(Principality of Andorra, Principat d'Andorra)
- Location : Southwestern Europe
- Capital: Andorra La Vella
- Language: Catalan
- Population: 84,082
- Total Area: 467.63 km2
- Currency: Euro
- Annual Alcohol Consumption Per Capita: 14.08 liters
- Andorra Most Popular Drink: Orxata, Granizado, Acqua D'Or
Andorra is one of the smallest countries in Europe covering an area of just 468 square kilometers. The first reference to Andorra appears as early as c. 200 BC, but it was not until second half of the twentieth century when it became a large international center. For non-Europeans, it is not the most obvious destination to visit, yet it has much to offer both in terms of great skiing, cuisine and of course drinking. Andorra La Vella is an easy trip from Barcelona. While it is at least two hours from the nearest airport, the bus will take you through a very scenic route that goes high up in the mountains and drops you off at a bus stop close to the shopping center.
Andorra has a population of about 70,000 people with an average age of just 37 years. This creates a very free spirited atmosphere geared towards maximizing revenues from the tourism. Only 36% of the population is made up of people with Andorran nationality, the rest is split between Spanish, Portuguese and French as well as other smaller nationalities.
What To Do:
Shopping is one of the most favorite past times in Andorra. It is in a tax free zone and savvy shoppers from nearby France and Spain drop by for a weekend to stock up on goods that are sometimes twice as expensive at home. And, after a long day of shopping, many are prepared to spend their saved Euros on a nice meal. Locals are ready to oblige and recently there’s been a spur of new restaurants and cafes to satisfy every taste. Cuisine is very unique as it is Catalan but with French influence and dishes such as trinxat (a mix of cabbage, potatoes and sausage) are not to be missed.
Caldea is known as a “big spa” and after a long day of skiing or shopping, it is worth 30 Euro to truly unwind and relax your muscles. It boasts beautiful outside lagoons, an Aztecian pool and bubble beds all set against impressive mountains. There is a steady inflow of skiers and shoppers alike, so admission time is limited to three hours. You can, however, extend the bliss by booking one of the signature treatments.
There are numerous bars in Andorra and while buying a bottle of liquor from a store is cheap, bars are not. All of the ski villages have very similar night life after the ski day is over, but one must focus on important things such as trying out unusual liquors. For example, Acqua d'Or, also known as official Catalan brandy. It is aged in individual casks and then transferred to older casks for longer maturity. The result is more similar to cognac and is delicious and flavorful. There is also a great variety of beer and it is as “cheap as chips” as many Europeans have observed especially in comparison to their home countries.
Story By Marina Balzac
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