In the Vall del Nord on a historic route from La Cortinada to the ancient mines of Llorts. A relaxed short hike, where there are a lot of remarkable and interesting things from history, traditional agriculture, building, architecture and creative art to see and visit.
Approximate walking time way there and back: 2 h 15 min without rests.
The hike runs along a section of an old transport route, where, still in the 19th century, the iron ore mined in the Llorts mines was transported on pack animals down to the forge of La Massana. It starts in the oldest part of La Cortinada, on the left side of the river Valira del Nord, and leads through a small residential area with some buildings in the traditional Andorran style. Then it crosses the river, passes a 16th century sawmill and the ancient Romanesque church of Sant Marti, the construction of which dates back to the 12th century, and then returns at the hamlet of Mas d'en Soler to the left side of the river.
The path, lined with trees, hedgerows and shrubs, continues close to the watercourse, past the bridge of Arans, where the valley widens slightly and makes way for a vast field and pasture landscape. There, the path departs a little from the river, keeping closer to the valley slopes, and passes along fences, shrubbery and low walls through an area characterised by fields, where the Borda del Soler farmhouse gives an example of the cultivation of tobacco still practised here and there in Andorra.
In the ascent to a low hill there is the monolith to contemplate, the first of a series of works of art that are set up by the wayside and in one way or another thematize ore mining. On the other side of the hill, the path returns to the river and now remains near the bank up to the mine. Other works of art follow, with a group of sculptures named "Familia Jordino", which is a bit higher up the hillside, deserving a special attention. The site is also a beautiful viewpoint across the valley floor to the wooded slopes on the other side of the valley. A little later, the site of the mine is reached, where the reddish-brown color of the earth caused by oxidation testifies to the presence of ferrous soil.
On the way back there is a short detour to the village center of Llorts, the visit of which is recommended because of the traditional and typical Andorran architecture of the houses and the medieval church.
The hike can also be undertaken outside the recommended months, under snow-free conditions also in winter.
The mines and the sawmill of La Cortinada are open to visitors from June to October, but mostly only for small groups.
It is quite pleasant to take the way back, as the vantage points, perspectives and impressions change when going downhill. If you still want to do without the way back, you can take the bus from the mines or Llorts.