You spent a full day browsing a shop after the other, with a woman with a program, and two children with the opposite one, none of them matching yours. Hell!
The shops close, and the family gets back to harmony, returning to nature and the peace of vacation.
Shopping is good, because it has to end.
Because Andorra was a tax free area, so everything is more cheaper than other place in Europe, so mostly people come here for shopping.... And I found it that yes it's more cheaper than in France and Spain.... You can around for shopping in Andorra de la Vella or in Pas de la Casa, the small border city inside Andorra.
In Andorra there are a lot of shop that sell tobacco and liquor, but when you return to Spain or French the police check what you've buy in Andorra. You must hide the cigarette or the bottle in your baggages but the baggages must be in disorder cause when the policeman say you open the baggage car he see the chaos and say: "Good, you can go on..." Call me lucky but with my face I can go everywhere without suspect... : ) : P
Driving to Andorra in 1994 I was attacked by numerous advertisings which reminded me many times that Andorra was a tax free area. Indeed, it is currently a prosperous country mainly because of tourism and its status as a tax haven. Andorra is not a full member of the European Union, but enjoys a special relationship with it, such as being treated as an EU member for trade in manufactured goods (no tariffs) and as a non-EU member for agricultural products. Andorra has no own currency. It uses euros.
I checked a few various shops starting from this "perfumeria" located by main highway at the French border crossing point. Well, the prices were a bit (maybe 10%) lower than I used to see in my coutry that time. Later on Urszula was doing window shopping in Andorra la Vella along main through street.
What to buy: Urszula found some great looking shoes and surely her most wanted caps/huts.
What to pay: That time everything was far too expensive for us although less expensive than in France or Spain. Especially electronics, watches and traditionally high taxed in Europe parfumes, booze, cigarettes and gas/petrol may be still a bit less expensive.
Andorra is littered with shops selling everything from perfume to electronics to alcohol and tobacco. The reason for this is that the whole country advertises itself as a duty-free shopping haven. As you enter the country you see mini-malls almost instantly. I noticed that a lot of the businesses that usually accompany shopping, like restaurants and hairdressers aren't really to be seen, so I would have to say there is a very strong emphasis on the actual shopping rather than the shopping experience. There is also a strong emphasis on luxury goods over consumer goods.
What to buy: To be honest, I didn't think coming here would save you a lot of money unlesss you really intended to spend a lot of money. Things are moderately cheaper than in Spain, but still aren't as cheap as what we can get them for in the States. If you intend to buy quite a bit, the savings will add up, but I wouldn't come here to shop for more than one or two items. Gasoline is much cheaper though.
What to pay: European prices minus a little bit.
This is a large shop that specializes in cheese. The picture shows one large tub of many, which features Spanish cheeses (tellingly in Catalan). Other tubs have Dutch, Catalan, French, and Italian cheeses as well as a miscellaneous section.
You can buy local Andorran cheeses, most of which seem to be made from goat's milk (think "capra" if you're having language issues and you very well might) because of the mountains. The Andorran cheeses i tried were quite smoothe, very flavorful, and a real treat.
What to buy: I liked a lot of the cheeses but we only bought a few. Some of the local Andorran cheeses came home with us as gifts
What to pay: Premium price
Pas de la Casa is a small border village just inside Andorra. It offers duty free good particularly perfume / after shave, alcohol and cigarettes, leather / sports goods, electrical and some designer clothes shops.
Its on the French side of Andorra and people form France do some of their shopping here for duty free goods.
A word of warning though cars are searched quite often leaving it so if you are over your allowances there is a good chance of getting caught......
What to buy: mainly alcohol and cigarettes....you know for a healthy life style...all that fresh mountain air ..well you do need an antidote to it !
What makes it special are it's prices.
On repeated visits to Andorra over years for skiing I have consistently found this place to be the cheapest place in town for booze, fags, electical and just about anything else this place sells form umbrellas to snowboards.
If it was a menagarie it would sell everything from Aardvarks to Zygotes.
What to buy: Spirits (especially whiskey) is the obvious choice.
Perfumes are also good value - see other tips.
What to pay: Whiskey can be as low as 3 Euros a bottle - but it's Spanish and on the rough side.
you can definetly get a reasonable bottle for under 10 Euros
Right when you get in from Barcelona border it is the first stop... or the last depending if you want to buy when you get in to the country or when you get out....
Punt de Trobada is like a department store, it has everything for a good price.
For hard drinker this is the place, but remember police might stop you when you get out... ask in the stores.
For cheese lovers too.
It used to be a place to go for shoping as everything used to have a great price, actually electronics were so cheap. Today prices are very similar everywhere I mean between Spain and Andorra, may be if you come from other countries you find Andorra cheaper.
When I go there I buy beers and food as I find stuff it is so hard to find in Spain.
Be carfull when you buy alcohol and cigarrets, you should declare in the border, otherwise......
This unique store located in El-Serrat Canillo should be a must-visit during your stay in Andorra. It's a lot of fun. Here you can sample many delicious flavored whiskeys which are distilled specially by the store. Delicious slices of hams and salchichon (salamis) are generously offered as you sample the liquours. The store stocks many other gourmet items--which can also be sampled-- including Spanish sweets such as Turron--a kind of nougat made from nuts and honey. Upstairs you can browse kitchen and other housewares.
What to buy: Crema Catalana and Ermita--two distinct liquours of Catalan Andorra. The first is an eggnog-like potion and the second a honey-whiskey which is served up warm. Yummy! Most of the bodega's liquours have these rock-candy-like formations in each bottle, making them very attractive item to give as gifts.
What to buy: When buying Whisky in Andorra be very careful to see where it is made.
Sometimes bottle can look very "Scottish" with the logo and typeface used but the stuff inside has never been near Scotland in it's life.
The Same applies to other drinks like Gin , but, the the quality is usually not quite so distinguishable from the real stuff.
What to pay: very variable - don't buy too cheap !
This chain seems to be everywhere in Andorra. They actually have about 30 outlets.
Prices are very similar or the same in each store but what differs is the "freebies" they give away. Last time, in february, I received a BOSS suit holder just for one purchase of aftershave.
What to buy: Prices here are better than duty free - so buy up perfume / beauty sets for yourself and for gifts.
What to pay: Save about 40% compared to UK high-street prices
The special thing in Andorra is that in most places you can bargain at the price, and you can get it at almost half the price..... of course i am not talking about the food shops, or restaurants
What to buy: Cigarettes are at a half price than in France, at the electronocs you can bargain, so eveything is indicated....
In 1991 the sole purpose of our visit was duty free booze as Andorra was a tax haven then, I wonder if it still is?
Salvia hotel is very good located. Even the hotel is a 3 star the looby seems a 4 or 5 star....more
Carretera General d'Arinsal, Arinsal, AD400, Andorra
Good for: Solo
My friends, passionate skiers, following my suggestion went to Andorra for skiing in February 2006....more