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10 Interesting Facts About Andorra
April 28, 2024

10 Interesting Facts About Andorra

Quick facts about Andorra:

  • Population: Approximately 80,000 people.
  • Capital: Andorra la Vella.
  • Official Language: Catalan.
  • Currency: Euro (EUR).
  • Government: Parliamentary co-principality.
  • Major Religion: Roman Catholicism, with a small Muslim minority.
  • Geography: Located in the eastern Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain, known for its rugged landscapes, ski resorts, and duty-free shopping.

Fact 1: Andorra has the highest capital city in Europe

Andorra la Vella, the capital city of Andorra, holds the distinction of being the highest capital city in Europe. Situated in the eastern Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain, Andorra la Vella is located at an elevation of approximately 1,023 meters (3,356 feet) above sea level.

Jorge Franganillo, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Fact 2: Andorra does not have an airport

Travelers typically reach Andorra by flying into nearby airports in Spain or France and then traveling to Andorra by road. The closest airports to Andorra are located in cities such as Barcelona and Toulouse.

The lack of an airport in Andorra is due to the country’s mountainous terrain and limited space for infrastructure development. While there have been discussions and proposals in the past to build an airport in Andorra, logistical and environmental challenges have posed significant obstacles to such plans.

As a result, traveling to Andorra usually involves accessing the country via road transportation, either by car, bus, or shuttle services from nearby airports or cities.

Note: Make sure here that you do not need an International Driver’s License in Andorra to rent and drive a car.

Fact 3: Andorra has a large number of ski slopes

Andorra is known for its extensive ski resorts and numerous ski slopes, making it a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts. Despite being a small country, Andorra boasts several ski resorts scattered throughout its mountainous terrain.

Some of the most renowned ski resorts in Andorra include Grandvalira, Vallnord, and Ordino ArcalĂ­s. These resorts offer a wide range of ski slopes catering to all skill levels, from beginner to advanced, as well as facilities for snowboarding, snowshoeing, and other winter activities.

Fact 4: Andorra is the only co-principality in the world

The principality of Andorra is unique in that it is jointly ruled by two co-princes: the President of France and the Bishop of Urgell, a diocese in Catalonia, Spain.

This arrangement dates back to the Middle Ages when Andorra was established as a sovereign entity under the feudal system. Over the centuries, the co-princes have retained their ceremonial roles in Andorran governance, although the country has also developed its own parliamentary system and constitution.

The co-princes of Andorra have traditionally played a symbolic and ceremonial role in the principality’s affairs, with the day-to-day administration of the country overseen by a democratically elected government. However, the co-princes still participate in certain ceremonial events and have the power to veto certain decisions affecting the principality.

Fact 5: Andorra has a large number of trails for trekking

Andorra’s mountainous terrain and scenic landscapes make it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts, including hikers and trekkers. The country offers a vast network of hiking trails that cater to a range of skill levels, from leisurely strolls to challenging mountain treks.

Andorra’s trails traverse diverse environments, including lush valleys, alpine meadows, rugged peaks, and pristine lakes, providing hikers with stunning views and opportunities to explore the country’s natural beauty. Many trails are well-marked and maintained, making them accessible to visitors of all ages and abilities.

Fact 6: Andorra has no army and has not been involved in wars for a long time

Andorra is one of the few countries in the world that does not have its own standing army. Instead, the security and defense of Andorra are the responsibility of neighboring countries, primarily France and Spain, with whom Andorra maintains friendly relations.

Andorra has historically been a neutral country and has not been involved in wars or armed conflicts for centuries. The country’s strategic location in the Pyrenees mountains and its small size have contributed to its status as a peaceful and stable nation.

Fact 7: A fire festival is being held in Andorra

Andorra is known for its traditional festivals and cultural celebrations, including the popular fire festival known as “Festa Major d’Andorra la Vella.” This festival typically takes place in late June or early July and is celebrated in Andorra la Vella, the capital city of Andorra.

During the Festa Major, locals and visitors gather to enjoy music, dance, street performances, and traditional food and drinks. One of the highlights of the festival is the procession of “falles,” which are large sculptures made of wood and other materials. These falles are adorned with fireworks and set ablaze in a spectacular display of light and fire.

AndyScott, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Fact 8: Andorra is not part of the European Union

While Andorra is located in Europe, it is considered a sovereign microstate and has chosen not to join the EU. Instead, Andorra maintains a special relationship with the EU through various agreements and treaties.

Despite not being an EU member, Andorra has a customs union and free trade agreement with the EU, which allows for the free movement of goods between Andorra and EU member states. Additionally, Andorra uses the euro as its official currency, although it is not a member of the Eurozone.

Fact 9: One of the largest thermal spas in Europe is located in Andorra

Caldea is one of the largest thermal spas in Europe and is located in the principality of Andorra. Caldea is situated in the town of Escaldes-Engordany, near the capital city of Andorra la Vella.

Caldea offers a variety of thermal baths, pools, saunas, and relaxation areas, all fed by natural thermal springs. The spa complex is known for its modern architecture, with its striking glass pyramid design standing out against the surrounding mountain landscape.

Fact 10: Andorrans life expectancy is one of the highest in the world

Andorra consistently ranks among the countries with the highest life expectancy in the world. As of my last update, the life expectancy in Andorra is around 83 years, which is notably high compared to global averages.

Several factors contribute to Andorra’s high life expectancy, including access to quality healthcare, a high standard of living, a clean and healthy environment, and a generally active and health-conscious population. Additionally, Andorra’s mountainous terrain and outdoor lifestyle may contribute to residents’ overall health and well-being.

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