If you only visit Andorra in winter, you don't know what they're missing!
The country of the Pyrenees offers endless activities and mountain routes!
Lovers of hiking or trekking love to visit the principality of Andorra "out of season" because of the number of routes on offer and the wonderful temperatures in summer.
But there are not only options for experts... There are excursions for all levels! Whether you're going on a holiday with children, with your pet or if you are an expert in mountain routes, there's something for everybody!
Andorra's mountain routes are home to places like this!
In Andorra you can find a number of valleys and mountains of around 3,000 m and if you want you have up to 3 protected areas: the Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley (UNESCO World Heritage Site), the Valls del Comapedrosa Communal Nature Reserve and the Sorteny Valley Nature Reserve.
So, as you can see, there are several options, but they depend on what you are looking for and your level of hiking (we warn you that in the mountains you should ALWAYS be prepared). That's why we've prepared a list of the 6 best mountain routes in Andorra in different areas and at different levels so that you can choose the one you like best. Shall we get started?
Iron Route or Ruta del Ferro
The first mountain route in Andorra to highlight is ideal for families, but it's also perfect if you want to do a quick hike! It passes through places of cultural and natural interest that offer a different way of exploring nature while hiking.
Are you up for the "Ruta del Ferro" in Andorra?
To start the route, park at the Llorts Mine and head towards La Cortinada, a place that was important for the economy of the villages in the area.
This linear route is notable for passing along the Way of the Trajinants, an ancient route used to transport iron. Nowadays, to commemorate these events there is the "Hombres de Hierro" (Iron Men), an open-air exhibition featuring iron sculptures that simulate their journey along this metallurgical trade route.
These are the "Iron Men"!
The rest of the route is very fun and easy to follow as you can see the bridges of Vilaró and Arans, Sant Martí de La Cortinada.
The route is signposted in red and white, typical of the GR11 (the great route of the Pyrenees).
Distance: 4.2 km (8.4 km round trip)
Estimated duration: more than 2 hours
Main features: Accessible and ideal for families with small children. Guided tours are available in summer inside the Llorts Mine.
Engolasters Lake and the Pardines Trail
This mountain route is linear and consists of an excursion lasting almost 4 hours starting at the church of Sant Martí d'Engolasters.
Nearby there is a picnic area at the Font de la Closa fountain, which is very useful for eating before (or after) the route. The route is not very complicated, but it is made more difficult by the slope and the distance covered, so you'll need to be well prepared!
Here is the wonderful picnic area for resting.
This route runs along the Engolasters Hydroelectric Trail, the Canal Trail and the Fonts Circuit to Engolasters Lake.
The best thing about the route? The panoramic views of the Casamanya, Estanyó and Cabaneta peaks. In addition to the beautiful botanical path of the Camino de las Pardines, where you will see forests of red and black pine that project to a wonderful landscape of green valleys.
You will be able to see the incredible views of the Casamanya and Estanyó peaks.
Distance: 13,8 km
Estimated duration: 3 hours and 40 minutes approximately.
Main features: Route that passes by the Engolasters lake, which is part of the water collection facilities that feed the hydroelectric power station.
The Madriu Way
This mountain route is one of the most beautiful. Along the way you will discover the exceptional valley of the Madriu river, which we love!
With these marvellous views you will start your excursion.
The route starts on the road to La Plana and goes all along the Madriu river valley until you reach the marvellous Illa Lake. The beauty of the Illa Lake leaves anyone dazzled when you see the surrounding landscape of winding mountains.
The panoramic view of the Estany de l'Illa is spectacular, isn't it?
This route passes through old cobbled paths, terraced fields, stone walls... A picturesque spot that highlights the beauty of the past and the nature of today.
Lovers of hiking and mountain routes highlight the Camino de Madriu as their favourite routes in the Pyrenees.
Distance: 23 km
Estimated duration: 7 hours
Main features: With this route you will get to know the most important activities of the Madriu Valley, agriculture and livestock farming.
Montmalús Peak and Colells Circus
This circular route takes you along the crest of the Colells Cirque. The route starts at Grau Roig and climbs up to the peak of Montmalús, continues along the Colells cirque and returns to the starting point.
The Primer de Pessons Lake and the Pessons Cirque will amaze you!
What hikers like most about this route is the scenery, as they tell us that it offers something different from the others.
Here you will find large vertical rock walls and a number of lakes that in the past shaped the landscape we see today. Curious, isn't it?
This is the lake of Montmalús and the Muga peak.
That is why you will see that almost all the paths are full of stone milestones that will make you always remember the route, popularly known as "the rocky glacier of the Circo dels Colells".
It is not an easy route, but it is well worth it. During the excursion you can observe how the landscape changes and nature tells the story of the passage of time. What's more, the views do not disappoint!
When you reach the Circo de Pessons you will have panoramic views of this calibre.
Distance: 10.4 km
Estimated duration: 4 hours
Main features: Keep an eye on the sky, vultures stalk the peaks at low altitude... If you are lucky you might see one of them.
Circular route through the parish of Canillo
We continue with our compilation of mountain routes in Andorra! Now it's the turn of a very interesting itinerary that runs through the area of the parish of Canillo. It passes through places such as: the sanctuary of Meritxell, Sant Miquel de Prats... The path crosses the Valira river and climbs along the Mereig banks.
Climbing up the Mereig banks
Experts point out that the most characteristic feature of the route is the contrast between the slopes of the sunny side and the shady side. You will find the route signposted with coloured flower-shaped graffiti!
Follow these indications to follow the Canillo Circular Way.
Path that leads to the Riu valley
This route is for medium levels; it is not very complicated. You will cross different valleys such as Montaup, Riu, Ransol and Incles as you head towards Soldeu.
Warning! This route, although we have already told you that it is not technically complicated, it is better to train for it as there is quite a steep slope and a long distance.
You will have to be prepared! We assure you that it will be well worth it.
Distance: 29,4 km
Estimated duration: 9 hours
Main features: The famous glacial beauty of the area is very present on this route.
And finally... This semi-circular route heads towards one of the most important and highest peaks (2,942 m) in the Principality of Andorra. Although it is not a technically difficult route, we recommend that you do it if you are a fan of hiking and are used to walking in mountainous terrain.
If you are not, you have other better options listed in this article!
Follow the signs for Coll de Comapedrosa following the route
The route starts at Prats Sobirans (very close to Arinsal) where the parish of La Massana is located. You must go up along the banks of the river Pedrosa to the Pleta de Comapedrosa and continue to the Lago Negre. At this point you can start the route to the Comapedrosa peak.
If you feel like resting, a good place to rest is next to the Negre Lake.
Once you reach the Comapedrosa Peak you will enjoy the best views in Andorra and immortalise the moment (get your camera ready). Afterwards, on the descent, you should go towards Portella de Baiau to link up again with the Pleta de Comapedrosa.
Views from the ridge
On this path you will visit the Comapedrosa refuge and rest for a while by the Truites Lake. Afterwards you can return the way you came up.
Distance: 14,3 km
Estimated duration: 6 hours
Main features: You will visit the Comapedrosa Valleys Communal Natural Park, made up of many types of vegetation such as red pine forests, large meadows, rocky areas...
And, there's one more! We've saved the best for last!!
The Tristaina Lakes or Tristaina Ponds
Before the snow had completely melted, some of our colleagues decided to head over to Andorra and try one of these routes.our favourite was the circular route of the Tristaina Lakes, and if you want to know why, read on!
This hike is one of the most beautiful and accessible in the Andorran Pyrenees. To start the excursion you'll have to go to the highest point of the Ordino Arcalís ski resort, the car park of the La Coma restaurant.
Although when we went there, we couldn't go up to that point and we parked in the Cs-380 car park and from there we started the route along the Vella road:
We have to confess that at the beginning the road seems more complicated than it is... It starts with quite a steep slope, and it takes about 15-20 minutes until we reach the Pla de Tristiana, a place full of wetlands.
We follow the path until we get to Estany Primer, the smallest and bluest of the lakes, still with snow and ice! A little further up is the Estany del Mig and the Estany de Més Amunt, the latter being the largest and second largest in Andorra.
On arrival we stopped for snacks, sandwiches and juices that we had brought with us to replenish our strength.
In our case, we followed the same route back to the car. But ideally you should follow the yellow signs to finish the Tristaina Lakes route.
Distance: 4.39 km
Estimated duration: 2 h
Main features: the three high mountain lakes that give their name to the route are undoubtedly the most outstanding feature. Another element is the Arcalís 91 monument, by the sculptor Mauro Staccioli (the 4 m steel ring of Ordino Arcalís).
Did you know about all these routes?
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