If your idea of a holiday in the mountains usually involves them being covered in snow then you may have sometimes wondered what it’s like to take your summer holidays in Andorra. So, for this month’s blog article I took my children for days out at the two main mountain parks, as well as on some of the family hiking trails, so get a real taste of what’s on offer for families in the summer.
Mont Magic in Canillo
Heading up the gondola to Family Park Canillo, also known as Mont Magic, you’ll find yourself being watched by mythical creatures as you’re transported into an amazing play area in nature. With stunning views across the mountains and down to the lake you’ll struggled to decide which activities to try out first.
No matter the age of your children, there are plenty of activities to try out, such as pedal karts, donuts, trampolines, bouncy castles, and the acro-jump, as well as a huge air bag to jump onto from high platforms. If you’re walking down to the lake, then on the way you can try your hand at archery, or you can take it easy on the chairlift.
For thrill-seekers, the fastest way down to the lake is by taking the zip line, which you can experience solo or a tandem (depending on age & weight), with two lines side by side you can race across the mountains.
On Lake Forn you’ll find a selection of kayaks, canoes, and pedalos, for individuals as well as families, so you can have amazing fun as a family, whilst your kids can also get a taste for exploring the lake on their own.
However, both my children’s favourite attraction was the Magic Gliss, a fantastic mountain coaster whizzing you down the track, which is great in itself, however as well as “just” riding it there is a fully immersive option to ride the coaster with a VR headset on. This means you get the feeling of the air rushing against you, and the banked curves of the track, combined with the futuristic VR where you’re collecting gems and seeing animals of Andorra, as well as a mythical Tamarro!
Aside from the activities, you also get to spend the day surrounded by mountains, and it’s well worth taking Portella chairlift up to the viewpoint to enjoying stunning panoramic views across the mountains of Andorra. To really get out and about in nature, don’t miss the Fornatura Circuit, and in particular the Explor Games, combining orienteering with an escape room vibe to help families encourage their younger members into the outdoors.
Pal Mountain Park
As well as being home to amazing mountain bike trails, you’ll find Pal Mountain Park has a super range of family activities all included with a great value wristband. Taking the gondola up from La Massana affords you beautiful views of the valley, then you get to explore the different areas of the park, including an area dedicated to a variety of bouncy castles and inflatable slides, which my kids loved, as well as donuts and a mini zip line.
The big feature of the park is the high ropes course, with bridges and obstacles to explore, with three levels to choose from. I of course followed my children up, but was completely outdone and the fear got to me as I wobbled my way across the course trying not to fall! It’s all very safe of course, always clipped in to the safety wire, but it doesn’t stop you getting nervous when you look down, although my kids loved seeing me slowly work my way around after they had landed back to ground at the bottom of the zip line.
I particularly enjoyed getting to take a spin on the electric go-karts, zooming around the track, although younger visitors have to settle for pedal power. We also go to try our hands at archery, with a very helpful instructor, and the kids of course loved the acro-jump bungee trampolines.
Overall it was a great day out, with plenty of options to keep the whole family entertained and active, with all of us agreeing we’d love to come back to have a go at the downhill mountain biking next time, as we got to see lots of riders heading out to the trails.
Summer holidays in Andorra wouldn’t be complete without heading to the peaks to take in the incredible views, so we took a trip to Arcalis, winding our way up through Ordino valley to take the new(ish) gondola up to La Coma. Of course it is possible to set off hiking, but with children in tow it’s so much easier using the lift system, and they loved getting into the cabin with a glass bottom so you can look out underneath you to see the ground drop away from you!
Once at La Coma you’re already surrounded by the imposing mountains, and we enjoyed seeing the wild horses, and gorgeous scenery, but the goal was to get to the top so we jumped on Creussans chair lift, which has simply breathtaking views across the national park and the stunning lakes. However from here it’s on foot if you want to reach the peak, which we most certainly did.
This year the brand new Mirador Solar de Tristaina has opened, which is a giant sundial balcony offering 360 degree views of the mountains. The kids loved seeing how the shadow of the sun dial told the time, and then as we explored they thought it was fantastic to be able to stand with one foot in France and one foot in Andorra to be in two countries at once.
Despite it being August and the peak of summer, with glorious sunshine, and a well earned trip to an outdoor swimming pool to come, if you look closely you can find tiny pockets of snow still nestled amongst the mountainous peaks as a little reminder of the fun to come in a few months’ time!
Hiking to Find Tamarros
If you find that your kids enjoy their electronic devices a lot more than the offer of going for a long walk, then hiking to find the seven Tamarros of Andorra could be just the thing you’re looking for to tempt them into the great outdoors! When we paid a visit to the tourist information centre in La Massana the “cute” stuffed toy on the shelf immediately drew their attention, and with a great guide to find the seven figures, with cartoons, puzzles, and of course a map, I found myself being pestered and begged to go out walking!!
The Tamarros are mystical creatures tasked with protecting the natural environment of Andorra, one hidden in each of the seven parishes, on easily accessible walking trails. Within the guidebook you have a section to collect a stamp at each one, then once you’ve collected the seven stamps return it to the tourist information centre to receive your prize. Not only do you collect stamps, but at each of the locations you have a great mobile phone holder so you can set your phone to take a selfie on a timer, collecting amazing family photos to remind you of your trip.
Already Planning For Next Time
This was very much a short trip to get a taste for summer holiday activities in Andorra, but we’ll definitely be back soon as the kids are insisting they want to find the last couple of Tamarros, as well as taking a walk along the Tibetan bridge of Canillo. So if this has whetted your appetite for summer holidays in Andorra then go on, take the plunge, there’s so much so see and do all year round! I was so excited to see how much the kids loved being out in the mountains in summer, not just loving the snow, and I can’t wait to bring them back again to explore some more.