Not many are aware of an adorable tiny country known as Andorra, bordered by France and Spain and tucked away in the towering Pyrenees mountainous range. This beautiful nation is characterized by a maze of narrow valleys and rugged landscapes that is famed for skiing during winter and hiking/trekking during the summer months. Andorra is defined by its local culture and roots that can be glimpsed in its villages and towns with its quintessential Romanesque churches and traditional homes.
Begin touring the country by first heading over to the capital city: Andorra la Vella. Perched at an altitude of 1,029 meters, it is one of the globe's highest capital cities and is a major tourist magnet with the streets lined up with galleries, cafes and restaurants. The metropolis is brimming with numerous attractions such as Casa de la Vell - seat of government, Placa del Poble - a public square on the roof of the city's administrative complex and offers a glimpse of the breathtaking scenery and the 12th-century Sant Esteve Church - renowned for its fine carved woodwork.
If you're a winter sports enthusiast then trek over to Vallnord where skiers and snowboarders from all over Europe descend to this winter wonderland to explore its many fine slopes. Those who are adventurous at heart can try activities such as speed riding (a blend of skiing and hand-gliding), heli-skiing and ski-biking.
Do plan to visit the stunning chapel of Sant Joan de Caselles. Regarded as one of the country's best Romanesque chapels, this spectacular 11th century old stone building features numerous highlights such as its interior adorned with exquisite frescoes and the choir grille with its Romanesque stucoo figure of the Christ on the Cross. Renowned to be one of the nation's finest Romanesque churches, head over to the Santa Coloma Church noted for its tall, rounded three-stage tower.
The town of Encamp is significant for it is transformed into one of the nation's most important ski centers during the winter months as a gondola links it directly to the slopes of Grau Roig and Pas de la Casa. The city also houses an incredible National Automobile museum and there are several exhibits of classic vintage cars including a steam-driven machine dating as back as 1885 along with motorcycles and bicycles. The picturesque and stunning town of Les Escaldes is renowned for the many hot springs found there. It is famed for their high sulphur and nitrogen content and is known for their medicinal qualities.
When it comes to cuisine, lamb is the staple meat preferred in the country. Some of the local delicacies in Andorra are Coques (flavored flat cakes), Trinxat ( potato and cabbage dish), Truites de Carreroles (a kind of mushroom omelette) and Androrran veal. Plan to groove until the crack of dawn as pubs and clubs in the country are open till late.
The stay options in Andorra are abundant with tourists having the option to choose from the best luxury hotels, private apartments and cheap & budget accommodations. The country experiences temperate climate. The best time to visit would be from April to October as the temperatures are warm and conducive for sight-seeing. However if you're planning on indulging in winter sports then the ideal time to visit would be from December to March.