The Getaway
Andorra: Europe's Little Hidden Gem

The Principality of Andorra is a microstate landlocked between Spain and France. You can barely see it on most maps, but this country is well worth noticing. Nestled among the Pyrenees Mountains, this tiny country is big on breathtaking views, incredible recreational opportunities, and amazing shopping venues. Any season is a prime time to visit Andorra, whether you’re looking for festivals, hiking, skiing or one-of-a-kind experiences. Escape to a place where traditional culture and modern trends join with unparalleled natural beauty, adventure, and celebration. Give yourself time to enjoy the dreamy paradise, as one day won't be enough.


01 Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley

Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley in Andorra,UNESCO world heritage site Martin Silva Cosentino / Getty Images

Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley is virtually undeveloped terrain revered by locals. It's a refuge for many native species and a UNESCO World Heritage site. This area features many hiking trails with stone paths and stone steps that shepherds once walked upon. You can cross stone bridges and streams and wander through lush forests. Signs and panels along the route describe the surroundings if you ever feel lost. When you reach the heart of the valley, you’ll see centuries-old stone houses at 4,816 feet above sea level.


02 Igloo Hotel

Ice igloo mauro_grigollo / Getty Images

Bundle up for a big chill at the Igloo Hotel in the Grau Roig section of Grand Valira, one of the world’s largest ski resorts. This exclusive attraction is built entirely of snow and has five bedrooms, a restaurant, a sauna, and two jacuzzies. The Igloo Hotel experience begins with a welcome drink, then you’ll ride a snowmobile to reach the structure at an altitude of 1.46 miles. Next, you can take an optional 20-minute snowshoe walk. When it’s time to eat, you’ll be surrounded by ice in the restaurant or you can choose a cozier dining option in a warm area. Either way, it’s especially magical as the sun sets, rendering fabulous views of the valley. After dinner and a spa session, retire for the evening in your room with an arctic sleeping bag. The next morning, ski or take a chairlift down and have a hearty breakfast.


03 Naturlandia

cross-country sky track at La Rabassa, Naturlandia, Andorra Joanastockfoto / Getty Images

If you love cross-country skiing, Andorra has one resort designed for you. Naturlandia offers over 9 miles of slopes at over a mile high for all levels. The skiing circuits are just one part of this adventure park which hosts a ton of exhilarating activities. Airtrekk, Europe’s largest aerial obstacle course, is built on a 10-story wooden structure with over 50 obstacles and a zip line that runs almost 600 feet. Tobotronc, the world’s longest Alpine toboggan, zooms through the La Rabassa forest with a 1,300-foot drop. Naturlandia is open every day with plenty to do and see during the summer and winter such as hiking, buggy excursions and archery.


04 Caldea

Caldea, Andorra David Ramos / Getty Images

Caldea is Europe’s largest thermal spa facility and Andorra’s tallest building with almost 20 floors of indoor and outdoor pools and hydrotherapy areas. The spa sits above natural springs and it's mainly constructed of mirror glass, letting you view the city and the valley until it closes at midnight. Turkish baths, massages and water and light shows make attraction this an ideal place to wind down after skiing or shopping.


05 Mirador Roc del Quer

Mirador Roc del Quer, Canillo. Andorra Martin Silva Cosentino / Getty Images

Another scenic viewpoint in Andorra is in the mountain range of Roc del Quer. Also called Mirador de Canillo, this is a walkway almost 66 feet long. The portion on the side of the mountain is over 26 feet and the remaining 40 feet extend out over the valley with transparent glass bottoms. This makes you feel as if you’re suspended in mid-air above the Spanish and French Pyrenees. Beside the bridge sits a bronze statue of a man called The Ponderer looking down on the world below. This incredible spot is absolutely free to experience, and it’s sure to take your breath away.


06 Horizon Festival

Spring view of the bike resort Arinsal olegmit / Getty Images

If you visit Andorra during late March, the country’s largest ski festival will be on your horizon. This snow-sport focused celebration takes place in Arinsal, a village close to the Spanish border. It’s a relatively inexpensive, week-long event with ski competitions and classes, live bands with European Hip Hop and Dubstep beats, spa discos and paintball fights in the forest. The Horizon Festival celebrates old-world culture with tasty street food and traditional Bulgarian cuisine available in many nearby restaurants. In between snowboarding, skiing, and dancing you can look around and feast your eyes on the snow-covered mountains all around.


07 Festa Major

Festa Major concert Johannes Simon / Getty Images

Andorra’s largest summer festival kicks off during the first weekend of August. This annual fun-filled event is loaded with dancing, parades, and all kinds of musical performances from classical orchestras, traditional ensembles and pop bands. You’ll see plenty of arts and crafts at the Festa Major market, along with an appetizing variety of food and drinks. Get ready for a big game of beach volleyball in Parc Central, table tennis at the Communal Stadium, or a fly fishing tournament in the Grand Valira River. There are games and activities for children such as clown shows and water play.


08 Valls del Comapedrosa

Beautiful landscape mountains in summer at Parc Natural del Comapedrosa, Andorra OllyPlu / Getty Images

Rally your crew, grab your backpacks and head for extreme adventure in a natural reserve. The Parc Natural de les Valls del Comapedrosa has several well-marked trails that take you to postcard-worthy views of waterfalls, native flora, towering mountains, and deep valleys. Expert climbers will find a challenge scaling Andorra’s highest mountain, Coma Pedrosa.


09 Christmas Magic

Christmas at mountain village svetikd / Getty Images

Andorra is the perfect backdrop for holiday celebrations. From late November to late December, the Christmas Village in capital city Andorra la Vella hosts stunning displays and joy-inspiring activities for the whole family. Every street explodes with festive colors, performances and children’s games. Hopefully, you can make it to the official opening of the Christmas Village and observe the La Cia Remue Menage parade and fireworks show. Everyone gets a chance to taste sweets from the Tio log, Andorra’s version of the yule log.


10 Shopping

Andorra: Europe's Little Hidden Gem minemero / Getty Images

When you think of shopping in Europe, London, Paris or Rome may come to mind. You can enjoy the same kind of euphoria in Andorra with the bonus of low taxation and duty-free shops. You’ll see luxury brands, boutiques and high-quality artisanal pieces in addition to well-known chain stores. Grab deals on fashion, accessories and technology gadgets, or grab some ski gear or other sporting goods. This little country holds big opportunities for you to shop until you drop in Pas de la Casa, Andorra la Vella and Escaldes-Engordany.


Scroll Down

for the Next Article

The Getaway Badge
Sign up to receive insider info and deals that will help you travel smarter.