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Being located right in the middle of the Pyrenees means that Andorra is an excellent location for many adventure sports. From skiing to rock climbing, mountain biking and canyoning, here are some of the best adrenaline-inducing thrills to try.
Skiing is, of course, one of the top adventure sports in Andorra, and the main reason this tiny country is visited by millions of tourists every year. Andorra is home to several ski resorts: the main ones are Soldeu, Pas de la Casa and Pal-Arinsal (Vallnord), some of which are located in the huge Grandvalira ski area. All offer excellent ski conditions throughout the winter and early spring, as well as ski schools for those who are learning.
If skiing is not your preferred winter sport, why not try snowboarding instead? Most of the resorts in Andorra also provide great conditions for snowboarders, as well as a few terrain parks where you can practise tricks.
When the snow has melted and winter sports are done for the year, there’s another way to enjoy the mountains – and that’s by rock climbing. There are various climbing areas throughout the country, offering different routes and varying levels of difficulty. Three of the top climbing areas are the Encodina Sector in Ordino, Sant Antoni de la Grella in La Massana and Sola d’Enclar near the village of Santa Coloma. There are also climbing walls at many of the top attractions, including Caldea spa.
Canyoning is a sport in which people climb down waterfalls and canyons with the use of ropes, and jump into rivers from high rocks. Some of the most challenging areas to try this are the Torrent de l’Aviar canyon in Solà d’Encamp and the Canaleta canyon in Ordino. Beginners can check out Encodina canyon or Segudet canyon for something a bit easier.
Hiking is, of course, a popular summer and autumn activity in Andorra, as 90% of the country is natural, with no urban development. There are hiking trails through all the major natural parks here: the Vall de Sorteny, Comapedrosa Valley and Madriu-Perafita-Claror. You can choose from 54 well-marked official trails or thousands of smaller routes throughout the country. Those looking for a challenge can circumnavigate the country on the Andorra GRP, or hike part of the famous GR-7 or GR-11 trails.
If you feel like zipping around Andorra at a faster pace, why not try mountain biking? There are hundreds of excellent mountain biking trails across the country, but two of the best are Soldeu Bike Park and Vallnord Bike Park. The Vallnord Bike Park is one of the top places for mountain biking in southern Europe and occupies the same area as the Pal-Arinsal ski resort does in winter, meaning that it offers great facilities.
To be at one with nature and admire spectacular scenery as you go, you can’t beat getting into a saddle. Andorra has many stables and riding schools offering mountain treks; try the Vallnord Mountain Park and Naturlandia in Sant Julià de Lòria.
Andorra doesn’t have a coastline, so boating and sailing are not common here, but there are many rivers and lakes where you can try your hand at kayaking or canoeing. One of the best places is Torrassa Lake and the Roc Roi activity centre there.