Well, my weekend trip to Andorra. However, it could be your next destination. You see, Andorra is the type of location that tends to go unnoticed when it really shouldn’t. When you think about it, the country literally covers any type of travel style. Want winter sports? Andorra. Want shopping? Andorra. Want hikes? Andorra. Want a quick weekend trip when in Spain or France? Andorra. See what I mean. I fall into the final category of those examples, the weekend break option. Let me walk you through 48 hours in Andorra, and hopefully convince you to check out this gem.
Andorra has no airport, unsurprisingly as the place is tiny. That’s the first thing you should know. Although, don’t let that put you off. The easiest way to visit Andorra is driving from Spain or France, but buses are an alternative if needed. I set off from Figueres around 5:30 am and arrived in Andorra three hours later. Not too bad. From Barcelona, you’re looking at a shorter distance of 2.5 hours. Give or take a few minutes.
Regardless of your starting point, you’ll want to switch off mobile data when approaching border control. Andorra isn’t included in the EU data roaming packages provided by many mobile networks. Using O2 as an example, which is my network, I was quoted 7.20/MB whilst in Andorra. Yikes. Your phone service will automatically pick up the new zone so no, you can’t sneakily get away with it. This can be quite the inconvenience, but public WIFI didn’t let me down. If you need help though, don’t worry. Whilst Catalan is the official language, Spanish and French are heavily spoken. You’d also get by with English. Andorra is more than prepared for tourism all year round.
Adventuring Andorra La Vella
Andorra La Vella is what you’d recognise as the capital. One indicator is the shopping presence. There is no other way to put it than a hub for duty-free goods. In fact, I was told by a local that this is a real pull factor for many Spanish content creators who’ve relocated as a result. So, what types of savings are we talking? After spending hours roaming the high-street, known as ‘The Shopping Mile’, the pricing differences between Andorra and Spain became relatively obvious. In the best way possible.
When it comes to getting the most from your money, it seemed that perfumes consistently fell into the category of best savings. For something comparable to ‘Sephora’, or ‘Boots’ for my UK readers, I’d recommend visiting a chain known as ‘Júlia’. You’ll find several in Andorra, but the most impressive is ‘Centre Júlia’ which contains a perfume museum, hair salon AND café. Go wild. Another store within close proximity would be ‘E.Leclerc Hiper Andorra’. Essentially, it’s a supermarket but the perfect place to stock up on snacks, alcohol, homeware, and souvenirs. You’ll never return to overpriced stalls for the same item.
Not in the mood to shop? That’s okay. Andorra La Vella certainly has various points of interest to admire. One being the notorious ‘Dalí’ melting clock sculpture. Another being the ‘Andorra La Vella’ bridge located directly behind. However, Andorra is a location which encourages own discovery. Every corner you turn will bring you into cobbled pavements, mountainous open spaces, and independent offerings. The nicest part? It’s virtually impossible to get lost in the city. For someone like myself, meaning zero orientation skills, even you’d manage to find your way around. Without mobile data too, may I add. Andorra La Vella seems to loop round meaning you’re connected back to main routes smoothly.
Feeling hungry from all that exploring? Let’s talk food. One thing which instantly struck me was how difficult it was to find an evening restaurant that wasn’t booked up. Seriously, I made a very real joke on Twitter that I found a PS5 in a shop window before I found an unreserved table. Bearing in mind, the PS5 is like gold dust to track down. However, I do have a few suggestions for you if you plan on booking in advance. ‘CAN BENET’ is a fantastic option for local food, a spot particularly praised for meat and seafood. Another worthy option is ‘RESTAURANT EL CROSTÓ’ for a moderately priced meal. The cosy atmosphere will help seal the deal if the menu alone doesn’t, but the outstanding reviews will tempt you before even browsing inside. Need something fancy? Go to ‘EL DIAMANT’. You’re guaranteed a complete gastronomic experience created by Nandu Jubany, a respected Catalan chef. Yes, this restaurant is more expensive but far less than you’d imagine for something of this standard.
Afternoon At Pas De La Casa
Now, if you’re coming to Andorra for winter sports then ‘Pas De La Casa’ is excellent, due to being the highest resort found in the Pyrenees. Heck, even if you aren’t venturing into the snow directly then add Pas De La Casa to the list. An afternoon of watching those brave enough to ski/snowboard, tucking into fondue and continuing your shopping experience with a range of independent stores sounds pretty damn good. I mean, Pas De La Casa is only around 40 minutes driving from Andorra La Vella, yet this very drive is what makes the journey somewhat remarkable. From gasping at the icicles hanging from the mountains to running through snow on the hills, you’ll be entertained. I’ll attach some of the pictures I took on the sideroads.
So, What Did I Get Up To?
The majority of Saturday morning was spent rummaging through the stores along ‘The Shopping Mile’. With many opening closer to 10 am, I had an hour or so for filming before areas became crowded. It was here I was able to soak up the scenery and experience a slower pace of travel. A sharp contrast from my usual go-go-go mentality. Towards afternoon, I checked into ‘Aston Hotel’, a very basic option but the hotel was bang on the high-street which I needed, then proceeded to souvenir shop. The evening consisted of failing to find a restaurant which wasn’t booked up, before preparing for a drive to Pas De La Casa the following morning. After trying out fondue, which I didn’t really like lol, I got ready for the drive back to Barcelona. Want the tip of all tips? Go through France if intending to head back into Spain. The sights were truly something. Absolutely sensational.
If I haven’t convinced you to visit Andorra in the foreseeable future, I’m hoping you’ve at least added to your bucket-list. It’s time to mark Andorra more prominently on the map.
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Until then, see you in the next post.