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Andorra travel guide - Travel S helper


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Andorra, commonly known as the Principality of the Valleys of Andorra, is a sovereign landlocked microstate in Southwestern Europe, situated in the eastern Pyrenees mountains and surrounded by Spain and France. The current principality was established in 1278 as a result of a charter granted in 988. It is referred to as a principality since it is a monarchy led by two Co-Princes: the Roman Catholic Bishop of Urgell in Spain and the President of France.

Andorra is Europe’s sixth-smallest country, with an area of 468 km2 (181 sq mi) and a population of about 85,000 people. Its capital, Andorra la Vella, is Europe’s highest capital, standing at 1,023 metres (3,356 feet) above sea level. Catalan is the official language, although Spanish, Portuguese, and French are all widely spoken.

Andorra’s tourist industry serves an estimated 10.2 million visitors each year. Despite the fact that it is not a member of the European Union, the euro is the official currency. Since 1993, it has been a member of the United Nations. According to The Lancet, the inhabitants of Andorra had the greatest life expectancy in the world in 2013, at 81 years.

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Andorra - Info Card




Euro (€)[e] (EUR)

Time zone

UTC+01 (CET)


467.63 km2 (180.55 sq mi)

Calling code


Official language


Andorra | Introduction

Geography Of Andorra

Andorra is mostly made up of steep mountains due to its position in the eastern Pyrenees mountain range, with the highest peak being the Coma Pedrosa at 2,942 metres (9,652 ft). The average elevation of Andorra is 1,996 metres (6,549 ft). These are divided by three small Y-shaped valleys that merge into one when the major stream, the Gran Valirariver, exits the nation for Spain (at the lowest point of Andorra, 840 m or 2,756 ft). Andorra has a total land area of 468 km2 (181 sq mi).

Andorra is part of the Atlantic European province of the Circumboreal Region within the Boreal Kingdom. According to the WWF, Andorra’s land is part of the Pyrenees conifer and mixed woods ecoregion.

Climate In Andorra

Andorra features both an alpine and a continental climate. Because of its greater elevation, it receives more snow in the winter, has lower humidity, and is somewhat cooler in the summer.

Demographics Of Andorra


Andorra’s population is projected to be 85,458 people (2014). From 5,000 people in 1900, the population has more than doubled.

Two-thirds of inhabitants do not have Andorran nationality and are thus unable to vote in communal elections. Furthermore, they are not permitted to be elected president or to hold more than 33% of a privately owned company’s capital stock.


Andorra’s population is mostly Roman Catholic (88.2 percent). Our Lady of Meritxell is their patron saint. Though it is not an official state religion, the constitution recognizes a unique connection with the Catholic Church and grants it certain specific rights. The Anglican Church, the Unification Church, the New Apostolic Church, and Jehovah’s Witnesses are among the other Christian groups. North African immigrants make up the majority of the tiny Muslim community. Andorra has a tiny Hindu and Bahá’s population, as well as around 100 Jews.

Language In Andorra

Catalan is the official language of Andorra, although nearly everyone knows Spanish as well. French and Portuguese are also commonly spoken in the country. You may be able to locate some individuals who speak English, mostly those in the tourist sector, but you may wish to learn a few words in Catalan, Spanish, or French before you travel.

Internet & Communications in Andorra


Andorra is a well-connected nation that has embraced the Internet. The Internet has almost as many subscribers as landline phones. Free public wifi is accessible in many large cities, and many eateries provide it as well.

Postal services

Andorra is reliant on the postal networks of Spain and France. Both have their headquarters in Andorra La Vella.

The French post office (Correus francesos) in Carrer de Bonaventura Armengol is generally open M-F 08:30-14:30, Sa 09:00-11:59 Tel: +376 820 408.

The Spanish post office (Correus espanyols) is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Tel: +376 820 257.

Economy Of Andorra

Tourism, the backbone of Andorra’s small but prosperous economy, contributes for approximately 80% of GDP. An estimated 10.2 million visitors visit Andorra each year, drawn by the country’s duty-free status as well as its summer and winter resorts. Andorra’s comparative advantage has lately diminished as the economies of neighboring France and Spain have opened up, allowing for more product availability and reduced tariffs.

Tourism from ski resorts, which total approximately 175 km (109 mi) of ski terrain, is one of the major sources of revenue in Andorra. Currently, the sport attracts over 7 million people and generates an estimated 340 million euros each year, supporting 2000 direct and 10000 indirect employment.

With its tax haven status, the banking industry also contributes significantly to the economy (the financial and insurance sector accounts for approximately 19 percent of GDP). Five banking groups, one specialized credit organization, eight investment undertaking management entities, three asset management firms, and 29 insurance companies, 14 of which are subsidiaries of international insurance companies authorized to operate in the principality, make up the financial system.

Agricultural output is limited—only 2% of the land is arable—and the majority of food must be imported. Tobacco is cultivated locally in certain areas. Domestic sheep rearing is the most important livestock activity. The majority of manufacturing production is comprised of cigarettes, cigars, and furniture. Natural resources of Andorra include hydroelectric electricity, mineral water, wood, iron ore, and lead.

Andorra is not a member of the European Union, but it has a unique relationship with it that allows it to be regarded as an EU member for trade in manufactured goods (no tariffs) and as a non-EU member for agricultural products. Andorra lacked its own currency and relied on both the French franc and the Spanish peseta in financial operations until 31 December 1999, when both currencies were replaced by the euro, the EU’s single currency. Until December 31, 2002, coins and notes in both the franc and the peseta were legal currency in Andorra. Beginning in 2014, Andorra negotiated the issuance of its own euro coins.

Andorra has always maintained one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world. It was 2.9 percent in 2009.

Andorra has traditionally benefitted from its position as a tax haven, with all income generated solely via import duties. However, during the European sovereign-debt crisis of the twenty-first century, its tourist industry experienced a downturn, which was exacerbated by a decrease in Spanish goods prices, which undercut Andorran duty-free shopping. This resulted in an increase in unemployment. A 10% corporate tax was implemented on January 1, 2012, followed by a 2% sales tax a year later, which generated slightly over 14 million euros in its first quarter. On May 31, 2013, it was reported that Andorra planned to legislate for the implementation of an income tax by the end of June, against the backdrop of growing discontent among EU members with the presence of tax havens. The declaration came after a meeting in Paris between Antoni Marti, the Head of Government, and François Hollande, the French President and Prince of Andorra. Hollande praised the decision as part of Andorra’s efforts to “bring its taxes in line with international norms.”

Entry Requirements For Andorra

Visa & Passport For Andorra

Because of Andorra’s rugged terrain, there is only one route that connects it to France, and only one that connects it to Spain. Almost all immigration into the nation occurs at one of these two locations.

Visitors from outside the EU should be aware that Andorra is not a Schengen member, and that entering Andorra from France or Spain would (theoretically) end a single-entry visa. However, in reality, immigration does not enforce this. Non-EU people holding a residence permit in an EU member nation do not need a second visa to enter.

How To Travel To Andorra

Get In - By plane

Andorra does not have any airports. La Seu d’Urgell Airport (IATA: LEU) is located 12 kilometers (7 miles) to the south. The airport, which is controlled by the Catalan government, serves as the primary hub for Air Andorra and Andorra Airlines. Scheduled and charter flights have been operating to different airports in Spain and France since 2015.

The following are the closest major airports:

Perpignan (France) is 128 kilometers (80 miles) to the east; there are no bus links, but a Yellow train may take you to La Tour de Carol and then to l’Hospitalet.

Toulouse–Blagnac (France) is 196 kilometers (122 miles) to the north. With Sea-Lifts, you can pre-book a bus or a cab from Toulouse Airport to any resort in Andorra.

Barcelona (Spain) is 202 kilometers (126 miles) to the south.

(It takes 3 hours to drive from the airports to Andorra.)

Get In - By helicopter

The flight from Toulouse or Barcelona to Andorra la Vella, La Massana, or Arinsal heliports takes less than an hour and costs €2500 for up to 5 people.

Get In - By train

While Andorra has no railway lines or stations, stations along the border are readily accessible from Barcelona, Perpignan, and Toulouse. There’s even a direct sleeper train to Paris.

  • L’Hospitalet-près-l’Andorre (France) – The nearest railway station to the border is L’Hospitalet-près-l’Andorre (France) (3 km, 1.8 mi). There are six trains each day to Toulouse-Matabiau (2.5 hours, €23.40). There are frequent buses to Andorra.
  • Latour-de-Carol-Enveitg (Catalan: La Tor de Querol-Enveig) is about 20 kilometers from L’Hospitalet. It is located in France, although it is close to the Spanish border. It is the endpoint of three rail lines: the suburban R3 line from Barcelona-Sants (4 daily, 3 hours, €11.20); the line from Toulouse (6 daily, 3 hours, €26.10), which goes through L’Hospitalet (30 minutes); and a narrow-gauge line from Perpignan (2 M-F, 3 weekends, 4–5 hours, €27.20). (change at Villefranche Vernet les Bains). Buses also run between Latour-de-Carol and L’Hospitalet.

Both stations are served by the sleeper train from Paris. If you can locate inexpensive tickets, a 2nd class bed may cost between €30 and €50; otherwise, it will cost between €70 and €100.

The French railway company, SNCF, operates one bus per day (TER Midi-Pyrénée, dep 09.35, 26 min, €3.20, SNCF discounts apply) from the train station of L’Hospitalet-près-l’Andorre (also known as Andorre-L’Hospitalet-SNCF or simply L’Hospitalet) to the first town after the Andorran border, the ostensibly shopping paradise of Pas de la Casa,

For €8, the Hispano-Andorrana bus company operates services twice a day from the L’Hospitalet railway station straight to Andorra-la-Vella, stopping at a few other places.

Getting to Andorra by rail and then bus from France costs about the same as taking the direct bus. It is very affordable for holders of SNCF discount cards such as Carte 12-25 or those traveling by sleeper train from Paris. Anyone under the age of 26 who travels with SNCF during off-peak hours is entitled to a 25% discount (dubbed “Découvert 12-25”).

The train-bus combination from Barcelona is much less expensive than the direct bus; nevertheless, it needs two changes: one at Latour de Carol and one in L’Hospitalet.

Caution: L’Hospitalet railway station is in a lonely location, is often unattended, and its rooms have limited open hours in the winter, so it’s critical to match connections carefully. If you need help, please contact the Toulouse railway station at +33 8 91 67 76 77.

Get In - By car

Andorra’s roads are usually of excellent condition. Coming from the Spanish side is a reasonably simple drive; however, entering from the French side is a more stressful affair with many hairpin turns. Both sides’ border control personnel are usually good. When entering Andorra, you are not required to stop, but you must slow down and be prepared to stop if asked. When leaving Andorra, you must make a stop and be prepared for delays during peak periods.

Also, keep an eye out for black ice and snow drifts, since temperatures in Andorra may drop considerably lower than at sea level. Make sure your vehicle is in excellent working order.

The access from the French side is via the 2.9 km-long Tunel d’Envalira, which demands payment with a credit or debit card. The quantities are as follows: throughout the winter (remainder of year)

  • Cars €5.60 (€4.80)
  • Others €16.70 (€10.70)

In the winter, the route across to France may be blocked owing to severe snowfall and avalanche danger.

Automobile rental The typical vehicle rental businesses operate from places such as ‘downtown’; the desks are often quiet and unattended, so it may be a good idea to reserve in advance on-line; your prices should still be reasonable.

From November to April, winter tyres and/or snow chains must be kept in the vehicle. Cars without winter tyres or snow chains are not permitted to drive on snowy roads. This is often enforced by police checkpoints on ski resort access routes and mountain passes such as the CS-311 and the road above Pas de la Casa.

Drivers who are found to be at fault in fatal accidents are always punished and, in most cases, imprisoned.

Taxi Taxi Josep offers a Mercedes Benz vehicle and speaks several languages (Telephone: 376 323111); Taxi Domènec Segura provides a van but does not spoken English or French (Telephone: +34 636 490 685). If you need a van, Taxi Josep may organize a trip with Taxi Domènec Segura. The payment must be made in cash.

Taxi Barras +376 323743 offers local transportation.

Get In - By bus

Andorra is served by many coach lines, the majority of which originate in Spain, mostly in Barcelona, but also in Girona, Madrid, Malaga, Lleida, and Valencia.

From France

Toulouse is the primary gateway to Andorra.

Novatel provides service from Toulouse’s Matabiau bus station and Toulouse–Blagnac airport (both 3 hours, €35). The airport stop is near to where the fire engine is located.

Other bus services go via the French border towns of L’Hospitalet (3 kilometers from Andorra) and La Tour de Carol (Spanish: La Tor de Querol, near the Spanish border, 20 km from Andorra).

From Spain

The journey from Barcelona takes 3–4 hours.

Andorra is also linked by Novatel to Barcelona’s airport (€32) and Girona’s bus station and airport (both approximately 3h30, €32).

Eurolines operates a service from Barcelona airport (outside Terminal B) to Andorra via Barcelona Sants railway station. Arrive early since the driver does not wait and may depart early. The ticket is purchased in Sants, not at the airport. You will be required to provide your passport.

Autocars Nadal also goes between Andorra and Barcelona, as well as to and from the airport.

Alsina Graells operates eight daily departures from Barcelona (€23 one-way and €40 round fare).

ALSA provides daily service between Barcelona and Andorra.

How To Travel Around Andorra

If you just have a few days in Andorra, the local bus service run by Cooperativa Interurbana Andorrana, S.A. allows you to see most of the major settlements.

There are eight major bus routes, or ‘lnies,’ which all travel through Andorra La Vella. The price ranges from €1.20 to €3 depending on the distance traveled. Drivers bring about change. The service is extremely regular in the municipalities closest to Andorra La Vella, and may be as often as every 10 minutes throughout the day. There are only 2 or 3 buses each day that go to distant rural areas like Canolic.

  • L1 Sant Julia de Loria – Escaldes-Engordany
  • L2 Andorra la Vella – Encamp
  • L3 Andorra la Vella – Encamp – Canillo
  • L4 Andorra la Vella – Encamp – Canillo – Soldeu
  • L5 Andorra la Vella – Encamp – Encamp – Canillo – El Pas de la Casa
  • L6 Andorra la Vella – La Massana – Arinsal
  • L7 Andorra la Vella – La Massana – Ordino
  • L8 Andorra la Vella – La Massana – Ordino – El Serrat

Destinations in Andorra

Cities in Andorra

  • Andorra la Vella is the country’s capital.
  • Santa Coloma is located south of Andorra La Vella, near the Spanish border.
  • Sant Julia de Loria is located south of Santa Coloma, near the Spanish border.
  • Escaldes-Engordany is a municipality in Catalonia, Spain. This is a parish in Andorra La Vella’s eastern suburbs.
  • Encamp is a parish to the northeast of Andorra La Vella, on the route to France, between Engordany and Canillo.
  • La Massana is a tiny village and parish located about 5 miles north of Andorra La Vella. It provides direct access to the Arinsal – Pal ski region.
  • Ordino – The parish’s northernmost and least populous parish, although it is almost the biggest.
  • Canillo is the northeasternmost parish on the major route, with a border with France.
  • Arinsal is a small hamlet in the northwestern part of Spain.

Things To See in Andorra

Despite seeming uncontrolled growth, the country’s primary attraction is its beautiful alpine scenery, which provide breathtaking views in all seasons. Summers are cool at higher elevations, allowing for ideal trekking through the beautiful green valleys. On much higher terrain, challenging day-long treks may be undertaken that will take you through really spectacular landscapes. Don’t miss Andorra’s sole UNESCO World Heritage site, the Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley. This unspoiled region, only accessible by foot, is an important animal sanctuary and comprises of woodland and farmland, interspersed with the occasional shepherd’s house. In the winter, snow blankets vast areas of the nation, transforming the Alpine character into an equally stunning backdrop for a variety of winter activities.

But there’s more to this small nation than meets the eye. There are many charming ancient towns with centuries-old homes and medieval Romanesque cathedrals and shrines along cobblestoned lanes. Ordino, Santa Coloma d’Andorra (home to the country’s oldest structure, a 9th-century church), and Sant Julia de Loria are also good locations to get a taste of culture. The shrine of the country’s patroness, Our Lady of Meritxell, is located between the villages of Canillo and Encamp. The original statue was destroyed in a fire in 1972, but the superb copy serves well as a substitute. Les Escaldes is a great location to see traditional dancing.

Andorra la Vella, the country’s capital, may seem to be a congested and crowded area at first glance – and it is. However, if you dig a bit further, you’ll discover the 11th century Església de Sant Esteve, a Romanesque church dedicated to St. Stephen. Other highlights of your city excursions include a lovely plaza and the ancient parliament building.

Things To Do in Andorra

Ski Resorts

The majority of these resorts were originally tiny mountain towns that grew in recent years as a result of skiing. In recent years, the resorts have merged such that your ski ticket now includes access to neighboring regions. As a consequence, two major alpine skiing regions have emerged: Vallnord and Grandvalira. Vallnord encompasses Arcalis as well as the Arinsal-Pal ski resort. Arcalis lies relatively far from Arinsal-Pal, however the two have recently been linked by a cable car linking the two ski resorts. The Arisnal-Pal ski area is immediately accessible from La Massana, right in the center of town. Trails totaling 93 kilometers (58 miles). Grandvalira is responsible for Soldeu and Pas de la Casa. Encamp and Canillo both have access to the Soldeu ski area. This has ingeniously opened up various regions to deal with the impact of tourists without placing all of the pressure on Soldeu. It contains 193 kilometers of ski slopes ranging in elevation from 1710 to 2640 meters. Grandvalira’s surface area is about 1.926 H, and it is divided into six distinct areas:

  • Pas de la Casa is a ski resort near the French border.
  • Soldeu is a ski resort.
  • Arcalis—ski area situated at the valley’s head from El Serrat.
  • Arinsal is a ski resort in the Arinsal Pal ski area. Vallnord, which translates as “Valley North” in English, is another name for Vallnord.
  • Pal is a ski resort that is part of the Arinsal Pal ski region.
  • Arinsal-Pal — Actually, two ski regions are linked by a cable car.

La Rabassa is a Nordic (cross-country) skiing area in southern Andorra, above the town of Sant Julia de Loria.

Hiking and trekking

Make sure you pack something other than sandals and a handbag for your smartphone.

Andorra is an excellent trekking destination. The village of Arinsal, at the foot of the Coma Pedrosa (2,942 m/9,652 ft) and the Pic de Médécourbe (2,914 m/9,560 ft), serves as the starting point.

  • Treks from Arinsal (1,500 m) – Pic de Sanfons (2,888 m/9,475 ft, 4h45, climb 1,310 m/4,298 ft, medium till hut, tough on crest). View of the Coma Pedrosa, the Tor valley, the Baiau lakes, and the Pallars mountains in Spain. On the route, there’s a mountain cabin and a lake. Parking is available at Torrent Ribal (15,580 m/5,184 ft).
  • Pic de Médécourbe 2,914 m (4h30, climb 1,335 m/4,380 ft, medium until the hut increasing to difficult on the ridge). A timeless masterpiece! Halfway up the mountain, there is a mountain lodge, lakes, and a magnificent view over the Arinsal, Boet, and Vicdessos valleys (France). Parking is available at Torrent Ribal (15,580 m/5,184 ft). The mountain serves as the western tripoint international border between Andorra, France, and Spain.
  • Pic de Coma Pedrosa 2,942 m (4h30, climb 1,370 m, medium until the lake, difficult on the ridge). The highest peak in Andorra. Halfway up the mountain, there is a cabin and lakes. Beautiful views over the surrounding peaks, the Arinsal valley, and the Maladeta and Ecantats massifs to the west. Parking is available at Torrent Ribal 1580m.
  • Montmantell lakes and the Pic del Pla de l’Estany 2,859 m (4h20, climb 1’280m, medium). Half-way up the mountain, lakes, and a breathtaking view of the Ariège mountains in France and Andorra. Parking is available at Torrent Ribal (1580 m).
  • Arinsal – Percanela – les Fonts – Pla de l’Estany – Arinsal circuit 2’055m (4h30, climb 670m, medium) 2 mountain huts. A really nice circuit that may be completed in either direction. Beautiful views of Coma Pedrosa from the impressive natural amphitheatre at Les Fonts. On the route, there are a few bordas (farm homes), some restored and others in ruins. Parking is available at Arinsal (1,466 m).
  • Camí del coll de les Cases 1,950 m (1h40, climb 490 m, medium) Panorama of the Ordino mountains and La Massana. Ideal for a picnic and meditation. The GR11 may be followed all the way to Arans (parking at Mas de Ribafeta 1466m), but transportation back to Arinsal is required.


In Andorra La Vella, there lies the well-known Caldea, a spa/swimming pool complex. This is very popular. It is situated towards the summit of Andorra-la-Vella and is difficult to overlook due to its enormous glass spire construction, which is quite an attraction on the skyline alone.

Money & Shopping in Andorra

Andorra’s currency is the euro. It is one of many European nations that utilize the Euro. All euro banknotes and coins are legal tender across the EU.

One euro is made up of 100 cents.

The euro’s official sign is €, and its ISO code is EUR. The cent does not have an official symbol.

  • Banknotes: Euro banknotes are designed the same way in all nations.
  • Normal coins: Every eurozone country issues coins with a unique national design on one side and a standard common design on the other. Coins, regardless of design, may be used in any eurozone nation (e.g. a one-euro coin from Finland can be used in Portugal).
  • Commemorative two euro coins: These vary from regular two-euro coins solely on their “national” side and are freely circulated as legal currency. Each nation may make a specific number as part of their regular coin manufacturing, and “European-wide” two euro coins are sometimes minted to mark exceptional occasions (e.g. the anniversary of important treaties).
  • Other commemorative coins: Commemorative coins of larger denominations (e.g., ten euros or more) are considerably uncommon, feature completely unique designs, and often contain significant quantities of gold, silver, or platinum. While they are legally legal currency at face value, their material or collector value is typically considerably greater, and as a result, they are unlikely to be in real circulation.

Because of the country’s reputation as a “tax haven,” Andorra La Vella is an excellent place to purchase all sorts of inexpensive products.

Culture Of Andorra

Catalan is the official and historic language. As a result, the culture is Catalan, with its own distinctiveness.

Folk dances such as the contrapàs and marratxa may still be seen in Andorra, particularly in Sant Julià de Lria. Andorran folk music is comparable to that of its neighbors, but it has a distinct Catalan flavor, particularly in the presence of dances such as the sardana. Contrapàs in Andorra la Vella and Saint Anne’s dance in Escaldes-Engordany are two more Andorran traditional dances. Our Lady of Meritxell Day, celebrated on September 8, is Andorra’s national holiday. Malvina Reynolds, an American folk singer, composed the song “Andorra” after being fascinated by their $4.90 defense budget. On his 1962 CD The Bitter and the Sweet, Pete Seeger contributed lyrics and performed “Andorra.”

Stay Safe & Healthy in Andorra

In Andorra, there isn’t much danger from other people, but be careful on the mountains. Don’t go too high until you know what you’re doing.

Drivers are advised to avoid crossing back into France if the Spanish side of the Pyrenees has had lovely bright sunlight all day and the road temperatures drop significantly in the evening – there is a risk of black ice from ice melt. The weather in the French Pyrenees differs greatly from that in Andorra and the Spanish Pyrenees. If necessary, stay overnight since chilly morning temperatures are more visible and less dangerous than abrupt nighttime ice.

The Meritxell (pronounced merichai) Hospital (+376 871 000) is Andorra’s major hospital.



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