Andorra, Europe - Stein Travel
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Andorra is a tiny dot on the map; an independent Principality dwarfed by France and Spain, most famous for being a tax haven and a popular tourist destination peppered with summer and winter resorts.

Following centuries of struggle between the counts and the bishops of Urgell for the surrounding valleys, Andorra came into being in 1278, when the Spanish bishop of La Seu d'Urgell, and the French House of Foix established co-sovereignty of the area. The French and Spanish continued to tussle over the region and it was only in 1993 that it officially became an independent state, obtaining its first written constitution. With this mixed history, it is no surprise that true Andorrans are a minority in their own country; Spaniards, French and Portuguese make up the majority of the population.

The country occupies 181 square miles (468 sq km) and is mountainous and beautiful, dotted with lakes, forests, and three major rivers. The typical flora and fauna of the Pyrenees region dominates the scenery. Its principal and most populated town is Andorra la Vella with several museums and monuments to explore, including a Miniature Museum, a Perfume museum and an Ethnographic museum. The principal reason, however, for visits to Andorra is for the excellent skiing. The country boasts several major ski resorts, including Grandvalira (formerly called Soldeu/El Tartar) and Vall Nord (formerly Arcalis/Ordino), which cater for all types of skiers.

If skiing is not for you, however, Andorra also offers plenty of hiking opportunities, horse riding, golfing, relaxing in some fine restaurants and cafes, and of course some excellent duty-free shopping.

Information & Facts


Catalan is the official language of Andorra, although Spanish is widely spoken. A small minority speak French and English is minimal. It is best to ascertain before meetings which language will be used. Punctuality is important, handshakes are the norm on greeting, and business attire should be smart and formal.


Andorra's climate is typical of mountainous areas, with cold winters and mild summers. The climate is dry, with a large number of sunny days. Autumn experiences the highest rainfall, while winter gets plenty of snow, guaranteeing excellent skiing conditions and drawing in the crowds to the various ski resorts. The average temperature range is between 28ºF (-2ºC) and 75ºF (24ºC).


The international access code for Andorra is +376. The outgoing code is 00, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). City/area codes are not in use. Andorra is well covered by a GSM 900 network and most international mobile companies offer roaming agreements. Internet cafes are widely available.


Andorrans tend to be friendly and courteous. Smoking is common, although restrictions have been placed in neighbouring Spain.

Duty Free

Andorra is a duty free zone and therefore there are no restrictions. However, regulations of either France or Spain must be adhered to when leaving from either of those countries.


Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. Round pin attachment plugs and Shuko plugs and receptacles with side grounding contacts are in use.

Getting Around

There are no airports in Andorra, but the nearest airport is Spain's El Prat Barcelona Airport (BCN), located 140 miles (225km) from the Principality. The roads in Andorra are in good condition and as it is a small country, it is relatively easy to negotiate by car. The principal road runs through Andorra from the Spanish to the French borders. Roads are, however, fairly windy and are subject to closure in winter. Buses and minibuses link the various towns and villages, and there are daily buses from Barcelona and Toulouse, France. Roads can get crowded and traffic is usually somewhat chaotic, especially during peak holiday season.


There are no health risks associated with travel to Andorra, but it is recommended that travellers are up to date with routine immunisations. Medical care in Andorra and neighbouring Spain and France is excellent, but can be expensive and medical insurance is advised.


The official language of Andorra is Catalan (used in administration and business). More than half the population speaks Spanish, and French and Portuguese are also spoken.


The unit of currency in Andorra is the Euro, divided into 100 cents. Currency can be exchanged at banks and bureaux de change and to avoid additional charges it is best to have travellers cheques in Euros. Most major credit cards are accepted, including Eurocheque cards and ATMs are widely available in Andorra La Vella.

Passport Visa

Although there are no visa requirements for Andorra, travellers must have the relevant documentation for either France or Spain, depending on which country will be transited to reach Andorra, and should apply to the relevant embassy in their home country. Visitors must also hold onward tickets, all other documents required for next destination and sufficient funds.


There are no risks associated with travel to Andorra, but travellers should always be vigilant and not display valuables.


GMT +1 (GMT +2 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).


A 10% service charge is usually included on restaurant bills in Andorra and anything extra is for exceptional service.

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