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Living in Fontaneda, 100% Andorran essence in the middle of Coll de la Gallina
If there is a town in Andorra that any cyclist, either from the Principality or from abroad, knows perfectly to place on a map, this is, without any doubt, Fontaneda. That is no surprise, since the villag is located just half way probably the most demanding and technical mountain port of Andorra: the Coll de la Gallina.
Although no one doubts that Fontaneda is one of the Andorran villages best known for cyclists and hikers, the fact is that this village, located in the southwest of the parish of Sant Julià de Lòria, is not only characterized by being on the rise of the Coll de la Gallina. In this way, thanks to its location, the village of Fontaneda has traditionally been considered the meeting point between the Lauredan parish and the Canòlich Sanctuary, which, together with the Meritxell Sanctuary, is possibly the most representative church of the Andorran society.
Thus, despite being a village of rather small size, with a population centre that does not exceed 120 people (data collected at the end of 2017 by the Department of Statistics), the village of Fontaneda has managed to make the most of its privileged location at the foot of the Llosar river, perfectly blending with the surrounding environment and maintaining, almost intact, the essence and character that is expected from a high mountain village located at over 1,300 meters.
Living in Fontaneda, streets in rown and dream huts
In Fontaneda everything has a rustic and bucolic air. The streets in rows sheltered in the shade of the summits, the incredible huts, the stone and wooden houses, the unpaved streets... Everything, absolutely everything in Fontaneda gives the impression of an Andorra in olden times. Living in Fontaneda is, therefore, synonymous with doing it in a place where time seems to have stopped, a place where tranquility, calm and beauty are the order of the day.
Apart from the huts and rural houses, among the buildings it also stands out, as a most representative monument, the Romanesque church of Sant Miquel de Fontaneda. This church, which is located in the highest part of the village, has the typical structure of the Romanesque temples built in the Principality: a simple scheme formed by a rectangular nave, topped by a semicircular apse. In the interior, the church of Sant Miquel de Fontaneda stands out because it contains an ancient altar table carved in one piece, where primitive relics were kept, as well as by vestiges of Romanesque paintings, works of the Master of Anyós. Access to the church, which opens its doors from July 15 to September 15, is free.
Featured sites in Fontaneda
PathfFrom Fontaneda to Coll de la Gallina: considered one of the most technical and demanding trekking routes in Andorra, the Fontaneda path up to the Coll de la Gallina offers, with a distance of 7 km and a technical ascent, a great challenge for improement for the most experienced hikers. To get to the starting point of this itinerary, take the CS-140 from Sant Julià de Lòria and head towards Fontaneda.
During this trip you can take advantage of a visit to the chapel of Sant Mateu del Pui d'Olivesa, one of the smallest and oldest churches in Andorra, documented since 985. The route starts right in the center of the Fontaneda village, it takes the hiker to the track that connects with the Gastó Hut and, later, the Mosseres River. From this point, the path goes into wooded areas, going up the Palleró mountain range until reaching the forest track that joins the hill.
Coll de Jou Viewpoint: located at 1,140 meters of altitude, specifically at the km 3 of the CS-140, the Coll de Jou Viewpoint allows you to contemplate the sub-Mediterranean scrub of Coll de Jou, very peculiar for the contrast that is created between the oak forests and those formed by trunk. Precisely, the box is one of the most unique shrub plants that can be found in Andorra, as it has the peculiarity of changing colour and changing from yellow to red with the beginning of winter. In addition, with a bit of luck, from this natural balcony you can also observe different scavenger birds, as well as other birds such as the common kestrel, the common buzzard or beekeeper, the black kite or the Egyptian vulture.
Canòlich Sanctuary: despite not being in the same village, we have already commented that Fontaneda has traditionally been considered the link between the parish of Sant Julià de Lòria and the Canòlich Sanctuary. Located just at the foot of the CS-600 road, the Canòlich Sanctuary dates from the beginning of the twentieth century, although there are references that indicate that Canòlich already existed in medieval times, specifically in the year 1,176. This hypothesis is reinforced by reading the Manual Digest de les Valls Neutres d'Andorra (1.745), since in this document, by the illustrious Antoni Fiter i Rossell, the “Our Lady of Canòlich” is quoted as one of the three main sanctuaries of the valleys of Andorra, together with the Meritxell (Canillo) and the San Antoni de la Grella (La Massana) ones.
From a social point, every year the celebration dedicated to the “Mare de Déu de Canòlich” takes place in this sanctuary, a festive day in which hundreds of parishioners, both Lauredans and from the rest of parishes and even from abroad, make pilgrimage to the sanctuary to attend the traditional blessing of bread. In case of visiting the sanctuary, another of the aspects to be highlighted are the impressive views offered by the Canòlich Viewpoint, as well as the baroque altarpiece of the eigteenth century and the ceramic murals by the artist Sergi Mas, which are preserved in the interior.
The Mas d'Alins road, which is at the entrance of Fontaneda, has spectacular views over the Catalan Pyrenees and La Seu d'Urgell valley. In Mas d'Alins, where there is only one farm house, there is a small church: Sant Esteve del Mas d'Alins.
The Coll de la Gallina: with ramps that approach a gradient of 20%, the Coll de la Gallina has gained, on its own merits, the credit of being one of the hardest and most demanding mountain passes in Andorra. This route, which climbs up to 1,910 meters and crosses the CS-140 from Sant Julià de Lòria to Coll de Jou and then to Coll de la Gallina, has an average gradient of 8.4% and a higher gradient at 1,000 meters. Therefore, the 12 km that make up this pass are considered by many cyclists as the most complicated and technical in Andorra.
A complexity that becomes apparent even driving by car and that, without doubt, is a real challenge for the most experienced cyclists. Therefore, it is not surprising that this section is included by default in all the stages of high level cycling that are played in Andorra, such as the Tour de France, La Vuelta, the Volta als Ports d'Andorra or La Purito.
Your real estate agency in Fontaneda
Andorra Sotheby's International Realty is your real estate agency in Fontaneda. Do not hesitate to contact us for more information about the characteristics of our properties and the places where they are located. In addition, if you are a foreign real estate investor, we have a specialized department that can inform you of all tax advantages and legal requirements to invest in the purchase of a house or property in Fontaneda. If you are interested in buying a flat or buying a house in other locations in the parish of Sant Julià de Lòria, visit the links above.