Andorra travel guide
Tucked away in the eastern Pyrenees, the tiny Principality of Andorra is a land of narrow valleys and mountainous landscapes that’s popular for skiing and trekking. Its pretty villages and hamlets – dotted along the main road that traverses the country – are filled with Romanesque churches and houses, built in a unique, local style and preserved through the country’s seclusion.
Tracing its roots back to Ancient Greek times and Polybius’ mention of Iberian Andosinos, Andorra is not short of history. Tradition has it that Charlemagne rewarded the Andorrans for fending off the Moors by granting them a charter. It’s this peculiar independence, somehow enduring over the ages against successive threats, that has allowed Andorra’s beautiful architecture to remain so unspoiled.
Liberal snowfalls and an undulating chunk of the Pyrenees make for great skiing conditions; those who love wintersports will find some of Europe’s best pistes here. Politicians and royalty of Spain choose Andorra’s white peaks for their skiing holidays – and prices are certainly geared towards the well heeled. During milder spells, Andorra also offers excellent hiking conditions, with sweeping valleys, challenging ascents and charming vistas.
The diminutive nation is administered from the capital city, Andorra la Vella, with two ‘Co-Princes’ as joint heads of states: the President of France and Bishop of Urgell in Catalonia, a tradition that dates back to the 13th century. The capital might not be to everybody’s taste (think chock-a-block traffic barging between more shops than could possibly be required), but just a brief distance away lie some rural gems.
Villages such as Pal, a medieval settlement with an 11th century church, are well worth visiting. The Iron Route – by foot or bus – is also popular, taking visitors around the old town of Ordino. Andorra sees an incredible 10 million visitors a year, but wander off the beaten track and you’ll find many secluded Pyrenean spots to call your own.
467.8 sq km (180.6 sq miles).
69,165 (UN estimate 2016).
183.3 per sq km.
Andorra la Vella.
Principality under the suzerainty of the President of France and the Spanish Bishop of Seu d'Urgell.
Co-heads Joan Enric Vives i Sicilia (Bishop of la Seu d'Urgell) since 2003 and François Hollande (President of France) since 2012.
Prime Minister Antoni Martí Petit since 2011.
230 volts AC, 50Hz. European plugs with two round pins are standard.
Last updated: 10 October 2017
The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. ‘We’ refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Around 30,000 British nationals visit Andorra every year. Most visits are trouble-free.
Terrorist attacks in Andorra can’t be ruled out.
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) isn’t valid in Andorra. Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.
If you’re visiting a ski resort, take advice on weather and avalanche conditions before you travel.
Drinking alcohol in low temperatures and high altitude will have a greater impact on you and can be dangerous or even fatal.
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.
Safety and security
Street crime is rare, but you should take care of your personal belongings. Don’t keep money and valuables all in one place. Keep a photocopy or scanned copy of your passport somewhere safe.
Be alert to the possible use of ‘date rape’ and other drugs including ‘GHB’ and liquid ecstasy. Buy your own drinks and keep sight of them at all times to make sure they are not spiked; female travellers should be particularly careful. Alcohol and drugs can make you less vigilant, less in control and less aware of your environment – especially at altitude. If you drink, know your limit – remember that drinks served in bars are often stronger than those in the UK. Avoid splitting up from your friends, and don’t go off with people you don’t know.
Driving is on the right in Andorra (opposite to the UK). It is a legal requirement for motorists travelling to or transiting Andorra to carry two red warning triangles to be placed, in the event of an accident or breakdown, in front of and behind the vehicle. Drivers must have a spare pair of glasses (if needed for driving), a spare wheel, and a full set of spare light bulbs plus the tools to change them. If you have to leave your vehicle due to an accident or breakdown, or while awaiting the arrival of the emergency services, you must wear a reflective jacket. Failure to do so could result in a heavy fine.
Carry a certificate of insurance with you in case you are stopped. If you have hired a car and bought insurance, you should be given documentation.
Andorra has stricter drink driving laws than many other countries including the UK and the authorities impose strict penalties.
Seat belts are required for front seat passengers. No children under the age of ten should be in the front seat and small children must be in an approved child safety seat.
Talking on mobile phones when driving is forbidden but you are allowed to use a completely hands-free unit.
If you are planning a skiing holiday to Andorra, contact the Andorran Foreign Ministry for advice on safety and weather conditions before travelling.
Off-piste skiing is highly dangerous. Follow safety instructions carefully to protect yourself against avalanches. Further information can be found at the following websites:
If an accident occurs whilst mountaineering, canyoning, potholing or climbing, or if you become lost, telephone the Emergency Services on the following numbers:
112 – General Emergencies / Mountain Rescue
118 – Ambulance/Fire Brigade
110 – Police
116 – Medical Emergency Service
Read more about how to stay safe on the slopes.
There is an Honorary British Consul in Andorra, under the supervision of the British Consulate – General, Barcelona.
To contact our Honorary Consul in Andorra or to request Consular assistance in Andorra, you should first make contact with the British Consulate General in Barcelona.
Edifico Torre de Barcelona
Avenida Diagonal 477 – 13
Tel: (+34) 93 366 6200
Terrorist attacks in Andorra can’t be ruled out. You should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be in public places, including those frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.
There is considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.
Find out more about the global threat from terrorism, how to minimise your risk and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.
Local laws and customs
Andorra has strict rules on public drunkenness. It is forbidden to drink alcohol on the street.
Andorra applies a zero tolerance policy to the possession and use of illegal drugs.
Andorra is not a member of the European Union and duty free tobacco, liquor and luxury goods are subject to taxes and duties on re-entering European Union countries. France and Spain apply strict rules on the amount of tobacco exported from Andorra for personal use. Amounts in excess of this can be impounded as can the transporting vehicle.
The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.
The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
British nationals do not need a visa to visit Andorra.
If you wish to stay for longer than three months you must apply for a work or residence permit through the local immigration services.
Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required.
Travelling with children
Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should travel with a copy of any custody documents and written authorisation of the other parent.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents are accepted for entry and exit from Andorra.
Visit your health professional at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Country specific information and advice is published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre on the TravelHealthPro website and by NHS (Scotland) on the fitfortravel website. Useful information and advice about healthcare abroad is also available on the NHS Choices website.
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), does not provide health cover in Andorra. Make sure you have comprehensive travel and medical insurance that is valid for travel to non-EU countries. Check that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake like skiing or rafting.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 116 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
Travel advice help and support
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London on 020 7008 1500 (24 hours).
Foreign travel checklist
Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.
The FCO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.
When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.
Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.
Refunds and cancellations
If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.
For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Registering your travel details with us
We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.
Previous versions of FCO travel advice
If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.