Andorra – somewhere in the Pyrenees

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Andorra was part of my 2015’s “small European countries extravaganza” tour. Although sharing its existence with France and Spain, Andorra clearly relates much more to its Spanish / Catalan counterpart. That’s pretty clear from the language most of them speak and the overall city lettering. It is a country largely influenced by the winter sports that people can experience in several of its slopes, as it’s situated in the Pyrenees mountain range. Those mountains make it pretty hard to establish an airport there. Train stations are also nonexistent, with the closest one found just outside the French border (north). Your best bets are really to go with a car or a bus, with services running from both nearby countries (and directly from large cities).

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The Pyrenees surround Andorra-la-Vella.

Like in other small countries, the capital of Andorra-la-Vella monopolizes the otherwise peaceful townscape of this state. At least until winter comes of course. Besides that, there’s a short array of other towns that pepper throughout the geography of the country, which offer important culture and history. I was fortunate enough to take part in a half-a-day trip into some of these areas. During that excursion, I mostly appreciated a Tobacco Museum and two centuries-old Romanesque churches. But the official tourism board of the country organizes many other tours suitable for those with more time and more interested in the outdoors. Of personal interest to me was also the presence of many Portuguese people in different services throughout the country. It’s actually the third-speaking language of Andorra, so hurray fellow countrymen!

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The Church of Santa Coloma dates back to the 8th century.

Speaking about the capital now, I really loved the street light human statues in front of the parliament building. Not only that, but the town has other nicely-inserted street art examples too, so be on the lookout for them. Other things that trigger your visual senses are the gray tone of pretty much all of the rooftops in the city and the stone architecture of the facades. Lastly, the Caldea building, that breaks the town’s skyline and represents the pinnacle of wellness tourism of the country.

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The iconic street lamp sculptures of Andorra-la-Vella are called the “7 Poets”.

Other than that though, and socially-speaking, I’d say Andorra-la-Vella is a bit dull, unfortunately. I went in full summer season (September with amazing weather) and there were no signs of any fun and public-oriented activities whatsoever. Then again, maybe it was just bad luck. Still, I believe that my story with Andorra is not yet over. Next time I go, I definitely plan on seeing more of the surrounding towns and countryside, as well as the famous theme park Naturlandia.

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