Saturday, September 18, 2021

How To Travel To Andorra

EuropeAndorraHow To Travel To Andorra

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.)

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.

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.

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.

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.