Andorra is a small, mountainous country in the heart of the Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain, in Western Europe. If you live in a country that is a member of the EU be more careful with using your phone because the roaming here is pretty expensive, because Andora is not part of the European Union. The country is well covered with Internet.
From 1278 to 1994, Andorrans lived under a unique co-principality ruled by the French chief of state and the Spanish bishop of Urgel. In 1993, this feudal system was modified with the titular heads of state retained, but the government transformed into a parliamentary democracy. The biggest prosperity of Andorra was achieved after it became independent. Its location deep in the mountain wasn’t working well for them until they realized that tourism is the only thing that will work its magic.
How to get there
There are no airports in Andorra,but you can lend on any of the near airports like Perpignan (France) 128km to the east, but there are no coach connection, though you can take a Yellow train to La tour de Carol and further to l’Hospitalet. Lleida (Spain) 157km to the south.
Also, Andorra has no trail, but the nearest is Toulouse–Blagnac (France) 196km to the north. Or you can take a train to Barcelona (Spain) 202km to the south. There are no train lines or stations in Andorra, and none close to the Spanish border. The nearest rail stations are in L’Hospitalet (France), 3 km (1.8 mi) from the Andorran border and Puigcerdà (Spain), 80 km (50 mi) from Andorra.
If you choose to go to Andorra with a helicopter you will land on Andorra la Vella, La Massana, or Arinsal airports. This way of transportation is very expensive and there is only place for 4 passengers.
Roads in Andorra are in pretty good quality. Entering on the main road from the Spanish side is a relatively straightforward drive. If you drive from France to Andorra be careful because there are a lot of hairpin bends. Once you enter Andorra, you generally do not need to even stop, but you must slow down and be prepared to stop if requested. When leaving Andorra, you must stop and be prepared for delays during busy times.
If you are going to take a bus to this small country you can do it from France (Novatel from Toulouse at the bus station (Matabiau) as well as from the Toulouse–Blagnac airport) or from Spain, (from Barcelona, Madrid, Malaga, Lleida and Valencia).
What to see
Andorra has a lot of ski resorts which makes this country popular among tourists. But, this isn’t the only thing Andorra has to offer. Here you will find magnificent churches and shrines. The famous statue of Our Lady of Meritxell was destroyed in a 1972 fire, but a nice replica is still on display. In the country’s capital, Andorra la Vella, you’ll find the Romanesque Esglesia de Sant Esteve, located in the old part of town and therefore a perfect stop during a city walk. Just 2 kilometres out of town, the church of Santa Coloma d’Andorra is even older, as it dates back to the 9th century.
Most of these resorts were once small mountain villages. The good thing is that if you get a ski pass it will be valid in all of the resorts. The biggest and most popular resorts are Vallnord and Grandvalira.
Vallnord covers Arcalis and the Arinsal-Pal ski area but it is quite far from Arinsal-Pal. In the recent years the two got connected by cable cars. The Arisnal-Pal ski area is directly accessible from La Massana right from the middle of the town.
Where to stay
Andorra has good accommodation such as Hotel Himalaia Soldeu, Hotel Montane, Hotel Santa Bàrbara de la Vall d’Ordino or you can stay in Flats In Andorra (Av. Sant Antoni 26). Sleeping in a tent can be risky because of the wild animals. But if you still want to be in touch with nature stay at the Himalaia Hotel in Soldeu which has its own team of hiking guides who go every day with their guests to walk and discover a lot of interesting hiking routes around the country.
Best season to visit
This depends on why are you going there. If you want to hike and see one of the smallest countries in the world during warm months, then visit it between April and October. The warmest months are between July and September, but this is also the time when the country’s villages are at their liveliest. This season is the most crowded, so prepare for lots of tourists. Also, make all the necessary bookings you have to do to avoid stressful situations.
If you’re going skiing in Andorra, then Andorra is ideal between December and March. You will have enough snow and the slopes are at their best. Some of the ski resorts remain open even after the snowfall has stopped, and use man-made snow on the slopes. Get your info well before heading for skiing in the spring.