Whereas taking a highway journey via Europe, the tiny nation of Andorra was on our route again to Provence, France.
We hadn’t heard of Andorra earlier than this journey, however having the chance so as to add one other nation to our ever-growing journey checklist, gave the impression of an amazing plan. So we set our GPS to Andorra La Vella and realized just a few details about this small principality located within the Pyrenees between France and Spain.
Quick Andorra Details
The place is Andorra situated?
Andorra is situated within the Pyrenees between Spain and France.
Is Andorra a rustic?
Sure, Andorra is a rustic. It’s formally a principality, which implies it’s a nation ruled by a Prince or Princess. (however the roles are honourary)
What’s Andorra identified for?
Andorra is understood for tourism, notably snowboarding because it has many ski resorts. And for its Responsibility-Free purchasing.
Is Andorra Protected?
Andorra is without doubt one of the most secure international locations on the earth to go to.
It’s superb to listen to what number of seasoned vacationers did not know that Andorra is a rustic. Truly, it’s superb to learn the way many individuals have by no means heard of Andorra. Yours actually included (earlier than we visited after all).
Andorra Inhabitants: Andorra has a inhabitants of solely 76,965 individuals, it has fallen since we visited. Once we had been in Andorra, it had 81,000 individuals.
Language of Andorra: The principle language of Andorra is Catalan. It is smart that the Andorra language is just like northern Spain with its location within the Pyrenees.
However do you know that Andorra is the one nation on the earth the place Catalan is the official language? I do know that Catalonia has been attempting to separate from Spain, however for the second, Andorra has that distinction all to itself.
Andorra is outdated: It’s stunning that not many individuals know of Andorra because it has been round for hundreds of years.
In truth, Andorra is the 14th oldest nation on the earth courting again to 803 AD. Making Andorra 1216 years outdated!
Andorra is tiny: Andorra is simply 468 Sq. km in complete (180 sq. miles) however it’s a very affluent nation.
Andorra is Widespread – eight – 10 million individuals go to Andorra every year making the most of winter sports activities.
With 303 km of ski slopes reaching 2640 meters (8661 toes) excessive within the Pyrenees mountains, it is a perfect spot for snowboarding.
Our Time in Andorra
Andorra La Vella, We Like It!
Rick Steves says to overlook about Andorra. You possibly can see the Pyrenees in France and have a greater expertise. However we disagree.
We love including a brand new destiantion to our repertoire and Andorra felt totally different from Spain and France. So should you occur to be within the are, go for it!
You do not want a Visa or any particular paperwork, it is simple to cross the border and go to Andorra.
The individuals right here had been friendlier and extra useful than each France and Spain and the surroundings is terrific.
Get out of Andorra la Vella
Andorra La Vella is the capital of Andorra, and this is a enjoyable reality, it’s the highest capital metropolis in Europe. Its elevation is 1023 meters.
It’s identified for its duty-free purchasing and tobacco making it a really busy hub with practically 300 accommodations and 400 eating places.
We extremely advocate getting out of Andorra la Vella. Lots of people go to Andorra! And it exhibits. Visitors is a large number and the streets are crowded.
Andorra as soon as dominated the tobacco business and it nonetheless grows loads of tobacco. In truth, the individuals of Andorra are the number one people who smoke on earth!
It’s a duty-free haven although, so the variety of cigarettes offered, are in all probability to individuals not solely dwelling in Andorra however from throughout Europe who cross the border for reasonable items.
Andorra is not a part of the EU, so you’ll go throughout a border whenever you enter and exit. We had been stopped on our approach out of Andorra to ask if we had something to declare.
We did not purchase something as we spent our time mountain climbing within the hills.
Mountain climbing Andorra
Coma Pedrosa is the hike to do in Andorra
There are greater than 60 totally different mountain climbing routes via Andorra’s three totally different nature parks ranging in issue and elevation acquire.
It may be overwhelming to decide on and you may get a mountain climbing information from the tourism workplace for €6.
Because of the pleasant clerk at our lodge, we had a lot data on mountain climbing in Andorra that we didn’t even have to go to the vacationer data workplace.
The individuals of Andorra are very pleasant and useful.
He advised us that Coma Pedrosa in Arinsal was the toughest and one of the best trek in Andorra. So, naturally that’s the place we went.
Mountain climbing Andorra’s Coma Pedrosa
We adopted our GPS to the city of Arinsal some 10 km from Andorra Vella to the trailhead of Coma Pedrosa.
After a few stumbles of stopping on the incorrect car parking zone and solely going via one lined bridge as a substitute of two, we discovered our strategy to the trail.
It was a enjoyable hike up the mountain with very nice views.
There may be nothing that makes Dave and I really feel extra alive than climbing up one thing.
We made it to the highest of our route and loved our panoramic view.
If we had extra time, we’d have positively completed one of many hut-to-hut climbs in Andorra.
Mountain climbing Hut to Hut in Andorra
All through the hills of the Pyrenees, there are little huts which you could keep in should you determined to hike in Andorra.
Andorra is known for its six long-distance trails generally known as the Grandes Randonnees.
These huts are free to make use of for these taking up the difficult trek. They had been as soon as farmers storage for cattle, however immediately they’re open for hikers.
Our climb up “Coma Pedrosa” was loads of enjoyable, being a steep path crossing rivers and going via forests and free rocks.
We hiked up rapidly and made it to the home with loads of time to spare earlier than the solar went down.
The Free Huts of Andorra
We had been stunned to see that the doorways had been locked to the hut after we arrived.
We had learn which you could keep at these homes within the hills free of charge all yr lengthy.
They’ve beds and fireplaces and they’re specifically saved for trekkers mountain climbing via Andorra.
Maybe, it was as a result of we had been in-between seasons.
We’ve not discovered something about having to e book prematurely, you must e book them prematurely on the town to select up the keys.
The Finish of the Day
We had been on our approach down at sundown after we crossed paths with an area man strolling up speaking on his cellular phone smoking a cigarette.
This nation of Andorra is unusual. Does everybody exit at nightfall and resolve to climb a mountain in a gown shirt and sneakers with a cellular phone in hand?
The place was he going presently of evening?
We did not cease to ask. The solar was setting and we had been on our approach again to benefit from the metropolis.
Southern Europe’s Largest Spa Complicated
Andorra La Vella is busy and hectic, it is no surprise the group is so lively getting out to nature for snowboarding, downhill mountain biking and mountain climbing adopted by many zen experiences. One specifically at Southern Europe’s largest spa complicated.
The Caldea Spa is fed by thermal springs wealthy in minerals. The huge complicated has a futuristic design providing therapeutic massage remedies for as little as €20.
Thermal springs will be discovered throughout Andorra making it one of many largest spa getaways in Europe.
Even our Ibis Resort has a Turkish spa, scorching tub, swimming pool, and sauna. Not unhealthy in any respect!
Try TripAdvisor for extra Andorra Accommodations
It was pure heaven to go for a hike after which head to the spa on the finish of the day.
After just a few days in Andorra, we give it Two Thumbs Up.
It seems to be like a superb ski group so we should return to hit the slopes!
Nonetheless eager to know extra about Andorra?
Issues to do in Andorra
Go to the Spa
Andorra is a spa lover’s paradise and plenty of accommodations have spas within the resort. Different locations to go to the spa beside the Caldea Spa are The Sports activities and Wellness Mountain Spa, Inuu which is hooked up to the Caldea Spa, and a number of other lodge spas which you could enter with a payment.
Try TripAdvisor for luxurious accommodations with wellness spas.
The Andorra spas observe a circuit of hydrotherapy swimming pools and are modeled after a Turkish bathtub. It’s positively one thing you will need to do when in Andorra.
The therapeutic waters should work some magic, Andorra has one of many world’s longest life expectancy charges.
Hit the Slopes
We weren’t there throughout ski season, however it’s one in every of Europe’s premier ski locations. For those who love snowboarding or snowboarding, that is the place to go!
Andorra Ski resorts are thought of the sunniest in Europe creating a super environment for hitting the slopes.
There are two ski resorts in Andorra. Grandvalira and Vallnord can transfer 160,000 individuals per hour and between the 2 of them have a mixed complete of 350km of trails.
It is no surprise, it’s a scorching spot for snowboarding.
When the ski slopes shut, the biking trails open and Andorra has loads of mountain biking choices from newbie trails to knowledgeable downhill programs.
Mountain biking excursions can be booked in Andorra the place you may lease your gear, and have a information take you thru the backcountry.
If you’re on the lookout for one thing distinctive to do, take a look at one of many many bike outlets in Andorra La Vella.
Oysters and champagne an amazing combiniation
Andorra is a ski city, so there are many eating places and bars to get pleasure from an after-ski or mountain biking cocktail.
Try the bars on Avenue de Sant Antoni in La Massana or wherever downtown Andorra la Vella is an possibility.
But in addition like ski resorts all over the world, the slopes themselves have an amazing Apres Ski tradition. So select your lodging properly.
Discover Andorra’s Church buildings
As we mentioned above, Andorra is an outdated nation and there are many historic church buildings to go to. Isla Santa Coloma has a stunning mountain setting.
Sant Joan de Caselles is one other must-visit church if you would like a style of Andorra Cultural heritage.
And the CS Santa Coloma is a construction courting again to the 10th century. Being located within the valley of the Pyrenees, the stone church buildings make for very scenic views.
Andorra is an obligation free haven which means it’s stuffed in luxurious model shops. Centro Business and Pyrenees Andorra. However there may be loads of purchasing to be discovered throughout Andora La Vella.
The most effective issues to purchase in Andorra are electronics, digital camera gear, jewellery and luxurious luggage. Cigarettes and Alcohol can also be a cut price in Andorra.
Andorra has some attention-grabbing museums to go to on a wet day. Listed here are just a few notable ones to go to.
Tobacco Museum – Andorra’s most important export is tobacco and this museum exhibits how grown, dried and it’s made.World Champions Museum – Method One will get a kick out of this non-public assortment of racing memorabilia.Casa de La Valle – This constructing was the seat of parliament for greater than 300 years.Fragrance Museum: It is smart that Andorra has a fragrance museum because it sells a lot in duty-free.
Attending to Andorra
Andorra doesn’t have an airport, due to this fact you’ll have to fly into France or Spain to succeed in Andorra after which drive throughout the border.
We advocate renting a automobile and exploring Andorra that approach.
In any other case, you’ll have to take a bus.
Barcelona and Girona are good choices for Spain and in France, Carcassone handles price range worldwide flights and flights from Paris. One other good possibility is to fly into Toulouse-Blagnac worldwide airport.
However we advocate going to Andorra if you end up touring via Europe since it’s fairly tough to get to.
I’m not positive Andorra warrants a visit by itself, however in case you are highway tripping via Europe, remember to make a detour to see this tiny principality.
Additionally it is a preferred day journey from Barcelona, however in case you are on a time restrict, you may need to skip it as site visitors will be horrendous getting into Andorra.
Plan Your Andorra Journey
You do not want a Visa to enter Andorra in case you are a citizen of the EU, USA, UK, Canada and Australia.We drove to Andorra utilizing our Canadian driver’s license.Andorra makes use of the usual European voltage for electrical energy of 220V at 50 Hz. We recommend a world adapter.WiFi is accessible in accommodations in Andorra.We use KnowRoaming for roaming and knowledge. Simply $three.99 per day Limitless knowledge. PlanetD readers obtain an additional 50% off utilizing promo code DDSave50Getting Round Andorra – we advocate getting a automobile.Biking can also be common in Andorra, however it’s situated within the mountains so be ready for climbs and excessive altitudes.
We use Get Your Information for day tour and metropolis excursions. We recommend these excursions from Barcelona to Andorra
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Picture by Tomasz Hanarz from Pixabay Picture by jribes from PixabayImage by Alexander Lesnitsky from PixabayImage by Anne & Saturnino Miranda from Pixabay
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About Dave And Deb
Dave and Deb are the homeowners and founders of The Planet D. Since launching in 2008 they’ve continued to encourage “Journey in Everybody” and present that you do not have to be an uber athlete or super-rich in an effort to be an adventurer.