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Aussichtsplattform Roc Del Quer, Bild: marcin jucha / shutterstock

Andorra – Small country with great diversity

Only 468 km² in size and equipped with three national parks. Multilingual and located between two culinary giants – France and Spain. Andorra should actually be the holiday paradise!

And yet most people know little about the small principality – except that it is considered a tax haven. But Andorra has so much more to offer!

Little Andorra customer

Andorra la Vella
Andorra la Vella, Image: Studio Light and Shade / shutterstock

Andorras is located in a high valley of the eastern Pyrenees. In winter it snows a lot and often, in summer it can get over 20 degrees despite the high altitude. 65 peaks are above the 2000 meter mark. The highest of these is the Coma Pedrosa at 2942 meters.

Andorra is located between Spain and France and is also governed by representatives of both states: the French president shares the office of prince with the bishop of Urgell, the Spanish diocese to which Andorra also belongs – a form of government that only exists in Andorra. The official language is Catalan, but French, Spanish, Portuguese and English are also spoken. The capital Andorra La Vella is the largest city in the small country and at the same time the highest capital in Europe.

With its 468 km², Andorra is the largest of the six small European states. This makes it about half the size of Berlin and can be crossed by car in less than an hour despite winding roads. At the same time, Andorra is the most sparsely populated of all six small states – despite its approximately 80,000 inhabitants. Only 8 percent of the area is built on – the rest is pure nature!

Hiking in Andorra

Hiking in Andorra
Andorra is a paradise for hiking enthusiasts, Image: Henryk Sadura / shutterstock

Andorra is not only known for its impressive mountain landscapes, but also for its diverse and special hiking trails. If you want to experience the beauty of the mountains of the Pyrenees in its purest form, Andorra is an original and impressive hiking paradise. In this article, we’ll take you on a journey through some of the country’s most impressive hiking areas, including the Sorteny Natural Park, the Icles Valley, and the Circuit de Pessons.

The Sorteny Natural Park – A botanical wonderland

The Sorteny Nature Park is located in the northeast of the country and is characterized by its unique flora and fauna. With more than 700 species of plants, this natural park is a true paradise for botany lovers with a unique blaze of colour. Especially in the flowering period between mid-June and early August, the variety of colours is extraordinary. The park covers approximately 1,110 hectares and offers a variety of hiking trails of varying difficulty, so there’s something for every level of endurance. Guided hikes are offered if required.
The hiking trails in the Sorteny Nature Park lead through dense forests, past clear mountain streams and to impressive viewpoints. A popular trail leads to the Coma de Arcalís, an idyllic high valley from which hikers can enjoy a fascinating view of the surrounding mountains.

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The Icles Valley – A hidden gem

The Icles Valley, located southwest of the capital Andorra la Vella, is another highlight for hikers and nature lovers. Off the beaten track, this valley offers a very special variety of nature. Surrounded by green meadows and majestic peaks, the valley stretches for several kilometers and is characterized by numerous hiking trails for different fitness levels. One of the most popular routes in the Icles Valley leads to the Estany Primer, a picturesque mountain lake with a distinctive blue. The path before leads through dense forests, past clear streams and through blooming alpine meadows. Once you arrive at the Estany Primer, the unique mountain lake rewards hikers with a backdrop that invites you to linger.

In the middle of the fascinating landscape is a wonderful waterfall. Even for short-distance hikers, it is easily accessible thanks to the available shutte service up to about three kilometers before the waterfall. Along the descent from GRP1 there are also restaurants for delicious meals.

In the Icles Valley, the national flower of Andorra also shows itself in an enchanting atmosphere and with countless abundance. The entire valley blooms yellow in spring thanks to the numerous daffodils. The blue gentian is rich in contrast in some areas, creating an unmistakable play of colours.

The Circuit de Pessons – glacial lakes and spectacular views

The Circuit de Pessons, a circular hiking trail in the heart of the country, leads through one of the most impressive mountain landscapes of Andorra. This challenging trail stretches for about 18 kilometers and passes several glacial lakes, including the famous Estany de les Fonts. This route can also be divided into smaller sub-stages according to personal preferences. The view of the peaks of the Pyrenees is unique.

Hikers can look forward to a varied route that leads through alpine meadows, rocky paths and rugged gorges. The Circuit de Pessons is an impressive experience, especially in summer and autumn, when the mountain meadows shine in rich colours and the foliage in the surrounding forests shines unmistakably.

More hiking options in the Principality of Andorra

The Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, impresses with its unique beauty. On the hikes around the Madriu, the well-signposted paths lead to great viewpoints and pastures.
The Pas de les Vaques, also known as the “Pass of the Cows”, is also a great hiking route. The ascent is rewarded by breathtaking panoramic views of the mountain lake of Siscaró.

Andorra – An Eldorado for hiking enthusiasts

Andorra impresses not only with its charming villages and historical sights, but above all with its untouched nature and diverse hiking areas. From the botanical richness of the Sorteny Natural Park to the tranquillity of the Icles Valley and the spectacular views of the Circuit de Pessons, Andorra has an adventure for every hiking lover. In the often untouched beauty of the Pyrenees, a fascinating world can be discovered, which brings peace and variety from the stressful everyday life in nature.

Pure nature in the Pyrenees – Andorra in summer

Pyrenees
View of the Pyrenees, Image: Sergii Nagornyi / shutterstock

More than 90 percent natural area – these are unique conditions for nature lovers and active tourists. Whether hiking, mountain biking, climbing or horseback riding – in the summer months you can explore and experience the amazing nature of Andorra in many ways.

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Andorra has three national parks, Valle del Sorteny, Valles del Comapedrosa and Madriu-Perafita-Claror. The latter has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004. Here (and outside the parks) there are countless, well-signposted hiking trails, forest trails and climbs for every hiking enthusiast, no matter what age or experience they may be. Much of the country is above the tree line, so it’s essential to bring sun protection and plenty of drinks when hiking.

Well equipped, an incomparable beauty of nature opens up to you. Past rugged rocks, untouched meadows and crystal-clear mountain lakes, through remote valleys or to high peaks from which you can enjoy an incomparable view.

Most of these trails are also suitable for mountain biking or road cycling. And for those who prefer to climb the mountains directly, there are via ferratas in all levels of difficulty.

Endless slopes – Andorra in winter

Andorra Ski
Skiing in Andorra, Image: Alexey Oblov / shutterstock

Winter sports are very important in Andorra. Three ski areas offer skiers, snowboarders and cross-country skiers almost unlimited snow enjoyment.

Grandvalira is the largest ski resort, not only in Andorra, but in the Pyrenees. A total of 200 km of slopes, all connected to each other, offer sporting challenges for all winter sports enthusiasts. On blue, red and black slopes, everyone gets their money’s worth here, there is even the possibility of heli-skiing. Vallnord is a great ski region, especially for beginners and families. On the 65 km, green beginner slopes are connected with blue slopes over long stretches.

A special attraction is the Naturlandia adventure park. In winter, it is a paradise for cross-country skiers and snowshoe hikers. But it wouldn’t be an adventure park if there wasn’t plenty of action on offer: You can hit the slopes here with snowmobiles – night tours are also possible. And the Tobotronc is the longest toboggan run in the world, and not only in winter. Naturlandia is open all year round and combines nature and action in a pleasant way. Its own wildlife park, archery and a high ropes course are just a few of the countless attractions.

Sources of relaxation – Andorra’s thermal baths

Andorra at night, Image: AlejandroCarnicero / shutterstock

But not everyone is looking for sporting challenges on holiday – many just want to relax. For twenty-five years, Andorra’s natural hot springs have been used for the second major tourism pillar after active holidays. Since then, wellness hotels and thermal baths have become an integral part of the small principality. The most famous thermal bath is Caldea, a futuristic-looking wellness temple with over 32,000 m² of wellness and bathing pleasure.

Fire, museums and Romanesque – Andorra’s culture

Sant Esteve d'Andorra la Vella
Sant Esteve d’Andorra la Vella, Image: Leonid Andronov / shutterstock

Once a year, the night is lit up by burning rings of fire and countless campfires. The rings of fire are created by torches, which the young Andorrans make circle almost acrobatically on the solstice festival. The festival “Fallas y Fallaires” is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and always takes place on June 23rd.

If you are looking for cultural variety between hiking, skiing and other activities, you can enjoy the 40 Romanesque churches that can be visited in Andorra. Or you can visit one of the numerous museums that offer something for every taste: There is a motorcycle museum, a tobacco museum and – particularly worth seeing – the Museu Carmen Thyssen Andorra, which opened in 2017: important works from the collection of the Swiss entrepreneur and art collector Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza de Kászon are exhibited there.

Weather in Andorra

Month Average maximum temperature (°C) Average low temperature (°C) Average rainfall (mm)
January 6 -2 53
February 7 -1 49
March 10 1 54
April 12 3 89
May 16 7 119
June 20 11 84
July 23 14 60
August 23 14 85
September 20 11 80
October 15 7 91
November 10 2 68
December 7 -1 67