A Visitor’s Guide To Andorra
This small country is nestled in the mountains between France and Spain, and is a principality dating from the twelfth century that is famous for its beautiful scenery and wonderful leisure activities. The small population that live in the sixth smallest country in Europe are among the wealthiest on the continent, with a large part of the country’s income coming from the millions of visitors that come to Andorra every year. As well as being home to some superb hiking and skiing opportunities, the country also has a population of expats and businesses located there because of the relatively generous tax rules in the country.
With no airport of its own anyone visiting Andorra will do so by land either from France or Spain, and while visitors are advised to be cautious by the US State Department, it is widely considered to be one of the safest countries in the world to visit.
Top Sites To Visit In Andorra
Arcalis – Situated near the border with Spain, this stunning ski and snowboarding resort is one of the most famous in the country, with a strong British and Irish population during the ski season and a particularly vibrant night life.
Arinsal Pal – The second of Andorra’s top ski and snowboarding destinations, the superb slopes offer a range of ski routes from the beginner slopes through to some of the most challenging available, while in the summer the town opens the mountain slopes for mountain bikers.
The Church Of Sant Joan de Caselles – This historic chapel dates from the twelfth century and is famous for its impressive tower and sturdy stone construction, and is located in the town of Canillo at the heart of the Andorran territory.
Pic de Medecourbe – Situated on the border with France and Spain in the north western corner of the country, this mountain is one of the highest in Andorra and overlooks a beautiful lake on the French side of the mountain.
The Church Of Sant Esteve – Located in the country’s capital, Andorra la Vella, this historic church is considered among the most important historic buildings in the country, and is a key part of the scenic old district of the town.
Montmantell Lakes – One of the most popular trekking areas in the country, these four lakes offer spectacular scenery in the summer, while during the winter the slopes become a popular attraction for skiing and snowboarding fans.
Pic de Coma Pedrosa – This is the largest mountain in Andorra and is popular with climbers throughout the year, although an ascent when the snow covers the mountain is significantly more difficult and technical.
Casa de la Vall – Located in Andorra la Vella, this historic building is the meeting place of the General Council of Andorra, and is a beautiful combination of meeting place, defensible fortification and family home which was built in the late sixteenth century.
Sant Julia de Loria – Located in the south of the country this beautiful small town is home to a quirky tobacco museum and has two historic churches, with the Sanctuary of Canolic drawing visitors from across the country on a pilgrimage in May every year.
Soldeu – A sleepy village during the summer, this becomes a bustling ski resort during the winter months drawing thousands of visitors and offering great skiing slopes, along with being the venue where several slalom and giant slalom races are held
Where To Stay In Andorra
Andorra La Vella
Hotel Festa Brava – This simple and attractive hotel offers a great base from which to explore the country’s capital, and offers visitors comfortable and spacious rooms along with a bar and restaurant within the hotel itself.
Acta Arthotel – This stylish and modern hotel is a wonderful place to relax and unwind, offering visitors a location within easy reach of the city’s main sights, and boasting a lovely swimming pool area and luxurious rooms with large impressive bathrooms.
Pas De La Casa
Reial Pirineus Hotel – This wonderful hotel has a beautiful location within a prominent part of the town and within easy reach of the slopes, while also having its own bar area with dart board and pool table along with a sauna and steam room that is ideal after a day on the slopes.
Llac Negre Hotel – This convenient hotel offers visitors rooms with great views from the balconies, and accommodation that offers a good balance between cost and comfort, with a great location for making the most of the nearby slopes.
Marco Polo Hotel – This lovely hotel offer well priced accommodation whether you are staying in La Massana in the summer or winter, with spacious rooms, an outdoor swimming pool and a comfortable relaxation area with a games room and a rustic style restaurant.
Apartments Giberga – Offering spacious and comfortable accommodation, these apartments give visitors a great base from which to see the sights of the area, and offers an outdoor pool and easy access to the nearby ski slopes.
Eureka Hotel – Providing visitors with comfortable and affordable rooms in this popular destination, guests can enjoy the luxury bathrooms and excellent location, along with a charming bar area.
Hotel Fenix – The spacious and well decorated rooms in this hotel offer visitors refinement as well as a great location within the town, while visitors can also unwind in the indoor swimming pool and sauna.
One of the greatest challenges for Andorra is that so little of its territory is suitable for agriculture, and what this does mean is that it is very reliant on food that is imported from France and Spain, and also takes many of its culinary influences from these countries. Escudella is a Catalan dish that is one of the most common, and is a soup where vegetables are cooked in a broth with meatballs, and is sometimes served in one dish or as separate dishes, with the meat and vegetables removed from the soup. There is also a strong tradition of eating dessert in Andorra, and one of the most popular dishes is Crema Catalana, which is a custard dish flavored with citrus fruits and cinnamon
Currency And Visa
As a country with a strong tourist industry Andorra is certainly one nation that is open for business, and no visa is required for anyone from the United States who is planning to stay for under three months. One of the interesting features is that Andorra doesn’t have its own currency, and uses the Euro as its de facto currency, after the Spanish Peseta and the French Franc were abolished several years ago. Visitors from the United States will usually be able to exchange around 1.37 Dollars per Euro, and this has the additional benefit of not needing to be changed when visiting neighboring countries too.