What to see in Andorra? Our selection of unexpected visits

The Casa do Vale in Andorra

In the heart of the historic center of Andorra la Vella, Casa de la Vall was built at the end of the 16th century on a rock overlooking the valley of the Valira River. In 1702, it was bought by the General Council, the Andorran parliament, which installed its seat there until 2011.

During the visit, you can admire its quadrangular base with three openings, typical of manor houses, but also the bell used to call the Assembly, or the mysterious Cabinet with seven keys, which contains important documents about the history of the Principality, such as the Summary Manual.

Outside, you can see several recent sculptures that testify to some important episodes in the history of Andorra, such as the signature of the Pariatge or the referendum for the 1993 Constitution. traditional coat of arms of the Principality, with the motto “Virtus, Unita, Fortior”, which means: “Virtue, united, is stronger”.

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the sanctuary of Our Lady of Meritxell

The unique sanctuary of Nostra Senyora de Meritxell is a work of Spanish architect Ricard Bofill and is located in the village of Meritxell. Devastated by fire on September 8, 1972, the ancient Roman shrine and original church are almost gone. The statue representing the Virgin of Meritxell, patroness of the Principality of Andorra, was also destroyed.

The Spanish architect then thought of a new basilica with an open cloister, open-air arcades and a miracle hall. The result is, according to him, “a recreation of Romanesque art”, a reminder of the style at the origin of this church.

In the heart of a steep Canillo valley, the sanctuary is surrounded by pristine white in winter and verdant nature in summer.

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The Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley, a nature photographed in Andorra

To the southeast of the principality, the Madriu-Perafita-Claror valley, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, covers just over 4,000 hectares, or 10% of the Andorran territory. Dominated by the peak of Portelleta, which rises 2,905 meters above sea level, the valley is dotted with hiking trails, which are pleasant to traverse on sunny days.

⋙ 10 hiking routes within reach of everyone

On the way, you will find borders (traditional mountain farms), herds of animals and very rare and even endangered animal and plant species. In summer, it is possible to stay overnight in one of the valley refuges.

If you have several days to dedicate yourself to a long walk, don’t miss the Coronallacs route, a circular pedestrian route about 90 kilometers long, which connects the 4 guarded shelters of Andorra in about 5 days’ walk, from the parish of Escaldes- Engordany.

Attention: the tourist office of Andorra recommends, for safety reasons, to take the routes above 1,700 meters between the end of June and the end of September.

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Fishing in the high mountains of Andorra

If there are several rivers in Andorra, many high mountain lakes in Andorra also allow amateurs to practice fishing, which is well regulated within the principality.

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Lake Cabana Sorda, Lake Juclar (the largest in Andorra) or even Lake Siscaro and Lake Vall del Riu: many Andorran lakes are home to salmonids such as the native brown trout (Psalm trout faro), speckled trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) or rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss).

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The church of Sant Joan de Caselles

Leaving Canillo towards France, the church of Sant Joan de Caselles dates from the 11th and 12th centuries and has all the characteristics of the Romanesque churches of Andorra – rectangular nave with wooden roof, semicircular apse and Lombard-style bell tower.

The church of Sant Joan de Caselles, in particular, houses the remains of a 12th-century Romanesque Christ Majesty in stucco, as well as a 16th-century altarpiece by Miquel Ramells and Gui de Borgonyó depicting scenes from life and martyrdom. of Saint John.

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MOONMARINE

Ordino, a village to absolutely visit in Andorra

If only one Andorra village had to be chosen, it would definitely be Ordino, just a 20-minute drive from Andorra la Vella. There are many museums there, starting with the Areny-Plandolit House-Museum, nestled in a 17th century mansion. The objects displayed in this ethnological museum transcribe certain aspects of life in the valleys of Andorra in the 19th century. Also be sure to visit the Museum of Miniatures, which houses the micro-miniatures by Ukrainian artist Nicolai Siadristy, as well as the Postal Museum.

Ordino also has its own ski area, Ordino Arcalis, with more than thirty kilometers of slopes, accessible by bus.

Allard Schager

The historic complex of Les Bons in Andorra

Located on a rock around Encamp, in the center of Andorra, the historic complex of Les Bons offers a breathtaking view of the valley of “Les Bons”. This term actually includes the church of Sant Romà, an old four-story defense tower and the remains of a building of civil architecture, both from the 13th century), as well as two modern dovecotes and a water tank. , nicknamed “the pool of the Queen of the Moors”.

The place that deserves the biggest detour is undoubtedly the church of Sant Romà, a baroque building from the 12th century, which houses, among other things, a reproduction of Romanesque paintings by the master of Santa Coloma.

Access to the site is free and guided tours run from mid-July to mid-September!

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Ski resorts in Andorra

Grandvalira, Vallnord and La Rabassa, Andorra’s three ski areas, total 300 kilometers of slopes. To the east of the principality, Grandvalira is the largest ski resort in the Pyrenees, with over 190 kilometers of slopes.

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Andorra’s ski resorts are located at altitudes between 1,550 and 2,640 meters and benefit from a milder and sunnier climate than in other parts of Europe, which does not prevent very good snow cover.

The resort of Grandvalira, in Andorra, is the largest ski resort in the Pyrenees and southern Europe, with 210 skiable kilometers. Gonzalo Azumendi

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