Coach Holidays to Andorra
Language: Official language is Catalan. Spanish and French are also spoken
Time Zone: Central European Standard Time = GMT+1, Central European Summer Time = GMT+2
Tipping: Service charges usually included in the bill. Porters and waiters expect a further 10%
Andorra - an Introduction
With an intriguing backdrop of mountainous, rolling hills, narrow valleys, meadows, stamp-sized lakes and traditional stone and timber villages, plus France and Spain just a stone's throw away, Andorra is longing to be explored on an escorted coach tour.
It may be the smallest state in Europe, nestled between France and Spain, but on Andorra holidays by coach, you'll soon discover that it packs a mighty punch in terms of places to visit and sights to see. Tour capital Andorra La Vella on an Andorra coach trip with its peaceful town square and panoramic views or retreat to Caldea which is home to southern Europe's largest health spa, to relax and recharge. Other sightseeing hotspots include: Canillo, Encamp, La Massana, Les Escalde Ordino and Sant Jullia de Lorria. The weather here is ideal if you don't like things too hot with Andorra offering 300 sunny days per year and is a perfect destination for winter sports, particularly skiing. More than 10 million tourists join escorted tours to Andorra to take advantage of the tax-free shopping opportunities. The cuisine here is exceptional and heavily influenced by the traditions of France and Catalonia. Don't leave Andorra without sampling Coques (flavoured flat cakes), Trixat (a potato and cabbage dish), Truites de carreroles (a type of mushroom omelette), local sausages, cheese and Andorran veal.
Aim to take your Andorra holidays by coach during festival season where you can really experience Catalan culture at its very best. There's St Georges Day (23rd April) where traditional gifts of roses for women and books for men are given out. The locals mark the Summer Solstice with the Festa del Poble on St John's Day (24th June). Should you be on an escorted tour in Andorra during the winter months, make time to experience St Lucia's Fair, where nativity figures and typical festive goods are traditionally sold.
Andorra coach holidays typically include; return coach travel, accommodation in good standard hotels, meals and a variety of included or optional excursions so you can see all the main sights this country has to offer.
Things to do
Andorra is famous for its stunning scenery and excellent conditions for winter sports but there is plenty more to see and do whilst staying here. Some things to think about may include:
Naturlándia – La Rabassa (Sant Juliá de Lòria)
Here you can ride on the world's longest Alpine Coaster toboggan known as the Tobotronc. It runs for over 5300m with a 400m drop and links the Firing Range and La Rabassa Snow Park offering an attractive ride around La Rabassa wood, travelling on a sleigh.
Discover the Iron Route
Your chance to learn more about the main source for income for Andorra from early 17th century to late 19th century. There are many sights of interest to include: Llorts Iron Mine, Vilarò Bridge Rest Stop, Arans Bridge, Sant Martí de la Cortinada that all have connections to the iron industry.
The Electricity Museum
You'll discover what electric energy is and how it evolved historically in Andorra. There are educational workshops where you can experience and learn about the turbines that generate electricity.
It will require an element of climbing but why not discover one of the 16th via ferrata in Roc d'Esquer. This rise has spectacular views over the Madriu Valley which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2004. You'll need suitable equipment such as harness, absorber, climbing footwear, a mobile phone as well as food and drink. Give it a try if you're feeling brave enough – definitely an experience you won't forget.
Tips & Advice
To help you have an enjoyable holiday in Andorra, take a look at these useful tips and advice provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO):
Health and Travel Insurance
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is not valid in Andorra so you are advised to take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.
Street crime is very rare here but you should take care of your belongings at all times. Don't keep money and valuables all in one place. Keep a photocopy or scanned copy of your passport somewhere safe. Buy your own drinks and keep sight of them at all times. Remember that drinks served in bars abroad are often stronger than those in the UK. Keep an eye on your friends and don't go off with people you do not know.
Local Laws and Customs
Consuming alcohol in the streets is strictly prohibited. The country also applies a zero tolerance to the possession and use of illegal drugs. Andorra is not a member of the European Union so duty free tobacco, alcohol and luxury goods is subject to taxes and duties when re-entering European Union countries.
British nationals do not need a visa to visit Andorra. Your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay. Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should travel with a copy of any custody documents or written authorisation from the other parent. They will be required to carry this with them at all times just in case they are asked to show proof.
However, if you are not a British national, you will need to follow the relevant entry regulations for France or Spain depending on which country you decide to pass through in order to get to Andorra. Please note that Andorra is not part of the Schengen area. If you are intending to enter Europe with a Schengen visa, please make sure that it entitles you to repeated visits to avoid you being refused entry to Spain and France following a stay in Andorra.
If you feel you need assistance regarding your visa requirements, please contact VisaCentral or the embassies for France or Spain.