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Why You Should Visit Andorra: One of the Smallest Countries in the World

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Have you ever heard of Andorra? Well, it's one of the smallest countries in the world, but has plenty of reasons to visit! After three days here we fell in love with all of the awesome things to do in Andorra.


From Monday to Thursday we spent in this tiny dot on the map, and found it to definitely be worth a visit. Here we're going to share everything there is to know for visiting Andorra, and how to best plan for a trip there.


Where is Andorra?

Andorra is a tiny country that is tucked away in the Pyrenees Mountains in Western Europe. At just 486 square kilometers, this small region is right between Spain and France, equally bordered by both countries. Oddly enough though, even though Andorra is plopped right in the middle of the EU, it actually is a separate state.

where is Andorra

Andorra is tucked away between Spain and France.


How to Get to Andorra

There are no airports in the country of Andorra. The only way to enter is by land, entering from one of the several roads going from Spain and France.


Renting a Car

Being that there is no airport in Andorra, renting a car is the easiest way to get to Andorra. Here are the different entry points in order to visit Andorra by car.


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Entry Points from Spain to Andorra

The most popular entry point from Spain is from highway N-145 which is the southern entry point into the country. This is the road that leads from many areas in Catalunya, as there are many visitors that come from Barcelona.


Other main points of entry include CG-6, and La Carratera de Tor,  which enter into the North Western side of Andorra, Additionally, there are a few smaller roads that go into the country from the west, such as the "Westernmost point of Andorra". However, if you are traveling in winter, these may be closed do to ice.

Montserrat, Spain

If you are traveling to Andorra from Barcelona you can stop at Montserrat on the way.


Entry Points from France into Andorra

The main way to enter into Andorra from France is from the highway N-22, which forks and goes into two different entry points on the East of Andorra. The rest of the border of France and Andorra is actually shared by a series of mountains, making the way of entering really only by trekking.


Taking a Bus to Andorra

There is no train that goes to Andorra, so the only way to get there by public transit is by taking a bus. You can get a tour by doing a day trip from Barcelona, or you can get a direct bus from Barcelona or Toulouse Airports.


Want to take a bus to Andorra? You can prebook your tickets here:
Barcelona to Andorra Bus

Toulouse to Andorra Bus


Taking a Tour to Andorra

If you want to simply visit for the day, you can also find private cars or a guided tour from Barcelona to Andorra.

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Entry Requirements for Andorra

While Andorra is in fact its own country, entry is pretty simple. It's almost as if you are going from one country in the EU to another. even though Andorra is not part of the EU. While this may sound confusing, here is everything you will need to expect for traveling to Andorra.


Visa Requirements for Andorra

If you have already entered Spain or France, then you don't really need to worry about additional requirements to enter Andorra

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things to do in andorra
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If you are struggling with your time limit in the EU (as you can only spend 90 days in a 180 day period) then traveling to Andorra can help! Being that Andorra is not part of the EU, you can actually get a stamp of exit from France or Spain. They will not give you an entry stamp to Andorra, but the exit stamp will buy you more days inside the EU if  you are not from Europe.


If you do want a stamp from Andorra though, you can go in the office and request a "tourist stamp" which doesn't actually have any value other than looking pretty in your passport.


Covid Entry Requirements for Andorra

When it comes to Covid requirements, there isn't anyone actually checking for a test or vaccination card for crossing the border. However, the majority of hotels and restaurants will require you to have a "green pass" which means that you are vaccinated, or have proof that you have recovered from Covid within the past 90 days.

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Local Adjustments

Now you have made it to Andorra! Here are a few things to know for visiting so that you can adjust better to being in a new country.


Language

The official language of Andorra is Catalan, which sounds like a strange mix of French and Spanish. That being said, Spanish and French are both widely spoken throughout the country, and you will find that many people living in Andorra are actually from France or Spain.


We suggest learning a little of either French or Spanish. However, due to having many tourists, you will find that many people also have a decent level of English.


Currency

Despite not being part of the EU, the official currency of Andorra is actually the euro. One thing to keep in mind is that the country is a tax paradise, meaning that there are no taxes! This is really something that lures visitors in, as there are great deals on tobacco, liquor, and electronics.


There are certain limits to how many things you can buy duty free, but we will get into that a bit later into the article. Or, you can click here to skip to that part.


Almost everywhere in Andorra accepts credit cards, so you really won't have to take much cash out at all, maybe just a bit for tipping.


Outlets

The outlets in Andorra are the same as other European countries. They use plug types C & F. C has two round pins, and F has two round pins with two earth pins on the side. Andorra operates on a supply voltage of 230V and 50Hz.


Water Potability

The water in Andorra is totally safe to drink. It is very uncommon for servers to offer you tap water in the restaurants, but if you ask, you may just be able to get some.


Tipping Culture

Tipping is totally optional in Andorra. If you are particularly satisfied with the service though, we do suggest leaving 5-10% cash for the person who took care of you.

If you are from the US the electronics are not that cheap. They are really just cheaper than other European countries. Cigarettes and alcohol though are super cheap!



Things to Do in Andorra

Now is the fun part! What exactly is there to do in Andorra? Well it really depends on which season you are visiting. The main activities that attract visitors are the ski resorts in the winter, and the hiking in the summer months. Here are all of the things to do while visiting Andorra.


1. Go Shopping

As we mentioned, the shopping is a big highlight in Andorra. While shopping isn't really a huge interest for us, this is definitely one of the main reasons that visitors from Spain and France cross the border.


Liquor and tobacco come at some great prices, for pretty much anyone coming from Western Europe, Northern Europe, Australia, New Zealand, or the US and Canada. Electronics come at lower prices than the rest of Europe, but aren't particularly cheap for Americans.


Gas is also cheaper in Andorra than in Spain or France, so if you are driving, make sure you fill up before you leave the country. When we visited in February 2022, the price was about 1.2o euros per liter, while in Spain it was around 1.60 euros.

shopping- best things to do in Andorra

One of the top things to do in Andorra is taking advantage of the duty free prices. The main street to go shopping is located in the capital.

Limits for Duty Free Purchases

It is important to note, that as with any other tax paradises, there is a limit. Each person can exit Andorra with 1 1/2 cartons of cigarettes, 150 cigars, 5L of wine, and 1.5L of liquor above 22 percent.

Make sure to double check about what you can bring upon entry, as it could always change. 

Want to do some special tours while your'e in Andorra la Vella? Here are a few cool ones that we found:

2. Go Hiking/Trekking 

Andorra is surrounded by mountains, and has some great hiking trails. This is a popular activity for when it gets warmer out, as there could be a lot of snow in the winter. We suggest looking up trails before you go, as some trails can be overnight hikes where you will need to camp.

Llac d'Engolasters, things to do in Andorra

There is tons of nature to explore in this country, and hiking is one of the best things to do in Andorra.

3. Go Skiing or Snowboarding

The winter is a special time in Andorra, and when many visitors flock to this tiny mountain filled country. Andorra is lined with different ski resorts, especially on its outskirts. The more days you go, the better rate you get. If you'd like to purchase your own gear, there are plenty of stores almost anywhere you go.


The most popular ski resort is called Gran Valira. We were on a pretty tight budget, so didn't get the chance to go. However, we do suggest checking out the various resorts for an awesome weekend skiing or snowboarding.


Another cool thing is that there are entire towns dedicated to ski resorts, and you will find ski lifts in the center of them!

best things to do in Andorra: skiing

Skiing is one of the best things to do in Andorra.

Want to do a one day ski or snowboarding trip from Barcelona? Check out the tour we found below!


4. Explore the Small Towns

Even the capital of Andorra (Andorra la Vella) is extremely small. Go and explore the tiny towns, and you will feel as if you have just teleported back in time. The stone buildings and cobble stone streets built into the mountains make for the most picturesque villages. 


Some of our favorites that we visited included Aubinya, Santa Coloma, La Massana, Ordino, Pal, and Arinsal. Most you can visit for lunch and walk around, or simply stop to take a few photos and keep driving. We believe some of the towns are worth staying, and some for a quick stop. We'll share which of those are worth a stay a bit further in the article.

Aubinya, things to do in Andorra

Andorra is full of picturesque villages like this one called Aubinya.

5. Relax at a Spa

After a long day skiing, or after an intense hike, there is nothing better than relaxing at a spa. Many of the resorts in Andorra have their own spas because of this, so it can be a great idea to look for a hotel that includes a spa. 


However, if your hotel doesn't have a spa, there is an epic one in Andorra la Vella that is worth checking out. Caldea Spa is the biggest spa in Andorra, and it offers several different packages such as visits for the morning, afternoon, or evening. The spa includes several areas with different experiences, tubs, and pools inside and out.

Things to do in Andorra- Caldea Spa

Caldea Spa is one of the most beautiful spas in Europe.

Reservations are needed for Caldea Spa, so make sure to book online in advance. There is parking on site for an extra charge, and you can also add on features such as a robe, massage, or face masks. Prices start at 25 euros, and it is open from 10 am to 10 pm on weekdays, and extended hours on the weekends.


Caldea Spa, things to do in Andorra
Caldea Spa, things to do in Andorra
Caldea Spa, things to do in Andorra

Caldea is the biggest spa in the country, and is one of the best things to do in Andorra.

6. Check Out the Great Viewpoints

As Andorra is surrounded by mountains, it's no wonder there are so many great views in the country. The lowest point of the country starts down in the capital, and many of the roads start to escalate up the mountains reaching small villages and ski resorts.


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One of the best viewpoints in the country is Mirador del Roc del Quer, which features a large bronze statue of a man and a platform that juts out enjoy more than 180 degree views. Some other viewpoints we loved included Mirador Roc de La Sabina, Mirador Ordino 'O, and Vista d'Andorra La Vella.

Roc del Quer, views in Andorra

Roc del Quer has one of the best views of Andorra.

7. Visit one of the Many Churches

Like almost any other European destination, there is no shortage of churches in Andorra. Most of them are tiny and made of stone, making them look like they are out of a fairytale.


Some of the most popular to check out are Sant Coloma, Església de Sant Serni de Nagol, Basílica Santuari de Nostra Senyora de Meritxell, Església de Sant Climent de Pal, and Sant Miquel Engolasters.


Church in Santa Coloma, Andorra
Sant Miquel d'Engolasters Church Andorra

Top; Santa Coloma | Bottom: Sant Miquel d'Engolasters 


8. Eat at a Borda

One of the best parts of visiting Andorra is enjoying the delicious food that the country has to offer. "Bordas" are the typical restaurants that were once areas of livestock, but now are known for their special meat dishes. Eating at a Borda should definitely be on your list while visiting Andorra.

La Borda de l'Avi Andorra
La Borda de I'Avi, things to do in Andorra

La Borda de I'Avi  is one of  the best restaurants in Andorra.


Moving Around Andorra

When it comes to moving around Andorra, the absolute best way is to rent a car. This is because it is much less time to drive there than to take a bus, and you can really see much more by having a car. There is some public transportation, but buses are not so well connected through the country.


However, if your plan is to just stay in Andorra la Vella or to go to a ski resort, then a car really won't be necessary. The capital is very walkable, and the ski resorts have everything very accessible and most have cable cars from the nearest town up to the resort.

Aubinya, places to visit in Andorra
Llac d'Engolasters, places to visit in Andorra
Pal, places to visit in Andorra

Renting a car allows you to see a variety of things around Andorra.


Where to Stay in Andorra

Most people use Andorra La Vella as their home base. It is the capital, and is home to shopping, a historical center, and the country's biggest spa. We think that if you are spending just a few days, this is a great home base.


If you are planning on skiing, we would suggest staying in the towns of the ski resorts, or even some of the ski resorts themselves! For example, Gran Valira has a really awesome Glamping experience if you want to splurge a bit.


We also found that the town of Arinsal was a cool place to stay, as they have a lift up to the ski resorts, and plenty of bars, restaurants, and hotels in the small picturesque village.

Andorra La Vella

Andorra la Vella is the capital, and one of the best places to stay in Andorra.


Is Andorra Safe?

It's very important to know about safety when visiting a country. We're happy to say that after visiting Andorra, we're confident in the safety there. We felt very safe at all times, and police seemed to be present in many areas controlling things. Andorra is a peaceful country, and great for families to visit.

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Other Things to Know About Visiting Andorra

Here are a few other things to keep in mind while visiting Andorra.


The Best Time to Visit Andorra

Many people wonder the best time to visit Andorra, and while we usually like to travel in spring or fall, Andorra really shines in winter. 


We personally think that December to February are great months to experience the magical snowy state of the country. The summer is also a great time to visit if you want to enjoy pleasant temperatures and great hikes through the mountains.

best time to visit Andorra

The winter is great for skiing, while the summer is great for trekking in Andorra.

Weather in Andorra & Packing

Being located in the mountains, Andorra is much colder than the surrounding areas in Spain and France. Make sure to layer up, and bring some waterproof clothes and shoes to enjoy the snow if you go in winter. Despite the season, we also suggest a bathing suit so that you can enjoy one of the spas.


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Andorra is a beautiful country. Despite its size, it really has a lot to offer for all different types of travelers. We stayed 3 days, and felt that it was perfect for being able to see some of the highlights, or to have a nice ski getaway. In order to explore more and do some cool hikes, we would suggest spending a full week.


Planning on coming from Barcelona? Well we have a full article for great things to explore all throughout the stunning beach city. Want to see more cities in Europe? We have plenty of guides from cool cities in Spain, Italy, Cyprus, Greece, and more!


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