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Challenge the family to an unforgettable week of adrenaline-fuelled activities with Intrepid’s Active Pyrenees trip. From Soldeu, head out around Andorra and into Spain trying fun new experiences along the way. Get the pulse racing on hiking and cycling adventures, then spend a wet and wild afternoon whitewater rafting. Take advantage of the location and explore nearby hamlets on horseback or go fishing in the local lakes. This is sure to be an inspiring week, enjoying Andorra’s adventure playground as a family.
RTC Travel UK offers great inclusive package deals. We can arrange every aspect of your holiday, from arranging travel to and from the airport to lounge booking at the airport.
Recommended for: Couples, Families Note: Minimum age: 12
7 breakfasts, 6 dinners
Welcome to Andorra! Your adventure begins with a greeting from your leader upon arrival at the hotel. There are no activities planned for today.
Situated on the southern slopes of the Pyrenees, nestled between France and Spain, the principality of Andorra measures a mere 25 kilometres by 30 kilometres, with an average elevation of 1,996 metres. 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. Once you arrive at your base for the week, you will have time to explore or relax until the evening.
There’s a complimentary group transfer from the airport in Toulouse to your hotel. For more information about timing and meeting point details please see the ‘Joining Point Instructions’ in the trip notes.
This morning you will join your fellow travellers for welcome meeting before heading off on the first of many activities. Be sure to check with the hotel check-in staff to check the exact time of this meeting.
Make your first excursion into the glorious mountains of this tiny country. Drive to Port Envalira (approximately 30 minutes). At 2,408 metres, this is the highest road pass in Europe, connecting El Pas de la Casa to the rest of Andorra. Starting at 2,500 metres, you will have a short 100-metre climb to the summit of Pic Maia. At this height there are spectacular views across the mountains. The rest of your day will be spent completing a ridge walk. It’s mostly flat or downhill, so it’s a good chance to acclimatise. Keep an eye out for the griffon vultures which are often seen circling high overhead. On the way you will pass the Siscaro Lakes which, on hotter days, are nice for a swim. From here the descent is more rapid and the path brings you out right opposite the hotel. Arriving at 3 or 4 pm, you can relax in the sun, go cycling or perhaps make use of a neighbouring hotel’s spa.
Drive to the stunning Cortals Valley (approximately 30 minutes). Here you and the family will enjoy a full day of activities. Half-way up the valley you will jump on bikes for a ride along a flat track to Engolasters Lake, glimpsing some beautiful scenery along the way. There are plenty of fun tracks around the lake for all skill levels, and we visit a beautiful viewpoint with a birdseye view of Andorra la Vella, the Principality’s capital city (population 22,000).
For lunch you’ll stop for your picnic in an alpine woodland (you’ll have time to buy this picnic before setting off today), before trying some newly learnt mountain bike skills in the ‘skill-park’. You’ll then cycle back around the far side of Engolasters Lake to the scenic lakeside bar, before returning to the vehicles along the flat track. Here there is the option to ride an exhilarating on-road switch-back descent to Encamp (a total descent of 600 m). Today’s routes can be walked if you’d rather not cycle, and there may be an optional gondola ride – this is the largest ski lift in Europe.
Return to Soldeu in the vehicle at the end of the day.
Crossing the border into Spain, take the high mountain pass over the Port de Canto through very some Mediterranean scenery, still at 1,000 metres high. You can stop at the Port de Canto lookout point to take in the lovely foothills of the Spanish Pyrenees. Continue down to the village of Sort (Catalan for ‘luck’) where at the rafting centre you and the family will be kitted out with wetsuits, helmets, life jackets and a paddle. From the top of the Noguera River, enjoy 14 kilometres of exhilirating white water rafting. Noguera River is renowned as one of the top five rivers for rafting in Europe, thanks to nice stretches of continuous but not too rough water, and many exit points. After a fun ride over a weir and through the Olympic kayaking course, arrive back at the rafting centre to take a shower. The centre has a beautiful garden with a swimming pool and a bar, so you can spend some time here before heading back to Soldeu.
Notes: There is a support vehicle that follows the rafting. Those who don’t want to, or are too young to raft, can follow along in the vehicle or relax and unwind at the centre. Children must be at least 8 years old to participate, and 8–12 year-olds will be able to raft grades I & II only.
Venture into the Ordino Valley in the vehicles with the bikes. This is one of the most picturesque parts of Andorra. Starting at the top end of the valley (2,000 m), you will get fitted with a bike and helmet and then follow with a guide the old iron route of Andorra. Easy-going off-road tracks take you along the valley, past the old iron mines, mills, and forges, finishing in the village of Ordino. You will follow rough tracks, mostly wide dirt roads where only 4X4s can go. But you won’t need advanced mountain biking skills, as the tracks aren’t too technical.
After a rest and a drink in the village, jump aboard the vehicle again and head up to Col de Ordino (1,980 m) where we stop to admire the stunning views at Roc del Quer’s platform ‘skywalk’. Afterwards there’s the option to cycle a thrilling 7-kilometre on-road descent into Casillo. Throughout the day there will be full vehicle support, so if you’d rather not cycle you can ride in the 4X4 or walk. From Casillo it’s a 10-minute drive back to the hotel, and you should arrive between 5 and 6 pm.
Walk from the hotel to the nearby Incles Valley for today’s walk. Set off along forested mountain slopes and along a single track through the woods where there are beautiful flowers, rhododendrons (in June), wild fruit (midsummer) and wild mushrooms (in September). The gently climbing path zig-zags up to the stunning Cabana Sorda Lake, which sits below an impressive semi-circular amphitheatre of rock – an ideal stop for lunch.
From the lake, eager walkers can continue the hike up to the peak (2,600 m), which gives you a bird’s eye view of the gorgeous valley. Those staying at the lake can take a refreshing dip in the cold mountain water, walk around the lake or perhaps watch the fishermen catching mountain trout. After lunch, descend through beautiful meadows and woodland to the valley floor, where you can either take transport back to the hotel or continue back on foot.
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