Ever wondered what the country of Andorra looks like? That non-EU country that’s landlocked between Spain and France and sitting in the midst of the mountains of the Pyrenees? Well, our curiosity took us to Andorra – mainly we wanted to drive thru the Pyrenees since we missed our chance on the Grosslockner drive in Austria (thanks migraine). There are two roads leading to Andorra, one from Spain and one from France. The road from France is a beautiful drive through the mountains and definitely worth doing.
As you go past the border control, GPS will take you to the envalira tunnel (blue road below) as it’s the fastest way to the town but that’s not what you want. Take the old fashioned long way around, via several switchbacks up to the mountains (the green road below) to about 9,000 ft with spectacular views of the Pyrenees, before the road descends again to the main town of Andorra la Vella at 3,300ft, Europe’s highest capital. I was literally exclaiming WOWWW at every turn.
Then out of nowhere, you see these big blocks of commercial buildings. We literally exclaimed .. what the heck is this?!. A mixture of commercial buildings, one with odd bright colors, another with a huge McDonalds sign, built one of top of the other, ruining your perfect dream of this stunning landscape of mountains with roads that snake around them. As you keep going , there are more hotels, more buildings, more ski resorts. A million of them, built everywhere wherever on the face of, or on the foot of the mountains. I’ve never seen anything like it. I don’t know how this little country can handle that many skiers in the winter, if these hotels and condos get even half occupied.
Anyhow, as you keep going you’ll reach the main town, Andorra la Vella. Aside from skiing, Andorra is also known for shopping as they don’t have sales tax and apparently things are cheaper than most Western EU countries. Lots of shopping stores basically. Something tells me this country has money. Shopping malls, private banker buildings, ski resorts, huge hotels, and millions of condo buildings.
We didn’t spend much time in the town itself but we looked forward for the drive home through the mountains again.
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