This relaxed hike is around the village of Ordino.
The parish of Ordino is located in the northwest corner of the country, at 1,298 metres above sea level. With a surface area of 85 km2, its population was 3,947 in 2010.
Ordino is historically known for its forges. The large number of them found here is proof that it once was an important industry in the parish. In fact, many the remains from that time period are in Ordino. There are many examples: the forges in Serrat and Rossell, the latter now a museum, and the Llorts iron mine, where raw materials were extracted from the ground. The last forges closed at the end of the 19th century due to competition from the iron and steel industries, which came about with the first industrial revolution.
Ordino is also considered to be the cultural centre of Andorra. This is the parish where local son Antoni Fiter i Rossell wrote the Manual Digest, published in 1748. Inspired by the Encyclopédie française and Enlightenment-era thinking, the book discusses the operations of the Andorran government in the 18th century, as well as the country’s history, customs and lifestyles.
Ordino: Urdinabe: The root of this name may come from the Iberian- Basque urdin, “grey”, which refers to the colour of the mountain rocks above the village. The suffix –be means “under”.
Route from Llorts to Sedornet
This route begins in the village of Llorts, one of the 8 towns that make up the parish of Ordino (Ordino, Segudet, Sorn?s, Ansalonga, La Cortinada, Arans and El Serrat). Here you can discover a forest of Scots pines (Pinus silvestris) with large canopies and remarkable diameters, as well as a significant community of birds to watch and hear.
The forest can be seen from Llorts, where the young pine trees, higher up, can be contrasted with large-leafed oaks, found below between the forest and town of Llorts. Among the small fauna to be found are the coal tit (Parus ater), the crested tit (Parus cristatus) and the great tit (Parus major).
On some of the tree trunks you can see holes made by birds like the nuthatch (Sitta europaea) and the short-toed tree-creeper (Certhia brachydactyla), which normally nests in dead tree trunks.
This less travelled route takes you to the Sedornet huts, a rarely visited site reminiscent of the pastoral activity that was once common in Andorra.
Llorts: Above this town is a place called prat de les Allaus. Thanks to the town elders, we know that one of these allaus (“rock slides”) once carried away a chapel. Etymology: From the Basque lurte, meaning “avalanche of stones, detachment”.
Route from Puntal-Rialb-la Rabassa
The route from Puntal to la Rabassa is one of the best ways to enjoy the breathtaking views of Ordino pass. There is also Sorteny Valley natural park, which is known to inspire awe among visitors.
This route is a bit more challenging, with almost 10 kilometres of hiking and a change in elevation of 740 metres, but it is still accessible to almost any hiking enthusiast. Heading out of Puntal in the direction of Rialb, you’ll find a landscape rich in fauna, especially in birds and small mammals. Animal husbandry was very intense in this mountain region, which can be seen with all the milking stalls and cabins you’ll find along the route.
A bit higher up are some alpine meadows where you can enjoy fantastic views of Arcal?s peak (2,776 m), also known as the sun mountain. You will also be able to trace out the Verdaguer route, made by the priest Jacint Verdaguer during his journey through the Andorran valleys.
During the descent to la Rabassa, you’ll follow the course of the stream that crosses the valley. During the summer, the banks are full of blooms, offering a true feast for the senses.
Rabassa: Name with various meanings. Slightly rounded base of a large mountain. Semantically it is the same as Tossa (“hill”), which may come from the Roman word pausia, thus leading to “rabassa”.
Canya de la Rabassa-Pla de Sorteny route
The year 2010 marked Sorteny Valley natural park’s 10th year anniversary, so it certainly is a good time to get to know the valley over this pleasant route, which is nearly 4 kilometres long with 200 metres of change in elevation. In some places, it even follows along the park trails.
The park has many, and livestock raising is considered an essential tradition for maintaining the beauty of high mountain pastures. By highly influencing the distribution and survival of some plant communities, this activity promotes biodiversity. Another one of the most popular activities in the park is plant picking. With the exception of some medicinal or traditionally used plants like arnica (Arnica montana), caraway (Carum carvi) masterwort (Peucedanum ostruthium) and striped
Sorteny: From the Basque sorgin, meaning “witch”. This could have originally meant “the valley of the witches.”
Route through Canya de la Rabassa
Pla de Sorteny-El Quer plateau
Sorteny Valley natural park is unique not only from a scientific, historical and educational perspective, but also in terms of aesthetics, landscape and recreation. Although Sorteny Valley natural park is limited in surface area (1,800 hectares), it actively participates in conserving biodiversity and in promoting the natural and cultural heritage of the Pyrenees abroad.
This route is actually a variation of the one offered between Canya de la Rabassa and Pla de Sorteny, with more change in elevation (270 m) and almost the length (3.8 km). Even so, it is still accessible to any hiker regardless of their physical condition.
This is the best option if you want to enjoy the flora and fauna unique to this area, while simultaneously gazing upon panoramic views only found in the high mountains. Once you have finished the hike through the trails of Sorteny Valley natural park and have visited its interesting botanic gardens, the best idea is to keep hiking! Head off from the refuge towards the El Quer plateau, where you’ll discover incredible views of both sides of the Sorteny and Rialb valleys.
While you may be a little tired at the end of the route, don’t worry, as the return trip is quite easy. You’ll only need to descend towards la Rabassa and you’ll arrive directly at the car park.
Quer: From the Iberian word kar, or the Basque karri, which became a place name meaning “rock; that which stands out for its likeness to a rock”. Canya de la Rabassa: The word canya is a dissimilation of the word caulla or cabana, understood here to mean “hole” or “lair” (from the Latin cavu). The word rabassa refers to the lower and thickest part of a tree trunk. This is where spruce wood was obtained, in order to make spruce oil.
Verdaguer-Creussans lake route
Jacint Verdaguer was a priest and also one of the most important Catalan writers of the Catalan Renaissance (Renaixen?a). He was born into a modest – but not uneducated – family in Folgueroles in 1845. From a young age he discovered his interest in popular traditions and during his time at the seminary in Vic he received an ecclesiastical education and became familiar with rhetoric and the classics while also writing poetry. His works include the romantic epic poems l’Atlàntida and Canigó, as well as the poetry collections Idil•lis i cants místics, Pàtria, Montserrat, Flors de calvari and Aires del Montseny. Other published works include Excursions i viatges, Dietari d’un pelegrí a Terra Santa, a collection of popular songs and a series of articles published in the press.
This is one of the routes he took to write Canigó, a Pyrenean legend from the times of the Spanish Reconquista. It deals with the Pyrenees mountains, studying their geography, history, folklore and legends. Hence, Canigó has become one of the masterpieces of Catalan literature.
Cortinada: From the Latin cohortina, derived from cohort, meaning “corral”. The ending -ada has a collective value.
The climb begins at the Vallnord ski resort, in the Arcal?s area, after passing by an interesting gigantic monument in the shape of a steel ring. It is four metres in diameter and located close to a large drop into the valley. The work intends to provoke tension between the house rules and the laws of nature. This monument is called Arcalís 91, a work of art by the sculptor Mauro Staccioli. A bit after leaving this masterpiece behind, you’ll come to the high lands, La Coma, where there is a bar-restaurant and a car park.
This amazing route goes along abrupt and picturesque landscapes that introduce you to sites typical of the high mountains. The group of lakes is one of the most visited in Andorra because it is so accessible. Though it isn’t very difficult, it is important to come prepared as the weather in the mountains can change very quickly.
There are three Tristaina lakes. Primer lake, at 2,250 metres above sea level, is the smallest has the bluest waters. Mig lake, at 2,300 metres, is a little bigger and surrounded by scree and hills. Finally, the highest and largest of the three is M s Amunt lake. This round lake nestles in a high mountain glacial area, surrounded by the cirque formed by the slopes of Tristaina peak (2,787 m). In summer you can swim in the lake’s dark waters.
Tristaina: From the Latin Tris Stagnu, which refers to three lakes grouped together forming a single body.
Located amidst the Ordino mountains, the L’Angonella valley is one of the few virgin landscapes left in Andorra. It is a valuable natural area thanks to the wildlife there and efforts to conserve it. The route’s relative difficulty has helped these lakes to remain wild and unchanged, and isolated from crowds and habitual routes.
You’ll begin in the town of Llorts, next to the 12th-century Romanesque church of Sant Serni. From here, you’ll take a little lane that quickly rises in elevation after just a few metres.
The beginning of the hike is marked by large areas of pines, junipers and ferns, giving you the feeling of being hundreds of years back in time. You’ll see old ca bins such as the huts of La Mollera, a magnificent display of the art of dry stone construction, as well as ferrous rivers like the Aiguarrebre river and hundredyear- old trees.
As you go up, you’ll enter a glacial environment that closes the valley off. Here you’ll find the L’Angonella refuge, with capacity for 6 people and running water, bunk beds, a fireplace, benches and a table.
The first lake you will come upon is M s Avall lake (2,300 m), with its emeraldcoloured waters. A bit higher up is Mig lake, and continuing on even further you is M s Amunt lake (2,440 m), which is the largest and deepest of the lakes.
Angonella: From the Basque gona, meaning “slope”. In the case of Angonella, it is a diminutive with the suffix –ella, (indeed, the valley’s slope is very narrow).
“La Ruta del Ferro a Andorra” (The Andorran Iron route) is a cultural route that forms part of the cross-border route La Ruta del Ferro als Pirineus, which received an honourable mention from the Council of Europe in November 2004. It coordinates activities in facilities in Catalonia, Aquitaine, Ari?ge, Guipuzkoa and Biscay.
In Andorra, the route invites visitors to discover the resources related with processes to extract, transform and market iron. Several points of interest scattered throughout the land will allow you to discover one of the most significant economic activities in Andorra from the early 17th century to the late 19th century. The mines, the coal pits, miner and steelworker homes and forges are some examples left over.
From the Rossell forge, follow the route and discover other sites linked with the
world of iron: the Llorts mine; iron distributor trails, with sculptures honouring
these iron workers; Casa Areny, the home of one of the greatest forge owners;
and products made in Andorran forges, like those that can be seen in the church
of Sant Mart? de la Cortinada.
Farga: From the Latin fabrica, meaning “workshop; where things are made”. As a place name, it is used for facilities for transforming ore into metal (iron).
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