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Summary: Andorra is a landlocked country in southwestern Europe barely 20 miles by 20 miles nestled in the Pyrenees Mountains between Spain and France, and crossed with valleys and mountains. After more than 700 years of being a co-principality shared between its two neighbors, Andorra was transpored into an independant democracy, and has a very healthy economy built primarily on tourism with a strong banking sector and very limited agriculture.
Capital: Andorra la Vella
Time Zone: DST +0200 UTC
Transportation: With no train station or airport, access to Andorra is limited to the well maintained roadways.
Languages: Spanish, French
Power: 230 V, 50 Hz
Currency: Euro - Currently 1 EUR € = 1.4607 USD $
Climate: Overall, a seasonal temporate area. As it is mountainous, and the majority of the towns are from 3000 to 5000 feet in altitude, it will have a snowy winter and drier warm summers.
Andorra La Vella: Founded by Charlemagne more than 1,000 years ago, the capital city of Andorra is nestled in amongst the peaks and valleys of the Pyranees at around 3300 feet in altitude. Internationally known for its duty free shopping and great summer and winter mountain resorts, Andorra is becoming the new "it" place to vacation to, and hides older neighbourhoods like the Barri Antic with cobblestone squares with the Casa de la Vall, which dates from 1580, as its parliament.
Skiing: Many resorts are available year-round, primarily to the north of the capital, and the altitude of the peaks, up to almost 8000 feet, puts them above the snowline, so it is possible to ski in the afternoon and have dinner in shorts in the evening. In recent years there has been a construction boom as new world class resorts are springing up.
Duty Free Shopping: There are no taxes in Andorra, so even though almost everything will be imported from Spain or France, goods will cost slightly lower.
90 Minute Tour: Although you will miss a lot of the country, Andorra can be driven through fairly quickly when going from North to South. You will pass through the capital, see mountains, waterfalls, and have a chance for some breathtaking photography.
Pick Your Exit: Andorra is only about 180 kilometers from Barcelona to the south, and 250 kilometers to Toulouse to the north. There are, of course, only two roads that leave the country.
When To Visit: September 8 is Our Lady of Meritxell Day - the national holiday featuring parades and public enjoyment.
Food: Small though it is, the markets sell excellent local cheeses and sausages, with cuisine influenced by Catalan, French and Italian styles.
Tipping: Although service charges are normally included, a 10% tip on top is expected in restaurants and for taxi fares.