, a zigzagging cycling road that climbs from Sant Julià de Lòria to a height of 6,266 feet. This route is part of the European Grande Route E hiking trail between Greece and Gibraltar.
Find out more here: D’Est a Sud
GRP Andorra: La Volta a Tot un Pais
This round-trip route lets hikers travel the perimeter of the entire country in about seven days. The entire route covers 66 miles and is usually broken up into stages that vary from 7.5 to 12.4 miles. Highlights include the Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley, gorgeous Estany de la Nou lake, and Sorteny Valley, where over 700 flower species flourish. The views from the 9,219-feet high Collada dels Pessons mountain pass evoke true top-of-the-world feelings. There’s also the chance to visit the Estanys de l’Angonella, a group of lakes situated in the country’s northwest corner.
Find out more here: La Volta a Tot un Pais
Estanys I Refugi de Cabana Sorda
If you prefer short day hikes, then this family-friendly journey across verdant valleys, along rivers, and around lakes is ideal. From close to the Chapel of the Incles Valley, the trail leads through La Pinosa Forest in the Incles Valley, which is Andorra’s most important glacial valley. It then meanders by flower-filled meadows to Querol Lake before continuing to the crystalline Estanys de Cabana Sorda lake. There’s a refuge with accommodations for 20 people at the lake, and lake fishing is permitted from April to September.
Find out more here: Estanys I Refugi de Cabana Sorda
La Ruta de les 3 Nacions
Fancy visiting three countries along one single route? The La Ruta de les 3 Nacions winds around Andorra’s northwest Ordino parish and crosses into France and Spain. There’s approximately 24 hours of walking in total, often broken down into five sections. Depending on which direction is taken, one of the first or last stops is the breathtaking Estanys de Tristaina, a string of dazzling-blue lakes that lure hikers to plunge into their cool waters in summertime. The route also incorporates the Parc Natural Comunal de les Valls del Comapedrosa, home to Andorra’s tallest peak, the 9,656-foot Coma Pedrosa.
Find out more here: La Ruta de les 3 Nacions
La Vall de Madriu
The diversity of Andorra’s flora and fauna abounds when hiking the Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley, in the high Pyrenees region. Foxes, marmots, Pyrenees chamois goat-antelopes, squirrels, and wild boar all reside amid the valley’s craggy cliffs, sprawling meadows, and woodland. Remote dwellings and evidence of iron smelting are remnants of how humankind has survived in the valley for hundreds of years. A popular section goes from the national capital, Andorra la Vella, to Estany de la Bova lake. The lake is particularly notable for the many cattail plants that grow on its shoreline.
Find out more here: La Vall de Madriu