For the ski lovers, Andorra allows adding the pleasure of sport with a great shopping activity.
Ski is not exactly my family's sport (neither shopping! - Fernanda apart), so Andorra was only a quick and nice curiosity for a couple of timesRelated to:
- Skiing and Boarding
- Business Travel
- Mountain Climbing
The only UNESCO site in Andorra
In the year 2011 I made a trekking to Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley, the only UNESCO site in Andorra. From Les Escaldes I walked up the mountains for about two hours until I found a path leading to that valley and then penetrated it a few kilometers. When I started to get tired I decided to get down to Les Escaldes in order not to miss my bus back to Barcelona, in Spain.Related to:
- Mountain Climbing
- Hiking and Walking
Andorra is a world famous shopping haven. Expect to pay at least 20% - 30% less than in France or Spain for electronic goods, cameras, cosmetics and alcohol. The long opening hours and sheer amount of shops are very conducive to spending!
Walking in Nature
We found a great walking and jogging place in Encamp, from the city we drive to the middle of the mountain, and then we must continuous by foot 3 km to the lake on the mountain. on the way we can see manything, such as the view of the snow mountain and the city in the valley, the nature around and 2 small waterfall with cold water.
Santa Eulàlia d'Encamp Church
Lets we go out from capital city, now we are in Encamp, this city in the valley like Andorra la Vella, and so many nature, art and old building we can fine it here.
1st we look at the Santa Eulàlia d'Encamp Church, the Romanesque parish church still preserves part of its original architecture. The building was extended and refurbished on several occasions during the 17th and 20th centuries. The 23-metre belfry is the tallest Lombard-style Romanesque tower in the country and was built after the church, towards the second half of the 11th century.
Eglise Sant Pere Màrtir
This church located just in the center shopping area, busy with all the cars passing and people around for shopping.
This church was designed by the architect Josep Danés and dedicated to fullers. It is testimony to the importance of the textiles sector to the parish. Construction was begun in 1956. It is thought that the main altarpiece was paid for with a contribution from the Association of Fullers and Weavers. The church, which is in the neo-Romanesque style with a bell tower, is built from large pieces of granite.
On the façade reliefs by the sculptor Sergi Mas depicting the Beatitudes can be seen and, underneath the portico, there are ceramics by the same artist. There is also an Immaculate Virgin by the sculptor Josep Viladomat, who also created the Piety that is kept inside the church. On 4 June 1981, Bishop Joan Martí Alanis baptised the church’s three bells: Maria, Anna and Jacoba.
Casa de la Vall
This building located in the old town of capital city.
Originally built as a wealthy family home in 1580, Casa de la Vall was bought by the General Council in 1702 and is now the seat of the Andorran Parliament. Situated in the old heart of Andorra la Vella, its architecture includes both civil and military elements. Inside there is an interesting cupboard with seven keys which once held the most important national documents. The cupboard could only be opened by the simultaneous presence of councillors from each of the seven constituencies in the country. There is also a dormitory and a kitchen with magnificent 16th century murals. The Sala de la Justicia is the only courtroom in the whole country and the Sala del Consell is where the parliament still assembles.
Sant Esteve Church
The church is located in the old town of the capital with its examples of traditional architecture and unique architectural features in granite. A building with Romanesque origins ( 12th century) having undergone major alterations in the 20th century. The Romanesque semicircular apse has been preserved which showed Romanesque mural paintings that are presently shared between the National Art Museum of Catalonia and two private collections.
Historical museum - see the old Andorra
Areny-Plandolit Museum - this is a lovely little place I first visited about 10 years ago and ended spending the evening with the rather attractive curator who introduced me to real Andorran nightlife. I suspect she has moved on since !
This somewhat flowery prose is not mine (I've not gone soft) but comes from the Museum's websit :
This museum presents an authentic voyage into the past. The house recreates the different generations of the Areny-Plandolit family. More than three centuries of history are present, with the preservation of all sorts of period details and objects. The keystone of the doorway dates from 1633, but the most ancient part of the building is a beam from 1613.
At the museum, you can see objects of ethnographic value and many of the daily tools used in Andorra during the 18th and 19th centuries. A photographic laboratory from the turn of the century is also reproduced with period objects.
The house has three floors: the cellars, firewood storage area and the stables are on the ground floor. At the entrance, we can see some harnesses and ladies' side saddles. In the cellar "of the barrels", we discover evidence of the existence of vineyards and winemakers in Andorra in the past.
The cellar also contains some drums used to transport Spanish olive oil during the Civil War.
On the first floor are: the dining room, kitchen, library, bedrooms, chapel, the arms room and the drawing room.
Very interesting and valuable objects can be viewed in this museum, such as two sets of porcelain crockery, diverse fencing and boxing equipment, and many Modernist (Spanish Art Nouveau) elements (such as furniture and lamps).
On the walls we can admire the portraits of family members, such as that of the Baron of Senaller, Sir Guillem d'Areny-Plandolit, "ombudsman" of Andorra in the mid-ninteenth century and one of the promotors of the New Reform of 1866.
Dos'nt sound overly thrilling but it dos'nt take long to look round and is a pleasant diversion from shopping if the weather is none to good.Related to:
- Museum Visits
Visit and Stay at Ordino
Ordino is a fantastic Andorran town that has retained its charm and character. Most of the buildings are made from the lovely local stone and the town is near skifields and tons of walking tracks.
The town itself has enough cafes, bars and shops to keep you amused and there are quite a few local sights to take in. Good hotel accommodation choice is everywhere and most things are way less than what you pay in France and Spain.
Enjoy the snow - Disfrutar la nieve
If we briefly consider the strongest points of Andorra we can sum them up in the following thing to do tips, as a general view of the whole country, paying more attention of what to do in the different city pages.
In my opinion, the main features are its snowed landscapes. You can enjoy dozens of ski resorts with full of activities, like alpin ski, guided strolls, construction of igloos, etc.
What to do in Andorra
Although Andorra is a very small country there are a lot of things to do. It's a touristic place and in the height of the season it is crowded. I visited Andorra La Vella and Pas de la Casa in winter and I liked both places.
Andorra la Vella is a good city to go to with your family, your friends or your partner. It isn't very cold, it's full of people (mainly at night) and there are lots of shops, restaurants pubs,etc. If you like shopping, as I've just said, you will find many shops and normally prices are a bit lower than in the mayority of the other European countries. You can also go out with your friends and choose among many bars, most of which are in the same place as the shops. If you prefer going out for a quiet lunch or dinner you will able to find places such as Kentucky Fried Chicken, pizza places, low-end restaurants or high-endl restaurants.
Pas de la Casa is a town in the mountains very near to France. It isn't very big but it accomodates lots of skiers and snowboarders in winter. There are also lots of shops, bars and restaurants and it also has a very active nightlife, with discos and pubs. The main activity you can do here is skiing, cause it has big ski slopes and also a snowpark. The only disadvantage is that it is very cold in the winter at night.Related to:
- Family Travel
- Skiing and Boarding
Stop in Pas de la Casa
Driving from France I passed through the highest pass in the Pyreneen Mountains (see my off the beaten path tip) I drove down to the first community in Andorra called Pas de la Casa which was full of numerous concrete hotels and pensions and didn't look especially great at first sight.
However, the Pic Blanc (2705 m; 8875 ft) mountain covered by numerous ski lifts looked great. Pas de la Casa has the biggest ski area and highest lift-served terrain in Andorra. Now, it's linked with Soldeu, 14 km away by road.
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
Stop in Encamp
I stopped in a little (pop. 13,000) town of Encamp in geographical center of Andorra about 6 km from Andorra la Vella. Encamp is located at height of about 1,300 m and offers breathtaking views over surrounding mountains. Among narrow streets and passages I have found numerous - typical for the Pyrenees - old houses with walls made of natural stones and rocks. A little church in my picture - with typical for Spain single bell hang above the front entrance - church of Saint Michael and Saint John, really amazed me.
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
Andorra la Vella
I surelly stopped in the capital city of Andorra called Andorra la Vella. Well, at first I saw only busy and noisy traffic on main streets and numerous banks and shops advertising themselves as duty free shops. There were policewomen costumed in pretty red uniforms on a few main intersections.
During my walk around the city I discovered except usual in Andorra mountain sceneries a few more small things worth to see. It includes a stone parish church (of St. Stephen; Iglesia de Sant Esteve) built in a Romanesque style in the 12th Century with a monument to a bishop and amazing stone houses hanging on steep rocks.
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
I am sorry, I do not have/find any Eureka pic, but do not worry, it is ok I can describe it in few...more
My friends, passionate skiers, following my suggestion went to Andorra for skiing in February 2006....more
Carretera General d'Arinsal, Arinsal, AD400, Andorra
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