|Capital||Andorra la Vella|
|Government||parliamentary democracy (since March 1993) that retains as its heads of state a coprincipality; the two princes are the president of France and bishop of Seu d'Urgell, Spain, who are represented locally by coprinces' representatives|
|Currency||euro (EUR); French franc (FRF); Spanish peseta (ESP)|
|Area||total: 468 sq km |
water: 0 sq km
land: 468 sq km
|Population||68,403 (July 2002 est.)|
|Language||Catalan (official), French, Castilian, Portuguese|
|Religion||Roman Catholic (predominant)|
Andorra is a small (pop. 73,100, size 464 km squared), mountainous country in the Pyrenees mountains in Europe, and is located on the France and Spain, in Southern Europe.
Andorra has no cities as such.
- Andorra La Vella -- capital city (pop. 23,300) of Andorra, and the main shopping destination.
- Pas de la Casa -- skiing resort located right on the French border.
For 715 years, from 1278 to 1993, Andorrans lived under a unique co-principality, ruled by the French chief of state and the Spanish bishop of Urgel. In 1993, this feudal system was modified with the titular heads of state retained, but the government transformed into a parliamentary democracy. Long isolated and impoverished, mountainous Andorra achieved considerable prosperity since World War II through its tourist industry. Many immigrants (legal and illegal) are attracted to the thriving economy with its lack of income taxes.
Tourism, the mainstay of Andorra's tiny, well-to-do economy, accounts for roughly 80% of GDP. An estimated 9 million tourists visit annually, attracted by Andorra's duty-free status and by its summer and winter resorts. Andorra's comparative advantage has recently eroded as the economies of neighboring France and Spain have been opened up, providing broader availability of goods and lower tariffs. The banking sector, with its "tax haven" status, also contributes substantially to the economy. Agricultural production is limited - only 2% of the land is arable - and most food has to be imported. The principal livestock activity is sheep raising. Manufacturing output consists mainly of cigarettes, cigars, and furniture. Andorra is a member of the EU Customs Union and is treated as an EU member for trade in manufactured goods (no tariffs) and as a non-EU member for agricultural products.
Electricity is supplied at 220 to 230V 50Hz. Outlets are the European standard CEE-7/7 "Schukostecker" or "Schuko" or the compatible, CEE-7/16 "Europlug" types. Generally speaking, U.S. and Canadian travelers should pack an adapter for these outlets if they plan to use North American electrical equipment in Andorra.
Due mainly to the mountainous nature of Andorra, there is only one road entering Andorra from France, and only one widely-used road entering Andorra from Spain. Almost all entry into the country happens at one of these two points.
There are no airports in Andorra - however there are daily coach services from the airports in Barcelona and Barcelona in Spain and Toulouse in France to Andorra.
There are no train lines or stations in Andorra, and none close to the Spanish border. However, the French train station of l'Hospitalet is located a few miles from the Andorran border. It is possible to catch an overnight sleeper train from Paris to l'Hospitalet, as well as many other services. There is a connecting coach service from l'Hospitalet into Andorra, calling at France there is a coach service from Toulouse, and one that operates via L'Hospitalet and La Tour de Carol. From Spain, coaches to Andorra can be caught from a variety of locations, such as Barcelona, Madrid, Malaga, Lleida and Valencia.
Andorra's official language is Catalan, but almost everyone speaks French and/or Spanish. English is widely spoken too, especially by those involved in the tourism industry.
Euros are used throughout Andorra. Andorra La Vella is a good destination for all manner of cheap goods, due to the countries status as a "tax haven".
You simply must try the Donut Normale. This is a highly specialized regional dish. At first glance, the Anglophone traveler may assume that due to the linguistic similarity to the English "normal doughnut", that they are the same food. This assumption would be totally incorrect and will definitely mark you as an ethnocentric tourist. The history of this fine food goes back to the era of Charlemagne and his foundation of Andorra as a March (protectorate) or barrier county against the Muslims of Spain. The recipe of the Donut Normale is a closely guarded state secret. Beware of the Andorran bordor patrol as they have been known to conduct full body cavity searches to make sure this cultural treasure is not smuggled into neighboring Spain or France. The best place to experience the Donut Normale is at one of the many (actually there are only 2) truck stops along the main Andorran road (their only road really).
Hotel Santa B�rbara de la Vall d'Ordino Hotel *** open all the year Price for a double room (per night) : 54 euros Call : (376) 738 100 email@example.com
Andorra is a well-connected country, and has accepted the Internet with open arms. Almost as many people subscribe to the Internet as own landline phones.
- Official Country Web site (http://www.andorra.ad/ang/home/index.htm)