Dropping In To Andorra

Three kilograms of condensed milk, one kilogram of coffee, four kilograms of cheese. Neither a shopping list nor a recipe. These are quantities with which you are permitted to exit the tiny and intriguing country of Andorra. Once you have read the following article and booked your stay though, be very sure not to attempt a cross–border smuggling operation involving  more than 2.5kgs of powdered milk, in excess of 400grams of pipe tobacco or greater than 200grams of tea. You do not want to even contemplate the consequences…

From Dirt Issue 130 – December 2012

Words by James McKnight. Photos by Andy Lloyd.


Driving in from the Spanish border, having arrived at Barcelona airport, an ascent through the built–up overspill of Andorra’s main town, Andorra La Vella, could easily lead you to a hasty conclusion that the country is entirely over–populated, the allure of a tax haven seemingly tempting so many to its gold paved streets. This is an assumption that rapidly changes once through the ‘sprawl’, as a series of tunnels, bored through vertical and mighty mountains, drops you straight back to the wilderness, or as close as you are likely to get in a country of such small proportions.

The majority of summertime visitors fail to make it past the potential bargains on offer in the valley and rarely venture up and beyond. Mountain biking in Andorra is thriving just beyond the fringes and late this summer I was fortunate enough to sample it along with Dirt photographer Andy Lloyd, under the expert guidance of Martin Hills and Keevin Thine of Singletrack Safari. Martin provides the planning and owns the company, Keev provides guiding and plenty of big, ear–to–ear smiles. A great duo who play off each other and love the mountains equally.

Rowan Sorrell visited with photographer Victor Lucas back in 2008 to report for Dirt on the riding in the Pyrenees and Andorra in particular, but things have changed a little since then and the bike parks have extended greatly. >>

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