Lush green valleys painted with wild flowers and pointed, jagged, rounded, rolling, in fact every type of mountain you can imagine! The faint sound of cow bells ringing in the distance and cosy wooden chalets dotted on the mountainside. Walkers with smiles on their faces can only mean you have arrived in Andorra.
The magnificent peaks reach 3000m into the sky all along the French/Spanish border providing a photogenic backdrop as we explore the remote quiet valleys and lonely mountain lakes.
The gentle Val de Incles offers a range of quiet rambles in Alpine scenery, where we can trek up rough paths from the head of lovely flower strewn Val Incles to admire the many stunningly situated mountain lakes. Reaching the grand, unspoiled Val Madriu, a World Heritage Site, will require more, well rewarded, effort! The gondola lift from Encamp and high mountain roads allow easy access to high terrain at over 2000m with moderate effort which allows time to bask in the wide mountain views. A number of historic Romanesque churches with unique frescos can also be visited. On rest days it is possible to visit the Spanish town of Seu de Urgell. We walk within quiet valleys to the loveliest and loneliest mountain lakes of the Pyrenees. There is much more to be discovered in the 'Country of the Pyrenees' than the shoppers or skiers ever imagined.
Our hotel features views from its veranda and restaurant that entice your eyes down through the valley below and over the town, with mountains framing your view, gently calling to you for exploration. The week of 2 June will be at a more leisurely pace to allow time to appreciate the flowers and plants. From 10 June onwards, you can enjoy our two walks, two leaders, two grades option where you can choose to walk at either grade 6 or 8.
Once we have cleared through our arrival airport we will transfer to Encamp.
We start in Sorteny with a gentle walk through woods before opening into the beautiful Rialb valley. It will be carpeted in orchids, gentians and wild tulips. We continue to follow the river upstream to find snowbells where late-lying patches of snow are just melting. After a leisurely lunch, return by the same route and transfer back. 12km. +400m/-400m. 5 -6 hours
From the top of Val d’Incles, a beautiful unspoilt area awash with daffodils (the national flower) we climb on a stony track and paths alongside the riu de Juclá to reach the manned refuge at the first Juclar lake. We can expect to see plenty of orchids, butterwort, white Pyrenean buttercup and xatardia scabra. We return to the start and then take a pleasant path down the valley to the main road. 11km. +500m/-600m. 6 hours
From the eastern valley of Arinsal we walk up a good GR track to the spectacular coma (cirque) which surrounds the meadows of the Pla de l’Estany. The highest mountains, including the Pic de Coma Pedrosa, towering above. We will find dog’s- tooth violets, crocuses, St Bernard’s lily and several types of orchid. After a rest, we will return by a higher, narrow path through woods and meadows before descending steeply to Arinsal. 11km. +650m/-650m. 5 hours
This may be a free day, but visits to the nearby Casa Cristo folk museum, the Romanesque church and Moorish castle at les Bons and the sanctuary at Meritxell with its ancient and modern churches are all within easy and pleasant walking distance. If you want to walk to discover more flowers, just ask the leader for some advice.
The main aim of this walk is to find the rare ramonda myconii, which grows on a few shaded rocks here. From Sabadell, just above Andorra la Vella we follow the stony GR7 path up through woods to our ‘goal’. Then we continued over a couple of collets with excellent views of the busy valley far below. Our lunch stop will be in a high meadow, before we make our way down to Sant Juilá, the southernmost town. 12km. +400m/ -800m. 6 hours
Our transport will take us above Canillo to the start of our path which contours its way into the Val de Riu. We then climb up on the eastern side of the stream to reach the open meadows. There are many gentians as we walk further into the valley to the unmanned refuge. This is a very attractive spot for lunch. Returning from there we take a woodland path which descends through woods and fields into the main valley. The damp meadows beside the path are filled with orchids. We reach the main road at l’Aldosa from where the public bus can be taken, or the walk can continue on the Nature Trail, which follows the river down the main valley on the ‘quiet side’. We can stop at Canillo or even carry on to Meritxell, the public bus within easy reach at these points. 11km. +350m/-650m. 5 hours
It is time to bid farewell to this charming country and transfer back to the airports and onwards to home.
See where this holiday travels to.
The family run Hotel Evenia Coray in Encamp provides an excellent base from which to explore the Andorran Pyrenees. The town and hotel are surrounded by stunning mountains and provide access to the high altitude terrain with relative ease. Clean simply furnished rooms include free Wi-Fi, TV, safe, telephone and private balconies. A complimentary breakfast buffet is served in the restaurant, as well as dinners, which are both included. There is a lounge, restaurant and bar, as well as a well kept garden to enjoy the mountain scenery after a satisfying day in the hills.