Off the Beaten Track in Andorra

Located high in the mountain range between the French and Spanish border, Andorra takes full advantage of the beauty of the Pyrenees. The Principality of Andorra is the smallest state in Europe, covering just 468 km, relies heavily on tourism, so visitors will find they're made really welcome. Known to Europeans for its skiing, dramatic scenery and as a tax haven it's a unique destination that's well worth a visit.

Inside Andorra

Photo of Sant Esteve church
Sant Esteve in the old part of Andorra la Vella

Andorra La Vella is the perfectly picturesque capital city of the Principality of Andorra. This fabulous city is divided into an old and a new town. The older part is a maze of cobbled streets and medieval architecture, whilst the modern town centre is as up-to-date as any major European city. These Catalan people still embrace some traditions such as wood gathering. With a remarkable quarter of this country given over to forestry land, the local people may well be free to gather as much firewood as they like, but it's actually illegal to buy or sell any!

Andorran flag Capital: Andorra la Vella
Languages: Catalan (official language), Spanish, French
Time: GMT +1 hr
Currency: euro (EUR)

Andorra isn't known for its heady nightlife, with much more traditional bars and cafes on the menu for a late night tipple. However, once you've sampled your locally produced brandy and you're ready for a night on the tiles, the Angel Blau nightclub can be found in the very centre of the city, and is the most popular (and nearly the only) club around.

Shopping is something that Andorra does well, and with its tax free status you'll find many bargains here at relatively cheap prices. It's best for alcohol and tobacco, and even horses if that's of interest, but for those who prefer a more normal shopping experience, this is a great place to get outdoor and ski clothing, local crafts and handmade jewellery. There aren't many modern shopping malls, though, so be prepared to walk between the smaller shops and boutiques.

Sightseeing in Andorra

Andorra is a great place for tourists to visit, particularly for those who favour great outdoor activities and nature (9% of Andorra is a UNESCO World Heritage site). It's also rich in culture and history (smallest Romanesque architectural site on European continent).

These are a few of the best destinations for visitors to this city:

  • Caldea - One of the world's most exotic natural spa's high in the Andorran hills
  • The Castle of Sant Vicenç d'Enclar - a mediaeval castle, necropolis and battlements
  • Casa d'Areny-Plandolit Museum - a museum dedicated to early Andorran life
  • Santa Coloma Church - a Romanesque church with stunning features
  • Coll Arenys - visit this stunning mountain range on foot or by helicopter

Local Weather

Andorra lies in the mountains so its weather can sometimes be unpredictable. Having said that, its seasons are often distinct, with warm summers and cold, snowy winters that makes the country perfect for skiing.

Travel Tips for Andorra

  • Be prepared for hairpin bends if driving to and in Andorra
  • Allow lots of time as the roads can be very busy as day-trippers come for the duty-free shopping