Travel Guides ? Andorra

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Andorra

Andorra is a tiny dot on the map; an independent Principality dwarfed by France and Spain, most famous for being a tax haven and a popular tourist destination peppered with summer and winter resorts.

Following centuries of struggle between the counts and the bishops of Urgell for the surrounding valleys, Andorra came into being in 1278, when the Spanish bishop of La Seu d'Urgell, and the French House of Foix established co-sovereignty of the area. The French and Spanish continued to tussle over the region and it was only in 1993 that it officially became an independent state, obtaining its first written constitution. With this mixed history, it is no surprise that true Andorrans are a minority in their own country; Spaniards, French and Portuguese make up the majority of the population.

The country occupies 181 square miles (468 sq km) and is mountainous and beautiful, dotted with lakes, forests, and three major rivers. The typical flora and fauna of the Pyrenees region dominates the scenery. Its principal and most populated town is Andorra la Vella with several museums and monuments to explore, including a Miniature Museum, a Perfume museum and an Ethnographic museum. The principal reason, however, for visits to Andorra is for the excellent skiing. The country boasts several major ski resorts, including Grandvalira (formerly called Soldeu/El Tartar) and Vall Nord (formerly Arcalis/Ordino), which cater for all types of skiers.

If skiing is not for you, however, Andorra also offers plenty of hiking opportunities, horse riding, golfing, relaxing in some fine restaurants and cafes, and of course some excellent duty-free shopping.

Climate

Andorra's climate is typical of mountainous areas, with cold winters and mild summers. The climate is dry, with a large number of sunny days. Autumn experiences the highest rainfall, while winter gets plenty of snow, guaranteeing excellent skiing conditions and drawing in the crowds to the various ski resorts. The average temperature range is between 28oF (-2oC) and 75oF (24oC).

Money

The unit of currency in Andorra is the Euro, divided into 100 cents. Currency can be exchanged at banks and bureaux de change and to avoid additional charges it is best to have travellers cheques in Euros. Most major credit cards are accepted, including Eurocheque cards and ATMs are widely available in Andorra La Vella.

Passport Visa

Although there are no visa requirements for Andorra, travellers must have the relevant documentation for either France or Spain, depending on which country will be transited to reach Andorra, and should apply to the relevant embassy in their home country. Visitors must also hold onward tickets, all other documents required for next destination and sufficient funds.

Entry Requirements

  • United States citizens need a passport, but no visa is required to enter Andorra.
  • British nationals need a passport, but no visa is required to enter Andorra.
  • Canadians need a passport, but no visa is required to enter Andorra.
  • Australians need a passport, but no visa is required to enter Andorra.
  • South Africans need a passport, but no visa is required to enter Andorra.
  • Irish nationals need a passport, but no visa is required to enter Andorra.
  • New Zealand nationals need a passport, but no visa is required to enter Andorra.

Health

There are no health risks associated with travel to Andorra, but it is recommended that travellers are up to date with routine immunisations. Medical care in Andorra and neighbouring Spain and France is excellent, but can be expensive and medical insurance is advised.

Embassy Consulates

  • Andorra Embassy, New York, United States: +1 (212) 750-8064.

Foreign Embassies

  • United States Embassy, Madrid, Spain (also responsible for Andorra): +34 91 587 2200.
  • British Consulate, Barcelona, Spain (also responsible for Andorra): +34 93 366 6200.
  • Canadian Embassy, Madrid, Spain (also responsible for Andorra): +34 91 382 8400.
  • Australian Embassy, Madrid, Spain (also responsible for Andorra): +34 91 353 6600.
  • South African Embassy, Madrid, Spain (also responsible for Andorra): +34 91 436 3780.
  • Irish Embassy, Madrid, Spain (also responsible for Andorra): +34 91 436 4093.