Andorra

Between 1278 and 1993, Andorra (464 km²) was a semi-autonomous principality. This principality was under the sovereignty of two co-princes: the Spanish bishop of La Seu d'Urgell and the French count of Foix. Andorra has been independent since 1993, but the two co-princes still have ceremonial powers, although the French state has now acquired the rights of Foix. They originally spoke Catalan and until 2002, people paid in Spanish pesetas (now obviously in euros). Today, people speak French and a little English. Andorra also has its own stamps.

You can take a trip to Andorra if your accommodation is in the southern most part of France. Most people just go shopping in Pas de la Casa with its duty free shops and gondola, or in the capital, Andorra la Vella.

People do a lot of tax free shopping in Pas de la Casa and the capital of Andorra, but today the prices of most of the articles are quite high, so you only have advantage if you buy expensive goods such as jewelry, clothes, perfumes and alcohol. There is a limit to the export though. The shops are closed from 12.00 to 14.00 or 14.30 pm and everything is closed on Tuesdays.

You can have a lovely relaxing afternoon at the indoor thermal baths of Caldea. You can fully relax in the hot baths (32-34 degrees Celcius), whirlpools, hydro-indo-roman baths, saunas, Turkish baths, patios with fire and ice, grapefruit baths and so on. In Caldea you can also have a beauty treatment. There are several programms to regain beauty and health. You can also sample their delicious food!

Not far from the border in Andorra there are also some larger stores, where you can buy good chocolate brands, souvenirs, pottery or tasty cheese.

When you want to visit Andorra for the sites, here are some examples:

The old spa town of Les Escaldes is close to the busy capital city Andorra la Vella. Here you can visit the meeting of the waters.

Encamp is located at an altitude of 1266 meters, where you can take a cabin lift to a 1622 meter high mountain lake, the Lac d'Engolasters. The view is stunning. Encamp also has the highest clock tower of Andorra. Also worth seeing is the automobile museum, where you can see cars which date from 1898 to 1950.

On the other side of Encamp lies Les Bons with the beautiful Santa Roma church.

When you begin your journey back to your holiday address, you could drive back via Tarascon, via Font Romeu or drive the same route back, depending on where you stay. Since most restaurants are only open after 19:00 hours, we advise you to eat a hot lunch in a restaurant, while you use your picnic lunch at dinner time on a beautiful road parking.

Winter sports in Andorra
Andorra is becoming increasingly popular for winter sport activities. There are some spectacular pistes and the infrastructure is getting better. The accommodations are modern and often more luxurious than before. You hardly ever have to wait long to get into the lifts. If you are looking for a holiday with plenty of sunshine, varied slopes and off-pistes, a good quality-price ratio and a cozy (apr├Ęs-)ski atmosphere, then Andorra is a top destination.

The largest ski resort in Andorra and the Pyrenees is Grandvalira . There are 192 km of varied slopes. From Encamp you can take the high speed gondola to the slopes within fifteen minutes to a height of 2600 meters. Here are the ski resorts of Grau Roig and Soldeu. From the exit point of the gondola, you can choose the area of your descend.

From the super friendly Encamp you can take the high speed Funitel gondola to the ski resort of Grandvilara. This is why Encamp is a very popular destination for all ski enthousiasts.

Pal, Arinsal and La Massana are connected to a super fast ski gondola. You now have the ability to proceed without taking your skis off, to ski on the slopes of Arinsal or in between the trees of Pal. The maximum height is 2560 meter and there are approximately 65 km of prepared pistes of various degrees. Snow cannons also ensure that the slopes are still very good in less favorable weather conditions. At the height of 1950 meters there is a ski school, where approximately sixty ski instructors teach in different languages.

The always popular Pas de la Casa is a true ski-paradise, especially for young people. The nightlife is a bit cheaper and the slopes end in the middle of the town center.

Soldeu / El Tarter is a great ski area for people who prefer more luxurious skiing. The lifts are in the village and there is much to do. On the slopes of El Tarter is a snowboard fun park with a "half pipe" and various jumps. In the village you will find shops (sports), restaurants, pubs and discos such as the famous Aspen, Pussycat, Fat Alberts, Avalanche and Ice Berg.