Andorra may be one of the smallest countries in the world, but its location in the Pyrenees means it consists in its entirety of mountains and valleys, offering what may be the best scenery on the planet on an acre-for-acre basis. The parish of Escaldes Engordany is a particular gem, offering glorious scenery for visitors to enjoy. It is also a place to experience a wide array of outdoor activities, from walking to winter sports. One activity that may particularly excite some folk is the Roc d’Esquers Via Ferrata, known as the Iron Way. It is located on the road to Engolasters, at a crossroads by the entrance to the Vall del Madriu.
For many, it may seem daunting to be walking across what is essentially a sheer cliff merely using metal handholds and footholds embedded in the rock, even if one is attached with a harness. However, the activity is a very safe one, with the various hooks and links ensuring those taking to the route are safely linked to the rope at all times. In the event of slips, nobody will be able to fall far – and then you can simply grab the nearest hold and continue the adventure. The rope itself will also provide an extra means of support and traction when climbing up the steepest bits. The Iron Road is 350 metres long and climbs for 250 metres, making it one of medium difficulty and therefore well within the capabilities of an experienced hiker. Even so, the vertical rock chimneys are great fun to scramble up.
The drops are not too great, but the views across the valley are superb, both of the natural scenery and nearby towns, with the southwest views over the capital Andorra La Vella being particularly impressive. At the end, walkers can cross a small Tibetan bridge to complete the trek. The best thing of all about the Iron Road is that entry is free. Indeed, it is one of a number of free Via Ferratas in Andorra that are there to be discovered and enjoyed.