Have you ever heard of Andorra?
If not, well, you’re not alone!
In a previous post, being a responsible traveler, I discussed finding places that were less traveled and that brought me to this series, ‘Have you Been’. Before this, I was also unaware.
Would you just look it?! This place is spectacular!
Andorra is a tiny, independent principality situated between France and Spain in the Pyrenees mountains.
Andorra is best known for its ski resorts and a tax-haven status that encourages duty-free shopping. Oh, I do love some shopping!
The Capital, Andorra la Vella, has boutiques and jewelers on the main Meritxell Avenue and several shopping centers throughout the principality and the old quarter, Barri Antic, houses the old Romanesque Santa Coloma Church.
Andorra was originally created as a buffer state by the French leader Charlemagne during the Middle Age and this state was created to keep the Muslim Moors out of France. The Andorrans were there to fight off the Moors and protect France and in return Charlemagne would grant them a charter. There were actually several of these buffer states created and Andorra is the last one of these states that is still an independent country.
Andorra had a series of rulers starting with Charles the Bald, Charlemagne’s grandson, in the 7th century. The state was then handed off to various leaders and at one point there was a dispute as to whether France or Spain owned Andorra and they decided to share it. Currently there are co-princes who rule the country; the Bishop of Urgell from Spain and the French President.
Although Andorra is a small, landlocked country, it still manages to do okay economically, which is mostly through tourism. It is also considered a tax haven for the rich that uses the Euro for its currency although it is not a member of the European Union.
The languages spoken are Catalan (official), French, Castilian, Portuguese and the population is around 77,000 (2018). The weather is relatively pleasant but can of course get cold and snowy in the winter and the summers are fairly mild.
Well, it looks like I have a new place to add on my list for Europe next year!