Andorra is a small piece of land that lies between France and Spain in the heart of the Pyrenees. This tiny country is usually crossed by tourists to get products that are cheaper than those in France. But is visiting Andorra just that?
The answer is obviously no. Its culture influenced by France and Catalonia has left many beautiful things to see just like its nature. So are you ready to discover the must-sees in Andorra? Let’s go!
1. The church of Sant Joan de Caselles
Like Catalonia, Andorra is a reference for Romanesque art, especially for its churches. Discover the most beautiful of the principality: the church of Sant Joan de Caselles built between the 11th and 12th centuries.
Located near Canillo it is the most beautiful example of the Andorran Romanesque style. When you arrive look up to admire its bell tower inspired by Lombard art. Its semi-circular apse and rectangular nave are also magnificent.
Then enter the church to discover its interior where a particular atmosphere reigns. This may be due to the fact that a representation of Christ takes place in front of a fresco representing the crucifixion. The rest is more classical with a real Renaissance touch.
Finally, if you have time you can visit other churches such as the church of Sant Miquel d’Engolasters.
2. Caldea SPA Center
Enjoy the pure water of the Pyrenees and the idyllic setting to relax. For this nothing beats a good SPA. The Caldea SPA Center is the perfect place to fulfill your desire.
You will have the choice between two atmospheres:
Thermoludic: to spend a good time with your family;
Inùu: to be in love.
3. The village of Ordino
Among the places to visit in Andorra, we find the splendid village of Ordino. Part of the parish of Andorra is located in the northwestern part of the valley at an altitude of about 1300 meters. Stroll through the streets of the town have lunch near the town hall and enjoy a sumptuous setting where the stone is man’s best friend.
4. The Grandvalira ski resort
Even though it is a ski resort Grandvalira is also worth discovering all year round thanks to the many free sports activities such as archery, canoeing, trampoline, etc. By taking the cable car, you will be able to enjoy a view of the valley. Great.
For powder lovers, you can enjoy 193 kilometers of slopes where all levels are catered for. Perfect for groups of friends and families!
5. The historical ensemble of the Bons
The Principality of Andorra has many little corners where you can feel like you’re out of time. However, the historical complex of Les Bons and in particular the church of Sant Romà is an unusual place: this 12th-century church (Romanesque you guessed it) has a rectangular nave and a semicircular apse in the Lombard style.
The interior of the church has preserved not only the stone altar table but also Romanesque pictorial reproductions of Santa Coloma masters. When you leave the church don’t hesitate to take a walk through the Bons neighborhood which has had an architectural protection plan since 1997.
6. The sanctuary of Meritxell
The sanctuary of Meritxell is named after the patron saint of Andorra to whom the place is dedicated. From the outset, the architecture is eye-catching since it has a very Catholic monastic feel but also an avant-garde style that is very effective.
Inside the main room is very bright. This is unusual for a place of worship. But there too the avant-garde side breaks the codes with glass replacing the stone. On the whole for a successful result mixing perfectly tradition and contemporary. Do not miss this unique place if you come to visit Andorra.
7. Hiking in the Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley
The Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley is a true Andorran jewel and is listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site. Therefore hiking in the heart of this exceptional nature where the ecosystem is a strength can only inspire.
The route starting from Escaldes-Engordany is the most popular. Indeed it allows visitors to enjoy huge spaces that lead to Fontverd where a panorama of mountain pastures and glaciers awaits them.
Finally walking in the valley offers a good trip back in time to discover the techniques used by the Pyrenean populations of the past to exploit the local resources.
8. The Pas de la Case (Pas de la Casa)
It is impossible to visit Andorra without passing through Pas de la Case. Originally only a small house stood on these lands. Hence its name which means “Passage of the House”. Today the Pas de la Case has changed. It is now a well-known winter sports resort with 200 kilometers of slopes.
But if Pas de la Case is a must-see in Andorra it is also for its low prices. Indeed many tourists come to fill up on alcohol, gasoline, and cigarettes, for a much lower price than in France.
Andorra is not necessarily synonymous with skiing or shopping. To discover a small peaceful village far from the crowd of tourists Canillo is the place to be.
Very pleasant to walk in summer we go there to recharge our batteries but also to visit the church of San Serni the hermitage of Holy Cross in which you will find an altar dedicated to Christ.
It is also an opportunity to discover the Harnero mill which although it is no longer in operation is still extremely well preserved.
For those who love peace and quiet and who enjoy walking in the middle of nature, the town of Soldeu is for you. Surrounded by a sumptuous Pyrenean landscape you are sure to enjoy an ideal quality of life under very pleasant temperatures in summer.
In winter enjoy its slopes which appeal to both novices and experienced skiers.
11. Sant Climent de Pal
With its Romanesque church and its picturesque decorations the church of Sant Climent de Pal is one of the most beautiful visits to make when visiting Andorra.
The place of worship is a real tourist attraction. Its slender tower its Lombard influence and the combination of stone, wood, and metal place the church in the tradition of Andorran Romanesque churches. As for the village itself, it is perfect for walking around and enjoying the calm. A real postcard setting.
12. The museum (or house) of Areny-Plandolit
Located in the town of Ordino the Museu Casa d’Areny-Plandolit is housed in a 17th-century manor house. It belonged to a rich aristocratic family that worked in the iron industry in Andorra. It is possible to admire many collection pieces with objects and furniture of style that will take you back to Andorra two centuries ago.
In the house don’t miss the main hall and the library two incredible rooms with an impressive collection of old books with leather covers.
13. Casa de la Vall (or House of the Valleys)
Built in 1580 the Casa de la Vall was first used as the home of a wealthy family and then as the seat of the Parliament of Andorra (since 1702). On the ground floor is the Tribunal de Corts the only courtroom in the country.
The Sala del Consell upstairs must be one of the most comfortable parliamentary chambers in the world. Inside the Sala del Consell, the Armari de les Set Claus (Seven Keys Cupboard) contains the most important official documents of Andorra. Each of the keys is the property of the parishes of Andorra ensuring security.
The Casa de la Vall can be visited. Free guided tours are available in several languages. However, if you come in the summer remember to book in advance.
How to get to Andorra?
Be careful here there is no port, no train station, and even fewer airports! Only two means of transportation allow you to reach the principality:
By car, it is by the RN20 that you reach the Andorran territory. It takes about 2h 30 from Toulouse, 3h 30 from Montpellier, 2h40 from Barcelona, or 2h15 from Perpignan.
The nearest train stations are “L’Hospitalet-près-l’Andorre” and “La Tour de Carol”. Then, to reach Andorra la Vella, you have to take the shuttle provided for this purpose.
Where to stay in Andorra?
The best way to visit Andorra is to stay in Andorra la Vella and travel from there. The range of accommodations (hotels, B&Bs or Airbnb) and amenities make it much easier. But there are other towns to stay in in Andorra like Canillo and Encamp. To find what you’re looking for don’t hesitate to use a hotel comparator. It will sort out all the offers according to your criteria and your prices.
In general finding accommodation in Andorra will not be complicated. The Principality is used to tourism and therefore offers many options.
You are now ready to visit Andorra. All you need to do is pack your suitcase!