In Andorra, mountain biking is steadily becoming a prime draw for visitors. That makes perfect sense given its perch high in the Pyrenees between Spain and France. Compared to other spots for the sport in Europe the quality-to-crowds ratio is excellent in Andorra. So, if you’ve visited for winter and enjoyed skiing, now is the time to consider a warm-weather trip, packed with just as much alpine excitement.
But where to start the planning process? When should you visit? Where are the best trails? What level of mountain biking will you need to enjoy yourself?
This post will be a comprehensive guide that answers these questions and many more. We’ll walk you through all the important details of mountain biking in Andorra.
When Is the Best Time for Mountain Biking in Andorra?
Andorra’s mountain biking trails are divided between those in established MTB parks (more on these shortly) and the ones outside of them. When choosing a time for your visit, consider that:
- Generally, the two mountain-biking parks are used primarily for skiing, so their season will depend on when ski-friendly conditions are expected to start and finish in a particular year.
- In 2017, this meant bike parks were open from July 1 to mid-September and then for another month on weekends until mid-October. If you’re planning a bike visit and facilities are a must, get in touch to check on planned opening dates.
- There are plenty of trails outside of the parks and they often have lovely conditions for biking in May and June and then later in October.
Where Are the Best Spots for Andorra Mountain Biking?
Variety in both difficulty and setting are strong suits for mountain biking in Andorra.The bike parks are the best place to start discussing this spectrum.
For the summer season, the Pal-Arinsal ski resort becomes Vallnord Bike Park. The circuits here range from the downhill excitement on snow-free ski slopes to the diverse, forested features of Wood Park.
On top of the compelling circuits, Vallnord also offers on-site instruction from a well-respected, star mountain biker. Their Fun Zone rounds out the picture with attractions for the younger family members. Passes are available in a variety of tiers and configurations.
The BMX and pump track at Arinsal offers a great setting for practicing technical tricks and showing off in front of friends. Because of the contained space it’s also a good option for the younger members of your family who are just starting their MTB experience.
Soldeu Bike Park at Grandvalira is the other park option in Andorra. Oscar Sáiz, the well-known downhill rider, designed the park to include a slopestyle course, module circuit and enduro routes.
The gondola lift building at Soldeu also houses a school for introducing beginners to mountain biking or sharpening advanced skills. This is also the place to find a bike rental if you don’t want to worry about bringing yours from home.
There are plenty of options for single-track trails outside of the established parks in Andorra. Many of the best options are located near Aubinyà and La Massana and route maps are available online.
How Much Experience Do You Need for Mountain Biking in Andorra?
At Andorra’s two mountain bike parks the runs are clearly marked for their wide range of difficulty levels. Especially at Grandvalira, some reviewers recommend scouting the intermediate runs for any features that might be above your comfort level.
Ruta del Ferro and Cami de les Pardines (near Engolasters Lake) are flatter options that will be easier on kids.
As mentioned, Arinsal’s BMX and pump track and the pump track at Vallnord are good spots for keeping an eye on kids while they get comfortable with the sport. (But both offer enough potential difficulty to keep adults interested.)
What Are the Best Sources for Mountain Biking Equipment in Andorra?
Packing your bike or finding you’re missing a part or a tool when you arrive can add unnecessary hassle to a MTB vacation. Luckily, there are plenty of options for renting bikes or getting yours serviced in Andorra.
The sport shop at Sant Moritz sells a range of spare parts for mountain bikes so that guests can handle unforeseen equipment needs. As well, the store also rents e-MTBs.
Riders Boutique is a well-known source for all things MTB in Andorra – partly because of their association with Cedric Gracia. They are located in La Massana near the finish line of the World Cup track and do everything from rentals to servicing to equipment sales.
Among their services, the Pic Negre group of stores also rents mountain bikes. They have several locations serving both of Andorra’s bike parks.
Com Nou has three locations in Andorra, but the Com Nou Freeride location at the base of the gondola in La Massana will be of most interest to those planning a MTB vacation because it’s where they rent from. (The other two are principally devoted to reselling outdoor equipment, including MTB gear.)
Andorra’s mountain biking reputation is further cemented by noting that top-flight MTB makers Production Privee and Commencal chose it as their home base. (The latter has their own pub, Commencal Spot, in La Massana.)
What Are the Top Mountain Biking Events in Andorra?
In 2015, Andorra’s reputation as a mountain biking destination levelled up when the MTB World Championships were held at Vallnord.
Since then, fans of top-level competition have been treated to UCI World Cup events in Vallnord. For 2018, the Andorra stop is planned for July 14-15.
The Andorra stop will be part of the UCI’s new short-course XCC event.
Vallnord is also the host for the first stage of the Maxiavalanche Europe Cup event. In 2018, the weekend of June 14 – 15 will see hundreds of competitors converge on Andorra for the excitement of a downhill marathon with mass start. The everyone-starts-at-once excitement pairs perfectly with the course that features 1,500 metres of drop.
Finally, the Catalan Cup DHI event typically either opens or closes the mountain-biking season in Andorra. In 2017, it was held the weekend of October 14-15 at Vallnord.
Resources for More Reading
The Highlights of Mountain Biking in Andorra
Given the common description that mountain biking in Andorra is the best in southern Europe it’s hard to believe it’s still a hidden gem. The highlights of mountain biking here include:
- Access to top trails, ranging from easy ones right up to the official World Cup course.
- Weather that is sunny and warm without the rain or heat of other destinations.
- Thinner crowds than almost anywhere else in Europe – you’ll almost never wait to get on a lift.
Most of all, because Andorra is so compact it will be a breeze to get from your accommodation at Apartaments Sant Moritz onto the trails.
As a bike-friendly holiday property, Apartaments Sant Moritz provides both an ideal location and the perfectly equipped accommodation for your Andorran mountain biking holiday. Plus, our friendly and knowledgeable staff will gladly help you plan whatever summer activities you want to take part in during your stay.