What is the first thing you want to do in a new country? We always like to pop out for a hike. So when we visited Andorra on our Catalan Road trip, we wanted to squish at least one hike into our time there. The Estanys de Tristaina trail (or Tristaina Lakes trail) is an easy walk into a mountain bowl that holds three lakes, right on the Andorran border with France. If you fancy a more difficult walk, you could extend this hike up along the top ridge of the surrounding mountains. The weather was too misty for us to attempt that, but I am sure it would be stunning.
Hiking in Andorra
If you like walking, then summertime in Andorra sounds like heaven! We visited the tourist office and they gave us a booklet filled with possible hikes as well as a map of the country including the national parks.
I was very tempted to learn about the new circular Coronallacs Trail, which links Andorra’s four manned refuges in a long distance (58 mile) loop. But there are hundreds of trails both for day hikes and long distance hikes that span multiple countries. Whatever your level of ability, you’ll find something to suit you. We chose the Estanys de Tristaina loop as we love climbing up high, and as we didn’t have long, we wanted a good effort-to-view ratio!
Estanys de Tristaina hiking map
Estanys de Tristaina loop – the basics
Distance: 4.15 km as a loop
Elevation Gain: 180m
High Point: 2330m
Time: 2.5 hours
What to bring:
Water, snacks and your camera!
Sensible shoes. This is an easy walk *if* you are dressed appropriately. It’s not a spot for flip-flops or high heels.
The 10 essentials.
Must stay on a leash.
How hard is it?
Easy to Moderate. This was one of the easiest hikes we did in the Pyrenees. It was short, without much elevation gain. There were a couple of moments near the start where you need to climb up rocks, but after that, the path is very easy to follow.
Estanys de Tristaina loop – Getting started
We drove all the way up to Ordino Arcalís ski resort and parked beside La Coma restaurant. There was plenty of parking near the top, but it was raining when we arrived, so there were only a few hard-core dog walkers and not many tourists.
The hike starts with a quick climb up to a trail along the mountainside. The views were pretty rubbish when we stared in the rain. Luckily mountain weather changes quickly so I can show you the view from our return journey. Not bad eh!? The other side of those mountains is Spain.
Once you’ve climbed over some rocks, you should be rewarded with fab views South into the valleys of Andorra. You can sort of see the Pyrenees through the mist.
Estanys de Tristaina
Next we turned to walk around the Tristaina lakes. The first lake was Estany Primer. This is looking North, so the border with France is at the top of those mountains.
I love these autumnal views when the grass is golden (or soggy brown in the rain!) It reminds me of Ireland, although the scale of the mountains is much larger.
Hike in the rain
If you arrive in Andorra on a wet day, it is still worth exploring. You can see from these photos my camera lens was wet but it was fun to explore! On soggy days you might also get the whole area to yourselves like we did. Having said that, it was a bit chilly! We had considered climbing up higher, but in the end we turned back at the Estany De Mes Amunt lake.
Sometimes grey skies just mean gorgeous moody views.
Once we hiked around the third lake, Estany del Mig, the sun came out and lit it up slightly. Looking at that colour, I have a feeling in the sun, these lakes will shine like bright blue jewels.
It’s gorgeous. This is the view back to the first lake, Estany Primer and into Andorra. I bet this is all covered in snow (and skiers) by now!
There are three possible paths around the Tristaina Lakes. One close to the lakes (our walk), one in the middle of the bowl (photo below) and then one at the top of the ridge. Those higher paths are calling me back to Andorra to explore more.
So, we hiked in the clouds, and it was fab!
I should probably mention that as soon as we drove down from the mountains, the rest of Andorra was bathed in sunlight! It just goes to show, even in a teeny country, you can never trust weather up high in the mountains! If you like the idea of hiking in Andorra, please do click on the pins below to pin them.