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Looking out across the mountains over Andorra
Looking out across the mountains over Andorra | © Robert J Heath / Flickr
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10 Things to Know Before Visiting Andorra

Picture of Esme Fox
Updated: 26 March 2018
Andorra sits in the middle of the Pyrenees, a landlocked country tucked in between France and Spain. If you’re thinking of visiting, whether for winter sports or an alternative summer holiday destination, here are 10 things to know before visiting Andorra.

It has no airport

Andorra sits in the middle of the Pyrenees and its landscape is so mountainous that it has no airport. The nearest airports are Perpignan, Carcassonne and Toulouse in France, and Girona, Barcelona, Lleida and Reus in Spain.

It has no train station

Again because of its mountainous terrain, Andorra has no rail network either. If you’re travelling to Andorra by train, the nearest station is L’Hospitalet-près-l’Andorre in France, just 11 kilometres (seven miles) from the border. If coming from Spain, you can take a train to hubs such as Lleida Pirineus or Barcelona, and then take a bus to Andorra.

1164px-Andorra_la_Vella_-_footpath
View over the city of Andorra la Vella | © Tiia Monto / WikiCommons

It’s best to hire a car to explore it properly

Although there are some public buses around Andorra, it’s best to hire a car if you really want to explore the country properly, visit all the small charming villages and to be able to access remote hiking routes.

It’s one of Europe’s best ski destinations

Because it’s located in the Pyrenees, Andorra is one of the best places for skiing in Europe. The country has four main ski resorts: Soldeu el Tarter, Pas de la Casa-Grau Roig, Vallnord Pal-Arinsal and Vallnord Arcalis, with great facilities, ski schools, challenging runs and snowboard parks. Read our guide to Andorra’s ski resorts for more information.

Visit Andorra to ski at the Vallnord Ski Area
Visit Andorra to ski at the Vallnord Ski Area | © Arnaucc / Wikimedia Commons

It offers lots of activities in summer as well as in winter

Of course, the winter sports are what attract most people to Andorra, but there are plenty of things to do in summer, too. These include exploring its picturesque villages, visiting its museums and hiking through its mountainous landscapes.

It’s the only country in the world where Catalan is the only official language

Catalan is spoken in Catalonia, the northwest region of Spain, as well as in parts of southern France, but Andorra is the only country where this is the only official language.

It’s small country

Andorra covers an area of just 469 square kilometres (181 square miles), which makes it the 17th smallest country in the world. This means that if you’re going on holiday here, it’s quite possible to see the whole country during your visit.

It’s a great wellness destination

Not only is Andorra an ideal skiing and hiking destination, but it makes for a perfect wellness holiday, too. The capital of Andorra la Vella is home to Europe’s largest spa complex, Caldea, filled with pools of varying temperatures, a kids’ spa area, hot tubs, steam rooms and massage booths.

Caldea spa complex, Andorra | Pixabay
Caldea spa complex, Andorra | © jribes / Pixabay

It offers great duty-free shopping

Yes, one of the great things about Andorra is that items in the shops are duty free. It’s the ideal spot for getting your hands on everything from luxury perfumes to designer brands, and is home to lots of shopping complexes, particularly in and around Andorra la Vella.

It’s a great destination for history buffs

History buffs will love Andorra. It may not be obvious, but Andorra is filled with unusual museums and beautiful romanesque churches.