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The main tourist attractions in Andorra La Vella – The capital of Andorra
The capital of Andorra, Andorra la Vella with a population of 20,800 (2009), is located at the confluence of the rivers Valira and Valira del Norte. Isolated for a long time from the rest of the world, the city experienced a significant population growth with the development of tourism, after the Second World War. Due to the duty-free regime (without customs duties) it became an important commercial center, supplying part of the pollution of European countries.
Andorra la Vella is located on the river of the same name with a glacial valley that crosses the country from north to south passing through the centers of Soldeu, Encamp, St. Julia de Loria. Andorra la Vella is the European capital located at the highest altitude (1070 m). As a curiosity, the population of Andorra lives on average 4 years longer than the neighboring population of France and Spain.
The city of Andorra la Vella had an ascending evolution with the appearance of communication routes to France and Spain. They opened the way for trade and exchange links, but especially for tourism.
1. Old Town of Andorra la Vella
This area of the old town, which translates to Old Andorra, seems to have been inhabited before the Christian era, more precisely by the Andosin tribe during the Neolithic period. The old town of Andorra la Vella, Barri Antic, has old buildings and streets from that period. Any tourist will be impressed after visiting the historic center of the city which is characterized by these streets and old stone houses. The historic center still lets you feel the charm of old times, giving this place a special beauty.
In the past, Barri Antic was the commercial center of Andorra, until its expansion and development, becoming what is now the capital Andorra la Vella. If you intend to find out more about the history of the capital, you must reach this old quarter with quite narrow streets. It is considered to be the most beautiful neighborhood in Andorra la Vella. Here you will also meet the Casa de la Vall, an emblematic objective for the history of the city.
2. Casa de la Vall in Andorra la Vella
This construction dates from the end of the 16th century (1580). The Casa de la Vall is the seat of Parliament and Justice. This traditional noble house holds some impressive Gothic frescoes with the Passion of the Savior.
This emblematic building in Andorra has a historical richness that is still felt today. On the ground floor is the Court of Justice, unique in the whole country and on the third floor you can find the Council Chamber, where parliamentary meetings take place. In the garden you can find La Dansa, the piece sculpted by Francesc Viladomat as well as other pieces sculpted by Terruggi and Armengol. In 1962, this building underwent a restoration.
Casa de la Vall is open from November to April, from Monday to Friday, between 9:30 – 13:30 and 15:00 – 18:30. On Saturdays the Casa de la Vall is open from 9:30 to 13:30 and on Sundays it is closed. The second period of the year when you can visit it is between May and October, from Tuesday to Saturday between 9:30 and 13:30. On Monday Casa de la Vall is open from 15:00 to 18:30 and on Sunday it is closed.
3. Church St. Esteve in Andorra la Vella
This church is part of an area that tourist guides call the picturesque area of the city. The church was built in Romanian style in the twelfth century but in the twentieth century the building began to deteriorate. The church, with a traditional architecture and unique traditional features, is located in the old center of the capital.
The restoration of the building began in 1940 by the modernist architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch who rebuilt the bell tower and the main entrance. Regarding the program, you will find more information at the Andorra la Vella Tourist Information Office, phone: (+376) 873 103.
Admission to this tourist attraction is free.
4. Santa Coloma Church -Tourist attractions in Andorra la Vella
The Church of Santa Coloma was built in the ninth and tenth centuries, with a pre-Roman construction. This church is considered to be among the oldest churches in the country. The church has a round bell tower since the 12th century. The walls were decorated with mural paintings from the 12th century. As a tourist, you must visit this church because it is one of the tourist attractions of the capital.
The church is open from July to August, daily from 10:00 to 20:00 and admission is free. For other information you can contact the Andorra la Vella Tourist Information Office, phone (+376) 873 103.
5. Andorra la Vella Piazza
Piazza is located in front of the Parliament Building, where various cultural events take place, such as the winter music festival that could delight tourists interested in visiting the capital Andorra la Vella. Piazza is the favorite place of both the inhabitants of this capital and of the tourists, given the fact that all the important events in the city take place here.
6. Saint Miguel d’Engolasters Church – Tourist attractions in Andorra la Vella
This small church was built in the twelfth century, being one of the most famous churches in Andorra. It is located near Engolasters. It is located at a point where you can have a fantastic view over the capital. The shape of this construction is rectangular. It houses a nave, a semicircular apse and a bell tower. Also, the interior has some reproductions of mural paintings in Romanian style.
If you want to visit this church, you must know that the entrance is free and is open in July and August, from Monday to Saturday, between 11:00 and 19:00 and on Sunday it is open between 11:00 and 14:00. Both on Sunday afternoon and on the first day of the week, on Monday, the church is closed. You can get more information from the Escaldes-Engordany Tourist Information Department or by calling (+376) 820 963.
7. Shops and markets in Andorra la Vella
For tourists passionate about shopping and more, it must be said that Andorra La Vella is the perfect place for this type of activity. Large or small stores are plentiful, and prices are affordable, due to the country’s fiscal policy, even luxury products are exempt from taxes. On the other hand, the quality of the products is superior. So, if you are not a big fan of cultural tourism, Andorra la Vella is worth a visit, or just for a shopping session.
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You have to remember that here most shops open at 9.00 and close at 14.00. They reopen in the evening, so don’t panic, especially since the restaurants stay open most of the time. It is worth mentioning that the discount period is in January and February, but also in July. An interesting place for gourmets but also for those looking for delicacies in the kitchen is the Casa del Formatges. As the name suggests, in the Cheese House, you will find a wide range of cheeses that you can taste before deciding what and how much to buy.
Tourist attractions in Andorra la Vella
For those interested in the traditional side of the Andorran capital, don’t miss the fair with a tradition that is almost seven centuries old. In recent years, it takes place on the last weekend of October and covers an area of 10,000 km ², divided into different commercial areas. It is the ideal place where you can buy souvenirs and handmade items.
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Also, in the first week of August, one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in Andorra la Vella, City Festival takes place, an event that has been taking place since medieval times. The market that is organized on this occasion is very diversified. You will find here from traditional costumes to handmade jewelry, and participants are coming from all regions of Andorra.
And if you prefer to spend your winter holidays in Andorra la Vella, you will be truly pampered. The festive atmosphere will be felt on the occasion of the Christmas Fair, which takes place around December 13, in Guillermo Square. From the fair you can buy, in addition to decorations and items with Christmas specifics, traditional food and street sweets that will not leave you indifferent. These were the tourist attractions in Andorra de Vella that we wanted to present to you.