The principality of Andorra borders both France and Spain and is well known for it’s rugged and breathtaking landscapes.
Mountainous in the extreme Andorra has great skiing, great hiking and great hospitality. Rivers, mountains and valleys meet, giving spectacular displays of natural untamed beauty.
Filled with culture and history Andorra has quaint old villages to explore by day and for a little more excitement the capital Andorra La Vella comes alive at night, with modern bars and nightclubs giving this cosmopolitan district a vibrant lively atmosphere.
Where to Stay
The perfect destination has to be one that combines scenery, activity and fun nightlife, Andorra La Vella offers all this and much more. With historic buildings, stylish boutiques and high quality bars all nestling at the foot of the mountains with their great skiing or hiking, this is a holiday destination with it all
Andorra La Vella is filled with good quality hotels but for a stand out stay check out the Hesperia Andorra La Vella. This modern hotel combines clean contemporary lines with natural wood and stone to give a traditional yet uncluttered feel. Large rooms all with great views over the city or the mountains make this hotel one of the best reviewed in Andorra.
If you are holidaying purely for the skiing and isolated beauty, then the place to be is Soldeu with its pretty apartment complexes. Highly recommended is the Apartmentos Els Llacs billed as luxury apartments this building houses twenty five well appointed self contained units ranging in size from one to eleven guests.
Each apartment is beautifully fitted out using traditional local materials, with the benefit of individually controlled heating (a must during the cold ski season) and offering views beyond any expectations.
Where to Eat
The food is Andorra is very similar to that of the Catalan region with the emphasis on fresh natural ingredients, the French and Spanish influence is unmistakeable. Keen meat eaters, the locals are fond of rabbit and chicken with most other fresh produce imported due to the nature of the terrain.
The must try local dish is Escudella – a rich stew of chicken, local sausage and meatballs. Sadly vegetarians are not quite as well catered for outside the hotel restaurants.
Most of the good restaurants are hotel based but there are several notable exceptions. One of these is the Borde Estevez renowned for it’s traditional Catalan menu and situated in historic Andorra La Vella. Although varied the menu is heavy on meats and sausages, but all are expertly cooked and wonderfully rich, hearty and tasty. The restaurant also has a excellent choice of spirits and liqueurs.
Popular with the young crowd is Papanico with it’s tapas based menu, more of a café than a restaurant this is the place to be. Busy by day and night the ambience is almost as good as the well cooked morsels of delight that are on offer.
What to Do
Visit the historic capital Andorra La Vella with it’s charming shopping centre and buildings seeped in culture. Casa De La Vall originally built in 1580 has been the countries parliament building since the early 1700’s, with the countries only courtroom contained within it’s thick stone walls a tour is highly recommended. Outside the cobbled streets of the Barri Antic Plaza are filled with superb boutiques and other high quality shops. Small enough to see in a day but beautiful enough to remember forever.
Andorra although full of charm and beauty is well known for the skiing and for good reason. The mountains offer opportunities for all abilities but for those just beginning the gentle slopes of Soldeu are perfect. The perfect ski paths, the reliable snow and the excellent English speaking ski schools make the Soldeu area perfect for the most timid of learners.
Once the ski season has passed the beautiful mountains make for the amazing walking territory. Andorra isn’t just a destination for one season it is a destination for all seasons.
When to Visit
The ski season of December to March gives way to the walking seasons of April to October. Warm sunny summers contrasting with the snow that remains on the highest peaks until July making Andorra a place of unexpected beauty no matter which season you visit.