Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley, Escaldes-Engordany

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#3 of 7 in Nature in Andorra
National Park Nature / Park
The Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley is a glacial valley in the southeast of Andorra. It covers an area of 42.47 km², approximately 9% of the total area of Andorra, and is part of the second largest watershed basin in Andorra. The isolated valley is recognised as a haven for rare or endangered wildlife, and the undeveloped valley has recently been considered to be the "spiritual heart" of Andorra. It became Andorra's first, and to date its only, UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004, with a small extension in 2006.OverviewThe valley is a glacial landscape, with high pastures, craggy cliffs, and steep wooded valleys. It is bounded by mountain ridges to the south, east and west, with the southern edge running along the border with Spain, and by an escarpment which drops away into the Valira valley to the north. It is isolated from the rest of Andorra, and can only be reached by tracks passable on foot. Dwellings, field terraces, tracks, and the remains of ironworking demonstrate the ways that the natural resources of the high Pyrenees were used by the local inhabitants over a period of over 700 years, through changes in climate, economic prosperity, and social structures.Two small settlements, Entremesaigües and Ramio, are situated in the narrow valley floor. Both were year-round settlements until the last 50 years, but both are now occupied only in the summer. There are 12 houses in all, constructed from local granite with schist roofs. Each house has a large barn for storage of grain and hay. The houses and the enclosed areas near the settlements are the only areas owned privately, accounting for approximately 1% of the area of the valley.
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28 days in Europe BY A USER FROM SLOVENIA August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, fast-paced, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Fast-paced 8 days in Andorra BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 43 days in France, Andorra & Barcelona BY A USER FROM CANADA July, teens, kids, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: July, teens, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced 3 days in Escaldes-Engordany BY A USER FROM SOUTH AFRICA August, popular PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 13 days in Spain & Andorra BY A USER FROM NORWAY August, culture, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, culture, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 10 days in Barcelona, Andorra & Valencia BY A USER FROM NORWAY August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, shopping, hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 9 days in Andorra BY A USER FROM NORWAY August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 15 days in Andorra BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, popular PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 40 days in Europe BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, popular PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 9 days in Andorra BY A USER FROM IRELAND August, popular PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 13 days in Europe BY A USER FROM GERMANY July, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 32 days in Andorra BY A USER FROM SPAIN June, teens, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: June, teens, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
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Where to stay in Escaldes-Engordany

Accommodations in Les Escaldes center mostly around the main strip, Av. Carlemany, which runs through the city. Staying in the center of town is generally more pricey. Because the town is quite small, though, you can be farther out and still access shops, bars, and restaurants fairly easily. Hotels are most common, while hostels and guesthouses are hard to find. Fortunately, hotels suit a range of budgets.
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  • We visited this national park because of its UNESCO inscription. The overall infrastructure is a bit lacking, but we managed to find a parking spot a few hundred metres away from the beginning of the ...  more »
  • Since childhood we discover the Madriu. It is simply spectacular. UNESCO World Heritage Centre. It allows short trips around 1am until 5am trips one way to reach the "Estany de l'Illa". It is a specta...  more »
  • Accompanying the streams, and water falls, the rock formations, the sights of lichen and moss make this climb delightful. Destination signs however are misleading. Starting from Escaledes the sign ind...  more »