A petite country sandwiched between Spain and France, Andorra’s allure still stands out unconventionally. There’s something very exquisite with this nation despite of its unlucky size. It is a small country blessed with abundant blessings, from vibrant cultures to historical landmarks. Among the countless beautiful attractions scattered within the country, the immense ski resorts are probably the most popular ones. The smooth and steep ski trails accent an ultimate exhilarating skiing experience with some captivating backdrop of snow-covered alpines and pines. If you think that’s all Andorra could offer, better think twice because this rather tiny country oozes with some exceptional temptations for different types of travellers. Read on to discover the 8 top things to do in Andorra.
History and Topography
When it comes to the history of Andorra, there have been several associations formulated by archaeologists.. Some say that the name came from the Andosins, who were the prehistoric Iberian tribes living in the valleys of Andorra. There are also other theories that Andorra was derived from the Arabic word that means forest. Well, the history of the country vaguely started during the 10, 000 BC. Much has happened in the previous centuries, but the nation remains to be a magnetic lure, especially for ski enthusiasts and nature lovers. The snowy mountain ranges of the Pyrenean Mountains makes Andorra a perfect spot for premium skiing. Because of the higher elevation, the climate can be harsh, particularly in winter. So, it’s better to be geared up during your travel to the country and take into account the season. And if you’re not yet sure with your itinerary, might as well insert some of these must-see places.
Andorra la Vella
As the charming capital of Andorra, Andorra la Vella is always jam-packed with tourists wanting to get acquainted with the vibrant culture and art strewn all over the cosmopolitan. It strategically lies in the Pyrenees, the borderline between France and Spain. In the capital, the streets are filled with galleries and boutiques that display the local artisans’ works of art. There are loads of restaurants in each corner, featuring the authentic Andorran cuisines like Pa Amb Tomaquet, Escudella, Trinxat, Formatge and many more.
For nature lovers, never miss the exciting land journey to Coma Pedrosa. The mountain is the highest peak in the country, which is a well-loved spot among mountain climbers and trekkers. Be entertained, not just with the nice combination of smooth and strenuous trails, but also with the rich flora and fauna. Along your trek, grab the chance to witness beautiful variety of birds, along with different wild animals such as marmots, chamois and the like. Savor some tasty fruits in the wild for a more fulfilling trek.
Valle del Sorteny
Valle del Sorteny or the Sorteny Nature park is the abode of almost a thousand living species of plants and flowers. The botanical paradise spreads for more than 1, 000 hectares. There are some species that can only be found in the country that is why the park is a well-protected area. Aside from the vibrant flora, the fauna is also impressive with loads of distinctive animals like brook salamander, wild boar, roe deer, and chamois.
A quaint scenery along the Valira d’ Orient River, Encamp is a popular spot for wanderers wanting a mix of old and contemporary living. In the town, there are touches of ancient structures and nature bliss. The charming cafes, boutiques and restaurants serve the unique cultural beauty of Andorra through local delicacies and crafts. Visit the distinguished National Automobile Museum and be dazzled with the extensive collection of vintage vehicles. And of course, don’t miss to try skiing in the picturesque slopes of Encamp.
There are seriously stacks of selection when it comes to ski resorts in Andorra, but one of the prime skiing spots is Vallnord. Visitors from different continents flock to the pristine terrains of the location and try a unique skiing experience, from beginner trails to professional pistes. Bring your kids here and for sure they’ll love the family-friendly adventures such as tobogganing and snowshoeing. Adults will also have fun with some sensational activities like snowmobiling and snowboarding.
After a nerve-racking day escapades, get out of the city and have a peaceful retreat at El Serrat. This tiny village is bordered with anything associated with nature, from lush mountain views to soothing countryside air. More solemn than the busy cosmopolitan spots, El Serrat offers some serene outdoor activities like hiking and bird watching. The alpine scenery on the horizon makes everything more satisfying.
Aside from breathtaking landscapes and skiing resorts, Andorra also shelters some hot springs and thermal waters. Just outside the capital, Les Escaldes is the home for soothing bodies of water that is rich in nitrogen and sulfur. These elements are known to treat health issues. Forego the costly spas and take a dip at the naturally heated underground waters and rejuvenate your tiring muscles and drying skin.
The nearest airports are within its neighboring countries, Spain and France. Start off your journey from either one of the two, and then take the terrestrial trip. Considering its alpine terrains, Andorra can only be travelled by land. There is only one road designated by Spain and France to access Andorra. Bus is the most common transportation as there are numerous coach services going to the country. It would take around 4 to 5 hours before stepping into the mountainous grounds. Or if you want a faster and efficient ride then take a car. The roads going to Andorra are smooth enough to make your land trip a comfortable one. Though there are no visa requirements, be it known that Andorra is not part of Schengen. Thus, you must satisfy certain conditions before entering the borders of the country.
A country’s land mass is never the defining factor of its beauty. It’s better to be small and blessed than big than doomed, and that’s Andorra is all about. The beauty lies, not just with the superficial attractions, but also with the cultural immersion every traveler gets from visiting the country. You get a nice combination of laidback scenery and exciting adventures.