Situated in the heart of the Pyrenees and bordered by Spain and France, the Principality of Andorra is one of the smallest countries in Europe with a surface area of 468 km2 from which only 8% is urbanised and cultivated. The official language is Catalan, however other languages like English, Spanish and French are also spoken due to the diversity of nationalities among the tourists visiting the country each year. The official currency is Euro but payment cards are widely accepted.
Interesting facts about Andorra:
• Andorra is a co-principality
• Andorra is one of the highest countries in Europe
• Andorra does not require visa for any nationality
• Andorra does not have an army, it relies on France and Spain
• There is no airport or train station in Andorra
• Commerce and tourism represent 60% of the economy
How to get to Andorra:
As we mentioned above, there is no airport or train in Andorra which leaves only one option: by road, either through Spain or France. We took the bus from Sants train station after we spent 3 days in Barcelona and a few hours later we were in Andorra, surrounded by mountains, lakes and fresh air.
To get around inside the country, you can either drive your own car without the need of an international driving licence, take the bus or hire a taxi. We wouldn’t recommend the latter option for long distances as it can get very expensive.
Accommodation in Andorra la Vella:
Finding a place in Andorra will be easier than you think if you are not going during high season. We booked Exe Prisma on Booking and we were not disappointed, we had a queen size bed, a sofa and a bathroom in the main room plus another room with two single beds and another bathroom. They also serve an amazing breakfast for less than 7 euros where you can chose from a diverse buffet, mainly prepared from a mix of Spanish and French food. If you are visiting during ski season, we recommend you book in advance as the hotels tend to get full.
Things to do in Andorra:
If you were wondering what to do in Andorra, rest assured that this little country has plenty of activities to offer all year round for everyone to enjoy it. We would love to return during summer to spend more time hiking and discovering the wonderful places hidden across the country but also during winter to enjoy a few days of skiing on the slopes during the day and relaxing at the thermal centre during the night.
Andorra has more than 54 marked hiking trails and if you are interested to know more about it, the guide “Trails of Andorra” is available to buy from any tourist office for only 5 euros. We bought one copy and we picked the trail through Maiana Pass which is one of the most spectacular routes in the Madriu-Perafita-Claror valley. Along the route there are a few refuges in good shape if you want to spend the night over. The hike was not easy, it was supposed to last 5h20, however we did it in 7h30, mainly because we stopped for pictures along the way as the views were gorgeous and well worth the pain.
Chris went the next day for another half-day hike, this time to Erts. The weather was considerably worse than the previous day, being cloudy and rainy. He took some shots from the trail and from the top, before returning by bus to Andorra la Vella.
One place you cannot miss is Caldea, the largest thermal centre in Southern Europe which offers a wide range of activities to enjoy in just one place. The main attraction at Caldea is the indoor lagoon where the spring water remains around 32-34°C but what’s more interesting is that this is connected with the outdoor part via a flowy river. Other places where your stress can drift away are Icelandic bath, Indo Roman bath, hammam, saunas, jacuzzi, aqua massage, sirocco bath and many others.
Relaxing on the bubble bed while we enjoyed the mountain views was our favourite spot here at the thermal centre. Sitting outside in the Jacuzzi at night while we watched the moon light hiding behind the mountains and experience the contrasts of temperature was also amazing.
One ticket will give you a 3 hours admission. If you have enough time, we recommend you to go both during the day and night as we did because these are two different experiences that you don’t want to miss. In case you do decide to return at Caldea, don’t forget to ask for a return voucher at the ticket desk so you can save some money on your return.
Stroll around the streets
As you might know, for us strolling around the streets remains the best way to discover a new place and Andorra la Vella was no different. The town itself is not big, you can walk around for a few hours while you enjoy the fresh mountain air and the breath-taking landscapes all around you. One of the attractions in Andorra not to miss is the Salvador Dali sculpture from the main square, the “Nobility of time” which was donated to the Andorran government.
If you like shopping, you are in the right place because Andorra is known as the shopping paradise where all the prices are lower due to the lowest VAT rate in Europe. There are plenty of boutiques, stores and shopping centres to chose from regardless of what you are looking for, be it clothes, shoes, watches, jewellery, food or alcohol.
Eat and Drink in Andorra la Vella
Andorra’s gastronomy is mainly composed from Spanish and French cuisine but they do have their own local dishes. We picked for dinner L’enoteca using TripAdvisor where we had beaf entrecote with peppers and secreto iberico steak with mashed potato accompanied with a red sangria, the best I ever had so far.
We couldn’t skip dessert so we tried crema de catalan which is a kind of custard served with a hard caramelised sugar topping and cranberry cheese cake.
- Wear proper shoes for hiking and don’t forget the sunblock, regardless of the season.
- When you pass by a sheep herd on the mountain, be aware as there might be dogs around as well.
- If you don’t have a GoPro, buy a waterproof case for your phone so you can take pictures at Caldea.
- Caldea ticket can be extended by 2 hours if you eat at one of their restaurants.
- If you want to return to Caldea in 30 days, ask for a return voucher.
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So small, yet full of surprises. I love the hiking route you chose, looks spectacular.
Thank you, Unta. Andorra was full of surprises and its trails were one of them.
54 Marked Trails? Who Knew. I am always looking for close to home locations for trekking . Cool to see that Andorra has plenty of it to offer. Side note, your dinner looks amazing!
Yes, 54 marked trails and we had no idea until we bought the guide. Our dinner was delicious!
We are not so far from Andorra, we are in Spain right now! Maybe if we have the time we could visit some of the places you have suggested, thanks 🙂
P.S. We love the clock monument!
It’s so easy to get to Andorra from Spain, hope you guys can make it. The monument has become one of the main attractions in Andorra la Vella.
Really interesting post. I don’t know very much about Andorra so it’s been great to read about some of the possibilities there. I’d love to visit the Caldea and the food sounds delicious. This is somewhere new to add to the bucketlist!
Nancy, glad you enjoyed reading our post. We didn’t knew much about Andorra before going so it was a nice surprise for us. Caldea is perfect if you are looking for a place to relax.
Next time we go to Spain, Andorra will definitely be part of our itinerary, so thank you for reminding me of this. The hikes and waterfalls look so lovely. This is something that is appealing. to me. I find Dali fascinating…are there more of his works displayed in the city?
Punita, you should definitely go to Andorra if you have time. Hiking is definitely the main thing to do here and the views from the top are gorgeous. The nobility of time was the only one I’ve seen in Andorra la Vella.
The place looks amazing. I would definitely like to visit Andorra one day. I can simply imagine how it would feel to be in a bubble bed and have a view of the mountains! How many days are required for Andorra Trip?
Hope you will visit Andorra one day, you will love it. How many days depends mainly on what you like to do, for us 3 days were enough to hike, relax and wander around the city. We will return for sure for more hiking, hopefully this time for one week.
This is 2nd time I am reading blog post about Andorra and ones again I was surprise there is little country hiding between France and Spain! Its amazing that you can take train or fly there, it makes it more magical! The view looks amazing, I am so jealous I would love to jump in to that jacuzzi now!
Yes, Andorra is tucked between France and Spain and not so many people know about it. The views were amazing, both from the top of the mountain and from the jacuzzi.
Great article and beautiful photos. The waterfalls look stunning!
Thank you, Helena. There were plenty of waterfalls along this trail and all of them were beautiful.
I was not aware of this tiny country, Andorra, but it is indeed a revelation. I am intrigued by the fact that it does not have an airport or railway station, probably this has helped it to retain its pristine nature. Hiking and relaxing seems really attractive in this country. The fact that it does not ask for a visa for any nationality is really great and something other countries need to follow too.
Wow I never even knew this place existed but the photos are fantastic and the post was super informative and well written. That town looks so idyllic like something out of a fairytale! Now I have to add it to the list of places to visit!
I liked the post… I have thought to go sightseeing again in the regions of Andorra this month! One of the things I like most about this region are the rich places for sightseeing and entertainment and besides these buildings and houses reminds me of many movies… really is a wonderful place to visit in the summer season. I’ve met some regions of this country, and actually cooking has left me with water in my mouth. The city has restaurants with very tasty menus and also has great places for family outing. Thank you for sharing your experience with us about this country.
Glad you enjoyed our post, we are hoping to return to Andorra soon for more hiking and tasty food.