Stage crossing the Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley
declared Cultural Landscape by UNESCO Heritage of Mankind
In this first stage, you leave the municipality of Escaldes-Engordany (tourism office), specifically from the Tosca Bridge on River Engordany. Escaldes-Engordany is located at the end of Avinguda Meritxell in Andorra La Vella, so you’ll soon find it. The name of Escaldes refers to hot waters. That's why it makes perfect sense that the biggest attraction of the town is the Caldea spa.
From Tosca Bridge, you take the GR7 to Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley, registered since 2004 as a Unesco World Heritage Site. Continue on to Entremesaigües until reaching Sassanat Bridge, and follow the path there to reach the mountain chalets in Ràmio and the Fontverd Refuge. A little further on, you’ll find La Farga, one of the best examples of the area’s steelmaking past.
The most forested area is dominated by black pine and deciduous trees. Also, between the Fontverd and Riu dels Orris Refuges, you might be able to see wild boars, mouflons, chamois and marmots.
Following the path, you’ll arrive at Pla de l’Ingla, a beautiful plain where the river splits into two due to the flat terrain. Take a moment here to contemplate the mountains of Estall Serrer, Setut Port, Portelleta Peak, Vall Civera Port and, in general, the Serra de Sirvent. After crossing Pla de l’Ingla, you’ll arrive at the Riu dels Orris Refuge, set in an idyllic environment where the roaming cattle make for a beautiful backdrop.
Continue on and you’ll reach a section where you’ll see the first lakes. A little ways before reaching your destination, the Illa Refuge, you’ll notice the majestic Lake Bova on your right, and, later, Lake Rodó, on your left. You’ll soon find the Illa Refuge next to the dam of the same name. Not far from the shelter, you’ll find the Forcats ponds, which add even more charm to the environment.
The Illa Refuge is located 2,488 metres above sea level. Spend the night there to continue the route the next day. There’s also the option to spend an additional night to enjoy some excursions to the nearby lakes. Because there’s no light pollution, it makes for an extraordinary place to contemplate the stars as you tuck into your dinner. Do not forget to leave with enough provisions of water and food the next day!
The duration of the stage is approximate, it depends on the physical state of each hiker and the number of stops that are made throughout the trail.