Andorra for beginner’s

An old stone church in the Andorran countryside
Andorra is a uniquely independent principality. It ranks 16th wealthiest nation in the world and has a population of under 70K (only 30K being Andorran nationals). It is a small landlocked country nestled in the Pyrenees mountains between Spain and France. The official language is Catalan, but 27% of the country is Spanish, and almost another third is Portuguese. Many French speakers live on the border of France. There is also a smattering of retired UK residence living in the countryside. Making Andorra a truly multi-lingual destination.
After reading other people’s blogs and visiting Andorra myself here are a few things I learned to make your stay more enjoyable should you decide to visit this little gem for yourself. Andorra La Vella is the highest capital in Europe. Known for its excellent shopping and tax haven status it is not a quaint historic town. Most of the buildings have been completed in the last 50 years. La Caldea is an 18 story hotel and spa with modern glass architecture. It was one of the highlights of my trip. For only 35€ you can spend 3 hours enjoying geothermal pools, steam baths, and jacuzzi.
The interior of Caldea

The villages surrounding Andorra La Vella contain charming stone houses with shale roofs. Some buildings dating from the 12th century. Everywhere you go in Andorra you are surrounded by towering mountain views. Some residents complain of claustrophobia. Renting a car isn’t a necessity as buses run every half hour during the day to both the slopes and the local parishes. Of course a car is always a nice option for reaching remote trails and such.

Pal, Andorra

People come to Andorra to ski, hike, shop, and bank. So if you’re not into any of those things you won’t enjoy it here. Andorra gets most of its tourists during the winter months. Vallnord is one of the world’s best ski resorts. I can attest to that. If the views don’t take your breath away then the seemingly  limitless amount of slopes surely will. In the summer months when the snow melts the slopes become a hikers paradise with endless ridge climbs for the sure footed person who is not afraid of heights.

The modern exterior of Caldea

The best thing about Andorra however is the people. They are exceptionally kind and hospitable. I am truly grateful to the friends I made during my short stay and hope i can return again soon. Andorrans are both honest and conscientious contributing to a country that is both safe and clean. In my opinion Andorra is well worth a visit for like-minded folk.

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