Andorra is a mountain sports lovers paradise.
This ‘country of snow’ has the best skiing and snowboarding in all the Pyrenees mountains, plus amazing trekking, mountain biking, climbing, canyoning, alpinism and more.
Here’s a list of Andorra Sports Highlights:
Walking and trekking in Andorra
Nature Parks of Andorra:
- Spectacular Andorran park of glacial origin, with dramatic, rugged rock faces, high mountain meadows, and tall tree-covered valleys.
- Located in the south east of Andorra, within the parishes of Encamp, Andorra la Vella, Sant Julià de Lòria, and Escaldes-Engordany.
- Granted UNESCO World Heritage status for Cultural Scenery for its several medieval stone walls, pens, barns and cabins.
- Justification for Inscription to Unesco
- Criterion (v):” The Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley is a microcosm of the way its inhabitants have harvested the scarce resources of the high Pyrenees over the past millennia to create a sustainable living environment in harmony with the mountain landscape. The Valley is a reflection of an ancient communal system of land management that has survived for over 700 years.”
- Signs of the old iron working, and charcoal industry in Andorra can also still be spotted in the woods.
- There are lots of treks of varying lengths and levels throughout. Including:
- GR7, GR11, and GRP
- Routes to the Glacial circle
- Routes to the Shepherds’ cabins
- Guided routes
One of the most characteristic routes is that which follows the old stone path, joining Andorra, to France and Spain.
- There are 3 refuges within the park.
- Refuge Riu dels Orris – 2,230 m
- Refuge de Fontverd – 1,880 m
- Refuge de Perafita – 2,200 m
You can also see two small settlements within the park. They are called Entremesaigues and Ramio.
Andorran people lived in these tiny communities up until the last 50 years.
There are certain routes which take you right by these settlements. For example; The Ramio trek. This one goes past the little village and up to the Fontverd Refuge.
Maps for routes in the park can be found in the Esaldes-Engordany, Andorra Tourist Office.
Escaldes-Engordany Tourist Information Office: www.e-e.ad
Sant Julià de Lòria Tourist Information Office: www.santjulia.ad
Sorteny Valley Nature Park
- 1,080 hectare Nature Park in Ordino.
- Over 700 different species of flowers and plants, 50 of which are endemic to the Pyrenees mountains, and Andorra.
- There are various explanatory signs posted throughout the hiking trails and at the botanical garden.
- Andorran specialists are available to give guided tours.
- Glacier lake of Estanyó is located at 2,339 metres, providing for some amazing views over the valley.
- Refuges within the Sorteny Park are:
- Refuge de Rialb – 1,990 m
- Refuge de Sorteny – 1,965 m
For information and maps go to the Ordino, Andorra tourist office, or check out their website.
Comapedrosa Valley Nature Park
- Located in the parish of La Massana, in the north west of the Andorra Pyrenees mountains.
- Home to some important peaks of the Pyrenees mountains, including the highest in Andorra- the Compedrosa peak at 2,942m, known as ‘the Andorran Giant.’ Plus 6 mountain lakes, countless waterfalls, natural springs, and stunning high-mountain, glacial landscapes.
- Interesting and rare, alpine and subalpine flora and fauna of Andorra are to be found here. Including, the elusive Pyrenees mountain Chamois.
- There is also evidence of this area of Andorra’s early settlers, like; old huts, cabins, troughs, terraces made around the mountains, and dry-stone walls.
- This Andorran park has plenty of treks and routes, at all levels and lengths.
- There are 3 refuges which are open all year round.
- Refuge of Comapedrosa – 2,260 m (Guarded/ with warden)
- Refuge of Joan Canut at Pla de l’Estany -2,400 m
- Refuge of Les Fonts (fountains)- 2,230 m
- The 3 sets of glacial lakes (Estanys, in Catalan)are called:
- Estany Negre
- Estanys Forcats
- Estanys de Montmantell
Nature Activity Parks of Andorra:
These parks have lots of trails that can be done alone, or with a guide who can give instructional lessons on flora and fauna of Andorra, or about forest orientation techniques.
Nordic walking routes and guided tours are also offered here.
- Located in the Andorran parish of Canillo, with sectors in: Pas de la Casa, Grau Roig,Soldeu, El Tarter, and Encamp.
- There are cable cars in Canillo and Encamp.
- Located in Pal, La Massana parish of Andorra.
- There’s a Cable car and chairlift available in summer.
- Plus guided routes and treks to the lakes of Tristiana, or Creusans.
- Naturlandia, La Rabassa
- This eco-adventure park is in the parish of Sant Julià de Lòria.
- There is nordic walking, guided routes, and some forest-orientation walks for children.
Long Hiking Trails and Refuges of Andorra:
- GRP 1
- GR 7
- GR 11
- l’ Ossa Path – (Camí de l’Ossa.)
- This 36km, 14 and a half hour trek can be divided into 2 stages, with one night at a refuge.
- It starts in Encamp at Plaça del Consell.
- It follows along the GR 11 and the GR 7 and traverses the UNESCO World Heritage Madriu Valley of Andorra.
- For information go to the tourist office of Encamp, Andorra or consult the l’Ossa path organisation at:www.camidelossa.com
Refuges of Andorra:
Most of the 27 refuges in Andorra are free and open all year round. However, maintenance; cleaning, firewood, first-aid etc., is only kept up during summer.
Refuges in Andorra which have booking and other services are Comapedrosa, the Juclar and the Cortals de Sispony.
- Comapedrosa Refuge (Guarded) Mobile number: 376 875 712
- Juclar Refuge (Guarded) Tel.: 376 875 712
- Cortals de Sispony Nature Refuge Tel.: 376 836 363/ 376 738 073
Ecotourism Routes of Andorra:
Ecotourism routes abound in Andorra. They can mostly be found in the major Nature parks, and in some other parishes.
These routes (usually with a guide), provide insight into the extensive, and sometimes rare, flora, fauna and culture of the Andorra Pyrenees mountains.
- Sorteny Nature Park
- Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley
- Incles Valley
- Comapedrosa Nature Park
Cultural Routes of Andorra:
The Iron Route-‘Ruta del Hierro/ Ferro’
- This trek starts in La Massana, goes through La Cortinada and ends in the pretty village of Llorts.
- There are many historical sites along the way, like; old mines, coal works, forges, monuments, museums and sculptures.
There are lots of other trails, themed routes, and refuges throughout all the 7 parishes of Andorra.
Tourist offices in each area should have all the maps for walking that you need, plus lots of information on other Andorra sports.
Skiing, Snowboarding, and other Andorra Sports in the Snow:
Skiing, snowboarding and other Andorra sports in the snow, like in other areas of the Pyrenees mountains, has to a large extent remained undiscovered and underrated.
Some may be surprised to find that this ‘country of snow’ has top-notch resorts which rival even those of the Alps.
In Andorra skiing is the sport of choice. Here you’ll find; 282 kilometres of slopes with far less people and at much more affordable prices than the Alps, plus excellent snow conditions, bright, sunny skies, and lots of activities both on piste and off.
Ski Resorts of Andorra:
- Grandvalira is the largest skiable area in Andorra, the Pyrenees mountains, and the Iberian Peninsula.
- Located in the north of Andorra, close to the border with France.
- It includes the resorts of Pas de la Casa, Grau Roig, El Tarter and Soldeu. A pass of more than 2 day’s duration will get you into any of the 4 resorts.
- There are over 193 km of slopes, 3 freestyle areas, 67 modern ski lifts, and 110 pistes of all different lengths and levels.
- The newly improved snowpark at Pas de la Casa makes Grandvalira a good choice for beginner or intermediate skiers and boarders.
- And, like at all resorts of Andorra, English speaking instructors and staff are easy to find.
- Grandvalira also has lots of other snow sports and activities for families, like;7 snowshoe routes, an igloo village (where you can sleep in an igloo), a cross-country circuit, mushing (dog-sledding) circuits, motorcross and a ‘multiaventura’ play centre.
- Vallnord is just 5 km from Andorra la Vella, and is made up of 3 resorts; Pal-Arinsal, Ordino-Arcalis and La Massana.
- There are 67 pistes with over 89 km, and a capacity for 52,210 skiers per hour.
- Pal-Arinsal is a ski area of Andorra that is well suited for beginners and early intermediate. This area also has 3 freestyle zones; a 110m half pipe, a snowpark, boardercross, and a Junior Rail Zone.
- The Arcalis sector is situated high in the peaks, and has a great record for excellent snow conditions.
- In Arcalis you’ll find the most challenging slopes in Andorra, with long, stretching blue runs, steep, strenuous blacks, and an off-piste area that’s served by a lift.
- Vallnord is also known for it’s excellent après ski and nightlife.
- Other acitivities and, Andorra sports in the snow, available here are; dog-sledding, snow shoeing, snow mobiling, Telemark, paragliding, and helicopter flights.
Naturlandia – La Rabassa:
- This ‘eco-adventure’ park is located in the southernmost part of Andorra, in a quiet corner of the parish of Sant Julià de Lòria.
- It has become, as of late, a very popular destination for lovers of winter sports like;cross-country, snowshoeing and husky dog-sledding.
- There are 15 km of cross-country skiing, plus Nordic walking, ice-skating, sledging/toboganning, snowmobiles, quads, caterpillar vehicles, rifle shooting, paintball, and archery.
Climbing Routes of Andorra:
- La Massana
- Andorra la Vella
Indoor Climbing in Andorra:
- Andorra la Vella
Mountain Bike Routes of Andorra:
- Engolasters lake- Les Pardines path (Encamp)
- Castellar bridge- starting in Arcalis and ending in Ordino village.
- Pal-Sispony (La Massana)
- Pi cremat path- La Rabassa (St. Julià de Lòria)
Iron roads- Via Ferrata of Andorra
Via Ferrata is Italian for “iron road”. It refers to mountain routes which have fixed cables, ladders and bridges to make otherwise more difficult ways, more accessible. They vary in length and level.
- Pas de la Casa
- La Massana
- Andorra la Vella
- St. Julià de Lòria
Golf in Andorra
- Grandvalira Golf- Soldeu
- The highest Golf course in Europe.
- Vall d’Ordino Golf Club
- Pitch & Putt- El Torrent