Principality of Andorra is a small but very beautiful European country, located at 42.30°N and 1.31°E. It is located in mountainous area between France and Spain. Occupies an area of 467,63 square kilometers, making it among the smallest countries on the continent and the world. Andorra is one of the oldest European countries. It was established in 819th, but it is supposed that the country has existed since 803rd.
The nature of Andorra offers landscapes that we are used to see rather in the Alps than on the Iberian Peninsula.
Since the country falls entirely within the Pyrenees (mountain range that separates France and Spain), Andorra is occupied by mountains and its altitude is impressive – between 840 and 2940 m at Mt Coma Pedrosa (the highest point in the Principality).
Andorra mountains are covered with beautiful, fresh pine forests and lush emerald green mountain pastures. Ice cold mountain brooks descend upon the steep mountain slopes. Towns are small and occupy the picturesque mountain valleys of the Principality, following the natural relief forms.
The climate of Andorra is moderate with slight Mediterranean influence and with a pronounced mountain character. Winters are mild with heavy snowfall and negative night temperatures. Day time temperatures can warm to about 5-6 degrees.
The proximity of the Mediterranean keep temperatures pleasant even during the coldest months. Spring and autumn are rainy and cool but not cold with temperatures between 10 and 17 degrees, while summer is warm and dry. The warmest month is July.
In this part of the year thermometers usually climb to about 26°C. Because of the significant altitude summer heat are not typical of Andorra. Nights are cool throughout the year – to about 12 – 13°C in July and August.
Andorra’s population is about 84,000 inhabitants and consists mainly of Spaniards, Frenchmen and Portuguese. Although Andorra is the homeland of Catalans, here they represent a very small part of the total population. Only one out of every 8 people is Catalan.
Linguistic diversity is also significant. Besides Catalan which is the official language, here can be heard everywhere French, Spanish, Castilian and other languages. Local inhabitants are mainly Christians and the official religion is Roman Catholicism.
The local population has preserved to the present day the values of Christianity and this is one of the main reasons for the safety and tranquillity that every visitor of the Principality feels soon after he arrives here. The most distinctive feature of the local population, however, is its longevity.
The average life expectancy in the small mountain principality is around 83 years. This makes the residents of Andorra the longest-lived people on the planet.
The reasons for the longevity of local residents are rooted into the combination of factors such as healthy food, relaxed pace of life, mountain air and climate, clean and uncontaminated nature, high standard of living and quality health care.
The economy of Andorra is very well developed and the standard of living, as we have already mentioned, is quite high. The country relies heavily on the well developed tourist industry.
The Principality is an attractive destination all year round but especially during the winter months, when it became a haven for winter sports lovers. Very important for the economy of Andorra are the low taxes attracting investors and businessmen from all around the world.
Agriculture is represented mainly by livestock farming. Local farmers grow mainly cattle and sheep, which graze undisturbed around the high mountain pastures of the country. Plant growing is much less developed with the exception of typical cool loving crops such as rye, for example.
The official currency in Andorra is the euro, but before that the official currency of the country were the French franc and the Spanish peseta.
Form of government. Andorra is a parliamentary principality. Into the governing of Andorra take place two heads of state – the President of France and the Bishop of the northern Spanish city Seo de Urgell.
The two heads of state play the role of princes of the small mountainous country. Although it has a rich history, Andorra remained under the domination of France and Spain until 1993rd, when on September 8th it became a sovereign country.
The cities in Andorra are few and have a small population. The largest city is the capital – Andorra La Vella, whose population is about 22.000 inhabitants. Part of the city is situated at more than 1,000 meters above sea level – this is the highest situated capital on the Old Continent.
Andorra La Vella is also considered to be the most beautiful city from a tourist point of view. Two other settlements in the top three largest cities in Andorra are Les Escaldes (16.000 inhabitants) and Encamp (just over 11.000 inhabitants).
Why to choose Andorra? Andorra is a fascinating country with beautiful scenery and tranquillity that is very difficult to find elsewhere in our busy and dynamic times.
Andorra will certainly appeal to you no matter whether you want to immerse yourself in the spirit of old Europe, skiing or just walking among the emerald green mountain scenery during the fresh and enjoyable summer.
The cities seem small and idyllic, including even the largest city – the capital Andorra la Vella. The Romanesque architecture in Andorra is a real sense pleasure, and the numerous churches and monuments are absolutely binding sites for those who really want to get to know the local culture.
The low taxes are turned Andorra into a real paradise for shopping lovers. The numerous shopping centers and malls offer luxury goods at surprisingly low prices.
When to visit Andorra? This is a difficult question and we can not give a definitive answer. The truth is that the Principality is an excellent tourist destination in all 12 months of the year. From January to December conditions for tourism are very good and all depends only on what is the purpose of your visit.
From late autumn to early spring Andorra is the perfect tourist destination for lovers of skiing. In the rest of the year, Andorra offers excellent conditions to visit cultural and historical sites and architectural monuments.
In spring, when nature returns to life, freshness can be felt in the air and the feeling is hard to describe. Summer is sunny and warm, mountain slopes are covered with emerald green carpet, and nature is at its best. July and August are the best months for long walks and camping under the open sky.
In autumn the valleys enchant with their beauty. Forests are coloured in yellow, orange, red and brown nuances, and cold crawling fog covers like a ghostly silhouette the steep mountain slopes of the Pyrenees.