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Last Updated on September 10, 2020 by Mary Emmer
If you’ve already researched how to do a Barcelona to Andorra day trip, you probably know that Andorra is not really all that accessible, unless you’ve got your own wheels!
The tiny principality of Andorra is nestled in the Eastern Pyrenees right between Spain and France. And just the term “tiny principality” alone makes me want to visit. It makes me envision a “royal” kind of place complete with kings, queens, and castles.
In reality, Andorra is a co-principality which means that there are two co-princes that are jointly the head of state. Currently, these co-princes are the Bishop of Urgell (Joan Enric Vives Sicilia) and the President of France (Emmanuel Macron). This type of arrangement is called a diarchy and it’s origins go all the way back to medieval times.
It’s located only 200 Km or approximately 2 hrs and 45 minutes by car from central Barcelona, so it seems like it should be accessible by almost any means you can think of, especially various forms of public transportation.
Interesting Facts About Andorra
- There is no airport in Andorra
- There is no train station in Andorra
- In addition to being small in size, Andorra’s population is also tiny. As of 2020, the total population was just under 78,000.
- Andorra La Vella, Andora’s capital, is the highest capital city in Europe at 3356 feet.
- Andorra is the only country in the world with Catalan as the official language.
Is Andorra Worth Visiting?
You’ll find a lot of conflicting answers to this question. Yes, no and maybe so.
Sadly, some people say that Andorra is not worth a visit and that the capital city itself, Andorra La Vela, lacks charm and has no redeeming value whatsoever.
But I believe that Andorra is overlooked by many that are too quick to judge this tiny land-locked beauty.
Having spent many month-long March and April stays in Catalonia over the last 6 years, I’ve always been intrigued by Andorra.
But I’m a mountain scenery lover and even the prospect of visiting during March when I may need to pack my cold-weather gear and snow boots doesn’t take away the appeal of a quick trip to check out Andorra.
Andorra is well-known for its duty-free shopping. And yes, it does have it’s share of tacky shopping areas. But there is also more upscale shopping available in areas that are more pleasing to the eye. So no worries there.
The historic center of Andorra La Vella is called the Barri Antic and while it’s not huge, only a few narrow streets and squares, it has some beautiful historic buildings and it’s worth a visit.
What Is There To Do In Andorra?
Shopping is one of the major reasons people come to Andorra due to the duty-free shopping opportunities to be found here.
Andorra is a well-known winter ski destination and has superb skiing available.
During the summer it’s time to hike or bike through the breathtaking scenery of the high Pyrenees.
Surprisingly enough, Andorra is home to 3 national parks. They are the Valle de Sorteny, Valls de Comapedrosa, and Madriu-Perafita-Claror.
Scenery By Car
If you have a car, one of the best things to do is to get out of Andorra La Vella and experience the stunning scenery from the comfort of your car.
Depending on how much time you have, you can visit a spa. Andorra has a number of different spas, but the most interesting is Caldea which is housed in a very unique building that is completely covered in mirrors.
Andorra has some fine examples of Romanesque churches located around the country with amazing interiors.
3 Options For Barcelona To Andorra Day Trips
If you have your own car, this is by far the easiest and fastest way to get from Barcelona to Andorra. Driving yourself will also allow you to maximize your time there and you’ll have the most flexibility. Andorra is 200 Km north of Barcelona and without any traffic problems along the way, this drive should take approximately 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
There is only one border crossing between Spain and Andorra, however, so depending on the day and time of your visit there could be a traffic backup at or around the border. Due to Andorra’s duty-free shopping situation, there can be a lot of road traffic to this tiny place by people looking for large shopping bargains.
The only public transportation option that exists for getting to and from Andorra is by bus. And at the time of this writing, the bus options aren’t great. The bus takes about 3 hours, 15 minutes to get to Andorra from Barcelona. And that’s not too bad considering the fact that you don’t have to worry about anything other than relaxing on the bus until you arrive in Andorra. No chance of getting lost! That’s a plus in itself, huh?
The real problem with the bus (as of this moment in time) is that the earliest arrival into Andorra is at 1:45 PM. And the latest departure from Andorra back to Barcelona is at 7:15 PM. So you would have less than a 6-hour stay in Andorra and that’s not very long considering that you have also had 6 hours in roundtrip transportation. To me, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to do it this way.
If I were going by bus and that was the best I could do in terms of departure and arrival times, I would opt to stay overnight to extend my time in Andorra.
Andorra Tour From Barcelona
Taking an organized tour is the third option for doing a one-day trip from Barcelona to Andorra, and this is actually my preferred way to go.
Why not sit back, relax, and actually see some other places on your way to and from Andorra. This way, you can eliminate the hassle of driving yourself, figuring out the correct route, and worrying about traffic and other “road-related” issues en route between Barcelona and Andorra.
And what a pleasure it would be to not only know what you’re looking at along the way but have a guide who is telling you everything you should know about it.
You can do a guided day trip from Barcelona to Andorra like this one which is a 12-hour tour from start to finish with some France thrown into the mix.
Or this tour which is similar in offering the 3 countries of Spain, France, and Andorra in 1 day with a duration of 12 hours.
Taking a guided tour from Barcelona to Andorra is the best way to experience a one day trip that takes in not only Andorra but a few other places along the way and you won’t have to worry about missing out on anything important.
After all, why take the time to make the journey if you’re going to miss out on important stuff, right?
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Hi, thanks for stopping by. I’m an online entrepreneur here at Still en Route where I write about everything travel-related, with a baby boomer twist! My goal is to inspire you to be adventurous and teach you how to fit more life into your lifestyle, even if you’re a baby boomer like me!