Andorra is a fantastic place to stay for a cheap weekend break. I thought I’d get that out of the way because Andorra seems to have such a bad reputation. Perhaps people judge the whole mountainous principality by dreary, concrete Pas de la Casa, the frontier town with France. Perhaps there’s another reason, I’m not sure.
However, Andorra offers the beauty of the mountains, outdoor adventure, tax-free shopping and an incredible thermal spa that even cynical blokes enjoy.
Make the Most of the Hiking
Fresh pine, snow-capped peaks, lakes and paths. What’s not to like? Farmers shepherd goats through cobbled streets, cats stretch out on flagstones and Romanesque churches decorate the horizon.
For serious walkers, GR7 passes through Andorra. For holiday hikes, pick up a pamphlet from the tourist office in the capital Andorra la Vella. The circuit around the Engolasters Lake is a gentle, scenic route. The path past the intriguing Meritxell Sanctuary is a little tougher. Always check with the tourist office first, however, as changing weather conditions can close off some routes.
Feeling More Adventurous?
Then try canyoning, climbing, archery, horse-riding or quadbiking.
Unwind in Andorra’s flagship Caldea Spa
Bubbling flumes transport you from the spaceship atrium inside to a series of interconnecting whirlpools in the fresh mountain air, with the stars visible through the steam. Caldea welcomes both couples and families and its size means that it’s still possible to find your own space – and relax….
Andorra doesn’t have the most sophisticated reputation for food, I’ll admit, but what it does, it does well. This tiny principality specialises in seasoned pork sausages – either dried or grilled over a flaming hearth while you watch.
For fine dining in the capital, try the Taberna Angel Belmonte. For the traditional Andorran experience, visit La Borda de l’Avi (reservations recommended.)
Andorra doesn’t have an airport, so most people fly to either Toulouse or Barcelona, hire a car and drive up the winding mountain roads (approx 2 hours from either city.) Having a car is a great help for travelling between Andorra’s valleys, although buses do connect the towns.
For accommodation – try to stay in one of the smaller towns like La Massana or Soldeu for a more atmospheric trip.