The Principality of Andorra, in the French-Spanish Pyrenees, is one of the smallest countries in Europe. Here’s where to stay in Andorra!
Andorra – known as Principat d’Andorra in Catalan – is a state of 468 km² perched in the Pyrenees between France and Spain, with an estimated population of 85,458 inhabitants in 2014. Andorra la Vella, situated at an altitude of 1,023 meters, is Europe’s highest capital. Thanks to its advantageous tax system, Andorra has become a significant tourist destination. Every year, nearly ten million visitors come here to purchase tax-free products such as alcohol, tobacco, cosmetics, perfumes, local delicacies, and clothing at reduced prices. Visitors also come to Andorra to enjoy activities such as hiking, skiing, and mountain biking. Andorra has a wide range of available accommodation options, at affordable rates. For example, hotel rates are around €30 per night. In short, you won’t have trouble finding a place to stay in Andorra.
Andorra is home to nine main towns: Andorra la Vella, Escaldes-Endordany, Encamp, La Massana, Sant Julià de Lòria, Canillo, Ordino, Pas de la Case, and Soldeu. Discover the best places to stay in Andorra.
Andorra la Vella and Les Escaldes
The highest capital of Europe, Andorra la Vella, is perched at an altitude of 1,013 meters and has a population of 22,615. The largest city in the country, it has the best offer for accommodation which is we recommend you stay in Andorra la Vella. The area near the Central Park, south of the city: along Meritxell and Carlemany avenues, is full of restaurants and bars, shopping centers, shops of all kinds, museums and, as we mentionned, hotels. Stay in Andorra la Vella to discover the city’s rich historical heritage set amidst majestic mountain landscapes. On its southern side, the Madriu-Perafita-Claror valley offers beautiful hikes.
Canillo is home to 4,826 inhabitants, referred to as the Canillencs. Located at an altitude of 1,530 meters and stretching over 121 km², Canillo is situated in the north-central part of Andorra. Although Canillo’s climate is colder and drier than elsewhere in Andorra, the town is particularly attractive during wintertime and its 5 months of snow-covered landscapes. With more than twenty hotels, Canillo is a convenient place to stay in Andorra. You’ll find many bars and restaurants lining the main road, Avenue Sant Joan de Caselles.
Good weather permitting, you can stay at the Casal camping ground, east of the city, or Santa Creu camping ground on the south shore of the river. Canillo’s city center boasts a beautiful historic and cultural heritage. Be sure to visit the sanctuary of Our Lady of Meritxell, the Ice Palace of Andorra, the church of Sant Joan de Caselles (an emblem of Catalan Romanesque art), and the church of Sant Serni. Take advantage of this opportunity to hike across the Incles Valley. When looking for a place to stay in Canillo, keep in mind that the town is spread out across a vast area so pay attention the precise location.
With 13,521 inhabitants, Encamp is the third largest town in Andorra. Stay in the city center if you want to access everything on foot. Several hotels are located along the river. Alternatively, you’ll find many homestay accommodation options available via Airbnb, for example. Many sports activities await visitors, including climbing and hiking in the high mountain lakes of Engolasters, Illa, and Montmalús) as well as skiing, starting from the slopes of El Pas de la Casa and Grau Roig.
Make sure to take the Funitel, one of Europe’s longest cable cars, more than 6200 meters long. Discover Encamp’s historic Romanesque buildings, including the traditional house Casa Cristo or the Romanesque church of Les Bons. Finally, if you decide to stay in Encamp, don’t miss a visit to Parc del Prat Gran.
Le pas de la Case
The ski resort, town, and mountain pass of El Pas de la Casa (Le Pas de la Case in French) literally translates as “the pass of the hut” and refers to the fact that until the early twentieth century there was only a single shepherd’s hut overlooking the pass. With a population of 2,996 inhabitants, and at an elevation of 2,408 meters, the pass is the only road crossing point in Andorra between France and Spain. Tourists come here mainly to purchase tax-free products at low prices compared to France and Spain. The pass sits close to the resort of Grandvalira, the largest resort in southern Europe, offering 210 kilometers of skiable slopes, i.e., 118 slopes for all levels. If you like skiing, head for Grandvalira!
If others tell you that the best ski slopes can only be found in Courchevel, Les Arcs, or Megève in the Alps, they probably haven’t been to the Pyrenees! Staying at Le Pas de la Case allows you to go hiking towards Lake Abelletes – or the pond of Font-Negre – or Grau Roig, particularly around Pessons Lake and its corrie of the same name (6-7 hours of hiking!), boasting magnificent natural scenery as far as the eye can see.
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