Andorra Freedom Trail – Passeurs, Fugitives and Spies – 7 days
Follow the historic Andorra freedom trail from France via the spectacular Soulcem Valley and Port de Rat. This trail over the Pyrenees was a key escape route during both the Spanish civil war and World War II.
Four days of trekking will take you past high mountain lakes, waterfalls, and Europe’s largest health spa. A final section of the Andorran Way leads to Andorra de Vella, where you can admire romanesque art and enjoy tax free shopping!
Click ‘reserve’ below to see available dates. If your preferred dates are not available, please contact us to enquire about alternative dates.
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Vacation Style Holiday TypeBorder-Crossing Challenge, Historic Challenge, Trekking
Activity Level Demanding
Chemin de la Liberté Andorran Escape – Passeurs, fugatives and spies
Duration: 7 days – 5 days of trekking;
Accommodation: 6 nights accommodation – Mountain Huts and Hotel;
About: Andorra played a crucial role in the Spanish civil war and the second world war through its location and relative neutrality. Claude Benet documented in his book several escape routes crossing into Andorra via the Port de Dret, Col de Juclar and Port d’Incles, Sigeuer, Rat and Arinsal. Routes lead to either the spa town of Escaldes or to the now famous ski resort of Soldeu.
We pass over the border into Andorra via the spectacular Soulcem valley and Port de Rat. Continuing from El Serrat to Escaldes where two escape routes converged we then head on into Spain before heading finishing our walk in Andorra.
Sgt Owens spent most of his evasion time with his commander Lt Olof Ballinger in and around Orne, Normandy. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, S/Sgt Francis E Owens lost his life at Port del Rat, Andorra on or about 25 Oct 1943. We will be crossing in summer conditions!
Dates & Availability: If you have a minimum of 4 people we are happy to offer the trip on dates suitable to you. July – September are the best months.
- Accommodation and food as specified in the programme;
- Transport to and from Toulouse Blagnac on a single timed transfer per group;
- Local transport as per the itinerary
- Guiding by an International Mountain leader 1:10 maximum.
- Visit to a spa and opportunity to shop in Andorra
- Mountain snacks; phone calls; alcoholic beverages
- Additional transport or accommodation needed if you have to leave the group for a medical or fitness reason
Arrival at Toulouse and transfer to Ax les Thermes
Enjoy the evening in this bustling spa town with cobbled streets, local produce shops and the stunning bains de couloubret. (D)
Walk Merens les vals – Refuge de Rhule (2185m) 5hrs, 18km +1141m
We make a stiff start to the trip gaining height above Merens les Vals heading up a wooded path to the beautiful high mountain lake, Etang de Comte. Then ascending further we access the Refuge de Rhule, nestled on a high plateau below the peak de Rhule. (B,L,D)
Walk Refuge de Rhule (2185m) – Refuge de Juclar (2310m) via porte de Incles or collada de Juclar +380m
Today we cross a high pass as the smugglers would have done to reach Andorra passing four beautiful high mountain lakes. Should conditions allow we will climb a peak and may cross some residual snow. (B,L,D)
Walk down the stunning Val d'incles to Soldeu from Refuge de Juclar
Descending into a beautiful valley with spectacular mini waterfalls and lined with rhodaddendron bushes. There is often the chance to see bearded vulture in this area. Soldeu is a lively ski town and we can celebrate reaching a new country Andorran style in the afternoon. We also have the option to go via the Port Dret and then dropping steeply down into town. (B,L,D)
Walk Soldeu - Escaldes on the Andorran way (8hrs)
Today we walk 12km over gently undulating terrain via Canillo and the chapel of Sant Joan de Cabellos and the Sanyuari de Meritxell. In the evening you will visit Caldea – Europe’s largest health spa that offers 6,000 square metres of inside and outside lagoons, saunas, jacuzzis, Indo-Roman baths, cascades and bubble beds. The Estany de Engoglasters. We will stay in a hotel in Escaldes with spa facility, hot tub, sauna and Turkish bath for our final two nights. (B,L,D)
Rest day in Escaldes and Andorra de Vella
Some of the best examples of Andorran romanesque art are situated in Andorra la Vella. World class shopping is also available in this tax free area.
Morning travel back to France and afternoon departures to Toulouse Blagnac. (B,L)