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Andorra – DISCOVERED

Surprisingly, Andorra is not a witchy mother-in-law, but a tiny country wedged in the Eastern Pyrenees between Spain and France. It is notable for having the highest life-expectancy in the world, as well as being one bastions of the Catalan language, which some consider the bridge between the Gallo-Romance languages like French and the Iberian Romance languages like Spanish. So it has that going for it.
In addition to being a notorious tax haven, The Principality of Andorra is popular with tourists of many nationalities. Local lore has it that all Andorrans can speak Catalan, Spanish, and French, but there are many who can’t speak much of the latter; monoglots beware: in my experience, almost no one speaks English.

 

There are a lot of reasons to visit Andorra. A popular one for Europeans is that country not a member of the European Union, and so can sell all manner of alcohol and tobacco duty-free. In addition to cheap booze, Andorra is known for its strategic location in the Pyrenees, which makes it a hotspot for skiing and snowboarding. There are several ski-resorts, many of which have gentler slopes than those found in the rest of Europe, which makes them popular with novices, families, and wimps.

 

Andorra’s capitol, Andorra la Vella, is quaint but cosmopolitan. Most villages and cities in Andorra have an annual “Village Festival,” where they celebrate their heritage with music, feasting, and dancing, and Andorra La Vella is no different. These festivals are generally held between July and September, and Andorra la Vella’s is held the first weekend in August, and lasts three days. Festivals like this are great for soaking in local culture, as well as Andorra’s unique cuisine – a mixture of French and Catalan with a large helping of pasta on the side.

 

Andorra is more than just a quaint historical curiosity – it’s a lot of fun to visit with a lot to offer. Between the skiing and the village festivals, you’ll find enough to keep you occupied for as long as you want to stay, and you’ll still come back for more.