Summer Pyrenees Family Holiday Trip Notes

Summer Pyrenees Family Holiday

These trip notes are valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the trip notes for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017


Last Modified: 14 Jul 2016
Summer Pyrenees Family Holiday
Trip code: AAFP
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
Challenge the family to an unforgettable week of adrenaline-fuelled activities with Intrepid’s Active Pyrenees trip. From Soldeu, head out around Andorra and into Spain trying fun new experiences along the way. Get the pulse racing on hiking and cycling adventures, then spend a wet and wild afternoon whitewater rafting. Take advantage of the location and explore nearby hamlets on horseback or go fishing in the local lakes. This is sure to be an inspiring week, enjoying Andorra’s adventure playground as a family.
Table of Contents
StyleImportant notesSafety
ThemesGroup sizeJoining point
Is this trip right for you?Your fellow travellersFinish point
Why we love itAccommodationEmergency contact
MapAccommodation NotesVisas
ItineraryMeals introductionWhat to take
Itinerary disclaimerMealsTravel insurance
Physical ratingMoney mattersThe Intrepid Foundation
Included activitiesGroup leaderFeedback
Style
Original
Themes
Family
Is this trip right for you?
- There's a fair amount of walking involved. The walks usually start at 10 am and finish at around 4 pm, and range from 7 to 10 kilometres in length. However, you're not walking the whole time, and the pace is quite easy.
- Like many beautiful mountain destinations, Andorra is a little tricky to get to – the transfer from Toulouse airport can take up to three hours.
- While the accommodation is not grand, it's a friendly, locally-run hotel with a reputation for fantastic hospitality. The food is simple and hearty, and packed lunches can be made by the lovely hotel staff.
- The group may be split into two or three smaller groups, based on fitness levels and ability. This way you'll get the most fun out of your activities.
Why we love it
- From scenic valley hikes to mountain biking and zip-lining, there's a great mix of activities for all ages and the whole family will be entertained
- The Noguera River is one of the top five rivers for white-water rafting in all of Europe, thanks to its many safe exit points and continuous stretches of steady foaming rapids
- Fabulous hosts make you feel at home, and knowledgeable and friendly guides help you get the most out of your adventure in this beautiful part of the world
- The hotel is occupied only by Intrepid travellers, making for a wonderful atmosphere and the chance to chat with like-minded folk
- Enjoy a flexible activity schedule. If you're in it to relax, there are many chances to opt out of the adventure and simply soak up the fresh air and perfect Pyranean scenery
Map

Itinerary
Day 1 Soldeu
Welcome to Andorra! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm on Day 1. Situated on the southern slopes of the Pyrenees, nestled between France and Spain, the principality of Andorra measures a mere 25 kilometres by 30 kilometres, with an average elevation of 1,996 metres. Although small, Andorra is blessed with some of the finest scenery in the Pyrenees and is a great place for an active week in the mountains. Once you arrive at your base for the week, you will have time to explore or relax until the evening.
Accommodation
Hotel Roc de Sant Miquel (1 nt)
Meals
1 dinner
Day 2 Siscaro Reserve
Make your first excursion into the glorious mountains of this tiny country. Drive to Port Envalira (approximately 30 minutes). At 2,408 metres, this is the highest road pass in Europe, connecting El Pas de la Casa to the rest of Andorra. Starting at 2,500 metres, you will have a short 100-metre climb to the summit of Pic Maia. At this height there are spectacular views across the mountains. The rest of your day will be spent completing a ridge walk. It's mostly flat or downhill, so it's a good chance to acclimatise. Keep an eye out for the griffon vultures which are often seen circling high overhead. On the way you will pass the Siscaro Lakes which, on hotter days, are nice for a swim. From here the descent is more rapid and the path brings you out right opposite the hotel. Arriving at 3 or 4 pm, you can relax in the sun, go cycling or perhaps make use of a neighbouring hotel's spa.
Included Activities
  • Pessons Lakes Walk
    Accommodation
    Hotel Roc de Sant Miquel (1 nt)
    Meals
    1 breakfast, 1 dinner
    Day 3 Cortals Valley
    Drive to the stunning Cortals Valley (approximately 30 minutes). Here you and the family will enjoy a full day of activities. Half-way up the valley you will jump on bikes for a ride along a flat track to Engolasters Lake, glimpsing some beautiful scenery along the way. There are plenty of fun tracks around the lake for all skill levels. There's also a lakeside bar. After returning to the vehicles via the same route through the woods, there's the option of a demanding 3-kilometre ascent up a tarmac road to the barbeque area – part of the Tour of Spain route (the vehicles are available for anyone who's not up to the walk). For lunch you'll stop for a picnic in a Pyrenean meadow (you'll have time to buy for this picnic before setting off today). After lunch, cycle to the top of the valley. You'll then cross a rope-suspended bridge and take an off-road descent, followed by an exhilirating on-road switch-back descent to Encamp (a total descent of 800 m). Today's routes can be walked if you'd rather not cycle, and there may be an optional gondola ride – this is the largest ski lift in Europe. Return to Soldeu in the vehicle at the end of the day.
    Included Activities
    • Bike ride
    • Cortals Valley
      Accommodation
      Hotel Roc de Sant Miquel (1 nt)
      Meals
      1 breakfast, 1 dinner
      Day 4 Free day
      Today has been left free for you to choose from the many activities that are on offer in Andorra. You may decide to go horse riding, or perhaps visit the thermal baths of La Caldea. The more adventurous members of your family might like to take to the trees for some zip-lining adventures through the tree-tops. Canyoning is also a great option. If you have a head for heights and a good level of fitness, you can try your hand at via ferrata climbing. This is a style of climbing that uses handy equipment such as rungs and a steel cable to traverse tricky and rugged terrain. Further cycling – perhaps mountain biking – is a solid option also. Otherwise, simply relax and enjoy the sunshine, or do a spot of duty-free shopping.
      Optional Activities
      • Tree tops and Zip wiring - EUR25
      • Family park Canillo - EUR30
      • Via Ferrata - Ordino - EUR35
        Accommodation
        Hotel Roc de Sant Miquel (1 nt)
        Meals
        1 breakfast, 1 dinner
        Day 5 White-water rafting
        Crossing the border into Spain, take the high mountain pass over the Port de Canto through very some Mediterranean scenery, still at 1,000 metres high. You can stop at the Port de Canto lookout point to take in the lovely foothills of the Spanish Pyrenees. Continue down to the village of Sort (Catalan for 'luck') where at the rafting centre you and the family will be kitted out with wetsuits, helmets, life jackets and a paddle. From the top of the Noguera River, enjoy 14 kilometres of exhilirating white water rafting. Noguera River is renowned as one of the top five rivers for rafting in Europe, thanks to nice stretches of continuous but not too rough water, and many exit points. After a fun ride over a weir and through the Olympic kayaking course, arrive back at the rafting centre to take a shower. The centre has a beautiful garden with a swimming pool and a bar, so you can spend some time here before heading back to Soldeu.

        Notes: There is a support vehicle that follows the rafting. Those who don't want to, or are too young to raft, can follow along in the vehicle or relax and unwind at the centre. Children must be at least 8 years old to participate, and 8–12 year-olds will be able to raft grades I & II only.
        Included Activities
        • The Old Smugglers Route
        • White water rafting
          Accommodation
          Hotel Roc de Sant Miquel (1 nt)
          Meals
          1 breakfast, 1 dinner
          Day 6 The Iron route
          Venture into the Ordino Valley in the vehicles with the bikes. This is one of the most picturesque parts of Andorra. Starting at the top end of the valley (2,000 m), you will get fitted with a bike and helmet and then follow with a guide the old iron route of Andorra. Easy-going off-road tracks take you along the valley, past the old iron mines, mills, and forges, finishing in the village of Ordino. You will follow rough tracks, mostly wide dirt roads where only 4X4s can go. But you won't need advanced mountain biking skills, as the tracks aren't too technical. After a rest and a drink in the village, jump aboard the vehicle again and head up to Col de Beixalls (1,800 m). Cycle a thrilling 8-kilometre off-road descent into Encamp. Throughout the day there will be full vehicle support, so if you'd rather not cycle you can ride in the 4X4 or walk. From Encamp it's a 15-minute drive back to the hotel, and you should arrive between 5 and 6 pm.
          Included Activities
          • Introduction to Mountain Biking Day Trip
          • Bike ride
            Accommodation
            Hotel Roc de Sant Miquel (1 nt)
            Meals
            1 breakfast, 1 dinner
            Day 7 Incles Valley
            Drive the nearby Incles Valley where today's walk starts. Set off along forested mountain slopes and along a single track through the woods where there are beautiful flowers, rhododendrons (in June), wild fruit (midsummer) and wild mushrooms (in September). Arriving on a plateau just above the tree line (2,000 m), the gradient lessens as you reach the beautiful Querol and Salamander Lakes. Watch for thick-set mountain horses grazing on these high slopes. Contouring along the valley you will come to the Cabana Sorda Lake, which sits below an impressive semi-circular amphitheatre of rock – an ideal stop for lunch. From the lake, eager walkers can continue the hike up to the peak (2,600 m), which gives you a bird’s eye view of the gorgeous valley. Those staying at the lake can take a refreshing swim in a waterfall or perhaps watch the fishermen catching mountain trout. After lunch, descend to the grassy higher slopes through thick woodland to the top of the valley where you can either take transport back to the hotel or, if you have the energy, continue back on foot.
            Included Activities
            • Incles Valley Walk
              Accommodation
              Hotel Roc de Sant Miquel (1 nt)
              Meals
              1 breakfast, 1 dinner
              Day 8 Departure day
              Your trip ends after breakfast, with no further activities planned. See the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section of the trip notes for checkout times and luggage storage options. Those who have booked an airport transfer will be taken to the airport in time for the group flight.
              Meals
              1 breakfast
              Itinerary disclaimer
              ITINERARY CHANGES Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.
              Physical rating

              Included activities
              Pessons Lakes Walk
              Bike ride
              Cortals Valley
              The Old Smugglers Route
              White water rafting
              Introduction to Mountain Biking Day Trip
              Incles Valley Walk
              Important notes
              A DISCOUNT OF 10% APPLIES ON THIS TRIP TO CHILDREN UNDER 15 YEARS OF AGE AT THE TIME OF TRAVEL.


              Please note that these trips are for adults and children travelling together and there must be at least one child under 18 with you.
              Minimum age for children on this trip is 6 years old

              Group size
              Maximum of 29 travellers per group.
              Your fellow travellers
              SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
              A single supplement is available on this trip, please refer to your booking agent for further information.
              Accommodation
              Hotel (7nt)
              The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in your selected accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

              GENERAL ROOMING CONFIGURATIONS:
              Family of two - All family groupings of two will be put into a twin room.

              Family of three - Wherever possible we will put you in a triple room. Please be aware that in some places triple rooms are in short supply. This means that, in practice, a triple room will often simply be a twin room with a mattress on the floor or a further bed squashed in. Where it is impossible to provide a triple room, you will have to decide which of your party takes the single room.

              Family of four or more - You will most likely stay in two twin rooms. If and wherever possible we will aim put you in a quadruple room. Whilst we will do our very best to ensure that families are roomed close together (in some cases, we can arrange adjoining rooms), we can’t guarantee this. Most family holidays occur during peak season and we sometimes have little to no control over where you will be put. You need to come prepared for this.

              Accommodation is clean and simple. You'll mainly stay in small, locally-run, 2-3 star hotels and guesthouses, which reflect the character of the area,generally these will be a twin room with private facilities. Sometimes you'll stay in larger, more comfortable hotels or occasionally rustic accommodation with basic facilities. We use a variety of accommodation on most trips; chosen for their value for money, location and atmosphere. We also try and incorporate unique accommodation experiences, such as a night with a local tribe, or sleeping under the stars in the desert.
              Meals introduction
              While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
              Meals
              7 breakfasts, 7 dinners
              Money matters
              The Euro (EUR) is the official currency in the following destinations: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain. All other European countries still have their own national currencies.

              The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire money is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) or Bancomat as they are often referred to. Check with your bank in advance concerning the suitability of your account / card overseas and any international fees that will be applied.

              You can obtain local currencies easily at airports and major train stations, but be sure to bring some extra emergency cash in a major currency that can be exchanged if the ATMs are not functioning.

              When leaving home don't forget your PIN and make sure you know the telephone number for cancelling your card if it is stolen. Keep this in a safe place.

              Credit cards are not always accepted in stores and restaurants. While travelling we recommend you carry some cash to pay for restaurant bills and other services. Change can be difficult to obtain so throughout the day, try to gain as many small denominations as you can.

              You might be advised to take some of your money as travellers' cheques from a major financial institute. Travellers' cheques have security advantages, however please be aware that the exchange rates may not be favourable and that it is difficult to change Travellers' cheques in most countries. Be particularly aware that after hours money exchanges and hotel receptions carry high commissions- sometimes up to 20%.

              For money safety we recommend that you carry your cash and credit cards in a secure money belt or pouch concealed under your clothes.

              SPENDING MONEY
              When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

              TIPPING
              If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers: In local markets and basic restaurants and cafes - round your bill up to the nearest €1. In more up-market restaurants we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill. Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest €2-€3 per day for local guides. You may also have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest €1-€2 per day for drivers. You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline €2-€4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service. In total, we recommend you budget approx €5-€10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.

              Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
              Group leader
              All Intrepid Family trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to assist your family take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for fun things to do and see- for both kids and parents, recommend great local eating venues that will even get the kids trying new things, and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects.

              Our leaders are not babysitters on this trip - we leave that to you (the experts), but they will make sure that group members of all ages are able to explore their destination safely and with as much fun as possible. Our group leaders are not responsible for looking after children at any time and children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times throughout this itinerary.
              Safety
              TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
              Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!

              Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.

              We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

              Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

              For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:

              http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travelling-and-living-overseas/travel-advice-by-country
              Joining point
              Hotel Roc de Sant Miquel
              Carretera General
              Soldeu
              851 079
              ANDORRA
              Phone: +376 346 791
              Finish point
              Hotel Roc de Sant Miquel
              Carretera General
              Soldeu
              851 079
              ANDORRA
              Phone: +376 346 791
              Emergency contact
              In the case of genuine crisis or emergency please call our partner High Trax on their 24 hour emergency number
              Tel: 00376 851079
              For further contact details please use the following page:

              For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

              While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

              We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

              You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

              High Trax: +376 346791
              Visas
              Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.
              What to take
              What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes).

              Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.

              Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:

              WATER BOTTLE:
              Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. We recommend at least a 1.5litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.

              http://www.intrepidtravel.com/pdf/trips/packinglist.pdf

              VALUABLES:
              Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe and the safe on the overland truck to store the bulk of your money, passport, and airline tickets. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden.

              We strongly recommend that you photocopy all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary.
              Travel insurance
              Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

              When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

              If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
              The Intrepid Foundation
              Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.

              The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:

              http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

              Feedback
              After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.

              http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback