The forgotten country sandwiched between France and Spain, Andorra (pop. 65,000; 464 sq. km), has had its democratic constitution for only ten years; it spent its first 12 centuries caught in a tug-of-war between the Spanish Counts of Urgell, the Church of Urgell, and the French King. Catalan is the official language, but French and Spanish are widely spoken. All establishments were once required to accept pesetas and francs, but the country’s now on the euro system. Because of Andorra’s diminutive size, one day can include sniffing aisles of duty-free perfume, hiking through a pine-scented valley, and relaxing in a luxury spa
TRANSPORTATION AND PRACTICAL INFORMATION
The only way to get to Andorra is by car or bus. All traffic from Spain enters through the town of La Seu d’Urgell; the gateway to France is Pas de la Casa. Andor-lnter/Samar buses (Andorra®82 62 89; Madrid®914 68 41 90; Toulouse ® 561 58 14 53) run from Andorra la Vella to Madrid (9hr.; Tu and F-Su 1 lam, W- Th and Su 10pm; ‚35), as does Eurolines (Andorra ®80 51 51; Madrid ®915 06 33 60; Tu-Th and Su 11:30am, F and Su 10pm; ‚33). Alsina Graells (Andorra®82 65 67) runs to Barcelona (4hr., 5 per day, ‚18), as does Eurolines (3V4hr., 5 per day, ‚19). To go anywhere in Spain other than Madrid or Barcelona, first go to the town of La Seu d’Urgell on a La Hispano-Andorra bus (®82 13 72; 30min., 5-7 per day, ‚2.50), departing from Av. Meritxell 11. From La Seu, Alsina Graells buses continue into Spain via Puigcerda (lhr., 2 per day, ‚3.60) and Lerida (2!/2hr., 2 per day, ‚10.10). Driving in Andorra la Vella is an adventure for some, a nightmare for others. Navigating the crowded and twisting streets, which often lack signs, can prove a maddening chore; it’s best to ditch the car in one of the many parking lots as soon as possible. Efficient intercity buses connect the villages along the three major highways that converge in Andorra la Vella. Since most towns are only lOmin. apart, the country’s cities can be seen in a single day via public transportation. Bus stops are easy to find; rides cost ‚0.70-1.70. All buses make every stop in the city. Making an international tele phone call in Andorra is a chore; you’ll have to buy a STA teletarjeta (telecard) at the tourist office (74) or the post office (‚3 minimum). For directory assistance dial ® 111 or 119 (international). Let’s Go uses the same price diver sity range in Andorra as in Spain (853).
THE BEST OF (OKAY, ALL OF) ANDORRA IN THREE DAYS
First, spend, spend, spend in the duty- what isn’t?) La Massana (1 day, 76) free shops of Andorra la Vella (1 day, p. Afterward, nurse sore muscles in 74). Then hike Andorra’s mountains, Escaldes-Engordany (1 day, 75) at including its tallest peak, Pic Alt de la Europe’s largest spa resort, Caldea-Spa.
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