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About Andorra


Andorra is a democratic self governing principality with joint heads of state being the President of France and the Spanish Bishop of Urgell. The Andorran parliament which has existed since 1419 consists of 28 democratically elected members.

Andorra’s independence is traditionally accredited to Charlemagne, who captured the region from the Muslims in 803AD. His son Louis the Pious then presented the inhabitants with a charter of liberties. Charlemagne’s grandson, Charles 11 granted the valleys of Andorra to Sinifred, the count of Seu d’Urgell in 843, the first know document within Andorra. This confirmed through the Act of Consecration for La Seu’s cathedral dated from 860 that Andorra’s parishes formed part of the count’s territory.

Incles Valley
In 1159 the bishop of Urgell and the noble Caboet family were the joint Sovereigns of Andorra. In 1278 and 1288 the first and second respectively pariatges were signed. These were Andorra's first constitutional documents. These were shown to give joint sovereignty to Catholic Bishop of Urgell and the Count of Foix in France. These agreements form the basis of Andorra’s Government to this day and amongst the oldest such documents still in force today. This peculiar political equilibrium saved Andorra from being taken by its powerful neighbours despite recurrent tension between the co-princes. After the French revolution France as inheritor of the lands and prerogatives of the count of Foix abolished all feudal rights including the role of the French head of state in Andorran affairs. This was reinstated by Napoleon in 1806 at the request of the Andorrans who feared Spanish hegemony. Andorra’s duty free shopping grew out of the smuggling business which involved goods from France to Spain during the civil war and Spain to France during world war 11. Andorra remained neutral throughout both world wars. In March 1993 Andorra voted to establish the country as an independent, democratic parliamentary co-principality placing full sovereignty in the hands of the Andorran people with the French and Spanish co-princes continuing to function as joint heads of state with greatly reduced powers. In 1994 Andorra joined the Council of Europe.

Andorra in Winter
In the 16th century the heir to the Caboet family, the count of Foix passed to the French crown, which during the Napoleonic period passed to the President of the French Republic. Now Jaques Chirac and Joan Marti Alanis.

Andorra is governed by the Govern (Executive Council) established in 1981 and the Consell General (General Council or Parliament). In 1990 and 1992 the first constitution was drafted and approved in 1993.

Once Andorra was divided into 6 parishes (now there are seven) - Two in each of the valleys. This came about due to a haughty princess and a lowly fugitive, who met when the princesses father a powerful king whose kingdom went from the green mountains to the blue sea, banished his daughter for falling in love with an unsuitable man. She traveled far and wide, and eventually settling in a mountain shelter. The lowly fugitive was sick and the princess nurtured him to health, during this period they both fell in love and raised a large family, who then lived on the banks of the three rivers, which became the six parishes. Canillo, Encamp, Ordino, La Massana, Andorra la Vella, Sant Julia de Loria, Escaldes-Engordany.


Driving distances to Andorra

Toulouse: 180km (110 miles)
Barcelona: 225km (140 miles)
Nice: 465km (290 miles)
Madrid: 855km (530 miles)
Paris: 885km (550 miles)
The languages spoken are primarily Catalan, Spanish and French. The religion is Roman Catholic. Andorra is a country situated in the heart of the Pyrenees between France and Spain, with a land area of 468 Km2 and a population in excess of 72,320 inhabitants comprising of native Andorrans, Spanish, French, Portuguese and English.

All the village festivals take place between the months of July and September. These are to celebrate their heritage and involve the locals enjoying music, dancing, wine and feasts.

Andorra’s industry for many centuries was based on crop and livestock farming. In the 20th century a number of shops were established offering competitive prices due to the non-existence of taxes.

The best winter sports in Europe


Andorra has the largest ski able area in the Pyrenees 281 Km of slopes within 4 ski stations. Ordin-Arcalis, Pal –Arinsal, Pas de la Casa – Grau-Roig and Soldeu-El Tarter. There is one further station called La Rabassa which offers cross country ski-ing.

All the stations have at least one crèche and Snow Park for children; also ski lockers and parking are available.

ORDINO www.vallordino.ad
PAL www.palarinsal.com
PAS DE LA CASA www.pasgrau.com
SOLDEU www.soldeu.ad
LA RABASSA www.campdenwuderlarabassa.ad


In a country where nature reigns supreme, there is much on offer for the nature lover in the way of trekking, rock climbing, mountain biking, horse riding, fishing and hunting organized or solo tours.
There are a number of excellent sports centers that offer a quality and variety of different installations.


Situated in Canillo this sports center boasts an Olympic sized ice skating rink, swimming pool, gymnasium, squash & tennis courts, sauna, uva sun beds, auditorium, exposition hall, restaurant, cafeteria/bar and boutique.


Andorra sells products at competitive prices. There are in excess of 1,500 shops with a large variety of products and labels/brands.


Andorra offers many aspects of culture through the year whether your choice be theatre or music. It also offers the natural beautiful nature of the country through its organised or solo trek walks through the mountains. There are also many museums to visit to fully understand the background and culture of this amazing country.

Fine food and wine


Andorra offers an exquisite choice of international cuisine through its wide and varied choice of restaurants and hotels.
Andorran cuisine is mainly Catalan with strong French and Italian influences. Traditional dishes are Cunillo (rabbit cooked with a tomato sauce), Xai (roast lamb), Trinxat (bacon, potatoes and cabbage), Escudella (a stew of chicken, sausage and meatballs), Coques (flavoured flat cakes), Truites (a type of mushroom omlette).


Andorra is the ideal location for leisure and relaxation pursuits with a number of spas offering daily, weekly or fewer day visits to rejuvenate, relax and de-stress from the everyday rigors of life.



Established in the 1990´s this the largest thermal spa in the south of Europe offers the best relaxation and division (diverter-se). The building by French architect Jean-Michel Ruols is made totally from glass and shaped like a ice mountain. It is an enormous complex of spas, pools, saunas, Turkish baths and hydro massage facilities within 600 square meters (6450 sq ft) of space. The lagoon is kept at a constant temperature of 32ºC (89ºF) fed from local natural thermal springs.  


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