Andorra, a noticeably small country in Europe located in between France and Spain has plenty to offer. This underrated destination in Europe is all about nature, skiing, hiking and thermal baths.
An all-year-round destination Andorra offer a plethora of things to do. During the winters Andorra is a skiing paradise and come summer, Andrra is a great option for mountain holidays, hiking, mountain biking and jaw dropping views.
Here are 10 reason why you should visit Andorra.
1Largest thermal bath in Europe
Andorra’s capital Andorra la Vella is home to Europe’s largest thermal bath complex: Caldea. The water in the thermal baths comes from below the ground at around 70ºC which is them cooled for a range of different pools. The thermal waters contain therapeutic properties such as being rich in sulphides and minerals, which are offer various healing benefits.
There are different spaces, including a space dedicated just for adults and couples, kids as well as an exotic baths space which has fresh grapefruits floating in the water, this is said to soften and exfoliate your skin. Caldea also offers saunas, jacuzzis including an outdoor jacuzzi, an outdoor lagoon which offers magnificent views of the mountains, bubble beds, warm marble slates and more.
2Excellent skiing and snowboarding
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Andorra is one of the most underrated skiing destination in Europe. Grandvalira in Andorra is one of the largest ski resorts in Europe with 210 km of ski run spread over a total of 118 slopes of all different levels. It is a skier’s dream, also excellent for beginners with those looking to improve their skill or get into skiing with Grandvalira’s award winning ski schools. Grandvalira is not just limited skiing, it also offers snowboarding, mushing, snowmobiles, zip lining and much more.
Grandvalira is one resort consisting of seven different sectors, some the biggest and well recommended ski resorts include: Soldeu, Vallnord, Pas de la Casa. The ski season typically runs from December until April, and with 65 peaks above 2,000 metres snow is pretty much guaranteed.
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One of the main reason Andorra is considered as a shopping paradise is thanks to all items being tax duty free. Andorra offers several different places to shop include Andorra la Vella to Escaldes-Engordany to Pas de la Casa but the capital Andorra la Vella is arguable the best to place to shop in Andorra. The streets and shopping centers are lined with luxury brands, boutique shops all with long opening hours. Twice every year, around April and November, Andorra also hosts a shopping festival – giving you the perfect excuse to visit.
4National Parks and Hiking Trails
Winter in Andorra is all about the skiing but come summer and Andorra is all about hiking.Andorra’s main route is the GRP (Grande Randonee Pays) which circles around the whole county, it takes roughly around a week to complete. Despite what it might appear on the surface GRP is perfectly safe, nor difficult.
Andorra is home to three Natural Parks: The Valle de Sorteny, Madriu-Perafita-Claror, and Valles del Comapedrosa.
Madriu-Perafita-Claror – is UNESCO listed and also the biggest in Andorra covering around 40,000 hectares. The hiking trails are clearly marked with signs and maps throughout.
Valles del Comapedrosa: is more popular for mountain bike riding. It hosts some major international bike events and competitions
One of the common things to do while hiking to experience the local life is to stay in one of the Shepard’s cabins along the way.
© Iglu Hotel and Bar
Offering one of the most unique experiences in Andorra is the Iglu Hotel and Bar. Sitting at an altitude of 2300 meters in the Grandvalira Ski Resort, it is entirely built and carved from snow. Rebuilt from fresh show every year, it offers around 5 rooms.
If you are brave enough, there is an option overnight and enjoy it in all its glory, alternatively you can also just dine or stop by at the bar. Also offering a sauna, jacuzzi and one of the best terraces for watch the sunset over the mountains while the DJ plays in the background.
© Grandvalira – Refugi del Llac
Andorra offers hearty and rustic mountain cuisine, the cuisine is a strong influence from its neighbouring countries France and Spain. We recommend trying the national dish Escudella, which is a delicious stew filled with meat, vegetables and beans. The capital of Andorra la Vella is a great place to sample typical Andorran cuisine.
For a luxury take on on traditional dishes head to Refugi Del llac De Pessons. For a more authentic experience stop at a ‘borda’ – which are mountain barns that have been transformed into a restuarnts but still hold all its original charm.
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Andorra is nestled in between some dramatic mountains, everywhere you look you will greeted to some of the most breathtaking views. With snow capped mountains, green valleys, striking churches and blue lakes Andorra has stunning views to offer. Some of the best views can be witnessed when you are high up either skiing in the winter months or hiking in the summer months.
8World’s longest toboggan run & Europe’s largest sky trail
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Andorra is also home to one of the longest toboggan run in Europe: Tobotronc. Located in the Naturlandia eco-adventure park, this toboggan in Andorra is nearly 5.3km long and drops a total of 400 metres with the ride lasting around 10 minutes. This ride takes you through the La Rabassa Forest offering stunning views of the mountain and the forest. Perfect activity for family with kids or even just adults in Andorra.
It doesn’t end there, the Naturlandia eco-adventure park also hosts Europes largest sky trail which is a trail of wooden bridges, ropes and ladders, surrounded by forests and mountains.
Don’t let the size of Andorra fool you, the nightlife in Andorra is buzzing.The capital Andorra la Vella has plenty of bars and clubs on offer but the real party is during the skiing reason between the months of December to April up in the mountains of Pyrenees. Pas de la Casa is notorious for its après-ski scene and nightlife.
Andorra is known for its rich architectural heritage from the Romanesque ages. Numerous stone Romanesque churches are still dotted around Andorra and are well worth a visit to get an inside into their cultural heritage. Not only that, the striking churches are located against the backdrop of the dramatic mountains offering a breathtaking views. Some of the churches that are worth a visit include: Church of Sant Joan de Caselles, the Church of Santa Eulalia and the Church of Sant Clement de Pal.