Andorra


Overview

Andorra travel guide

In summer, clamber up canyons around the town of Canillo, go ice-skating at Palau de Gel, potter around pretty mountain villages, cast a line in the river, wallow in thermal waters or hike along Andorra's many well-marked trails.

For skiers, Andorra offers the best in the Pyrennes. Starting from 2,600m, there are vertical drops of up to 1000m and runs of several kilometres over open slopes and groomed pistes. Beginners and experts are both well catered for and lift costs are low compared with the Alps.

Wanderlust recommends

  1. Have some ‘me, me, me!' time – Soak in the thermal waters of Caldea Escaldes,  Engordany, one of Europe’s largest spa complexes
  2. Discover the joys of a free lunch – The annual Esculdella on January 20th (Land of the Last Free Lunch)
  3. Take to the slopes – The snowfields of Grandvalira boast 192km of runs and a combined lift system
  4. Climb Andorra’s highest peak – The Pic de Coma Pedrosaå, perfect summer climb

Wanderlust tips

Before you start flashing the cash in Andorra's shops, check prices online and at home to be sure you're getting a bargain. Discounts aren't as good as they once were.

Andorra is the only country in the world to have Catalan as its official language and locals will love you if you try out the local lingo rather than relying on your school learnt French or Spanish.

Further Reading

Travel in Andorra: vital stats

 

  • Capital of Andorra: Andorra La Vella
  • Population of Andorra: 84,000
  • Languages in Andorra: Catalan, Spanish & French  
  • Time in Andorra: GMT +1
  • International dialling code in Andorra: +376
  • Voltage in Andorra: 220 AC 50 Hz
  • Visas for Andorra: Visas for Andorra
  • Money in Andorra: Euro. Major credit cards and travellers’ cheques are widely accepted. It’s customary to add a tip of around 5 to 10% for taxis and in restaurants, cafe and bars.
  • Andorra travel advice: Foreign & Commonwealth Office
  • Andorra tourist board: Andorra

When to go to Andorra

Andorra is a 12-month destination with skiing in winter and great hiking the rest of the year. It has a typical mountain climate; warm in summer with temperatures dropping in the evening. Winter days are usually sunny but cool. April and November are changeable.

International airports

There are no international airports in Andorra. Nearest airports are Barcelona (BCN) - 225km, Toulouse (TLS) - 180km, Girona (GRO) - 195km or Lleida (ILD) - 94km.

The roads from Barcelona are usually the clearest in winter months: From France, the Puymorens tunnel at L'Hospitalet avoids the climb over the Envalira pass. Plans are afoot for an airport just outside Andorra La Vella but so far a completion date hasn't been set.

Getting around in Andorra

There are no trains in Andorra. Daily buses run from L’Hospitalet station in France and from Latour de Carol on the French/Spanish border.

Regular buses connect Barcelona, Girona, Toulouse, Zaragoza and Madrid with Andorra.

Once inside the country, Andorra's small size means it's easy to get around. A good bus network connects the main towns and if you decide to drive, petrol is a lot cheaper than in the rest of Europe.

Note that the regular stream of bargain-hunters from Spain and France make for frequent traffic jams in Andorra la Vella, especially at weekends. To avoid them, park in the open-air car park north of the bus station to avoid you and the car getting overheated.

Andorra accommodation

Cheap options are tricky to find and low on charm. To add insult to injury, prices get even steeper during July and August and between December and March.

Camping is a solution as there are plenty of well-located sites, while walkers can stay for free at one of Andorra's many mountain refuges (refugis). Ask at tourist offices for an accommodation list (Guia d’Allotjaments Turístics) and a free map of the refuges (Mapa de Refugi I Grans Recorreguts).

Andorra food & drink

Food is mainly Catalan fare with a heavy emphasis on meat and cheese. Carn a la brasa (beef, lamb or pork grilled over an open fire) and truita (fresh river trout) are firm favourites.

Typical Andorran dishes are trinxat, a cabbage, potato and bacon cake and escudella, a chicken, sausage and meatball stew. Vegetarians should stock up on the pa amb tomàquet (bread with olive oil, garlic and tomato) as veggie dishes are hard to find in Andorra.

Health & safety in Andorra

Travel insurance is essential, as the European Health Insurance Scheme does not cover Andorra. If you have an accident, you'll need to pay the medical fees and apply for reimbursement from your insurance company. Spanish, French and Portuguese nationals are covered under a reciprocal agreement.