"At 181 square miles, the..." Andorra Favorite Tip by James63

Andorra General: 36 reviews and 32 photos

Favorite thing: At 181 square miles, the independent Principality of Andorra is the largest of Europe's mini-states, (not counting Luxembourg), and also in may ways its most unique. In actuality a co-principality in which the President of France and Spain's Roman Catholic Bishop of Urgel serve as co-princes, or joint ceremonial heads of state with a role analagous to the British Queen's role in Canada, Andorra stayed neutral in two world wars and the Spanish Civil War and emerged as a mountaintop paradise ironically dotted with shopping malls and traffic jams. The capital and largest city of Andorra La Vella has about all the high end shopping that the dedicated consumer could pray for. For the most part, though, these high end shops are located in disappointingly modern buildings, with the only real romanesque architecture to be found in the city being located in the Barri Antic, or old town. Here you'll find the parliament, called the Casa de Vall, and the main catholic church, as well as a few scenic spots. Both the parliament and the church are open to tours and are worth visiting. However, even the Barri Antic area is not extensive, and for the traveller who wants to get a better feel for Andorran history and architecture, the best bet is to travel to the picturesque towns further north and into the mountains, especially Ordino, which has managed to preserve a more authentic feel while still leaving room for shopping, museums and ski resorts. Beyond that, a visit to Andorra's many churches, some dating back as far as the 1100's, and to its glorious mountains, glacial lakes and streams, is a tonic for the soul. Unless you are a skiier or a manic shopper, this is the Andorra that most tourists long to see.

Review Helpfulness: 1.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Aug 26, 2002
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