I was under the impression that Andorra - that tiny principality between France and Spain - was...
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Active in the Pyrenees
Transport - Minibus, mountain bike, raft, 4WD, on foot.
Accommodation - Chalet hotel (7nts).
Meals - 7 breakfasts & 6 dinners.
We often have multiple itineraries so please check to see which itinerary is suitable for you, by selecting the relevant tab.
Arrive in Soldeu, Andorra
Your trip starts in Toulouse, where you transfer to your first night’s accommodation (approximately three/four hours), journeying north by chartered bus to Soldeu in Andorra.
Situated on the southern slopes of the Pyrenees, squashed between France and Spain, the principality of Andorra measures a mere 25km by 30km. Andorra’s independence can be traced back to Charlemagne, who captured the region from the Muslims in 803 AD but it was only in 1993 that the Andorran people voted to establish the country as an independent and democratic state. Although small, Andorra is blessed with some of the finest scenery in the Pyrenees and is a great place for an active week in the mountains. Hotel - 7 nights (D)
This morning you will take your first excursion out into the impressive mountains of this tiny country. The drive to Port Envalira takes approximately 30 minutes and is boasted as being the highest road pass in Europe.
Starting at 2500m you have a short 100m climb to the summit of Pic Maia. At this height there are spectacular views across the Andorran mountains. From here the rest of the day is a ridge walk. Being mostly flat or descending, this is a great introduction to the Pyrenees, and a chance to stretch your legs and acclimatize to the altitude. The scenery is stunning and the walk will hopefully give you the chance to see some of Andorra’s flora and fauna. It is always worth keeping an eye out for the griffon vultures which are often seen circling high overhead. On the way you will pass the Siscaro Lakes where on hotter days there is a chance to have a swim. From here the descent is more rapid and the path brings you out right opposite the hotel. You will arrive back at the hotel between 3pm and 4pm giving you a chance to either relax in the sun, take the bikes out for a ride, or visit one of the neighbouring hotel’s spa centre. (BD)
The Iron Route
Setting off in the vehicles and with the bikes, you head off to the Ordino Valley, one of the most picturesque valleys in Andorra. Starting at the top end of the valley at 2000m you get fitted with a bike and helmet and then explore with a guide the old iron route of Andorra. Iron was Andorra’s first industry which brought the first real settlements to the area.
Easy going off road tracks take you along the valley past the old iron mines, mills and forges, finishing in the village of Ordino. The tracks are mostly wide 4x4 dirt surfaces, no cars take these routes, and though the ground might be a bit rough in places, no technical mountain biking skills are needed, just a good knowledge of normal bike riding.
After a rest and refreshment in the village you are back in the vehicles and up to the col de beixalls at 1800m where you are back on the bikes for a thrilling 8km off road descent into Encamp. Throughout the day there will be full vehicle support so that if people prefer not to bike it is possible to walk and/or ride in the 4x4. From Encamp it is just a short 15 minute drive back to the hotel arriving between 5pm and 6pm. (BD)
Soldeu – Free Day
Today has been left free for you to choose from the many activities that are on offer in Andorra. You may decide to go horse riding, quad biking or visit the thermal baths of La Caldea. Take to the trees for tree-top zip-lining or go canyoning. If you have a head for heights you can try your hand at Via Ferrata climbing.
There are of course plenty more opportunities for walking and mountain biking or you could simply choose to relax, enjoy the sunshine or go duty free shopping. (BD)
Rafting & Mountain Biking
Following another smugglers’ route you drive out of Andorra to the Port de Cabus on the Spanish border; where the tarmac ends so does Andorra. Disembarking, the bikes are unloaded and it is on with the helmets for a thrilling downhill biking experience. The biking is almost all downhill on dirt roads where there are very few cars. The first 3km or so is the steeper and rougher section and so anyone who is unsure can opt out and join the ride later for the remaining 10km which is flatter.
En route there are some spectacular views along valleys to distant peaks, the odd shallow stream to bike through and the chance to stop in a typical mountain hamlet. Your support vehicles follow, giving any assistance necessary; those not wishing to cycle can make the journey in the vehicle. The end of the cycling finds you at the put-in point for your exhilarating white water rafting. Here you kit up with paddles, helmets, buoyancy aids, wetsuits and of course your rafts and guides.
The rivers around Sort provide excellent rafting opportunities with differing grades of rapids (up to class III). The rivers wind through impressive scenery of forest-covered banks and the adrenalin gets pumping as you blast your way through the white water (an ability to swim is essential).
After drying off there is some time to relax before returning by vehicle to Andorra and Soldeu (BD)
Porte de Puymorens Biking & zip wiring
Today’s full day of activities takes place in the stunningly beautiful Porte de Puymorens Valley, about a 30 minute drive away into France. Arriving at the picturesque Porte lake you will see a wires at different angles crossing the lake and dam. Here instructions are given and then you take off on the blue runs which are steady going and low to the ground once you have the hang of it, it is then onto the red runs which cross the lake at speed and with a bit more height. For those who have a good head for heights they can choose to go onto the black runs and even try the bungie jump style swing (these are optional at an extra cost). After a morning of pure adrenalin there is a chance to relax by the lake enjoying your picnic lunch. In the Afternoon you are onto the bikes to cycle gently round the lake and then onto off road downhill single tracks through the trees. At the end of the day you return by vehicle to Soldeu. (BLD)
A short drive takes you into the Incles Valley, where you start today’s walk. Initially you’ll walk up along the forested mountain slopes. This part of the walk is along a single track through the woods where there are many examples of pine forest plants, lots of beautiful flowers and rhododendrons in June, wild fruit mid summer and wild mushrooms in September. Then arriving on a plateau just above the tree line at 2000m, the gradient lessens as you reach the beautiful Querol and Salamander Lakes.
It is common to see groups of thickset mountain horses grazing on these high slopes. As the horses are allowed to roam free they normally have large bells strapped around their necks to allow the owners to find them.
Contouring along the valley you come to the Cabana Sorda Lake sitting below an impressive semi-circular amphitheatre of rock; an ideal spot to stop for lunch. From the lake eager walkers can continue the hike up to the peak at around 2600m giving you an amazing bird’s eye view of the valley. For the people staying at the lake there is the chance to have a swim, a refreshing dip in a waterfall or watch the fishermen - there are plenty of mountain trout. After lunch you’ll descend off the grassy higher slopes through thick woodland to the top of the valley where you can either take transport back to the hotel or, for those with more energy, you can continue back on foot. (BD)
This morning, you transfer by bus to the airport in Toulouse where the trip ends. (B)
Save up to 15% if departing in the next 8 weeks
Available when booking on selected Guaranteed trips departing in the next 8 weeks. Discount off the 'without flights' price. When booking online the discount will be applied post booking. One of our travel consultants will call you back to confirm your discount amount. *Prices in price panel are before discount.
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