Reviewed on 15 Oct 2020
Reviewed on 27 Mar 2021
Reviewed on 17 Sep 2020
This small Catalan country in the Pyrenees Mountains has its own folk culture, language and cuisine, and features large ski resorts and publicly accessible mountain huts. Andorra is a tiny medieval principality settled high in the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain. This independent Catalan enclave has culture, language and cuisine quite different from French and Spanish. The country is separate from the European Union, so tourists enjoy low taxes and duty-free shopping. Discover Andorra’s history and culture in the capital city, Andorra la Vella. Then trek into the mountains for summer hiking or winter skiing.
Andorra la Vella stretches across a narrow valley between Pyrenees peaks. Explore the city’s ancient architecture, beginning with the 16th-century villa of Casa de la Vall, an ancient stone structure that has been the meeting place for Andorra’s parliament and country court. The city’s Old Town district surrounds the building. Head to the town’s southwestern outskirts to find the ninth-century Santa Coloma Church, one of Andorra’s oldest religious sites.
In winter, Andorra offers some of the region’s best skiing. Visit the large Grandvalira ski resort. Over 130 miles (210 kilometres) of skiing trails crisscross the slopes of this massive park. Spend the night in Pas de la Casa or Soldeu and wake up early to hit the slopes as soon as they open. See how many of the 118 slopes you can cover in one day.
Arrive in Andorra during summer to explore Pyrenees hiking trails. Hike in the Valls del Comapedrosa Nature Park, where you will find Pic del Comapedrosa, Andorra’s highest peak. Join a guided hike or trek alone through the glacial valleys and next to the clear mountain lakes of this area. One unique feature of Andorra’s backcountry is the network of nearly 30 mountain huts. Stay overnight if you get caught away from civilization at dusk. The doors to these government-maintained huts always stay open, so you should plan on sharing your hut with strangers.
Reach Andorra by road from Toulouse or Barcelona in 2.5 hours. No flights go in or out of Andorra, so the mountainous terrain is especially peaceful.