ANDORRA LA VELLA
A few weeks ago we drove from our home in Barcelona up to Andorra; made for a quick 3 hour drive through Catalonia on our way to Picos de Europa. I fell head over hills in love with this little Swiss-esque mountain country. It quickly became one of my top hiking spots and I already can't wait to go back!
Andorra is a unique and teeny little country situated in the Pyrenees mountains that create the border between most of Spain and France. Andorra is full of plunging valleys surrounded by what some consider the best of the Pyrenees and Roman era churches. Andorra is so unique! Did you know it is the 16th smallest country in the world? Power to the Micronations! Andorra is also the only country in the world with Catalan as the official language. Currently living in Barcelona, this was very interesting to me.
Andorra also reminded me so much of Switzerland! I wish I would've gotten pictures of the city, it has such a sweet alpine village feel. The Pyrenees, Andorra in particular, is seriously is such a cheap alternative to Switzerland or Mont Blanc. Don't get me wrong, the Swiss Alps, in so many ways, are a must see. But Andorra is a great second option if you are on a budget!
We stayed in Andorra la Vella, the capital and one of two major cities in the whole country. But who needs bustling metro areas when you are surrounded by the jaw-dropping landscape that is the Eastern half of the Pyrenees?
The very first thing we noticed was the cute mountain town feel of everything. Quaint little streets with ski resorts here and there. Despite its size, Andorra seems to be pretty well known in Europe for its ski slopes and hiking trails. People were walking around with daypacks and walking sticks ready to seize the day and follow the trail wherever it may lead. Right up my alley!!!
We'd planned for about three days there but had a set back with our rental car. We wound up arriving late on Monday and leaving early on Wednesday. Despite this, our Tuesday was perfect!! We took to hiking the Estany Negre trail through Comapedrosa National Park and WOW. It delivered.
The trail eventually gets you just under 7,000 feet elevation (3,000 ft gain)
and takes about 6 hours to complete.
Along the way we saw some beautiful glacial waterfalls and came across upon some abandoned stables. Once at the end of the trail, we took our shoes off to sit and enjoy a picnic.
Along the way, we came across the most peaceful group of horses.
Ollie got a case of the zoomies on top of a leftover glacier cap.
The route down was breezy and peaceful. I took time noticing all of the flora and fauna. Apparently, Estany Negre is known for the floral variety. This is not surprising given most of the hike looked like something from a fairy world!
Afterward, we ate at a DELICIOUS Mexican restaurant called. Mexican food is typically pretty hard to find, and excellent authentic tasting Mexican food is even harder. I just simply couldn't resist a burrito with some house salsa and Negro Modelo. The food here seemed to be mostly Spanish cuisine, so we didn't mind skipping a local dish.
The next morning, we loaded up our VW Golf to head toward the Picos in North West Spain! I can't wait to make our way back up to Andorra again. Next time we plan on dedicating the entire trip to Andorra instead of using it as a pit stop!
UNTIL NEXT TIME, ANDORRA!