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The mini state of Andorra offers a ski area in the Pyrenees that is anything but small: Grandvalira is in fact Europe's largest ski area outside the Alps! Andorra, between its large neighbours France and Spain, is not to be overlooked. Even though Andorra only has two ski areas to offer, these areas offer first-class skiing fun. In addition, Andorra is well-known for its great shopping. Every year streams of shopping tourists make Andorra their destination of choice, bringing along a great source of income for the tax-free country. This money, in turn, is invested in the winter sports infrastructure and other leisure centres such as spas and ice skating rinks, which means that Andorra has much to offer on and off the piste. Two large ski areas have therefore been established, which are sure to impress you!
The small nation of Andorra can't trump with many ski areas, but can certainly hold the pace with the neighbouring countries. Various small ski areas have grown into two large ski centres in Andorra. With 193 kilometres of piste, Grandvalira is very convincing as the largest European ski area outside the Alps.
The second ski area, Vallnord, is a fusion of Ordino-Arcalis and Pal-Arsinal, and offers ski enjoyment on 91 kilometres of piste. While the resorts are rather characteristic tourist villages, the slopes are excellently maintained and are among the most modern in the world.
The travel destinations in Andorra are greatly influenced by the rich architectural inheritance of the mini state. Particularly the medieval churches and the historic centres with their small alleys and stone houses make a lasting impression on the tourists. The most popular destination is Andorra's capital Andorra la Vella, which is the highest situated capital in Europe (1,011 m). Next to the historic centre, the Barri Antic, and medieval buildings, such as the churches Santa Coloma and Sant Esteve, the Parliament building Casa de la Vall or the bridge of La Margineda, the capital is especially great for going on a shopping spree, as you do not have to pay toll fees. Approx. 2,000 shops are scattered across Andorra's only city.
A relaxing stop can be made in the small town Escaldes-Engordany, where you will find various sulphurous thermal springs. The main attraction and futuristic landmark is the modern thermal bath "Caldea", a swimming paradise for the whole family. Tourists can find more information about thermal water and the close by Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley in the CIAM, an interactive museum, which is focussed on the topic of water and teaches you everything you could ever want to know. The perfume museum of the town is also worth a visit. Those who are not satisfied with a visit to the CIAM, can instead travel to the Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley itself, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004. Altogether it comprises an area of 4,247 hectares and therefore covers 9 % of the total area of Andorra.
The most important church of the country is situated in close proximity to the village of Canillo. The sanctuary Meritxell is considered the Lourdes of Andorra. Architect Ricard Boffil built a temple on top of the remains of the pilgrimage church Our Lady of Meritxell, in which a commemorative exhibition about the history of the site is housed.
Tourists who prefer nature to architecture often like to visit the 16 hectares big "Naturlandia" park. It is open 365 days a year and offers many activities for young and old. From the lookout points and trails in the park, you can observe local animal species in their natural habitat. Between the altitudes of 1,600 to 2,000 m, the 5.3 km long toboggan run on rails called "Tobotronc", a Sky Trail, a paint ball facility, as well as an ice rink can be found and are available for your enjoyment.