15 interesting facts about Andorra that will surprise you
If you’ve been wondering why 10.2 million people visit Andorra annually, then these interesting facts about the small European country should tell you why.
ANDORRANS LIVE LONGER
Life expectancy rate in Andorra which is 81 years, is the fifth-highest in the world. This is because of the country’s altitude, the quality of its air, the delicious cuisine and the fact that it’s surrounded by nature.
ANDORRA HAVE THE OLDEST PARLIAMENT IN EUROPE
Known as the Consell General, Andorra’s parliament was created in 1419. With only 28 MPs, it is one of the oldest and smallest European parliaments still functioning.
YOU’LL FIND MORE NATURE IN ANDORRA THAN ANYWHERE ELSE
Andorra is undoubtedly synonymous with nature: more than 90% of the country is made up of mountains, forests, rivers, lakes and meadows. Only about 4% of the territory has been built on, in the bottom of the valleys and at the feet of more than 65 peaks over 6,560 feet high.
YOU CAN CROSS THE ENTIRE COUNTRY ON FOOT
One of the curious facts about Andorra that hikers will love the most is this: thanks to its over 60 mountain trails, you can travel throughout Andorra without setting foot on tarmac, by following the Gran Recorrido País trail. There are also 29 mountain refuges where you can spend the night during your journey, surrounded by nature.
MORE MUSEUMS PER SQUARE MILE THAN ANYWHERE ELSE
Except for the Vatican, Andorra has nearly 20 museums in just 180 square miles. Undoubtedly, a detail that speaks volumes about the people of Andorra and their cultural interests. They are the perfect places to learn about our culture, legends, traditions, customs and much more. Because a thousand years of history takes some telling.
10% OF ANDORRA HAS BEEN DECLARED WORLD HERITAGE SITES
Andorra is one of the few countries in the world where 10% of the country has been declared World Heritage Sites by the UNESCO. The Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley is outstanding for its beauty and has pastures, meadows and extensive forest areas. There are also perfectly preserved “bordes” (traditional mountain cabins), paths and remains of ancient forges, testimony to the way the Andorrans have used natural resources for over 700 years.
YOU CAN SKI OVER 186 MILES OF SLOPES
Andorra has Southern Europe’s largest skiable area. In Grandvalira and Vallnord, and also in Naturlandia, you can ski down endless slopes, and enjoy your favourite winter sports and snow activities, day and night!
YOU HAVE PLENTY OF SPACE IN WHICH TO RELAX
When you need to forget about your daily routine, you can come to relax in Southern Europe’s largest spa complex: Caldea. In Andorra, you will have over 322,917 square feet to take it easy with your family, or you could relax with your partner in Inúu and give your younger children the chance to enjoy the unique Likids experience.
THE PEOPLE OF ANDORRA ARE TRILINGUAL BY NATURE
The only country in the world to have Catalan as an official language, the proximity to France and Spain has also meant that the people of Andorra speak Spanish and French fluently as well. So if you want to learn and practise 3 languages easily, you have to visit Andorra.
NEVER HAD AN ARMY BUT KNOW HOW TO DEFEND THEMSELVES
One of the most surprising curious facts about Andorra refers to its anti-war nature: the country has never had an army or a ministry for defence. Instead, and only in exceptional situations, a centuries-old tradition has seen the summoning of the “Sometent”, a popular militia formed by the heads of all the Andorran households between the ages of 21 and 60. In the old days, they went armed with shotguns, led by Captains whose mission was to defend the rest of the population.
YOU CAN SAMPLE THE FINEST MEAT OF THE PYRENEES
Only the farmers of the Principality know the secret to providing you with the best veal and Andorran horse meat. A long tradition, its quality and its unique flavour are, without doubt, the ingredients that make Andorran meat an outstanding example of the country’s gastronomy.
ANDORRA MAKE A GREAT HIGH-ALTITUDE WINE
Well, it’s true! Another one of the curious facts about Andorra is related to gastronomy: they have wine and travelling through their valleys, forests and mountains you can view their vineyards. Thanks to the efforts that have gone into recovering this crop, forgotten for centuries in the country, the local wineries have succeeded in producing excellent high-altitude wine. Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Albariño are some of the varieties that you can taste.
SURROUNDED BY ROMANESQUE ART
Over 40 churches, chapels and monuments are the historical legacy of rural Romanesque art in Andorra. In the past they were the centre of religious and social gatherings and today, they are some of the jewels of the people’s cultural heritage. Make sure that you visit them: you’ll find out about an important part of the lives of their ancestors and numerous curious facts about Andorra and its religion from the twelfth century.
YOU CAN RIDE THE LONGEST SLIDE IN THE WORLD
In Naturlandia you’ll find one of the most fun attractions in the country: Tobotronc. This slide surrounded by nature involves a ride of more than 3 miles through the forest of La Rabassa. You must try it!
ANDORRANS LOVE SHOPPING
The people of Andorra are so crazy about shopping that they have over 1,000 shops and 7 commercial thoroughfares and are only closed 4 days a year! You have 361 days to discover what’s new, with all the latest trends in fashion, accessories, cosmetics, sports goods etc. If you are also affected by this madness, make a note in your diary for the Andorra Shopping Festival.