Destination Andorra

This page is divided into to sections. The first section contains general information about Andorra and the secound part contains information about all the cities I have been to.  

General information about Andorra
For 715 years (1278 to 1994), Andorrans lived under a unique co-principality ruled by the French chief of state and the Spanish Bishop of Urgell. This system was modified in 1993, with the titular heads of state retained but the government transformed into a parliamentary democracy. Long isolated and impoverished, Andorra achieved considerable prosperity through its tourist industry after World War II. Many migrant workers (legal and illegal) are attracted to the thriving economy and its lack of income taxes.

Tourism, the mainstay of Andorra's tiny economy, accounts for roughly 80% of GDP. An estimated 9 million tourists visit annually, attracted by Andorra's duty-free status and summer and winter resorts. Andorra's comparative advantage as a tourist destination has eroded recently as the economies of neighboring France and Spain have been opened up, providing broader availability of goods and lower tariffs. The banking sector, with its "tax haven" status, also contributes substantially to Andorra's economy. Agricultural production is limited -- only 2% of the land is arable -- and most food has to be imported. The principal livestock activity is sheep raising. Manufacturing output consists mainly of cigarettes, cigars, and furniture.

There is not much threat from other people in Andorra, but keep safe on mountains. Don't go too high without knowing what you are doing. Drivers are warned to avoid crossing back into France if the Spanish side of the Pyrenees has enjoyed beautiful warm sunshine all day and the road temperatures drop considerably towards the evening - there is danger of black ice from ice melt. The weather in the French Pyrenees is frequently vastly different than that of Andorra and the Spanish Pyrenees. Stay overnight if necessary, as cold morning temperatures are more apparent and less treacherous than sudden evening icing.

Travel to Andorra
Due mainly to the mountainous nature of Andorra, there is only one road entering Andorra from France and only one widely-used road entering Andorra from Spain. Almost all entry into the country happens at one of these two points.

Andorra is not a member of the EU, EEA or Schengen Area. However, Andorra is a member of the EU Customs Union and is treated as an EU member for trade in manufactured goods (no tariffs) and as a non-EU member for agricultural products.

Andorra has no visa requirements and requires only a passport or European Union national identity card for entrance. However, in practice, as entry is only possible through Schengen countries, one must satisfy the conditions of entry into Schengen. Visitors from outside the EU should note that, as Andorra is not a Schengen member, exiting France or Spain into Andorra will (theoretically) terminate a single-entry visa. In practice, though, immigration does not enforce this, seeing as one must re-enter the Schengen Area in order to travel onwards.

There are no airports in Andorra. There are no train lines or stations in Andorra, and none close to the Spanish border.

From France there is a coach service from Toulouse, Andbus, from the bus station adjacent to Toulouse Matabiau train station and from the Toulouse–Blagnac airport. It is 35 euro one way or 65 for a round trip. The entire trip takes 3 1/2 hours, leaving you just one hour in Andorra la Vella if you decide do a day trip. Arrive at least 15 minutes prior to scheduled departure as the driver will leave once everyone who was waiting has boarded. Andbus is easily identified by its name in large letters on the side. Tickets can be purchased online, at the ticket counter in the bus station (closed on holidays!), or you can pay the driver directly. The bus stop at the Toulouse airport is close to where the fire truck is parked. A second coach service operates via L'Hospitalet and La Tour de Carol.

From Spain, coaches to Andorra can be caught from a variety of locations, such as Barcelona, Madrid, Malaga, Lleida and Valencia. There are at least two bus companies offering daily service from the Barcelona airport. Eurolines departs from outside the door of Terminal B, but you must be early and quick because the driver has a habit of arriving early and driving off if no one is there. Also, you don't pay for the ticket at the airport, but rather have to travel to the Barcelona Sants and get off there to buy a ticket. Service is slow. One should also remember that one will need to show one's passport here. Trip time is about 3.5 to 4 hours.

Travelling within Andorra
There are 8 main bus lines ('linies') and all of them pass through Andorra La Vella. The fare is anything from €1.20 to two or three euros depending on how far you are going. Drivers will provide change. For the towns nearest to Andorra La Vella, the service is very regular, and as frequent as every 10 minutes during the day. If you are traveling to outlying rural places like Canolic, there are only 2 or 3 buses per day.

Roads in Andorra are generally of a good quality. Entering on the main road from the Spanish side is a relatively straightforward drive; however, entering from France is a more stressful affair involving many hairpin bends. Border control officers at both sides are generally fine. Entering Andorra, you generally do not need to even stop, but you must slow down and be prepared to stop if it's requested. When leaving Andorra, you must stop and be prepared for delays during busy times.

Places to sleep 
There are many types of tourist accommodation, ranging from hotels, pensions and rented villas. You may use i.e. hotels.combooking.com or hostelworld.com to find somewhere to sleep. If you want to rent a private home Airbnb.com is somewhere you could check out.

Money and banking
Andorra has the Euro as its sole currency along with 24 other countries that use this common European money. One euro is divided into 100 cents. While each official euro member (as well as Monaco, San Marino and Vatican) issues its own coins with a unique obverse, the reverse, as well as all bank notes, look the same throughout the eurozone. Every coin is legal tender in any of the eurozone countries.

ATMs are widely available throughout Andorra.

Vaccine and health 
If you live in another country that is member of the European Union be sure to bring your European Health Insurance Card​​​​​​​ along with your travel insurance.

Visa 
Andorra is a member of the Schengen Agreement and there are no border controls between countries that have signed and implemented the treaty. Likewise, a visa granted for any Schengen member is valid in all other countries that have signed and implemented the treaty. But be careful: not all EU members have signed the Schengen treaty, and not all Schengen members are part of the European Union. Airports in Europe are thus divided into "Schengen" and "non-Schengen" sections, which effectively act like "domestic" and "international" sections elsewhere. If you are flying from outside Europe into one Schengen country and continuing to another, you will clear Immigration and Customs at the first country and then continue to your destination with no further checks. Travel between a Schengen member and a non-Schengen country will result in the normal border checks. Note that regardless of whether you are travelling within the Schengen area or not, many airlines will still insist on seeing your ID card or passport. 

Crime 
Andorra is often considered as one of the safest countries in the world, and Andorra La Vella one of the safest European cities. The city population approximates 20,000 people, and there is a highly effective police force in the city. The number of armed robberies in the city amounted to 1 in 2015.

Places I have been to in Andorra
Andorra la Vella is the capital in Andorra. The nature in Andorra is amazing and I have not been to many places with such magnificent nature. This is because it is situated in the eastern part of the Pyrenees mountain range. Andorra is looked upon as a "tax free heaven" but during my visit I discovered that it was not as cheap as I thought it would be. When I was in Andorra I where looking for Dior aftershave which turned out to be 20 Euro cheaper on the airport in Lisbon than in Andorra. If you have planned to do some tax free shopping I recomend you not to be uncritical of what you buy. The only way to visit Andorra is by bus or car. If you are going to travel by bus from Spain you have to travel from Lleida or Barcelona. You may find the timetable at the homepage of Alsa.