In anticipation of visiting Andorra – a new country to add to our list of Traveler’s Century Club destinations — I did a little background research on the 181-square-mile, land-locked country in Southwestern Europe’s Pyrenees mountains.
1. The Principality of Andorra — as it is officially named — is the world’s 16th-smallest country by land area, and 11th-smallest country by population.
2. Andorra shares borders with Spain to its south and France to its north. The country is approximately 130 miles from Barcelona, Spain, and about 115 miles from Toulouse, France.
3. Legend says that Charlemagne (Emperor of the Romans) founded Andorra in 805 — in recognition for the help given by its inhabitants against the Saracens.
4. In 1278, the Bishop of Urgell and the Count of Foix signed the Pareatges, which established their co-sovereignty over Andorra. The Pareatges created the principality of Andorra as it is known today.
5. Andorra is the world’s only co-principality, headed by two princes. Neither of the two princes are from Andorra. One is the Bishop of Urgell, currently Joan Enric Vives Sicília, who is appointed by the Pope. The other co-prince is the President of France, currently Emmanuel Macron, who is democratically elected by the citizens of France.
6. Andorra is Europe’s sixth-smallest nation, with a population of 78,264.
7. Catalan is the official language of Andorra. Spanish, Portuguese, and French are also commonly spoken.
8. Located in the Eastern Pyrenees, Andorra is mountainous with 72 peaks. The Principality has two alpine and Nordic skiing areas.
9. With an elevation of 3,356 feet above sea level, Andorra la Vella — the capital city of Andorra — is Europe’s highest altitude capital city.
10. Tourism one of the main components of Andorra’s economy.The small country hosts 10.2 million annual visitors.
11. Many travelers to Andorra like to shop. Andorra has more than 2,000 stores and boutiques within its borders.
12. Although the euro is its official currency, Andorra is not a member of the European Union.
13. Andorra has no national bank and has never had its own currency. Before the euro, the country used the Spanish Peseta as well as the French Franc. Without a national bank, Andorra must use private banks if the country wants to incur debt.
14. In 1993, Andorra became a member of the United Nations.
Have you visited Andorra? What fun fact can you add?