Travel to Andorra: mountainous terrain in miniature
By Dmitry Petrounin
Wedged between France and Spain, the Principality of Andorra benefits from its advantageous geographic location on the eastern slopes of the Pyrenean Mountains. It is therefore almost pointless to start enumerating the large variety of activities you can do here, in both summer and winter. Several traditional events take place the whole year round - an opportunity for the Andorrans to show off their colourful traditional attire. For lovers of exquisite cuisine, the culinary art of Andorra is an unmatchable mixture of French and Spanish flavours. The tourism authority has organised a yearly culinary festival, which takes place in autumn, which is just one of the reasons you should travel to Andorra.
The sale of co-owned holiday apartments has proved a great success in Andorra. Therefore, it is not rare to be approached by salesmen on the street. They can sometimes be very insistent and even aggressive at times. Do not give up under the pressure of their offers (which are sometimes strikingly attractive) and, if you are not interested, reject them firmly. Do not forget to be cautious while in mountain areas. In case of an accident, dial the emergancy phone number 112. The quota of tax-free products is limited per person. If you decide to ignore that quota, it is entirely at your risk as customs are very vigilant in this region.
+Prices are 15 to 50 % lower than in the UK.
+It is quite easy accommodate yourself and eat at decent prices.
+The heritage of the Principality of Andorra offers a rich variety of Roman Churches which are in a remarkably good state.
-There is no other way of accessing the country except by road, and traffic jams can be a problem.
-Sometimes visitors are left with the impression of being in a giant supermarket.
During local festivals and other festive events, Andorrans often wear their traditional Andorran costumes. It is composed, for men, of a white shirt with black cardigan, black bouffant trousers and black espadrilles, with strings, with black ribbons crossed down from the thighs to just below the ankles. Andorran women dress in white shirts with a scarf over their shoulders, fingerless mittens of black lace, a plain apron, a three-quarter length skirt and the same style of espadrilles that the men wear. Andorra has four typical dances : Marratxa (Sant Julià de Lòria), the Ball of Santa Anna (Escaldes-Engordany), the Counter-step (Andorra la Vella) and the Sardana.
Food lovers will fall in love with Andorra for its richness in culinary specialities and restaurants. Seeking to offer high-quality tourism, the Tourism Department and the Union of Hoteliers have joined efforts to promote Andorran cuisine, and have therefore organised an annual food festival, in the autumn for this purpose (end of November, beginning of December). With snails, seafood (cod, oysters, turbot, etc), meats and cooked meats, the restaurants of the Principality offer menus combining French and local specialities. Pay attention to the Iberian ham, tupi cheese, foie gras, duck fillet, carpaccio of cod-fish and veal, pig's legs with boletus, shrimp tails with fava beans and bacon or the popular calçotades (tender onions on grill).
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Find weekly weather forecasts for Andorra . Different criteria make it possible to predict with precision the best time of year to go to Andorra . A comprehensive weather score, made up of temperature indicators, bad weather predictions, sunshine levels and wind speeds, will allow you to choose the activities best suited to the weather conditions and therefore make the most of your holiday in Andorra .
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Andorra is a popular destination for shopping and numerous visitors go there just to take advantage of its prices, which are VAT-free. With hundreds of jewellers, opticians, parfumeries, sports shops, antique shops, electronic appliance shops, hi-fi shops, fashion boutiques and studios, food stores and upscale clothing stores, nearly 4,000 commerical shops welcome millions of tourists every year. The opening hours for the shops are suited to the impressive waves of customers: the big stores open from Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm, on Saturday from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm, and on Sunday from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm.