Tour of Romanesque Churches
Posted on November 13th, 2018
Andorra has some great historic churches you can visit on those rest days when you’re not up in the mountains and feel like a contrast to the shopping opportunities outlined in our last blog. Almost every parish and village in Andorra has a Romanesque chapel, known for their charming beauty, stone walls and Lombardian bell towers. The majority of these have origins dating back to the 11th and 12th centuries. A circular route from Andorra la Vella through to Canillo via Encamp and then back to la Vella via Ordino over the Coll d’Ordino pass is a great drive in its own right and will take in the highlights.
At Meritxell the huge Santuari de Meritxell completed in 1976 contrasts architecturally with the adjacent Romanesque Santa Maria de Meritxell. There is also a museum here which, with the two churches, forms part of the Historical Complex of Meritxell, declared a ‘wealth of cultural interest’ by the Government of Andorra.
One of the best preserved and impressive churches is Sant Joan de Casselles. This can be easily found on the main road just outside Canillo heading to El Tarter. The original 900+ year old building is still intact and as such this historic property is registered in the Cultural Heritage of Andorra, an organisation in Andorra which protects national buildings and monuments considered of cultural and historical value.
Andorra Shopping Festival 2018
Posted on November 9th, 2018
In high contrast to the great outdoors and all things adventurous and sporting is one of Andorra’s more relaxing endeavours, taking in the many illuminating shopping arenas. At this point of the year with Andorra in between Summer and Snow seasons the principality embraces the bigger town areas with music festivals, shows and merriment to accompany the shopping experience. Whether you are looking for the latest high-tech walking gadget, the lightest and warmest walking gear or just something altogether more ‘bling’ to satisfy certain members of the family(!), Andorra’s exceptionally low tax rates make a visit to the shops very worthwhile indeed. Both French and Spanish nationals are known to regularly undertake the journey into Andorra to specifically embark on a shop frenzy to save them euros and with Christmas around the corner who could blame them! With Beauty Showroom Workshops, Street Art Shopping and fun for all ages the retail areas of Andorra La Vella, Escaldes-Engordany and Pas de la Casa are a buzzing hive of activity.
Mountain Refuges in Andorra
Posted on October 27th, 2018
On our recent trip exploring the Coronallacs hiking route we had the chance to stay in two of the manned mountain refuges. Andorra has a total network of 30 mountain huts all accessible on foot. Although most are located in difficult places, some can be accessed from as little as a one hour hike and all share a privileged location with incredible views. Of the refuges, four are in the ‘guarded’ category. This means they charge for accommodation, have full time staff present and offer a half-board food option. They are much like basic hotels with large shared rooms. However, the food and hospitality we experienced on our visits were exceptional given the remote locations.
The other 26 un-manned huts are much smaller and more simple. You would need to take your own food and cooking equipment if staying in one of these. This is offset by the cost – they are free. Full details of the mountain hut network can be found here :- http://visitandorra.com/en/sleeping/mountain-huts-in-andorra/
Madriu Valley UNESCO World Heritage Site celebrates
Posted on October 25th, 2018
The crown of Andorra’s natural heritage and Valley Gateway is a nature and environment lovers paradise. The World Heritage Park’s visitor service has been holding many events over the Spring, Summer and Autumn seasons including the Feast of Saint Peter, Tracking Workshops, Nocturnal Photography and Mycology Workshops along with the Centre for Snow and Mountain Studies. The latter aimed specifically at educating children in mountain species. Many themed excursions, wildlife watching, and stories and legends have also been arranged to showcase and provide informed access to this special area of interest. The beautiful Madriu Valley lies in the South of Andorra close to the capital, Andorra La Vuella and featured in our last note about our team hiking the Coronallacs, the lakes around Andorra, staying in guarded mountain huts and local hotels. Whilst all of Andorra is breath taking this mountain area is quite magical and offers the best of mountain walking and hiking to be had in the Pyrenees. A great recommendation to get involved in one of the many organised activities, take a day hike or try a longer hike into solitude and overnight at the new fantastic guarded refugi de L’illa providing great food and shelter.
Coronallacs – stage 2 – hike around the lakes of Andorra
Posted on October 19th, 2018
The Adventure Andorra team have been exploring the Coronallacs hiking route in Andorra. The second stage of our hike was still challenging but a bit less demanding than the northern section. After a restful night at the four-star Princesa Parc Hotel, we made a ‘tweak’ to the official route, to make the day more achievable, by hiking up the Arinsal ski area (Port Vell) to reach the GRP footpath at Pic Negre. The views from this high point are fabulous including the mountain range around Comapedrosa and the ski area of Pal-Vall Nord. The steadily descending route took us through agricultural areas with farmers herding their cattle to the woods near Pal. A descent along the valley of Cortals de Sispony led us to our resting place at the AnyosPark Mountain & Wellness Resort.
Our final two days from Escaldes up along the Madriu valley to the Illa refuge and then down through the Pessons lakes to Soldeau were truly spectacular. The hike up to the Illa refuge, although a climb of 1500m, is steady and the scenery is breathtaking. A stay in the Illa refuge is an amazing experience. It feels like something out of a Bond film and is by far the most comfortable of the Mountain refuges. To top it off the food and wine were great. A challenging climb up and descent over the collanda del Pessons pass then leads to a very pleasant gentle hike through the 18 Pessons lakes.
We recommend these last two days if you’re looking for a memorable two-day hiking trip in Andorra. A frequent bus from Soldeu back to Andorra la Vella helps with logistics.
The Coronallacs is a challenging hike through the incredible variety of landscapes that Andorra has to offer. A two-day hike with an overnight stay in a mountain refuge is an unforgettable experience and highly recommended. For those looking to complete the official Coronallacs route we would suggest using one of our experienced mountain guides.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
The Colours of Music Festival returns to Escalades in Andorra
Posted on July 5th, 2018
Andorra simply oozes music being one of its main cultural and leisure activities. A wide range of free performances will be performed using the genre of Street Jazz, Music of the World and Nights of the World. A few of those performers to highlight include Ronald Baker Quartet, The Dry Rivers Stompers Swing Band, Lewis Enma & the BCN Fireballs, Concert Jove, A night at Calella de Palafrugell & Night in Lalin to name but a few. Various dates are available throughout July and August with both national and international performances, all taking place in the Plaza Coprinceps of Escaldes-Engordany.
Mountain Bike World Cup and Masters World Championships
Posted on June 20th, 2018
Once again Andorra is hosting not one but two of the Mountain Bike World’s major annual events, the World Cup and Masters World Championships in mid-July. A short gondola ride up the mountain at La Massana will take you to the main event location where you can witness the spectacle of world class athletes defy gravity on two wheels in both Olympic cross country and downhill events. Vallnord Bike Park is the setting for these races which is also, of course a great family orientated destination for a variety of superb activities including zip wires, trampolines, climbing walls, go-karts, etc and of course many hiking trails and cross country and downhill mountain biking. Be sure to read our blog in the coming weeks on what’s new at Vallnord!
Adventure Andorra at the Keswick Mountain Festival 2018
Posted on June 9th, 2018
A successful weekend for Adventure Andorra at the Keswick Mountain Festival, set in a stunning location. Unusually good weather for the Lake District. It could almost be Andorra…. Meeting lots of adventurous families looking for the ideal family activity holiday.
Adventure Andorra to exhibit at the Keswick Mountain Festival
Posted on May 27th, 2018
We will be attending the Keswick Mountain Festival from 8th to 10th June. Come and visit us at our stand in the Festival Village and enter our draw for a chance to win a 4k action camera.
The festival takes place in the heart of the Lake District and is made up of guided activities including MTB biking, hiking, canoeing, navigation training, ghyll scrambling, climbing and so much more, to be enjoyed with friends and family. There is also a fantastic line-up of challenging sporting events including triathlons, trail races, and open water swims.
All topped off with an incredible selection of kids activities, local food stalls, exhibitors, camping, live music and spectacular views.
Combine some Andorra Adventure with Barcelona this Springtime
Posted on May 17th, 2018
With the warmer weather starting to show itself this late Spring/early Summer why not head off and get away from it all with some mountain adventure coupled with the culture and backdrop of the great city of Barcelona. Fly to Barcelona from the many UK airport hubs and travel the short distance to Andorra for a few days hiking or biking in the fresh mountain air. Stay in a great hotel for some home comforts, enjoy fabulous food and then when you are refreshed and energised head back to Barcelona for a few days of culture and relaxation in the renowned and bustling city. Barcelona has so much to offer also of course, from the art of Gaudi and Sagrada Familia, to the atmospheric La Rambla, the superb Gothic Quarter, Camp Nou for sports lovers and not to mention the idyllic beach. If you love the mountains or want to try something different, you’ll love the diversity that Andorra and Barcelona can both provide together.
Andorra has done it again – Introducing DIVA by Cirque Du Soleil
Posted on May 8th, 2018
Throughout July this Summer the amazingly famous and entertaining Cirque Du Soleil is returning to Andorra once again to wow and delight crowds. This new and unique event will pay homage to some of the greatest DIVAs for an unparalleled show. With spirited acrobatics taking visitors on a journey through time with the music of yesterday exhibited by lyrics and melodies that mark history. This free event for up to 5,000 spectators per show takes place each night in Parc Central in the centre of Andorra La Vella. A truly magical experience to cap any holiday.
Some Great Andorra Mountain Hikes
Posted on April 26th, 2018
Whether you like to hike high mountain peaks, trek to remote turquoise lakes, take in the views of magnificent ranges, sleep under the stars or to scramble your way to the top, Andorra really does have it all. Climb to the peak of Coma Pedrosa at 2,943m, the highest peak in Andorra in the Valls del Comspedrosa protected Nature Park to get amazing views. Or hike your way to the central massive area high above Encamp and Canillo to tackle the upper boulders of Alt de Griu above the lower forest. Earn great 360 degree views and then find remote lakes to dip a toe or jump right in to cool yourself from the hot and dusty trails. Alternatively, trek to one of several high mountain huts to sample the delights of a table service restaurant and lodging. Visit the Huts at Sorteny Nature Park or Jucla, Andorra’s largest lake, to break up a few days hiking whether on the borders or central mountain areas. You will be spoilt for choice, wish you had more days and then settle for your favourite hiking before vowing to return to the ones that got away!
Introducing Caving to Adventure Andorra
Posted on April 5th, 2018
At Adventure Andorra we are always looking for new ways to help our guests get the best experiences from their holidays and we are very excited to add Caving or Potholing as it is sometimes known to our multitude of adventure activities. Just over the border with France in the small hidden valley of Ariege are some special caving areas carved intro the limestone around the Tarascon region. Our private family group guides will equip you with all necessary safety equipment to explore the amazing caves and provide an unforgettable experience for all the family. No experience is necessary, just a willingness to explore, have fun and share memories.
May half-term in Andorra
Posted on March 30th, 2018
As the ski season draws to a close in coming weeks, the true beauty of Andorra is gradually revealed as the snow melts and the mountains transition into their summer glory.
The late May half-term is a perfect time to visit Andorra for a family adventure holiday. The weather is ideal with cool morning temperatures gradually increasing to 20 degrees C in the afternoon. The skies can be crystal clear giving more spectacular blue-sky scenery than is possible in the peak of summer and the very tops of the mountains will still have snow.
For walkers and nature lovers the colourful alpine meadows will be buzzing with life and if you’re lucky you’ll see marmots emerging from their winter hibernation.
Late May and early June are quiet seasons for Andorra so prices are competitive. We highlight a example package on our home-page staying half-board at the Princesa Parc Hotel for 6 nights from 27th May. For a family of four with a full itinerary of privately guided activities including hiking, cycling and water rafting, the price is £592 per person.
Why not contact us to discuss how we can build a bespoke family adventure holiday for you.
Andorra La Vella Music and Dance Season
Posted on March 21st, 2018
Andorra has been celebrating its many cultural sides this month with the 24th running of the annual Music and Dance Festival. Those performing include a contemporary American dance company, Ailey II, the pianist Khatia Buniatishvili; also tenor Javier Camerena and no less than the Berlin Philarmonic. The eclectic programme takes place in the capital, Andorra La Vella at the Congress Centre. A great demonstration of the success and diversity of the music and dance scene currently performing in Andorra.
Majestic Andorra in the Winter Sun
Posted on February 16th, 2018
There are few summer activities that continue through the winters in Andorra as the fun turns to skiing and snowboarding. The mountains are simply stunning through all seasons and winter brings a sereneness to the landscape. Our Andorran hosts are as hospitable as always during our stay to play on the slopes of Grandvalira and relax in our comfortable hotel with great food and wine. Returning to Andorra is always a great adventure.
October – a great month to visit Andorra
Posted on November 3rd, 2017
While October is considered a ‘low’ season in Andorra, the superb weather and attractive prices make a it a great destination for half term. We were there the week before half term and the weather was amazing. Clearer skies than in the summer. Warm like a good British summer day in the valleys and fresh at higher levels. This picture was taken during the hike around Tristaina lakes – an awesome day !
Via Ferrata – an amazing experience which, as a family, we will always remember
Posted on August 28th, 2017
We took the half day via ferrata activity in Ordino. None of us have every climbed before. The route at Ordino is sufficiently exhilarating that we were all pushed towards the edge of our comfort zone. The feeling of elation and achievement once we had reached the top was immense and to achieve this together as a family of five was an incredible bonding experience for us.
Canyoning in the Boixols Valley – a fantastic experience
Posted on July 27th, 2017
We had travelled to Andorra through France and were enjoying some great high mountain hikes when our youngest son decided he would like to try the adventure activity canyoning. Being a sporty 12 year old we opted for a Level 2 canyon in a small group of 4. He was first to all the jumps, slides and abseils in a truly remarkable canyon. Our guide was fantastic and made the whole experience so safe, seamless and enjoyable. We will definitely be coming back to experience this again!