The Principality of Andorra lies in the eastern Pyrenees between Spain and France and is Europe’s smallest nation. Its capital (Andorra la Vella) is the the highest capital city in Europe. Andorra’s status as a tax haven and being in the Euro (although not officially a member of the European Union) make it a quality bargain shopper’s paradise, including the frequent cheap fuel car fill-up day visitors from nearby towns in Spain and France.
Andorra is a United Nations member maintaining a small police force and a small Army, where all men are considered officers and their duties are principally ceremonial. However, defending the realm is actually Spain and France’s job.
The rugged Coma Pedrosa mountain (2942m) and the Gran Valira river are the major natural geographical features. Andorra is a popular destination for skiers in Winter especially for novices and families.
Tourism, banking and the tax-free status have until recently made Andorra wealthy, but this is being fast eroded by the neighbouring competition.
Andorra’s nearest major airports are Barcelona in Spain and Toulouse in France, both a three hours drive via the CG-1 (Spanish) and CG-2 (French) borders. Heliports in Arinsal, La Massana and Escaldes-Engordany are complemented by pretty good bus services.
Andorran, mainly Catalan, folk music and folk dances (e.g. Marratxa, Contrapàs) can be enjoyed in Andorra la Vella and Sant Julià de Lòria, while Saint Anne’s dance is only performed in Escaldes-Engordany.
Andorra has many traditional hotels with lots of local character and a choice of naturally hot spring water or regular water (two sets of taps) on the baths.
Posted : Friday, March 9th, 2012 at 11:00
As well as writing about travel, Karen Bryan offers tips on saving money, frugal living and how to live well on less, on her site Help Me To Save