In this article, I’d like to share the 12 things to know before you travel to Andorra. Then you can decide how to get there, where to stay and what to do in Andorra. I discovered Andorra while searching for my next stop when traveled from France to Spain. Before my trip to Andorra I really knew nothing about Andorra. And I didn’t even know this small country is land locked between France and Spain.
1. Little country in Europe
Andorra is the 6th smallest nation in Europe and is the 16th smallest country in the world by area and the 11th smallest by population. There are no marinas or beaches because it is located in the middle of the Pyrenees mountains. The capital is called Andorra La Vella, it is the highest capital city in Europe. Andorra is one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever visited. This countryside reminds me of the Swiss countryside with its unique and diverse beauty. Spending time in Andorra made me realize how relaxing it really is.
2. No airport in Andorra
There is no international airport in Andorra. The nearest international airports are Toulouse in France and Barcelona in Spain, each about 200 km away from Andorra. The best option to get from Barcelona or Toulouse to Andorra and for traveling around Andorra is to rent a car. That will ensure your freedom of mobility and will allow avoiding the problems related to wait for transport.
3. No trains go to Andorra
There are no train lines in Andorra. The only way to reach Andorra directly is by car or bus. There is one major highway entering the country from France and one well-used road from Spain. After you landed in Barcelona or Toulouse it takes approximately 3 hours to get to Andorra from either Barcelona or Toulouse airport by bus.
4. Driving madness at night
That time I and my husband did road trip from Denmark to Spain. And we drove to Andorra via France at night. We reached to Andorra nearly 10pm. It was challenge to drive up winding road. As the drive through the hairpins and switchbacks of those high-altitude roads requires your brain to be at maximum levels of concentration. If you’re not, it’s likely to risk in a messy end at the bottom of a ravine. That’s the reason I didn’t see any cars behind or in front of us on the road to Andorra. So you should refer to enter or leave Andorra through Spanish border if you drive a car.
5. Best time to travel to Andorra
The best time you should travel to Andorra is between April – October, when the weather is warm and dry. The temperature is quite warm, and the skies are clear, this is the perfect season for outdoor activities. The low season is considered to be November – March, as the winter temperatures make the country rather cold and wet, but this is the ideal time for those who want to engage in snow activities. Christmas is usually a very busy time in Andorra with lots of visitors coming to spend their holidays between Christmas and New Year.
6. Travel to Andorra without a tourist visa
Andorra does not require a visa upon entry for visits less than 90 days. However the only way to travel to Andorra is going through France or Spain. So you will only have to sort out your Schengen visa if your nationality requires it. In theory, a double or multiple entry visa is required for tourists to leave Andorra and re-enter the Schengen area. Therefore, without a multiple entry visa it is possible to be denied entry to Andorra. As I know, the customs staff just check your passports randomly at the border. Because they didn’t stop me to check anything on the way in and out of Andorra.
7. Things to see and do
There are two main reasons attracting tourists travel to Andorra. The first one is for its nature, with the great ski slopes are available in winter, and a beautiful nature to be explored in summer. The second reason is shopping.
8. Where to stay in Andorra
The top luxury hotels in Andorra are clustered in Andorra la Vella and near the best skiing places like La Massana, Canillo and Arinsal. There are a few options for hotels with apartment-style that you can find out on Airbnb in Andorra. The best places to stay in Andorra will depend on the purpose of your trip and the time of your visit. The hotel rates are higher price in main season and lower charge in off season.
9. Tax free shopping in Andorra
Andorra has lower taxes than most European countries. In fact, Andorra is a top shopping destination with its fabulous almost tax-free prices. Shopping can be a great break during a ski or hiking holiday. However you should be careful when buying goods that there are different quotas following the limits and guidelines of Andorra’s customs laws. When returning to Spain, I saw a lot of cars being checked carefully for alcohol and cigarettes at the border. So it was a fuming traffic jam and I was stuck in long queue of cars at the Andorran-Spanish border. Obviously the vast majority of the visitors to Andorra are Spanish and French citizens who go there to shop and purchase fuel at cheaper prices.
10. Roaming in Andorra
Andorra remains one of the most expensive places in Europe to use a mobile phone, both for buying a local SIM card and for roaming with a SIM card from outside Andorra. You should limit your data usage until you reach a different area in France or Spain at much better rates. If you have European SIM card and you can use it in any European countries but not in Andorra, as Andorra is not part of EU. This is not a problem because whenever you go you can find Wi-Fi in hotels, restaurant and somewhere.
11. What language is used in Andorra
The interesting thing about Andorra that it’s the only country where Catalan is the official language. Spanish is the second most spoken language in Andorra, ahead of Portuguese and French.
12. What currency is used in Andorra
Andorra is not part of the European Union but it uses the Euro as its currency. Before that, it had historically used the French franc and Spanish peseta. You are able to use debit and credit cards from any international providers, such as MasterCard or Visa.