Andorra Tourism And Travel Guide
7° C / 44.6° F
May to January
5 to 6 Days
Barcelona (198 kms)
Gare d'Andorre-L'Hospitalet (94 kms)
Andorra is a small principality with two ruling princes, located between France and Spain in the south of Europe. This country is really just a blip on the world map, but is one of the most beautiful blips to have ever existed in the world. With its lovely tall mountains, towns built in valleys and villages perched on mountain slopes, Andorra is a tourism delight to visit. Additionally, its tax-free shopping give visitors an added incentive. You can go hiking here, camp, trek, ride horses, go skiing in winters and enjoy the beauty of mountain life (European style). So what are you waiting for? Follow this travel guide right into the heart of Andorra.
How to Reach
Andorra lacks an airport but is still easily reached if you fly to France’s Toulouse Airport or Spain’s Barcelona Airport. There onwards you can have a car hired to take you to Andorra, or board a coach that is frequent.
Andorra does have helipads and heliports in Escaldes-Endogordany, La Massana and Andorra’s Arinsal, where you can land from any of the neighbouring European cities. For those who are not up for a winding climb of the mountains of Andorra by road, the helicopter is a feasible option.
France is connected to Andorra by a highway, while a well-worn road goes from Spain to Andorra. Car journeys are shorter, while buses and coaches take a little longer as they make stops.
Andorra is really so small that it will fit five times inside the city of London. However, to go around Andorra, you may require to hire a car or take the Cooperative Interurbana Andorrana S. A Local Bus service. In cities and towns it is best to walk around as the view of the mountains is just too good to miss.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
Andorra is basically a summer as well as a winter destination, albeit, with different set of activities. So the best time to visit really depends on what you are after - summer hikes or winter skiing?
Spring (April to May):
Spring is late in arrival to Andorra, it comes by April and is warmed to summer by June. The average high temperature at this time is 15°C and it is a good time to enjoy the ‘Mediterranean’ spring up in the mountains, with quiet and solitude before the summer crowd starts swarming.
Summer (June to September):
Andorran summers are not too hot due to the altitude, but nice and warm, with the highest temperatures touching 25°C. This is a busy time and people come for hiking, mountain biking, sightseeing and shopping.
Autumn (October to November):
Autumn is a rainy time here, and snowing starts by November, when the temperature drops to the range of 5-10°C. Skiing becomes coveted by November and the resorts start renting out equipment and clearing routes for enthusiasts. This is a good time to go camping before the proper winter sets in.
Winter (December to March):
Winter in Andorra equals to skiing. The ski resorts are open and rolling in full swing now and December also marks the Christmas and New Year crowd. Other than spring, winter is only good for shopping and minor city traipsing as all other activities are suspended.
Things to Do
Skiing and snowboarding:
Andorra is the most famous among South European countries for its winter sports, namely skiing, sledding, snowboarding etc. Ski resorts in Soldeu, Vallnord and Grandvalira are some of the best in the region and you can also enjoy gondola rides, cable cars along with playing in the snow.
Thermal Springs and Spas:
Andorra is a great natural retreat, especially prescribed to those recuperating from heart or other illnesses. It is also a great place for thermal baths and natural springs suffused with sulphur and nitrogen that have medicinal properties. Head to the spa town of Caldea and also try the biggest thermal spa of La Vella.
Explore the Romanesque churches:
Andorra is not only naturally endowed but also architecturally beautiful. What with the lovely cathedrals and Romanesque churches with stunning alter pieces, frescoes and artwork. Explore the Church of Sant Esteve, Church of Sant Joan de Caselles and Church of Santa Coloma.
Visit Andorra for its quirky weird set of museums - The Postal Museum, the Electricity Museum, the Perfume Museum, the Comic Museum. And, there is also a Tobacco Museum!
Hikes are an out and out summer delight in Andorra, with bright sunny days and warm weather that is not too hot and sticky for long walks or climbs. Go for the natural parks here, like the Valls del Comapedrosa, Valle de Sorteny or Madriu-Perafita-Claror. These hikes are combined with night-time camps in tents or mountain huts, bonfires and other fun outdoor activities.
What to Eat
Andorran food is not a very renowned kind of cuisine but a hearty mix of French, Spanish and Catalan foods. The country also has some of its own specialities including mountain game like rabbit and wild boar, goat and sheep milk cheeses and freshwater trout from the mountain rivers. You must try the snails here, along with Pa Amb Tomaquet (bread with tomato paste) and trinxat, which is a potato rosti. Escudella is Andorra’s national dish, a warm meat and vegetable stew eaten in winters and on Christmas day.
Where to Shop
Andorra has a tax-haven status, which means that you can shop duty free here from anywhere, not only the airports. Some of the most coveted duty free products people love include perfumes, alcohol, cigarettes, cigars, electronics, sports equipment and even luxury brands. You can shop from the capital city Andorra la Vella’s streets - brands like Guess, Benentton, Zara, Lacoste etc. Head to Sant Moritz’s supermarket for duty free alcohol, cigarettes and cheeses and chocolates. Casa Danesa and Casa Bella are great for little souvenirs, while Pyrénées Andorra and FNAC sell branded electronics.
Also, you will find two major sales in Andorra in a year - at the end of April and at the beginning of November when the country hosts a shopping festival.