little country, big beauty
Andorra is a tiny little country wedged between Spain and France in the Pyrenees mountains. Although this country is only 467.6 km² in size, it is busting with big beauty. The mountains, the hikes, the spa, the shopping. If you are ever looking for a place to escape the rush of city life, Andorra is that country. The one thing about these tiny countries is that they tend to be difficult to get to from afar. Andorra does not have an airport or a train station so the only other two options are arriving are via car or bus.
At first, we booked with ALSA bus company for a round trip ticket, but being the frugal travel that I tend to be, I research other options and discovered that blah blah car would save us about €25. So canceled the ALSA ticket and booked our blah blah car with the most adorable couple. Gathered some snacks and settled in for a long seven-hour nap through the mountains of Spain.
Where to Stay:
There are a number of hotels and resorts that you can choose to stay at, but you are on a budget, much like myself, we opted for a little hostel located in the heart of Andorra La Vella Historic Center: Pensio La Rosa. This hostel is located perfectly within walking distance to everything you need and the family that owns this hostel were extremely friendly and helped us with everything we needed for the weekend.
Day One: Naturlandia
Personally, I love being active but the best type of activeness is when you don’t realize you are working out those muscles 😉 Our second day in Andorra we spent exploring Naturlandia. Located about 8km up the mountains from the town of Sant Julia, this mini amusement park is a perfect place for children but also for your inner child to run around.
Getting there: from Andorra la Vella take the L1 bus to Sant Julia. You will see a huge Naturlandia sign continue walking down that street and you will find a little blue bus that will take you the top of the mountain.
The first stop (COTA 1600) up the mountain is the Tobotronic, archery, buggy courses and such. The second stop (COTA 2000) is the animal park, the tubby and such.
I would suggest going to the top part first then work your way to the bottom (for both parks as an adult is €28). It is over a 5-mile hike between the parks and the bus that takes you up and down the mountain about once an hour, so find the schedule first then roam around! See below for the bus schedule, along double-check because this could change depending on the season.
Day 2: Explore Andorra la Vella and the Historic Center.
Fun Fact: there is no tax in Andorra, loads of people from both Spain and France come to this country to purchase alcohol and tobacco and electronics for this reason. If you need to go shopping, here is the perfect place to do so. And especially during Christmas time when all the city becomes festive with lights and decorations.
We stumbled upon the Christmas Market:
Food in Andorra is very similar to that of Spain: tapas and vino, cafes filled with cafe con leche and pastries.
Day Three: Rec del Sola
We decided to do a mini hike of Rec del Sola, located very close to our hostel. This hike wraps around the mountain and gives you beautiful views.
Until next time Andorra 🇦🇩 ✌🏽