Monday, November 21, 2011

Andorra la Vella, Andorra {Part I of VII}

First, a quick recap of my recent roadtrip. We started on 1st November from Barcelona where we rented the car. Over 6 days, we drove in 3 countries making stops at 7 locations.

Our itinerary included Andorra la Vella in Andorra, one of the smallest countries in the world. After that we continued on to Lourdes, Toulouse and the City of Carcasonne in Southwestern France. Finally, we came back into the Cataluña region, visited Girona, Figueres and Montserrat before returning the car at Barcelona and flying back to Madrid. Quite a journey!

The general outline of it is depicted below.


Andorra is a small landlocked country located on the eastern Pyrenees mountain range, sandwiched between Spain and France. To give an idea of its size, Andorra is approximately 2.5 times the size of Washington, D.C. but smaller than tiny Singapore!

During winter when the mountains are covered in snow, skiing is one of the popular leisure activities to do in Andorra. There're also lots of other stuff like mountain climbing, trekking and exploring the rural countryside on horseback or bicycles, etc.

But let's face it, I'm hardly the sporty, adventure seeking type. Besides, the incessant rain literally washed away my plan to visit the Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley, a UNESCO site.

So what's a girl to do in a place known to be a tax haven? Go shopping!

The capital city of Andorra - Andorra la Vella - is famous for being a tax haven. Surrounded by mountains, the city center is like one huge shopping paradise. Malls, fashion outlets, perfumeries, electronic goods and luxury goods stores - you name it and you can probably find it here in Andorra la Vella.

Typically, prices of goods that can be found in the same stores in Spain are cheaper here in Andorra la Vella without the taxes. Also for the bigger ticket items, it saves you the hassle of having to claim your tax refunds at the airport.

Above: Stopping for lunch at a restaurant by the roadside between Andorra and France.

I have an obsession with French duck dishes. Here I tried the Duck Confit and it was to die for!

Next stop >> Lourdes.

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