Andorra is a tiny ministate between France and Spain. High up in the Pyrenee mountains it is a unique place to visit. In winter time Andorra has some fine ski slopes to explore. In summer it is an enjoyable stop when going from Spain to France. The capital, Andorra la vella is a nice town, with a few good museums and a relaxed atmosphere.
Andorra’s shopping is known all over the world. Everything is prepared to give the customer the leading role. The privileged tax system allows very competitive prices. In the Principality you will also find Caldea, the largest fun spa centre in the south of Europe, a water palace situated at an altitude of 1000 m, with an architecture and amenities which make it a unique building.
Museu Iconogràfic/Museu Sant Jordi
Presents orthodox religious audiovisuals, 200 volumes of documents and a hundred or so ikons representing orthodox religious art.
Museu de la Miniatura/Museu Siadristyi
Exhibition of microminiatures from the private collection of Nikolai Siadristyi, the world’s best microminiaturist.
Shows the postal history of the country through an exhibition of postage stamps and related objects.
Andorra la vella
Andorra la Vella is the capital of Andorra. It is a nice and easy going town which is an excellent base for exploring the many possibilities of the mountains all around it.
The main sight is probably the church of Santa Coloma . Built in the 9th and 10th centuries, it is one of the oldest in the country, pre-Romanesque in style and with a 12th century circular bell tower. Also worthwhile is the Casa de la Vall, the seat of parliament and the judiciary. It dates from the end of the 16th century. A traditional noble house where some magnificent Gothic frescoes of the Passion may be seen.
The Barri Antic (Old Quarter), with its winding cobblestone streets and quaint stone houses, gives visitors a sense of what Andorra must have been like when it was once a little village in the Pyrenees. The highlight of the Barri Antic is the Casa de la Vall (House of the Valley), Andorra’s parliament building since 1702. The building was constructed in 1580 and serves as the Sala de la Justicia, the only courtroom in the whole country.
Andorra has a passion for all things tiny. The Ordino Museum of Miniatures and the Engordany Model Museum are two great examples of smaller-than-life exhibits to view in Andorra. The National Car Museum at Encamp with its collection of cars, motor bicycles, and bicycles, the Matrioshka Russian Doll Museum, the San Jordi Iconographic Museum and the Postal Museum in Ordino, are some of the museums in Andorra to explore.
Caldea is reputedly Europe’s largest thermal spa complex – it’s pretty big anyway! Andorra is dotted with fresh water springs, some of which are thermal. The parish (or county) of Escaldes-Engordany has several of the thermal variety. It’s these naturally occuring hot water springs which feed Caldea, and lots of people claim the waters have a healing quality…
Photo by Wikimedia Commons.