Andorra: land of cycling and mountain bikes

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Andorra: land of cycling and mountain bikes

Mountain territory preferred for the sports practice during any season, Andorra is known for the quality of its road infrastructures and the diversity of the routes it offers cycling lovers once the summer weather has arrived. With more than 70 peaks rising above 2000 m in height, one must say that the country has what it takes to satisfy the appetite of all lovers of the bicycle, spectacular natural spaces, landscapes that take your breath away and international events (the Mountain Bike World Cup, the Tour de France, the Vuelta). Here is everything you need to know on cycling and mountain biking in Andorra. Residents or simply visitors, more and more enjoy riding their bikes in the Andorran Pyrenees.

Cycling in Andorra: mythical mountain passes and events

Legendary mountain passes, unbelievable landscapes, the discovery of a cultural heritage of a great richness: the Principality overflows with many assets for the practice of cycling and riding mountain bikes in Andorra.

Quality marked roads and paths are numerous. They will fulfill cycling amateurs and the most demanding professionals. The conditions to circulate are perfect and the available services as well, notably if you are not a resident in Andorra : specialized hotels with the icon “cycling” (resting, food services, areas to clean up your equipment, etc.), restaurants with flexible hours and menus designed for sportspersons, accessories boutiques (textile, sunglasses, shoes, etc.). The only thing left for you to do is to select your adventure route, lucky you, we are here to help you!

Our selection of mythical mountain passes, parish by parish, for cycling fans in Andorra

Canillo – Col d’Ordino (Canillo)

• maximum height : 1980 m
• distance : 9 km
• starting point : Ctra. General 2, CS-240 Ctra. Montaup (Canillo)

Cycling itinerary renowned in Andorra, the ascent of the mountain pass el Col d’Ordino displays a sumptuous panorama. At the top, you will distinguish the paths that lead to the Pic Casamanya (2740 m), emblematic peak of the Principality well known to Andorran residents. It guarantees a spectacular view on the whole Principality.

Encamp – Collada de Beixalis (Encamp)

• maximum height : 1796 m
• distance : 6,5 km
• starting point : Ctra. General 2, CS-210 Ctra. De Vila

On a completely refurbished and recently paved road, you will enjoy a special observation of Encamp and La Massana parishes. Possible itinerary : from the Collada de Beixalis you can go to the Pic de Padern. This one-hour stage provides striking views on Andorra la Vella. It is frequently used by the racing cyclists of the Vuelta.

El Serrat – Arcalis (Ordino)

• maximum height : 2229 m
• distance : 10,5 km
• starting point : Ctra. General 3 – El Serrat (Ordino)

From the village of La Cortinada, you will quickly go to the heart of the matter. Build up your strength while observing the Romanesque church of Sant Marti, the biggest in the Principality, dating back to the 12th century and built in honor of the bishop of Tours. During the ascent, you will pedal throughout the natural park of the Valley of Sorteny. Will you be as fast as the German Jan Ullrich that built part of his success on the Tour de France in 1997 by working his way up the severe percentages in the lead?

Erts – Port de Cabus (La Massana)

• maximum height : 2302 m
• distance : 15,5 km
• starting point : Ctra. General 4 – Erts (La Massana)

Cycling fans and bicycle lovers owning a residence in Andorra regularly gather on that amazing path in the heart of the mountains of the Principality. Shortly before the top of the peak (the ascent is long), a giant sculpture of 13 meters of diameter rises on your right : it is called the “Tempesta en una tassa de te” (Storm in a cup of tea) crafted by the artist Dennis Oppenheim.

Sant Julia de Loria – La Rabassa (Sant Julia de Loria)

• maximum height : 2037 m
• distance : 17,5 km
• starting point : Ctra. General 1, CS-130 Ctra. De la Rabassa (Sant Julia de Loria)

This ascent leads to Naturlandia, the adventure park of Andorra offering many distractions and leisures : Tobotronc, Airtrekk, wildlife park (wolves, bears, etc). In 2008, during a stage of la Vuelta, the Italian Alessandro Ballan imposed himself on these lands dedicated to the practice of Nordic skiing during the winter.

Escaldes-Engordany – Port d’Envalira (Escaldes-Engordany) : the emblem of cycling in Andorra

• maximum height : 2408 m
• distance : 26 km
• starting point : Ctra. General 2 (Escaldes-Engordany)

Crossing the parishes of Escaldes-Engordany, Encamp, and Canillo, the route is scattered of sites worthy of the greatest interest (Meritxell Sanctuary, medieval site Les Bons, Romanesque church of Sant Joan de Caselles). You will also climb just as easily the highest road mountain pass of the Pyrenees. Out of category and mythical, your head will be full with the images of the Tour de France and the Vuelta. The cycling in Andorra in its pure state !

Rotonda de la Comella – la Comella (Andorra la Vella) : simple from a place of residence in Andorra la Vella

• maximum height : 1347 m
• distance : 4,5 km
• starting point : Ctra. General 1, CS-101 Ctra- de la Comella i de la Plana (Andorra la Vella)

It is one of the many itineraries from la Comella. It goes to the Valley of Prat Primer, known for its magnificent and unmatched fauna and flora. The whole family can use that route that presents no particular difficulty.

Cycling and mountain bike related events in 2018 in Andorra

Every year, the Principality welcomes important and unmissable events such as the famous Vuelta or the Purito race. Here is a list of the highlights of the 2018 summer:

• the Mountain Bike World Cup, July 10th to July 18th: it has become an habit for many years, the Bike Park of Vallnord will welcome two contests organized by the UCI. The UCI Mountain Bike World Cup from July 10th to July 15th and the Masters Mountain Bike World Championship from July 15th to July 18th. For more information go to www.vallnordworldcup.com
• the Gran Fondo Andora MTB, July 22nd: essential meeting place of cycle touring in Andorra, this event offers two different routes : one of 50 km and the other of 90 km, marked in Sant Julia de Loria around the 2000 coast of Naturlandia. For more information go to www.andorragfmtb.com
• the Purito, August 4th and 5th: created on the racing cyclist’s initiative, Joaquim Rodriguez, the Purito will celebrate its 4th edition. The success is already in sight since cycle tourists from all over Europe meet there. A race also open to children. For more information go to www.puritorodriguez.com
• the Vuelta, September 14th and 15th: this year Andorra will welcome the 19th and 20th stages of the Vuelta (Lleida-Naturlandia and Escaldes-Engordany-Canolich Sanctuary). Obviously unmissable! For more information go to www.lavuelta.com

Residence in Andorra la Vella and in the Principality: different mountain bike circuits

Mountain biking in Andorra? Obviously!

When you own a residence in Andorra, mountain biking turns out to be just as easy as practicing road cycling. Surrounded by the nature, there is no lack for kilometers of paths and many itineraries and goals are possible, like for example going to explore rivers, streams, and the 70 mountain lakes of the Principality.

Another possibility: when the summer has come, you can go stride along the green slides of the ski slopes of Grandvalira, Vallnord or Naturlandia! Many bicycle paths are delineated in the center of the cities such as the capital Andorra la Vella. Here is a little selection of interesting routes.

Our unmissable mountain bike circuits, irrespectively of your place of residence in Andorra

The path of the Gall (Canillo/Soldeu)

Well known to Andorran residents that are mountain bike enthusiasts, this itinerary is rather reserved to the experienced practitioners and in good physical conditions because it displays important descents and ascents. Located in the Grandvalira-Soldeu area, it notably goes under an ancient iron bridge before joining up with the path of del Gall de Bosc (wood grouse) that will lead you to the village of Canillo.

The path Cortals d’Encamp (Encamp)

Crossing Grandvalira as well, this time in the Solanelles area, the path Cortals d’Encamp also displays important differences in height both positively and negatively. Dedicated to athletes then !

The Mountain Bike circuit XC3 (Vallnord, La Massana)

Hotspot for mountain bike in Andorra, this circuit peaking above 2000 meters in height is notably used for contests during the Mountain Bike World Cup regularly organized on the territory of the Principality. It matches an itinerary of trainings for amateurs with a great level and for professionals owning a residence in Andorra.

The firewall mountain bike circuit “tallafocs” (Andorra la Vella)

Following an ascent of 2 km with a difference in height of about 200 meters, this itinerary is enjoyable and accessible to mountain bikers of all levels. At the top, the less adventurous will return via the same path back to the starting point, while the more adventurous will pursue with a nice descent of 2,5 km with a difference in height of 400 meters. The return will take place on the forest path leading to the crossroad with the road of Comella (CS-101). To rejoin the starting point, you will have to climb up 2km of paved road but it is worth de money.

The La Rabassa/Naturlandia Pic Negre circuit (Sant Julia de Loria)

It is impossible to go mountain biking in Andorra without having been through this itinerary. Reserved to accomplished sportspersons because of the important difference in height and the elevated height itself, it stands out thanks to its spectacular character increased by an amazing environment of high mountain. The panorama scans a great part of the country and even of the Pyrenees, from the Pic de Carlit to the French Cerdagne until the Pic d’Aneto in Aragon. Magnificent and unbelievable.

The mountain bike Engolasters circuit (Escaldes-Engordany)

Located between the Serrat d’Engolasters and the Coma del Favar, this circuit suits mountain bikers and specialists in mountain biking and trial biking. It is divided in various areas dedicated to these three disciplines, it has raised curves and wood footbridge, etc. Accessible to beginners and people that wish to practice mountain biking in Andorra in a peaceful place surrounded by nature.

Here are our pieces of information about cycling and mountain biking in Andorra ! We want to draw your attention on the fact that many professional sportspersons do not hesitate to settle in the country to enjoy the exceptional living conditions, its unmatched infrastructures and the many tax concessions that the Principality offers. If you are a professional cyclist do not hesitate to contact Set Up, a private concierge service notably specialized in the expatriation of high-level sportspersons. We will accompany and lead you to complete the formalities to obtain the category C Andorran resident statute created for professional sportspersons and people acknowledged around the world for their excellence in a special field (science, arts, etc.).
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