24 Interesting facts about Andorra
Located in the heart of the Pyrenees Mountains in Europe, Andorra is an independent microstate bordered by Spain and France. With its stunning landscapes, low taxes, duty-free shopping, and long life expectancy of its citizens, this small nation has much to offer visitors from around the world. Read on to discover more interesting facts about Andorra!
From skiing and hiking to cultural attractions like the Madriu Perafita Claror Valley, Andorra is an ideal destination for those looking to explore and experience a unique country full of history and culture.
Fun and Interesting Facts about Andorra
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1. Andorra is a European microstate, a small country
Andorra is a European microstate. A microstate is a small or tiny country with sovereign rights. It is the world’s 16th smallest country by land and 11th smallest by population.
Andorra is the sixth smallest European country.
2. Official language of Andorra is Catalan
The official language of Andorra is Catalan. Spanish, Portuguese, and French are also widely spoken in the Principality.
3. Official currency is the Euro
The official currency of Andorra is Euro.
4. The people of Andorra are called Andorran
People from Andorra or citizens of the country are called Andorran.
The population of Andorra is 82,100 (in 2023)
5. Administered by co-princes
Andorra is administered by the Bishop of Urgell and the President of France as co-princes of the European microstate.
This tradition traces back to the first Paréage of Andorra (signed in 1278) which granted joint rulership of Spain’s Count of Foix and France’s Bishop of Urgel over the state.
Joan Enric Vives Sicília and Emmanuel Macron, the current president of France are serving as Andorra’s co-princes (2023).
Read: Things to do in Andorra in one day
6. Andorra is a sovereign state
Despite having been ruled by French and Spanish leaders over the centuries, Andorra has managed to maintain its independence since 1278. It is a democratic nation with a parliamentary system of government and actively participates in international organizations such as the United Nations and the Council of Europe.
Officially the state is known as the Principality of Andorra.
7. Andorra didn’t join any of the World Wars
Andorra is one of the only countries in the world that has never gone to war. They officially didn’t join World War I and remained neutral in World War II.
It is also one of the few countries with no standing army and relies on its two powerful neighbors, France and Spain, for protection.
8. Andorra uses Euros but it is not a European Union member (yet)
Andorra is not a member of the European Union, nor does it follow the Schengen agreement.
9. Andorra requires no tourist visa
Andorra doesn’t require any tourist visa to enter the country regardless of your nationality. However, a valid passport is required.
Note: You will have to enter Andorra via a European Union state (France/Spain) though, so if your passport is not visa-exempt then you will still need a Schengen visa.
10. Andorra can only be visited via France or Spain
Andorra is a landlocked country, sharing borders with Spain and France. And the only way to enter Andorra is by transiting through these countries.
11. Andorra has no airports, metro, or train systems
Andorra has no airport, train line, or metro lines. You have to get to Andorra by road – self drive, bus, or a guided tour.
12. Capital city of Andorra is Andorra la Vella
The capital city is Andorra la Vella. This is where a majority of the cultural attractions, shops, and resorts are located!
It is perfect for a day trip from Barcelona
Andorra la Vella is the highest capital city in Europe and is located in the south west of the country.
A walk along the Passeig de la Margineda pedestrian promenade is a great way to start exploring Andorra la Vella. This picturesque street is lined with chic boutiques, cafes, and restaurants.
There are also plenty of cultural attractions like the Casa de la Vall, a 16th-century palace that houses the country’s parliament.
The city centre is home to many historic buildings, including the Santa Coloma Church and the old Town Hall.
13. Andorra is small but packed with outdoorsy activities
Despite its small size, Andorra is home to several ski resorts and a diverse landscape of mountains, valleys, forests, and rivers. It is a popular destination for outdoor activities such as skiing, hiking, mountain biking, and rock climbing.
There are three ski areas in Andorra where you can enjoy the pure powder and winter activities – Grandvalira, Ordino Arcalis & Pal-Arinsal. Skiing is possible from late November to April (depending on the season).
The ski resorts of Grandvalira and Vallnord-Arcalís offer some of Europe’s best skiing and snowboarding.
Grandvalira is the biggest ski resort in the Pyrenees and Southern Europe covering an area of 210 km (130 miles) and offers a wide range of modern amenities at the base of the ski slopes. You can also enjoy mushing, tobogganing, snowshoeing, and more.
Paragliding is another popular activity in Andorra.
The capital city is surrounded by stunning mountain ranges and valleys that provide excellent conditions for paragliding. There are also several schools in Vallnord that offer lessons and guided tours.
If you’d like to go rock climbing, then head up to the Pedraforca mountain where there are a number of routes ranging in difficulty. Popular routes include Diedre gris in Montrebei!
Andorra la Vella is also home to several golf courses with stunning mountain views so you can work on your swing while admiring the scenery.
14. Andorra has cultural sites as well
Andorra la Vella is a cultural hub, with plenty of opportunities to explore Andorra’s unique history and culture. The city centre is home to many historic buildings such as the Sant Esteve Church and the historic Casa de la Vall.
The microstate also has multiple specialty museums such as the Museu Nacional de l’Automòbil (automobile museum in Encamp), Museu Casa d’Areny-Plandolit (residence of Guillem d’Areny-Plandolit), and Museo De La Miniatura De Ordino (toy museum).
There are many other heritage and cultural sites sprinkled all across the Principality such as Museo Casa Rull de Sispony, Cal Pal, Casa Cristo, and Centro de Naturaleza de la Cortinada. They all present a great opportunity to learn more about the history and culture of Andorra.
Andorra is also known for its well-preserved Romanesque architecture and cultural attractions like the Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004. It is also the largest natural park in Andorra!
15. Enjoy festivals and seasonal events in Andorra
Andorra has a strong tradition of cultural festivals and events, such as the traditional festival of San Antonio (January), February Carnival, Andorra la Vella festival (August), and the Major festival of Pas de la Casa in June.
Andorra enjoys 14 public holidays across the Principality.
16. Andorra is home to beautiful spas
Andorra is the perfect place to choose for a spa break. Whether you’re looking for a full day of pampering or simply an hour of blissful tranquillity, Andorra has something to offer.
The country boasts a number of spas and wellness centres, where you can enjoy a range of treatments such as massages, facials, and body wraps. Many of these spas are also equipped with saunas, steam rooms, and hot tubs to help you relax further.
The most popular spas in the country are Caldea, Diamond Spa, Inuu, and Sports Wellness Mountain Spa.
17. The tallest building in Andorra is a spa complex
Caldea Spa Complex in Escaldes-Engordany in Andorra is one of the largest spas in Europe. And at 80 metres in height, it is the tallest building in the country.
18. Shoppers will LOVE Andorra
Andorra is also known for its duty-free shopping, with many visitors coming to take advantage of the country’s low taxes.
The capital city of Andorra La Vella is a great place to start your shopping adventure, with its wide variety of shops ranging from small boutiques to large department stores.
The main shopping areas in Andorra can be found in Andorra la Vella, particularly along Meritxell Avenue up to Vivand (also known as The Shopping Mile) and on Carlemany de Escaldes-Engordany Avenue.
For a unique shopping experience, head to the Grans Magatzems Pyrénées Centro Comercial where you’ll find luxury and some affordable brands.
Shopping in Andorra is cheaper as compared to Spain and France. This is perfect for shopaholics to buy a variety of items from clothing, bags, accessories, consumer electronics, gadgets, tobacco, perfumes, gear, and more.
If you’re looking for a great deal on everyday items, Andorra is also home to many supermarkets and pharmacies. Here you can find everything from food and toiletries to cosmetics and electronics – all at duty-free prices!
19. Andorra is not tax free, but it doesn’t impose tariffs and sales taxes
Although Andorra is not a tax-free country, it does have some unique advantages when it comes to taxation.
One of the major benefits is that there are no tariffs, sales taxes, or other forms of direct taxation such as VAT on goods and services sold in Andorra. This means that prices can be kept competitive, making it an attractive destination for shopping and buying goods.
In addition to no taxes, Andorra also has some generous tax exemptions on income earned by individuals and companies operating within the country. This includes a special reduction on dividend income received from foreign sources as well as various other deductions and credits that can be applied to reduce the amount of tax payable.
Andorra also has a number of special incentives for businesses operating within its borders, such as generous deductions on capital gains and transfers of shares. These can significantly reduce the amount of taxes companies have to pay, making Andorra an attractive destination for investors and entrepreneurs.
20. Andorra uses Euros as its official currency, but it can mint its own coins
The Principality of Andorra never had its own currency. They use Euros as its official currency but are allowed to issue their own euro coins (in 2011).
Their coins feature the 12 stars of the European flag.
21. Andorra joined IMF as its 190th member
The Principality of Andorra joined the International Monetary Fund in 2020, giving it credibility and solvency in various markets.
22. Andorra has the highest life expectancy
The average life expectancy in Andorra is among the highest in the world. Andorran citizens are the longest-living, with a life expectancy of 82.97 years, according to World Bank data from 2019.
In 2023, the total life expectancy for both sexes at birth is 82.4 years of age!
23. Andorra has one of the BEST health care systems
The high standard of living and life expectancy in Andorra is due to its amazing healthcare infrastructure.
Studies conducted globally revealed that Andorra’s healthcare system has a score of 95/100 (Healthcare Access and Quality Index – HAQ score).
24. Tourists LOVE Andorra
Andorra may not be on every bucket list, but it has its share of fame and popularity. The Principality receives the most tourists per capita in the world, with approximately 32 tourists for every Andorran.
Tourism contributes about 58% to the country’s GDP.
Is Andorra worth visiting?
Andorra is 100% worth visiting. Over 10 million people visit Andorra each year to indulge in winter sports, soak in the thermal waters and enjoy the mountain views.
It is truly a unique place full of history, culture, and natural beauty. With its low taxes, duty-free shopping, stunning scenery, and long life expectancy, it’s no wonder that so many visitors flock to this small mountain nation each year.
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