The Principality evolves throughout the year with four very distinctive seasons. The most famous is the winter, when tourists come from throughout Europe to enjoy the best skiing in the Pyrenees. Spring invites new life into the mountains with lush greens and crystal blue skies. This is a great time to venture into the mountains to search for ‘setas,’ a variety of wild mountain mushroom.
Summer is the perfect time to take advantage of outdoor living. There are many organized village ‘festes’ (festivals) to take advantage of. You can also take a trip to Spain’s Costa Brava, France, or a bit further, the Costa Blanca in Spain.
Autumn is the most spectacular month of the year, where the landscape converts into a myriad of colours as the trees prepare for a new winter.
With a small community of 76,000 permanent residents, one could wrongly believe that Andorra is a sleepy mountain hamlet. When one considers that more than 11 million tourists cross the Andorran borders annually, it is easy to understand the hustle and bustle provoked by tourism and commercial activities.
For the not so active, there are various public libraries throughout the principality, some of which give free language classes to foreigners. Museums are also varied and plentiful.
The Andorra Government prides itself on hosting several first class annual cultural events. In the past, these events have included ballet, classical orchestras, theatre groups and the ‘El Petit Cantors’ which is a home-grown Vienna Boys Choir that tours the world hosting concerts.
The parish of Escaldes annually hosts the Escaldes Jazz Concerts, with international artists appearing over several nights. They also host the Escaldes Music Season throughout the summer. This brings various styles of music from international artists, ranging from folk to country to rock music, but is always a great attraction for all ages.
Each parish hosts its own ‘Festa Major’ which is a party for the whole village. Often starting early in the morning with activities for children, it continues through the afternoon for parents and retirees with different social activities. It carries on into the early hours of the morning for the youngsters with concerts through the night.
The expatriate community has formed a social group, ‘The International Club,’ which host social activities throughout the year. ‘The International Club’ is also a great way to integrate into the country, meeting friends with similar interests and without the immediate problems of different languages.
The Principality of Andorra is politically known as a Co-Principality. The Heads of State are the President of France and Joan Enric Vives, the Bishop of La Seu d’Urgell (A small village located in the north of Spain 10kms from the Andorran Border). Neither of these “Co-Princeps” have much to do with the daily life of Andorra as their office is purely constitutional. Andorra is a Sovereign State with its own constitution and has had a democratically elected Government since 1993.
Andorrans are generally very family oriented people, with a deep pride in their country and the achievements of the country in recent years (best not to mention the country’s football team though). Most Andorran residents place great importance on their status which creates a warm and caring community which is almost crime free. Personal safety is one of Andorra’s greatest attributes, and a modern and effective police force ensure that citizens can continue to enjoy this benefit.
The information for this guide was provided by Tribune Properties.