Hiking route: Ruta del Ferro

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Distanz

4,24 km

Niveau

Leicht

Höhenunterschied

+126 m / -22 m

La Ruta del Ferro, which translates into English as the Iron Route, is one of the best family excursions that can be enjoyed in our country, and for good reason: not only is it an easy route, but it also combines nature, culture, social sciences and economy. It could be said that it's a visual explanation of one of the most important activities developed in Andorra from the 17th century until the end of the 19th century: the metal industry.

The Ruta del ferro begins in Llorts, in the parish of Ordino. It's a 4.2 km linear itinerary (8.4 km round trip). The first half is downhill and the second half is slightly uphill (126 metre elevation). The path's waymarking is red and white, as it's part of the GR11. The total length of the route is just over 2 hours. The Iron Route can also be enjoyed on horseback, starting in Ransol, passing through the Mina dels Meners mine and ending in Arans.

Ruta del ferro: Main points of interest

As you'll discover while walking along the Ruta del Ferro, the metal industry was an important economic sector until the end of the 19th century. Some of the most important landmarks along the route correspond to different stages of the production process: extraction, transformation and sale.

Modern sculptures have been erected along the entire path. All of them are made, of course, of iron. The Iron Route begins at the mine in Llorts, which is 30 metres deep and can be visited in summer. At the other end of the route you'll find the church of Sant Martí de la Cortinada. Visitors are captivated by its Romanesque architecture and its history, as well as by an additional, unique feature: the beautiful metalwork of its side chapels, which is a good example of what Andorran metal workshops were capable of.
The other buildings scattered along the way are great examples of traditional Andorran architecture, particularly the borda (mountain cabin) in Ordino.

The Iron Route and beyond

Andorra's Iron Route is, in fact, encompassed within a much larger cultural itinerary, as it's part of the Pryrenean Iron Route, which passes through Catalonia, Aquitaine, Ariège, Guipuzkoa and Biscay. By virtue of its cultural interest and the extensive collaboration among countries, it received an Honourable Mention from the European Council in November of 2004.

As well as the Iron Route in Ordino, there are other points of interest connected with the metal industry throughout Andorra, ranging from ore mines to coal yards, foundries and other spaces connected with this activity. Some of these places, which are good options to complement the present Ruta del Ferro, are the Farga Rossell Iron Interpretation Centre in La Massana, which was one of the last active foundries in the country, the Casa d'Areny-Plandolit Museum, belonging to an important Andorran family of foundry owners, and the Homes de Ferro itinerary.

The Iron Route can be done from June to October. However, if the weather and terrain conditions allow it, the season may extend from May to October.

You will find further details of this and other routes in the Hiking guide Trails of Andorra.

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