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Hidden deep in the Pyrenees, the little-known mountains of Andorra offers superb summer walking. Based in the alpine village of Soldeu, enjoy beautiful walks through protected valleys, meadows and glacial landscapes.
Explore Tour Leader
7 nights comfortable hotel
Trip maximum 16 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Our trip begins at Barcelona-El Prat Josep Tarradellas Airport (BCN) at 3.30pm, the latest your flight can arrive is 3pm. Please note that depending on which terminal you arrive into you may have to take the airport shuttle bus to terminal 2 which is where we'll be meeting.
We will travel together as a group to the small alpine village of Soldeu in the heart of the Andorran Pyrenees, a 3.30 hour drive. A popular ski resort, lying 1,710 metres/5,611 feet above sea level, Soldeu is an engaging mix of traditional rural inns, converted farmhouses and lively bars, providing us with an ideal base for our Pyrenean adventure.
After settling into our hotel depending on traffic we'll hopefully have time for a short orientation walk around the village before dinner. Our base for the week is Hotel Soldeu Maistre, centrally located in Soldeu. This family-run hotel is furnished in local Catalan style. Built to replicate the mountain lodge look with a stone and wood panelled exterior the hotel is in keeping with its surroundings.
If your flight arrives earlier in the day, you may have time to wait ahead of our group transfer to Soldeu. You can make the most of this time by exploring Barcelona with its many attractions such as 'La Boqueria' food market, Las Ramblas boulevard lined with bars and restaurants and not to mention the many incredible architectural works of Antoni Gaudi. The Barcelona metro line L9 Sud connects terminals T1 and T2 with the city of Barcelona every 7 minutes and takes 32 minutes. Bags can be stored at the airports left luggage for around Euro 10 per piece of luggage.
Hotel Soldeu Maistre (or similar)
This morning we walk from the hotel along the ancient Cami del Gall trail, marked by the symbol of a red cockerel and which got its name from the capercaillies once living in large numbers in the forests of the area. Gradually descending we pass through mixed woods, cross streams and view waterfalls following the valley of the Valira River which crosses Andorra from east to west. The walk ends in Meritxell, the religious centre of Andorra where the patron saint Meritxell is worshipped at a dedicated sanctuary. We'll travel back to hotel by public bus.
Today's 10.5 kilometre/6.50 miles walk is expected to take around 4 hours with 200 metres/656 feet of ascent and 600 metres/1969 feet of descent. There are sections equipped with wooden walkways, steps and handrails.
Today we explore the untouched wilderness of Andorra's only UNESCO World Heritage Site, the beautiful and remote Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley. Covering nearly 50 square kilometres/19.30 square miles this pristine setting is the country's spiritual and cultural heart, as well as being a haven for wildlife that includes marmot, bearded vulture and ptarmigan. Driving to the small hamlet of Saint Miquel d'Engolasers, we then hike up to the refuge at Fontverd, where we stop to enjoy a picnic lunch before heading back to Soldeu by bus.
Today's 12 kilometre/7.50 miles walk is expected to take around 4.30 hours with 900 metres/2953 feet of ascent and 400 metres/1312 feet of descent.
After a short taxi ride to the neighbouring village of Ransol this morning, we begin our walk into the Vall de Riu, another of Andorra's scenic gems. Encircled by a ring of glacial-formed mountains, the valley provides us with a beautiful backdrop to today's walk up to the small mountain village of Canillo. Home to Andorra's tallest church tower, and one of its finest Romanesque chapels, Canillo will be our final destination today, before returning to Soldeu by public bus.
Today's 11 kilometre/6.80 miles walk is expected to take around 5 hours with 600 metres/1969 feet of ascent and 1,000 metres/3281 feet of descent.
Some free time today affords you a chance to pay a visit to Andorra's bustling capital, Andorra la Vella. Home to the smallest parliament in Europe and the oldest Romanesque church in the principality, the city is also a great place for shopping or to enjoy the famous Caldea Spa facilities.
Alternately you could take an optional walk to Pessons Lakes or drive to Canillo to cross Europe's longest Tibetan suspension bridge over the Vall del Riu (603 meters/1978 feet in length). You tour leader will be able to assist with arrangements.
This morning we drive a short distance to the Sorteny Nature Reserve, set amongst the fertile valleys of north-eastern Andorra. Renowned for its abundance of plant species, the valley is a botanical haven for over 700 species of flora, some of it unique to the Pyrenees region. The trail that we take today leads us up to Estanyó Lake (2,350 metres/7,710 feet) and passes through an alpine landscape that is home to wild boar, martens, chamois and ptarmigan. Driving back to Soldeu later we may also have time to stop for a drink in the pretty mountain village of Ordino.
Today's 10 kilometre/6.20 miles walk is expected to take around 4.30 hours with 600 metres/1969 feet of ascent and descent.
Today's walk takes us into the beautiful glacial landscapes of the Incles Valley, home to Scots pine, Pyrenean chamois and one of the largest alpine lakes in Andorra. We begin the day gently, before following the course of the river up to the Siscaro Lakes. Nestling within a glacial cirque at some 2,350 metres/7,710 feet, the lake provides us with a beautiful spot to stop and enjoy a picnic lunch. There may even be an opportunity for us to walk a little further, towards the Incles Pass, before we head back down to the hotel.
Today's 14 kilometre/8.70 miles walk is expected to take around 4.30 hours with 900 metres/2953 feet of ascent and 1,350 metres/4429 feet of descent.
We leave the mountains behind this morning, driving back to Barcelona Airport where the trip ends.
We will travel as a group, leaving our hotel at around 9am for the a 3.30 hour drive to Barcelona-El Prat Josep Tarradellas Airport (BCN). The earliest your flight can depart is 2.30pm.
Total distance : 71.5 kilometres
The Andorran climate is of Mediterranean mountainous type, with warm summers and cold winters. Temperatures can dip below freezing in the winter while summer temperature remain warm.
2 Pin Round
Pessons Lakes walk - approximately €10/15 for transfer Visit to Andorra capital - Public bus fare €5 Visit to Caldea spa - From €40 Pont Tibeta Canillo ticket - €12
Bring light and comfortable clothing that can be layered according to the temperature. The weather conditions in the mountains can be changeable, and it can become cool, especially at night, so bring warmer layers. Tops made from wicking materials which keep you drier and warmer are recommended as a base layer, and walking trousers are preferable to trousers of heavier material such as jeans. A waterproof jacket is essential at all times in case of rain and wind. -Breathable wind and waterproof jacket (you may also wish to bring waterproof trousers) -T-shirts -Long sleeved tops -Sunhat -Long trousers -Shorts (if you prefer to walk in them) -Swimwear and towel -Midlayer Fleece/pullover -Socks (liner and thicker pair) -Insulated jacket
We recommend you bring walking boots with ankle support- leather or fabric are both fine. Make sure that your boots are worn-in and comfortable before the start of the trip. Also trainers or sandals for relaxing and general wear. We suggest that on international flights you either carry your walking boots in your hand luggage or wear them - should your luggage be lost or delayed, your own boots are the one thing that will be irreplaceable.
Bring one main piece of luggage and a 20-30 litre day sack is recommended. You will need to carry what you need for the day which may include a raincoat, jumper, camera, sun-cream, water and picnic lunch. On hot days you will carry fewer clothes but more drinking water.
-Sunglasses -Sun cream -Small Torch (with spare batteries and bulb) -Camera -Walking poles (if you usually use them) -Personal toiletries -Personal first aid kit - On each walk a first aid kit is carried but you should have your own blister kit, supply of plasters, aspirin and other essentials. -Insect repellent -Small waterproof dry bag (for items such as your mobile phone) -Reusable water bottle (minimum 1 litre) - Get 15% discount on a Water-to-Go bottle www.explore.co.uk/about-us/responsible-travel/water-to-go-discount-with-explore -Lunch bag/Tupperware (for packed lunches)
Set against a backdrop of tree covered mountains, our base for the week is the Soldeu-Maistre Hotel which is centrally located in the village of Soldeu, northern Andorra. The village of Soldeu is a ski resort very busy in the winter and more quiet and peaceful in the summer months. Due to this, not all restaurants and bars might be open. Open year round this modern family-run hotel offers 48 rooms over 3 floors. Built in mountain lodge style with a stone and wood panelled exterior the hotel is in keeping with its surroundings. The rooms are simple but cozy and comfortable. One thing to be aware of in Spain is that breakfast tends to be a smaller affair, often just fruit juice or coffee and a pastry.
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