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Tiny Andorra may be one of the smallest countries in the world, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find plenty to do here. From skiing and discovering unusual museum to spas and shopping, here are some of the best things to see and do in Andorra.
The main reason people visit Andorra is because of its excellent winter sports resorts. Being located slap bang in the middle of the Pyrenees means it enjoys excellent snow conditions from the beginning of winter until late spring. Some of the best ski areas in the country include Soldeu, Vallnord and Grandvalira.
And after you’ve spent time on the slopes, it’s time to relax those muscles – luckily Andorra is home to many spas, including the largest mountain spa in Europe. Many of the top ski resorts and hotels are home to spas, but the best can be found in Caldea. Housed in a futuristic mirror-covered building, it has everything from jacuzzis and and hydromassage jets to saunas and relaxation pools.
Shopping is a favourite pastime for visitors to Andorra – particularly because it enjoys a tax-free status. It’s filled with shops packed with luxury and designer brands, as well as shops selling perfumes, tobacco and alcohol. Some of the best places to shop are the Centro Comercial Pyrenees and the streets of Andorra la Vella.
Andorra is home to three natural parks, which cover a large part of the country. The three parks are the Valle de Sorteny, the Valls del Comapedrosa and Madriu-Perafita-Claror. Madriu-Perafita-Claror is the biggest, covering around 40,000 hectares – that’s 10% of Andorra – it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wildlife you can spot in the parks here include wild boar, roe deer, golden eagles and bearded vultures.
Andorra is dotted with many stone Romanesque churches, filled with stunning pieces of artwork and intricate altarpieces. Some of the most picturesque churches to visit while you’re here are the Church of Santa Coloma, the Church of Sant Esteve and the Church of Sant Joan de Caselles.
Despite its size, Andorra is home to quite a few museums, many of them pretty quirky. Some of the most unusual are the Perfume Museum, the Tobacco Museum, the Miniature Museum and the Postal Museum. There is even an Electricity Museum and a Comic Museum.
Andorra has a fascinating history, evident from its many historic buildings and churches. There are a few places where you can learn about the history here. The first is the Casa d’Areny-Plandolit, the only kind of stately home in Andorra. It once belonged to the family of Don Guillem d’Areny-Plandolit – an important figure in the history of the country. The second is the Casa de la Vall, the seat of the Andorran parliament from 1702 until 2011. The third is the Casa de Cristo, the country’s ethnographic museum, which shows how a local family of labourers used to live during the 19th century.
Andorran cuisine is not especially well known throughout the world, so one of the best things you can do while you’re here is sample it. Like in France and nearby Catalonia, snails are popular here. Mountain game like wild boar and hare are commonly found in dishes too. Two of the most typical dishes are escudella – a hearty stew made with meat and pasta shells, and trinxat – similar to bubble and squeak, made with cabbage, potatoes, leeks and chunks of pork. While seafood is obviously not eaten much here as there is no coastline, Andorra’s rivers are teeming with fresh water trout, which you’ll often find on menus.