Those who are only in transit or want to take advantage of the favourable tax conditions of Andorra clearly make the wrong decision. The small state in a high valley of the Pyrenees between Spain and France has much more to offer. Not only the skiing areas – especially Grandvalira – enjoy an excellent reputation. Also climbers, mountain bikers and hikers find excellent conditions.
It takes just one hour by car from the border with France in the east to the Spanish border. With an area of 468 km² Andorra belongs to the dwarf states of Europe. But the vertical extension is even bigger: the state extends between 840 and 2942 m height, 65 peaks overhang the 2000 m border.
The biggest part of the population is settled in the main valley of Andorra, which is crossed by the river Gran Valira. The capital Andorra la Vella is also located there. The official language of the state is Catalan.
Nature lovers explore the country on the well marked hiking trails. Numerous long-distance hiking trails, such as the cross-border Camino del Reencuentro or the Coronallacs lead through Andorra. If you are interested in the culture of the country, follow the Route Hábitat Rural (Rural Habitat), the Ruta del Hierro (Iron Route) or the Route Camino Hidroeléctrico de Engolasters (Hydroelectric Route of Engolasters).
About 1500 species of flora and fauna are waiting to be discovered in Andorra. The white narcissus is the national flower of the small principality. Also medicinal plants (strawberry and holly), mushrooms (steep mushroom, irritable mushroom and field dizzy spear) and a large number of trees and bushes, such as hazel and boxwood can be found here in abundance.
Animals such as chamois, marmots, Aurelios mountain lizards, squirrels, wild boars, and birds of prey such as the lammergeier also enjoy the varied nature. These animal species are considered a biological heritage in Andorra and are protected in various hunting and fishing grounds and in nature parks.
Unique are also the crystal clear mountain lakes in and around Andorra. Intrepid water rats venture into the ice-cold water of the crystal clear mountain lakes. With an area of 21.3 hectares, the lake Juclà is the largest in Andorra and also for water-shy hikers a worthwhile destination.
In the Vallnord area, mountain bikers are transported to the top station in summer and then boarded down into the valley. And there is certainly no lack of opportunities for climbers in Andorra. The Vía Ferrata del Roc d'Esquers, the Vía Ferrata Sant Vicenç d'Enclar and the Directíssima del Roc del Quer are just a few examples of the excellent fixed rope routes.
If, in addition to so much activity and movement, you want to immerse yourself in the centuries-old traditions of the Pyrenean state, visit the numerous fiestas and celebrations.
Every last Saturday in May, the Aplec de Canólich is held in the municipality of Sant Juliá de Lória. Besides the solemn mass, the famous Canólich bread is distributed and colourful fireworks light up the night sky.
The theme of fire is also the focus of the Fallaires in the capital Andorra la Vella. To celebrate the night of St. John and the summer solstice, it is a tradition in Andorra to light torches on June 23rd and to wave them dizzyingly until big fireballs are created.
The most important festival in the principality is then the day of the Meritxell on the 8th of September.