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Andorra, squeezed tight in the heart of the Pyrenees by her infinitely bigger brothers, France and Spain, shouts louder than her minuscule size (a mere 181 square miles) might suggest. Once the domain of shepherds and smugglers, nowadays she pulls in over 10 million visitors each year. They come to ski in winter and walk her valleys and steep hills, once the snows have melted. Grandvalira is significantly the largest ski area in the Pyrenees, while Soldeu, at the foot of the slopes, has the country’s wildest après-ski. In summer, once you’ve climbed above the valley bottom (Andorra is simply, delightfully, no more than a couple of valleys ...

Andorra, squeezed tight in the heart of the Pyrenees by her infinitely bigger brothers, France and Spain, shouts louder than her minuscule size (a mere 181 square miles) might suggest. Once the domain of shepherds and smugglers, nowadays she pulls in over 10 million visitors each year. They come to ski in winter and walk her valleys and steep hills, once the snows have melted. Grandvalira is significantly the largest ski area in the Pyrenees, while Soldeu, at the foot of the slopes, has the country’s wildest après-ski. In summer, once you’ve climbed above the valley bottom (Andorra is simply, delightfully, no more than a couple of valleys and the mountains that flank them), you can walk the green tops, almost alone. Down below, visitors also pour in by the busload, year round, to forage for duty free bargains (it’s the ideal place to renew your ski or trekking gear) in the emporia of Andorra la Vella, the country’s capital and only town, or the megastores, seductively perched just the Andorran side of her only two frontier posts.

Miles Roddis
About the Expert

Miles Roddis has written or contributed to more than 50 Lonely Planet titles including country and regional guides to Spain, France, their Mediterranean island offshoots — and little Andorra.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Andorra is a principality located in southwestern Europe, in the eastern Pyrenees mountains and bordered by Spain and France.
  • Language: The official language is Catalan, although Spanish, Portuguese,
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Rainfall

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Mid-January to mid-February for snow sports; mid-June to late-September for summer activities