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: 13 March 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.
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