Coronallacs – hike around the lakes of Andorra

Posted on October 12th, 2018

The Adventure Andorra team have been exploring the Coronallacs route in Andorra.  The weather at this time of year (end September/early October) is great for hiking, generally warm in the valleys and cool in the mountains with consistently clear blue skies.

coronallacs, approach to the Angonella lakes

Meadows on the approach to the Angonella lakes.

coronallacs, Angonella lakes approach. Andorra.

Approach to the Angonella Lakes. Looking back towards the refugi de l’Angonella

The Coronallacs is a spectacular route around some of the most scenic lakes in the country.  The hike is challenging and officially is based on a route via the four manned mountain huts which provide meals.  However, as some of these mountain refuges start closing in October we decided to adapt the route to include some comfort in some of our hand-selected hotel accommodation.  In the first stage we began the hike in Soldeu, having taken a bus from Andorra La Vella.  After a steady climb along the tranquil Incles valley we spent the first night at the Refugi de Jucla situated above the estanys de Jucla (Jucla lakes).  It was Saturday night and the refuge was full with a lively atmosphere at the shared evening meal.  The wine appeared to be free-flowing.  It was a pleasant surprise to see families with young children staying at the refuge.

coronallacs, Refugi de Jucla

Refugi de Jucla

A long route west with two steep climbs and descents crossing the Incles and Ransol valleys took us to El Serrat and a finally night at the La Neu Aparthotel in Llorts.  The next day saw us reach the Angonella lakes and a scramble over the Clot del Cavall ridge and then down to Arinsal where the comfort of the Princesa Parc Hotel was awaiting us.  This first half of our route was challenging but the variety of spectacular scenery, beautiful clear blue lakes, green valleys and rugged mountains provided us with ample reward.

coronallacs, Angonella lakes. Andorra.

Angonella Lakes

 

Inaugural Andorra Bike and E-Bike Race 2018

Posted on October 5th, 2018

Andorra is well famed for its bike riding, weather it is the annual MTB Downhill World Cup and Championship at Vallnord, or the Tour de France or La Vuelta road stages near and around Ordino and surrounding cols; the latter of course saw Britain’s Simon Yates dominate earlier this year. Andorra is once again leading the way with a hybrid bike event 160 Km long over 3 days in mid-October. Attracting participants from a wide range of disciplines, the race will take place through Andorra, Spain and France and will start and finish in the Andorran capital, Andorra La Vuella. Additionally, a parallel race will be run for the emergingly popular e-bike, gaining amazing credibility with MTB fans everywhere in such a short space of time. This will take place over a separate route specifically designed for e-bikes. Andorra once again breaking the mould on diversity and inclusion amongst sports enthusiasts in the magnificent Pyrenean landscapes.

Mountain biking downhill race

Inaugural Andorra Bike Race

 

Excalibur Adventure Race 2018

Posted on September 28th, 2018

Andorra embraced its outdoor side once again with its annual September adventure race for serious fitness enthusiasts to the youngest family member out for some fun. The main race consists of a 15 km run including 25 major obstacles set to test the strong, those with technique and the brave. For the energetic adults the race counts for the International Leagues and European Championships and for the younger variety of ages 4-10 years some great fun over a much watered down version over 10 obstacles but yet still feeling like a real challenge! The venue, Naturlandia, one of Andorra’s great activity parks in the South of the principality that hosts Tobotronc, the world’s longest alpine toboggan run at 5.3 km; Air Trek, a high level adventure walkway over 3 height levels; amongst many other activities and a great animal park located at 2,000m.

A 15 Km race over challenging obstacles

Adventure Racing Andorra

 

The best fun in the Pyrenees, Adventure Canyoning…

Posted on August 31st, 2018

Another blue sky beautiful day in the mountains would see you head off to a breathtaking canyon to enjoy the cool waters whilst having insurmountable fun descending a limestone canyon. With a little more water around than normal due to the great winter snow season you could expect a great day. With a short walk to the start of the canyon having kitted up at the top you head for the first canyoning challenge, a small jump. This certainly gets you into canyoning mode with hoots of laughter and the odd shrill; the cold water very welcome given the thick wetsuits. Higher and higher jumps up the ante and excitement levels for all. Interspersed are 3 abseils, increasing in height but not difficult to the novice and all down waterfalls to keep you cool. The last descends down a vertical ‘free abseil’ into a great canyon, real adventure. A few slides and many small clambers and leaps, the odd float/swim and a small open cave obstacle to crawl through adds to the diversity. The landscape constantly mesmerises; take a Go Pro if you can, it is certainly worth it. The final challenge awaits, an 8m jump under the old village bridge into crystal clear emerald waters; could you do it, of course and even time for a swift return up to the jump for a second leap – simply amazing.

Natural limestone canyon course

Canyoning slide

 

Cross country Mountain Biking in La Seu with the family…

Posted on August 24th, 2018

There are many levels and lengths of rides to choose from at the Olympic Park in La Seu (all colour coded) and in fact it appears as if the valley is surrounded on all sides by cross country biking tree covered slopes. From 30min to full days, river rides to steep forest gradients, the choice is endless. Having been kitted out with bikes and helmets and selecting a medium 2 hour ride from the raft centre on a clear sunny you start with a gentle warm up along the kayak lake and wide river trails. Plenty of time to take in the area and familiarise yourself with your trusty steed! The mid-section of the ride provides some single track challenges on stone/grass paths with a reasonable ascent into the village of Alas, from which emerges great vistas of the La Seu valley below, and a handy cold fountain to fill up the water bottles. Some short downhill road free-wheeling next and then wide gravel tracks all the way back to base makes for a lovely family bike ride; just enough to work up a sweat for the white water rafting or kayaking back at the park.

Mountin Biking Route 12 at Parc Olympic

Mountain Biking the valley around La Seu

 

A thrilling Hike up Andorra’s tallest mountain, COMA PEDROSA…

Posted on August 15th, 2018

If you are up for a challenge and a very good hike that has real diversity in terrain then Coma Pedrosa is for you. Some run it for fun in Summer but most take the more sensible slower hike from the top of Arinsal. Forests, rocky tracks, waterfalls, valleys, a refuge, snow fields, a ridge section and the best views a peak can offer, this walk has it all. You start at the site of past avalanches now protected by thick stone walls, into the National Park and the forests. The hike is mostly ‘up’ with little respite but not steep. After passing many wooden bridges with great valley views, you start to climb adjacent to a water course all the way to just below the guarded refuge, the biggest in Andorra. A valley walk then awaits with the path at the top hidden from view until you get closer. Half way up here is a good time to fill up those water bottles from a beautifully cold spring. As you ascend the track and crest the pass, some small snow fields show themselves. Normal hiking boots are fine to cross as it’s only a few short sections on the snow and the route then turns to a slight scramble and ridge walk. A lovely change that leads all the way to the summit. After the obligatory summit photos the way down takes an easier scree descent past an iceberg lake which is an option for a very cooling swim or there is the much more amenable lake at the refuge half way down. A great end to a great hike.

View towards Spains 3,000m peaks

View from Coma Pedrosa

 

Tristaina Lakes looking fantastic in the glorious sunshine…

Posted on August 8th, 2018

Summertime sees many make the windy journey up the Ordino valley to visit the splendour that is the 3 Tristaina lakes. An interesting car drive up the Tour de France route will see you pass many a cyclist culminating at the Arcalis ski station at the top of the valley. With plenty of parking the start of the route is easily seen to the side of the café, which is very handy for refreshments on the way down. A slow traversing climb suitable for most general walkers will see you reach the pass in a very short time. A beautiful and enchanting view awaits, truly spectacular. Head straight for the lake out in front or take the route across and down to the right for the circular route which is to be recommended. Cross the stone bridge or stepping stones, a great photo stop, to head towards the pulsating waterfall. Detour here or head to the main lake in the col. This year you could take a paddle board or a canoe across the lake, a great experience or for the brave (and hot) take a jump or dip in the cooling emerald and deep blue waters. A 2 hour round route with a short walk back to café.

Hiking the best lakes in Andorra

Tristaina Lakes

 

Vallnord Bike Park has just upped its game…

Posted on July 24th, 2018

Vallnord Bike park is of course a world renowned mountain bike facility hosting annual World Cups and World Championships, but it has recently made some great additions to enhance its appeal for both family spectating and participation. A brand new restaurant facility has opened for this Summer at Coll de la Botella at 2,069m, up the mountain from Pal. This is linked to the main mountain area from La Massana by new, easier cross country tracks, and a very exciting 7 Km long dedicated e-bike track from La Massana itself. A great way to explore the mountain on 2 wheels with a little help, as required! And of course, Vallnord mountain biking and hiking combines family fun with amazing zip wires, a rope park, 4 x4 buggies, go-karts, aerial trampolines, and a whole lot more. A must for all visitors!

Mountain Biking, Hiking and Family Activities

A busy day on Vallnord Bike Park

 

Still deciding where to head this Summer? Andorra really does have it all…

Posted on July 13th, 2018

Could it be the outstandingly beautiful unspoilt haven for adventure, the close proximity to Barcelona and the beaches of the Costa Brava, the unrivalled 300 days of sunshine each year, the great guides and variety of adventurous activities on offer or the amazing affordability provided with the quieter Summers? Or maybe you are just thinking of doing something different from the crowd in a relaxed, safe environment coupled with superb spacious family orientated accommodation. With this and so much more Andorra really is a great family destination to experience. So much so that we are certain, just like us you’ll want to return for more fun year after year and bring your friends along with you!

Ordino from high in the moutnains

A magical view of Ordino

 

Hiking has never been more civilised! Stay in a serviced mountain refuge under the stars…

Posted on July 6th, 2018

Glamping it is not but staying in a fully serviced mountain refuge sure does beat hiking with a heavy backpack full of tent equipment and food. Hiking to one of the lovely far flung peaks of Andorra secure in the knowledge that you can stay in a traditional mountain hut and be fed, watered and provided with a bed for the night is a great feeling. The sense of being in the mountains is never more apparent than when sleeping in them also, taking in the night shows on offer and feeling closer than ever to the stars. A great family experience for a night or two or why not try a longer 3 or 4 night route mountain hopping around the principality.

A comfortable nights stay under the stars

Jucla Refuge high in the mountains

A great shelter to rest in after a long hike to the top

The highest hotel in Andorra

 

 

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