Whereas taking a street 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 listing, seemed like an incredible plan. So we set our GPS to Andorra La Vella and discovered a number of information about this small principality located within the Pyrenees between France and Spain.
Quick Andorra Information
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 procuring.
Is Andorra Secure?
Andorra is without doubt one of the most secure nations on the planet to go to.
It’s superb to listen to what number of seasoned vacationers did not know that Andorra is a rustic. Really, it’s superb to learn how many individuals have by no means heard of Andorra. Yours actually included (earlier than we visited in fact).
Andorra Inhabitants: Andorra has a inhabitants of solely 76,965 folks, it has fallen since we visited. After we had been in Andorra, it had 81,000 folks.
Language of Andorra: The principle language of Andorra is Catalan. It is sensible 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 planet the place Catalan is the official language? I do know that Catalonia has been making an attempt 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Andorra is outdated: It’s stunning that not many individuals know of Andorra because it has been round for hundreds of years.
Actually, Andorra is the 14th oldest nation on the planet courting again to 803 AD. Making Andorra 1216 years outdated!
Andorra is tiny: Andorra is just 468 Sq. km in whole (180 sq. miles) however it’s a very affluent nation.
Andorra is Well-liked – eight – 10 million folks go to Andorra annually making the most of winter sports activities.
With 303 km of ski slopes reaching 2640 meters (8661 ft) 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 neglect 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 folks 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 here is a enjoyable reality, it’s the highest capital metropolis in Europe. Its elevation is 1023 meters.
It’s identified for its duty-free procuring and tobacco making it a really busy hub with almost 300 resorts and 400 eating places.
We extremely advocate getting out of Andorra la Vella. Lots of people go to Andorra! And it reveals. Site visitors is a multitude and the streets are crowded.
Andorra’s Tobacco Historical past
Andorra as soon as dominated the tobacco business and it nonetheless grows plenty of tobacco. Actually, the folks of Andorra are the #1 people who smoke on earth!
It’s a duty-free haven although, so the variety of cigarettes offered, are in all probability to folks not solely dwelling in Andorra however from throughout Europe who cross the border for affordable items.
Andorra is not a part of the EU, so you’ll go throughout a border if 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.
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 problem and elevation achieve.
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 resort, we had a lot data on mountain climbing in Andorra that we didn’t even have to go to the vacationer data workplace.
The folks of Andorra are very pleasant and useful.
He instructed us that Coma Pedrosa in Arinsal was the toughest and the most effective trek in Andorra. So, naturally that’s the place we went.
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 flawed car parking zone and solely going via one coated bridge as an alternative 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 executed one of many hut-to-hut climbs in Andorra.
Climbing Hut to Hut in Andorra
All through the hills of the Pyrenees, there are little huts that you would be able to keep in should you determined to hike in Andorra.
Andorra is legendary for its six long-distance trails generally known as the Grandes Randonnees.
These huts are free to make use of for these taking over the difficult trek. They had been as soon as farmers storage for cattle, however at the moment they’re open for hikers.
Our climb up “Coma Pedrosa” was plenty of enjoyable, being a steep path crossing rivers and going via forests and unfastened 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 once we arrived.
We had learn that you would be able to keep at these homes within the hills without cost all 12 months lengthy.
They’ve beds and fireplaces and they’re specifically stored for trekkers mountain climbing via Andorra.
Maybe, it was as a result of we had been in-between seasons.
We have not discovered something about having to guide upfront, it’s essential guide them upfront on the town to select up the keys.
The Finish of the Day
We had been on our approach down at sundown once we crossed paths with an area man strolling up speaking on his cellphone smoking a cigarette.
This nation of Andorra is unusual. Does everybody exit at nightfall and determine to climb a mountain in a costume shirt and footwear with a cellphone 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 Advanced
Andorra La Vella is busy and hectic, it is no surprise the group is so energetic getting out to nature for snowboarding, downhill mountain biking and mountain climbing adopted by many zen experiences. One particularly at Southern Europe’s largest spa advanced.
The Caldea Spa is fed by thermal springs wealthy in minerals. The huge advanced has a futuristic design providing therapeutic massage remedies for as little as €20.
Thermal springs could 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 Motels
It was pure heaven to go for a hike after which head to the spa on the finish of the day.
After a number of days in Andorra, we give it Two Thumbs Up.
It appears to be like like a wonderful ski group so we should return to hit the slopes!
Nonetheless desirous to know extra about Andorra?
Issues to do in Andorra
Go to the Spa
Andorra is a spa lover’s paradise and lots of resorts 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 connected to the Caldea Spa, and a number of other resort spas that you would be able to enter with a charge.
Try TripAdvisor for luxurious resorts with wellness spas.
The Andorra spas comply with a circuit of hydrotherapy swimming pools and are modeled after a Turkish bathtub. It’s positively one thing you 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. If you happen to 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 folks per hour and between the 2 of them have a mixed whole 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 plenty of mountain biking choices from newbie trails to skilled downhill programs.
Mountain biking excursions may also be booked in Andorra the place you’ll be able to hire your gear, and have a information take you thru the backcountry.
If you’re in search of one thing distinctive to do, take a look at one of many many bike outlets in Andorra La Vella.
Oysters and champagne an incredible 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 anyplace downtown Andorra la Vella is an choice.
But additionally like ski resorts all over the world, the slopes themselves have an incredible Apres Ski tradition. So select your lodging correctly.
Discover Andorra’s Church buildings
As we stated 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’d 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 crammed in luxurious model retailers. Centro Business and Pyrenees Andorra. However there’s loads of procuring to be discovered throughout Andora La Vella.
The very best issues to purchase in Andorra are electronics, digicam gear, jewellery and luxurious baggage. Cigarettes and Alcohol can be a cut price in Andorra.
Andorra has some fascinating museums to go to on a wet day. Listed here are a number of notable ones to go to.
Tobacco Museum – Andorra’s principal export is tobacco and this museum reveals how grown, dried and it’s made.World Champions Museum – Formulation 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 sensible 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 automotive 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 choice is to fly into Toulouse-Blagnac worldwide airport.
However we advocate going to Andorra when you’re touring via Europe since it’s fairly tough to get to.
I’m not positive Andorra warrants a visit by itself, however if you’re street tripping via Europe, remember to make a detour to see this tiny principality.
It’s also a well-liked day journey from Barcelona, however if you’re on a time restrict, you would possibly need to skip it as site visitors could be horrendous getting into Andorra.
Plan Your Andorra Journey
You do not want a Visa to enter Andorra if you’re 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 advise a world adapter.WiFi is offered in resorts in Andorra.We use KnowRoaming for roaming and information. Simply $three.99 per day Limitless information. PlanetD readers obtain an additional 50% off utilizing promo code DDSave50Getting Round Andorra – we advocate getting a automotive.Biking can be in style 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 advise 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 so as to be an adventurer.