7 Things to Do & Places to Visit in Andorra La Vella

7 Things to Do & Places to Visit in Andorra La Vella

Andorra La Vella is the capital of Andorra, a little-known country in Europe bordering France and Spain. It’s definitely worth a day trip or longer!

Andorra La Vella is the charming capital city of Andorra, a small European country in the Pyrenees mountain range. The delightful city has a wealth of interesting sights, with certainly plenty to keep you busy on a day trip (or longer). I visited for just one day, on an organised tour from nearby Barcelona, Spain, but I’m sure I’d have been happy to stay for longer and get to know the city a bit more. If you only have a day in Andorra La Vella, here are some of the best things to see and do:

1. Visit the Church of Sant Esteve

One of Andorra La Vella’s main attractions, the attractive Church of Sant Esteve stands proudly in the city’s historic area. A church was built here in the 1100s, having gone through alterations over the years. The Romanesque beauty has a tall tower and ornate windows and it is surrounded by religious sculptures. The church is closed outside of worship times for much of the year, but it’s still a striking sight from the outside.

2. Snap a picture of Noblesse du Temps

Noblesse du Temps is an unusual and striking sculpture by the celebrated Salvador Dali. Also known as “the Nobility of Time” or “the Dali Clock”, the intriguing sculpture depicts a melting clock on a tree trunk, surrounded by statues. The tall statue is meant to show how precious time actually is, and how time can fade away so quickly without us even realising. It may make you pause for a moment to ponder your own limited time on earth and think about your priorities.

3. See other interesting statues and sculptures

The city streets are dotted with eye-catching and thought-provoking statues and sculptures, some simply aesthetically pleasing and others that try to convey social, religious, or other messages. There’s a stone circle of friends holding hands, a metal sculpture of a figure entwined in bonds, monks meditating on top of podiums, faces carved into a totem-like pole, historical figures immortalised in stone and metal, and more.  

4. Admire Casa de la Vall

The historic house of Casa de la Vall, located in the historic quarter, was the former home of the country’s parliament. Prior to that, it was a private home for an affluent local family. Built in the traditional Catalonian style, it dates back to the 1500s. The home is closed to the public (unless you have arranged a private tour), but it’s still worth seeing from the outside. It looks rather like a small castle, complete with towers, turrets, high walls, shuttered windows, and narrow slits. There’s a pretty statue- and plant-filled garden at the back of the residence and a large courtyard at the front.

5. Cross the Bridge of la Margineda

One of the main ways to cross from one side of the city’s river to the other, the Bridge of la Margineda dates back to the medieval era. The views are beautiful, encompassing the mountains in the distance and hill in the foreground, along with the river itself and the diverse buildings, old and new, of the capital.

6. Soak up the views from the Town Square

Elegant buildings and interesting statues surround Andorra La Vella’s Town Square and, despite it being at the heart of a capital city, the square is a calm and peaceful spot to sit on a bench and watch the world go by. There’s another reason to visit the square, however—it is one of the best places in the city to see gorgeous views of the nearby valley. The rolling mountains and lush greenery are definitely a sight for some eyes.

7. Go shopping!

Andorra has low taxes and you’ll find that many items are significantly cheaper here than in nearby countries. The greatest savings can usually be found on luxury items and electronics, with cigars being especially affordable compared to in other European nations. There are many shops, big and small, with a huge selection of goods, ranging from designer clothes and footwear, perfumes, and expensive jewellery, to mobile phones, cameras, and laptops, bottles of spirits and vintage wines, artisan chocolates, and more. Of course, you’ll also find a great selection of typical souvenirs too, like fridge magnets, keyrings, decorative plates, and ornaments of local landmarks. Smaller gift shops, particularly in the old part of the city, may offer samples of chocolate and local wines/spirits as an enticement to buy.

There’s a good selection of places to eat and drink around the city, with French, Spanish, and Italian fare especially abundant. The streets of the historic quarter are ideal for a leisurely stroll—look for the charming pictorial street signs — and you can take a breather and enjoy nature in Parc Central.

If you have longer than a day in Andorra La Vella, the surrounding areas offer great opportunities for hiking and biking in the summer months and skiing in the snowy winters.

About Author

Sarah W
Sarah W

Sarah W is a travelling cat-lover who enjoys exploring places that are a little bit quirky or away from headline attractions. Favourite things include delicious falafel, snuggling under a thick duvet, (badly) belting out karaoke at the top of her lungs, and, of course, her family, friends, and furry pets.

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