Andorra has many places where you can be active while surrounded by nature. Whatever trail you follow, everywhere in the principality you’ll find mountains, valleys, rivers, forests and glacial lakes. Enjoy the postcard-worthy views and imagine what this part of the world looked like in the past. The high Andorran mountains have hundreds of lake landscapes. We selected three routes that will take you to some of them.
This is the only big lake in Andorra that is not located at an altitude of 2,000 meters, so it’s the most accessible lake. Its location is perfect for a short family hike with the children, less than 2 kilometres, or for when you don’t have a lot of time. This trail takes you to the lake and back in just a couple of hours. The starting point is in front of the National Automobile Museum in the centre of Encamp. Follow the path along the streamlet until you reach GR-11. From this point, follow the red and white signs and discover the Andorran landscape with its flora and water. This natural resource prompted the dam that was built in 1934 and that houses a large number of trouts that attract fishermen who usually sit along the shores of the lake for hours.
This is a very picturesque trail that is well-marked and with the right amount of difficulty to ease into mountain hiking. It’s one of the most popular routes for hikers who arrive in Ordino. The circular route around the three lakes is an excursion that can be completed in less than three hours. This is because the hiking trails around the lakes tend to be flatter, they don’t exceed 220 meters. The trail is part of the Vallnord ski resort, but right before you get there, you’ll find the landmark Arcalís 91, an immense steel ring made by sculptor Mauro Staccioli. It represents a circular window through which you can see the landscape, symbolizing perfection and eternity.
The first lake you will come upon during the hike is Lake Primer, with its visually stunning contrasting emerald coloured waters. A bit higher up is Lake Mig, surrounded by sconces and nests and continuing on further is the largest of the three, Lake Més Amunt. This lake is located at the foot of the Tristaina peak in a spectacular high mountain glacier landscape, so be sure to bring warm clothes because weather conditions can change quickly.
The Pessons Lakes hiking trail is one of the most beautiful 10 km trails to do in approximately 4 hours. They are 9 lakes to be discovered in this largest granite glacial circular route in Andorra. You will first hike up 500 meters. However, the slopes and descents are not too physically demanding. In the end, you’ll climb up almost 2,600 meters.
The route starts at Grau Roig in the Grandvalira ski resort. If you arrive by car, you can leave it at the Cubil parking lot and walk towards the chairlift to go up about 1,500 meters to Estany Primer from where you can see the peaks of Montmalús, Ríbuls and Pessons. With the lake on your right, follow the path that takes you to all the lakes: El Forcat, El Rodó, with a spectacular view, El Meligar and from there you can start looking down on the mountains you passed and enjoy the view before reaching Lake de les Fonts, surrounded by big granite stones. Finally, on a bit more straight path, you’ll reach Lake Cap de Pessons.
These trails cross paths that, depending on the climatic conditions, can be covered with snow in March. Therefore, if you want to discover the snow covered roads and icy lakes, you may want to consider using snow shoes. You can use them without any prior training or classes. They could be the ideal option when you travel with your family during these weeks.
*Photograph courtesy of Turismo de Andorra.