Despite its tiny size, Andorra has something to brag about. Thousands of tourists visit the Principality every year. They are attracted not only by luxurious ski resorts, but also by numerous museums, churches, fortresses and nature reserves.
Who is coming here and why?
Tourism is one of the main sources of income for the state, so they tried to create conditions for diverse recreation. The sights of Andorra attract people of all ages and interests.
Nature lovers are offered to go on foot along picturesque eco-routes, where travelers are waiting for mountains, clean air and almost bottomless lakes of glacial origin.
Fans of history and antiquities will be greeted by the fortresses that protected the Andorrans in the turbulent Middle Ages, and numerous churches. The age of individual structures dates back to the 10th century.
Those who want to learn new things and replenish their cultural baggage should visit local museums. They present a variety of expositions — from the formation of the state to the history of tobacco and types of perfume.
A trip to the Andorran museum will not be boring — there will be no trivial exhibits covered with age-old dust. But sightseers will learn a lot of interesting and unusual things about familiar things.
This museum is located in one of the premises of the electrical company FEDA. Above it is the Engolasters reservoir, thanks to which the turbines rotate, generating electricity for Andorra.
The exposition invites you to get acquainted with the history of the development of electricity, the stages of its production and participate in entertaining experiments. Tourists can also see the dam and partly the hydraulic equipment.
In Sant Giulia de Loria, at an altitude of 900 m, the best tobacco in Europe is grown, which is then turned into fragrant cigars. Several companies successfully operate in the region.
The first was created in 1909 by the Reig family. But it could not stand the competition and closed half a century later. On the initiative of one of the members of the bankrupt family, in 1999 a tobacco museum was opened in the building of a former factory.
Here they talk about the full cycle of cigar production — from growing tobacco and drying it to direct production. There is a separate room with important documents related to tobacco history. At the end of the visit to the exposition, tourists are invited to the terrace to taste the products of local tobacco companies.
The museum was opened in 2004 in the town of Escaldes. It invites visitors to plunge into the fragrant world of natural perfumery. The exhibition presents numerous samples of essential oils and essences, the smell of which can be enjoyed.
Films are shown on multimedia screens that tell about the stages of creating perfumes and toilet water, interesting facts and more. In a separate room, under the strict guidance of a flavorist, everyone can create an exclusive fragrance and take a bottle with a personalized perfume with them.
Casa de la Val
The building of the Parliament of Casa de la Val, located in the capital of Andorra, is one of the most ancient. In the Middle Ages, it was part of a fortification that protected the inhabitants of the state from enemy invasions.
Parliament is the current legislative body, so only a few halls are open for tourists to visit. But they deserve the closest attention. These include: an old kitchen with authentic utensils, a ceremonial hall for receiving guests, as well as the General Council Hall, where court sessions were once held, important decisions were made and government papers were kept.
The first floor of the building is occupied by the church of San Ermengol, on the second floor there is the Postal Museum. And in the Main Hall you can admire the skillful frescoes.
The expositions of this small museum tell in detail about the origin of the principality’s postal system, its important milestones and achievements. Andorran stamps from the 1920s to the present day are displayed in a separate room. The museum’s collection now includes about 50,000 stamps.
Stamps, letter bags, presses and envelopes are also of interest.
In addition to the regular exhibition, the museum hosts meetings of philatelists, thematic exhibitions and other events related to the post.
comic book museum
In the city of La Massana, there is a museum of comics, which has a huge collection of cartoon publications. They tell about the adventures of superheroes and unusual characters with outstanding abilities.
There are also rare series in the horror genre. In addition to permanent exhibitions, the museum hosts thematic exhibitions related to the world of comics. And every Thursday, master classes are held in the building, where everyone is taught to create stories in pictures.
Museum of Orthodox Icons
Andorra is a Catholic country, so the museum of Orthodox icons, located in the city of Ordino, seems like a real curiosity. This is the third museum of its kind in Europe dedicated to the art of iconography. The expositions present religious masterpieces painted in the 17th-19th centuries by artists from Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria and Greece.
Almost all the ancient churches of Andorra are active. Their heavy stone walls, medieval architecture and elaborate frescoes are impressive. You can enjoy the beauty of majestic buildings for hours.
Church of Santa Coloma
This is the main church in Andorra la Vella, which once also served as a fortress. She more than once saved the inhabitants of the city from the atrocities of enemies behind her thick walls. Built at the beginning of the 10th century, Santa Coloma has been perfectly preserved to this day. Being a reference example of the Doman style, it is devoid of pompous luxury — nothing should distract from communion with God.
The main point of attraction is the round bell tower, designed by the architect Lombard Bell, and the frescoes decorating the interior halls. The ministers of the church regularly conduct excursions here and talk in detail about the construction.
Church of Saint John
It is considered one of the most beautiful churches in Andorra and therefore is a must to visit. Built between the 11th and 12th centuries, it is notable for its quadrangular tower, which is atypical for the Middle Ages.
During this period, mainly round towers were erected, corresponding to the canons of the Lombard style. The church bell tower has 3 floors, the upper two windows are paired and decorated with arches. Inside the walls are painted with frescoes, and the iconostasis is simply amazing in its size.
Andorra has 3 natural parks. Each contributes to the conservation of the biodiversity of the region and acquaints tourists with the unique ecosystem of the country.
Val del Sorteny
The park is located in the Ordino parish and stretches along both banks of the Sorten River. The area of the reserve exceeds 1000 hectares. It houses a botanical garden, which contains unique plants of the Pyrenees.
There are several hiking trails of varying difficulty levels. They pass through picturesque forest and rocky plateaus. During the hike, tourists can meet animals in their natural habitat, as well as enjoy more than 700 species of flowers and plants. You can stay in the valley for a few days by renting one of the cottages.
Madriu Perafita Claror
The reserve passes through the parocchies of Andorra la Vella, Escaldes-Engordany, Encamp and Sant Julia de Loria. The system of rivers and lakes stretching through the park is strategically important, as it provides the entire state with fresh water.
Several routes have been developed for tourists. Some can be overcome in a few hours, to pass others — it will take up to 5 days. Stops are planned at shepherd’s huts. According to the guides, they were built several hundred years ago, and today they have been restored.
Valles de Comapedrosa
Here is the highest point of the Principality — Coma Pedrosa (2942 m), after which one of the country’s most popular nature reserves is named. In addition to guided hikes and walks along scenic trails, geocaching is also practiced here.
The essence of the game is simple: one team of participants makes symbolic caches, and the other team uses their ingenuity and GPS navigators to look for them. Geocaching is organized by the local visitor center from June 1 to September 30.
Valles de Comapedrosa is said to have the most beautiful scenery. One of the popular places to admire them is the Roca de la Sabina observation deck, located at an altitude of 1900 m near the resort of Arinsal. This is where you get amazing selfies.