Andorra, the biggest microstate of Europe, is located in the Eastern Pyrenees nestled between France and Spain. With an average elevation of nearly two thousand metres across the country, it is no surprise that its capital, Andorra la Vella, is the highest capital of Europe, situated at just over a thousand metres above sea level. The main settlements of the country are found in three valleys, which lie in a Y shape with Andorra la Vella at the bottom, Soldeu at the eastern tip, and Arinsal at the western tip.
There is a frequent bus service to and from Barcelona every day, however, no trains operate in the the country. Your best bet is coming here by car, as that gives you access to more isolated locations that are not served by buses; keep in mind that you will need really good driving skills on the steep roads in the mountains, especially in the winter.
Judging from its size, most people will only spend a day in Andorra, but such a short stay will definitely not do justice to this hidden gem of a country. While most tourists do a pit stop in Andorra la Vella before moving on to the neighbouring countries, the capital city is not the most impressive place in itself. The historic centres offers a few nice churches and a couple of tiny museums, but visiting them will not take up more than a few hours at most. The main attraction here is the tax-free shopping, which makes many people drive hours to stock up on cheap booze and cigarettes. Therefore, you might be disappointed to find that the city's skyline is dominated by modern shopping centres and big billboards advertising bargain sales.
However, once you get out of the capital and move in any direction toward the mountains, the nature of this tiny country is guaranteed to blow your mind. The country offers an amazing hiking experience; not only are there various well-maintained and -signposted hiking paths all over the country, there is also a network of twenty-seven mountain huts equipped with bunk beds and a fireplace that are free to use. While some people prefer to do one-day hikes to them, following the GRP trail, you can cross the whole country in a week or so, covering just over a hundred kilometres. Another popular activity in the country is skiing, for which the best places are to be found either on the the Arinsal-Pal-La Massana triangle or around Encamp and Soldieu.
Whatever you decide to do, it is definitely worth spending a few nights in the high-quality Andorra hostels found around the country. If your aim is to explore a different part of Andorra every day, then the best option is to stay in a hostel in Andorra la Vella -- however, make sure to book early, as places are limited. On the other hand, if you prefer to base yourself in a beautiful spot and just enjoy waking up amongst the mountains and going out for walks during the day, then you should go for a hostel in Sispony. Moreover, if you would like a real authentic experience in a traditional mountain house, then your ideal accommodation is a hostel in Canillo.
It is important to keep in mind that Andorra is not part of the European Union and you will be asked for your passport when entering the country. However, the official currency of the country is the Euro. While the official language is Catalan, you will easily get by with Spanish and French as well, but English might be problematic.
Hi, I'm JudyM,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Andorra hostels. Welcome.