Andorra, officially the Principality of Andorra also called the Principality of the Valleys of Andorra, is a sovereign landlocked micro-state in Southwestern Europe, located in the eastern Pyrenees mountains. At only 468 km Andorra is the 16th smallest country in the world. Lying right next to Spain and France, this is the perfect place for you to explore when you get bored with the standard fare Europe has to offer.
Heavily influenced by Spain in its language and food and surrounded by jagged, high peaks Andorra will stun even the most seasoned traveller. For some reason, not many travellers find their way to Andorra, which means that you’ll have the added bonus of boasting about visiting a gem that most don’t even know about.
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ANDORRA QUICK FACTS
Capital: Andorra La Vella
Currency: Euro (€)
Area: 468 km²
Language: Catalan (official), French, Castilian, Portuguese
Religion: Roman Catholic (predominant and official)
Electricity: 220, 50Hz (European plug)
Time Zone: UTC +1
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ANDORRA PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
6 January, Epiphany
14 March, Constitution Day
1 May, Labor Day
15 August, Assumption
8 September, National Day
1 November, All Saints Day
8 December, Immaculate Conception
26 December, St. Stephen’s Day
Also, Carnival, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter Monday, and Whit Monday.
BEST TIME TO VISIT ANDORRA
The best time, generally speaking, to visit Andorra is during the summer, when the entire country is warm, dry, and extremely lively. There are a number of different festivals happening during this season, and you will be able to engage in local life heavily if you choose to travel during this period. Andorra has very Europe-like weather - dry and hot summers, and snowy cold winters. However, there is more than enough for you to explore throughout the year, so you have to know the best time to visit Andorra to enjoy the activities you are interested in.
If you can handle the cold, and participate in snow sports, winter is when to visit Andorra. There really is no wrong time to visit the country - you just have to think about exactly what you’re looking to do once you’re here!
SPORT & ACTIVITIES
SNOW SPORT IN ANDORRA
The snow sports season in Andorra can be as long as from mid November until late April. The best time is usually between December and March.
HIKING & CYCLING IN ANDORRA
The best time for outdoor activities in Andorra is during the summer months of June, July and August. May and September can also be pleasant, but significantly cooler.
SIGHTS & HIGHLIGHTS OF ANDORRA
Andorra's main draw is still its magnificent mountainous landscapes, offering spectacular vistas in every season. At these heights, summers are cool, making for excellent hiking conditions through the green valleys. The Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley, Andorra's only UNESCO World Heritage site (only reachable on foot), is an undeveloped area important to wildlife sanctuary and consists of forest and fields, dotted with the odd shepherd's hut. In winter, snow covers large parts of the country, changing the Alpine character into an equally beautiful stage for various winter sports.
Andorra's huge ski resorts with their family-friendly slopes are probably the main reason for Andorra's popularity among tourists, but the country has much more to offer. Most of the ski resorts were once small mountain villages which have grown over the years due to their popularity as a skiing destination. In recent years most resorts have joined together so that a ski pass will cover the neighbouring areas. As a result, two large alpine skiing areas known as Vallnord and Grandvalira have developed.
In the country's capital, Andorra la Vella may seem like just a place to shop but if you look a bit deeper you will find loads of history with the Romanesque Església de Sant Esteve, located in the old part of town a perfect stop during a city walk. A nice piazza and the historic parliament building make for other highlights in your city explorations. Barely 2 kilometers out of town, the church of Santa Coloma d'Andorra is even older, dating back to the 9th century. Also in Andorra La Vella, a must-visit is the famous Caldea spa/pool complex with its unmistakable glass spire.
LGBTQ IN ANDORRA
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Andorra may face some legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Civil unions, which grant all the benefits of marriage including adoption, have been recognised since 2014, and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is constitutionally banned. However, same-sex marriage is currently not recognised in Andorra. A draft bill to legalise same-sex marriage was presented on 10 March 2020, which if enacted, will take effect on 1 June 2021.
Already in 2013, a survey showed that 70% of Andorrans were in favour of same-sex marriage, 19% were against and only 11% were undecided or had refused to answer. This shows a general LGBTQ acceptance in Andorra.